Obsidian Command

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Field Tripping

Posted on 29 Sep 2022 @ 8:40pm by A'Koja Dea - Private Investigator

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: OC, Promenade, Rabin Memorial Library
Timeline: MD06 1600HRS
1961 words - 3.9 OF Standard Post Measure

When she strode up on the station's David Rabin Memorial Library, A'Koja wore black pumps, a fringe trimmed sport coat, pinstripe slacks, her hair loose, and a cool smile. She'd perfected the power walk years before first as a dancer, then a lawyer and a diplomat after which it came even more naturally during her career as a Starfleet Captain, former though it was. The large and in charge womanly gait had had mixed reviews, however, during her time served in prison, between repelling troublemakers or being read as confrontational by some of the more established inmates who didn't appreciate that level of ego cutting into their established circles of influence. Their response to her might have stumbled her for a bit, but she'd picked up more or less where she had left off, a little older and wiser, but all the more bold and determined. Presently strutting under the massive archway to the grand lobby of Rabin Memorial Library, the seasoned, curly red-head unfastened the button on her coat and smirked, her eyes glinting with the unannounced chaos she was about to unleash on the place.

In her wake, audible before they came into view from around the angle of one of the promenade access corridors, she had her posse consisting of thirty-seven refugee school aged kids, primarily Romulan but a number of other minority races from Romulan space as well. Trailing not so far behind her, they moved in a loosely organized mob— oldest paired up with youngest —forming a jumbled hand-holding train. They were all buzzing with excitement.

Tomorrow, she knew, these kids would have new homes on the Itonian Bajada of Loki III. But today? Today they were hers to inspire.

Yesterday she'd arranged for them to have a spectacular tour of the galaxy in the astrometrics lab. The day before, she'd had a local naturalist bring a wildlife educational petting zoo directly to their camp, and before that, she'd gotten a line up of musically talented officers and crewmen to take turns putting on a non-stop camp festival for their families. Some of the refugees broke out their beloved instruments they had somehow managed to travel with and returned in kind, sharing songs from their own worlds to which the children knew many of the lyrics and taught the guests.

Every day for a week, A'Koja had tried to top her last arrangement in helping to amuse the children and keep them out of trouble and, where ever possible, to contribute to some kind of educational experience. Some of them had been out of any traditional schooling for years since being displaced. Some had never even attended any kind of learning environment when they'd come of age to, although A'Koja found herself often surprised by the wit and intelligence their loved ones had instilled in them during their migratory life. A'Koja understood. She hadn't graduated on her homeworld either. There was some making up to do when she had arrived in the Federation. And so she sympathized with these kids and the turmoil that was their normal. Tomorrow they would have another big adjustment. Even now while she was looking after them, their parents were breaking down camp in preparation for relocating.

The first figure to greet them was a larger-than-life sculpture of the man the library was named after, the twenty-third century scientist who had directed the first Federation outpost on the planet of Obsidian. He was depicted mildly, dressed in a desert adaptive uniform and holding a clay tablet in his hand, marked on both sides with the impressions of the seals of many tribes, and Rabin's image seemed to be contemplating it.

The children circled the statue and one of them raced up to a big tour button, pressing it and unleashing a recording of a librarian who began to explain the statue.

"Captain David Rabin," began the holographic Yridian tour guide, "Born of Israel, on Earth in the Sol system, 2229 died 2333. Captain Rabin served in the 2290's as director of the first UFP Outpost on Planet Obsidian. It was the work of David Rabin's delegation that secured the Kalaran council agreement which first led to the admittance of Planet Obsidian as a Protectorate of the Federation. Later, with the aid of then Captain Spock, he further secured a lasting peace with the chief tribes among the nomadic peoples of Obsidian. This facility has been dedicated in memory of Captain Rabin and his efforts towards peace and a secure future for the Loki system as well as his insatiable curiosity concerning the natural sciences. Although at first considered a 'foreign fool' among the people of Obsidian, Captain Rabin was later honored among the tribes and in death, was given tribal rites in Kalara and a procession of mourning. Some Obsidian Tribes today claim Captain Rubin among their kin and continue to hold his name in high regard. Rabin's original outpost remains as a science station outside of Kalara, and the cultural center he established within the city continues to supply support and resources and houses envoys to the capital city."

"In this depiction of Captain Rabin, he has just secured a blood-sealed oath of the Kalaran council concerning the planetary Protectorate application to the Federation. The original tablet is housed on display in the Federation's cultural center in the city of Kalara, persisting as a testament of trust and fellowship."

