Returning from their outing, Astrid caught a brief glimpse of someone she didn’t recognize wearing a technical patch. Could be good, maybe a new tech she could shove some of her more boring work onto. Or it could be bad, as it might as well have been someone higher up the ranks who would shove some of their boring work onto her. Either way, she hoped Ve’tame’s presence was enough to get the new arrival looking the other way. Their group of senior engineering staff, all out of uniform, in various stages of inebriation and needling each other like siblings was hardly a good first impression of the ISA’s pride and joy. Or maybe it was - there was good atmosphere and camaraderie on board!
For the engineers, the trip itself was mostly uneventful. Sure, they all had a minor, collective heart attack when Prize entered the wormhole and stuff started to fly off shelves - and in a few instances, people off their feet. But the transit eventually stabilised and they could all start breathing again. Astrid couldn’t be happier - Finally off to where they were supposed to be, wherever that was, and the patched up hull held as strong as Helvetic faith. She made sure to record the approach and trip through the wormhole, getting footage from several external cameras as well as one inside the engineering section. Should they survive to return home, those recordings would be worth the Prize’s weight in platinum. Well, maybe not the engineering section feed. A bunch of supposedly elite enlisted and officers breaking out into song
in the middle of a historical milestone like this wouldn’t be good PR.
At least they all started acting the part when an alien ship showed up right on the other side of the passage, and an even bigger one not even an hour later. Fortunately, they wanted to talk instead of fight, at least for now.
And all that led to this moment - grounded on a strange planet with no backup, though that part was to be expected from the initial sales pitch, and with an alien ship they might have annoyed - actually, one they’ve definitely annoyed - hovering over them, the Prize completely defenseless. “My gut tells me to stay on the Prize, because this sounds like the movies where the characters are invited to a feast and wake up in a dungeon if they’re lucky, or a lab if they are not. Alas, I’m not going to learn much from a bunch of rock huts. One - I’m not a geologist and two - The most advanced things they have are going to be wherever their leader, or leaders, are going to meet us. You know, posturing. So that’s probably where I’ll be most useful. But I will of course defer to the proper chain of command.” That last bit with a look at Nick, wondering when or if he would realize torpid leadership rarely led to a happy crew and grow a spine.
Then the snake oil merchant spoke up. “Hey, we used to use wisdom to amplify the lives of others back in the day too, and parts of mother Terra are still a burning pile of shit because of it. You can’t just give neanderthals morphine and laser rifles.” Astrid stated flatly, “Figuratively speaking.” She added quickly, figuring she’d better be careful around someone who thought chakras made a lick of sense. Just hearing Denise speak made Astrid preemptively cover her injured cheek, disguising it as resting her chin against her palm.
“Specify ‘conservative manner’ Ambassador. I was thinking arms and armor, but either way, that which we consider moderate or in any way polite might be perceived offensive to the highest degree by these people.” She spoke up, admittedly out of her field of experience, but figuring it was better to ask then not. “Besides, as we seem to be dealing with theocracy, half of the stuff they do and say might be complete nonsense.”