In 2235 the USS Argonaut try to make first contact with the Centauran race, this is the story of this failed first contact.
Alternate Original Series, Expanded Universes Characters:
20 Jul 2013 Updated:
20 Jul 2013
A story bonm of a throw away line in one of my WFW over on the forum.
Plus a big Thank you to LBD for Beta reading and her helpful suggestions for corrections and improvements.
1. Chapter 1 by FalseBill
2. Chapter 2 by FalseBill
3. Chapter 3 by FalseBill
USS Argonaut (Kelvin Class)
Commodore Lily Fitzroy adjusted her grey dress uniform and the level of her hat. As she waited with her welcoming committee, Chief Engineer Teng Wang Li, a tall man from Honk Kong stood behind her to the right, still in his standard uniform Engineering olive. As always he seem to be studying some report. To her left stood her chief communications officer the female Tiburonese Rykari. She was in a standard uniform, bridge blue.
Lily had thought of ordering them to change into the grey dress uniform too, but decided that given what little they knew so far about the Centaurans from long-range scans, they seemed to be a very artisan-based society with something against militaristic tendencies. She felt a soft approach was needed.
All three officers were keen to get this formal meet and greet over, as the Centauran Prime minister and her delegation had already kept them waiting two days by the local gas giant.
The Argonaut crew was supposed to be on their way home after a long patrol, when they detected the Centaurans' warp ship. Having followed it back, Lily had chosen to wait by the gas giant rather than push too far into the inhabitants' system, to give the locals time to react to them on their terms. This had lead to the waiting time, so they tried to study the Centaurans as best as possible with passive sensors from the outer part of their solar system. This had been harder than normal, as despite having anti-matter and warp travel, the Centaurans had only audio sub-light radio and no television signals. So while they thought the Centaurans were humanoid, they had no way of knowing till the alien diplomatic party stepped off their shuttle.
The hangar deck master gave Lily a nod. “Captain, Centauran Space One with diplomatic party has landed. Hangar doors are closed and the bay is now re-pressured. You’re now free to greet the diplomatic party.”
“Thank you Chief,” said Lily, then she added, “Alright boys and girls, show time.”
The three star fleet officers walked into the hangar bay. The hangar crew had found a suitable step for the alien shuttle side door. The strange thing was the more she looked at it, the more she likened it in appearance to an old NX cruiser shuttle-pod.
The shuttle door cracked open and a young woman, who looked very human, stepped out of the craft. Her swift moving eyes and very functional dress clearly identified her as the security escort. A tall and broad woman with black hair and a Mediterranean complexion wearing a fine dress and jewels followed her out. Behind her came a short woman with the nervous look of a rabbit in the headlights and jet-black skin and hair.
They seem to be trying to take in the hangar deck and the Argonaut crew as if this was all normal to them. Each trio looked the other over. Lily decided after giving them a moment to adjust to take the lead and said, “I’m Commodore Lily Fitzroy, the captain of this vessel, the United Federation of Planets Star Ship Argonaut.” Lily spoke slowly and clearly to give the universal translator time to translate.
The broad woman in the jewels step forward and simply said, “I’m Prime Minister Kulei.” Then the three Centauran ladies flashed twisted and warped smiles at them.
It made Lily's skin crawl, but she fought back the revulsion that the smiles made her feel and tried to stick to the script. Lily made her move and stepped forward to the Prime Minister, putting on her best smile. This caused the Centaurans to step back, clearly shaken. ‘Guess our smile looked just as bad to them,’ thought Lily. “Please there is nothing to be concerned about,”
Lily said in an attempt to reassure the party.
“Nothing? I see lots to be concerned about. You have invaded our home system in a blatant display of force with a larger and seemingly more advanced ship than we can currently manufacture,” said Kulei.
Lily could see that she needed to show them the Federation's intentions were good. “With respect Prime Minister Kulei, we are peaceful explorers seeking out new life and new civilizations. To do this we do need to enter unexplored solar systems, especially when we detect warp travel, in order to search out new trading partners, ideas and hopefully friends,” said Lily.
“Noble words Commodore, so where do we start to trust each other?” asked the Prime Minister Kulei.
“Let's start small, with the oldest gesture from my world that we come in peace,” said Lily, holding out her hand. “Please put your flat hand in mine. This gesture is known as the handshake. It was historically meant to show that I offer you my weapon hand so you can see I'm currently no threat,” said Lily.