Not very many of the children stuck around for the continued detailed account of Captain Rabin's contributions to society and science, though. They began breaking off throughout the room, looking at cases full of Loki system artifacts and interactive holo displays about the animal life on Loki III... It was novel to them today, but soon they would all get an up close view of the bulky chuchaki and the beetles that were making one boy cry just from the illustrations, causing him to hide his face in his big sister's shoulder as she lifted him up and carried him although she wasn't too much bigger, physically.

A'Koja put a hand on his shoulder, looking at the size-to-scale drawing, roughly a hand span across. "They don't bite people." She reassured. "They just get into the food. If you clean up your dinner plate, they'll leave you alone. Promise." She felt like the news about how many other things on Obsidian actually did bite would have to come from someone else. For now the boy seemed able to sniff back his sob, drop to his own feet, and take his sister's hand again.

"Alright crew, form back up!" She motioned in the air to her troupe." We'll be going through the library to the children's section. Try to use your talking inside voices. This is a place where people are trying to think."

She noticed the star pupil of the lot, the one who had first helped her learn the nuance of the sub dialect so A'Koja was able to reprogram the translator to account for— One little miss Ayalou— was still behind, swiping through the active display about the history of Romulan interference on Loki III. "What's a Jin?" She asked.

A'Koja held out her hand for the girl to hold, thinking how to handle the topic as she led her crew up the center flight of stairs to the primary holdings. The side stairs and lifts would take people down to a replimat reading cafe, or upstairs to the lecture halls and study rooms made of glassy walls over looking the main collection below. The children's branch and youth activity center were on far side of the main floor of the library, the entirety of which spanned three decks of the promenade.

"Djinn… are genies..." Maybe she didn't know what a genie was, A’Koja realized and continued, "...or spirits. Magical people from fantastic myth or stories."

"Am I a magical person?" Ayalou asked, uncertain why Romulans like her would be called this thing, Djinn. She seemed to light up at the idea that she might have some secret magic.

"Sometimes when people encounter new people, they don't understand one another yet, so they name them after things from stories. When the people on Loki III met some people from other worlds, they named them after trickster spirits, because some of those people tricked them.”

“Oh. I’m not going to trick them when I move there.” Ayalou said decisively.

“I know.” A’Koja smiled at her as they made it to the top of the grand stairwell. The kid had a dose of maturity that was admirable. Life was gonna test it though, she knew. “But some of them still might have some misunderstandings about it because some Romulans did trick them before. It’s not going to be easy to make friends with them sometimes. Promise me you won’t get too discouraged. It takes time to break a cultural stereotype.”

“Okay. I promise.” Ayalou said fairly easily as they surveyed the huge room of the primary holdings.

While the ceilings soared overhead and angled away into fascinating geometries to meet up with the slanted transparent walls of the overhead lecture, study, and meeting rooms, the acoustics of the room were somehow engineered to dampen the sound of the patrons. A’Koja was relieved about that, as her exuberant away team were thrilled to discover some recreated animal footprint impressions in the floor that tracked back to the children’s room.

“You can each take two books back with you!” A’Koja called. Most of the library’s actual holdings were data driven subscription services accessible remotely or from the many privacy shielded study desks. But conversely some of the holdings in the resource rooms were genuine articles protected by the library as resources available by appointment only. The general public library overall sported old fashioned codex bound volumes and operated on a replication system in place of a lending system. It allowed for the experience of browsing that digital catalogues could just never replace. Normally it had much looser restrictions on replicating study and reading material for youths, but the yellow alert had meant new resource restrictions were in place.

With the massive power of the reactors and the huge replication processing sub units, A’Koja could only imagine the limitations indicated a very serious push upstairs on the engineering decks to run industrial replicators, probably for additional ablative armor, small craft resupply and weapons loading, and making sure they had all the parts for potential high damage on hand. She’d run a base herself for years and even though Starbase Sixty had been a much smaller Ithaca class— the first of its kind— she could smell trouble on the rise.

A’Koja tucked her hands in her pockets as she strolled through the library, letting the dedicated children’s librarian take over directing the tour for her young crew. The librarian would discover soon enough that most of them were illiterate— or pre-literate as A'Koja preferred to more hopefully frame it— and the ones who could read would need the books replicated over again in versions of their own languages. The computer didn't always provide the most elegant or poetic interpretations of literature, unlike a scholarly hand, which illustrated to her why it was still always most rewarding to learn a new language in order to truly engage with a culture and a people instead of relying on the universal translators to average out a pragmatic middle meaning.

As she traced a finger along a display of selected interstellar mystery fiction, occasionally picking one up and leafing through it, her eyes rested on a Dashiell Hammett book, The Maltese Falcon. A’Koja smiled but didn’t pick it up— she already had her own copy.


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