USS Nightingale, Bridge - In geosynchronous orbit over Geckonia
"USS Nightingale, this Geckonia Traffic Control, remain in your orbit path, do not power up your weapons or raise shields. Do not contact anyone other than the official government representative. Failure to adhere to these rules will result in you being considered a hostile vessel and we will respond accordingly,
" the cold neutral voice ordered over the communications systems. John felt a cold shiver down his back as the communication channel from the Geckonia Traffic Controller had ceased in a blaze of static.
"They could at least be a little friendly," Shrak snorted, "After all we are giving them our support in their little war." Her antennas moved around, twisting in stomach wrenching moves. John shot a look at Shrak in a condemning look for speaking out of turn.
"Let's not forget Lieutenant, we are the ones in need of help," John reminded her, continuing the stern look. John turned to Hans and gave a brief smile, "So, what next?" he asked his first officer.
"We wait," Hans said patiently, "I have already informed the government of our needs and our reasons for being here, they will not take long into responding."
"Respond with what though?" John asked. Hans shrugged and went to a personnel report that he had been given as soon as they got onto the bridge. John knew he was probably letting his feelings known. He didn't trust the situation. The Geckonians and the Federation weren't enemies by any stretch of the imagination, but neither were they the best of friends. John knew there was a Federation embassy down on the planet, but being forbidden to contact them, meant a long wait sitting on his backside with nothing to do but count the seconds that ticked by.
"You can't blame them for being a little less friendly than we would want Captain," Chloe from the helms stations stated, "at the moment they are in a war, they have to be careful." She turned round to face the central area of the bridge.
John gave a reassuring nod, "That is true Lieutenant," he paused, admiring the young woman's logic. She was certainly a good officer, but he felt there were some times where the officer might need some seasoning.
The operations control panel started beeping behind John, he turned round and looked at the young ensign who was at the station there at the moment, Torlik was still in a coma in sickbay. The young ensign looked at the controls and nodded his head, "We are receiving a hail from the Prime Minister's Official Office sir," he announced.
Hans raised a cheeky smile at John, that didn't go unnoticed, but John wasn't going to drawn into that conversation at the moment, "On screen," John ordered, standing from his chair and pulling his uniform tunic downwards.
On the view screen came a face of a warm smiling man, looking very similar in style to that of Hans, but his hair was ginger colour instead of Hans' white and his skin had more of a pattern of green and yellow than that of pure olive green. Another difference from Hans was the lack of clothes that the man on the screen was wearing. "Mister Prime Minister, I am Captain John Wilcox, commanding officer of the USS Nightingale," John paused for a second, "Thank you for contacting me so quickly, during what must be such a busy time for you."
The man gave a courteous nod, "You are most welcome Captain. I understand you have yet to contact your embassy here on the planet, please feel free to do so, we will not take offence
John turned round to Hans, giving a surprised look, he turned back to the screen to look at the Prime Minister, "I apologies Prime Minister for asking, but Traffic Control said we were not suppose to contact anyone other than on the official government channels?"
"I will have that sorted out for you Captain, please accept my apologies, traffic control tend to see everyone in the same light
," the Prime Minister paused for a second, giving a wider smile. John nodded his acceptance of the apology, something that Hans had quickly taught him to do in such a circumstance. Hans stood up and walked so he was next to the Captain. "Hans, is that you
"Mister Prime Minister," Hans said, John thought that the Prime Minister must know that Hans was on the ship, as he had been the one to initiate the communications between the ship and the planet. "It is agreeable to see you again Mister Prime Minister, it has been far too long. I offer my apologies, but the Dominion War has kept me away from Geckonia." To John it sounded as if there a continued routine to this, as if it had all been rehearsed. If he hadn't have seen the transcripts for the communications John would have thought that the entire conversation was staged and would have felt uneasy. But John pondered whether this was some sort of cultural way of speaking. He knew that Hans hadn't actually spoken about any of this 'performance
', he had kept his communications to ship business.
The Prime Minister then gave a nod and looked back at the Captain, "Captain Wilcox, I respectfully request to transport to your ship
," the Prime Minister said, in what John could only describe as a neutral voice, much like Hans' voice the majority of the time, "There are important matters to discuss
John smiled, "Mister Prime Minister, we would be honoured to have you onboard, though I warn you; we cannot simulate the temperature you need."
The Prime Minister smiled and nodded his head, "So kind of you to warn me Captain
," he replied his voice slightly teetering on friendly, "But I have a thermal vest, in case for such matters
John smiled, "If you would like to arrange transport co-ordinates, I will arrange to have you beamed up as soon as you would like Mister Prime Minister."
The Prime Minister narrowed his eyes briefly; his mouth did a slight down turn. John wondered whether he had something wrong, he quickly gave a glance to Hans who was slightly shaking his head, he had done something wrong, but he didn't know what.
A later moment the Prime Minister's face resembled something that seemed friendly again, "Of course Captain, I will arrange transport for myself and a small party in five minutes
"I look forward to meeting with you Mister Prime Minister," John said and with that the Prime Minister shut down the joint communications channel and the view screen returned to the star field which had been showing before the communication.
USS Nightingale, Transporter Room 1 - In geosynchronous orbit over Geckonia
Wilcox stood waiting by the transporter to initiate. His stomach felt very wobbly, like butterflies were causing hurricanes in there. Hans stood next him, in comparison looking as cool as a cucumber. Wilcox had slight moment of jealously of his Geckonian executive, able to keep such strong emotions under control, but he decided to use that thought to control his emotions. They had been in the transporter room for a number of minutes awaiting clearance to be able to beam up the Prime Minister. John had hoped to get a chance to speak to the Federation Ambassador on the planet, but there was little time in which he could spare the Ambassador and Hans had noted that Geckonians do not like tardiness.
