SIM:Xanti Liss, A Cordial Visit

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PROLOGUE

Following the disastrous mission at Luxis III, where the U.S.S. Victory was severely damaged by an unknown anomaly, the ship was subsequently towed back to Sol to undergo extensive repairs and upgrades at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards. As the refit was scheduled to take a couple of weeks, the crew of the Victory had been given shore leave. Xanti planned on touring the Utopia Planitia facilities, learning more about the Federation's impressive engineering technology.




"A Strange Request"

Stardate 239203.13


(( Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards - Mars ))

:: The place was an engineer’s dream. Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards - the biggest, most advanced shipyard in the Federation; quite possibly the Alpha Quadrant. There were thousands of drydocks and berths, many with ships either undergoing repairs, or being built. Xanti was wholly impressed. There were many classes he recognized, such as the iconic Excelsior-class, some Galaxys, and Akiras. There were an equal number of ships he did not recognize. Were they old, outdated ships, or new, top-of-the-line prototypes? Xanti was almost as curious as a feline. ::

oO How in the world did they create this place? The infrastructure and logistics necessary must be enormous! Oo

:: Xanti Liss had opted to take the tour offered to the crew of the decimated Victory. Being an engineer, he couldn’t pass up the chance to see the place. He also enlisted to learn about the Federation’s engineering technology and skills, and hopefully one day return that knowledge to Duhpwa-thuv, his homeworld. ::

Liss: You’re saying you can recrystallize dilithium after it has decayed?

Tour Guide: Yes. Using a controlled stream of gamma radiation, we are able to induce a chain-reaction of the crystalline matrix.

Liss: Fascinating!

:: Some of the facilities were classified, and not on the tour. No doubt they held the most cutting-edge technology and research, powerful weapons, or sensitive technology. Xanti wasn’t disappointed. There had been so much to see. He was glad he took this tour. ::

:: Thanking the human female who was their guide, Xanti departed for his temporary living quarters on the main starbase. While walking over, he reread his notes he had been taking on a PADD during the tour. He planned on doing further research as time permitted. ::

Liss: :: Entering his quarters, Xanti shivered. :: Brr! Computer, increase ambient temperature in my quarters by five degrees.

:: <Boop...Beep!> Instantly, Xanti felt the warm air rush over him. ::

Liss: Much better. Thank you, computer.

Computer: Acknowledged.

oO Sigh. Artificial Intelligences have much room for improvement; like conversational skills. Oo

:: Xanti removed his uniform, tossing it in the reclamator. He was about to plop down on his nest when he noticed his terminal was beeping; there was a message waiting for him. ::

oO I wonder who it could be? I don’t know anyone here. Oo

:: Opening the message, his nostrils flared and eyes widened in surprise. ::

oO Oh my! Oo


== =/\= ============ =/\= ==

To: Petty Officer Xanti Ilas Ysa Liss, U.S.S. Victory,

ADDRESS FORWARDED: Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, Quarters 3827

From: Councilor Tsana Yith Syno Dak, Palais de la Concorde, Earth


Greetings, Tahl Liss,

It has come to my attention that you will be arriving at Mars on the U.S.S. Victory in the coming days. I understand the crew will be offered shore leave for the duration of the refit. I would be honored to host a visit with you while you are in the system. I would be very pleased to talk with you about some things you may find interesting.

This is not an order, but a request. You would do me a great honor if you could visit. Please respond with your reply at your earliest convenience.

Hisah-thoth,

Tsana Yith Syno Dak

Federation Councilor and Pahkwa-thanh Ambassador to the Federation

== =/\= ============ =/\= ==


oO I...wow...what? Oo

:: Xanti’s blood pumped faster, his nostrils flaring. Did he do something wrong? Why would one of his species’ councilors to the Federation Council be contacting him directly?! Oo

oO I cannot refuse! Being a great dishonor aside, I must satisfy my curiosity! Oo

:: Xanti quickly dictated a reply, intending to take a shuttle to Earth first thing tomorrow. He plopped down on his nest, intending to get a good night’s sleep, but he doubted he would be able to, the way his mind was racing. ::




"Palais de la Concorde"

Stardate 239203.14


(( Palais de la Concorde, Paris ))

