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A Town Called Seclusion

Posted on Tue Jul 19th, 2016 @ 4:45am by Captain Julius Whitlam & Commander Elliot Drake & Lieutenant Commander Anders Odegaard & Lieutenant Samantha Winters & Lieutenant Alice Rhodes & Lieutenant Mikela Reyes MD & Captain Melody Windsor

Mission: The Ties That Bind
Location: Seclusion, Faidon IV

Faidon IV's only settlement was established alongside a small stream that flowed through an otherwise arid valley. The dusty ground pockmarked with sporadic trees and plants that yielded tough but edible fruits, berries and leaves. The valley was far from idyllic, but it suited the colonists who established the settlement just fine. They called their home Seclusion.

The away team materialised right in Seclusion’s town centre. It wasn’t particularly picturesque, but it was the centre of the town. Several buildings in varying states of completion were arranged around an open square at the centre of which was a stone fountain that looked like it hadn’t seen water in some time. Two of the buildings stood out as being larger than the others, and both of these looked to be completed, while the remainder were missing doors, windows or entire sections. One even had no wall on its facing side!

Captain Julius Whitlam looked around at his surroundings, lifting a hand to shield his eyes from the harsh red sun. It immediately struck him that the place looked unfinished, like an abandoned construction project. There were people scattered around the town centre, but none of them looked like they were working to finish construction. Yet they all looked busy, very intent on whatever it was they were doing. From tending to potted gardens to trading vegetables or rummaging through piles of scrap, everybody looked busy and nobody noticed the eight strangers who had just appeared in the midst.

Melody checked the positioning of the small hold-out phaser she'd tucked in her belt as a last ditch protection. Something about the town felt off. At first, she thought it was a war zone, then she realized that it was just unfinished. Like half-way through the project of setting up the settlement they just stopped caring. And that made her even more uneasy. Not to mention the heat. She always hated the heat.

Mikela frowned as she glanced around, her medical bag over her shoulder and against her left hip, her left hand on her cane, her right hand straying towards the phaser holstered on her right hip. She paused and deliberately placed her right hand back at her side, then took a moment to look around. Something about the buildings disturbed her. For some reason, the word 'cannibalism' entered her head. She dismissed it. Buildings weren't people, and she had no way to know why some of them were incomplete.

"Wow," Sam commented, looking around the colony. "You know those engineers who start on half a dozen projects, then have so short an attention span that they move on to something new within a few hours and never finish anything? This place looks about ten times worse than that."

Looking around Alice felt at a loss for words. How could people let things get this way? It was as if they'd stoped caring and just... staring at the people they did see, she found their movement to be a little off. She glanced at her companions, wondering if she was imagining it, or if the others saw the same thing.

Eventually three individuals emerged from one of the two larger buildings. Two of the men were larger in stature, both physically imposing. The third was a smaller man, at least a couple of decades their elder. His hair was gray and balding, but he made little to no effort to hide it. The older man led the trio, making a beeline towards the new arrivals. He stopped in front of the away team, but didn't look directly at any of them. Something seemed a little off by the way he avoided eye contact, but the away team couldn't quite put their finger on it. After a moment of indirectly examining the Starfleet officers, he finally spoke. "Most people would have gone home after four hours of no one answering a hail. Why didn't you?" There was a hint of frustration in his voice, which had grown rough over the years, but no direct hostility.

Whitlam kept his expression neutral as he regarded the balding fellow, whom he could only assume was the Administrator. "Because this is an emergency," he said after a moment. He paused and looked the administrator up and down. "And I'm not accustomed to being ignored for four hours."

Melody couldn't help but smirk slightly at Whitlam's bluntness. It was very Marine, for a fleeter. The man's attitude did nothing to resolve her unease though. As he smirk faded her Marine training took over and she began looking over the town, scanning for potential ambush or deception.

Anders took a moment to examine the surroundings. He kept his focus on the Captain, after all his lead was the one to follow. "A lengthy period of time without contact requires investigation." Anders said looking towards the two men flanking the Administrator. "After all here is a War taking place."

The old man scoffed. "I'm not interested in joining your little war. We came here to escape such things. I suggest that you leave while you have a chance." One of the men flanking the administrator leaned into his ear, whispering something that was intelligible to the members of the away team. The old man considered the thought carefully, and then turned back towards Whitlam. "But I suppose you did come all this way, so you might as well stay for a while as our guests." His tone suggested that he was a bit reluctant to make the offer.

The sudden change to a more hospitable welcome wasn't what Whitlam was expecting. He eyed the man who had done the whispering for a moment, wondering what role he played in all this. But he was quick to take the opportunity; an offer to stay - even a reluctant one - was a foot in the door. "My officers and I would be pleased to accept your offer," he said genially. "Perhaps there's somewhere that you and I could speak?"

The sudden change made Melody's teeth itch. She fell into a casual parade rest, but she let her fingers do the talking. Two fingers, a single finger spun, and a fist. To anyone around, it would have looked like a simple flexing of the fingers, or idle nervous fidgeting. To her men, though, it read: Two eyes all around for combatants. Reyes and Winston fell into parade rest behind her, as noisily as possible with their gear so she'd know they understood. A pleased smile crossed her face that the administrator could take as his own, but it was for her men. She'd trained them well.

The administrator grumbled and gestured towards the building behind them. "We can talk in my office. Just make sure your people respect the rules of our security forces, and stay away from that building over there." He gestured towards a rather nondescript building on the edge of town. "You are guests, but that doesn't mean that you can go snooping around. Now, come with me."

"Thank you," Whitlam said with a polite nod. "I'll follow you." Before stepping off, he turned to his officers and said, "Mr Odegaard, you're with me. The rest of you ... you know what to do."

He then turned and followed the administrator, but as soon as he took a step something occurred to him. As they walked, he asked, "I'm afraid I didn't get your name, sir?"

"Olan," the man replied with some annoyance. On some level it seemed like this was all a big inconvenience to him to be answering such silly questions. Olan started off for the administration building, his escort right behind him.

Sam sighed loudly to herself as she stood still, looking around at the buildings as the Captain and the Administrator walked away. "I'm going to need a bigger tool kit," she grumbled, as she picked a building at random and started heading for it.

CAPT Julius Whitlam
Commanding Officer

LCDR Anders Odegaard
Chief Security/Tactical Officer

LT Alice Rhodes
Chief Operations Officer

LT Samantha Winters
Chief Engineer

LT Mikela Reyes
Chief Medical Officer

CAPT Melody Windsor
Marine CO

Olan [NPC by Drake]
Colony Administrator


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