Forced to divert from their mission in response to a distress signal, the Latenter's investigation forces Mischa to get her hands dirty.
T'Lana@anncaris FX | In the Cell Interface room, Eirril and Mischa discusses the latest occurrences in the restructuring of the Scryer Network, while the ship cruises past the Terminu sector, tailing some light years behind -
T'Lana@anncaris - the Valley Forge as usual
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "As expected, there are some disagreements, but I think we've managed to consolidate the cells who have been asking for change. We've even managed to get the remains of the Nausicaan -
T'Lana@anncaris:- cell, or the few brokers the Klingons didn't take down at least.
Mischa@crystyl:"What about those who aren't falling into line? Any potential threats there?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "The Cardassian Union got to the Cardassian cell before we did. They're imprisoning the major members who haven't been wiped out already, but sources say Councillor Garak has -
T'Lana@anncaris:- different plans for the ones who managed to stay under the radar. Considering his history with the old government and his contributions during the Dominion War, I doubt they'll be a threat to the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- Federation, and they have no reason to go after the non-Cardassian elements of the Network. We're keeping a close eye on them though. If Garak ever retires or dies, we don't want this to be the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- beginning of a new Obsidian Order. The Romulan cell...well, that's harder to say.”
Mischa@crystyl:"As expected. If the Tal Shiar become to great a threat we should have contingency plans in place to neutralize the exposed cells before they can be taken advantage of.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "We know the more staunch supporters of the Scryer, the ones who blame the Federation for withdrawing support for the evacuation of Romulus and the collapse of the old Star Empire, all -
T'Lana@anncaris:- pretty much died out in the final defense of the Scryer, and took all the known ships of their cell with them. The rest are unaccounted for, but we have...rumours.”
Mischa@crystyl frowns a little, "Rumours are dangerous”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril nods, "A few of the Nausicaans who joined us say they receive offers from another group taking in the remnants of the Network. Some of them are information brokers and not your average -
T'Lana@anncaris:- Nausicaan muscle, so they did their research. They couldn't find anything on them- whatever this group is, they're as invisible as it's possible to get. All they have is a name, the name they used -
T'Lana@anncaris:- when they reached out.”
Mischa@crystyl:"A rival network to rise out of the Scryer's ashes then?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "That's the only thing it could be. They appear to have no prior history, and- get this, the name the Nausicaans gave is 'Mordari.' I thought it meant 'Deserters' at first, but the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- Nausicaans use 'Kundari' for that, derived from the word 'Undari' which means cowards and is also often used to refer to people who desert. 'Mordari' has no negative nor positive connotation, and -
T'Lana@anncaris:- there's only one translation for it to Federation Standard: Survivors.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Interesting choice. Acknowledgement of the Scryer's demise which suggests a lingering connection to those events. Question is; what kind of connection.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "We're trying to learn more, but we can't seem to find anything on them, only that some of the former Romulan brokers and agents have cast their lots with this Mordari group.”
Mischa@crystyl:"This feels like a problem we need to nip in the bud before it has a chance to threaten our operation”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril nods, "Agreed. I will see what else-”
T'Lana@anncaris FX | Mischa's combadge chirps
Mischa@crystyl taps with an apologetic nod to Eirril for the interruption,
T'Lana@anncaris:<C> "Bridge to Commander Leveson-Scott. We are receiving a distress signal of unknown origin nearby.”
Mischa@crystyl:<C> No other responding vessels in range?
T'Lana@anncaris:<C> "Negative. There are three Guardian vessels a minimum of four hours away, but they do not appear to be making any move to respond and are significantly further than we are.”
Mischa@crystyl:<C> ...very well, alter course to investigate but remain under cloak for now until we learn what's going on. I'll be up shortly.
T'Lana@anncaris:<C> "Understood, Commander.”
Mischa@crystyl looks back to Eirril, "The less convenient side of life out here. Keep digging on this rogue organization - we need a strategy to handle them”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril nods, "I'll find out everything I can about them.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Very good. We'll catch up once this distress signal business is done with" she smiles, heading out
Mischa@crystyl steps onto the bridge, making her way to the centre, "What's the latest on this signal?”
T'Lana@anncaris stands from the command chair as Mischa arrives, "We have managed to clear up the initial signal. There was only a partial audio-visual message.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's have it”
Mischa@crystyl takes her seat to observe the message
T'Lana@anncaris FX | The video is very unclear and filled with static, but one of the amphibious raider-aliens can be distinguished on the viewscreen. His voice is likewise distorted, with many words -
T'Lana@anncaris:- unintelligible, "...requesting assistance...attacked by unknown...can provide compensation...please help! Latched...they're in the ship...please..."
Mischa@crystyl:"...'latched'? Curious... what is our eta?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethaydgea: "Eleven minutes, Commander."
T'Lana@anncaris:"This is all we have been able to extract from the signal. The distress call with the message was broadcast only once, from there on, it was only a basic repeating distress signal."
Mischa@crystyl:"Bring the primary arrays up to full resolution and scan the destination coordinates. Lower speed as necessary to compensate"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Yes Commander." She taps away at her console while Nethay slows the ship slightly from the helm.
T'Lana@anncaris announces a minute later, "I am detecting two ships in extremely close proximity. They are close enough that they may be one ship with a section comprising of significantly different technology, -
T'Lana@anncaris:- though that is unlikely given the presence of a warp core indicating it is a separate vessel. One is a small frigate, the other a large carrier. It is difficult to say which one the distress call -
T'Lana@anncaris:- originated from, though the likelihood of it being the smaller vessel is higher due to the species identified in the video feed.”
Mischa@crystyl:"See if you can get an interior scan of the vessels. See who is where"
T'Lana@anncaris taps on the console some more, "I am seeing lifesigns on both vessels. Some are identifiable, but not fully. It may be due to the quality of the scans, or something else. I cannot tell from this -
T'Lana@anncaris:-- distance. There are also large amounts of other organic matter that do not correspond to lifesigns.”
Mischa@crystyl looks over, "Any explanation for this other matter?”
