((Conference Room, Deck 3 - Primary Hull, USS Chin’toka, One Hour after Test Flight ))
Serala waited this time. She wanted to have all of them already gathered and settled before she entered. When she walked in, they were indeed all seated and waiting on her. She strode quickly over to her seat and sat down.
Serala: Thank you all for coming. One hour ago, we monitored what appears to have been a test flight of a warp capable ship. This means there is sentient life out here and that it has met the standard for a First Contact situation. I have decided to take us in to Eladar IV and see what we can learn, and possibly lead the First Contact mission.
Raga: Another First Contact. Well, this is an interesting change for us. :: He smiled ::
Peters: It's always exciting to meet new species, I think.
Snow: Indeed it is. Hopefully things go well during this First Contact for all parties involved.
Azorius: I would be very much interested in helping if this is a First Contact situation. Diplomacy was one of my Majors at the Academy.
Serala nodded, noting his enthusiasm for the mission. She’d get to team assignments soon enough.
Levinson: Curious. I am certain we can learn quite a bit about this civilization.
Kiax: Perhaps it'll also give us the opportunity to make some new allies in the area, but we do need to be careful how we proceed. If we come in too strong we might frighten them, to the point where they become an insular society and cease their warp tests.
Serala: Protocol dictates that the First Contact be made by a Commanding Officer. Now, technically I am not of high enough rank, but I am the Acting CO and it’s my call. :: turning to Kiax :: Commander, what kind of data have we been able to gather in the last hour?
Kiax: Mostly geographical data on the planet, but we've managed to generate a few educated hypotheses between departments. The "arrow" - the warp capable test ship - was crewed by three lifeforms that we don't recognise. The success with which their test was completed suggests this is not the first test they've done, but the first successful one, which is backed up by the celebratory transmissions we were listening in for. The ship is currently still on the edge of the asteroid belt, presumably conducting some scientific studies and data collection. We're expecting them to be returning within the next 12 to 15 hours, given that their life support systems don't appear advanced enough to sustain the crew for much longer than that.
Esa stood up and moved over to the monitor.
Kiax: As for the planet... Eladar IV, as Starfleet have designated it, is an M-Class planet, with a hydrosphere only slightly higher than that of Earth. Initial data collected by Lieutenant Levinson indicates an estimated percentage of 77, replete with several large continents, all occupied by a number of cities - one of which shares coastline with where we traced the launch of the "arrow" from. Its construction bares similarities to the Kennedy Space Centre back on Earth, the size and scope of which indicates
they've had a space program for a number of years.
Levinson: Indeed. In addition, the terrain is quite varied, and includes forests, which should not prove an issue to land in with shuttles, swamps and deserts. There are also a few seismically active spots in a few locations - including one large volcano, with a large building at its very top. I do not believe it is used for space launches, but it is on a similar technological level to the space centre. It could be a facility for controlling seismic stability… or perhaps it is simply a show of force by a faction on the planet.
Serala listened to the report, half-excited at this prospect, and half-nervous. First Contact was a risky mission. If things were not handled correctly, they could go bad very quickly.
Serala: Thank you. Commander Peters, are we certain that they didn’t detect us at any point?
Peters: As sure as I can be from this distance, sir. They gave no indication
they saw us, and from what I could tell, that ship had no sensors to pick us
Serala: Very good. :: she took in each officer’s face before continuing :: Okay, thoughts?
Raga: I'm assuming I'll be in command of the Chin'toka while you're off
playing a Vulcan?
Serala: :: a wry grin on her face :: Nice. And yes, you will be in command while I am gone.
Snow: I think we should be prepared for anything. We still aren't sure how
we will be perceived.
Azorius: I'd like to request any data on the new species be sent to me for
Kiax: Right now, we don't have much - other than the recordings we took of their test flight transmissions. We ran their syntax through the UT and translated it, so at least we know what they're saying. It's all business, keeping their astronauts in the loop, etc. I'll be sure to forward any new findings on.
Serala: Well, hopefully we should be able to get a whole lot more information.
Raga: Should we maintain standard orbit over the planet, or pull the ship back? I think it's fairly safe to assume that there could be many telescopes on the planet observing the night sky. I wouldn't want us to cause an incident before you've had a chance to meet with their leaders.
oO That’s a valid point, but I would think a geo-synchronous orbit over one of the poles would be sufficient. Still, no harm in playing it safe. Oo
Peters: I'm all in favour of pulling the ship back to a safe distance until we receive the all-clear to get closer. I don't want to cause any incidents either.
Snow: I'm in favour of that as well. We have no idea what to expect from the
inhabitants. It never hurts to be overly cautious when dealing with the unknown.
Azorius: Aye, we do not want to cause them any alarm if they locate us
before we are ready to make contact.
Kiax: The asteroid belt might be the best bet for that - they don't seem to be willing, or able, to push any further beyond it. And it's close enough for us to continue monitoring the test flight, though it might prove to be a dangerous place to hide a ship this big.
Levinson: I concur, it is a logical option, even with the danger. Observe without being observed.
Serala: :: nodding :: I agree. A parking orbit over the poles should be enough, but let’s use the asteroid belt to be safe. Though, we’ll need to figure out how to get shuttles back and forth without detection. The asteroid belt is going to be too far for the transporters.
Peters: Do we know anything about the culture of the Eladarians?
Kiax: When we translated the transmissions, there were repeated references to, quote, "the bat-people" - made by one of the controllers. It could suggest the existence of multiple races who have co-evolved on the planet and are both on the cusp of interstellar travel. It might also suggest some kind of superiority complex or disdain the race that we've witness complete the test has for their co-species. Not to mention the lack of female voices over the transmissions, which could be something to watch out for if we do make contact, given our own compliment's fairly equal gender split.
Levinson: I do not believe we are familiar with their physiology as of yet, Commander. It is possible we are dealing with a single-gendered species, or perhaps their genders are not defined in the same way we define them.
Raga : Response
Peters: Interesting idea, to be sure.
Snow: It is indeed. So there is no indication of how far they've developed on their own, or if they had help?
Serala: Well, that is one thing we will have to determine. We’ll go ahead and approach this as if they have never had any contact before.
Azorius: Hmm, either way, we need to ensure we're very careful with how we interact with them.
Snow: :: nods :: Well we'll find out soon enough.
Serala: Yes, indeed.
Raga / Levinson / Peters: Response
Kiax: It might be worth going in, if that's what we choose, unarmed and unarmoured to congratulate them on their successful test. Everything I've heard so far suggests they’re quite proud of this achievement, and it might score us some bonus points.
Serala: I agree. And I believe that is protocol. It’s a very risky mission, which is one reason commanding officers are tasked with the job.
Snow: Well, we don't know what kind of diseases we're going to come in
contact with. For all we know this planet could have a contagious and deadly
disease that we could accidentally bring on ourselves.
Kiax: The atmosphere is breathable by all Federation races, but I can set up a temporary quarantine in one of the cargo bays on Deck 9 for anyone returning from the planet with anything the biofilters don't pick up, and they're right around the corner from the transporter rooms so exposure will be minimal. We can use the force fields to screen off the corridor from the rest of the ship until it's decontaminated.
Serala: Why don’t we set up a containment area in sickbay. We can beam people straight back to there. And we’ll utilize the biofilters in the transporter to ensure we catch anything we can detect. Once medical clears people, they can be released from containment.
Raga / Levinson / Peters: Responses
Snow: Of course, Captain.