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- "Captain's log.
For the past half day we have held our position orbiting the planet we are now calling Fazi, for the name of the race of humanoids that inhabits it. To be honest, this waiting is driving me crazy. But at the moment I see no other option. Ensign Hoshi is still not convinced she had a handle on the Fazi language. She's tried to explain it to me twice, but for the moment I'll just let the records of her research speak for themselves. But there's clearly something different about the language.
The Fazi are at an almost identical point in their development as humanity was when the Vulcans stopped by. The only difference that I can see on the surface is that the Fazi did not have to survive any war. That's a good thing, although there seems to be no logical reason for the uneven technological development.
We've also done a number of scans of the other civilization inhabiting the small southern continent of the planet. There is clearly some sort of mutual respect, or treaty, between the two races, since there are no Fazi roads or structures at all on the entire continent.
This other race, which has no sign of any advanced technology beyond basic building of structures, seems to live both on the shore and in the water. We're going to have to get closer before we get clear pictures of them. T'Pol is warning us away from doing just that with either race. So far I have agreed with her, mostly because of Hoshi's problems with the language of the Fazi. But I have to be honest, I'm excited about making this first contact. More excited than I have been in some time."
- "Captain's log.
Under recommendation from both T'Pol and Hoshi, I've agreed to wait another twenty-four hours before deciding to make the first contact with the Fazi. Can't say as I like the waiting, but I suppose this time it is the best course. Hoshi believes that if the Fazi language is any indication of their culture, they will be more structured than any organization ever put together on Earth. She thinks they might even be more controlled than the Vulcans, which I find hard to imagine.
Fortunately, T'Pol has shown some restraint. I think we're both aware that the Enterprise now finds itself in the same position with the Fazi that the Vulcans were in with Earth. She watches me closely, expecting me to ask for her advice. If anything, I'll make new mistakes, but I won't repeat the old.
Twenty-two hours from now, we'll see which method is better. In the meantime, I hope to get a few good meals, a good night's sleep, and do a little studying on what we have learned about the Fazi so that we can put Earth's best foot forward."
- "Captain's log.
Dealing with the Fazi has gotten me to think about protocol, a word I have never liked. T'Pol told me when this began that we needed to establish a protocol for first contacts. Part of me agrees.
If we'd had a protocol, I might not have rushed into first contact with the Fazi. I must admit that Ensign Hoshi and Subcommander T'Pol warned me about moving too quickly, and I did not heed their warnings. I am hoping that my mistake of speaking out of turn with the Fazi will be correctable, as soon as we discover how to do so. But I can see that dealing with this culture is going to be as frustrating at times as dealing with the Vulcans.
But I'm not sure how much a protocol would have helped. The Fazi's protocols prevented them from interacting with us at all. If we're too regulated, we might miss the adventure. I can't permit that.
Perhaps guidelines might be the answer--suggestions without the sting of regulation. I'll talk to T'Pol about the subject later.
On another, related topic, I have also been considering what might happen when we do establish relations with the Fazi. At that point, how much should I tell them about the greater universe beyond their system? And what technology, if any, should I share with them? On this topic I know how the Vulcans feel. And I know how I feel about how the Vulcans held Earth back for so long.
But I worry that the Fazi, with their strict regulations and their need for structure, might find all this information disruptive. I certainly don't want to be the one to damage their native culture.
Everything about first contact seemed so clear when we left Earth. Now nothing does."
- "Captain's log.
We have discovered that there are two fairly advanced races inhabiting this planet. The humanoid Fazi are so similar to us that we had no trouble figuring out what stage of development they're in. We almost missed the other race. If it weren't for Lieutenant Reed, we would have.
We have no name for the other species yet. It's crab- or spiderlike, and it does most of its living underwater, which presents interesting problems of its own.
I thought the Fazi were difficult to understand. I'm very worried about a water-based culture. We may have even less in common with it than with the Fazi.
The other thing that concerns me is how these two races developed. My science team tells me that independent development of two such vastly different races is very unusual. Apparently, it's quite common to have different races on a planet--and even different sentient races--but it's very unusual that more than one race would become advanced independently of the other.
Usually, if more than one race evolves, it has contact with the other races and they evolve too--or they destroy each other in a war.
T'Pol has confirmed the science team's findings. She also volunteered some information of her own, which surprised me. She's done very little volunteering on this mission, and what she has volunteered has mostly been words of caution, words I haven't heeded.
