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The Merchant

Posted on Thu Oct 3rd, 2019 @ 6:50pm by Lieutenant Ilbis Ilkun  MD & Commander Sherwin Porter & High Commissioner Jasmine Haynes & Lieutenant Commander T'Lisha "Hawkeye" Bishara & Lieutenant Commander Victoria Rigby M.D.
Edited on on Thu Jan 2nd, 2020 @ 5:14pm

Mission: Atlantis
Location: Surface
Timeline: 2429-12-03, 12:00

Jasmine's team beamed down to the planet. She was little confused why a senior ranking officer, would have been assigned to her team. Typically the senior officer of any away mission is in charge. Yet her she was, in charge of the mission. And a person who outranked her, was assigned to the team. "Alright Doctor, you wanted on this mission, what would you like to go first?" Jasmine asked. She decided she only had two options, work with her. Or fight for power over the team.

Doctor Ilkun looked at the Security Chief and instinctively pointed at his chest with the call of "Doctor" from the Commander. The massive, turtle looking alien glanced behind him and pulled away, realizing that Doctor Porter was whom Commander Haynes meant.

He hadn't been on the ship long, but he already knew that he liked both Commander Haynes and Doctor Porter both. He had not had any prolonged interactions with the Security Chief yet, but he believed her to be a capable leader with a bright future. Doctor Porter had been one of the best Doctors he'd worked with in his career. Caring, compassionate, but he had a way about him that showed his confidence. This was a great group to work with.

Sherwin suppressed a smile at the question, knowing the exact tone and inflection behind it.

Twenty-two years ago he'd begun his career as a Counselor on the Starship Enterprise, or more accurately an Enterprise that was a couple versions before this one. Since that time he'd gone back through the Starfleet Medical program, earned two surgical degrees and served in multiple postings, including as Director of Starfleet Medical on Earth. Sometime along the way, Porter had found out his father was Ullian and his mother was Betazoid, and when his telepathic powers fully came to fruition, Sherwin had almost lost his mind. He'd been married to a wonderful man, had a child, then tragically widowed and subsequently gone into hibernation on multiple outposts to escape his own crushing sadness. Now, at the order of Admiral Teagarden, he was back on the Enterprise again. This time he had no agenda, except to be the best doctor he could be.

Yes, Sherwin Porter had seen the look on Lieutenant Commander Jasmine Haynes' face on many occasions, on other Officers who were attempting to sort out a pecking order in any given hierarchical situation. Over the years, he'd even led counseling sessions with different scenarios to help personnel work through feelings of declining self-worth and other clinical emotions that resulted from the repercussions of these situations.

"Commander Haynes, that decision is up to you," he deferred. "Even though I outrank you, you are the Commander of this mission. All aspects of what our away team does is under your command," he said explicitly. "The only exception here," he added, "is as it would be with any officer, including Admiral Teagarden, is when it comes to the medical decisions."

"Therefore, the question becomes," Sherwin concluded, "where do you want to go first?"

Jasmine gave a slight smile. She liked how he worded that. Very professional of him. "Let's head into the market, our people will spend a lot of time here. We need to scope out the local form of currency, and things we can potential barter for them. Also what type of items they have that can assist the Enterprise." She said, with a big grin on her face. Right now her trip was all business, but she was looking forward to going shopping later on.

Sherwin noticed her mild grin turn into a broad smile as she spoke, and was pleased that his response boosted her confidence. It was important that Jasmine could focus her energy on their purpose here rather than on Away Team dynamics.

The CMO thought about the potential marketplace she referenced. The guests from this planet who are currently on the ship seemed a bit surprised and curious about the medical technology the medical team was using to evaluate them. Cultures that were new to interplanetary travel often used indigenous herbs and roots to supplement modern medicine. "It will be interesting to see what species of plant life are grown here and how they are used," he remarked as he stepped off with the rest of the Away Team.

"Agreed, imagine what new discoveries we can make with this. The market may not seem like the likely place to start, which is what makes it perfect. In markets, people love to talk and open up. More than dignitaries like too." Suggested Jasmine, as she looked to Porter.

