No Silence in the Library
Location: USS Iapetus - Ship's Library
"I'm shocked that Starfleet hasn't returned to Morex at all in the last four years," Kotay remarked without looking up from the terminal he was sat at in the ship's library, and drawing a withering gaze from the librarian - who it seemed preferred complete silence within her domain - which went completely ignored by the first officer. "Even without the practical chaos the Prometheus got caught up in during first contact, they were practically running themselves down to a point of failure."
"I've noticed that too," replied Sara Archer, who also ignored the preferred silence. She could be very quiet when needed, but this was not one of those situations. If the librarian really wanted to make her be silent, Sara would be interested to see her try. "It looks like they have no military to speak of, so either they don't deal much in galactic affairs, or they rely on their shield grid. Then again, the reports from the Prometheus suggest that the grid is far from operational, and poorly maintained over some areas of the planet."
"I think I can explain the lack of a military," Kotay said, raising his finger to the screen as if to follow the words he was reading with it. "The crew of the Prometheus describe them as having an almost Vulcan-like calm. Perhaps they never saw the need for a military? Even without that though, this shield technology looks impressive. Capable of preventing a starship passing through it - at least with anything left intact - and capable of blocking both transporters and communications. From these power readings, it could withstand the explosion of a tricobalt device right on top of it."
"Maybe, but don't forget that the Vulcan's had some dark secrets of their own, even after the start of their enlightened age. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but then again, it's my job to be a pessimist." Sara read a little deeper into the reports. "It looks like about 12 percent of the shield is underpowered or offline."
"Look at this; there's a Morexian sub-caste call the A'Morexians. About ten percent of the planet is born without the telepathic abilities of the majority, and are shunned by the rest of the society. They're forced to live in the less developed areas under the weakened areas of the shield grid. They're over seven times more likely to suffer from gamma-ray related diseases and death." The very thought of shunning such a minority was almost physically repulsive to the first officer.
"Here's something about the USS Triton. The crew had apparently bypassed the shield grid in one of these exposed areas. They even led some of the A'Morexians into a rebellion against the planet's majority. The Prometheus eventually helped put down the rebellion since it was started by rogue Admiral Legends. One of the capital towers was destroyed in the attack."
"I remember hearing scuttlebutt about that," Amol said looking up as if trying to remember. He was still just a helm officer at the time, and hadn't had anywhere near the clearance he had now - and certainly not what he suspected Archer had held, serving as she was as chief of intelligence on the Iapetus. Not only had he been surprised that the event had actually been allowed to be declassified - or at least, most of the event; he was certain that selections of the reports had been redacted - but he had been shocked at the thought that a Starfleet Admiral - especially one working in the intelligences division and responsible for protecting the Federation from the threats that weren't widely known - had actually been capable of committing such an action.
"From the reports the Prometheus' first officer made, Legends actually gave the A'Morexians a lot of the auxiliary vessels in the Triton's shuttlebay. From the records I'm looking at now, I think those are the only warp-capable ships left on the planet; the Morexian government appears to have abandoned space travel in favour of diverting shipbuilding resources to maintenance and repairs on the shield grid." He placed his hands on top of his head and leant back in his chair, looking at the screen again. "The historical data they gave during first contact indicates that they had expanded into nearby solar systems, colonising the uninhabited worlds they found. They've declined so much that they've abandoned all of that, and can't even reach it now if they wanted to." The irony was that if the Morexians could once again build ships capable of travelling to other worlds, they could likely find the raw materials they needed for shield maintenance and shipbuilding. He was certain raw materials would be a key issue in any talks of assistance the captain would have with these people.
"You're probably right. Without valuable resources, it's only a matter of time before their shield grid fails, which would probably lead to the extinction of the Morexian people if it goes unfixed." Sara continued to read through the database.
The two sat in silence for a few seconds, before Kotay decided to raise a different subject that he had been mulling over bringing up for a while. "Can I ask you a question, Commander?"
Archer didn't look away from her console. "What's that, Commander?"
"What are your impressions of the Captain?" the first officer asked. "You've served with him longer than most of the senior staff. I'm curious as to what you think of him." The only two who had served with the captain longer were Ensign Cook and Lieutenant Myers, who had both been junior officers until their recent promotions.
Sara stopped her research and sat back in her chair. "I'm probably not the best person to ask. I'm not exactly a 'people person.' Still, he's been pretty easy to get along with. The crew seem to look up to him, and I've not been in a situation where I've disagreed with his orders."
"Still, you've served with him for what? Two or three years now? Even if you're keeping to yourself, I'm sure you've seen or heard something about the man or what he's like, other than the fact he's a captain who hasn't had to deal with a mutiny on his hands."
"I really try to avoid getting close to people, Commander. I've had a few bad experiences in my life, and those close bonds tend to be more of a liability than a benefit. Still, I suppose the captain is a good man. He can be a bit rough at times, but I think he just wants to bring out the best in his crew."
"Fair enough," the first officer acceded, before turning back to his screen to download its data to a PADD. "I'll go and let the captain know what we've discovered so far."