She says she has only heard of two other planets where two cultures, so vastly different, evolved. And one always destroyed the other before they reached spaceflight capabilities. Considering Earth's history, I can understand that. Yet here the Fazi are far from warlike, and the two races do not even have a common border.
Each must know that the other exists, but I can't even be certain of that. The Fazi's need for structure may have kept them away from the oceans and from discovering the other race. Although that doesn't entirely make sense to me either. Why not explore your own planet first before turning to outer space?
Of course, there I go again, making assumptions based on my own experience. But how else does a person understand his environment? And what is experience for if it doesn't inform the decisions you make down the road?
I am usually not this contemplative. I much prefer to take action first and suffer the consequences later. I'm beginning to think that if the only way to have contact with alien races is to study, study, study, and then tentatively open dialogues, I'm the wrong guy for the job.
In an hour we're going to try to contact the Fazi again and if they will listen I will apologize for my gaffe in protocol. If somehow we can set up a dialogue with them, I hope to ask them about the race on the southern continent. Maybe then we can start figuring out how this place works."
- "Captain's log.
Vulcan Subcommander T'Pol has been critical of my allowing a shuttlepod to land and collect information on the ground in one of the southern continent's alien villages. She was firmly against it to begin with, and now that there has been a problem with Crewman Edwards and an accidental abduction of one of the aliens, she is being very cold and silent. And that's saying something for a Vulcan.
I have to admit, she might have been right in this case, as she was with the Fazi. It might have been more prudent to wait and study the aliens from orbit. I am assuming that at some point in the future of Earth's exploration of space, there will be guidelines and regulations about how to make this contact.
Clearly the Vulcans have such rules. I've spent years rebelling against them, but now, in this situation, their rules are starting to make some sense. However, until this is all settled, I will not tell T'Pol I am starting to see the value in going slower with first contact situations.
In the meantime, Dr. Phlox has informed me that he can find nothing physically wrong with Crewman Edwards. I plan on being in sickbay when Edwards wakes up. There are a number of questions I want to ask him about those aliens and how they managed to get so close to him on the surface."
- "Captain's log.
I've taken the best and the brightest to be the Enterprise crew. People who've withstood Starfleet training and rigors that would make the average person cry. Psychological testing that bordered on inhumane and risk-aversion studies that seemed to go on forever.
Not all of my crew scored in the top ten percent of those tests, but the ones who didn't usually had a specialized skill that I couldn't do without.
Jamal Edwards, as valuable a crewman as he is, wasn't chosen for his special skills. He was chosen for his courage, his ability to take risks, his personal strength.
The fact that a man like that could be reduced to this in a matter of seconds baffles me. I have never seen such terror in a person's eyes. It was as if he was being chased through the very depths of hell.
I can barely wait for the results of Dr. Phlox's tests. I want the answers now. The damned impatience is rearing its ugly head again.
I'd been so patient waiting to get to space and now that we're here, I want to do everything at once. But I don't want to risk my crew, and that seems to be what I'm doing.
I have no idea how this has come about. The mission was a simple one. Nothing should have happened.
The alien from the southern continent that we inadvertently captured is still unconscious and I honestly have no idea what to do with it. I'm half tempted to just put it on the transporter pad and beam it back to the surface and pretend nothing happened. So far I have resisted the temptation.
I'm hoping that we'll learn something through this alien or about this alien that will help us. I'm not sure what that something will be.
Oddly enough, what bothers me the most is not what happened to Edwards, but my last conversation with the Fazi. In hindsight, the conversation feels like another warning that I should have heeded.
That conversation ended when I mentioned the other race. There's a connection between the Fazi's reaction and what happened to Edwards. I know it, deep in my bones, but I also know that this feeling is a hunch, a hunch that--at the moment--doesn't seem to be based on any concrete evidence.
I'm tempted to contact the Fazi again, but I won't. Not until I know exactly what went wrong in that last conversation. I'm not going to operate on the assumption that the Fazi were offended by my mention of the other race only to learn later that they found my head movement inappropriate.
I have T'Pol and Ensign Hoshi working as hard as they can searching through the Fazi history and language to see if they can discover anything. So far they are both very disturbed at the fact that to the Fazi, neither the southern continent nor the aliens living there exist.
T'Pol even managed to get a map from a Fazi library database and there was no southern continent on it. This is either the worst case of mass denial I could have ever imagined, or there is something far stranger happening on this planet."
- "Captain's log.
