Updates on the fly.
Location: Ready Room
Elijah sat behind his desk in the Ready Room. The situation with the Ts'usugi and Dalacari was such that information was scarce and sketchy but the Captain still had people to inform.
"Alright here is the information we have so far." Elijah commented holding a PADD. "Our mission to chart the Beta Quadrant had been put on hold due to some unexpected events." The Captain commented. "We are mediating a dispute between the Dalacari and the Ts'usugi, the latter of which is the same species as Valeria."
'Being thrown into a situation without much information. That sounds nothing like Star Fleet.' AJ sarcastically thought to himself.
Valeria turned her attention from the PADD in the Captain's hand to the group as a whole. "I have to prepare the briefing proper, but I can field any quick questions here before I go."
"I've decided to put Valeria in charge of this situation given her intimate knowledge of both parties, and as such you'll coordinate with her." Elijah said with a nod.
"Security stands by as always Sir, Lieutenant Mordin" Kevin replied, nodding to the CO and the Science officer in turn "However we can be of service, let me know" he finished.
"Marines as well. The word conflict sounds much more enticing than surveying does." AJ gave a chuckle. "Do we have any idea what we maybe getting into?"
The Captain shook his head. "I'm afraid not I don't think it'll involve an armed response but I also cannot rule it out, the safety of everyone is my job and if it requires force then we'll cross that bridge."
"If we're fortunate, the word 'Conflict' shouldn't arise in any sense greater that a conflict of opinions of the events in question. I was able to take a quick glance at the actual verbiage of the call for arbitration and it sounds as if a major component of the Dalacari military decision making engine may be malfunctioning. At best, it's locked in a non-violent state. At worst, it will consider everyone a threat."
"If that's the case, we'll be facing the entirety of the Dalacari fighter drone swarm, and the ship itself will have mobilized it's autonomous security forces. Dalacari are clever and ingenious, but they're fragile and somewhat reluctant to engage in combat, which led to their innovation of a drone army. Ninety nine percent of the Dalacari armed forces are drones. The remaining one percent are drone controllers, field specialists, and snipers."
Ziyal nodded, listening and absorbing the information. "So in addition to the arbitration problem we may have an engineering or tactical problem? I'm also not clear on what the arbitration problem is." Ziyal commented.
"The concern is the device that controls their drone forces, known as a Thinking Engine. It isn't an AI, but instead is a decision making matrix that propagates successful battle strategies and retires non-successful strategies. There is a concern that something happened aboard the Dalacari cruiser that started this chain of events that may lead to their Thinking Engine becoming self-aware." Valeria fielded. "Our treaties with the Dalacari forbid research into unrestricted AIs. I imagine that part of the arbitration will involve determining if the Engine is indeed sentient, and if it was intentional or accidental."
Ziyal grimaced, "Add onto the pile of problems that laws about AI are something of a soft spot. There are no clear hard lines about artificial intelligence developing self-awareness or what rights they have. The last major decision was in 2378 where the question was if an artificial intelligence that developed into a self-aware being could be regarded as an person or author with artistic privileges. While they demurred on the question of personhood, they did decide that it was an author." Ziyal looked at the Captain. "Given the arbitration setting Captain, we may very well be setting precedent that will be quoted for a hundred years." She cautioned.
The Captain nodded. "I agree Lieutenant." He said in response to Ziyal. "We must tread lightly on this, both species are looking to becoming part of the Federation in some capacity and whilst not directly put across, there are hints that this situation may affect their entry into the federation."
Kevin had stood there being rather thoughtful after the mention of the Dalacari armament set up, "Drone fighters, how very interesting...." he muttered.
Valeria gave a nod, "I'll be preparing a more complete briefing once I've looked at all the data. I'll also need to make a call through the Buoy Network to contact the Empire to find out how much of our specifications I'm cleared to speakabout." a pause, "Despite the wishes of some, I still need to confirm. I want to confirm."
Then she gave Kevin a smirk, "Their entire military..."
