The Admiral straightened her tunic in the rear of the runabout. She could have commandeered a starship for her mission to the Waydis System, but there was a part of her that preferred to travel by runabout. Something about displaying trust, not to mention the freedom of movement.
She released a breath, then stepped through the doors into the small vessel's cockpit. Out the front window, she had a better view of the atmosphere they'd just entered and the vast ocean below. The eager young officer at the helm, who couldn't have been more than 23 years old, swivelled around to smile at the Trill. "Afternoon Admiral! Enjoy your reading?"
Perim couldn't help but smirk at the man's enthusiasm, "Cultural reports aren't exactly pleasure reading, Ensign. How long until spaceport?" She nodded towards the window.
"Just a few more minutes, ma'am. A Commander Chiy said they'd be awaiting your arrival."
Admiral Perim stood at the far end of the meeting room, looking out the window with her hands clasped behind her back. The room was quiet, a fair walk from the busy spaceport.
Since her arrival, she'd been consistently surprised by the appearance of the planet. It was comfortably warm, and the skies were a beautiful bright blue. The streets and buildings were clean. For a civilization with an apparently looming overpopulation crisis, it certainly didn't seem very crowded or desperate.
From her vantage point at the window, she could see quite a distance. She thought the architecture was interesting, though she didn't really have the expertise to have an informed opinion of it. The aesthetics seemed to heavily favor sculptures, almost exclusively statues of people, presumably famous or influential Waydi. Inside, it was the same with paintings and other decorative art. Various Waydi portraits adorned the walls of this particular meeting room.
Before too long, the doors opened and the Admiral turned to greet the entrants: two Waydi, one dressed more formally than the other. Before she had a chance to speak, Ambassador Zhet's voice filled her mind. Admiral Perim, welcome to Waydis. She'd prepared for this form of communication, but there's nothing like experiencing it firsthand.
The Trill did her best to hide her momentary discomfort with a short bow of her upper torso before looking up to the Waydi with the practiced friendly expression of an experienced diplomat. "Ambassador Zhet, Commander Chiy, thank you for allowing my visit. It's a pleasure to finally meet you both in person."
You bring news from your people? It was really a very strange sensation. The voice was the Commander's this time. She'd had telepaths communicate words and thoughts to her before, but she'd never held an entire conversation this way.
"I do, sir, a fair amount."
Please, she heard the ambassador broadcast as he moved around to sit at the table. The Commander closed the doors and then moved to join them. We are eager to hear what you have found.
Perim dipped her head and proceeded to the opposite seat. "Our terraforming experts completed their survey of the system. As you expected, Waydis II is the best candidate."
"From start to finish the process is estimated to take between six and twelve months. However..."
"...we do have concerns about the Nova Striders. The Roechalcagh."
We sent your team our data file, she heard from the Commander.
By now, Perim had gotten used to the telepathy, more or less. In a way, it seemed to make the conversation move more quickly. "Yes. It was extremely enlightening. We've also conducted our own studies of the creatures," she explains. "It's possible that they'd abandon the planet after terraforming, but we can't be certain."
And? Commander Chiy inquired.
"And," she responded, "We can't guarantee that they won't return and pose a danger to your colony. We do have some alternatives we can offer."
"There's a system just a few light years from here, called New Circini. It's an independent colony, and they're willing to offer space on their world for your people."
Room for all?
"No, probably not, but it will be a significant step towards dealing with overpopulation."
We will consider this. Any who wish to make the journey will be welcome to go. You will facilitate?
We will still want to continue with colonization of the Waydis II.
Perim nodded, her tone reassuring, "We are still happy to assist you with that. I'd be remiss not to present you with all of the possibilities, though."
"Yes," she smiled faintly, "The Federation would be willing to terraform a planet outside your home system. One where there's no potential danger from the Nova Striders. We'd also guarantee Starfleet protection for your people, if you're willing accept it."
You would require us to rely on you for our safety?
Chiy was quicker than Perim would have liked, to jump to dire conclusions. She held her hands up, palms forward, and shook her head. "Of course not. It's simply an offer. We have no interest in infringing on your sovereignty."
The reply came from the Ambassador, We prefer not to depend on others, but your generosity will not go unremembered. Colonization of Waydis II will best suit our needs. Perim dipped her head in silent acquiescence, waiting a moment before proceeding with the original proposal.
"In that case, the Federation is happy to assist you. Let's discuss the timetable for terraforming. I've also brought a number of options for addressing overpopulation in the short term..."