It has been over twenty hours since T'Pol and Hoshi suggested the idea of creating an adapter to communicate with the alien from the southern continent. They both assure me they are making progress, and since I understand nothing about what they are attempting, I have to believe them. How they can come up with a device that will allow T'Pol to communicate telepathically with the aliens is beyond my science skills. I have asked both of them to carefully record every detail of their work for future scientists of both cultures to study.
Dr. Phlox has reported that the three crewmen are resting easily now. Edwards, the first one the aliens tried to talk to telepathically, seems to be slowly recovering, but Dr. Phlox says it is too early to tell. Dr. Phlox believed that Edwards suffered more damage than the others because he was in closer proximity and the psionic attack, if that's the phrase we want to use, lasted longer. Also, he was surrounded by four aliens, when Daniels and Pointer only faced one.
Dr. Phlox is not allowing any of them to regain full consciousness yet. He believes their brains will heal best without inflicting the real world on them at the same time. The less they have to process the better, or so he says. He also says that sleep, whether natural or artificial, is restorative for humans no matter how healthy they are. He used that moment to lecture me on making certain the rest of my crew got enough rest.
I know that Hoshi is not getting enough. I suppose I could order her to her quarters, but I confess that I need her working right now. She and T'Pol are bearing the burden of these last few days. The rest of us seem to be reacting more than acting.
That's an unusual position for me. I like to take the initiative, but there isn't much initiative for a captain to take in this situation. I have decided not to contact the Fazi yet, and they haven't tried to contact us.
I hope they wait a little while longer, to give us a better understanding of both the Fazi culture and the alien culture that shares their world.
Waiting. I hadn't realized there was so much of it in this job. When Starfleet debriefs me after this mission is over--whenever that will be--I'm going to have to ask them to find ways to help the crew deal with downtime. Yes, they need sleep as Dr. Phlox said, but we can only sleep so much.
Because the Enterprise is so streamlined, we did not bring a lot of entertainment with us. Everyone brought favorite books, excellent recordings, and a few other items that could be digitally stored, and I know there's a lot of swapping of items going on among the crew. But I get the sense that's not enough distraction.
We don't really have a place for organized recreation. The mess hall is too small to accommodate most of the crew at one time, and a person's quarters are barely big enough for two. Hell, I feel cramped with Porthos, and he doesn't take as much space as another person--most of the time.
I hear that a few of the crew are playing a game in the mess hall. I wish others would do the same. It might take their minds off their duties long enough to help them remain creative and refreshed."
- "Captain's log.
I have decided that I will talk to the alien first.
T'Pol disagreed. We had to take the argument to the ready room. She was quite strident for a Vulcan. She's worried that my puny mind won't be able to handle an errant alien thought wave. I reminded her that she had said she wouldn't be able to handle one either.
That didn't quiet her for long. She believes that a captain should never risk his life for his crew. The captain, she says, is the most important person on the ship. Crew should be sacrificed before the captain takes a risk.
I wonder what she would have thought about all those old navy captains who went down with their ships while their crews escaped. Clearly we have some cultural differences here too.
Although I must admit, Starfleet does suggest that the captain take fewer risks than I do. The entire idea amuses me. This trip is risk enough; whether or not I face an alien who could kill me with a thought isn't going to add much to the risk factor that already exists.
Besides, I'm not going to have my staff do something I'm unwilling to do myself.
That's my justification and I'm sticking to it. Besides, this is an Earth ship and it is up to me to make first contact for Earth.
Once I got T'Pol to stop arguing, she went back to work. She and Hoshi are trying to create a voice/psionic energy translator that will allow me to talk to the alien. Assuming, of course, that the psionic shield Trip and the others were working on actually protects me from the alien's thoughts. Both teams feel they can be ready in five hours.
Five hours. Five hours seems like an eternity when I'm having trouble surviving through seconds.
More waiting. This is something I know I will have to adjust to, but in situations such as this one, it is difficult.
Looks like I'll have to find something besides pacing to fill the time."
- "Captain's log.
I never expected to have such difficulty with how much to tell a race that is not as advanced as ourselves. I had always thought that full disclosure would be the only policy, that the complete sharing of information was the only way to true friendship. But now, after witnessing the fine balance that exists on this world between the humanoid Fazi and the more advanced Hipon, I am questioning everything.
From what we have learned both from exploring Fazi records and from our Hipon guest, the Hipon have been helping the Fazi develop slowly for more than two thousand Earth years. The reason for the rigid social and language structure of the Fazi seems to stem directly from early disastrous attempts at direct contact between the Fazi and the Hipon.