The Prime Minister looked very unsure. The dark-skinned woman seemed to nod her head to the Prime Minister. Kulei stepped forward and with a quick sweep of her hand knocked off Lily's hat. Lily's red hair fell down along with her hat. This seemed to cause the Centauran Prime Minister to recoil, before she said, “History is full of those who claim to come as explorers, and with more advanced civilizations seeking to replace less advanced cultures with their own. Why should I believe you?” said Kulei before adding, “Indeed, you have a very unnatural hair color, the color of evil, of the old stealers of children.” Then Kulei grabbed Lily's out-stretched hand, and squeezed hard.
“Oww, that hurts,” said Lily, while she used one hand to keep her crew from interfering. She knew what could seem hostile in first contact might not be.
“Indeed, the forward arm is well known as the ancient evil patriarch bride trick to lure us into a false sense of security, to let them violate our being with their touch and open the door for the Patriarch to enslave us and steal our children,” said Kulei.
The pain was just too great and Lily just punched the prime minister in the face. The blow sent her backwards but broke the agonizing grip.
“See how easy you give into violence, so again why should we trust you?” said Kulei.
Lily took a deep breath to centre herself and then said, “I’m sorry you forced me to do that, but even as explorers we will defend ourselves from aggression. That doesn’t make us violent, or stealers of children. I do understand at this point you have no reason to trust us, but all I can do is try to show and convince you of our good intentions,” answered Lily.
“Very well then, if you wish to convince me of your Federation’s good intentions, you as the commander of this vessel will need to do just two things,” said Kulei.
“Go on,” said Lily.
“First, you will order your ship to leave our territory by moving back to interstellar space and second, you will personally surrender yourself to my authority for trespassing into Centaurans' sovereign territory without permission. We will forgive/ignore the rest of the crew, while we try you to determine your guilt or innocence,” said Kulei.
The Starfleet officers and crew on the deck flared in shock and rage. This was just going too far now. Lily bellowed at them.
“Order! To attention crew of the Argonaut!” The crew fell in but the tension in the air was noticeable.
“I’ve no problem ordering the Argonaut to leave your Solar System, but why should I surrender to you to be judged by an alien legal system that I know nothing about?” said Lily.
“Because you claim to come in peace, yet strike me. If you wish to show us that your Federation intentions are good, then submit to our legal system. You will demonstrate that you view us as a equal and not a prey nation,” said Kulei.
Lily's mind was racing. ‘What choice do I have here? I really should not have punched her in the face. Clearly they’ve got a cultural chip on their shoulders. Plus if I play along it will get the rest of the crew off the hook, if we can take them at their word. Plus it will give the crew a chance to contact Command and perhaps get a hot shot Vulcan consul out here to clear this up.’
Lily made her choice. “Well Prime Minister Kulei, on your word that I’ll receive a fair and just trial, I’ll surrender to your authority after ordering the Argonaut to leave your sovereign territory.”
The three Centauran women let their breath out. Clearly they had feared a fight over this.
“Excellent, I give you my word to a fair and just trail. One of our explorer ships will act as a message shuttle to your ship once it takes up station outside our system. Please allow my deputy to cuff you, I do apologize for this,” said Kulei.
“I understand, Prime Minister,” said Lily.
“I must protest about this, Commodore!” said Commander Teng Wang Li.
“Teng! We need an act of faith to move this Inter-species relationship forward, now please trust your commander. Order Telka to move the ship out of the Centaurans’ system once the Centauran party has left. I’ll be going with them to try and resolve this issue, but the ship and crew must come first. You know that. Once outside the system, update Command and await new orders,” said Lily.
“Fine Commodore, I’ll enter my concerns in the ship's log, but your orders will be obeyed,” answered Teng.
“That’s a good boy, listen to your Matriarchy,” said Kulei.
“Please do not speak to my crew that way,” said Lily.
“As you wish. Do you surrender to me?” asked Kulei.
“Yes,” said Lily, holding out her arms.
Kulei's deputy stepped forward and placed the cuffs that she had produced from somewhere on Lily.
“We will leave now. Thank you for being so co-operative.”
Lily sat in the Centauran shuttle pod and watched out the window as the Argonaut, along with one of the Centauran explorer ships, went to warp and suddenly she felt very alone and isolated.
