Team 2 in Floria
Mission 3 - A Whole New World
Location: Marketplace of Floria
Timeline: 2168/08/10 1230
Floria looked bad from above but the stench of Floria, once everyone had walked to it, was worse. Smells of manure, sweat, and heat abounded. Gary noticed that many people had cloths or other objects over their open orifices. "Well," Gary said, trying not to gag. "Next time we bring more supplies. Did anyone think to bring some bandanas?"
Talia chuckled and pulled some out of her bag. Yes, she brought a bag, ready to get things, carry tools of hers, and look more like the adventurer she was in her heart. And in her past life before sitting on the Bridge of a Starfleet vessel.
Tying it easily around her mouth and nose, she was grateful for the scents she had kept in the depths of her rucksack. It smelled of home. And kept some of the odder smells at bay. Although being on a completely different planet and amongst the first humans ever to set foot on it, it set tingles of anticipation down her spine.
“Do either of you need help with those?” And she winked.
"I think that I can manage, Miss Flowers," Gary responded, half chuckling.
Jenn moved quietly with her hand resting firmly on her weapon. She moved her head to the side as if trying to avoid the smell like it was something moving at her from the front. She commented clearly displeased by the scent, "Next time we go to a world, lets make sure it doesn't smell like a Klingon's ass."
"Alright teams," Gary announced. "Be careful. You know your assignments. If you run into any problems, alert us on the communicator immediately."
He looked at Talia and Jennifer. "Talia, you're my translator. Let's try and find out everything that we can about the politics of this area, see if it matches with our guests. Bullock, you're our protection. Look out for anything that looks unusual. Keep your laser down unless there is a weapon pointed at us. Ready?"
A clear expression of displeasure was riding on Jennifer's face as she replied, "Yes sir."
Gary took no note of Jennifer's displeasure. He merely started moving down the center of what appeared to be a main street, strutting down the street like a man who had just lost his virginity. The main street seemed to contain goods that were traditionally marketable. Foodstuffs, clothing, and even tools appeared to be down the center street.
The beings that were here were quite colorful. Some were bipeds, others were tripeds, and there were even quadrupeds who had numerous arms. These beings spoke a variety of different languages but all seemed to understand each other with ease. "Flowers, what can you make of any of this?"
Talia looked around in awe and wonder. Beneath her mask, she had a smile a mile wide. But before she could answer the Captain’s question, she needed more information. Crouching to the ground, she pushed her fingers through it, feeling its texture.
“Gathering place,” she murmured, the fineness of the grain revealing many appendages having trodden on the dirt. She looked for markings that looked ceremonial or tribal; repeating patterns that might provide more information about the planet and the people.
There had to be technology here that allowed free communication between species. Around the planet? On the people?
“It looks like they understand each other. Shall we look around to see why?” Or find others of the species of their visitors... she knew she could understand them.
"Indeed," Gary responded. "While I'm not a language expert, they all seem to be speaking different languages." He headed to a stand outside one of the rickety buildings and instructed Talia, "Can you try and figure out how to communicate with this being, so we ask that question?"
The being in question was cloaked and from the parts that showed had scaly, brown skin. Its nails were elongated like daggers but they were yellowish in color.
Well, she knew a local language... or at least more local than theirs and stepped up to ask that very question. Politely, and with purpose.
Much to Talia's surprise the being responded before translating, "You might want to tell your leader to be more polite. After all, I understand you all quite well. How is it that you do not know of universal translators?"
Gary answered, "Because we do not have that technology."
The alien laughed and said, "That is the funniest thing that I have heard. Well, make your business known. Perhaps you wish to trade your female for one of these translators?"
Jenn quickly became angered by the suggestion she was property. She took a step forward and almost growled as she replied, "Try to 'acquire' me like that and you'll be dead before you hit the ground, stranger. You speak of manners and yet you have none."
