NCC - 86105
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Dinner Finery

Posted on Wed Aug 10th, 2011 @ 1:47pm by Captain Benjamin Byrne & Provisional Lieutenant Commander Narayn Ballard & Lieutenant JG Dylan Tyler & Lieutenant JG Elizabeth Jones & Ensign Evelyn Sol & Ambassador Grintol S'Reln [NPC] & Arthur Schniedt [NPC]

Mission: Kingdom Come
Location: Nevarran Palace
Timeline: MD09 2000hrs

As the blue energised shimmer of the transporters faded away, the ship's crew found themselves once again within the Palace on Nevarra Prime, greeted by S'Reln, Schniedt and Bann Finn, each of them dressed in the formal dress of their home world.

"Captain, ladies, gentlemen," Finn said, nodding in turn to Byrne, and then to the rest of the party. "If you'll come with me, we'll get the pleasantries out of the way." It was clear that Finn had the same disdain for 'the pleasantries' as most people did, but at the same time he recognised the importance of following them through - at least from his culture's perspective.

Finn led the Starfleet officers and the negotiators through to a ornate corridor-like chamber - though it was about three times as wide as any corridor found on the Endeavour. Lined along one wall, were a collection of nobles, who had obviously been gathered to meet them all. Byrne and his officers were led down the line, being introduced to each in turn before a brief shake of hands with each. Amongst their numbers were Teyrns Drust, Aoelstan, Hulderic and Teyrna Rosheen, of the Teyrns of Barrifind, Fionnlagh Gautstafyre and Madailein, respectively. Arl Wallace was also introduced to them, of the Arling of Bydel, and so was Arl Ansgar Finn, elder brother to Edan, and of the Arling of Estermill. Byrne knew that there was some form of hierarchy to the nobility - the Teyrns were roughly equivalent to the old British hereditary Lords or Dukes, the Arls a rough analogy to Earls, and Banns analogous to Barons - likely the name similarities in the latter two were the effect of the universal translator finding a close similarity between them.

"Teyrns Drust and Hulderic are two of the more outspoken members of the Witenagemot who are against establishing trading agreements and closer ties with external powers," Finn explained quietly to the Captain as they moved along the line. "Arl Wallace too, though he doesn't hold as much sway as the Teyrns."

Dylan made a mental note to keep an eye on these nobles. He turned and looked at Evelyn, "Are you able to read thoughts from a distance, Counselor?"

"My telepathy has close range limits. In an emergency scenario with great focus I have been able to extend them. Why do you ask Lieutenant?" she asked with genuine curiosity. Most people who don't possess telepathy never seem to realize how much needless information one picks up from the minds of others. Though Evelyn was an accomplished telepath she rarely used the ability. She had a keen sense of privacy and seldom delved into someone else's thoughts without permission.

Dylan smiled politely and nodded at a couple of the nobles as they passed by them. "Just thought it might be handy, you never know what you might be able to prevent with a little...warning," Dylan said as he and Evelyn reached the table. He pulled out her chair for her, once seated he took a seat next to her.

Liz couldn't help but feel the political tension in the room, she could sense whom did not like whom, and decided if she had the choice she would sit by Arl Ansgar Finn, who was mostly thinking about his tinkerings, Politics she didn't understand, tech she did.

Ballard overheard the words of Bann Finn as they stepped along the line of dignitaries. His arm was beginning to get tired and felt as if it might fall off at any moment. The last thing he needed was to shake the hand of someone who might want to pull it off.

Eventually, the officers were led into an extremely large banquet hall. There were three enormous rows of tables, headed by one length of tables which ran perpendicular to the rest - obviously the King's table, due to the large, ornate chair at the centre of it. The tables were all already laid out, and the vast majority of the room's occupants were already at their seats as the higher nobility and the Starfleet compliment filed in. The entrance to the chamber was at the opposite end of the rows of tables to the King's table, where Bann Finn informed Byrne that they would be sitting - on the King's right hand side, whilst the higher nobility sat on the left. As the officers made their way along the rows of tables to theirs at the end, the entire room's occupancy stood and applauded them, making the whole group feel rather embarrassed.