T'Lana@anncaris:"It may be corpses or food items, but the amount is unusually high for either.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, continue monitoring. We'll approach quietly and neutralize the entire site before moving in if we have to”
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethaydgea: "ETA is 6 minutes, Commander.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Put medical and engineering support on standby. Meanwhile, run these vessel scans through the Network. See if we have any local data on either of them”
T'Lana@anncaris nods and continues typing on the console, "The smaller vessel registers to a cargo freighter. It appears to make journeys to local trade centres, including Terminu, Tulkos, Azakos and Forojund.”
T'Lana@anncaris:"It is a privately owned vessel accepting contracts from larger corporations and colonies. Suspected of engaging in smuggling activities, but no arrest warrants or bounties have been placed on it -
T'Lana@anncaris:- or its captain.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Anything on the carrier?”
T'Lana@anncaris:"It is identified as the Sundering Arrow, formerly belonging to one of the smaller Eltreiah mercenary guilds. The vessel is over half a century old. Its records are unclear, but its final fate is -
T'Lana@anncaris:- said to have been retired and sold, though it does not specify to whom."
Mischa@crystyl hrms, deep in thought on the possible scenarios
T'Lana@anncaris:"It appears they are slowly moving the recognizable lifesigns from the smaller vessel to the larger one, perhaps as prisoners."
T'Lana@anncaris:"I am detecting no other changes at the moment.
Mischa@crystyl:"What about a tactical appraisal?”
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "The smaller vessel's weapons are disabled. The larger vessel is equipped with disruptor banks and possesses torpedo tubes, though sensors detect no sign of torpedoes on board.”
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "We are tactically superior to the carrier. If combat ensues, we have a 93.6% chance of disabling them.”
Mischa@crystyl:"This reads almost too cleanly like a simple piracy raid. I don't like it…”
T'Lana@anncaris:"The simplest solution is most likely correct. The only anomaly is the other organic readings, but upon closer inspection, they seem entirely isolated to the carrier. It may be some characteristic -
T'Lana@anncaris:- of an underwise unknown species.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethaydgea: "We're approaching our destination, Commander.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Bring up a visual”
T'Lana@anncaris FX | The viewscreen shows the Latenter dropping out of warp to a view of a larger ship docked with a smaller one on the side. The smaller vessel has clearly sustained damage.
Mischa@crystyl:"Alright... let's get this over with quick and clean”
Mischa@crystyl:"First things first, any new developments from short range scans?”
T'Lana@anncaris:"Only continued movement of lifesigns from the smaller vessel to the larger. Nothing new.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Very well. Bring us into close tractor range of the carrier and prepare to open a channel”
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethaydgea nods, bringing the Latenter in closer, "Entering tractor range in 20 seconds.
Mischa@crystyl:"Standby to snare them and open a channel”
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Channel open, Commander.”
Mischa@crystyl:<C> Unidentified vessel. This is the USS Latenter responding to a request for aid”
T'Lana@anncaris FX | No response
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Both vessels should have a functioning comm system.”
Mischa@crystyl:<C> ...I know your comms array is fully functional. It is not polite to keep a lady waiting, you know. Respond - this is your final warning”
T'Lana@anncaris FX | Still no response
Mischa@crystyl:"So be it..." she nods to Victoria to cut the com
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods and promptly cuts the comm
Mischa@crystyl:"Tactical alert. Charge all weapons, decloak and activate tractor beams”
T'Lana@anncaris FX | The Latenter decloaks, activating tractor beams and locking on to the two interconnected ships
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Weapons locked and ready, Commander.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Any reaction from the vessels?”
T'Lana@anncaris:"The carrier appears to be disengaging its docking tube.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Can we get transporter locks on the lifeforms aboard?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "As Commander T'Lana stated, there is something unusual about the identifiable lifesigns that is confusing our transporters. However, we are able to transport the unidentified lifeforms.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Stand by then on that for now. We'll proceed with a computer override attempt first"
T'Lana@anncaris:"We are in their systems, but the ship is still somehow fighting our commands. They have completed retracting the docking tube and locked on to the smaller vessel with a tractor beam."
T'Lana@anncaris looks to Mischa with a quirked brow, "They've...turned off the ship computer."
Mischa@crystyl:"Devious little..." she begins to comment, almost sounding impressed
Mischa@crystyl:"Target their tractor emitter and take it out"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Yes Commander."
T'Lana@anncaris FX | With a few phaser shots, the carrier's tractor beam fails.
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "They are only just raising shields and locking weapons on us."
Mischa@crystyl:"Retarget their weapons arrays. Use the point defense to burn down their shields"
T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, the Latenter fires on the carrier, which returns fire with disruptor bolts, slightly rocking the ship.
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Shields at 80% and holding. Carrier's shields are dropping rapidly.”
Mischa@crystyl watches patiently for their shields to be cut down and the weapons disabled
T'Lana@anncaris | Before long, the shields of the carrier flicker, and the Latenter's shots pepper the carrier's hull, taking out its weapons.
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Shields at 71%. The carrier's weapons are down.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Retarget their engines but do not fire yet. Theirs is the next move"
T'Lana@anncaris:"They are attempting to pull away from our tractor beams by brute force.
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "It would be far more effective to polarize the hull.
Mischa@crystyl nods, "So predictable... disable their engines then
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel nods and fires two phaser shots, taking out the engines
Mischa@crystyl:"Maybe now they'll be a little more talkative
T'Lana@anncaris:"They are simply remaining still for the moment.
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Their comm system appears to be inactive now. It's been down since they turned off their computer.
Mischa@crystyl:"We do it the hard way then" she stands, "I'll take a tactical team over there to secure the bridge of that ship and restore it's computer control to lock everything down”
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa, T'Lana, Hassan, Daurant and Buena materialize in a dark room on the hostile carrier. They turn on their flashlights...
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/X31dg5v.jpg
T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan: "This is...not what I was expecting.”
T'Lana@anncaris takes out a tricorder, scanning around, "The other organic material I was detecting...this must be it. They appear to be a part of the ship, some form of hybridized biotechnology, perhaps.”
Mischa@crystyl:"It would appear so…”
T'Lana@anncaris and Buena continue scanning around, while Hassan keeps a rifle at the ready.
T'Lana@anncaris:"It is certainly interacting with the technology, but I am fairly certain this was not part of the original design. There is no indication of the Eltreiah experimenting with such technology.”
Mischa@crystyl:"An infestation of some sort perhaps”
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "It would explain the ship's more unusual responses in combat. Ensign, does this organic material pose any biohazardous risk?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "Not that I can see.”
