Updated: Mar 8
The Latenter crew end up getting far more involved in affairs with the Scryer Network than they ever anticipated. Now they have their work cut out to reign in the situation before they can move on to catch up to the Valley Forge.
T'Lana@anncarise FX | The Latenter quickly arrives back in orbit of Tusa, where a Carran courier ship exchanges fire with two alien vessels.
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Fel: "Carran shields are holding at 70%. One of the enemy raiders is damaged."
Mischa@crystyll: "Combat assessment of the enemy raiders?"
T'Lana@anncarise | Daurant: "Roughly on par with Dominion War era Klingon birds of prey. They are very nimble but lack powerful shields."
T'Lana@anncarise | Daurant: "However, the hull is designed to intentionally scatter scanning as well as target locks. I can read its armaments, but not the occupants or internal systems."
Mischa@crystyll: "Weaknesses in their defenses? These are our only lead so I do not want them destroyed, just disabled"
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Fel: "I would suggest a wide-beam fired manually. They may be difficult to target, but once hit, they will be easily disabled by our weaponry."
Mischa@crystyll: "Alright" she nods, "Red alert. Prepare to disengage cloak and engage the enemy. Helm, bring us around the Carran vessel - right in the path of the raiders"
T'Lana@anncarise FX | Red lighting fills the bridge as the Latenter moves around the Carran vessel, which is firing orange phaser beams at the raiders.
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Fel: "Weapons systems standing by."
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria: "Ready to decloak on your mark, Commander."
Mischa@crystyll watches the ships on the viewscreen to get the timing just right, "...decloak and fire!"
T'Lana@anncarise FX | The Latenter decloaks and unleashes wide-beams that takes down the shields of one raider and leaves the other completely, disabled, adrift in space.
T'Lana@anncarise FX | The shieldless raider makes no indication of retreat, instantly switching target to open fire on the Latenter.
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Fel: "Shields at eighty-five percent."
Mischa@crystyll: "Bring us about and maintain fire on that raider"
T'Lana@anncarise FX | The raider attempts to dart around the Latenter but is caught in the radius of another wide beam, causing it to spin out of control.
Mischa@crystyll: "Good job. Now let's get tractor beams on both those ships before they recover or get any bright ideas about doing something stupid"
T'Lana@anncarise | Daurant: "Tractor beams locked and activated."
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria: "We are being contacted by the Carran vessel again."
Mischa@crystyll: "On screen, and stand down yellow alert"
T'Lana@anncarise appears on the screen again, "Thank you for the assistance, Commander."
Mischa@crystyll: "How are you holding up over there, do you require any support on board?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "We are fortunate the enemy did not manage to board the Courier vessel. I am told these Toroki are highly dangerous in close quarters."
Mischa@crystyll: "Those are Toroki raiders? Well suddenly I'm having second thoughts about boarding them" she chuckles, "They are extremely dangerous in close quarters, yes"
T'Lana@anncarise | Eirril: "Going on board would not be recommended. Their brain structure makes them as resistant to telepathy as a Ferengi, so I'm afraid even I'm of little help there."
Mischa@crystyll: "Well we have them disabled for now. We'll attempt to access their computers first and see what we can learn from there. They were found attacking the mine, so are likely linked to our mercenary force
T'Lana@anncarise: "These raiders were just the rear guard, left behind by the main force to eliminate those who came to investigate. The main force is already en route to Medan."
T'Lana@anncarise: "Our operation was a success and the Carrans have apprehended Vilo Sundar. However, it appears he had contingency plans."
T'Lana@anncarise: "The command ship at the head of the mercenary force is his own, with a loyal crew. He has been given orders from Carr through subspace communications, but the command ship is also equipped with a -
T'Lana@anncarise: - holographic recreation of Vilo, in case someone managed to take him out of the picture."
T'Lana@anncarise: "The real Vilo is now held by the Carrans, but they will not intervene with the mercenaries, as it is not their business. We had to utilize the Scryer Network's resources to charter this Courier -
T'Lana@anncarise: - vessel to arrive here."
Mischa@crystyll: "If we can get in range of that vessel we should be able to usurp any attempt at using that holo" she looks off to the side, "plot the course of the Command ship, what is our eta at maximum warp?"
T'Lana@anncarise | Backup Navigator: "ETA approximately twenty hours, Commander."
Mischa@crystyll: "And that of the Command ship?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "The vanguard of the mercenary force will have already arrived in a quarter of that time. We will not catch up with the Command ship before it reaches Medan, not at warp."
T'Lana@anncarise: "This is why we chartered one of the larger Courier vessels despite the small number of field agents. It will be capable of towing us into Underspace."
Mischa@crystyll: "Alright... make preparations and let's get underway as soon as possible. In the meantime we'll pull all we can from the Toroki computers"
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria: "On it, ma'am."
T'Lana@anncarise FX | After a short while of preparations, the Carran ship attaches several tractor beams to the Latenter and hails again.
T'Lana@anncarise appears on screen again, "The Courier is prepared to take us into Underspace. We will await your order, Commander."
Mischa@crystyll: "Everything appears ready our end"
T'Lana@anncarise FX | The Courier ship and Latenter jumps...but not into warp as the characteristic blur of underspace tunnels becomes visible on the viewscreen in place of star streaks.
T'Lana@anncarise | Backup Navigator: "This is new..."
T'Lana@anncarise | The Carran courier darts left and right, adeptly dodging debris and knowing exactly which path to take at points where the tunnel branches off.
