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Part of USS Resolute: Second Contact

6 – First Impressions

Resolute in Volar Space
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Second contact was always a difficult thing to navigate. It didn’t have the grandeur or excitement of a first contact situation, or the danger, but it was just as, and in some ways more, important. 

First contact was all about the unknown. That instant moment of friend or foe, and no one knew which way it would go until there were boots on the ground. It was about nerves of steel and a diplomatic smile as you navigated a situation that could quickly become quicksand with the potential to spark an intergalactic war. 

Second contact was first contact’s more sensible, often be-suited cousin who’d eyed accountancy as a career before joining the fleet. It was about smoothing cultural differences and finding ways to work going forward. It was as much about compromise as diplomacy as both sides worked out how they could use the other for their own benefit. But, as a rule, the big guns didn’t need to get involved and the possibility of people shooting at them was relatively minor. 

It didn’t mean that Hale had completely discounted it though. Which was why all of the away team would be carrying hand phasers, as per protocol when operating in an area like the Thomar Expanse. Especially when first contact had been so long ago. 

“Everyone good?” he asked as the away team assembled in the hallway outside the transporter room. He’d picked them with care. 

The counselor, Armstrong, was an obvious choice. She had both diplomatic training and as a telepath, she would be able to gauge the mood of the Volar when they were down there. Plus, she had really shown her mettle against the Devore back on the prison planet and he was eager to give her more opportunities to bloom and show what she could do. 

He’d also wanted a science officer along, to observe the level of technology the Volar had, but since the captain didn’t want Allen off the ship—and Hale totally agreed with him on that point—he’d picked Ensign Callahan. She looked nervous, biting at her lip, but her nod was firm when he looked at her. She didn’t appear to be that skittish, but he guessed anyone who had to deal with Allen on a regular basis had to be virtually bomb-proof. 

Along with the two women, he’d picked Gunnar, the Resolute’s new security chief. Nearly seven feet of blond viking, Hale remembered just staring at the guy when he’d first arrived aboard at DS47, and wondering how the hell they’d found a uniform to fit him. Then immediately on the heels of that thought he’d wondered if the captain was on a mission to find as many huge men as possible for the crew. Given the small size of the crew, they’d better make sure they never all ended up on the same side of the ship at the same time. Not unless they wanted to spin around their own axis forevermore. 

“All good!” Leif grinned, one thumb tucked in his belt, the other wrapped around a travel mug of coffee. Hale noted the presence of sprinkles in the remnants of sprinkles around the edge of the mug. 

“Replicator on deck four?” he asked, nodding toward it. 

“Ya!” Gunnar smiled and drained the mug. “Best on the ship.”

“Do we have any more information than this on the Volar?” Armstrong asked, falling into step with him as they made their way into the transporter room. 

He shook his head. “That’s all we have and it’s old. Every request for more information was deflected with the comment that they prefer to meet face to face. Well… they’ve also said that they don’t need anything from the Federation, but the notes say they are an intensely proud people so that could be bluster.”

“What’s our aim here?” 

He slid her a sideways glance. He liked that about Armstrong, she cut to the chase. Not as brutally as Micheals did half the time but she got there anyway. 

“We need to offer any assistance we can, in the purposes of fostering a good relationship with the Volar. And also see about furthering our own aims in this area. Increased friendly relations with powers in the area and scientific exchange put us in a much better position should any of the big boys either side of the expanse decide to kick up again.”

She nodded, pursing her lips as she tucked her padd away and stood next to him, waiting for the signal to step onto the transporter pad. 

Time to go. “Bridge, this is Burton. We’re ready and waiting to beam down to the surface.”

Mason’s deep voice replied, relayed by the ships internal comms. “We have confirmation from the surface. You’re good to go when ready, Commander.” 

“Understood, thank you sir.” Burton waved the team forward, standing on one of the front pads next to Armstrong while Callahan and Gunnar stood behind them. 

“Beam us down,” he ordered the transporter tech. 

“Co-ordinates locked. Beaming down now,” came the calm reply. 

Within a heartbeat they were surrounded by blue light and he wondered how the next hour or so would go. Would the Volar be welcoming, or resistant to overtures of friendship? 

Hale took a deep breath and reminded himself of his training. He’d been through multiple simulations of situations like this. Tested and trained and nothing that was waiting on the planet below would phase him…