"I'm afraid I may be eliciting some unwanted attention," Doctor Ilkun interrupted as he saw the passerbys staring. "I doubt these people have seen a Chelon before. I probably look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle to them."

"I did not realize you are a fan of 21st century cinematography." Jasmine said, with a big grin on her face. She thought, she was the only one who liked the 21st century. She could not believe the doctor was familiar with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She was curious, who his favorite turtle was?

T'Lisha was curious as to how and why and what could she hope to accomplish on this away mission. Yet she was on it so smiling she went along hoping to find out the reason for her being on the team. However, the 21st century did afford one thing however, a chance to see the fighters of the time.

Evidently the fact that they had a non-humanoid on the Away Team who could attract attention and questions from the locals did not phase Haynes. Sherwin wondered if she was going to use that to their advantage, maybe even as a distraction for some while getting information out of others. "I'm sure we'll be the talk of the market," he joked.

He chuckled, "At least the rest of you fit in. Well, almost all of us," he said looking at Commander Bishara. "We can be the attention getters," he mustered as much enthusiasm as he could.

"By all means, get their attention." Jasmine told him, with a big grin on her face. It was part of the plan. She was curious, to see if he would step up and be the monkey in the middle, of this little charade?

"Why is everyone looking at me like that? Do I look that much out of place among everyone here", T'Lisha chuckled.

Jasmine just grinned, as she walked over to T'Lisha. "You'll do great." She said with a soft voice. She was trying to build her up a little, before throwing her to the wolves, so to speak.

The giant turtle grinned, "I could always share my shell with you if you like. I'm debating hiding in mine right now." He looked around and saw one of the locals, a humanoid looking, bald man with an intricate tattoo on his head. The merchant had assorted wares and robes on the table. None were his size, but they were beautiful.

"Seems like we've attracted at least one merchant's attention. Should we say hello?"

"Yes, lets not be rude. This is our door way into their culture." Jasmine said, as she lead the team over to the merchant. She looked to the man. "Greeting good sir. These are some lovely garments." Jasmine suggested to him, trying to open up a dialogue.

The merchant looked at them with an incredulous look, amazed by what he had saw standing before him. "Amazing. The star travelers! Here no less. The Gods are smiling upon me today."

"Yes," the Chelon Doctor answered with embarrassment in his tone. "What are your wares, Merchant?"

"I trade in high end fashion with those with exceptional taste," the Merchant gestured toward the clothing and accessories. They were all white, the defining color of the island, and relatively the same. Only the accessories were different. Differing in size, design, and metal they were each beautiful in their own right. Some had subtle patterns, others more pronounced.

"Feel free to browse. Our world is your world," he said graciously.

Sherwin hadn't taken any time in the past couple of years to enjoy himself, having spent most of his time holed up, depressed, in his quarters on various outposts. Now, after returning to the Enterprise, he found himself coming out of his depression, and he felt emotions he hadn't had in a long time: curiosity, excitement, wonder. There was even a little bit of joy that began to emerge as he smiled at the merchant's invitation and began to peruse the his wares.

As he rounded a table near the front of the small establishment, another seller in the next boutique caught his eye. He stepped over and smiled , nodding at the shopkeeper who quietly nodded back, bemused at the newcomers. On the white tablecloths sat colorful herbs and produce: violet, green and yellow leafy vegetables, red and blue fruits of variable shapes and sizes, small potted plants. The Doctor stopped in front a set of vials of what appeared to be spices of varying shades of brown, black and yellow. "Good day," he said looking up at the merchant, "may I ask what purpose these have?" he asked pointing to the vials.

"Those are medicinal herbs," the Merchant said to the man in blue. "Very potent, they can help to alleviate even the strongest of headaches that one experiences." He paused, "They may be a bit strong for those whom are unfamiliar, but they produce among the most vibrant feelings of euphoria."

"What would want for those medicinal herbs?" Jasmine asked, as she could see the medical staff, getting excited for some new medicines. She was curious to see if he was a reasonable trader, or a person trying to make a quick buck.

It was then that T'Lisha realized exactly what they meant. Her ears! Trying to hide them by bringing her hair on top of them, was a little late as she saw a few people looking at her already. "Damn it. I seem to have attracted attention already", she said to the team.