Mischa@crystyll: "Enjoy it while you can, I don't plan on making a habit of this. Keep a close monitor on ship systems for any kinds of stress"
T'Lana@anncarise | Daurant: "All systems are currently nominal."
Mischa@crystyll: "Then let us hope they remain that way. Keep sensors active, this is our first time in underspace and I want to capture as much data on the process as we can"
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Bee: "We are getting fascinating readings from this."
Mischa@crystyll: "I look forward to a closer study of them once this is all behind us. What about the Toroki computers, did we manage to obtain anything useful before departing?"
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria: "We have the contract they signed with Vilo, but everything there is legitimate. Nothing we can exploit to get the Carrans involved. We've also gotten a database on the Toroki language-
T'Lana@anncarise: - but nothing pertaining to the mercenaries' plan of attack. The contract just says it's a conquest of Decen space and they are to follow Vilo's orders."
Mischa@crystyll: "Fair enough, given what a unique lifeform we encountered at the mine I want you to start collating everything to build a complete threat assessment on the species"
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria: "Will do, Commander."
T'Lana@anncarise FX | Before they know it, the Courier drops out of Underspace, pulling the Latenter with them.
T'Lana@anncarise | Backup Navigator: "We're...already in the Medan system."
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Fel: "Picking up energy discharges between the fourth and fifth planets."
Mischa@crystyll: "Well that certainly is expedient. Disengage the tether and take us in under cloak"
T'Lana@anncarise | Daurant: "Engaging cloak."
T'Lana@anncarise FX | The Latenter approaches the source of the signatures and soon a fight is visible on screen- a mere five ships wrecking havoc on a Decen fleet.
Mischa@crystyll: "Any sign of our priority target?"
T'Lana@anncarise | Daurant: "One of the vessels is Ularen in design, two matches a design we have seen above Carr and the remainder are unidentified. They are significantly more technologically advanced than the -
T'Lana@anncarise: - Decen ships."
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Fel: "The Command ship is not present in the fighting."
Mischa@crystyll: "Can we get a fix on it's position?"
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Bee: "Long range sensors are picking up eleven more signatures incoming. One of them appears to be the Command ship."
T'Lana@anncarise | Navigator: "Confirmed. Their ETA is five minutes."
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Fel: "We must intercept them. Half the Decen force will be destroyed after five more minutes of fighting."
Mischa@crystyll: "Alright, give me options people. Can we get in close to the Command ship and hijack it's signal to order the fleet to disengage?"
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria: "That Command ship looks like it has impressive comm abilities, but it's not a Starfleet Intelligence ship. We'll be able to hijack it and use its own signal strength to broadcast to -
T'Lana@anncarise: - their whole fleet."
Mischa@crystyll: "Then let us proceed with haste. Prepare for a cyber assault on the computers as well in case we need to draw additional data to recreate the Vilo holo"
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria nods and gets to work. A few minutes later, a comm broadcast pops up and an image of Vilo Sundar appears on the Latenter's screen.
Mischa@crystyll smiles, "Nicely done"
Mischa@crystyll: "Now we need to ensure the Command ship does not see anything wrong. So mask an inbound signal to frame it as the real Vilo ordering the stand down from Carr"
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria taps on her screen a few more times, "False signal created, Commander. We're ready to broadcast."
Mischa@crystyll: "Proceed" she leans back, fingers steepled as she watches things play out
T'Lana@anncarise | Fake Vilo Holo: "This is Prince Vilo to all forces. There has been a change of plans. Cease your attack and return to Underworld immediately."
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Fel: "The mercenary vanguard is disengaging."
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Bee: "Incoming ships are altering course, Commander. Including the Command ship."
Mischa@crystyll looks to Victoria, "Reinforce it with orders that the contract has been fulfilled and they are to maintain discretion to avoid unwarranted attention. Promise them a strong incentive for a job well +
Mischa@crystyll: + done too" she smiles
T'Lana@anncarise | Fake Vilo Holo: "You've all served me well. Your contracts are hereby completed. Now I'd like to ask everyone to keep quiet about this operation. No boasting about taking a Decen fleet head-on -
T'Lana@anncarise: - in Underworld bars. You know how this works. I go my way, you go yours."
Mischa@crystyll: "And that should take care of any lingering obligations between Vilo and his mercenaries"
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria: "I hope so."
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Bee: "All mercenary ships are on course back to Carr."
Mischa@crystyll: "Continue to monitor their movement and comms, just to be sure. Now let's see to the situation in orbit, open a channel with T'Lana's ship"
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Bee: "Yes Commander."
T'Lana@anncarise | Victoria: "Channel open."
T'Lana@anncarise appears on the viewscreen again, "Nicely done, Commander."
Mischa@crystyll: "Thank you, T'Lana. Though credit to our team here for a flawless execution. What is your status now?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "All field agents dispatched to Underworld are currently on board and accounted for. There are no further complications to report."
T'Lana@anncarise: "The Courier's contract includes taking the Latenter back to Carr. They are willing to wait if you wish to monitor the situation further."
T'Lana@anncarise | Eirril: "They don't come cheap, so I'd recommend not wasting the return trip. We are halfway across the sector now, after all."
Mischa@crystyll nods and looks to her side, "What of the Decen fleet, do they appear likely to require assistance?"
T'Lana@anncarise | Daurant: "Debris indicates at least four ships destroyed, and there are twice as many damaged. They certainly need assistance, but more than we are capable of providing."