It had never occurred to the Hipon that their very thoughts were what had caused the damage. By informing them of that simple fact alone, I have altered the future of this planet in ways I can't begin to dream about.
And by coming from space and talking with the Fazi, I have given them dreams of larger worlds. What they do with those dreams is up to them, as it was up to humanity. But for humans, there was never a question we would go outward. For the Fazi I am not so sure. So much of their culture seems to be based on fear and control because of relationships over centuries with an alien race. Why should I expect a different reaction to humans?
In a short time I will be talking with the Fazi for the third time. T'Pol has said that the best I can hope for from the conversation is to do no more damage. I don't agree. I still hope to establish a communication that can be used to grow a friendship between the Fazi and Earth.
I will also continue to work with the Hipon for the same end.
It is amazing that decisions I was so sure of while back on Earth have now become difficult and unclear. We do have a lot to learn, but this particular lesson is a hard one for me.
I still don't want to think that T'Pol is right. I don't believe that humans are reckless. We simply make decisions differently than the Vulcans do. Even though they consider us an inferior race, we have more tools at our disposal. Our heads and our hearts work together and often work quicker than the studied analysis that Vulcans practice.
Because the Vulcans distrust emotion, they perceive us as reckless. But we are not. If I had listened to T'Pol, we might never have discovered the Hipon at all. And our lives would have been poorer for it.
But her thoughtfulness has shown me something too. Her people's experience with other races is extremely valuable. I expected all first contacts to be alike. These two--on the same planet--have been very, very different.
I have a hunch that no first contact will be alike.
T'Pol of course would tell me that I'm only following logic, but I think there's more going on here than logic. I think the first contacts will differ not only because the aliens we meet will be different, but because we will be different after each new experience. We might have fewer preconceptions--or perhaps we will have more.
But if we keep our minds and hearts open, we will learn more than we can imagine.
Perhaps this experience has changed me more than it has changed the Fazi. Perhaps they were not the most rigid thinkers at that very first meeting.
Perhaps I was."
- "Captain's log.
The last meeting with the Hipon went well. They seemed to understand my decision to not hand over the translation device. They asked why, and I said I feared disturbing the balance of the two cultures.
The Hipon representative had again commented on the wisdom of humans. I didn't want to disagree, but I sure didn't feel wise. Just relieved that the decision seemed to be the correct one, and that a bungled first contact with the Fazi had led to two different relationships between two new races and Earth.
However, after all the discussions with T'Pol, and her pounding the fact that we have no way to predict the impact of our intrusion into this culture, my biggest fear is that the next time we pass this way, something will have happened and these two cultures will have destroyed each other.
She is right: There is no way to see the consequences of our actions here today. We can only hope that our desire to make contact with new lives and new civilizations does not cause harm.
I've done what I can. I hope when we come this way again we'll find that the two cultures have come to some sort of benign, peaceful, and happy coexistence.
The last thing I want is the blood of an alien race on my hands.
I must trust both the Hipon and the Fazi to do what is best for them and for each other. I cannot let T'Pol's negative example color my vision, or I will never attempt a first contact again.
And that wouldn't be good. Even though this was difficult, I have enjoyed it--and I think ultimately we'll all benefit from our work here.
At least, I'm going to hope so."
- Captain's Starlog, Supplemental. While mapping an area of uncharted space, we have encountered a populated planet - which is sending out a beacon that our Universal Translator has garbled. Communications Officer Ensign Hoshi Sato is currently trying to decipher what she can.
- Captain's Starlog, supplemental. Doctor Phlox has fallen ill, apparently with the same illness that afflicted the inhabitants of Oan. Now Enterprise faces a possible plague without the help of her chief medical officer.
- "Captain's log, May 8th, 2159. While en route to Starfleet Command Headquarters after briefing the Vulcan government on T'Uerell's subterfuge, Enterprise has been rerouted to render assistance in the Epsilon Theta star system. An outbreak of some kind of mutagenic virus has occured within all the inhabited worlds within the system. Starfleet has managed to synthesize a cure for this epidemic, and medical ships have been dispatched. However, there have been reports of attacks by Romulan vessels on some of our medical convoys. My task force has been assigned to protect Starfleet's efforts to send medical aid to the planets within Epsilon Theta. I can't help but wonder what the relationship was between T'Uerell's research and the Romulans. Given her deception, I don't think her studies were as innocent and benign as I was led to believe. Still, involved or not, the Romulans have uncharacteristically spread into the unaligned systems throughout this sector. My instincts say they're up to something sinister."