T'Lana@anncaris:"What of its origin?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "Attempting to determine it now. It is carbon based. Some of it appears to be alive, others...soil."
T'Lana@anncaris:"Do you believe they are a lifeform, or simply some bioengineered modification using organic matter?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "Can't say at the moment, Commander. But there are definitely lifeforms coming towards us."
T'Lana@anncaris draws her pistols while Hassan readies his rifle at the door. A few seconds later, a creature bursts inside, lunging directly at Hassan. With a single rifle shot, he drops the attacker in -
T'Lana@anncaris:- mid-air, but several more stream in from behind it...
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://i.pinimg.com/originals/53/d2/b1/53d2b1413c9fc899e4632d2ef6bcef7e.jpg
Mischa@crystyl opens fire as well
T'Lana@anncaris opens fire with her pistols while Hassan sets his rifle to rapid fire mode. Buena and Daurant draw their pistols as well, providing supporting fire. The attackers simply rush at them, and before -
T'Lana@anncaris:- long they are all taken down, being no match for an armed team.
T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan: "Are those the crew? Or some kind of attack pet like targs? They don't seem too intelligent..."
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "There are more of them inbound from other areas of the ship. They match the lifesigns of the unidentified lifeforms we detected through ship sensors."
T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan prods one of the creatures' bodies with his rifle, "They're not armed. They don't even have hands to use weapons or consoles..."
Mischa@crystyl:"Try a comparative scan of the creatures and this biomass"
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena nods, leaning over and scanning the creature, then the biomass on the floor of the ship, "I'm reading multiple similar genetic markers, Commander. They have beyond a doubt evolved from -
T'Lana@anncaris:- the same world, perhaps with even further connections.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Further evidence that this is an infestation of some sort”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "Indeed.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's proceed and see what's going on here”
T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan checks a tricorder and looks back at Mischa, "There're many more of them coming. Tricorder reads the nearby corridors filling up with them.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Ok then... perhaps not”
Mischa@crystyl:"Can we get a site-to-site?”
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Their shields are down, and there should be no transporter inference here."
Mischa@crystyl:"Alright. Let's try again then, preferably without a room full of creatures ready to us"
T'Lana@anncaris nods and taps her combadge. The team disappears into transporter beams and reappears in another part of the ship. It appears to have once been a lounge or relaxation area of sorts, but now -
T'Lana@anncaris:- crawling with plant life and biomass seeping out from cracks in the floor and walls.
Mischa@crystyl looks around, "Well something damned odd has gone on here"
T'Lana@anncaris and Buena take out their tricorders again, scanning around.
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "Commander. Over here." She makes her way towards a door jammed open by biomass and plant growth
Mischa@crystyl follows, "What have you got, Ensign?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "There are other lifesigns here." She continues scanning, drawing a pistol and holding it ready in her other hand as she steps into the room...and stops, staring in horror at something.
Mischa@crystyl quickly draws up alongside Buena to pull her back from whatever has her spooked
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa sees that the room was once a bunk of some description, filled with beds and lockers. Now, it is mostly covered in biomass, with vines crawling over the beds. And on one of the walls...
T'Lana@anncaris | A row of seven bodies are stuck there, each enveloped in biomass and barely recognizable as what they were before.
Mischa@crystyl:"Stars... is that what remains of the crew? Are they being... absorbed into this mass?"
T'Lana@anncaris enters the room behind Mischa, while Buena slowly steps towards the bodies, keeping her eyes on her tricorder and away from them, "It...seems so. These ones are dead, Commander, and they're -
T'Lana@anncaris:- being broken down and transformed into this biomass."
Mischa@crystyl:"Some sort of sentience must be behind this in order to pilot the ship and actually attack these people"
T'Lana@anncaris takes out her tricorder and scans as well. If she is disturbed by the sight at all, her Vulcan discipline allows her to conceal it completely, "This is why we could not isolate the lifesigns of -
T'Lana@anncaris:- the survivors. They were being enveloped and drained by those cocoons."
T'Lana@anncaris | The three of them hear phaser shots outside, and T'Lana and Buena quickly turn their gazes back to the door.
Mischa@crystyl looks back as well, "Survivors! Check your fire"
T'Lana@anncaris | The firing continues as Hassan yells: "More of those bugs have found us!"
Mischa@crystyl:"Find the survivors"
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "There's some nearby that still have lifesigns."
Mischa@crystyl nods to Buena, "Point the way. Let's move!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena leads the way, checking her tricorder as they go. More of the insectoid creatures continue to intercept them in the nearby hall, but are taken out without much trouble with phasers.
T'Lana@anncaris | Before long, they reach a hallway totally covered in biomass, with rows of bodies encased in cocoons down either wall...
Mischa@crystyl:"Bee, tell me these aren't the lifesigns…”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena scans several of the cocoons and nods, "Some of them are. The still living ones. We can cut them out and tag them for transport, but I need to get them to sickbay first before I can tell -
T'Lana@anncaris:- if I can save them…”
Mischa@crystyl:"Do it. Full quarantine though”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena nods, adjusting the setting on her phaser and starting to cut some of the cocoons open.
T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan: "We got more of the insectoids converging behind us…”
T'Lana@anncaris | Daurant: "How do they keep finding us? They turned off their computer when we hacked into it. Their internal sensors are down.”
T'Lana@anncaris:"Perhaps they can sense us through this biomass.”
Mischa@crystyl:"I guess they have their own biological internal sensors”
T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan checks his tricorder, "I'm reading a wave of about fifteen inbound, but many more are converging from the other nearby areas of the ship.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Daurant: "We need to help Buena with the survivors. I don't think we can hold them all off.”
Mischa@crystyl moves to assist Buena, "We'll save as many as we can but standby for emergency beamout the moment they breach our perimeter”
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Hassan and I will cover you as you work.”
T'Lana@anncaris and Hassan take position in a vine-covered doorway at the end of the corridor. Before long, the enemies are upon them, and the two open fire while the others work on the cocoons
T'Lana@anncaris | Once cut open, the survivors inside the cocoons simply collapse onto the ground, completely unconscious but reading as still alive, though with faint lifesigns
T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan: "First wave down! We've got a minute before more arrive!”
