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( USS AMAZON ) ( IC ) -Captain’s log, stardate 240108.7, we’ve arrived at Romu’in space and we’ve detected one of their ships waiting for us. Starfleet had just a dozen of contacts with this species, they’re still a mystery to us, but other sources catalog them as strange creatures with even more strange ways of being. We just know that they’re bipedal reptiles whose population is mostly composed of male adults and most of them are dedicated to the military branch. The Columbus will be the first ship to be allowed to get to their home planet so I’ll need all my diplomatic skills to cause a good first impression.- :: Captain Rashuu stood from the captain’s chair and moved to the center of the bridge :: Rashuu: Open a channel :: The audio signal indicated that the channel was open. :: This is captain Rashuu from the Starfleet vessel Columbus to the Romu’in ship in front of us. Do you receive us? Romu’inan: Starfleet vessel Columbus, this is the vessel Krillari, we’re here to provide escort to our home planet. You’ll follow us and abstain to do any active scans as we progress in our territory. Rashuu: Understood Krillari, we’ll follow your lead. :: The channel closed and Rashuu returned to his seat. :: The probe is in place, right? Sheridan: :: The FO turned to his captain:: Yes sir, half light year away, ready to be activated upon need. :: The Saurian has always been one to be bold to get to combat but years of experience showed him that it’s better to have an ace up his sleeve, just in case. For about twelve hours they get inside the Romu’in territory at warp three. In the way, ships were gradually adding themselves as escort, first two, then two more, this way until there were ten ships enveloping them at a distance of about two hundred thousand kilometers. The Saurian didn’t like it, but he can’t do anything that would jeopardize the talks.:: :: Finally they get to their destination. The escorts left and remained on the outskirts of the system and the Krillari was the only one left. They guided them to a low orbit where they waited. Finally they’re given the transport coordinates. Rashuu moved towards the lift and was met on the transporter with his team and then beamed down. :: :: The reception hall was a bit somber, but enough to see clearly the group that was waiting for them. The place has a lot of holes on the ceiling and walls and some trees passed through those holes, he wasn’t sure if this could be an issue if a storm arrives at the place, but the place was humid enough for the Saurian to feel comfortable, unlike the standard Starfleet environments that were a bit dry for his taste. His gaze fell then on the group waiting them. There were four of them, Rashuu made a step forward. :: Rashuu: I’m captain Rashuu. Torka: I’m primer Torka, I’ve been assigned as your liaison with our people. Those are my assistants, Saruin minister of medicine and Lel’otep minister of external affairs. Rashuu: My pleasure. This is my Chief medical officer Dr. Scott , my Chief science officer Baldwin and the Lieutenant Shar’wyn. :: Rashuu avoided saying that it was a security officer, the woman nodded politely with his right arm just in front of the weapon holster, hiding discretely the weapon.:: Torka: I must say that I’m surprised that you’re the captain of a ship of this Federation. Rashuu: Really? I hope it’s a good surprise. Torka: You must say that. So far the only contact we had with Federation Vessels was with the ones called humans and two called Vulcans. Seeing that there’s someone with… a reptile ascendance… is good. At least you’re more… easy to see than those mammals. Rashuu: :: he looked at his companions :: I used to think the same when I first saw them after leaving my home planet, but what they may lack in that field, they compensate with a wide variety of attributes. Torka: I see… You may follow me, I’ll give you a tour of the province. I’m sorry but I’m not allowed to guide you to the main province, but the Master Leader believes that my province can show you how we are and teach you what you might want to know. Rashuu: I’m sure that your province is perfect for us. Given that we have never been here, I’m honored that you accepted to receive us. Torka: It’s not that I asked for it, I just follow the Master Leader instructions. This is how things work here. Rashuu: Similar to Starfleet. Being the military branch of the Federation we follow a chain of command. For example, they follow my orders as I follow those of my commanding officers. I understand that your people follow a military life. Is that for everyone or just the males? :: They walked through the building to an open street :: Torka: We all do military service and train for that since we are a