Jasmine waited for the man in blue to answer her question. What would he be willing to trade or sell for the herbs. She could not wait, to get them back to the ship, and have them tested. She just hoped it was not a narcotic substance, and a scam on his part.

The Atlantean Merchant studied the newcomers carefully, considering each and every aspect as quickly as he could before coming to a natural conclusion. "My people believe in the sanctity of the stars. You are beings from the stars themselves. What do you believe them to be worth?"

Rigby had hung back to this point, not intentionally segregating herself from her colleagues but just enthralled by the space that they found themselves in. With a new race of people, new customs and new...well everything to be taken in; this was a minefield of sorts. "The items would be priceless in our eyes. Something which you and your people treasure enough to use as barter and share with one another."

Sherwin noted that some of the team members had followed him to this merchant and were showing interest in the conversation as much as the wares. This was, after all, the reason they were there, to learn about the indigenous people and the culture. The doctor followed up on Rigby's comments, "What might be something that you and your family need or want?"

"I am confident, we can find something worth of value." Jasmine suggested as she looked to Sherwin. She was hopeful they were willing to bargain. She was still concerned, if the medicine was a narcotic, but only time will tell.

"You are beings of the stars," the Merchant answered, "I would like to see them as you do. In exchange I will give you the whole lot of merchandise."

T'Lisha looked at the Merchant with a puzzling look. She wasn't sure just what the merchchant meant. After a minute or two, T'Lisha looked at him, "Yes we are from the stars here to barter with you", she said tryinwg desperately to hide her pointed ears.

"Are you requesting a tour on our ship?" Jasmine asked, as she tried to understand what, he was asking. Or was he trying to hitch a ride somewhere else?

"I would love to see your vessel," the Merchant answered pleasantly. He looked at the Helm Officer, "You shouldn't hide your ears. They are lovely."

Jasmine smiled as she said very diplomatically. "A tour could be arranged, just need to talk to the Admiral to get that approved. I don't foresee any complications." She said, as she started to look at some of the items.

Rigby bit down on her tongue to prevent herself interfering given Jasmine was in charge of this situation. She couldn’t see the Admiral being very happy with his ship being over run by locals; but then again she didn’t know the man well enough to make a judgment call.

"Come back when you have arranged it," the Merchant answered with a smile. It wasn't a devious one, it wasn't malicious, but there was something in it that was enough to put the Chelon Doctor on edge a bit.

“If you’ll excuse me.” Rigby smiled at her colleagues and the trade man before moving away from the group, taking the opportunity to move towards where a group seemed to have gathered in a circle but pearched in the middle was a woman with an instrument of some sort balanced on her knees. As the alien sung, the counselor listened to the translation as she allowed herself to be as immersed as the locals around her.

The lyrics seemed to talk of childhood and growth; two friends who bloomed from pulling hairs and throwing punches to something more as they grew. The song progressed as it told of the trials of adulthood and the loss and pain as the years went by. The locals around her seemed as entranced as Vikki herself felt as she just lost herself in the moment and just listened.

Doctor Ilkun watched the Counselor as she stepped away toward the musician near them. The armored alien walked away, carefully surveying the scene as he saw the Atlanteans entranced by the musician. He listened, carefully allowing the music to enter his ears. It was relaxing, meditative, but there was something more to it. He reached for the tricorder strapped to his wrist. He attempted to initialize a scan, but the system denied his request.

"That's strange," he said pecking at the controls. He tried to reinitialize, but had the same result. It was strange indeed. Enterprise was able to scan the area; the tricorder should be able to do the same. He pressed the controls again, still a third time it failed.

He approached the away team, but the music kept playing through his head. He walked up to the group, but he had forgotten what he was going to ask. Instead he went to his default, "Are we done haggling with the locals yet?"

Sherwin had been listening to the conversation between Commander Haynes and the Merchant, waiting for them to decide what to do about his interest in the herbs on the table. He found himself slightly swaying to the music that had been lilting their direction while they talked.

When Ilkun came back and asked them a question, the CMO looked over at him, "I'm sorry, what did you....," he began to ask, "but then realized what he'd asked, "...Oh," he interrupted himself as he looked down at the table and scanned the wares, his eyes drifting over the spices he'd asked about, "I don't think there's anything of interest here. Shall we move on?"