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Bee: "Support ships are currently moving in from Medan. The planet and its facilities appear unscathed."
Mischa@crystyll: "Then they have things in hand. Very well, re-establish the tether and let us return to Underworld so our good courier escort can get back to business"
T'Lana@anncarise | T'Lana looks to her side and gives instructions to the Carran crew, who quickly have Latenter back in a tractor lock and travelling through Underspace again...
Edel@anncarise | Buena works away in the medical office.
Mischa@crystyll enters the sickbay office and approaches Buena, glancing to the recovering officers, "How are they?"
Edel@anncarise | Buena looks up from her console, "Ah, hello Commander! They'll be fine. Nethay's concussion is fully treated, after a good night of sleep he should be back on the helm soon."
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "I've taken Hassan off the duty roster for the next two days, but after that he should be completely recovered."
Mischa@crystyll breathes a heavy sigh of relief, "Thank you Buena. And what about you... how are you doing after that mission?"
Edel@anncarise | Buena smiles, "I'm fine. It was a tense mission, but I'm glad I was along to help."
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "Definitely a little disconcerting being hunted like that...oh but that reminds me!"
Edel@anncarise | She stands and steps to the display behind her, tapping it to reveal an anatomical diagram of a Toroki, "I didn't have much to work with, being chased in the dark didn't exactly give me a good -
Edel@anncarise: - chance to scan them closely, but I found this in the database Vic downloaded from their ship."
Mischa@crystyll smiles, folding her arms as she studies the display, "Great job, Buena. Seeing how formidable they are in close quarters, I want to learn all we can to better prepare ourselves for future encounters"
Edel@anncarise | Buena nods, "If there's anything in the universe that's a perfect predator, these aliens are it. I've never seen anything like it. They're beyond classification, they have features of both -
Edel@anncarise: - reptilians and insectoids."
Mischa@crystyll: "Naturally evolved, or do you suspect forced evolution?"
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "Completely natural, at least from what I can tell. I see no sign of genetic augmentation."
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "Looking at them, it's not hard to imagine that they were designed. Every feature of them is essentially present to make them a better hunter, but the same can be said of most natural -
Edel@anncarise: - alpha predators."
Mischa@crystyll: "Fascinating. One can only imagine the native environment that would produce such a lifeform"
Mischa@crystyll: "What do we know about their intelligence? Though their behaviour on the ground was strictly carnal, they demonstrated awareness and adaptability of an advanced civilization and you saw one even took+
Mischa@crystyll: + up arms with a dropped rifle"
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "According to biological data at least, they're every bit as smart as any other sentient reptilian species, like the Gorn, Xindi or Saurians."
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "I'm no sociologist, but I suspect they have a culture that values strength and success in combat. Like the Klingons, or the Hirogen."
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "That at least explains why they prefer to kill with claws and stinger when they're clearly capable of firing phasers."
Mischa@crystyll: "Indeed. Tell me... with the data we have collated, do you believe it would be feasible to develop a viable holotrainer?"
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "We only have a limited amount of data on their movements. We might have to extrapolate some from known lifeforms so it won't be 100% accurate, but it'll still be useful."
Mischa@crystyll: "It would be a start at least, so get a team on it. I will assist as well with accountings of my own combat with them. I don't know how far spread these Toroki are yet, but certainly don't plan on +
Mischa@crystyll: + seeing any more of crew laid up in here because we were unprepared to face such an enemy in direct confrontation"
Edel@anncarise | Buena nods, "I'll do my best to make sure that doesn't happen again. Oh and if you could...it'll be nice to have a genetic sample from the stinger you gave to the Decen."
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "We only have a basic anatomical diagram here. Either they like to keep the rest of their biology secret, or the ones on that ship don't even know it."
Mischa@crystyll nods, "I'm sure there was enough surplus on that cut stinger that we can take some biological samples without hurting her profit. Speaking of our guest, have you happened to see her yet?"
Edel@anncarise | Buena: "She was in here earlier talking to a few of the Decen from the escape pod I was treating. I offered to check her, but she insisted she was fine."
Mischa@crystyll chuckles, "That does not surprise me. Alright, I'll leave you to it for now. You did good today Buena" she smiles, turning to leave
Edel@anncarise | Buena smiles back, "Thanks, Commander."
Mischa@crystyll greets the security on the door to Edel's guest quarters with a quiet nod as she steps through to ring the entry panel
Edel@anncarise's voice calls out: "Hello? Who's there?"
Mischa@crystyll steps in, "Only me. I trust you are finding the accommodations suitable?"
Edel@anncarise: "You kidding? You people live in space-palaces! Admittedly your ship's a little more practical than the Valley Forge, but this is still a medium rate suite on Underworld."
Mischa@crystyll chuckles, "Well this vessel is less orientated towards front end diplomacy as the Valley Forge. But I'm glad you're comfortable. How are the survivors of your ship faring?"
Mischa@crystyll speaks as she moves to replicate herself a tea
Edel@anncarise: "They're alive. That's a good start. Good to know they weren't running for their lives but wanted to try and warn everyone else, too."
Edel@anncarise: "Not that it made much of a difference in the end..."
Mischa@crystyll returns sipping her tea and perches against the nearby desk, "Oh I don't know, how one acts under such circumstances can prove to be a defining feature in years to come"
Edel@anncarise nods, "Well, I guess it proves the ones who survived will stay loyal. But I'll still have to rebuild most of the crew."
