Haumea Colony

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The Chemistry of Legal Science

Posted on Sun Aug 9th, 2020 @ 7:19pm by Captain Luka Mahone & Jason Bray & Lieutenant Commander Jott Brott & Caithlin t'Leiya

2,292 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: Equivalent Exchange
Location: Conference Room #5, Command Center
Timeline: MD 05 : 1500 Hrs

Luka made no secret of his apprehension at the idea of Jott meeting Jason Bray, head of the Bray Family Foundation. He went so far as to schedule the meeting of the pair during the same day as the luncheon, on the hopes that both he and his Chief Scientist would be satiated enough for what he expected was going to be a normal meeting.

He stood toward the end of one of their various meeting rooms, awaiting the arrival of Jason, with his trusty pup Lugh seated in one corner of the room. "Mr. Bray hasn't exactly been clear on what he wants to speak with us about, but I don't expect more than a greeting and some pleasantries," he reflected aloud, gazing out the window at the clear view of the bustling shuttleport. "He did express quite an interest in working with such an accomplished Starfleet scientist, Commander. He may have read your books."

"May have?" Jott asked, lifting an eyebrow. "Did you know that Jumping Into the Shadows: Dark Matter & Dark Energy at the Edge of the Universe is required reading for Daystrom Institute fellows studying, uh, astrophysics? I should hope - I should really very much hope - that he's read at least one of my books. And if he hasn't, I'll put together a reading list. I don't know what sort of man heading up a scientific foundation wouldn't have at least perused them at a bare minimum."

"Commander..." Luka shot a pained look in the Bolian's direction. "I'm not as familiar with your - or any scientist's - endeavors into the archaeological and astrophysical, but I'm pretty sure Jason is a little more well-read in than you're giving him credit for. Maybe we should meet him first before we make such wide-sweeping... uhm... judgments?"

"I make hypotheses, not judgments," Jott said a little defensively.

The door swished open abruptly, causing Luka to jump straight from his conversation with Brott and to the new arrivals. The first to arrive was a steely-haired human man, clad in a pair of finely-pressed slacks and an icy-blue jacket, the Bray Foundation logo embroidered on the shoulder. "Sorry we're late," Jason explained, though his tone gave way to how apologetic he was not, "I had to make sure I brought Caithlin with me. She's been helping us with a few legal matters. Not to worry, Captain, nothing major. I just wanted you two to meet up and - ah, right. Introductions. I'm Jason Bray, it's great to formally meet you both, and this - " he stepped to one side, "Is Caithlin T'Leiya, our current legal consultant in all matters involving the Colony."

Caithlin, for her part, was clad not in a suit or uniform, but a flowing set of silk robes. She made no moves to shake hands with anyone, but instead gave a measured little bow of her head to Luka, and then Brott. "Captain. Commander."

It was Luka who, while still standing and maneuvering around the table, who made the first move, bowing his head in a similarly respectful fashion toward Caithlin. He was silent for a tick, before offering her a warm smile, "A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I didn't realize we were going to host more than Mr. Bray." And it was then that Luka decided to address both, taking a small step back and gesturing toward the seats. "Please, I'm sure we've plenty to discuss. I hope the ride in went well, no issues?"

Jason simply grinned, before picking out a seat across from Brott. "Of course not, Captain. I will admit, I've spent too much time reviewing my copy of The Colonial Front to notice too much trouble, but I'm sure I'd be told."

"Only the usual variety." Caithlin said, folding gracefully into a seat.

He'd been about to ask why they needed a legal consultant, but Jott was pulled predictably off course by the mention of one of his books. "You know, I'm very pleased you've read the book. What chapter was your favorite? Nevermind. Nevermind, everyone always says chapter four. And I agree. It is indisputably the best one. But the book itself - how did you find it? Useful to the development of colonial enterprises, right?"

"It is, yes." Caithlin nodded ever so slightly. "Though, I must say I consider chapter seven to be superior to four."

Jott swiveled his head and looked at her with the sudden astonishment of someone just bludgeoned by a duraniun support beam. "Seven over four? Well... Well, I... Hm. I'd never considered that. Seven is so much more technical. I guess that makes it more practical. Are you a practical person, Ms. T'Leiya?"

"I suppose it depends on the definition of the term. I find some cultures define 'practical' as such that it precludes that such a person could also be strategic and imaginative; while others have the vision to admit that such can coexist. So in the second sense then, yes. It is not so much practicality that leads me to recommend seven over four, however, but adaptability. The techniques and concerns and solutions discussed within could be applied widely; whereas four is quite clearly tilted towards, assumes and extols, and useful only within a...certain cultural framework and its associated set of social and ethical opinions." Here, there was a sharp yet not-hostile grin at the end of Caithlin's words--as if she were well aware she was stating her preference for the set she had been raised with rather than the Federation set assumed in the fourth chapter...but also that she was comfortable enough with both herself and her movement among such to poke fun at it all; humor directed at herself and her Federation hosts alike.

Jason held his arms against his chest, giving Brott a sly smirk. "We debate at length on the various schools of thought in the creation, governing, and prosperity of colonies in our spare time. Though I'm sure we'll have multiple spare moments when we establish our Foundation's own central building upon this colony."

At this, Luka leaned forward in the seat he had taken as the moment transpired. "I was hoping we'd discuss that before we dove too far into academic debate." The Captain did not want to admit he had yet to get through any chapter, let alone four... or nine. "I wanted to make sure everyone was clear on intention in regards to-"

"Yes yes, my daughter has told me about the hubbub that as occurred with the shuttle." Jason waved a hand. "I'm fortunate enough to have T'Leiya with me. We've been discussing at length how to get any information that Starfleet Intelligence has gained on the shuttle - if any at all."