Talia looked at Jennifer and then looked back at the being. She realized that life may have just taken a turn in this new place. Apparently people would have a price, just like everything else. And the barter system was still in full gear. She rummaged around in her bag, wondering what she might have to trade and pulled out one of her scent jars. When he didn’t react, she continued looking, pulling out an old ornate box she had found on a dig.
"No? Then what would you trade?"
Talia held it out as an offer, half-hoping the Trader might decline.
The Trader took a look at the box from his seat and asked in a curious but cautious tone, "What exactly is that?"
Talia was about to go into classification mode, ready to describe its dimensions, type of suspected origins, elements of construction and also the technologically dated estimate of its age. But she realized that none of that would be important to this being.
“Where I come from,” Talia began, leaning into her narrative. “This is a rarity.” She took a quick look around the stall and smiled. “Here?” She got closer, glad of her bandana as a sour scent fought with her own.
“It’s one of a kind.” Talia took a breath, seeing how her story was impacting her audience.
"You say these things," the being before her replied. "But what is it and what does it do? How do I know that what you say is true?"
“Does this Universal Translator work on the written language as well?” Talia asked. Because she had a card from the Museum with its information in full detail.
The being could not believe that these three people were so daft and ancient. How could any one of them be real? Certainly there was something more going on here. He did not want to get on the bad side of anyone, though. As politely as he could muster, he replied, "No. It only can translate what it 'hears.'"
“Like a Babel fish,” Talia said and quickly changed the subject. A 20th century author came up with such an idea and... why hadn’t they put it into practice?
Regardless of her inner musings, she wasn’t sure how she could prove such a claim without readings. Analysis was visual, no words required, so taking out her tricorder Talia scanned her item and waited for the readout to show.
Gary grinned at Talia and said, "Which proves that God does not exist."
Cooling off a bit Jenn commented, "Why would you say that, Captain. We don't know God didn't make all this as well. I mean, how often do parents tell children everything they have done before or even after they have children?"
"You haven't read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, have you, Bullock?" Gary replied with a voice that implied that Jenn should be pitied.
"No, was that something that was required reading in one of the Starfleet Academy classes?" Jenn asked.
"No, it was a comedic 20th century author named Douglas Adams that wrote a series of books and the first was called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.' See if it is in the computer catalog when we get back. Nice light, fun reading," Gary told Jenn.
While the two of them bantered or bickered back and forth, Talia had managed to get a proper reading regarding the item. "Here," she said to the merchant, who was also privy to their conversation. "I've got the information confirming it here." She handed the tricorder to him, the strap still attached to her arm. "This is NOT for trade," she said tugging on the strap. "And neither am I." She thought adding the last bit, especially being attached to the equipment, was a good clarification.
While handing the universal translator to Talia, the creature told Talia, "I do not think that you could be sold, if purchased."
Before anyone could ask for an explanation, there was a large set of explosions that came from the direction that the first away team headed. Beings started scattering in every direction. Shops closed their doors. Panic was everywhere.
Gary took charge. "Let's go see what that was about. Bullock, watch our asses!" He started running in the direction where he saw dirt and debris fly upwards.
"Is it a deal or not?" Talia yelled out at the creature. Yes, debris and explosions, but this Universal Translator? What an amazing bit of machinery! It was like her in a little technological marvel! Who the hell wouldn't want that?
Although she was pretty certain that it was every single being at this market place. Her eyes were wide and very determined. "The faster we trade, the faster I let you get under cover!"
Talia leaned in close. "Well?" Something within her... a darkness, a force... her own passion for language and its mysterious flow... She was not leaving without it. She could catch up to the others in a moment after this vital transaction...
"It is a deal." The merchant took the box and handed Talia the universal translator. He then ducked under cover as Gary replied, "Bullock, Flowers, let's get to that explosion, now!"
Pushing the newly acquired precious cargo into the bottom of her bag, Talia nodded briefly at the Captain. "Aye," she responded out of instinct and took off running towards the debris.