Mischa@crystyll: "The losses are of course regrettable, but in case you didn't have a good view from the window on this side; you'll be pleased to know that we dealt with the Toroki raiders and drove back a larger +
Mischa@crystyll: + force from the heart of Decen territory"
Edel@anncarise: "I saw the fighting. Heard about the main force from the survivors of my ship, too, but you were already dealing with it by the time I found out."
Edel@anncarise: "I'll say that much, you people are effective."
Mischa@crystyll smiles, "It is our speciality, one might say. But your praise is most kind, and I never got a chance to properly thank you for the assistance back in the mine. You also handle yourself well"
Edel@anncarise: "I lost most of my team to these buggers. Wouldn't call that particularly well. Pretty typical encounter with Toroki, to be honest, but that doesn't mean I have to like it."
Edel@anncarise | She hops off the lounger and steps closer, "But you stood up to one, in close-quarters, without so much as a sword. Now that's what I call impressive."
Mischa@crystyll: "I was hardly unarmed, though having experienced that encounter now I can see the benefit of long blades"
Edel@anncarise: "Well the best way to deal with a Toroki is /not/ to let them get close. A blade's helpful if they do, but they're often too fast."
Mischa@crystyll hrms, "In wars long past, my people used something called a bayonet; a blade attachment retrofitted to the barrel of a rifle. Other cultures we know utilize similar approaches now, so perhaps +
Mischa@crystyll: + something like that could be optimal against this foe"
Edel@anncarise nods, "That might be pretty useful, actually. You still have to see them coming and react fast enough, but it's easier than having to draw a blade."
Mischa@crystyll sips her tea, "How much do you know of these Toroki?"
Edel@anncarise: "Not much. They don't usually go further than Underworld. I've only run into them when I ventured out, this is the first time I've heard of them coming into Decen territory."
Mischa@crystyll: "Which suggest they at least hail from somewhere beyond Underworld" she nods
Edel@anncarise nods, "They're good fighters and they know it. All the ones I've seen are usually mercs or bounty hunters."
Edel@anncarise: "No idea where their home is, or what they're like back there. Could be like the Ularens, where only a select kind of people ever head out."
Mischa@crystyll: "Given the likelihood that we'll be running into them again some point during our journey here, I've got teams working on developing special training programs to combat these Toroki. I will not ask +
Mischa@crystyll: + anything of you outright, but if you see fit to aid them with your knowledge I am confident it would help"
Edel@anncarise smirks, "Do I get paid for it?"
Mischa@crystyll chuckles, "I'm sure we can come to some arrangement. We are en route back to Underworld and you appear to be without a ship right now. How about I see what our resources there can do to assist, if +
Mischa@crystyll: + can't, or can't present anything suitable. I'll ensure you are paid appropriately for your time"
Edel@anncarise: "Then count me in. I got nowhere to go until I have a ship and a new crew for it."
Mischa@crystyll smiles, "One thing I would ask however; as part of our attempts to better prepare to face the Toroki we need to understand their physiology better. The stinger I gave you, when you see Buena about +
Mischa@crystyll: + the training sim, could you present it to her for extraction of a bio sample? She will only need a small dna sampling, nothing to impact your profit from it I'm sure"
Edel@anncarise: "Well you got it for me after all. Only fair you get a sample of it."
Mischa@crystyll: "Thank you, now if there is anything more that I can do to help while you are on board, you need but ask"
Edel@anncarise: "How much can I move around? Nice as your accommodations are, I don't like to be cooped up in one room."
Edel@anncarise | She smirks, "Unless I have good company, of course."
Mischa@crystyll: "You are not confined here if that is your concern. Despite the impression of it, this vessel is much smaller than the Valley Forge in terms of habitable areas, and much of where there is remains +
Mischa@crystyll: + strictly classified. My officers remain on station outside your quarters to provide you with guidance there and will show you to any part of the ship you wish otherwise"
Edel@anncarise chuckles, "I might be a raider, but when I'm a guest, I try to be a good guest. I'll make sure not to wander into places I shouldn't be."
Mischa@crystyll: "My officers will guarantee it. And to be clear, it has nothing to do with you, your past, or anything else. It is simply the nature of life on board this ship. As mentioned, we are not the diplomatic
Mischa@crystyll: showboat that the Valley Forge is" she smiles, "But friends are always made to feel comfortable and welcome as we can"
Edel@anncarise: "Oh I won't ask for a tour or anything. I just needed a ride. Thanks for taking me along, by the way."
Mischa@crystyll: "You are our allies, and that makes you important to us" she smiles
Edel@anncarise smiles back, "I'll do my best to be useful. Our ships aren't as fast as yours, but I've been around, and I know about more than just Toroki."
Mischa@crystyll: "I would be interested to learn from your local experience. Why don't you join me for a meal later in the mess hall?"
Edel@anncarise: "That sounds good! I won't turn down a free meal."
Mischa@crystyll laughs, "Well then you'll be pleased to know that we don't charge for meals here"
Edel@anncarise smirks, "What about drinks?"
Mischa@crystyll: "We don't charge for those either" she chuckles
Edel@anncarise: "Wow...definitely count me in!" She laughs.
Mischa@crystyll: "I wouldn't get too excited, it's all replicated synthahol just like this tea" she raises the cup
Edel@anncarise: "Oh. Well, it's better than nothing, I suppose."
Mischa@crystyll: "That's the idea"
Edel@anncarise: "I'll see you there, then."
Mischa@crystyll dips her head, "I look forward to it"
Mischa@crystyll sits at her table in the mess hall, quietly enjoying a glass of wine
Edel@anncarise steps inside, making her way over to Mischa's table, "Looking sharp! I would've worn something nicer, but the rest of my clothes were on my ship."