“Alien vessel has left the system as ordered, Prime Minister,” said the deputy.
“Good, once we are back on the Voyager, take our alien prisoner to the brig, while I inform the World Matriarchy of our mission outcome,” said Kulei.
“Yes ma’am,” said the deputy.
Lily noticed the other women of the group gave her a sympathetic look, before turning back to their consoles.
One week later.
Lily sat in a fetus ball on the prison bunk, wondering why she hadn’t just punched the Centauran Prime Minister in the face again, rather than surrendered to her. To her mind, the trial was not fair and just. While she had been allowed to offer a defense to the three old judges, they hadn’t given her any legal advice or representation, nor had they given her any leeway for accidental transgression.
“Trespassing was trespassing whatever the reason. Six weeks remanded prison sentence,” was all the main judge had said.
The only court approved punishment was solitary confinement. “To prevent contamination from, or to, the alien.”
Kulei had look shocked at the outcome, before the big male and female guards had taken Lily by a security shuttle from the court to a rather architecturally attractive building. Once there they proceeded to take finger prints, iris scans, blood samples and various body measurements before shaving every hair off her body, putting her in their itchy cotton-like prison clothes and confining her in a small holding cell with a force field door.
The cell had a bed, a chair and table and a bucket. What was worse was everything was a pastel soft blue or yellow color. There was no window in this cell and the only source of light came from the force field cell door. The worst thing for Lily was they played some sort of elevator music all day, which had been just annoying at first but was getting maddening with every passing minute. She thought since her meals were delivered twice a day by small robots, Lily currently estimate that about a week had passed since her arrest, the lack of contact with other people meant she was unsure if she had counted the number of meal correctly. Lily feared that cabin fear had begun to set in, as she was sleeping more and talking to herself.
The other irritating thing was that her meals were an alien sort of muesli in the morning that was foul. In the evening it was a thick porridge that she could have reset impulse engine coolant conduits with and was about as tasty as cement. The glass of water with the meal was the most palatable thing she had during her confinement.
While the food was terrible, the cutlery and plates and glasses were always different and all greater works of art, not what she would have expected for prison fare. Indeed it was studying them that gave her something to focus on, plus she hope it was a small signal that maybe the Centauran authorities really understood she wasn’t just another prisoner.
Then one of the small robots arrived. She looked at it and it played a short audio message: “Alien prisoner will submit to guards for another round of hair removal tomorrow morning after first meal.” Then it beeped and went away again.
“I’ve a name--it is Lily Fitzroy!” she screamed at the robot. Then she lay down on the bed and started to cry.
Four Weeks Later
Ambassador Senvik walked with the prison governor to check on Commodore Lily Fitzroy. The Vulcan had arrived about three weeks earlier to try and resolve the diplomatic issues with the Centaurans and secure the release of the commodore.
This morning she had finally been granted permission to see the commodore in prison.
“Just through here, Ambassador,” said the prison governor.
“Thank you,” said Senvik.
Senvik stepped through the door, past the guard and into the corridor. The governor followed her as they both walked down the corridor to the cell.
Both reached the cell at the same time. It took both a moment to understand the scene before them.
“Oh my… Guards, get a doctor now!” called the prison governor.
“I take it the commodore’s poor condition is a surprise to you?” asked Senvik.
“Yes!” said the governor.
Both women looked at the commodore’s naked body. She lay shaking on the bed and was covered with a nasty blister rash everywhere the Centauran cotton clothes had been in direct contact with her skin.
Clearly she had scratched some of them, for now, some of them look infected and septic.
“I believe your prison welfare for aliens isn’t as good as you had me believe,” said Senvik.
One Week Later
Ambassador Senvik waited with Prime Minister Kulei for the guards to bring her Commodore Lily Fitzroy from the medical facility where she had been treat for the last week.
The World Matriarchy as the planet government Executive had been prepared to listen to Senvik’s arguments about the mistreatment of the commodore.
Especially since a great number of the planet’s population were now protesting Lily’s plight after the press had leaked pictures of her condition from the medical facility.
Senvik’s research while she looked for a way to free the commodore, greatly aided by prime minister Kulei had shown that the World Matriarchy, which Kulei was the first amongst equals, was a sort of cabinet select by a popular vote of all Centaurans mothers and wife-less fathers (who cared for a child), via a election colleges similar to the old united states system.
