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Delicate Discussion

Posted on Fri Aug 30th, 2019 @ 12:39pm by Isabella Cerin & Commodore Yoshi Minawara

Mission: Wrong Place, Right Time
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: MD01 0950HRS

Prior to the Dominion War, Paenope VI was an insignificant moon. It produced fuel, but not particularly high grade, and being on the outskirts of Federation space, so close to Cardassian Space, it had never been a major facility. When the Klingon-Cardassian War broke out, the facility saw sweeping upgrades to it's storage facilities as well as the addition of the beginning of a refinery. As the war turned to a conflict between the Federation and the Klingons these plans were pushed further forward. It looked like the moon would become a key player in Federation defense strategy near Cardassian space. So naturally when war with the Dominion broke out, it was hit, and hit hard. The refinery was destroyed, the mines hit hard, and the extractors heavily damaged. They were repaired, but not before the expense of helping the planet became too great and it was evacuated and abandoned. Or, at least, it was supposed to have been. Relief ships had loaded civilians and anyone who they could get on board and fled, and it was believed no one returned. But they did, and they did in droves, but the Federation declared the planet in ruins and never made efforts to reclaim it.

It made sense, to the Commodore, then that these people, who on eight different occasions were not offered supplies but transport from their home, they stopped asking the Federation. From there, a black market had arisen, and traders, masquerading as other ships, would retrieve supplies from a few stations that were loyal to the people, not the Federation. Exchanges would be made to provide goods, and drop off as many necessary food and medical supplies as they could. All without the Federation noticing, because how could they? Patrols ships in this area were looking for Cardassian spies and pirates, not trading ships moving harmless goods. They didn't need to hunt down civilian Captains who were moving large amounts of fuel, so why would they bother? And so the cycle of almost slavery had begun, which meant that there were going to be other issues at play. Hungry people, sick children, a PR nightmare, as some of the other Captains would say. Which was why Yoshi was looking at the history on a PaDD, while waiting for Isabella to arrive. There were some delicate issues at hand, and a Flagship with a Flag Officer was going to have to learn a new dance to keep this from getting out of hand.

The door chimed and when signaled to, opened: Izzy had a PaDD and stylus of her own under one armpit, hands occupied by a pair of tall coffee tumblers; one of which she set down on Yoshi's desk and the other of which she took a sip from herself as she shifted the PaDD to her now-free other hand and slid into one of the free chairs across from the desk.

Reaching across and picking up the tumbler, the Commodore took a long sip and sighed. "Are you ready for more diplomatic fun?" he asked, leaning back in the chair and staring at the rough. "I remember being in the fleet involving a lot more space battles and deep space patrols, and not nearly as much of this traipsing through careful diplomatic affairs."

"....And I remember diplomatic affairs involving a lot more interaction with other governments and not nearly so much of this dealing on the ragged edges of our own." She waved a hand briefly at the information he had been reviewing. "We won the war, but we also won the aftermath; internally and galactically." The seven years between them still placed them both in the particular cadre of personnel, timing wise - both relatively early in their careers during the events with the Dominion that had, in the lead up, the war itself, and the events afterwards, consumed and molded most Starfleet officers and diplomatic personnel alike of their generation.

"A win isn't always a win is it?" The question was rhetorical, and was matched with a forced and fake smile. "But we are trapped by that win now, and we have a piece of the fallout to deal with. Paenope VI is a moon, one that is extremely rich in Helium-3, necessary for both fusion reactors and is key in the production of Anti-matter. It's also almost a class M, meaning it is fairly easy to live on the planet. Federation dumped a mining colony on it, and called it good. 2296 saw the beginning of the colony, 2321 the planet was equipped with shiny new Draflux Model 8s resulted in it being a fairly large producer. These were supposed to be decommissioned in 2375, and in 2380 we realized it was a flawed system and if we had stretched out their lives, they could have disastrous side effects. This coupled with the crippling blows landed by the Dominion during the war meant we abandoned the colony, rebuilding all of that wasn't worth it especially with the trade the crippled Cardassians now needed to maintain to keep their economy afloat." He paused.

"Turns out they didn't leave, and they have been working those very out dated systems. Martin can handle that part, but we're going to have to deal with the colony itself. Uproot it if we can, begin an aid mission if we can't."

"If they didn't leave in the aftermath of the war, I find it difficult to have realistic hope they'd agree to relocate now, either. By this point we're talking about people who, if they're human, were not only born there, their parents and likely their grandparents were as well. Declining conditions might have convinced a few of them in the last twenty years, but they've just as likely only hardened the resolve in some of the rest."

"This is where I need you. We need to find out what they are willing to do," replied the CO with a frown. "It's delicate, way more than I am qualified to do. I'd like to go down with you for sure, see what us here on the Vesta can do to help, but I need a way more qualified negotiator to find the right solution." He paused and after a sip from the coffee, he added "And then get the Federation behind whatever they choose."