"Shouldn't you be doing that?" Jott asked bluntly as he turned to Luka, basically throwing the captain under the bus.

Luka sputtered. It was the only reaction he could manage to keep himself from giving his Chief Scientist any sort of expression that gave away the nervousness that sprang up. Or annoyance, which was an emotion he found himself feeling more and more lately... "Yes, well," he paused, eyes to the ceiling as he gathered his thoughts before bringing his gaze back down to the group. "I had a team of my own, but we've had a number of other matters that required more pressing attention..."

Caithlin seemed to settle into the background and yet not; in a way that implied she had a great deal of experience and training at letting such exchanges between others play out while avoiding entanglement yet remaining alert and aware of the situation at hand.

"Did you file an information request," Jott began, looking first at Caithlin and then at Bray, "or are you going to other lengths to obtain the data? They're notoriously... I don't know what to call it. Difficult? Obstructive?" He paused, then finally said, "They don't like to share."

"No," Jason agreed, "They do not. This isn't the first time I've had to deal with Starfleet Intelligence, and I expect it won't be the last, not with their sights on Haumea." He looked to Caithlin. "We did make an informal, formal, and then all other sorts of requests in the polite manner before we decided to dig into the finer aspects of the Federation law surrounding archaeological finds. Daystrom gave us a roundabout - as expected once we mentioned 'Intelligence,' so we've had to dig... quite deep. Turns out what we're trying to determine is whether that shuttle had anything harmful on it or not. If we can get a report that states the shuttle had no harmful materials or information upon it, then... well... It's likely we can have our data. The findings, while partially accredited to Starfleet and thus SFI has jurisdiction at what they believe is their will, were also partially civilian and therefore the legal gray matter is... wider."

"Assuming of course we believe we can trust anything we might be provided with should we succeed in forcing their hand in court." The simple ease with which Caithlin implied that she assumed SFI would either fail to fully provide or outright forge or damage anything they were forced to provide under such means was rather more blatant than usually encountered in a native born Federation lawyer; lacking any sort of effects of having been conditioned to expect the fleet - or intelligence agencies in general - to play by even the rules that they had sworn by.

"Mm. Which means," Jason concluded, "That regardless of what the result is, we have no way of proving validity." His eyes rested on Luka, who appeared to be attentive. Mostly. "Except, of course, if there was a way a few orders on the classified nature of the shuttle's findings were lifted. You don't happen to remember placing any orders like that yourself, do you Captain?"

"Hm?" Luka perked upright. "... Oh." Then his shoulders sagged. "... No, I can't recall placing an order like that. That sounds like something that would impede the process, and I don't recall wanting to impede the process."

"No no, of course not," replied Jason dismissively, before returning his gaze to Brott. "... But maybe you have a little insight into this whole process that we may not. I believe with your reputation in Starfleet, mine in the Federation, and Caithlin's legal expertise, we could uncover something that not even SFI can take away from us."

Jott seemed startled when he realized they were addressing him, almost like he hadn't been entirely present. "Oh, me? Well. I suppose I could make a few inquiries within Starfleet. I'm not sure how much I could help, though. The archaeological community, the scientific community, Starfleet Command..." The more he talked, the more he seemed to be convincing himself of his own value.

Jason laughed. "We'll need someone to help us tackle through all that. The Captain here is busy enough, and if we're going to work together, Commander Brott, we should all be able to pool our resources to make sure the pursuit of knowledge is unfettered. Or as unfettered as possible, one would assume. I'm sure SFI isn't the only institution willing to dip their hands into whatever we discover, but if they're our current hurdle..." he trailed off, conspiratorially looking toward the Bolian.

"Will, uh... Will you be taking the lead on this?" Jott asked, looking at Jason. Then pretty quickly, he swiveled his big head to stare at the captain. "Who's in charge of the shuttle team?"

"Wha-" Luka had a sinking suspicion that putting all three of them in a room was quite possibly not one of his better ideas. But, at least he could somewhat safely answer that question. "Lieutenant Commander Bray," he stated. "Your predecessor was going to take over for her when we obtained the shuttle, but he had to remove himself for other reasons, so she just leapt right in."

"As long as there are decent records, we should have more than enough to file some initial motions regardless." Caithlin said. "Mind you, once we do, you tip your hand to Intelligence; and their interest, perhaps, as to whomever backs such a petition. Consider that, when deciding who to involve in such proceedings."

Luka leaned over to Caithlin, getting a good look at the Romulan lawyer sitting across from him. Not that there was much for him to gather in such a visual glance, but the attempt was there. Sitting upright, he gave a shake of his head. "I don't doubt Intelligence had their reasons - however vague - for their actions. But, even for the pursuit of science, is that something you want to pursue?"

Jott blinked hard, taking the question to be largely rhetorical. Did a science officer want to science? Certainly, at all times. He thought his silence was enough of a statement, so he turned to look at his civilian colleagues for their thoughts.

Jason gave a nod in agreement. "If the likes of the boys in silver have even you hesitant, Captain, then that means their actions are meant to discourage you. With the right funding, the right experts, and the right amount of time, I have no doubt we'll be able to determine exactly what we need in order to further advance the colony's well-being and strengthen relations between Starfleet and your Colony's civilian leadership."

Luka rested his hands against the table, shifting in his seat. One false step and it could have ended with him in the spotlight. "... Then I won't let you do it alone. Just... give me time to gather resources."


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