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BACKPOST - Casual Interrogation

Posted on Tue Nov 7th, 2023 @ 9:21am by Lieutenant Commander Rin & Teevs Dosivi

Mission: MISSION 0 - History Speaks
Location: Shuttlebay
Timeline: BACKPOST - Episode 3
2568 words - 5.1 OF Standard Post Measure

The usual hum of activity in the shuttlebay was accompanied by the quiet sounds of tools in use. The ramp to the Spheia was open, the clinking sounds coming from inside. Teevs was currently about waist-deep inside of the floor, only his hips and legs visible, as he worked on the vessel's engine. The ship's status report showed that it had overloaded, which caused the other propulsion module to stop working, and he was assessing the damage. Outside of the hole in the floor, his shoes were curled over a low bar that was normally used to keep cargo in place, and it was keeping him from falling into the engine bay. There was a pop of electricity, followed by what was undoubtedly a swear, that came from the hole in the floor as the Lonian poked around.

Rin, having entered the ship in search of its owner, now walked in on this situation. She didn't wish to spook the person, less he possibly fall into the engine bay, due to what she considered a precarious and not terribly well thought out position. As she approached, she made sure her footsteps were audible, hoping to avoid him being surprised by her presence.

"Mr Dosivi, do you need a hand?" she asked in her usual flat, professional tone.

The sound of footsteps was more apparent when one's head was in the floor. Reaching up, Teevs pulled himself out of the engine bay enough to see who was addressing him. "I wouldn't turn away assistance." Once he was sure he wouldn't fall, he unhooked his feet and sat on the edge of the hole in the floor. There were a couple of smudge marks on his face, and he gently rubbed the back of his hand where he got shocked. He studied her for a moment, the uniform color one he hadn't seen yet, and gave her a smile. While assured that it was alright to look at the pelareka on this vessel, it was still awkward for him to do so without feeling like he was being disrespectful, so his gaze was aimed at her shoulder as a compromise. "Please, call me Teevs. You are?"

"Lt Rin, Chief of Intelligence," Rin replied. "How are you finding the Elysium so far?"

"Friendly," was the reply. Teevs hopped to his feet, brushing his hands off before releasing the floor panel adjacent to the hole in the floor. With a grunt, he propped the panel up and out of the way, leaning it against the wall with the other one. Inside the newly opened hole in the floor was a set of stubby teal cylinders nestled inside a bunch of conduit, and each cylinder was wide enough in circumference that one would have to use both hands to get a secure hold. Two of the four cylinders had a yellowish hue, and Teevs scratched his head as he observed the state of the engines. "Poska enai..." Teevs grumbled. He looked back to Rin, "your ship is a bit confusing to navigate, but everyone I've encountered so far has been most generous." With that, he crouched down next to the new hole in the floor before hopping in, his shoulders and head about all that was visible.

"I'm glad to hear that. Cooperation and generosity are ideals of our Federation. But we are very, very far from home at the moment. We don't know this area of space. Is there anything you could share, information-wise, I mean? Also, is that supposed to be glowing like that?" Rin asked with some level of alarm, pointing to a conduit running between the cylinders.

Teevs looked at the conduit in question and reached up out of the bay to grab what resembled a scanner out of a nearby bag. "It's not abnormal, but given the state of the system, my guess is that something hasn't turned off properly." As he began to scan the conduit and the surrounding area, he continued, "I'm somewhat aware of the journey your crew will endure to get back home. Is there anything specific you wish to know? The Kimor sector is rather large."

"Lets start with dangers within the sector," Rin replied. "Organizations we should be wary of, stellar phenomena, anything like that?"

