Part of Eos Station: Mission 1: Rule 34 War is Good for Business

Engraved Invitations

Eos Station: Observation Lounge
January 2023
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The station had undergone many changes, even in the short time Robert had been assigned here. While many of the station repairs were well underway, there were so many more still left to fix. He walked over to the replicator and ordered a black coffee while waiting for the rest of their meager Senior Staff to arrive. He didn’t want a long meeting, but there was so much ahead of them that Robert felt a quick briefing was warranted. He looked out the large window as he took a sip of the beverage. He couldn’t help but wonder who was going to arrive first.

The door slid open as Arwa walked in with a few PADDS in her hands and took place at her seat, nodding to her Captain. I hope you are feeling good today. It might be difficult with the sudden departure of the Commander, but if you feel stressed, please make an appointment at my office.   

The Captain looked at the Counselor, “funny, you should mention that; we will circle back that in a few,” He smiled a bit as if a kid trying hard to keep a secret. Before Robert could add more, the Security Officer arrived, “Lieutenant,” he greeted the Officer. 

“Captain, we are going to have to have a talk about these Romulans. They came into my office this morning demanding to see our security protocols and then telling me that our services will not be required for anything dealing with the Ambassador or their embassy. “ Lieutenant Yatokii took a seat across from the Counselor, dropping his padd rather harshly on the table. 

Granth was the next to arrive. The iconic jingling of the tools announced the Engineer on his tool belt. The Barzan had a death grip on a mug of coffee and looked particularly grumpier than the usual jovial man he was known to be. He slumped down tiredly in a chair and dragged a hand down his face, nearly knocking off one of his breathing apparatuses.

“Chief,” Robert looked at the Engineer, “Welcome.”  He gestured to the Security Officer, “actually, the Romulans are, in part, the reason we are all here today. You all might wanna sit down for this one.”  He paused, taking a sip of his coffee before he continued. 

“I realize we are short staff, and a few key positions have been transferred,” he looked over to the Engineer, “I also know that there are still waiting on several repairs, but things are about to get more complicated, so that I will apologize now. In approximately twenty hours, the first of several visiting delegates will arrive for our grand opening. Starfleet feels it’s time to open the doors and ensure that everyone knows Eos is ready for business. I partly understand their motive, but I know it will add great stress.”

“Counselor,” he smiled at the Officer again, “I think anyone who read my file will see that diplomacy probably isn’t my strongest skill, and as we are short, a First Officer.”  He leaned back in his chair, “I am officially, unofficially moving you to Acting First Officer. Starfleet wants a full state dinner complete with dress uniforms with all the bells and whistles. I know it’s a bit sudden, but this situation is more built for your skills, not my own.” 

Hearing that she was appointed as the acting First Officer, she blinked and looked at him. “Mmm yes sir, I will help the station as well as possible in my temporary position” Arwa was still shocked about the sudden appointment but logically thought it was a common choice to have someone at his right side. Taking a deep breath, “I will focus on the full state dinner and everything that will come looking as part of it.”

“Lieutenant Krajj, I know you have a lot on your plate, but we need to switch focus to the key systems,” Robert gestured, “Security protocols, replicators, and turbo lifts. I can’t have a replicator accidentally poisoning something, and I don’t need a visiting Ambassador getting stuck in a lift. You already have a list of needed repairs; I won’t tell you how to do your job. Prioritize your work to that which will be important to the grand opening; anything minor can wait… for now.” 

Longfellow had slipped in as the conversation had begun. He held his PADD in one hand as he settled into the chair to hear the crafty Engineer’s response. Sickbay was approaching functionality, and it had taken most of his favors and some ingenuity on the part of the engineering crews together with operations. For now, his sickbay was looking like an actual sickbay.

Engineer Granth had watched Doctor Longfellow enter, dipping his head to him in greeting. He sighed and looked over at Robert, and nodded slowly, “I understand, sir. I’ll shuffle around the work orders for my engineers. We are a bit stretched thin at the moment.” He reached for his PADD and started to do precisely just that.

Henry motioned with his PADD, “Sickbay and medical are nearly operational. We’re brushing up on our Romulan physiology, but given how they’ve told security off, I suspect they will not be beating down my door anytime soon. We’re prepared in any case, sir.”

