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The Industrial Area

Posted on Wed Apr 15th, 2020 @ 12:00am by Captain Kelly O'Connor & Lieutenant JG Brian Pendragon & Lieutenant JG Cara Ross

Mission: Mission 7 - Aenerth for an Earth
Location: Aenerthan Industry
Timeline: 2296/02/21 - 1100

Pandit Joanna Manalu, the five foot six caramel skinned woman, all business like took Brian and Cara with her. She talked rapidly and her words seemed to run on without much of a break for air. "NowtodaywewillbevisitingourindustrialareaandIseemtorecallhearingthatoneofyouisanengineer,yes?" She looked for acknowledgment.

Cara was not a linguist, not in the way the ships first officer was, and she had no idea if Mr. Pendragon could follow their guide any better than she could. Add to the complications was the fact that Cara's own accent wasn't exactly light. But at least she enunciated the pauses between words as she replied - once she'd had enough time to parse what Ms. Manalu had said in any case. "Ah think ye need Lieutenant Pendragon for that. He's th' engineer,, ma'am."

"...Yes," Brian replied simply. Their tour guides speed of speech was leaving him a few seconds adrift, trying to reconstitute the meaning as his comprehension gradually caught up. It reminded him of one of his friends from the Academy who seemed to live on a diet of barely borderline legal stimulants. After a few months in his company, Brian had managed to get an ear for it, although he didn't expect to have that long to adapt to this woman.

"Well,todayyoushallseeourfinestproductionswhereourstarshipsarecreated. Ihearthatiswhatyouwouldliketosee, yes?" Again, the woman looked expectantly at the two America officers.

"...Yes... Please." Brian hoped she didn't take the slowness of his response as some kind of insult.

This time Ross decided she'd let her fellow officer take the lead. This was more his area of focus - she was curious about how they dealt with the environmental fall out from the factories more so than the factories themselves.

"Can I just ask..." Brian marshalled his thoughts and took a deep breath before launching. "Isthisfacilityforthemanufactureoftheexternalsuperstructuretheinternalsystemsorboth?" He blinked several times, breathing heavily, trying to recover from his attempt to get anywhere near her speed.

Very pleased with Brian, the woman responded, "Theexternalsuperstructureishandledinspacesothisiswheretheinternalsystemsarecreated.Infact,theinternalcomputerismadeinthefirstchamberthatwewillbeheadingintoanditmightbeadvisabletoputonamaskwhenwegoin.Itwillprotectyoufromtheharmfulchemicalsthatareusedinthesterilizationproceduresandanyparticlesthatmightbefloatingabout."

I dinnea think they took this kind of challenge into account in our Academy training, the young Caldosean decided, plastering a smile on her face. "I assume we'll be gettin' the masks once we enter?" She wasn't too keen on the idea of any kind of harmful chemicals, and whatever was entailed in the sterilization process didn't sound much fun at all.

"Sinceyouareforeigntoourplanet,wedidnotknowwhetheryouwouldbringyourown.Therefore,wehavetwocomplimentarymasksforyou,freshoutofthepackages.Pleasetakethemandputthemonsowemayproceed." She held out her hands and in each one was a mask that she offered to both Brian and Cara.

"Thankyou," Brian replied, taking a mask. As politely as he could manage, he gave it a quick scan with his tricorder to assess what quality the filtering would provide and then then tried one on. He turned to Cara. "What do you reckon? Is it a good enough fit?"

The need for masks did worry her quite a bit as she turned it over in her hands a few times. Then, with a shrug, she slipped it into place and worked her jaw from side to side. "Fits well enough." She turned to Manaul and gave a small nod. "Thank you for the consideration,"

Once the masks were situation and Brian and Cara indicated that they were ready to proceed, Pandit Manalu took them through a door with no windows. Even through the masks, Brian and Cara could smell the metallic and sulphuric scents in the air. The followed a short corridor that led them into a large open area. Noticeably missing were any guard rails or boundaries between operating machinery.

Brian trod carefully. The apparent lack of emphasis on health and safety was a concern. He cast an eye around, checking for any signs of fire detection and suppression systems or signboards that might carry warnings or reminders.