There was a pause as Teevs mulled the question over, though his attention was divided as he scanned the conduit. "The primary danger in this sector is how far apart everything is. If you're not careful, you can easily find yourself without resources. Gadus, the planet with many broken ships your ship was just at, is quite isolated. It takes my vessel 6 days to get here at its fastest speed from Phides Major. The Phideans control much of the sector, and as long as you aren't Cavaaran, there are few restrictions." He briefly looked up for a moment, clearly in thought. "Oh, there is a cluster of miniature black holes near the border of the Kimor sector. Since you aren't familiar with the area, I can show you on a map. Will you pass me the Vimei, please? It's the device with a translucent tip, and it's red on the other end, in that bag." Following his request was a four-fingered hand sticking out of the hole in the floor, gesturing to the bag of tools that was nearby.

Rin rummaged through the bag until she found the tool that fit the description, pressing it into the outstretched hand. "Thank you. A map would be most appreciated. What is the quarrel between the Phideans and the Cavaarans?"

Feeling the item pressing into his palm, Teevs grabbed the tool from her and got to work. He held the tool up to the conduit, the translucent part turning orange as he focused on the repairs. "I think the better question is: what isn't their quarrel? They have a long history of conflict driven by their respective cultural differences. They've been at war for as long as I can remember. The Phideans are... hm... Imnuren? I'm not sure of the word, but they try to impose their way of life, their beliefs, onto others, as a way to appease their deities. The Cavaarans are territorial, and their territory neighbors Phidean space. The latest conflict has been over where the border truly lies."

Powering off the device, Teevs pocketed it before reaching in with both hands to work with the conduit. "Not long ago, the Phides Agreement was created by leaders of other species in the area who were tired of the conflict. It prohibited Cavaarans from entering the Kimor sector, which the Phideans control, and in return, the Phideans are to respect the existing territorial claims of the Cavaarans. Of course, the Phideans wanted it named after them, the self-righteous..." Whatever he was going to say was cut off by a clank as the conduit came loose, followed by a thump as Teevs bumped into the wall behind him, a side effect of his efforts to remove the conduit.

"How do you and your people fit into all of that?" Rin asked. "And what brought you to Gadus, it being so far from everything? What happened there anyway?"

Mistaking the questioning for mere curiosity, Teevs glanced up at her. "Oh, the Lonia stay out of their conflict. Since I've spent the last several years of my life trading, I make it clear that my work will not contribute to their conflict, and I've turned down work because of it." Setting the conduit aside, he then started working with the now-exposed wiring behind it. "That being said, I'm out here because I accepted work to locate a missing Cavaaran vessel. It's far enough away from Phides Major to not be of concern, but I made it clear that I would only take on this work if the Cavaarans were not breaking the treaty.

"As for the planet..." he paused, perhaps for a bit longer than planned because he found the connection causing the issue. "I'm sure your vessel noticed that it has high gravity for a planet of its size. I haven't been able to study it myself, but other researchers have found that it's got a dense mantle made of various metals. I suspect that the vessels in orbit were from those wanting to salvage the remains, only to get trapped themselves, leaving the vessel to run out of its own energy."

"Interesting." There were plenty of theories floating around the ship. Dramatic theories. Complicated theories. When the truth might be far more simple and plain. Rin felt it a little too simple, though. Surely pilots would become aware of the problem after enough derelicts piled up in orbit.

"Is that what happened to you?" Rin asked.

Something resembling a chuckle came from the hole in the floor. "Sort of. Can you pass the device with an orange handle, please?"

Rin rummaged through the collection of alien tools, coming up with one item with a red-orange handle and another which was more of a yellow-orange. She guessed Teevs had given a more precise description in his own language, but the universal translator had generalized it to "orange." So she held both tools up for inspection. "One of these?"

Teevs glanced up to see the two devices Rin had pulled, and gestured to the one on the left. The yellow-orange-handled device had what looked like a bent piece of metal sticking out of it, something resembling a dentist's tool, but large enough to make it someone's intimidating nightmare. "My vessel got hit by debris because... well, because I was distracted, to be honest." Teevs turned on the device, it making a humming noise, before he began to disassemble the first of the yellowed cylinders. "I was deciding if your ship would try to defend the resources you were probably looking for. The scanners didn't detect the debris behind one of the dead ships, and..." He briefly put down the device and stood up enough to clap his hands together once, indicating the collision.