Mischa@crystyl:rolls 83 (1-100)
T'Lana@anncaris and Hassan open fire again as the second wave arrives, and the hallway echos with the sounds of phaser fire and the chittering of scrambling insects. As the fighting is happening, Mischa cuts -
T'Lana@anncaris:- down and tags the last cocoon still with a lifesign within!
Mischa@crystyl:"Clear, we're bugging out" she taps her combadge and calls for the evac
T'Lana@anncaris FX | The team disappears into transporter beams, and safely reappears in one of the Latenter's transporter rooms.
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena looks over at the transporter officer as they materialize, "No sign of any contaminants?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Transporter Officer: "None that the transporter detected."
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena looks over to Mischa: "I'll head down to sickbay, see if there's anything we can do for the survivors."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "I want to see this for myself"
T'Lana@anncaris:"What should we do about the ship? Continue holding it in a tractor beam, or scuttle it?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Hold it for the moment, if we can get anything out of these survivors it may be worth knowing before we act. But maintain a weapons lock and scuttle at the first sign of activity"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Understood, Commander. I will oversee the situation from the bridge."
Mischa@crystyl:"Keep me apprised of any changes" she nods, stepping off the pad to join Buena
T'Lana@anncaris heads off towards the bridge.
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena steps into sickbay, where several others are already running scans on the recovered personnel. She plugs her tricorder in to a nearby console before rushing over to one of the surgical -
T'Lana@anncaris - beds to work on it.
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena taps on the console for a minute, closing the bed's arches over one of the survivors before glancing to Mischa, "I...should be able to save at least most of them, Commander.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Some are already too far gone?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena nods, "Unfortunately. And the ones that aren't will require heavy reconstruction and cybernetic replacements. A few are in better shape than most, and might get away with only a few -
T'Lana@anncaris:- tissue grafts. I should be able to ensure at least a 75% survival rate.”
T'Lana@anncaris | As Mischa speaks to Buena, she sees the console that Buena connected her tricorder to now having a flashing interface open
Mischa@crystyl:"Very well" she peers over curiously at the interface flashing, "Don't let me distract you”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena nods and gets back to work. Meanwhile, the interface reads: GENETIC MATCH FOUND: SPECIES 2504 - SPECIMEN 'ZIHIL’
Mischa@crystyl:"Zihil... That's the living planet Keelah's crew recently visited isn't it?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "Yes, I remember seeing the report on it. It's not too far away from here if I'm thinking of the right place." She gives Mischa a curious look. "Why do you ask?”
Mischa@crystyl:"Because they're not as far away as you think..." she points to the display
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena glances over at the display with wide eyes, "Wha- how's that possible?" She steps over, tapping the console.
Mischa@crystyl:"Keelah's report made mention of them resuming their efforts to find a way for the insectoid protectors to travel beyond their system to aid against the Horde"
Mischa@crystyl:"But these remarkably fast for a direct result of that"
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena looks over at the survivor in the medical bed, "And these are not Horde thralls, just an innocent crew. I see no sign of Horde influence in the scans."
Mischa@crystyl:"Which means this is possibly the Zihil's 'solution' to sustainment away from their homeworld"
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena nods, "Possible. Whatever the case, the genetic similarities between the biomass and the insectoids, they match up to genetic markers in the various creatures on the Zihil world."
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "This...infestation definitely came from there."
Mischa@crystyl:"Seems we'll be needing to have a talk of our own with the Zihil. And here I thought the remote connection to the Daystrom boys would help keep their morality in check…”
Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "Oh Keelah..."
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "We'll do everything we can for the survivors here. I suggest giving this data over to the science department to analyze in more depth. We'll have our hands full down here in Medical for -
T'Lana@anncaris:- a while."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "We'll see to it. For now, do what you can for them and inform me should any verge on waking up. For now, I have to attend to the bigger picture in all of this"
Mischa@crystyl steps away, tapping her combadge, "Bridge"
T'Lana@anncaris <C> "Bridge here."
Mischa@crystyl:"Lana... scuttle the ships, absolutely. Then set course for Zihil, I'll explain when I get up there"
T'Lana@anncaris <C> "Yes Commander. We'll be on our way to Zihil as soon as the ships are scuttled."
T'Lana@anncaris FX | A day passes after the away mission to the carrier, and Mischa is called to the bridge as the Latenter begins to near Zihil.
Mischa@crystyl steps over, "What is our eta?"
T'Lana@anncaris stands, leaving the seat for Mischa, "Our ETA is eleven minutes, Commander. Current long-range scans reveal the presence of nine more ships in orbit of the planet."
Mischa@crystyl:"Comms?" she inquires, taking her seat
T'Lana@anncaris makes for the console she usually occupies when Mischa is on the bridge, "We have not attempted to hail them yet. If they are as hostile as the carrier we encountered, we will not be able to -
T'Lana@anncaris:- confront all nine."
Mischa@crystyl:"Tap into the Daystrom frequency. That should give us a direct line to their spokespersons"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "On it, Commander." She taps her console.
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "We are receiving more sensor data on the ships in orbit. It appears five of them are carriers, but none of similar design to the one we encountered. Two have similarities to Lupan -
T'Lana@anncaris:- packships and one is Carran. The other two are unidentified. Of the remaining four, one is a cruiser of Eltreiah design, and the other three are freighters."
Mischa@crystyl:"Seems it's not just biomatter they've been recycling..."
T'Lana@anncaris:"We are in the Daystrom frequency."
Mischa@crystyl stands, "Voice of the Zihil. This is a Federation representative, please respond"
T'Lana@anncaris | The humanoid Zihil appears on the viewscreen: https://i.imgur.com/zOIIVrA.jp
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Greetings, Federation representative. You do not wear the same colours as the others. I presume you call from far away, in the heart of your territory?”
Mischa@crystyl:"Oddly... no. It is complicated, but in short; these are the colours of another Starfleet vessel that is currently approaching your home. Or is that... approaching you? Forgive me, I am unfamiliar -
Mischa@crystyl:+ with the proper terms of address”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "I am all of Zihil, and all of Zihil is me. I was not aware there were others of your Starfleet in this area, but it is fortunate that you have come.
Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed, and fear not; our presence is... quieter than the ship you met previously. We are several minutes from arrival with you, at that time may we meet to discuss the fortuity of this arrival?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "You may come as soon as you are in range. I will provide you with transportation coordinates. I fear this situation has grown quite out of my control.”