Mischa@crystyll looks up with a smile, "You are welcome to pull something from the replicators here if you wish. Might be nice to explore Federation styles for a variety" she gestures to the empty seat
Edel @anncarise nods, "I'll see what I can find."
Edel@anncarise steps up to the replicator and searches through the menu.
Edel@anncarise returns with a replicated Saurian brandy and a targ steak.
Mischa@crystyll: "Good choice. You gained some familiarity with Federation delicacies during your time on the Valley Forge I'm guessing?"
Edel@anncarise: "A little. You've got as much food variety as every establishment on Underworld combined. How do you manage, with so many different people living together?"
Edel@anncarise chuckles, "I have fights breaking out in the mess hall on my ship ever few weeks, and I don't even take in many alien mercs."
Mischa@crystyll: "I would like to chalk it up to the heavily disciplined mentality of everyone on board. By the time even the most junior of officers makes it to a ship posting they have been through years of rigorous
Mischa@crystyll: and disciplined training to prepare them for such a life"
Edel@anncarise: "Yeah, very different from life on a raider ship, I'd imagine. You probably run things closer to the Valeni."
Mischa@crystyll: "That would be a fair assessment from what I've seen of them"
Edel@anncarise: "You're very interesting. You have all your uniforms and rules like the Valeni, but you've also still got a sense of adventure."
Mischa@crystyll chuckles, "I believe that to be more of a personal trait than one of Starfleet as a whole. I know plenty of officers who lack that sense of adventure"
Edel@anncarise chuckles, "Well I like you even more, then."
Edel@anncarise: "Always did get the sense that you were like all the Decen Families combined. Some as smart as the Medan, some as devious as the Drascas, as silver-tongued as the Lorena."
Edel@anncarise: "I guess seeing you all working together on the same ship was what convinced us to form the Decen League."
Mischa@crystyll: "Indeed, I believe Captain Keelah saw the same thing which is - at least in part - why she worked so hard to help unite the Decen Families"
Mischa@crystyll: "And what of the Decen stereotypes themselves? For example, is it feasible to find say, a Medan more silver-tongued than a Lorena. Or see a Satri outmaneuver a Drasca?"
Edel@anncarise: "Oh certainly. Our traits are just what our Families are known for. I'm preeetty far from your typical Satri. That's why I'm out here raiding and not hiding back on the colony."
Mischa@crystyll tilts her head a little, "Is that a hint of disdain for the typical Satri way?"
Edel@anncarise: "Satri forces are known for raiding, but most of the time it's the lesser families and the Halloni we take in who do the actual fighting. Members of my actual family, well..."
Edel@anncarise: "They're not as different from the other Ruling Families as people think. Sure, they're content with just one colony and don't like to get involved in Decen conflicts and politics, but among -
Mischa@crystyll holds her gaze on Edel as she sips her wine, maintaining her attentiveness
Edel@anncarise: - themselves, they still hold a lot of the old traditions."
Edel@anncarise: "Marriages to prominent members of subordinate Families, making big speeches, all that nonsense."
Mischa@crystyll smiles thoughtfully, "You know in some ways, the same can be said for my own family"
Edel@anncarise takes a gulp of her Saurian brandy, "Really? What's your family like?"
Mischa@crystyll sighs softly, leaning back and sipping her wine, "The term back home for them is 'aristocracy'. Largely looked upon as a relic of ancient times when those 'with' ruled over those 'without'. However +
Mischa@crystyll: + nowadays, the family largely just looks after itself and enjoys proudly sustaining the otherwise lost cultural heritage through it's own enterprises. So the arranged marriages, fancy parties and+
Mischa@crystyll: + the like all bare similarity"
Edel@anncarise: "That...sounds surprisingly like my own. Unlike the Valeni, it's not common for a Satri to be seen actually leading our forces."
Edel@anncarise: "There's been a few, but there's also been great Drasca tacticians and Lorena dueling masters."
Mischa@crystyll: "My family comes from a long line of military leaders dating back hundreds of years. Though the traditionalism has it's downsides too, which is why I turned away from that world in the end"
Edel@anncarise: "Well, I guess we're two of a kind, then."
Mischa@crystyll: "So it would seem" she smiles, "It never ceases to amaze me; how far we come, how many new people we meet. And yet for all the differences, there are always similarities and common ground to be found+
Mischa@crystyll: + as well"
Edel@anncarise: "But if you go far enough, you start hearing rumours of things so ancient they're nothing like us at all."
Edel@anncarise: "I don't know how much truth there is to those spacer tales, but there are some strange things out there."
Mischa@crystyll: "Yes, I've heard more than a few such tales and from such varying sources that it's hard not to take them seriously"
Edel@anncarise: "Still, I'd rather deal with them and things like Toroki than Family politics."
Edel@anncarise: "By tradition, I'm not even allowed to go back to Satri now. If a Captain loses their ship, they either die or they don't come back until they've got their hands on another one."
Edel@anncarise: "I'm definitely going to get a new ship. But I don't even want to go back."
Mischa@crystyll: "You don't?"
Edel@anncarise: "I've always liked the raider's life. Being out in space, not having to answer to anyone- well technically I did have to answer to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, but I ignored them half the time."
Edel@anncarise chuckles, "They don't like me and I sure don't like them. I was good though, and they knew that."