"How does our ship measure up to others in common use in this sector?" Rin asked.

A sigh came from the Lonian, a simple indicator of his train of thought rather than any kind of impatience with the conversation. "Your ship is fairly large, perhaps enough to be intimidating. The largest vessel I've ever seen was about three-fourths the size of yours."

"Do you have something on your mind?" Rin asked, trying to figure out the sigh.

There was a pause as Teevs looked over the yellowed cylinder. "Aside from hoping that the entire engine bay doesn't have to be replaced?" He held up the cylinder for her to inspect if she cared to. "I will admit, I'm not sure how other species will respond to the size of your vessel. It's not something you can control, but you may find that some species will be wary of your vessel's presence. Imagine a vessel like yours," he gestured vaguely upwards, "suddenly appearing in your territory. It would be startling."

"I appreciate wary. We're not looking for trouble. We just want to get home," Rin replied. Sure, Starfleet was all about exploration and meeting new cultures, but that was said by people who weren't stranded in another galaxy. Those were people who knew they COULD go home. Rin had very little curiosity about this corner of the cosmos beyond what threats needed to be addressed and, secondarily, what resources were available to help the journey home.

Getting home was the mission. Rin was good at missions. Missions had goals, and actions could be formulated to achieve those goals.

She took the offered cylinder, turning it over in her hands as she examined every side of it. "I have no idea what I'm looking at," she confessed, handing it back.

"What will you do if you cannot repair your ship?" she asked.

Teevs accepted the cylinder back and stared at it for a moment. "Well, your Commodore generously agreed to help my daughter and I get back home, and in turn I will help your ship navigate this area of space. If I can't repair it, I can always take it to someone who can on my homeworld." He set the cylinder on the edge of the hole in the floor and got to work pulling out the other one. "These things are... uh... propulsion cores. They're the heart of the Spheia. It can run on three, but not on two. They change color when exposed to too much heat, in this case from trying to compensate with that nasty debris in the hull."

"Are they reparable, and, if so, what is needed to do so?" Rin's voice had become somewhat more flat. Not rude or offended in any way, just... practical and logical.

"Unless you're a propulsion specialist who knows what they're doing, they're not worth repairing," Teevs responded. There was a click as he pulled out the second one, and he set it next to the first. "These are typically some type of crystal suspended in a gel, but the ratio of the two and how the gel is made is a very delicate process. I believe these ones in particular have... is 'dilithium' a material you're familiar with?"

Before she could respond, Teevs added, "ah, let me get those maps for you before I get too focused on this." Placing his hands onto the edges of the hole, he hoisted himself up and out. He stood, brushing off his hands, before walking over to a wall display in the cargo hold and began typing.

Rin took the couple of steps necessary to join him. "We are familiar with dilithium. I can have one of our engineers take a look at your system and see if we can assist." She didn't go as far as to admit they had dilithium, just in case he was scoping out the resources on board.

"That would be most appreciated, provided it wouldn't take away from your engineer's tasks." Teevs finished typing on the display, and a map appeared. "This is where the cluster of black holes are," he began, pointing to a section of the border that they were en route to. He zoomed out a little, enough to see about four sectors, "common trading outposts are here, here, here, and here. Given the damage to your vessel, they might have some of what you need for repairs." Along with the description, Teevs pointed at each outpost.

"If you can put the information on whatever you use for data storage, we can figure out a way of making our data systems compatible. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"I don't think so." Nodding to the request, Teevs briefly left the display to grab a datapad, and when he returned he spent a few moments switching between typing on the display and typing on the datapad. After about a minute, he turned to Rin and offered the datapad to her. "This should have the information you've requested. If you need more, please come find me. It is my temporary job to provide such things, I suppose." He gave her a light smile and a shrug.

Rin accepted the pad, gave a polite nod, and excused herself. They had a lot of work ahead of them.


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