At the request of Mea Culpa diplomat Georgeanna Vikram, David “Davey” Anne Smith, K’t’k’prrk (Kateka Burrke), and Kartesh Fartouch set off for Mestromian space. Vikram requested that they deliver an intricate wooden and golden human puzzle box as a gift in order to establish a fixed diplomatic arrangement between the Visitor/Entourage and the Mestromians.
This (deliberately) eclectic group took a fast courier ship captained by Thaddeus Baker to Mestromian space. They scanned the puzzle box along the way, enabling them to produce 3D/holographic models and revealing that there was something shielded (but not nuclear) as the “prize” of the box. Kartesh struggled mightily with their own nature, but avoided opening the actual box to see what the prize was.
The Mestromians themselves were polite, and provided a large spread of foods for the group while sticking to their own various fluids. As conversation moved towards discussion of the gift, however, they became much more interested in K’t’k’prrk being the gift, given their extensive life experience: surviving a war, living among other cultures and on multiple planets, etc. They considered K’t’k’prrk a far better gift than a puzzle box, even a 6th century CE puzzle box.
There were a variety of linguistic snafus to complicate this: “guest”, “artifact”, and “gift” seemed related and interchangeable, as did “learn”, “consume”. The group was worried when they realized that giving K’t’k’prrk as a gift would, at the very least, lead to them being confined indefinitely.
Through some harrowing negotiations, the Mea Culpans were able to convince the Mestromians that the puzzle box was, in fact, an incredibly valuable cultural artifact, and certainly equal in value to the gift the Mestromians were giving (an old statue made of several metals crafted through different processes).
The group left the Mestromians without finding out what’s in the puzzle box. Or whether Vikram knew of the likelihood that K’t’k’prrk would be of interest as a gift.