Mischa@crystyl:"And I fear you speak of the same situation which has drawn me to seek you out. But we shall speak in person soon enough, and I trust that my vessel will not be placed in danger by approaching you?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "None at all. The vessels around me are currently all under my control.”
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Very well. We will join you shortly then”
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "I have the transport coordinates, Commander.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Geosync orbit on arrival, and maintain tactical alert until I say otherwise. I've a feeling what's going on here, but we're not taking risks with the Latenter until I have answers confirming it"
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods, "We'll be ready for trouble."
Mischa@crystyl joins TL on her way out, "Any recommended specialists to join us for this one?”
T'Lana@anncaris:"Perhaps we should bring Hassan along again, in case the Zihil turn on us. Medical is still working on their patients, and I should be able to handle any biological analysis we may need.”
Mischa@crystyl nods, turning to Hassan, "Your discretion; fresh air or send an escort. Either way; transporter room 1 in 5"
T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan nods, "I'll be there. You're the CO, I'll have your back down there.”
Mischa@crystyl smiles, nodding back and again to TL as she heads out, "This is going to be up there with caffeine planet…”
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa, T'Lana and Hassan beam down to the same transporter pad Lexi and Keelah used to visit the Zihil. As before, a Zihil worker waits for them just off the pad and turns to lead the way.
Mischa@crystyl opens her mouth to spout a well rehearsed greeting, pausing as it just turns to lead. She closes it again with a feeling it's going to be one of those days and falls into step
T'Lana@anncaris | The Zihil worker leads them through the caverns and they pass by other Zihil as they walk. Seeing the workers in person, the similarity between them and the insectoids that attacked them on the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- carrier is visible, but the two are also distinctly different, with the Zihil looking much more dangerous with a pair of blade-like forelegs while the insectoids that attacked them seemed much less combat efficient.
Mischa@crystyl:"I assume you familiarized yourself with the Valley Forge's notes on the Zihil variants?"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I have indeed. They were genetically engineered as soldiers against the Horde, and while the traits they display could independently be evolved naturally, the combination is far too geared -
T'Lana@anncaris:- towards destruction, even in the simple worker variants we see here."
Mischa@crystyl:"That whole tournament the hotheaded Trill ploughed through was geared just to draw out the finest examples for them to draw upon you know. Whatever the method, their - or it's - mastery of genetics +
Mischa@crystyl:+ is unsurpassed"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. Even the Arshai are not capable of creating a lifeform so aggressive. I believe the only reason they have not encountered the same issue that often halt the genetic experiments of other -
T'Lana@anncaris:- races is their connection with the Zihil lifeform and function as merely a part of the whole. Unlike say the augments of old Earth, the Zihil are not true lifeforms, but tools. Making a sharper -
T'Lana@anncaris:- blade does not make the weapon more bloodthirsty."
T'Lana@anncaris | Soon, the group come upon the large central cavern where the thicker-shelled, beetle-like variants stand guard. In the centre, amidst a more technological setup, stands the humanoid Zihil, who -
T'Lana@anncaris:- turns to them as they enter, "You have come. Good."
Mischa@crystyl approaches tentatively, "Of course. I have a feeling there is much for us to discuss”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Allow be to begin from the beginning. You are aware of my conversation with the others of your Federation?”
Mischa@crystyl nods, "I am”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "I promised to send my warriors against the Horde if I could find a way to do so. As you expected, I have been preparing for this for some time, or rather, the Guardians had commanded me -
T'Lana@anncaris:- to do so while I was under their control. The vessels around me now have been collected over the years in anticipation of when my warriors would be ready. They are ready now, but there was a -
T'Lana@anncaris:- problem. They are a part of me, and as much as your blood cannot operate outside your bodies, my protectors cannot operate when too far from me.”
Mischa@crystyl:"So as soon as they strayed too far, they were left without your control and direction. So they fell back on their base instincts”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "No. They would not be able to function at all. If I cut your arm from your body, would it be able to grasp a blade and strike back at me? However, I had devised a way to work around it.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "I theorized, correctly, a method to cut off a part of myself and grow it. A way to reproduce, but not to create true offspring that would grow into my image. I sought to bind them to -
T'Lana@anncaris:- a vessel. A being like myself, but smaller, capable of commanding the Zihil from the vessels that would carry them to their fields of war. However, I soon learned that these copies required time -
T'Lana@anncaris:- to nurture, and while your lifespans are nothing to me, I am told the Horde draw ever closer. So I attempted to accelerate the growth.”
Mischa@crystyl smirks a little, "Cutting corners. How surprisingly... Human of you. No offense”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Perhaps I learned a little too much of your characteristics studying your kind.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Well this at least unifies our problems as it was the discovery of your... experiment, that has led me to seek you out”
Mischa@crystyl:"Tell me; how many vessels have you sent out as part of this attempt?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Only one. I do not know what went wrong, whether it was binding it to the confines of a small vessel, or the acceleration of its growth. But the first experiment was unstable. It fled -
T'Lana@anncaris:- into the emptiness between stars, where my protectors were not able to pursue, as they would not function so far away from me. You say you discovered it?”
Mischa@crystyl nods, "I regret to inform you that it no longer survives"
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "That may be for the best. It would not heed my attempts to commune with it. It behave erratically and I feared that it may cause trouble if it was allowed to go unchecked, but I acted -
T'Lana@anncaris:- too late to stop it. I had hoped that I could seek your assistance in stopping it, but it seems you have done so already.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "It seems the situation is in control. I will be certain to take more precautions in my next experiments."
Mischa@crystyl:"It was not soon enough" she holds out a holoprojector which displays details of the attacked ship and the Zihil one latched on to it
T'Lana@anncaris | The Zihil Mouth steps forward, examining the projector, "That is unfortunate. I see my presumption was correct. I am pleased you were able to stop it before it caused further damage.”
Mischa@crystyl:"And I am pleased there aren't more failed experiments out there doing the same as this”
Mischa@crystyl:"Does it make sense to you that it seemed to be seeking out means to sustain or grow itself through the absorption of biomatter?”