:: Xanti beamed onto a large mass-transit transporter pad; one of several lining this side of the enormous atrium. Directly across the atrium, past a series of security detectors, were multiple doors leading to the outside. The left wall contained the reception desk, flanked by two banners depicting the United Federation of Planets logo. The right lacked a wall, instead connecting to the main structure. The atrium itself was a rectangular room three stories high. In the center of the floor, with its bottom facing the reception desk, was painted the giant Seal of the Federation. Architecturally, it was ultra-modern. Off-white paint covered the durasteel walls, and soft lighting emanated from seemingly everywhere. ::

:: After being transported hundreds of times, one tends to develop a sense of time the transport takes, despite the fact that one is nothing but a jumble of atoms during that time. Still, Xanti felt like that transport took longer than usual. He suspected the Palais’ transporters screened it’s occupants for weapons, biological and chemical agents, and other security threats. ::

:: Passing through the final layer of security containing a bank of security detectors, Xanti approached the reception desk. After waiting in line for a few minutes, with the usual stare of surprise and curiosity from onlookers, he was waved to one of the receptionists; a petite, blond Human female. ::

Receptionist: :: Speaking in English with a French accent... :: Good afternoon, gentlebeing. Welcome to the Palais de la Concorde. How can I help you?

:: To Xanti’s mild surprise, the woman did not seem fazed in the slightest by his appearance. She probably saw all sorts of beings come through here, being the capitol building of the Federation. ::

Liss: Good day. I am here at the request of the Pahkwa-thanh councilor.

Receptionist: Do you have your verification code?

Liss: Um...I...don’t know. She sent me a message to my ship. :: Pulling out his PADD with a copy of the councilor’s message. :: I have a copy here.

Receptionist: It would have been imbedded in the metadata of the message. Please link your PADD to my terminal, and I can access it.

:: Xanti pressed some buttons and his PADD was connected. ::

Receptionist: Okay. Code verified, and secondary encryption matches. Now I need to verify either your Federation citizenship ID number or your Starfleet serial number.

oO Skrrr...So many hills to climb! Oo

Liss: Starfleet serial number PK - 718 - 632.

Receptionist: Thank you.

:: She typed a few things on her computer. ::

Receptionist: I have just informed the counselor you are here. She is able to see you at any time.

Liss: Thank you. Erm...how do I get to her office?

:: The woman pressed a button and downloaded a map of the Palais to Xanti’s PADD.

Receptionist: Head to the main building over there, then take an elevator to the fourth floor. Her office is suite 98.

Liss: Ah. I see now. Thank you.

Receptionist: Have a nice day. Next!

:: Xanti turned and headed across the atrium to the main Palais building. The main building of the Palais was a cylinder fifteen stories high, though you couldn’t see that from the inside. At the intersection where the atrium connected to the main building was a bank of several turbolifts; two corridors headed behind the bank, one on each side; and an additional corridor, one to the left and one to the right, curved away along the edge of the building. ::

:: Xanti pressed the “up” button on the wall, and the first available elevator soon arrived. Xanti stepped aboard, pressing “4” on the panel. A number of other people, of a myriad of races, entered along with him. They piled in, each pressing the button to their desired floor. ::

:: As the doors closed and the lift moved, Xanti could only wonder what the Counselor had to say. ::




A Cordial Visit - Part 1: "Introductions"

Stardate 239203.14


(( Palais de la Concorde, Paris ))

:: Xanti stood outside the double doors to the Pahkwa-thanh councilor’s office. He smoothed out his white dress uniform, then checked and rechecked it for any flaws. Personally seeing the councilor of your race was one of the most important meetings - on par with a state dinner with a Fleet Admiral! Xanti did not want to make a bad first impression. ::

oO Whoo….okay. I swear I haven’t been this nervous since my first hunt. Here we go. Oo

:: Xanti buzzed the ringer on the keypad by the door. Moments later, the doors entered inward, and Xanti stepped through. ::

:: The place suddenly reminded Xanti of home. The color of the wall was a sandy brown, while the floor was wooden - real sawed and finished wood. Various standing ferns and plants lined the room, and pictures of landscapes from all over Duhpwa-thuv hung on the walls. Even more than the sight of the office was the smell. ::

oO <sniff...sniff> Ooh! Smells just like home! Is that…<sniff...sniff> ...is that tahka ferns I smell? Oo

:: Entering from around the corner was a relatively young female, roughly Xanti’s age. However unlike his jungle ethnicity, she looked like a plainsrunner. Her scales were tan with a slight mottling of orange-yellow. Her frame was slightly smaller than his, being female; though her tail was quite thick and toned. Xanti’s eyes widened and his nostrils flared at the sight of her. ::

oO Skree!! What a female! Beautiful! Oo

Aide: Hello, sir, and welcome.

