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The last princess of Jaleyl wakes up.
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Yeah, this Sorraan guy has some solid experience actually helping aliens with this process, and Quark's heard of Prag before, the guy's an absolute hack. Even this scam project is going to be better than Prag's last published work, it was supposedly satire, but a lot of the time that's just what people who like terrible things say to explain why it isn't actually terrible. At least he and Sorraan will have things to talk about.

Everyone else on this list can go in Quark's new guide for Ferengi to this nonsensical process. They can buy advice, but not good advice, that'll cost extra.

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So, before resubmitting it to Soraan, he may as well make a little more progress. The scenery test is fine for a preface, and he can just use that same set up for the first chapter, set up the character models properly, but costuming them in Ferengi clothes of the period, in the Vulcan desert, but with Ferengi houses and furnishings.

Make it clear that he's still working on the project in case someone decides to check, but further emphasize the fact that he needs cultural help.

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Archivist Sorraan has enough experience with alien art to invent hypotheses such as "probably these are placeholder assets" or "the Ferengi explaining the plot of this scene will be removed in favor of simply playing the scene in the final release". His eventual report will explicitly name but proceed from this assumption. The suggested themes appear to primarily focus on overcoming adversity and particularly distraction. There is significant reference to dealing with irrational desires by threading the line between losing sight of goals in the face of emotions, versus wastefully suppressing emotions past the point where your relevant decisions are rational. It is hard to assess the artistic merit with so few details completed, but the overarching concept has... potential.

He requests additional clarification as to the intended themes and level of detail, and the degree to which the experience is intended to be interactive versus simply placing the viewer into a relevant state of mind. He does not yet feel comfortable recommending the work for access to restricted records, but sees some potential implementations which could be worth publishing, and which could have additional artistic value given historical accuracy.

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Huh, - well...

Okay.

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"The original work that this piece is based on is written entirely from the perspective of the Merchant Shmun, with T'lana serving as more of a guide and instructor to a stranger in a strange land. It is intended for the users to decide from the start whether they and any friend they may choose to join them to take the role of either Shmun or T'Lana, being either a guide in the process finding her own way, or a student who must be seen as leading his teacher, although I am hoping to create something that will be satisfying to even those who prefer only to observe and not participate in the action.

"I only have a cursory grasp of Surakian philosophy and history, but I aim to emphasize the ability of anyone to pursue logic and enlightenment, even when they think they are chasing something else.

"I am specifically requesting access to the historical database because based on my understanding of Vulcan history, there were people before Surak, whom he spoke to, that were attempting to push your society in the same general direction. While of course, T'Lana could not have studied with Surak, I would like to provide a better understanding of the culture that created Surak, and an opportunity for people to share the experience of coming to some of his conclusions, but before their people are ready for it.

"To provide the appropriate atmosphere, I will require some examples of period fashions, architecture, cuisine, and books. Obviously with a focus on those with a philosophical leaning, to provide something more for anyone playing T'Lana who is not yet fully versed in Vulcan Philosophy to lean on in their portrayal."

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"While the prevailing aesthetics of the pre-Surakian period obviously present artistic value, the Vulcan Academy for the Arts has already made the determination that the value of restricting access to these records exceeds the value of simply showcasing the historical artistic works. Moreover, you seem to be operating under an assumption that an understanding of pre-Surakian ethical philosophy will provide useful context to Surakian ethical philosophy for those unfamiliar with the field. While the hypothesis is understandable, you should also be aware that this is not a perspective well-supported by pedagogical research. Our educational system teaches the value of logic and ethical action from first principles without establishing a basis in prior illogical beliefs. Is this an accurate assessment of your justification for your request?"

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Alright, the Nagus obviously had the right idea when he announced that the entire Federation was crazy.

"Archivist Sorraan, while that may be true for Vulcan education, many other species have different educational methods that work better for them.

"The Ferengi system begins with thorough instruction in all 285 Rules of Acquisition and introductory bookkeeping practices, after which we go out on apprenticeships."

"My education has been significantly more hands on than the one provided in the Vulcan education system, and I prefer it that way."

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"I suspect that most other species that are not already followers of Surak's teachings would agree with me when I say that the current method of instruction promoted by the people of Vulcan is difficult, dense, and unrewarding. We already have 'illogical beliefs,' and as such these concepts need to be marketed differently.