Mischa@crystyl taps the projector to show medical data from the survivors accordingly
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Yes. It was an experimental synthesis of myself with a mechanical vessel. I possess an entire biosphere within which organisms that no longer functioned would be broken down to its base -
T'Lana@anncaris:- components and returned to me to create new ones. This experiment only had limited resources. In order to produce more protectors or grow, it would have to absorb foreign matter. It was never -
T'Lana@anncaris:- intended to create protectors of its own, only to carry mine to battle against the Horde.”
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Makes sense. So what about future attempts; have our people on the comm frequency been of assistance to you?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "They have indeed. Unfortunately, they are too far to stop the failed experiment. I will have my other vessels ready next time, and should it turn out to be unstable again, I will be -
T'Lana@anncaris:- ready to destroy it before it can flee. You need not worry about more loose experiments.”
Mischa@crystyl:"If we can do anything to assist in your preparations, well..." she smiles, "...we have just got here”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "If more experiments fail, I may need more vessels. I still possess much of the resources and local currencies from when I allowed the Children to visit. If you find anyone in your -
T'Lana@anncaris:- travels that may have old vessels to spare, I have much to trade in return for them.”
Mischa@crystyl:"I'm sure we can work something out. Information is our speciality”
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "We should be able to find some sellers through the Carran Cell.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Your assistance will be appreciated.”
Mischa@crystyl:"What about your technique. We are not a science vessel, but we have resources of knowledge to call upon if it may help. Your efforts to aid against the Horde are greatly appreciated and I would not
Mischa@crystyl:+ want any failures to dissuade your enthusiasm for it
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "I must first conduct further experiments to see what the cause of the instability is- the confinement to a vessel or the accelerated growth. If the acceleration is the issue, it will -
T'Lana@anncaris:- take more time before my warriors can assist. If the vessels are the issue, I will have to find a different solution.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Unfortunately, while your Federation is knowledgeable, you possess little information on my kind, and I must discover much through experimentation.”
Mischa@crystyl:"As is often the case for our people. We may not have experience of your kind, but what we do have experience of is scientific discovery and working through the unknowns”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Your expertise will be welcome.”
T'Lana@anncaris FX | Mischa's combadge sounds.
Mischa@crystyl:"A moment, sorry" she turns away, tapping the combadge
T'Lana@anncaris <C - Victoria> "Sorry to interrupt, Commander. We've picked up a transmission from the Guardians to all Coalition forces. The Horde are less than a week away from Terminu.”
Mischa@crystyl:<C> Acknowledged. Stand by
Mischa@crystyl turns back to the Mouth, "I assume you heard that. Let us hope your acceleration is not the issue, because this has the makings of an endgame”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "Even with the acceleration, I was only able to create the failed experiment in one of your weeks.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Then we will put every available resource on resolving the problem, even if it means starting from scratch to find an alternative”
T'Lana@anncaris | Zihil: "I will do all I can.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Then if there is nothing more for now, I suggest we get to work"
T'Lana@anncaris:"From its last communication, the Valley Forge is on the way back from the Iconian ruins, but it will not arrive before the Horde. We may be able to, if we head towards Terminu immediately.”
Mischa@crystyl:"One ship will not make the difference in such a fight. We can serve a better purpose remaining here and assisting Zihil's efforts”
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Agreed. Our specialty is intelligence and not combat. We will be of greater assistance here.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Alright then, let's head back and get the brain trust together. I'm betting there's at least a few folks on board with some interesting thoughts on this situation"
Mischa@crystyl:"Well... one in particular. I want to tap Root up for some Borg inspired solution"
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa, T'Lana and Hassan return to the ship, heading into the conference room where the rest of the senior staff and specialists are gathered and waiting.
Mischa@crystyl takes her seat, "Thank you all for being so prompt. Time is against us, so we must work fast here”
T'Lana@anncaris and Hassan move to take their seats as well.
Mischa@crystyl:"In short; whilst the reason we came here has been satisfactorily resolved with the Zihil, news has reached us of the Horde armada moving on Terminu”
Mischa@crystyl:"The Zihil are not yet in a position to lend support, and their current approach to their localicty issue - whilst promising - is also timely to implement. So we need to find a solution that can get +
Mischa@crystyl:+ these bugs into the fight within a week”
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "We are studying in detail all the data we possess on the Zihil lifeform and its species. Unfortunately, our knowledge of its physiology is very limited.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed. We have very little to work with here, but what we do know is that their current approach involves removing a part of itself to serve as a remote control aspect for the units going out of +
T'Lana@anncaris:"The current problem appears to be that the remote control aspects are unstable and uncontrollable.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "What if it's not?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "Sorry, it's just a thought. I have no actual evidence to support the theory, but I believe from Zihil's conversations with the Valley Forge crew and the Daystrom Institute, it -
T'Lana@anncaris:- insinuated that it didn't really know much about it's own kind. We're assuming this initial experiment is unstable, but maybe it's just immature. This is a planet-sized entity we're looking at. To -
T'Lana@anncaris:- them, we're nothing- insects, maybe even bacteria. We consider ourselves intelligent, peaceful and relatively enlightened, yet we've all seen plenty of children stomping on insects as if it's game -
T'Lana@anncaris:- or chasing after birds and rodents with a stick."
Mischa@crystyl:"A fair point on the context of things" she smiles curiously, "Where are you going with this…”
T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "I'm...not sure. We can't know for certain until we know more about the natural development of their species, like T'Bee said. It might just be worth considering that maybe the procedure -
T'Lana@anncaris:- works perfectly fine, but the new entity needs some way to learn and mature.”
Mischa@crystyl:"A distinct possibility. However, without the capacity to turn around the results in good time I fear we may need to look at more extreme alternatives" she very distinctly turns her gaze to Root
T'Lana@anncaris | Root: "We can assimilate them." He offers simply.
Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "I like your out-the-box thinking, but I was hoping for something a /little/ more toned down”
Mischa@crystyl:"Namely; communication. Part of Borg cybernetic design includes the relay which allows the Queen to exert her will across vast regions of space, yes?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Root: "Yes. That is why I have proposed assimilation. It would not be true assimilation, but the use of nanites to form cybernetic elements to facilitate communication and control.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Root: "The result would normally be a form of miniature collective. However, as the Zihil variants are part of the Zihil being, they already possess a similar structure. The only difference -
T'Lana@anncaris:- will be the medium of control, through a cybernetic connection instead of a neurological one.”