The main problem was the World Matriarchy Executive had no direct power to overrule or pardon anyone the senior judges of the Supreme Court, found guilty and sentence. As the judges and the courts were part of the Juristically, which was the government law enforcement diversion that was completely separate from the executive to prevent corruption. Senvik had been told by them while the Juristically court was sorry about the situation the current law prepared them from hearing an appeal as no significant new evidence existed in the case. As far as Senvik could tell the difficulty of getting an appeal was one of the planet population main grievances with their current government.
If Senvik had been human she would have classified the experience as frustrating. In the end, she had come to a crude agreement that was acceptable to both sides.
Senvik had recommended to the Centauran Matriarchy, the Federation President and Starfleet, that they would just have to wait until the end of the six week sentence and take the commodore home on another starship, that enter the system with permission.
Work was still required to secure a non-aggression or trade agreement with the Centaurans, as it would be a good location for Starbase, but getting the commodore back would go a long way to smoothing the relationship.
There was a knock at the door and one of the medical orderlies brought in the commodore.
Senvik looked at the commodore, who still looked bad from her confinement. The doctors had found that as well as the bad reaction to the local cotton, she seem to have suffered some sort of intolerance to something in the breakfast Muesli.
“Commodore, how nice to see you again,” said Kulei.
Commodore Fitzroy just grunted an acknowledgement. “Well, you looking better than last week, and again on behalf of the world Matriarchy we do apologize for the less than acceptable prison treatment you received,” said Kulei. "I believe Ambassador Senvik has explained the situation and our respective governments’ agreement?”
“Yes,” said Lily weakly.
“Good. Anyway, the Vulcan Ambassador ship T’lise is now in orbit ready to return you to Federation space as soon as the formalities are complete,” said Kulei.
“Then we should start,” said Senvik.
“Of course,” said Kulei.
“Perhaps you could let the commodore sit down?” asked Senvik.
“O yes, please Commodore, take a seat,” said Kulei.
Lily walked slowly to a chair and sat down.
“Then Prime Minister Kulei, on behalf of the office of the President of the United Federation of Planets, I formally apologize to your government for Starfleet Vessel USS Argonaut entering your territories without permission,” said Senvik.
“Ambassador Senvik, on behalf of the Centaurans World Matriarchy we will accept your government’s apologies on the provision that the commodore accept that she has been declared an outlaw by the Matriarchy, and is never to return to Centauran space,” said Kulei.
“This is acceptable, provided we are allowed to withdraw the commodore without interference,” said Senvek.
“The Matriarchy has confirmed to me they are happy to agree with that,” said Kulei.
“Then we’re in agreement,” said Senvek.
Kulei walked over to stand in front of the Commodore Fitzroy. Kulei knelt down, looked into the commodore’s face and softly said, “Commodore, I know this seems harsh and when I was on your ship, I expected the World Matriarchy to issue a pardon, not subject you to accidental torture for five weeks, but if you can see the one positive, it is that this forces the World Matriarchy to accept that we need to change the old systems if we are to interact with other interstellar civilizations,” said Kulei.
“The good of the many outweighs the needs of the one?” said Lily weakly.
“Yes, Commodore,” said Senvik.
“Commodore Lily Fitzroy, do you accept banishment and being outlawed from Centauran Society?” asked Kulei.
“Yes,” said Lily.
“Then Commodore Lily Fitzroy, you’re banished from the lands, and the space of the Centaurans’ Matriarchy. Ambassador Senvik, please take her away. Ambassador, shall we meet tomorrow to talk about your proposal for a joint space station just outside our territories, as a centre for future trade between our two peoples,” said Kulei.
“Yes, Prime Minister. Now, if you excuse me?” said Senvik.
“Yes, Ambassador,” said Kulei.
“Come along Commodore, we have a shuttle waiting for you,” said Senvik. With that the Vulcan and the human left Kulei’s office.
The prime minister leaned on the edge of the desk and hoped that she hadn’t just destroyed one person to force the Centaurans’ World Matriarchy to see and accept the changes their society needed to undergo to enter the interstellar sisterhood as a force for good.
Kulei walked to the window and as she watched the Federation Shuttle leave the compound, she thought, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, but that is still only cold comfort for the one that sacrificed for the many. I’m sorry, may the future not judge either of us too harshly, Commodore Lily Fitzroy.”
Thanks for reading.
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