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Lieutenant Quen Deena - Almost Parallel


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The level od SASS that @Quen Deena can percolate sky rocket in this sim. I loved it!


((Transporter Room 1, Deck 1, USS Thor))


She still had to make that punch-card for Teller.

And probably Alieth, too, while she was at it.

Both of them had been among the injured beamed over from the Penetrator. Deena would have liked to say she was surprised, but…  she wasn't. In the back of her mind, she wondered if she ought to start a betting pool: every time one of them leaves the ship, guess the number of minutes before they come back knocked out. Maybe the Zet would find it funny…. But knowing them, gambling on injuries sustained by the boss was probably a severe violation of contract.

Speaking of the Zet, it had been an… interesting few days.

The biggest hurdle they’d encountered was, by far, the cultural divide between Starfleet and the Zet. From what she’d managed to glean from the plethora of untreated conditions and anxieties over payment, their society was transactional enough to make the Ferengi look generous. Verbal assurances had gotten them nowhere. Salo and Rumboldt had come together to tweak one of the standard injury report forms to include some nonsense about method of payment cobbled together from a variety of historical datafiles. Apparently, it made just enough sense to keep the majority of the Zet distracted enough to allow the medical teams to administer proper treatment before consigning the PADDs to the growing electronic graveyard on Dr Alieth’s desk. Unfortunately, that had attracted the attention of members of the Penetrator's crew who announced themselves as middle management and demanded a complex series of meetings be undertaken. 

Presumably, the intent was to negotiate… something - probably the nonexistent price tag, if she had to guess. Their requests piled one on top of the other, so filled with jargon and acronyms even the universal translator couldn’t make them make sense. Deena had come quite close to having some rather unprofessional words with a particularly insistent one when Connelly lit on the idea to have the middle managers meet amongst themselves to discuss the planning of the meetings. She owed the woman a beer for that. Several. 

What was the collective noun for a group of middle managers anyway? An obstruction? She smirked to herself. It was at least accurate, if not correct.

The officers took position around the transporter pad and Geoff nodded to Chief Larell, but paused before stepping onto the pad.  

Teller:  Doctors, Ensign, glad we're all here.  The situation is this ::Geoff tapped on a nearby display and showed images from the planet::  We began beaming down our evacuees to a location they designated as their 'mandated domicile,' but they're being turned away and we're not sure why.  We've had to temporarily stop relaying people to the ground until we can sort this out.  

Quen: Why do I get the feeling this has something to do with the mysterious meeting that started four days ago?

Alieth gave a slight nod at her department colleague's input.

Alieth:  I concur. Anything else we need to consider whilst we are on the surface?

Teller:  Well, in addition to making sure the people you treated actually have homes to go back to the Fleet Captain wants us to take a look around.  A through one.  I don't know about you three, but some of what we saw on the Penetrator left a real bad taste in my mouth. We need to understand the Zet better and until we do, lets keep digging.  Questions?  

Katsim: No sir.

Deena shook her head. Oh, she had questions, all right - none that any of them could answer, of course...

Alieth:  Nor do I, Commander

Teller:  Very well, eyes open, best behavior...::Geoff was speaking to himself as much as anything, considering his introduction:: we're the friendly aliens you...  

Deena had a half-formed quip about "best behavior" including not becoming The Concussion Crew, but the transporter cycle took hold before she could get it out, whisking the away team off the ship.  



((Employee Esplanade 993 - Saldanian Life@Home Employee Mandated Domicile Services, LLC))


What hit Deena first was the headache-inducing contrast between the dark, dinghy metals and grimy glass of the buildings (amplified by the lack of natural light), and the eye-watering brilliance of loud advertisements that were artificially lit with what could only be described as the power of a thousand suns. Instinctively, her hand went up to shield her eyes until they had a chance to adjust. What she wouldn’t give for a set of inner eyelids right now…

Of course, those tended to come with a set of overly-sensitive olfactory glands. Which, now that the aroma was coming through, would probably not be a good thing. Burnt metal, rot, bodily fluids; a rank, stomaching churning aroma of hopelessness and misery mixed with cheap food and poor hygiene.

Half a pace in front of her, Alieth stumbled back a step and gripped Deena’s arm to steady herself. She was a bit surprised her colleague was still conscious. The scent hung so thickly in the air, it was beginning to settle on Deena’s tongue.

Their destination was an office several hundred meters into the structure but they had chosen to land outside, where some of their former guests were milling around or encamped along the perimeter.

Teller:  Vice Associate Rod'gurs...what seems to be going on here?  Why aren't the crew going inside?

From what she’d learned of their emotional expression, the Zet seemed deeply troubled - treading on depressed.

Rod'gurs:  A Capital Loss.  Declared Capital Loss. Ledger closed. Credit history gone.  No severance.  

Alieth:  You mean the shipwreck? The Penetrator's fate?

Deena blinked, confused. The words themselves sounded familiar enough - the order, not so much. 

Quen: What does that mean - "capital loss"? 

Rod'gurs:  All of us.  Written off.  ::Shaggee made a choking sort of noise somewhere between a giggle and a sob.::  Declared a loss.  It was the most fiscally prudent move for the Corporation.  

Teller:  Is there anyone we can discuss this with here?  

The Zet seemed to fall back into a prepared sales presentation.  The words seemed repeated from deep memory.