Mischa@crystyll chuckles, "I can certainly relate to that desire to just be out there and in charge of your life. But even after all that, you still never strayed far. Never went beyond reach"
Edel@anncarise: "Guess I still have that sense of responsibility for the Family we're all raised with. Even if I show it in a way they don't approve of. And I still do."
Edel@anncarise: "But you've seen what a few merc ships can do to the Decen. These are just hired muscle, cannon fodder against people like the Carrans."
Edel@anncarise: "We can't just mind our business and hope everyone else leaves us be. We need to go out there, find new things. Allies, tech, resources."
Mischa@crystyll nods, "Exactly why the Federation has taken an interest in your people. And part of the reason I'm out here now following up on the Valley Forge's mission; to ensure maintained stability to the +
Mischa@crystyll: + region." she leans in a little, "You see, Federation law is very specific about those it's considers for membership or even alliances. They expect to see a culture as self-sustaining and stable +
Mischa@crystyll: + within itself. So regardless of any future Decen decision, I'm here to make sure nobody interferes in your people's natural development through this critical time. As a period of major social +
Mischa@crystyll: + evolution like the Decen are currently undergoing can be delicate to say the best"
Edel@anncarise nods, "I heard the Drascas were at one another's throats a short while ago."
Mischa@crystyll: "There was something of a local misunderstanding that had to be cleared up. Or so I hear at least" she smiles innocently
Edel@anncarise digs into her targ steak, "It's definitely a time of big changes."
Mischa@crystyll nods, "Undoubtedly. Only time will tell if it is for the good of the Decen people or not. My interest is solely in ensuring that others do not interfere"
Mischa@crystyll: "That is why we are regrettably unable to reinforce your fleets"
Edel@anncarise: "And that's why I want to go out and find new things. New friends, maybe, but I don't want to have to depend on others."
Mischa@crystyll: "So. Get a new ship and crew, then head out into the great unknown, is it?"
Edel@anncarise: "Not just any ship. I want to find something that might give us an advantage. Almost everyone around us is more advanced than we are- anyone that's not drastically underdeveloped and still confined -
Edel@anncarise: - to a single planet that is."
Mischa@crystyll: "No small task. Do you believe we will be able to find you such a ship at Underworld?"
Edel@anncarise: "Probably, but it won't come cheap. My plan was for me and the remaining members of the crew to work as mercs for a while. Make new connections, see the galaxy."
Edel@anncarise: "And when we can afford it, we'll be able to get a ship and hopefully some potential new crew to hire."
Mischa@crystyll nods, "Finding trustworthy allies to bring onto a crew will take time for certain. Maybe we can find a way to help you along some"
Edel@anncarise: "I guess you are wandering around and meeting new people."
Edel@anncarise: "If there's anyone you want to recommend, I'll appreciate the help."
Mischa@crystyll: "Not only that, but we have... resources on Underworld. Whilst they are loyal, they are not trustworthy. So having someone available to bolster them who is..." she smiles, "...would be good"
Edel@anncarise smiles back, "I'm familiar with Underworld. I can help you there."
Mischa@crystyll: "Our operation there is independent of Starfleet, but it is well embedded too. You may be familiar with it even, does the name Scryer mean anything?"
Edel@anncarise nods, "The information traders. They have brokers on Underworld, mostly Carran, but I've heard the organization's much larger."
Edel@anncarise: "Underworld's probably one of the few places where they operate publically. Because Carrans."
Mischa@crystyll: "It is, and exponentially more dangerous. The Carran operation recently... came under new management. That is not so public"
Edel@anncarise: "Let me guess, you had a hand in it?"
Mischa@crystyll: "Have, may be the more appropriate term. We have seized control of that cell specifically, but retained it's standing with the Scryer Network. It is important that you understand just how dangerous +
Mischa@crystyll: + these people are, Edel. That is why I am sharing this with you. If you wish to operate independently out of Underworld then we can assist through this front, but only ever through our predesignated+
Mischa@crystyll: + contacts - for your own protection as much as ours"
Edel@anncarise nods, "I can work with that. And taking over an information network in secret? Seems you've got a bit of Drasca in you as well..." she smirks.
Mischa@crystyll smiles, "If Starfleet Command - the Valley Forge's division - is our Lorena Family, this ship is certainly a Drasca"
Edel@anncarise: "That explains the more practical layout..."
Mischa@crystyll: "This vessel is highly specialized, so although the spaceframe is actually larger than the Valley Forge, most of the interior is taken up by it's required hardware while we occupy just the central +
Mischa@crystyll: + core of the ship"
Edel@anncarise: "So it's less crew, and more advanced systems? I've seen a few ships like that from the other Families."
Mischa@crystyll nods, "Yes you could say that. And due to the nature of our assignment here, that is why we do things differently to the Valley Forge. We are not here to make a big showy presence for Starfleet. +
Mischa@crystyll: + Quite the contrary in fact. By the time we move on, only the select few we deal with directly will even know we were ever here"
Edel@anncarise: "Must be why we've never even heard of your ship."
Edel@anncarise: "Well, I can do secrets," she smirks. "I won't let anyone on about you, and I can work through your contacts on Underworld."
Mischa@crystyll smiles, "I had a feeling we would be able to reach a mutual understanding. Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm trying to recruit you as an asset or anything. But in order for me to help throw +
Mischa@crystyll: + work your way I need to use our Scryer facade to do so, that means you deserve to know the truth about it lest you think you'd been pushed on to them"
Edel@anncarise smiles back, "Thank you for trusting me with the information. I won't let anyone else know, I promise."