:: Regaining his composure, Xanti finally remembered to greet her with the customary Pahkwa-thanh greeting - crossing his arms over his chest and bowing his head. ::

Liss: Erm, greetings, miss. Xanti Ilas Ysa Liss. It is an honor to be here.

Aide: My name is Ilana Vero Tana Dak, aide to the councilor. Let me show you to her.

oO She is of the councilor’s clutch?! I had better tread carefully. Oo

:: Xanti followed Ilana into the main room. ::

:: The Pahkwa-thanh councilor was standing at the far end of the room, behind a squat desk. She was staring out the windows of the Paris skyline. She turned to greet Xanti. ::

Ilana: :: Extending an arm towards Xanti. :: Madam Councilor, may I present Xanti Ilas Ysa Liss, Petty Officer Second Class, Engineer’s Mate of the U.S.S. Victory.

Xanti: :: Xanti repeated his greeting, keeping his head bowed longer. :: Madam Councilor, it is a deep honor.

:: The councilor turned from the window to greet Xanti. She was dressed in an elegant forest-green wrap, threaded with an intricate design of red. Over the wrap of her torso flowed a long robe of the same color and design. She further wore a matching headpiece that was draped over her head behind her eyes and down her neck. She had the same general scale coloring as Ilana, but it was subdued and less saturated. A clear sign of advanced age. Xanti noticed she also moved slower, and her torso was bent almost horizontally, unlike the diagonal, semi-upright slant of youth. ::

Xanti: Elder!

Councilor: :: Waving her hand up and down:: Please, please! You don’t need to stand on such formality. I may be old, but I’m not decrepit. :: Returning the greeting. :: My name is Tsana Yith Syno Dak, but please feel free to call me Tsana.

Xanti: Y...yes, Eld - Tsana. Councilor. Matriarch.

Tsana: Well, if you insist on being so formal, Matriarch will do; even though that title no longer applies to me.

Xanti: Y...you are not a Matriarch? But...you are an Elder; you wear the robes; your station demands…

Tsana: Enough. I am no more a Matriarch than you are a primate. Perhaps I was at one time, but I gave up the position to serve on the Federation council.

:: Xanti thought about that a minute. ::

Xanti: If I may say so, Matriarch, I don’t think that is true. You may no longer represent your clutch, but by serving on the council, you are representing our entire people. In a sense, you are Matriarch of us all.

:: Tsana’s eyes widened; her nostrils flared. She looked over at Ilana, who showed a similar display of surprise and approval. Was that a smile? ::

Tsana: My, what a logical and rational mind you have! I never thought about it in those terms, but I suppose you are right. :: Sigh. :: If you must be so formal, Matriarch or Councilor will do. Come, sit.

:: Tsana gestured to a corner of the room. There was arrayed a table surrounded on three sides by resting platforms. Pahkwa-thanhs didn’t use humanoid chairs, but instead rested on their bellies on a sort of “resting-couch.” ::

(( OOC: Ever read Dinotopia? Its like the resting-couches the dinosaurs use in that. https://www.dropbox.com/sc/vqpeb2rd8otqnxu/AABORRHPax-Ex9CegA8MaJfva but much smaller. ))

:: Tsana sat in the middle, while Xanti sat to her left, and Ilana to her right. Xanti waited for Tsana to start the conversation. ::




A Cordial Visit - Part 2: "Ancient Monsters"

Stardate 239203.14


(( Pahkwa-thanh Councilor’s Office, Palais de la Concorde ))

Tsana: I am glad to see your Pahk skills have not diminished in the company of aliens.

Xanti: Federation Standard is a fairly simple language, though it did take time to learn. Plus, the Federation universal translator is remarkable. :: pointing to his combadge :: It is instant and usually is able to translate fairly well those words I do not know. :: pause :: I will admit that being able to speak in our native tongue again is a relief.

Tsana: <chuckle> I imagine. That is kind of one reason why you are here.

oO Ah...now to the reason for this meeting. Oo

Xanti: I was wondering why you summoned me, Matriarch. The last thing I was expecting when we docked at Mars was a communication from a Pahkwa-thanh, let alone our Federation Councilor!