Mischa@crystyl:"That was my belief" she nods, "The question is, can it be implemented in such a manner as to not impact the natural balance of the Zihil or are we talking another fundamental change to them?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Root: "Based on my current understanding, it will not change the Zihil. It is simply facilitating communication through a technological rather than biological medium.”
T'Lana@anncaris:"Not unlike the telepresence units utilized to allow a telepathic Aenar to remotely control a drone ship prior to the outbreak of the Romulan War.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Root: "That is a suitable analogy, Commander.”
Mischa@crystyl:"A curious example, but accurate indeed. If we are in agreement on the approach then, what about implementation? How long would it take to effect the changes?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Root: "By the rate required to synthesize the required nanites, we will be capable of filling three carriers to capacity within the week.”
T'Lana@anncaris:"By the time we finish the required testing and are able to deploy a single carrier, it will already be too late to reach Terminu before the Horde.”
Mischa@crystyl hrms, "That's not so good…”
T'Lana@anncaris | Root: "I believe this method is the most efficient one we possess. Given more time, we will also be able to cybernetically improve the Zihil variants to improve beyond the constraints of -
T'Lana@anncaris:- biological evolution, with no harm to the Zihil being itself.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps, but long term aid is the concern of Daystrom. Ours is purely getting them into the fight at Terminu”
T'Lana@anncaris looks to Mischa, "Perhaps Terminu is not, as you described it, the endgame. The Coalition has a less than one percent chance of holding Terminu at presence. The addition of Zihil reinforcements -
T'Lana@anncaris:- will only increase the odds by point three percent. Even communication from the Valley Forge showed suspicion that the deployment of such a large armada to Terminu was 'overkill,' far from the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- efficiency we have come to expect of the Horde.”
T'Lana@anncaris turns to Victoria, "Do we have the movement data of the Horde fleet so far?”
Mischa@crystyl sighs in resignation of the fact, leaning forward and resting her chin on steepled fingers as she listens
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods, standing and heading over to a wall console and drawing up a map. The first point on it and she states, "This is the area where the Horde fleet was amassing, as reported by the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- Regulator vessel." A series of points appear next, some of them with an X in the middle, all connected by a dotted line, "These are confirmed sightings of the Horde armada so far by the Guardians, -
T'Lana@anncaris:- which also denotes where skirmishes carried out by Guardian forces seeking to hamper the fleet took place.”
T'Lana@anncaris stands as well, stepping over to the console, "Computer, include Terminu as a point.”
T'Lana@anncaris | The dotted line continues forward, connecting with Terminu and forming an almost perfectly straight line.
T'Lana@anncaris:"As I expected. A highly efficient and predictable path. Computer, continue extrapolating the Horde fleet's movement based on current pattern.”
T'Lana@anncaris | The dotted line continues off the map.
T'Lana@anncaris:"Decrease magnification to include both the fleet's start point and Sector V-010.”
T'Lana@anncaris FX | The map zooms out, showing the dotted line continuing almost perfectly along the Valley Forge's course minus detours...passing straight through Colonial Space and into the Regulated Zone.
T'Lana@anncaris looks over to Mischa, "I suspect Terminu is merely a convenient point along their route. A target of opportunity, if you will.”
T'Lana@anncaris:"Their true target is either the New World or the Regulators, or perhaps both.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Makes sense, both would make valid targets. So what do we think here; proceed with the Zihil augmentation and direct them to reinforce a back line at Vue En?”
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "That would be the most logical course of action. We may be able to further augment the ZIhil variants during this time, and perhaps acquire more vessels to bring a greater number of them -
T'Lana@anncaris:- offworld. I do not believe deploying them at Terminu, where the chances of victory are next to none, would be wise."
Mischa@crystyl:"If we are all in agreement then, we should get to work on preparing the augmentation while I go back and consult with the Zihil"
T'Lana@anncaris FX | Everyone else around the table nods, or in the case of Root, simply stares without comment but voices no objection either.
Mischa@crystyl stands, "Alright, let's get to it"
View Bonus Content
T'Lana@anncaris FX | As the Latenter sits in orbit of Zihil with its science teams assisting the Zihil entity with its experiments to send Zihil warriors offworld, Mischa, T'Lana and Tabadi Noveis are called -
T'Lana@anncaris - down to the cell room to discuss the latest developments on a different front...
Mischa@crystyl joins T'Lana as she exits the turbolift on that deck, "Lana, you too? Any idea what's going on this time?”
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I believe Eirril said it was relevant to the Network."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well that much is a given" she chuckles as they enter, "Tabadi...?”
Mischa@crystyl:"It's not like you to be loitering around here. Now I /am/ intrigued"
Mischa@crystyl | Noveis: "As am I, Commander. I believe it is regarding a recent development back home with the Ferengi”
Mischa@crystyl shudders and looks to Eirril
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril turns, "Ah, Commanders. I am sure you will be interested in what I've found.”
Mischa@crystyl:"You seldom disappoint. The question is whether it will be more entertaining or troublesome news this time. Jury is still out on that one" she smiles as she approaches the workstation
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "I'm afraid it may be more towards the latter, simply due to the lack of information we possess. You are all aware of Tabadi Lorri's recent meeting with this Ferengi?”
Mischa@crystyl:"It's probably somewhere in a stack of PADD's on my desk with recent news from Federation territory…”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril nods to Noveis, "Tabadi, I'm sure you're quite well informed on that situation."
Mischa@crystyl | Noveis nods, "I received an encrypted communique from the Thana Vaneri - Nomen, to be specific. He's-
Mischa@crystyl smiles and interrupts, "I know Nomen. Good to know he hasn't forgotten about us. Please" she gestures to continue
Mischa@crystyl | Noveis eyerolls a little, "Of course you'd have a finger in that pie, wouldn't you... Well, Nomen informed us of a recent development back home surrounding the OSN and KDF"
Mischa@crystyl | Noveis calls up all the data on the main displays, "Tabadi Lorri recently met with a nondescript Ferengi to negotiate for intelligence regarding the recent Sheliak move of aggression against the +
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Retaliation against the Empire for the action of a rogue House. Typical Sheliak”
Mischa@crystyl | Noveis, "Indeed. Well as you can see in the transcript; this Ferengi was /very/ interested in Captain Vix and House Dronurr. Apparently he actually pushed to take custody of Lady Dronurr”
Mischa@crystyl perks a brow, "Curious…”
T'Lana@anncaris also perks a brow, "Indeed. That is an unusually specific interest for a Ferengi to take.”