"You won't get this kind of reception on most away missions," Byrne commented dryly to his staff.

As the officers took their seats, King Tasgall stood to make a pre-prepared speech, followed by another speech spoken by Grintol, before the first course of the banquet was brought out.

"A very nice speech, Your Majesty," Benjamin commented, as he leant away from the table as the servers brought his dish in to place in front of him. Though he hadn't paid attention to every word of it, he understood its message; that it was time for Nevarra to start making friends in the galaxy that it had ignored for so long, and that the trade negotiations with the Federation were the first step in achieving that goal. "Though from what I hear, not a message that all of your people are so willing to embrace."

"That is true, my dear Captain," the Nevarran monarch responded, as he reached over his plate to pick up one of the dining cloths to place over his lap. "However, as I'm certain is true in the rest of the Federation, when one allows freedom to speak as one wishes, it impossible to appease everyone." He paused as he took a sip of his drink. "I believe that this is the right course of action for us now - whatever caused us to seclude ourselves in centuries past has clearly gone now, and we would be weakened if we made no friends amongst our neighbours now that we are once again being noticed by the galaxy about us. My people may not always agree with my reasons or my actions, but they trust that I know what is best for Nevarra as a whole, as they have done since my family first arose to the throne."

Byrne nodded and looked around the table at the mixture of excitement and suspicion on the faces of his crew. It had nothing to do with the company, however, many seemed suspicious of the food. Many of the local vegetables seemed to look exactly like many familiar root vegetables of earth but didn't share the taste. It was sometimes difficult to ally the brain with the eye.

"So," Ballard said as he noticed Teryn Drust staring at him across the table, "get a lot of traders out this way?"

"No, Provisional Lieutenant Commander," Drust replied curtly, "we are an insular society and that has seen us through well in the past."

This guy had done his research, Narayn's overwhelming urge to fiddle with the lozenge shaped rank insignia was only abated by looking down at something which resembled a parsnip. "Yeah, I suppose so. Tell me though, I recognise a lot of these vegetables. They look almost identical to ones we have on earth, why do they taste so different?"

Drust shot a glare across the banquet that could have smashed crockery. "I don't know, Provisional Lieutenant Commander. I am not a farmer."

Christ, Narayn thought as he put his fork into his mouth, tough crowd

Arl Wallace seemed to take pity on the Endeavour's Executive Officer. "I think what Teryn Drust is trying to say is that many of the nobility are not educated in the same way as many of our people. However, in answer to your question, it has to do with the chemical construction of the soil which our root vegetables grow in. It alters the flavour and- in some cases- the texture." He motioned toward what seemed to be a heaping plate of olives. "Even tree-grown food tastes different as a result. I guarantee you will have never tasted an olive quite like that."

Ballard leant forward towards the plate. He hated olives. Always had. The texture, the saltiness and the hideous pimento substance that they were invariably stuffed with. In saying that though, the Arl had been kind to him. He picked one up and eyed it suspiciously before putting it in his mouth. Arl Wallace hadn't been lying. It was a sensation quite unlike anything he had ever experienced. The texture was ever so slightly different and the taste was morphed into a multi-layered sensory overload.

The only response he could muster was a muttered, "wow."

Dylan was trying to grow accustomed to the food when he noticed one of the nobles staring at him. It was not one who were opposed to the trade agreements, but the man kept staring at Dylan. Dylan leaned toward Evelyn and spoke as quietly as he could, "What is he staring at?"

Liz quickly found Arl Ansgar Finn and sat by him at the table "Hello, my name is Lt Jones, chief engineer, I would love to sit by you." The man was gracious and accepted her request; in truth he was excited about having an engineer as a dining companion. He tried to be proper about it, but one did not have to be telepathic to see his excitement.

The two dining companions got past the pleasantries quickly and on to more specific discussions "You see, none of us who are associated this close to the king are able to officially declare ourselves a class, however I do putter around with various technology. You see I was the one who boosted our transmitter to reach your federation" Said Arl Ansgar.

"You seem to have very impressive industrial capacities, is it global or local?" Liz asked since she had already answered questions about federation engineering.