The Merchant saw his opportunity to visit the starship slipping through his fingers. "No, please. Don't leave yet. I thought that you were interested in our medicinal wares? Here," he handed one of the vials, "take this. Use my gesture to help you consider our future together."

Jasmine wondered what he was up too. If the medicine was legit, this could be a great deal, if not. Then they wasted time on a con man. But she had to stop thinking like a security officer, and more like a diplomat. There was no harm, on a ship tour. "How about you accompany me to the ship, while the good doctor, runs a few tests on this sample." Jasmine asked the merchant, with a big grin on her face.

T'Lisha was lost in the music. It had the most precise tones as the music played. It was soothing to the mind so much that T'Lisha found herself in a deep trance state. Something in the music held her there, paralyzed.

"What do you say?" Jasmine asked, eagerly, awaiting the response from the Merchant. She was eager, to move along with all of this. She wanted to explore more of the settlement, but this was an opportunity. She could not afford, to pass up on.

The Merchant nodded, "I would enjoy that. Perhaps we can all return to your ship? I yearn to join the stars."

Jasmine was not sure, she understood what the merchant meant by, 'yearning for the stars.' She just smiled as she looked at him. "As soon as the good doctors ready, we will beam up." Jasmine told him, as she looked over to the Doctor, for a visual confirmation.

Rigby was only roused from her emerition in the music by the feel of a tap on her shoulder. She still wasn’t quite sure what it was but the notes of the instrument lulled her into an almost trance as it seemed to hold her in its grip.

Suddenly aware of what else was happening around her, Vikki moved back to join her group as she noticed they seemed to be making moves to leave; the music still continuing to haunt her mind; even as she moved away.

"Is everything alright, Counselor?" Jasmine said to Vikki. She could tell that she was a little distracted.

Sherwin heard Jasmine talking somewhere in the distance, and when she said the word ‘Counselor’ he slid out of the reverie he’d slid back into. He was a Counselor for many years when he was younger, and that triggered him back to the situation. “I’m sorry, did you say something?”

Jasmine was very concerned. She paused for a moment, then repeated her question. "Is everything alright?" Jasmine asked, making sure to pay close attention to the facial expressions of Sherwin.

“Hmmmm? Oh yes, this music is very enchanting,” he replied.

Vikki was trying to focus but her mind felt in a similar state to when a song you knew so well would just play over and over in your head and distract you from everything else. Only in this instance the song was one she’d only heard once. Rubbing her temples again; the woman looked over at the chief medical and science officers. “Sorry..I got caught in another world there for a moment. Perhaps it’s time to return to the ship?”

T'Lisha was still semi lost in the music which had the calming seductive tendencies to disract her mind. She was totally consumed by it until a sudden shift in outside emotions came through the calm.

Doctor Ilkun looked amongst the away team, surprised by what he had seen in the last few moments. Many had seemed dazed by some unforeseen force, but what exactly was the cause of it? He was about to speak up when he was interrupted.

Behind them a series of gentle tones echoed throughout the marketplace. The Merchant looked around, somewhat alarmed. "Perhaps we should go on that tour?"

T'Lisha, finally having broke the spell of the music, returned to the group. Hearing the tones, she looked for Cmdr. Porter. Finding him she walked over to him, "Commander we need to leave now. It has become very un-nerving and unsettling here, sir", she said softly.

“Yes,” Sherwin finally remembered he was interested in the spices. “Yes, spices for a tour.” He reached for the table and gathered them up. “Shall we go?”

"I know I want to," the Chelon answered. He wanted to run scans as soon as he could, "Something about this place has been unsettling all of a sudden."

Jasmine tapped on her combadge. "Commander Haynes to Starfleet One, six to beam up." She called out. She was starting to share Chelon's concern. Something did seem a little off, down in that merchant market.

Sherwin clutched tightly to the spices he'd picked up from the table, his mind beginning to wander again and he smiled as the transporter beamed them all back to the ship. He couldn't wait to examine them.

The surgeon stood next to his boss, hoping that this wasn't the beginning of a disaster.


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