Mischa@crystyl | Noveis: "I know, I know - where do we fit in, right? Well, when they pushed back on that the Ferengi pushed instead for a number of different demands including Captain Vix' command codes, a direct+
Mischa@crystyl:+ line to me personally, and when that was all rejected; to Elt Emeria”
Mischa@crystyl folds her arms slowly, a frown growing increasingly prominent as she listens, "That... is quite a specific list of demands. And all very closely connected as well... you believe he knows of your +
Mischa@crystyl:+ presence here, and our proximity to the QanwI'?”
Mischa@crystyl | Noveis shrugs, "I only know what Nomen forwarded, but this is why I raised it with Eirril - the Ferengi was a rogue element, not speaking on behalf of the Alliance as he first posed”
T'Lana@anncaris:"Emeria was previously known to have close ties with Vora before she became Supreme Commander of the Colonial Fleet. All his demands seem to pertain to this region in one form or another.”
Mischa@crystyl:"OSN and KDF concerns aside, the fact this Ferengi may even know that this ship exists, let alone that you were posted here is troublesome enough" she turns to Eirril, "What do we know?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril taps his console, "Well, Nomen did a DNA search based on the DNA on the PADD he gave. It matched with the identity of a low-profile real estate broker. By all measures, especially that -
T'Lana@anncaris:- of the Ferengi, a nobody.”
T'Lana@anncaris:"You have more, of course.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril smirks, "Of course." He taps his console again. "He's FIE- Ferengi Information Exchange. That's as close to an Intelligence service as the Ferengi have. Naturally, any intelligence they -
T'Lana@anncaris:- gain for the Ferengi Alliance is also up for sale to outside buyers with the latinum. The Ferengi really monetize everything, even espionage.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "But there's more, which is why I called you all down here.”
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "You know how not to disappoint. Put some icing on this cake this for me”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "So, the Ferengi never had a Scryer Network cell, because the FIE was pretty much that already. They brokered information to Network clients, even though they were never formally part -
T'Lana@anncaris:- of it. They did, however, have a representative to the Network, until twenty years ago that is. When the Klingon-Gorn war began and relations between the Federation and the Empire started -
T'Lana@anncaris:- deteriorating, it became clear the Scryer had an interest against the Federation, and the representative cut off all ties between the FIE and the Network.”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril taps his console again, and the image of the Ferengi who met with Lorri shows up, "That representative is our man. He has multiple aliases, but within the FIE he's referred to as 'Neer.'"
Mischa@crystyl:"So we know who this operative is. What about his interest in our allies, and potentially... in us?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "Now this is where it gets interesting. The Network planted agents on Ferenginar close to the FIE to find out why they severed relations. It wasn't like Ferengi to let friendship and -
T'Lana@anncaris:- loyalty stop them from profit. Regardless of the winner, it would've been more profitable to support the Klingons simply because the Klingons outsource much more than the Federation.”
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Indeed. So there was an ulterior motive at work”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "Exactly. But the most the Network's agents were able to find out was this- Neer had some high profile clients that were both buying and selling the FIE information. And get this, -
T'Lana@anncaris:- they referred to these clients as the Gnalesum.”
Mischa@crystyl:"So we suspect these Gnalesum to be behind this”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "Yes and yes. Gnalesum has more positive connotations than the Nausicaan 'Mordari,' but it translates roughly the same to and from Federation Standard. If this is the same group, this -
T'Lana@anncaris:- means these Survivors who are taking in remnants of the old Network predates the Scryer's death by at least twenty years.”
T'Lana@anncaris:"But you are not certain this is the same group.”
Mischa@crystyl:"If that's the case, then they aren't survivors of the Scryer's demise. But something else... this puts a whole different layer of context on our would-be adversaries”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "Indeed. And it would explain why they have an interest in us. I'm not certain of anything, unfortunately, but I know unlike Empire or Intelligence, Survivors isn't exactly a common -
T'Lana@anncaris:- name choice for an organization.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Undoubtedly of meaning to them on a very personal level. My concern remains with the possibility that /someone/ out there knows of our current mission and whereabouts. That presents a severe breach of+
Mischa@crystyl:+ Starfleet security which threatens this mission, and this very ship. Right now all other concerns are secondary”
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Agreed. Can you find out anything else about this group?”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "I know, and I'm trying, but I can't find anything with just the name to go on. You know how often the word 'survivors' pops up on reports?”
Mischa@crystyl smiles a little, "I can imagine. Don't worry, I know you're doing your best. This is the first real test of our reformed network, for that alone we must ensure a successful endeavour"
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "I'll search everything I can get my hands on and try to find something about these Survivors.”
Mischa@crystyl:"We have the advantage here" she smiles, "We can use it”
T'Lana@anncaris:"There are two distinct possibilities. One, the name could refer to Survivors of the Horde. That would explain their interest in this region, and our mission, though I find it unlikely that they -
T'Lana@anncaris:- were in contact with the FIE twenty years ago without some intelligence on the Horde making its way to us until now. The second possibility is that they are Romulan in origin. Given their -
T'Lana@anncaris:- capabilities in concealing their tracks and that the earliest known mention so far dates to 2400, some years after the destruction of the Romulan home system, the name may refer to survivors of -
T'Lana@anncaris:- Hobus incident, or perhaps of the old Star Empire or the Romulan people. This is of course only conjecture, but it may be prudent to prioritize sorting through information relating to these two -
T'Lana@anncaris:- possibilities, rather than searching through the entire Network's data.”
Mischa@crystyl:"There's another angle; the aforementioned advantage we now hold over them”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril: "You mean having control of most of the Network remnants?”
Mischa@crystyl smiles, reaching over to tap the console and take the display back to the list of negotiations from Lorri's meeting
Mischa@crystyl:"They have tipped their hand in revealing what they seek. Find the missing link to these elements; find those seeking them”
Mischa@crystyl:"This all pivots around Captain Vix and House Dronurr”
T'Lana@anncaris | Eirril nods, "I'll look into it, Commander, and let you know as soon as I find anything."
Mischa@crystyl:"We'll do whatever is necessary to assist you in this"