Tsana: There is that curiosity again. I see why you prefer engineering. Anyway, I mostly just wanted to “chat.”

oO Huh? “Chat?” Thats it? You specifically commed me, asked me to fly to another planet to “chat”? Oo

Xanti: Um...Matriarch?

Tsana: In the sense that I am Matriarch of our species, I see it as only fitting to take an interest in all Pahkwa-thanhs serving in Starfleet, and the Federation. I have a standing order to be notified when any of our kind is coming to Sol, and extend an invitation to them.

Xanti: :: Nostrils flaring in confusion. :: But...why?

Tsana: Simple politeness, young one. Being new to the Federation, there are still so few of us serving in Starfleet or off Duhpwa-thuv. I would think it would be nice to see one of our own after being amongst aliens for so long. Was I wrong in this assumption?

oO That is...very polite! Oo

Xanti: Um...no. Not at all. It was just a surprise to receive your message. I will admit, it is nice to speak with you...er...I mean a fellow Pahkwa-thanh. Most of the aliens in the Federation are not used to me. I’m not entirely sure why, other than we remind them of “monsters.”

:: Both Tsana and Ilana chuckled. ::

Tsana: Not monsters, really. Millions of years ago on Earth, before primates evolved, let alone gained intelligence, the Earth was populated by reptiles of all shapes and sizes. Not intelligent, but dominant. Human paleontologists called them “dinosaurs.”

oO Ah yes, I have heard of these. Oo

Xanti: Go on.

Tsana: We remarkably resemble one family of them - the Theropods . Either through a higher power, or simply a fluke of parallel evolution, we Pahkwa-thanh greatly resemble these ancient beasts.
((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theropoda))

Xanti: So, these “dinosaurs,” they are the stuff of Human nightmares?

Tsana: <chuckle> Actually, quite the opposite. Dinosaurs take a favorable place in Human fiction; a “what might have been,” or “what was.” Being so different from them is what draws Humans to the idea of ancient, roaming reptiles that once dominated the planet. Human hatchlings...er…”children” have especially imaginative minds, and love the idea of dinosaurs.

Xanti: Fascinating.

Ilana: There is a wonderful museum here in Paris that has an excellent exhibit of dinosaurs. I suggest seeing it.

Tsana: :: Nodding. :: Indeed. It may give you a new perspective on Humans.

Ilana: Although, I was mistaken as part of the exhibit a couple of times.

Xanti: I will consider it, while I am here.

:: A brief pause. ::




A Cordial Visit - Part 3: "Career Options"

Stardate 239203.14


(( Pahkwa-thanh Councilor’s Office, Palais de la Concorde ))

Tsana: So, how are you enjoying your time in Starfleet? How long have you been serving?

Xanti: Pretty well. Their technology is fascinating! Substantially more advanced than what we have on Duhpwa-thuv. I have been aboard a couple of ships for about a year now. I was transferred to the Victory shortly before it was severely damaged.

Tsana: I see. Why engineering? Our people are known for our medical skills - a stereotype not undeserved.

:: Xanti thought for a moment. ::

Xanti: I guess...I guess I just like to tinker. I’ve always been curious how things worked. Even as a hatchling, I took things apart to see how they worked. I couldn’t always put them back together again, though, to the irritation of my parents.

:: Ilana chuckled. ::

Tsana: Well, I am glad you decided to choose your own path. We need not be stereotyped into one category. Are you finding it difficult to live among aliens?

Xanti: Not really. Well…

Tsana: Its okay, go on.

Xanti: The ships seem really small. I can understand that, as they were designed primarily for humanoids. But many of the maintenance tunnels were designed for humanoids to crawl through. I am simply too big to enter them, and as such, I am unable to work in many areas of the ships.

Tsana: Hmm. Perhaps I can speak to the ship designers about that. Maybe in future ship designs they will consider larger beings in their maintenance designs.

Xanti: That is nice of you, Matriarch. I am given to understand that some of the newest ships do indeed have service passageways large enough to walk in.

Tsana: Good, good. I’m just looking out for us.

Ilana: Grandmother, what about considering…

oO Grandmother? This lovely young female is the councilor’s granddaughter? Tread carefully, Xanti; very, very carefully! Oo

Tsana: Oh! Yes! :: Grabbing a PADD. :: There is a particular tool...erm...well, not really a tool; but something you may find extremely useful. However, you cannot just order one up like at a store.

