Haumea Colony

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

Previous Next

Old Games, New Players

Posted on Wed Nov 29th, 2023 @ 11:55pm by Caithlin t'Leiya & Lieutenant Commander Sofia Nikedoros

1,949 words; about a 10 minute read

Mission: Pressure

Caithlin had a wide variety of outfits; from full formal robes and more casual daily incarnations of such, to silk tunics or tailored jackets and pants and the like which were classic expressions of formal, professional, or casual wear for a well-heeled Romulan, or a more modern take that hinted at such with some Earth influence in it. The crisp grey suit and white blouse she had on at the moment, however - her choice for the earlier meeting with the council and the video she had recorded prior with the Colonel for the press release - could have been worn perhaps by nearly any human attorney; and given who was wearing it, had possibly been deliberately chosen for this situation for exactly that quality.

"Well. The broadcast should just be finishing; so the first calls to the hotline listed in the announcement should start coming in any moment now." Caithlin paused for a moment in the otherwise serious tone and half-smirked briefly with a sigh to Sofia, the only other person in the room the pair had commandeered in the colony's small city hall/community center. "I somewhat pity whatever clerk has been assigned to answer them; as if my nieces are any indication, at least a few of them will ask 'Is your replicator running?' and then follow up with 'You had best go and catch it'. And at least half of the serious calls will be either useless gossip or expressions of panic."

"Hmm...I suppose children will be children. Perhaps we should insert a comm-direct bot. 'If this is a prank comm, please, click once.'," Sofia quipped, finding a touch of humor generally helpful in these situations. In other company she might have kept that to herself, but while she didn't know the woman well, at least not by direct interaction, she did know Gunnar well and had a sense from him that his Romulan friends had a sense of humor, if occasionally a rather sardonic one. Besides, Caithlin had been the one to bring up joke comms. "For gossip we might direct by 'that neighbor always seemed like trouble', 'Starfleet is acting strange', and 'Bray is up to something again', leaving an 'other' category that might yield something useful." She paused her lips a moment. "As to panic, that's the one a clerk should not be handling. Those should be directed to me."

"The clerk will, by definition, be handling it to a degree; as I doubt you are capable of taking multiple calls at once. If nothing else they will be formulating the hold queue, and convincing people to enter it." Caithlin shrugged her eyebrows. "Hopefully the Colonel and the security staff have selected the personnel with all such potentials in mind." Though her admittedly limited interactions with Bradley had her privately thinking that either he was putting on an excellent act, or he was a woefully poor judge of people's potential behavior for a telepath as he claimed to be. "There are also likely to be a sizeable amount of people who wish to make contact not to report or to panic but to vent their frustrations with, among other things I suspect, both civilian and uniformed leadership; the colony; the Federation; and possibly the universe. If you judge them to truly wish simply to petition or make statements rather than use the opportunity for threat, it might most easily address that set if we were able to give the clerk a fast way to get them off the comm, such as instruction to hold such comments for a future forum for such and the time and date of it." Her head tilted slight to one side in thought. "I believe on Earth it was known as a 'town hall', and people appeared to use them primarily to not only make questions of but also seemingly simply rant at local officials..."

"I had no intention of taking every distressed caller myself," Sofia assured her. "I do have counseling staff to refer the simply over-anxious to. Provided the Colonel's people can recognize which should be put through." She had only limited experience with the marine, and while he seemed quite competent, she couldn't quite forget Gunnar venting his frustrations over marines having seriously considered using a 'bunker buster' to blast down to her and the children during the cave in incident. However, if people were misdirected, that sort of thing would be brought to her attention soon enough. And Caithlin was likely right about what to expect of the majority of the calls, and she couldn't help a slight chuckle at her take on town halls. How much had Gunnar told her about earth history? "As to people blowing off steam, that's to be expected. So, I expect that there will be rant-listening chat-bot system for the hotline operators to divert such comms to."

She paused, lips pursing a moment. "Not that that will stop anyone from turning up to do it in person at the next open meeting. You might consider earbuds with volume control. If you don't have them already," she added, realizing that the woman likely already had something like that, either from her previous life or courtesy of a friendly NP who could prescribe them.

"I have twins. I most certainly have those." Caithlin flashed a small wry smile; though the noise made by the five youngsters in her household in truth paled beside the sort of cacophony she, her own siblings, and her spread of dozens of cousins had been able to make at their worst in her own youth. "You have been here for rather longer. What would you expect of the local response to the situation, initially?"