child. Our jungles are dangerous so everyone must be ready to fight for their life’s. That’s how we live since we are born. Scott: You mean that since birth you’re ready to take some military training? Torka: :: The primer looked at the human that slowed its pace as it was being looked :: Kind of… our newborns fight for food since they hatch the eggs. The weaker ones either die on the fight or if they manage to survive and get food are relegated to simpler tasks. That’s how we become strong. Scott: I see… :: The doctor looked at the group with a different look. Obviously if they’ve reached those important positions, others may have suffered a worse destiny. It could seem cruel, but obviously it depends on the crystal you look through. Saruin: Maybe the good doctor would like to have a look at our medical station. We have a hatchling about to ‘bloom’. It should be interesting for him to see. :: The female looked at the doctor, to whom she was about a quarter of a feet taller. :: Torka: Are you interested? :: said the primer with a grin drawn in his smile:: Scott : :: gulping a bit :: I will, as long as my captain agrees. Rashuu: :: He looked at the good doctor and understood what was between lines. :: Yes, I have no objection, but I’m sure that Lieutenant Shar’wyn is also interested in that. Shar’wyn: :: she grinned at the comment but the look and years of serving with Rashuu allowed her to understand his statement :: Of course, they are an awesome species and I’d like to know more about them. Rashuu: Good, Baldwin, you’re with me. :: The good doctor along with the Security officer moved away with the female Minister of medicine while Rashuu accompanied the primer to a tourist visit and Baldwin tried to know more about their technology, given that they seem to be quite integrated in their environment. :: :: On their way towards another complex they could see the vast vegetation of the planet and how the Romu’ians developed their infrastructures bordering the natural ways of it, using the trees as part of them. They saw a clear in the forest that was used as instruction site, but only as a starting point. :: Saruin: We start learning to live in the jungle since we are very young. There you can see some kids, they are about seven rotations, but they already know how to survive in our jungles. Scott: What’s that? Is that a monkey tied up there? Saruin: Yes,… an anatomy lesson. They must learn how to hunt them and how to quicken up the resistance. It’s what makes us the greatest of this planet. Scott: But,.. It’s still alive… Saruin: Of course… :: She looked at the mammal surprised that such a fearsome creature was in the military of the Federation :: Shar’wyn: Nothing like a live prey to teach the youngling, right? Saruin: Exactly. It’s the fastest way to teach them. Shar’wyn: I see your point. We use holodecks for that kind of training. Saruin: Holodecks? Shar’wyn: Yes, holographic representations with physical form. Allows you to study whatever you want. You can see a body and pay attention to details. In your case you could have one of that augmented to show them clearly how their bodies work and then make a moving one or a hundred for them to practice. Saruin: mmm… interesting. Unlimited numbers of test subjects… I… doubt that the training could be the same, but we’ll have to see. Now come, they’re starting to pay attention to us, and they don’t like to be observed by outsiders. :: The group moved along but the instructor along with the kids followed them with their eyes and the gestures of the instructor weren’t exactly the most pleasing ones, and even less when he signaled the monkey-like creature and used his nails to open up wounds on major arteries… blood splitting the floor and then throw it to the kids to watch and… who knows, maybe have a little snack.:: :: Doctor Scott was amazed by the birthing bay, underground, with metal structures holding the place but with the humid soil being the resting place of the eggs. Some of the workers looked at them and hissed between them words that he didn’t understand, but soon he saw something that called his attention. :: Scott: What’s this man doing in there? :: It was a man, sitting on the ground inside a kind of cell, with only one door. He seemed to be waiting, barely dressed with some kind of pants and a light T-shirt. :: Saruin: Oh, this one comes to make a final service to our community. Shar’wyn: Final service? What do you mean? Saruin: Well, it’s a tradition of our legal system. This man was found guilty of continuously having diverted food and materials to his own benefit and of others around him. That made part of this province to have to endure hard times during the winter and some of our youngers died because of that. His sentence was to make a final act or