:: Handing him the PADD, Xanti looked it over. It looked like an interesting proposition. ::

Tsana: You will have to ask them to...well...I guess borrow isn’t the right word. Join you? I have recommended these to a couple other officers.

Xanti: I...see. This would be hugely beneficial with my size issue. I will ask them.

:: Another pause. ::

Tsana: Speaking of which; tell me, Xanti, why are you not a commissioned officer?

Xanti: I...I don’t know. Many, many people only enlist, taking only the classes necessary to do their job on a ship. I felt the same.

Tsana: You have no desire for a commission?

Xanti: Not really. At least, I never really considered it. Why?

Tsana: Think about it. There are a few Pahkwa-thanh officers currently serving. Imagine - one day you could even command the engineering department, or even command your own ship. It would be a great milestone for our people.

:: Xanti paused to consider Tsana’s words. ::

Xanti: I...I never thought about it like that. My own department...responsible for the smooth running of an entire ship.

Tsana: I urge you to consider applying to the Academy and completing your officer training. It will take a couple of years, but I think it would be worth it. You don’t have to physically attend the Academy. You can do your studies on board your ship.

Xanti: I...I will consider it, Matriarch.

:: Tsana got up, and Ilana followed suit. It was only proper for Xanti to do the same. The councilor led the pair into another side room; this one was very spartan, with sand instead of a hardwood floor. It had only a table; a very, very bloody table. ::




A Cordial Visit - Part 4: "Dinner!"

Stardate 239203.14


(( Pahkwa-thanh Councilor’s Office, Palais de la Concorde ))

Tsana: I have prepared a meal for us. I hope you don’t mind. Some of it is from home, while others...others may still suit your taste.

:: Xanti looked at the array of raw food sitting on the table. All of it was raw carcasses of animals, as if they were freshly brought from a hunt. They were still dripping on the table. His mouth salivated, and his nostrils flared. ::

Xanti: Are those Duhka Shanks?! Ooo! And a Fahlo bird!

Tsana: Please, dig in!

:: Xanti said a quiet prayer for the spirits of the beasts he was about to eat, then promptly dove his clawed hands into the fahlo. His head followed suit, opening wide and chomping vigorously. Tsana and Ilana did the same. Blood splattered everywhere; on the table, on the sandy floor, and on themselves. Occasionally, Xanti would pick one up and start slamming it around, or pulling pieces off the bone. Playing with one’s food was practically required! ::

Xanti: Mmm...delicious! What is this one here? I don’t recognize it, but it tastes really good.

Tsana: Ah...that is a Klingon Targ; one of their most popular dishes. I have an...arrangement with the Klingon ambassador here. He provides me with some delicious raw meat.

Xanti: Mrm...thank him for me.

Tsana: I would suggest finding similar connections on your ship. I know replicated meat just isn’t quite the same as a raw, freshly-killed beast. Caitians are similarly carnivorous. You should find some of their food to your liking too, and they are much more numerous in the Federation.

Xanti: I will consider it. You said you had an “arrangement” with the Klingon ambassador?

Tsana: Ah yes. Well as you probably know, Klingons also enjoy the pursuit of a hunt. While it is very difficult to hunt wild animals here on Earth - for some reason Humans are very...what's the word...conservative of their environment. So you cannot just step outside anywhere and chase a deer down.

:: Xanti wondered what a ‘deer’ was, but let the councilor continue. ::

Tsana: Anyway, I have an arrangement with the African Confederation, a political subdivision here on Earth. Much of the African continent is wild, untamed wilderness, with lots of wildlife. They allow me and my staff to occasionally hunt within the nature preserves. A couple hundred years ago, when Humans were still hunting for sport or wealth, they would never have considered it, but today the wildlife populations flourish.

Ilana: Grandmother has taken me many times. There are some dangerous and powerful beasts over there.

Tsana: Indeed. You know what? While you are here on Earth, why doesn’t Ilana take you hunting?

Ilana: :: looking mildly irritated. :: Grandmother…

Xanti: I…

Tsana: Ilana, please. This young one probably has not hunted in a long time. A real, proper hunt.

Ilana: I suppose so.

Xanti: Well, it does sound intriguing.

Tsana: Good, good. I will make the arrangements. Now please, finish your meal. I don’t want all this to go to waste.

:: The trio finished their bloody meal, while Xanti pondered all the new information the councilor passed his way. He had many things to do, but first came a long-overdue hunt… ::