"Entire" Kevin pondered "In that case, I wonder if project Alexis would be of benefit to us?"
"I think we should leave that discussion for a little while." The Captain said to Kevin. "I think its best we get an insight into defusing the situation before we start planning our next project." Elijah looked at Val. "How soon can you get a briefing set up?"
"Yes Captain" Kevin replied.
"I can have a briefing about purely the Dalacari side of the field and the concerns of the communication within the hour. Given two hours, and contact with the Buoys, I can have a more complete briefing with regards to both sides. The only thing I'll need to establish contact with the network is a high-gain subspace transmitter, which the Victory has. I'll need to tune the transmitter to the appropriate wavelength though. Ts'usugi communications operate at frequencies not often used by anyone else."
Kevin did something he didn't often want to do, but occasionally did, he put on his diplomatic head for a moment and asked of Valeria "Hypothetically Lieutenant, if diplomatic relations broke down completely between the Dalacari and Ts'usugi right now, who would act as a broker if the Federation didn't get involved?"
Valeria thought about it for a moment, "I presume one of the races closer to home in the Delta Quadrant, though they'd have some degree of an agenda considering. Perhaps the Talaxians, considering their relative position in the political scheme of things. The Federation being rather far from the actual locations in question, plus them being neutral in many matters, helps make them the perfect arbitrators."
"If everything completely broke down, it would potentially spell the end of a defensive initiative that has existed for well over two hundred years." she paused, "So, as you can tell, we're very hopeful that things work out. Though, to put all thoughts at ease, I can almost assure everyone that it wouldn't lead to war."
"Oh no, I wasn't looking at in those terms" Kevin answered "very, very far from it, I was hoping to determine 'if' a third party would gain diplomatic ground. I mean, it wouldn't take a lot to try and destabilise the diplomatic ties then 'come in on a white charger' as it were, and save the day. Thus the third party gaining ground and prestige. It was just a thought..."
"From that perspective, even more so. Having either of our people as allies I would say is worth it. Having us in their debt due to their rescue of us a it were, would put them in an amazing position politically." She pondered, "Though I'm not sure how many races in that region of space are clever enough to consider such."
"Should we be considering the possibility?" Kevin asked.
Valeria gave a soft smirk, "Is the Federation unwilling to act as arbitration?"
"Oh no" Kevin replied, and he turned to the Diplomatic Officer and said "Would I be right in believing that with this situation happening in Federation jurisdiction, we're obliged to offer arbitration Lieutenant Keller?"
The Diplomatic officer nodded. "Situations like this are very grey areas, on the one hand both parties are visitors to our space and we are a neutral party." Elliot said as he looked towards Kevin. "But also since they are looking to join the federation in the future or become an ally we have an obligation to be impartial."
"What if we were to ask to put observers on each of the ships, Dalacari and Ts'usugi?" Kevin asked.
"The Dalacari will probably consent to almost anything to resolve this situation. The Ts'usugi, however, will be slightly more reserved. If... If they permit anyone on their craft there will boundaries and restricted areas. Guards, entirely for your protection, of course."
"Situationally critical areas wound be permitted to visit, but i wouldn't expect to be given free range of the ship. Also, pack a lunch. Ts'usugi Insipp devices are slightly behind compared to Federation replicators."
"I have a cast iron constitution" Kevin replied with a slight hint of a smile to Valeria "I think I'll be alright with what I'm given."
"That maybe a remarkable skill, should it come to it. The Culinary Officers would certainly appreciate praise." Valeria offered, "Though if you will all excuse me, I have a briefing to prepare. That being said, Capitan..." she turned to Elijah and Bertrand by extension, "Request permission to tune the subspace transmitter to the Bouy frequencies to contact the Empire and discuss my limits of discussion and update our records on any technical and social specifications."
"Permission granted." Elijah said with a nod.
"Thank you. As the remainder of my briefing hinges on communicating with the Empire, permission to be excused."
"The Captain nodded. "I think we can call it for the time being? Stretch our legs and reconvene with the others?"