There did seem to be fire suppression systems. However, what was noticeable was that the systems seemed to be aimed to protect the machines. In the hallway, there were no sprinkler systems, only some sort of fire extinguisher on the wall. Nowhere could Brian see any exit signs or directions on what to do in the event of fire or other disaster.

Cara hadn't quite put that together yet herself. Her gaze kept being drawn up and up, searching along the ceiling, looking for something, but not able to say what.

"Thisareahereiswheretheinternalcomputersaremadeforallofourwarpdriveships.Theinternalcomputersarecapableofcontrollingandentirefiftypersonshipwithoutanystrainonnecessarylifesupportsystems.Wehopetohaveituptoonehundredbytheendoftheyearbutweseemtohavesomeglitcheswithpowerreachingthemostexternalareasoflargerships."

Her tricorder was out now, quietly humming away, recording their trek as it was cradled in Cara's hands. Her head was on a swivel, taking in everything that she could find. "This is all rather impressive," she said politely.

"Thankyou,butwhatdoyouthinkyouaredoing?Itisimpolitetorecordindustrialsecrets,don'tyouthink?" There was a pendantic tone to the Pandit's voice.

Blinking a few times, Cara glanced down at her tricoder, and then over at the guide. "Industrial secrets?" She asked, surprised, and looked to her fellow Lieutenant. "I dinnae mean to give offense, but I'd been told we'd be allowed to observe unfettered. Perhaps I misunderstood?"

"Iam, uh, unceratain." she replied slowly, demonstrating her confusion. "ThoughIamtoldthatyouhavefarsuperiortechnologies.Itmaybealright.PerhapsIshouldmakeacall.PleasecomewithmeandIwillcheck."

"Thankyou," Brian replied. At least she was going to ask rather than barring them outright, plus if she was taking them to an office, that might be interesting itself - what facilities and oversight would the management have?

The walk to the office was not long. However, as they came closer to the management office, one thing was noticeable. The air quality seemed to clear. There were noisy vents that seemed to clear the air. The door to the Pandit's office had a name plate on it, that sparkled. Before the office was an open area with a female receptionist who was busy on some sort of communication devices. She gave a wave to the Pandit as the two StarFleet officers followed.

Inside the office were video screens. Several referred to productivity and today's were obviously down. The Pandit tsked at that. "Isuspectwearedowntodaybecauseofyourvisit.Iwillhavetoincreasetheshiftsandspeedofthemachinerytonightandtomorrow." She then headed to some sort of communication device, tapped a few buttons and asked, "Areallareaspermittedtobeseenbyourguests." A short, "Yes," was returned. She then bowed deeply and apologized. "Iappeartohavebeeninerror.Whatwouldyouliketoseefirst?"

At that moment, a blood curdling scream was heard from outside the doors.

"What the...?" Brian tailed off

Cara had been about to ask for more details about why they would have to push into the night, and why the air was better here than on the floor, but that died in her throat as her eyes went wide. Her red hair whipped around as she turned in the direction of the scream. "I think that's the first thing we need to go see. What or who was that?"

The Pandit shrugged and walked out nonchalantly. A few people had gathered around one person who was bleeding profusely from the wrist. From first glances, Cara and Brian could see that the individual's hand had been severed. The Pandit said, "Wewillhavetogethimtoahospital.ShallIcontactone,then?"

The bleeding worker responded, "No! No! I can still work. I can take care of this later. I need...."

Before any further words could be spoken, the worker passed out. She turned to a person with a clipboard and said, "Makesurethatyoumarkhistimeoutasofthemomentthatheistransportedtothehospital."

The person holding the clipboard said, "Yes, Pandit." He then pulled out some sort of communication device and shortly thereafter, the hand and and the worker were transported away.

"Now,whatwouldyouliketoseefirst?" the Pandit again asked Cara and Brian.

"Is he going to be alright?" Cara asked instead, noted concern in her voice. The man had seemed almost insistent that he remain and continue working, even as he dropped to the floor.

"Idonotknow," the Pandit responded nonchalantly. "Thatissomethingforthedoctorstosortout,no? So,wheredidyouwanttostartthetour?"