repairing to the society. Shar’wyn: What does have to do with this place? Saruin: He… serves to two purposes. You’ll see… it’s about to start. I… hope that you’re not easily impressionable as we’re told that you are. :: Then a sound was heard and almost all the workers surrounded the cage where the man was waiting. He stood and looked at the door that started to open from downwards, there were a few moments of silence when the presents started to say something in their own language. It was repetitive and escalated in sound. A few moments later, a young Romu’inan appeared from the dark and looked at the man. A second later it let out a shrieekk sound and dozens of the little creatures appeared behind and all of them launched towards the man. They were ferocious and despite that the male started by kicking one, two, three of them, soon about four of them jumped over him and he started to grab them, but then three more jumped on his back and others on his legs. They started to bit him and despite that their fangs weren’t large, they were sharp and bits of blood started to taint the male’s body. He continued to spin around trying to get rid of them, but simply there were too much of them. Soon a pair of them crawled to the head and the man get rid of them, but not before one of them bites him in one eye, what made the man yell. The public began to chorus another word and the little Romu’inans overwhelmed the man’s legs, making him put one knee on the ground. Scott ceased to look at the scene and looked at the others presents in the room, almost making a step back, but Shar’wyn put his arm on his back to make him stay. :: Shar’wyn: Doctor, if you leave now, you’ll look weak to those people. This is not the time for that. Scott: But that’s… a carnage. Shar’wyn: Look anywhere else, but don’t leave. :: Shar’wyn knew that looking weak in front of predators was the last thing to do, less when you’re surrounded and in number inferiority. His gaze returned to the place where the man knelt the second leg and all the little ones started to cover him. It was a classical example of Death from a thousand cuts. Soon the shouts and yellings and shrieks muted to just a mumbling of the flesh being devoured of a corpse with no life. :: Saruin: Mm… :: she said finally looking at them. :: You were lucky, those cases are rare lately. As I told you this is a last service for the dishonored and punished for big crimes. They serve as food four our little ones, showing them to fight for their food if needed and second, it shows the little ones that a group is stronger than an individual, no matter how big and strong it might seem. This unity is what forges our strong community. Does your Federation have a similar ritual? Scott: I think… I don’t… :: Without being able to avoid it the good doctor vomit poured out of him. Saruin made a step back and Shar’wyn moved to help the good doctor not to fall on the ground. :: Shar’wyn: :: Trying to appear to be in one piece after the show :: I told him not to come. He wasn’t feeling well, but he wanted to do his duty nonetheless… Sorry for that. Saruin: Oh…:: suspiciously :: I see… very.. dedicated to be coming in that state. Don’t worry about that,… We always try to see the good point of everything. In this case, we’ll clean it and will help us to know the… human physiology. Specially their digestive system. :: She made a gesture with her fingers and a group of workers collected the contents of the vomit the doctor had just spilled around him in a container and cleaned the residual remainings as the doctor and the security officer moved away. :: Saruin: Perhaps this will be a good moment to get back with your captain… Shar’wyn: Sure. Saruin: Please this way… :: The two followed the female minister of medicine and entered a darker corridor of the underground very humid and with the roots of some trees showing up through the walls. Shar’wyn was not all relaxed as she didn’t like those corridors. Too dark, becoming narrower each corner, his sixth sense calling him to grab his phaser but his rational side telling him not to do it yet. :: Saruin: Take care of the roots. We try to co-exist with the fauna and respect them the most we can. You can easily trip over some of them. :: Then she turned a corner and when the two officers did something hit them in the back of the head and fell unconscious to the ground. :: :: Saruin turned and approached the two humanoids and drew a smile in her big toothy mouth. Calling up two other Romu’inans instructed them on how to proceed. :: Saruin: You know what to do. And make it quick! :: Meanwhile Rashuu and Baldwin were talking with Primer Torka and enjoying some delicacies freshly made for them. :: To be continued? Cmdr. Marcus Dickens 2nd officer & CSO USS Atlantis NCC-74682