Rod'gursThe Saldanian corp arcology complete domicile solution is a remarkable innovation in low operational cost minimal survivability living.  To streamline administrative, judicial and civic oversight, local arcology directors will have broad discretion in matters of employee housing retention or termination.  ::The zet snapped out of his fugue, now making eye contact with Geoff.::  You might be able to schedule a meeting with them, but it'll be several rotations until they even meet again for an emergency.  We'd need to file an emergency motion and...

Deena resisted the urge to roll her eyes. A Ferengi dream - a nightmare for everyone else. A nightmare was still technically a dream, yes?

Teller:  I think they'll meet with us.  Lead the way, Mr. Rod'gurs.  Everyone else - take all the readings you can as we work our way into this structure ::Geoff stepped in something, paused, and shook his head.::...and watch your step.  

Alieth: Understood. ::turning to the Bajoran:: Doctor Quen, gather data on any Zet we come across, cross-reference it with what we gathered on the Thor.

As she said this, she pulled out a tricorder that had been clipped to her hip and started scanning the surroundings. Deena did the same, until she caught a glimpse of something large and multi-legged with a vaguely furry shell skittering away from the path into a grimy, dark crevice.

Quen:  So long as someone keeps an eye out for the *ahem* wildlife...

Soon they were all trotting towards their destination, most of them with their noses practically buried in their tricorders. There were dozens, perhaps hundreds of Zet nearby and, as far as any of them could determine, none of them were in any state one could rightly call "healthy". Most of the infants had some degree of malnutrition or developmental problems. Over half showed mutations due to toxins or early exposure to radioactive substances. Almost all of the adults examined appeared to be on the verge of exhaustion. Injuries or scars were common and were a sign of a violent life or gruelling work. Many of the Zet in range had implants of some kind: limbs, organs, in the case of one particularly large Zet who stopped as they passed, almost his entire skull had been replaced by cybernetics. Deena’s focus narrowed in on the pulsing, angry readings coming from the device in her hand. 

Alieth: Admittedly, the Penetrator crew were the height of health compared to this population.

Deena was silent for a moment. She’d been thinking the same thing. A tiny part of her had been clinging to the faint hope that what they’d seen on the Penetrator was the result of extraordinary circumstances and not indicative of the whole. Unfortunately, that was in fact the case - just not the way she’d imagined...

Quen: Somehow, I was still hoping we would see better… ::beat:: I’m picking up a large number of parasitic infections as well - it’s not just the visible.

Teller:  Response

Alieth: Perhaps, but I would prefer to have a larger sample before making a hypothesis.

The shadow of the building fell over them as they crossed the arched entrance. The stench there was even worse than before. In the gloomy corridor a number of Zet lay in a pile, some asleep, some with their gaze transfixed on the ceiling and an expression of bliss that could only be indicative of extensive drug intake. A low beep from Alieth’s tricorder indicated that at least one of the Zet had already died. Deena glanced down at her own, and gave a subtle, somber nod as confirmation.

Katsim: I don’t understand how people could live like that.

The words were soft, spoken more to herself than for the sake of conversation.  

Alieth: Neither do I.

Deena’s eyes swept the scene, her heart aching with both anger and empathy. Take away the garish advertisements - add in a fine layer of ore dust, a haze of smoke, a fence.... Change the species, of course. She’d seen enough holoimages to recognise the parallels. Wouldn’t exactly be an uncommon sight a generation ago on her world - an endless feedback loop of hopelessness and poverty, no escape except...

Quen: ::softly:: It’s not always a choice...

Teller:  Response

Alieth: Yes sir.

Their steps led them to an inner courtyard, revealing the myriad balconies that hung from each floor, trying to catch the smallest percentage of natural light that seeped dirty and miserable into that sort of oversized skylight. On either side were staircases, spiralling sluggishly up each floor until they disappeared into the heights, while at the bottom, facing them, the inviting door of a lift glittered, its sides and interior ablaze with a thousand screens full of advertising, from the nutritious substitute solyent greenery to corporate advertisements about the need to raise a herd of children to contribute to the next generation of corporate employees.

The garish visual assault made Deena’s head pound.

Alieth: The use of the lift means a supplementary charge of 1.5% per each dozen floors, which will be automatically deducted from the company's payroll with every usage. A recurrent user discount can be claimed provided that you present the certificate 454b for essential workers or provide the document 33t section 88 of progeny cession .... Anyway, there seems to be a fee for its use.

Teller/Katsim:  Response

Quen: No chance of an out-of-towners’ discount, I suppose?

Deena was half-joking. Or so she thought. The Vulcan glanced at the text once more, her eyes sweeping over the text and then narrowing even further until she reached the fine print.

Alieth: Non-corporate visitors, workers from other corporations or other uncovered visitors may use the service in exchange for one day lease of work for SalCorp per floor climbed, being at least 80 hexaclicks per week or 40 if the applicant applies as a subject for experimentation of new SalCorp products not authorized yet by Central Business Agency….Maybe stairs then? How many floors do we have to climb?

Deena grumbled under her breath. Slave labor and experimentation...

Quen: Why am I not surprised?

Teller/Katsim/Alieth:  Response

Quen: Well - stairs it is, I guess. Unless anybody feels like spending a couple extra months here…

Teller/Katsim/Alieth: Response

Quen: Any good hiking songs among those sea shanties, Commander?

Teller: Response

Katsim/Alieth: Response




Lieutenant Quen Deena

Medical Officer

USS Thor NCC-82607



Edited by Alieth
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