"No," Brian replied curtly. He deliberately paused before launching into his next sentence. "FirstIwanttoknowwhycallingahospitalwasevenaquestionandnotanimmediateaction..." he broke off, taking another breath before continuing, "andthenIwanttoknowwhyhewasworriedaboutstoppingworking - whataretheconsequencesofstopping?"

He collapsed against the doorway, gasping. Any follow-up questions would need to be Cara's until he got his breath back.

The Pandit looked at Brian, as if he had two heads. "Doyouneedtogotothehospital?Wecanhaveitsummonedifyouneedit."

"Nay," Cara said, resting a hand upon the other Lieutenants back. "Easy there. Ye'll talk yerself right into hyperventalatin'" her accent was coming on a bit heavier now, as she turned back to their guide. "Wedinnaetalkasfast as ye," she tried, slowing down at the end anyways, despite her effort.

"Thanks... I'm fine," Brian reassured them. "I just... yeah, I probably should have done a bit more breathing there."

Once it became clear that the visitors would not need medical aid, the Pandit explained to Brian, as one might explain something obvious to a child, "Itisamatterofchoiceforanyonetogotothedoctor.SomeAenerthansdonotsavetheirmoneywell.Sowhenanunexpectedexpensesuchasmedicalneedscomesup,theychoosetogowithout.Afterall,doctorsneedtogetpaid,too.And,ofcourse,whenheisnotworking,heisnotgettingpaid.Whywouldanyonepayforservicesthatwerenotgoingtoberendered."

That didn't sit well with Cara. Carefully, she took a breath and gave it another shot. "Inoursocietymedicalcareisarightofallcitizens. Yegethurt-yegetattention. Societybearsanycostasawhole."

"Thenhowisitvalued?" the Pandit asked Cara as if she from another galaxy. "Somewouldinevitablyusemorethanothersandthatisnotfairtotherest."

"Whenyecanprovidethecareforany, yehaveamoralobligcationtodoso" Cara countered, feeling a might bit breathless at this point. Talking that fast was doing a number on her. "Thevalueisingivingthecare. Wecancareforeveryone, sowedo."

"Youcannotgetpaidjustoncaring."

"Onceweinventedcheapmatterreplication," Brian paused for occasional breaths this time, "wepassedbeyondneedingmoney. Ifyoucanmakeaworkofartoramedicalinstrumentoragourmetmealforlittletonocost... thevalueisnolongerinhowmuchitcostsbutinwhatitmeanstoyou... Allbasicneedsaremetforallpeople... therestisvoluntary."

"Howdoyoumakeasocietyfunctionwithoutmoney?What'stheincentivetodoanything?Peoplecouldjustbecomplacentandnonproductive.Seemslikeasillywaytotryandgetthingstodonebutifitworksforyou,congratulations."

Shooting her fellow officer a grateful look, Cara turned to their guide and shrugged a bit. "Weworktobetterourselves," she said, as if that explained everything.

"Maybeyoudobuttherearelayaboutseverywhere.Whyshouldtheybetreatedthesame?"

The line of questioning made Cara feel quite uncomfortable. Not so much because she found herself defending the principles of the Federation, but by what it said about Aenerthian culture. She wasn't sure she liked it very much. Not at all. She was learning much now, but not what she'd been looking for. Still, a question asked deserved an answer and she took a deep breath, gilded herself, and said simply, "Becauseeverylife, everypersonhasinherintvalue. Regardlessofcapabilityorwealthorbirthorfamily. Alllifeisvalueableintrinsically."

"Ifitisutilized," the Pandit replied simply. "So,arewereadytocontinuetouring?"

Having seemingly reached a cultural impass Cara turned to look over at Brian and gave a bit of a shrug, as if to say 'what else is there to do?'. Toward the Pandit, she replied, "Yesplease." And then took another long, slow breath, willing to shut up for a bit and recover from the awkward speech pattern she had been forced to adopt.

Much more comfortable with this topic, the Pandit led them throughout the factory. She was proud of the achievements here and her even more rapid speech pattern indicated it. However, the technology was inferior to the Federations, at least a hundred years behind....

 

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