Mischa@crystyll: "Had I even the slightest doubt of it, we would not be having this conversation. Moreso for your own protection, as I mentioned; this is an adopted cell who do not know we pull their strings now. If +
Mischa@crystyll: + they were to find out, that would put everything we both know and love at risk"
Edel@anncarise: "I've worked behind the back of my Patriarch or Matriarch a few times. And these people knew me when I was a child," she smirks. "The Carrans won't find out."
Mischa@crystyll smiles, "And hopefully in the mean time, this will present a good steady source of fruitful work for you to build up your independent operation from"
Edel@anncarise: "I look forward to it."
Mischa@crystyll smiles and stands, "Well then, I shall leave you to enjoy your meal. I hope to have a shortlist of available vessels for you by the time we reach Underworld"
Edel@anncarise nods and smiles, "Thanks for offering to help. Your people are certainly good friends, probably one of the first ones we've found so far."
Edel@anncarise raises her drink to Mischa, "Hopefully, the first of many."
Mischa@crystyll: "All the more reason for us to honour this fledgling friendship" she smiles again, "Enjoy your meal" and heads out
View Bonus Content
T'Lana@anncarise FX | The doorbell to the ready room rings.
Mischa@crystyll: "Come in"
T'Lana@anncarise steps inside, "Commander."
Mischa@crystyll sits, relaxed, on the couch. Sipping tea while reviewing shipboard reports. She looks up with a pleasant smile, "T'Lana. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
Mischa@crystyll would gesture for her to take a seat as she greets her as well
T'Lana@anncarise steps over and takes a seat opposite Mischa, "We've had some time to browse the Carran cell's network, and there are some interesting findings which I wished to present and discuss."
Mischa@crystyll sets her PADD down on the seat beside her, leaning back with a focused interest on T'Lana as she sips more tea, "Oh?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "The first and most vital point is that multiple people have been requesting audiences with the Carran Eye. The Scryer initially intended for Eirril to secretly replace the former Eye, and while he -
T'Lana@anncarise: - is suited for the position, I am unsure if it would be wise to give him such an opportunity to exercise his freedom."
Mischa@crystyll hrms, "Quite the dilemma indeed, and I am inclined to agree with you regarding liberties for our guest. I assume that you're presenting this information now also means you have a recommendation to +
Mischa@crystyll: + accompany the news?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "We could simply allow him to speak as the Eye. I do not believe he will betray us, but knowing him, he may very well set contingencies if he ever finds reason to."
T'Lana@anncarise: "However, I think the far safer option is for one of us to communicate directly with those seeking an audience, with Eirril as a silent advisor."
T'Lana@anncarise: "Our loyalties are not in question, and the communications will mask identity in any case."
Mischa@crystyll considers this, "A preferable strategy, certainly. How confident are we that the identity of the Eye is unknown though? The last thing we want is to stand before someone saying 'I am the Eye' for +
Mischa@crystyll: + them to only recognize that we are not"
T'Lana@anncarise: "Eirril was dispatched to quietly take the place of the Eye. He is confident that he has tied all loose ends. There is no reason for him to lie, as our standing with the Network is his standing as -
T'Lana@anncarise: - well. If they find that the Carran Eye has been replaced, he will have no power to do anything."
Mischa@crystyll: "Well..." she smiles, "...we did set out to take control of this cell after all. Seems almost fitting that one of us play the role of the Eye"
T'Lana@anncarise nods, "Indeed. Now the question becomes which one of us should this role fall to?"
Mischa@crystyll chuckles, "I suppose you have a more logical approach than drawing straws?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "I have an analysis of our skills and experiences in regards to the task. I have significant extensive experience with the Network, having been one of the field agents who attempted to work it for -
T'Lana@anncarise: - alongside Eirril. As a result, I am also more familiar with cooperating with him. However, you have by far more command experience, and the position of Eye is certainly one of authority. You have -
T'Lana@anncarise: - also significant achievements in fieldwork from the files I have seen, and are quite skilled with disguise work."
T'Lana@anncarise: "I have presented you with my logic for both choices, but as commanding officer, the decision is yours."
Mischa@crystyll: "That you have. But not your actual recommendation" she teases
T'Lana@anncarise: "I can see the benefits in both, but if I were in your position, I would choose you."
T'Lana@anncarise: "My prior experience with the Network and Eirril makes me uniquely qualified for the technical aspects, but from your perspective, it may also leave me uniquely vulnerable."
Mischa@crystyll: "That is a valid observation..."
T'Lana@anncarise: "I am not saying that I am untrustworthy, simply that I would see potential cause for concern if I were commanding officer."
T'Lana@anncarise: "Knowing this potential, I would do my best to not become too close to the work, if you were to select me for this role."
Mischa@crystyll: "Perhaps. Possibly of greater concern to me - much as your friend as your CO - is the effect being thrust back into the thick of that life would have on you, given how things transpired previously"
T'Lana@anncarise: "I did not have the complete backing of my superior officers at the time, not to mention that I possessed significantly less experience. It will be a difficult burden, of course, but it will be so -
T'Lana@anncarise: - for you as well. With the support of you and the crew however, it is a burden I will be able to bear."
T'Lana@anncarise: "As executive officer, if you do choose to take the role for yourself, I will be able to cover much of the day-to-day management of the ship and crew in your stead."
Mischa@crystyll: "Based on your research so far, how much of a timesink do you anticipate this role becoming?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "It will be comparable to being a member of a directorate board for a service-level Federation organization. It is a task that can be served alongside other duties."