"Our industry is largely localised. A lot of our land is arable farm land. With the lack of traders coming through the system, we rarely have the opportunity to import any goods. The government puts a high priority on ensuring that we always have a surplus of food." He responded.

Benjamin turned towards Teryn Aoelstan. "If you don't mind my asking, why did your people close themselves off all those years ago?"

"We do not know, in all honesty," the Teryn began as though he had been expecting the question since the moment he was born, "records surrounding that time period are very scarce, and imprecise where there are any. To some historians it seems as though there was a period where no records were made, or at least the infrastructure where that period's recent records were kept has been lost for much of the last two hundred years. It is one of the mysteries of our ancestors."

The King looked down the table before interjecting. "I suppose you're wondering why we feel that the time is right now?"

"The thought had crossed my mind, your Majesty."

"Besides the obvious, a need for integration and a desire by generations to feel as though they have the option to leave this place, we feel that our culture is stagnating. Hundreds of years in and we can only achieve so much. We like to think that we are an enlightened people with something to offer the galaxy beyond just wonderful hospitality. To do that though, we have to be open to interaction and trade with other races and cultures."

Dylan looked over at the monarch with an inquisitory look. "Your Majesty, I know that your records are not complete but surely you have theories as to why your people would isolate themselves. And to that effect, if the records themselves that you do have do not state it why are there those opposed to it?" Dylan's mouth had indeed run amuck. It was not rude, per say, but the tone of his words probably would boil the blood of a few Nevarran purists in the room.

Glances were fired in the direction of the young security chief but the King laid out a hand and calmed any building animosity. "You're quite right, Lieutenant. There are a number of theories on why our borders were closed but there is very little proof to back up any such claims. One suggestion is that a trading vessel brought a disease to our lands and the government enforced a quarantine but there is no real way of knowing without... well... time travel." He said with a chuckle.

Dylan swallowed a lump that had formed in his throat immediately after he made his response. He turned and looked at Evelyn and whispered, "Don't let me speak again," Dylan stuffed what he thought would be a sweet roll in his mouth and found it very bland and...tough to chew. He was thankful.

"So why would there be hostility to reopening for trade if these historical factors are no longer in play?" Byrne asked tentatively. He didn't want to put too much pressure on the opponents of the idea who sat at the table. There would be nothing to stop them butting in.

The King gave a hearty laugh which seemed to come from well below his chair. "My dear Captain. Some people are of the distinct impression that just because something was a good idea hundreds of years ago that it is automatically wisdom that should be followed today. This isn't the case- at least, not in the opinion of my government."

Teryn Drust and Arl Wallace both were grudgingly silent during this exchange, though Teryn Hulderic almost glared at his sovereign. It was clear to all that he strongly disagreed with the King's comments regarding the ending of two hundred years worth of isolation, but seemed to have enough respect for the King's title, if nothing else, in order to keep his mouth shut around visitors. That didn't stop him looking as if he was about to burst and spew forth contradictions, however.

"Ah, and at last, the final course!" The King said, clearly proud as the chefs moved out after everybody had finished their main courses with plates piled with a variety of deserts. "Don't get me wrong, Captain, whilst we Nevarrans do have more to offer the Galaxy as a people, we are very proud of the cuisine our culture has concocted. I can guarantee that you won't find a better tasting desert anywhere within fifty lightyears."

Dylan looked at the dessert with mixed feelings. It was a layered dessert that was composed of a cake bottom with a creme almost mirenge middle. It appeared to be gelatinous on top which, to Dylan, brought a great memory of jello cups that his mother used to make from scratch. On the other...well, considering the food of the meal, he was afraid the item might turn him off of jello forever. However, considering his blunder earlier in the dinner, he decided to take the plunge. As he took a bite, the tart came to his mouth first before the mirenge had a chance. It woke up his taste buds like a sour candy would. "That wakes your mouth up, now doesn't it?"

Captain Benjamin J. Byrne
Commanding Officer

P. Lt. Commander Narayn Ballard
First Officer

Lieutenant JG Dylan Tyler
Chief of Security

Lieutenant JG Elizabeth Jones
Chief Engineer

Ensign Evelyn Sol
Chief Counsellor
USS Endeavour


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