Sofia considered; there were after all at least two answers to that question. "People will likely be concerned primarily about their own safety and their loved ones, and more distantly about the colony overall. Those will be most of the callers we get - people demanding answers, and probably ranting about how this relates to whatever their most prominent complaint against Starfleet or Bray or both. Others will be hoping gain some control over a disturbing situation by trying to offer solutions. Some will rack their brains to the point of coming up with absurd trivia they somehow think may be a clue. Some will even ask what else they can do."

She paused, thinking over how to phrase the other answer to a member of a species famously known for a bent toward paranoia. Then decided if the family had practically adopted someone as honest as Gunnar, there was probably no reason to be overly concerned. "The ones we have to worry about are the ones who won't call. Or at least they won't call us. What they'll do is call and post and talk incessantly to anyone random person who'll listen about whatever pet conspiracy theory they've wedged Luka's disappearance into."

"Ah. Those sorts." The attorney looked for a moment if anything both perplexed and exasperated. "It seems to be the opposite of a survival-oriented choice, to be so dedicated to fitting the evidence into whatever it is you wish to be true, rather than observing it and drawing conclusions as data reveals itself, reevaluating as necessary..."

It was a surprising assertion from someone whose family was prone to seeing Tal'Shiar plots around every corner, and particularly for one who wasn't a scientist. But then, if Caithlin was anything, it was a survivor, and she'd likely seen enough of her own kind rationalizing their way out of believing science that would have saved them. "Nevertheless, they can influence public opinion. And reaction. Most humanoids are less rational than rationalizing animals, and faced with an uncomfortable mystery they'll try to make sense of it any way they can. Even if that involves employing quite a few unquestioned priors."

“Are there any particular known offenders or known likely ones, then, for such? If we know who they are and how they might attempt to go about that influence, we could attempt to devise a means to…well, to entirely counter that sort of thing is difficult unfortunately; but to at least somewhat mitigate it is possible, if one has the time and the stability.” The unsaid part of the last bit did quite a lot of talking in and of itself, considering the last doomed vestiges of the Empire had had neither the time nor the stability.

"Offenders is maybe too strong a word," Sofia replied cautiously. "I doubt most have real deliberate intent beyond sharing views they think may benefit others. But I have an idea who may be most prone to wild theorizing and will have a word." Or two. Or several. Se was a chaplain and held that no one was beyond correction and being turned toward the good. "Mostly we need to keep our ears to the ground to pick up any new players. We don't after all know who took the Captain or why, so any unusual activity in promulgating potentially dangerous conspiracy theories or misinformation may point to a larger motive."

Caithlin dipped her head ever-so-slightly in agreement; it was a nuance and a patience and focus for observation as a tool that she’d found many humans - despite their often intensely curious nature - seemed to have less of on average than she had been used to in her past life; and she made a mental note to do some further research on the woman who had just shown it.

“Then we may indeed wish to consider holding a ‘town hall’ of sorts. It may serve to reveal new such players or previously hidden potential angles, under the cover of - and second in fact purpose as well of - providing people with a space to vent or inquire.” Caithlin grimaced for a moment, and one got the feeling that she would have rolled her eyes had she been a human (or for that matter one of her own young relatives). “Of course it will also potentially serve to let morons speak and spread their idiocy; but at least if they speak there in our hearing and structured venue, rather than in passing to others on the street, we can know of what they say and potentially counter the assertions.”

"Holding one would be necessary anyway. People tend to think the worst if leaders don't make themselves available to answer questions in a crisis." At least in the Federation. Sofia didn't say it. She simply nodded, pleased that Caithlin had been the one to suggest having a town hall; it saved her the effort of persuasion. "But it will also give us a chance to take note of any particular 'narrative' developing and counter it with fact and reason. Providing, of course, that we catch it early enough for fact and reason to have a chance. Conspiracy theories can spread like a contagion before the truth can get halfway loaded in a hypo."

“Timing is as important as structure or information, then.” Caithlin sighed, not disputing the point in the slightest. “How quickly would you suggest holding such a session?”

Hmm. "I'd give it a few days." The Counselor paused, tipping her head at sound carrying from the room where the rest of the Council was still arguing, or perhaps more accurately, acting out. "Perhaps a week, depending on how long it takes the others on the Council to pull themselves together."

“If they do not…Well. That is what ensuring a scheduling conflict exists at the time of the event for the least composed of them is for.” Caithlin shrugged her eyebrows.


Previous Next

RSS Feed RSS Feed

Powered by Nova from Anodyne Productions. This theme was designed by Emily Wolf.
Credits | Privacy Policy