T'Lana@anncarise: "Most of the actual analysis and administrative work will not have to be done personally, of course."
Mischa@crystyll: "Of course. Have you considered utilizing a facade? A fabrication of our own design that would enable either of us, or anyone we choose, to play the role?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "We are already masquerading as the Carran Eye, whom most have never seen. I do not believe another layer is required."
T'Lana@anncarise: "That said, it is theoretically possible for anyone on the crew to play the role, though I suggested one of us as possessing command experience may be a useful asset."
T'Lana@anncarise: "We can certainly alternate the role, and I see the advantage in doing so."
Mischa@crystyll: "It would also have the advantage of protecting our identities"
T'Lana@anncarise: "Indeed. Any discrepencies we may have in the way we behave will not be an issue either, as many members of the Network are not even aware of its leadership and believes that Eyes, or even the Scyer,-
T'Lana@anncarise: - may be multiple individuals rather than a single person. There is also an interesting instance of an Eye who apparently suffered from a split personality disorder."
Mischa@crystyll nods, "A Tzenkethi, he was quite the character and a personal adversary of our silent partners in this mission"
Mischa@crystyll: "It is also a method known to be utilized by associated organizations and individuals, like Blood Queen Maral of the Syndicate. Not to mention the Branded Lady's use of clones"
T'Lana@anncarise: "The Ferakali Assassins possess a single identity for the entire organization. It has no rank structure, no command. It is simply a loose conglomeration of hitmen who all go by the identity of -
T'Lana@anncarise: - Ferakali, and take any contracts directed to Ferakali. One of the many interesting things in the databanks of the Network."
Mischa@crystyll: "Indeed, I always regretting never having the opportunity to work on an Ferakali cases"
Mischa@crystyll: "So there are certainly benefits to being prudent in our current circumstances"
T'Lana@anncarise nods, "I believe the alternating arrangement may be the most agreeable one."
Mischa@crystyll: "Good" she smiles, "That settles that then. You said that was the first and most poignant fact to table, was there more?"
T'Lana@anncarise: "There are a few more. Of significance as well is the fact that the New World and OSN are seeking aid from the Carran cell against the rest of the Network. Eirril suspects that may be why he was -
T'Lana@anncarise: - sent to deal with the Carran Eye in the first place, but he was not told whether this was the instigation for his mission or merely one of many reasons."
T'Lana@anncarise: "I suspect that agreeing to provide support to those working against the current Scryer is not a point that requires particular discussion, though."
Mischa@crystyll: "Indeed. Even for the OSN alone as fledging allies it is worth pursuing"
T'Lana@anncarise: "Agreed. We will assist them with their operations, then."
T'Lana@anncarise: "The other information I have is merely interesting facts concerning the civilizations most recently encountered by the Valley Forge."
Mischa@crystyll: "Yes, I've been keeping up with Keelah's reports. This stepped alert at least brings the benefit that they are sending much more communications"
T'Lana@anncarise: "Looking at the available assets for the Carran cell, I have noticed a visible number of mercenaries belonging to the Gaton species. The Carran cell, true to the Carrans' modus operandi, also -
T'Lana@anncarise: - possesses fewer field agents compared to other Network cells and are more focused on the brokering aspect. Among the ones they do possess, a few are Chlasi."
Mischa@crystyll: "Good to keep in mind in case the Forli situation devolves"
T'Lana@anncarise: "The Forli on the other hand have essentially no presence in such communities. They occasionally partake in black market deals, but those are always traceable back to their Defence Agency rather -
T'Lana@anncarise: - than any independent Forli."
T'Lana@anncarise: "I believe this is likely due to the more authoritarian nature of Forli rule, compared to the significantly more lax governmance of the Trinity Alliance."
Mischa@crystyll: "I concur. The situation there is one I want to keep a close eye on in the coming days and weeks, so the Carran assets may well come into play"
T'Lana@anncarise nods, "We are monitoring the situation through the Network and will certainly know of any major updates."
T'Lana@anncarise: "As of now, the Forli are still at civil war. The Trinity is prepared for an invasion should one occur again, but the Forli have not provoked them again so far."
Mischa@crystyll: "We may want to consider our options should the Forli revolution weaken. Starfleet's stable relations in this region may rely upon it"
T'Lana@anncarise: "Agreed. I will look into possible measures, both with Network assets and personal intervention."
Mischa@crystyll: "It may be worthwhile for us to take up position in the system for in depth surveillance. Should we need to act, knowledge of our target will be essential"
T'Lana@anncarise: "We should be able to observe the Forli and their civil conflict. Entering Trinity space will be more difficult, as their recent encounter with the Forli stealth fleet will no doubt have them alert -
T'Lana@anncarise: - for cloaked vessels. However, as the balance currently hangs on the result of the Forli internal situation, we will likely not need to approach the Trinity Alliance."
T'Lana@anncarise: "And if we do approach them, making direct contact may be amenable due to the relationship the Valley Forge has already built with them."
T'Lana@anncarise: "That is all I have at the moment. It will not be long before we reach Forli space, and I suspect there will be much to do then."
Mischa@crystyll: "Understood" she smiles, "Extended surveillance; the calm before the storm. Enjoy that electric feeling in the air"
T'Lana@anncarise stands, "I will be sure we collect all the data we can, Commander."
Mischa@crystyll: "I look forward to it. Thank you, T'Lana"
T'Lana@anncarise nods, "Until next time."
T'Lana@anncarise turns to head out.