"What I learned from The Arduous Journey of T'Lana on the Road to Enlightenment was that enlightenment is a journey and it must be chosen with every step, I aim to provide a road for it, and I hope to use materials from the Academy to as a foundation and guardrails."

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The archivist frowns at the explanation, but Quark's finely-honed skills at selling to aliens may detect a level of interest.

"So you propose that additional historical context may be of benefit to those without a strong educational basis in logic? Or perhaps even that historical context is uniquely valuable to those who have developed bia-" he catches himself and coughs. "-heuristics suited to a less... focused educational system."

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"I'd say differently focused.

"Everything I have ever studied has been with the singular goal of earning profit, I believe the Vulcan system does address more than one goal, which would make it the less focused of the two."

 

"But, yes. Those of us who haven't been through a Vulcan education rely on our emotions, and cannot be fully brought over to Surakian thought without an emotional appeal on some level.The ones made in 'The Arduous Journey' are based in empathy and passion. That if we love and respect the people around us, sometimes we must punish them for their own good, and if we have enemies, sometimes we must show them kindness and respect as well.

"And that's hard!

"Both T'Lana and Shmun struggle with their feelings and the differences between their emotional wants and their logical and physical needs throughout the work. A struggle that they see playing out all around them between others, and given the more open world nature of my project than many of the adaptations that have come before, I want to enable passersby to root their commentary in the philosophy that their realworld counterparts would have had access to, providing a more realistic struggle. And one that players may be better equipped to apply, and possibly seek out more of, once out of character."

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"Hm. I will have to investigate the literature on the value of emotional appeals in non-Vulcan pedagogy. I comprehend the theory you are proposing, but the risk is obviously significant that students with an emotionally-founded understanding of philosophy would have difficulty applying it in practice. However, the value of improving educational content for other species may justify the risk. Particularly given poor uptake from existing methodologies. If you expect the work to improve on current philosophical study materials tuned for human learning styles, it maybe worth applying for an educational grant. There are several available through the Cultural Outreach Committee."

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Another income stream for this project!

Don't mind if he does apply for that then.

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And now, the thrilling return to the original story.

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Before the last set of revisions to the experimental subspace detector, Gul Ocett sent a message to an acquaintance in the Romulan Fleet.

"Commander Savul, in the process of recovering the many great works of the Cardassian Union that had been stolen from us by the Obsidian Order, my colleagues and I have located the remains of a Romulan. I know our people's traditions around death are different, but I apologize for the fact that so many of us have seen them regardless, and have done my utmost to keep the number of people who view them as small as possible. The enclosed data file is a genetic scan, I hope you might be able to check your people's database's for any surviving family I could contact regarding next steps."

"Regards,"

"Gul Ocett"

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A few minutes later Gul Ocett has a call on a secure channel from Comander Savul.

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"Elements Ocett! Even if you had to throw yourself into another of the galaxy's greatest mysteries, you did not need to drag me in like this."

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"It can't possibly be as bad as the last one Savul. Do you have contact information for me or not?"

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"I would say it is. Unless you'd like to change your story about where you found this sample?"

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Well, no. No she wouldn't actually.

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"I may have omitted some details certainly, but nothing I said is untrue. How is this worse than what we found on Vilmoor?"

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"Ocett, I do not want to get involved in any of the political games surrounding the imperial throne.

"If that's what the Union is trying here, tell them that they need to go through someone else, and maybe find someone related to the actual imperial line.

"The Queen of Two Worlds may have been the first monarch, but her bloodline, however close the relation may be, does not make a good argument for a throne established more than 500 years after her death."

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Of course. There was no way that this particular part of the project was going to go well. Malyn should never have thought for a moment that this incredibly implausible woman might have either no living relatives in the Romulan Empire, or maybe a small village of great nieces and nephews somewhere in the Valley of Chula.

Of course her sister, or niece, or great niece, was the first monarch of Romulus and Remus.

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"Well, that's at least going to make my report on the incident more interesting. Obviously I haven't found any explanations of what the Order wanted her for yet." The polite way of saying that she absolutely wouldn't tell him even if she did, and that she does in fact know more than she's said.

"Any chance you could share how closely related they were?"

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