“Prepare is all we can do,” Robert replied, “and I agree. I don’t think .our Romulan friends are going to be that cooperative.” 

“Lastly, our Security Chief, I want extra details posted in critical areas of the station,” he nodded, “we are going to have a lot of excess people here, and we don’t need an incident or problem.” He paused, realizing that they were so not ready for this.

Lieutenant Yatokii blinked a few times and picked up his PADD. “Going to be tight, sir. We still don’t have a full security team onboard, and my guys are already stretched pretty thin. The problem is I’m afraid if we let up too much on cleaning up the lower levels, those factions are just going move right back in and be that much harder to get them to leave. “ He looked around the table. “I hate  to ask, as I know we are all stretched pretty thin, but does anyone have any extra bodies, preferably with some security training, that they could lend me until the event is over?” 

Lieutenant Commander Krajj looked over at Yatokii, “I mean, I don’t have much more staff than you, but my engineers are grumpy and tired enough that anyone would think twice about crossing them if you need a hand.” He chuckled sarcastically.

Yatokii blinked a few times as he thought over what the CEO offered. “That would work , Chief. We could use them around the promenade and certain other areas for crowd control. “

Putting his PADD down rather abruptly, he looked at the captain. “Sir, I am not going to hand over our security protocols to them. That would open us up to many possible issues, especially if those protocols were to get into the wrong hands. We still don’t know fully who is on the Ambassador’s staff, and let’s not forget that several of the enterprising individuals in the lower levels are Romulan.”

“Right now, these particular Romulans are to be treated with full diplomatic preference,” Robert stressed, “that doesn’t mean be stupid about it, but they must act first. I won’t start an incident based on hunches or gut feelings.”

“This dinner is meant to focus on our partnership with the Romulans and show everyone that Starfleet is operational in this area and ready for business. So, for the time being, we plaster on the smiles and play nice with the neighbors. Once this is over, then we will see. However, its game faces now, and we hope for the best.”  He sighed, knowing full well that wasn’t much of a speech. 

If they wanted a pep talk, they had the wrong Commanding Officer.  Robert wasn’t the type to pat you on the back and give you an atta boy. He was a roll the sleeves up, get the job done, and then have a drink once it was all over type. “And Doctor, something tells me you might wanna brush up on your Romulan physiology a bit faster,” he nodded, “call it an,” he paused, “educated guess.”

Longfellow raised an eyebrow in acknowledgment. Romulan diplomacy was challenging in the best of times. He sent his team a note to put in the extra time. Whatever came next, they needed to be ready for a number of possibilities. Short of a brawl in a pub, the rest of the list was less and less friendly.

“I can deal with the arrival of the Romulans and show them around. I would advise our Chief Engineer to give me a …path I can take to show them around areas that are patched up. The Romulans do tend to play on weaknesses, and if we show them our lacks here and there, it makes our diplomatic standing difficult,” Arwa points out. 

Granth nodded, gesturing, “She has a point there. I can easily create a safe green light area to go through and show off to visiting dignitaries. Shouldn’t take too long.” He drew a sip of his coffee and set it down.

” I can work with the Chief to ensure that everything is secure and legit that they may see as they walk through.” He picked up his PADD. “ The tricky part is going to be how do we camouflage or hide the stuff we don’t want them to see right now? or keep them from going to areas that we know are hotspots? “ Looked over at the Captain. “Any chance we could get the full records and any reports, official or unofficial, on the Ambassador and his team? “ 

Arwa blinks. “Perhaps just place some cargo boxes at the locations that are off-limits” She made quotes with her fingers and winks at them. 

“That is a great idea,” Robert gave a rare smile,  “good idea,  Number One.” He leaned back in his chair, “this whole thing will be a giant case of what ifs. Play it smart, don’t get trapped, and when in doubt, run it up the chain.”

“Remember, play it safe because that is true; they will look for weaknesses. So whatever you do, don’t give them a reason to find any.”  He looked around the table, ”we could sit here forever and debate the what-ifs. As things come about, bring it to our acting XO.”

“Until then, dust off those dress uniforms, and let’s polish things up a bit. Dismissed.”