"You will have to apologies several times in the first few minutes of this meeting sir," Hans suddenly broke the silence.
"You at first made him arrange when he was to beam up to the ship," Hans noted.
"That is only prudent considering his position, he's not a high school friend, he might not be able to drop everything at a moment's notice," John replied, he felt a little uncomfortable.
"As the host, the Geckonians would expect you to arrange such details," Hans replied, "You would then have to apologise for the state of the ship," he continued," and then there is the detail that you are not in dress uniform. And further to that, you must apologise for not personally escorting them from the surface."
"Do Geckonians always have to apologise in these matters?" John asked. He started scratching his head, then pulled his hand down, fearful that if his hair was out of place, he would have to apologise for that as well.
"It is not uncommon for apologies to take up a few minutes at the start of conversations," Hans said, his voice seemed that he too was not a fan of such a system, "I and other Geckonians in Starfleet, have learnt to cope without that part of culture. It was fairly easy to do so."
"Should I have prepared some sort of meal Commander?" Wilcox stated, turning slightly to his side to face his executive officer. Part of him was joking, but deep down, John was worried.
"That is good," Wilcox announced, relief washing through him, "The replicators just went offline again."
"They will bring the food, as is the custom with such events on Geckonia," Hans said, Hans gave a bigger smile.
"What is the local food like then Commander?" Wilcox asked, he had always had an interest in other cultures food, he was very fond of Vulcan and Tellerite food.
"Crickets?" John replied nearly choking on the words, "As in little bugs?"
Hans nodded, "They are normally flavoured," he added, "And alive. Geckonians have to have their food still alive in order to stimulate the digestive juices."
"The food is moving?" John said, his stomach started churning again, the thought of something wiggling around in his stomach brought back memories of Meshta gagh, which was a known jumping variety of the favoured Klingon dish.
"It is not unlike the Klingon food," Hans stated, "I particularly enjoy Klingon food."
Wilcox raised an eyebrow at Hans and turned back to the transporter, "Yeah, that's the one style of food I do not care to eat again as well."
"You may have to," Hans smiled, "To reject such an offer would be an insult to the Geckonian people, the Prime Minister and I would personally feel insulted as well."
"You?" Wilcox replied, "No offence Commander, but would you eat pizza?"
"No," Hans replied, "But I am unable to eat food that is not moving, it would make me unwell."
"Captain," the crewman at the controls of the transporter suddenly interrupted the conversation, "We have received the confirmation from the surface."
"Energize," Captain Wilcox said turning around again to face the transporter pad.
Five blue beams of light started to appear on the circles of the transporter pad. In each one a figure of a Geckonian appeared. Wilcox raised his head slightly, looking at the person in the centre as they slowly came to resemble the man he had a conversation with just a few minutes ago across the view screen. When the transporter had finished its process he noticed the new arrivals looking around their new surroundings.
"Mister Prime Minister," John tried to grab their attention, "Welcome to the Nightingale, I apologise for the mess, the recent attack by the Gorn has left us with a lot of cleaning up to do." The Prime Minister nodded. "I also apologise for not being able to arrange your arrival here, but I was unaware of your schedule." The Prime Minister nodded again in respect to what John had said. "And I must also apologise for being improperly dressed, many of my possessions had not yet reached the ship when we were rushed into service." The Prime Minister nodded again.
"I too must also apologise Captain," the Prime Minister added, "For I am interrupting what must be a very busy time for you Captain. But what I have to say is of the greatest of importance."
John nodded, "Mister Prime Minister, if I may, your apology is not necessary, in fact your presence is very much appreciated."
The natural smile of the Prime Minister turned into a large grin, "Come Captain, I have brought food, let us eat and talk as is tradition."
"My pleasure Prime Minister," John said stretching a hand out towards the door, "We shall eat in the conference room; my quarters are far too small to cater for two people."
"Excellent Captain," the Prime Minister replied, "Hans, please join us. I have brought your favourite, Tellarian Spiced Crickets and for you Captain; I have brought Chicken Sandwiches."
Wilcox shot a look at Hans and smiled, "You needn't have bothered to go to such lengths for me Prime Minister. I could have sampled Geckonian food." The Prime Minister smiled and exited the room with his party of five people following him. John took the lead of the group, directing them to the turbo life, while Hans took up the rear.
USS Nightingale, Conference Room - In geosynchronous orbit over Geckonia
After the meal had been finished, the Prime Minister had told his company to wait outside. Hans and Wilcox were left inside the room with the Prime Minister. John had to admit that the conversation throughout the meal had been mostly based on the ship and his career. John knew he hadn't much time, however he wanted to get as much out of the Geckonian leader as possible, and he could achieve that better by being courteous now and demanding later.
"Captain," the Prime Minister started to talk sternly, "I'm afraid that the war has not gone completely our way."
"You've suffered large number of casualties," Hans stated impassively, the Prime Minister just nodded, "How did this occur? Were you not prepared for such events?" Hans asked. Wilcox felt he was being undermined and shot a look over at his executive officer, not the only senior officer he had to do that too recently.
"We were prepared," the Prime Minister stated, "We found out about their plans, and we positioned our ships accordingly."
"But they saw you ship positions, and went around them, changed their plans," John stated, he had started to gather a picture of the events in his head. The Prime Minister nodded, "You got caught off guard."
"In recent days we've been able to reverse some of their gains," The Prime Minister seemed to go into a depressive mood, he's whole tone changed to a something that John recognised in officers during the Dominion War, when people had lost so many loved ones. "But when we recovered the planets," he took a large gulp, he had obviously difficultly in recounting his information, "The Gorn had completely eradicated the populations. We don't have an exact figure yet but billions of being people have died in a matter of days."