“Depending on the issue and the parties involved, that last part can sometimes be even harder than the first part, yes.” Izzy said with a rueful look. “I assume we currently have no reliable intelligence on how the locals feel about the Federation now itself, for that matter? At least not any I’ve been able to find, since we were under the assumption the place was abandoned.” A subtle pause before the next statement, considering. “But I would prepare yourself for a certain level of...resentment, if nothing else. A perception that we abandoned them; or attempted to take their home from them; and a distrust stemming from that that may complicate offers of assistance and operations there. Make sure any crew who end up going down to assist are prepared that they may not exactly be hailed as saviors.”

"Yeah, I don't think anyone has delusions of grandeur in this case. It's pretty easy to see that if they have been separated this long, there is a good chance there are some anti-Federation sentiments, and even more suspicion of us showing up as a white knight." Looking to the PaDD in front of him, he sighed. "But we have to try. Long range scans don't look good, chances are the planet is in ecological collapse. They don't get regular fuel for their reactors, so chances are they're burning their own supply. Radiation levels are elevated, and the atmosphere looks polluted. I can only imagine what their ground water and soil levels look like. I'll have to reach out to the Science department to get a better feel for it."

"Do we have any idea what the population size is? If we convince them to evacuate--which I'm still not optimistic on--do we have the space aboard, or will we need to get other resources involved?"

"We don't know the size," said Minawara, staring into his coffee. "I ran calculations based on rough estimates, and they are somewhere be ten thousand, and forty thousand. So we definitely don't have t space, we would need to bring in ships to haul them out." He sighed a little, and looked back to Izzy. "But in reality, we're likely going to have to bring a relief ship in to try and rebuild, because I doubt they're going to leave. Would you?"

"Me? I'm probably the wrong person to use as a reference case for them, honestly. I'm the first generation of my family born on Luna, on my father's side; and in the Federation at all, on my mother's side. My mother was born on Bajor, but she traveled with my grandmother to assignments from a young age. She only has fragmented memories of any one place. And my grandmother never had a choice to leave her post on Lissepia, when the Cardassians conquered Bajor." Izzy shrugged. "The Lissepian government was interested in cooperating with the Cardassians, to avoid being their next target. They turned her boss over to the Cardassians when he went to ask for protection for his staff. Someone warned the rest of them, and she fled for her life with my eight year old mother, and was lucky to have the warning to be able do so. I suppose I'd personally be more willing to leave any given world than to leave the Federation overall--when she came to them, diplomatic personnel from a conquered world with a small child in tow and a price on her head, they took her in despite the fact that they knew it would anger the Cardassians when they discovered it."

Yoshi's face furrowed and he nodded thoughtfully. Truth be told, he had no real comparison, his life had been luxurious compared to most people who'd been on the edge of the war zone, or worse, basically any Bajoran. "I didn't know that about you," he said, looking across the table at his Diplomat. "While I've done my fair share of reading about your grandmother, Starfleet likes to leave out the smaller details when it comes to matters like that. I am glad they both found sanctuary here. Unfortunately, this story is not so lucky. I have a feeling many of these people will have almost the opposite opinion, that the Federation abandoned them. Hence, no white knight mentality here." He paused, and looked up to the ceiling. "So let's assume we can offer support and not relocation, what do you anticipate their demands to be?"

"Given the condition of the planet, and probably of the population...Food, medical aid and supplies, probably assistance with infrastructure concerns in terms of both supplies and repairs. Replicators and potentially the uncontaminated raw materials to fuel them. Longer term? Continued assistance with all of the former, plus agricultural advice and support, terraforming and decontamination assistance both expertise and equipment and personnel wise; and probably normalized trade and supply routes. Some of the rest of what they may or may not ask for will depend on the social and political lay of the land--whether they want formal status as a Federation colony again, with the commensurate assistance with defense and other affairs, or wouldn't touch that status with a ten-foot pole. Whether they want some of the other things they would have had back in their heyday, as well, like Federation provided educators or materials for local schools, or regular transportation runs on some recurring cycle to and from the nearest major spaceport or starbase."

Placing his coffee on the table, the Commodore leaned forward and ran his hands through his hair, letting out a heavy sigh. "So, best case scenario, we're asking the Federation to deliver a new colony's worth of supplies to this planet, and worst case, we are asking them to deliver all that and a second colony, just to be sure." He paused, and for a moment, the mask of control slipped on Yoshi's face, before sneaking back into place. "And while we're at it, likely ensuring there isn't a heavy Starfleet presence, because I feel that's going to be a strong demand as well. Which I can already hear the Brass arguing about, because I won't lie. If we move this to a regular colony status planet, it is primed for an attack, and even better as a staging ground. Throw a few refining station in orbit of the gas giant, a massive starbase, and you have a staging ground into Cardassian, Tzenkethi, Breen and the Ferengi space. Unoccupied its a meaningless rock, occupied it is a logistical nightmare." Leaning full back he stared at the ceiling. There was a long pause, that left an air of unease before Yoshi spoke. "I'm taking a shuttle down, I want to meet with people in person, but also walk around, see how their lives have been." Looking across the table, he offered a half smile, the kind that was a friend taking comfort in another. "Care to join me?"


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