The crew of the Latenter begin to suspect that the Justicar and the faction they are working with have been replacing members of the Romulan Republic with their own infiltrators. When they investigate a suspected compromised ship, they find more than they bargained for...
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | FIVE MONTHS EARLIER Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The lights pop on in a pick black room, revealing a Romulan female in Republic naval uniform, her hands and feet bound by magnetized cuffs Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The door opens and Commander Sierra Reyes steps in, wearing her Justicar uniform Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Romulan: "The Remans can't read my mind, so they send a human? What kind of thinking is that?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Sierra: "You know the Remans will kill you if they can't get anything useful out of you." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Romulan: "This isn't the first time I've been threatened with death. /You/ know I was in the Imperial navy before I was Republic. It's not the threats of death that you should be concerned - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - about. It's the death that comes silently." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Sierra leans on the table, "Talk to me, and I can guarantee them to keep you alive. In a safehouse somewhere under guard of course, but you'll be allowed to live out your life." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The Romulan chuckles, "So that's why you're here. When interrogation doesn't work, they send someone to play nice. I know who you are, Commander Sierra Reyes. You are not Starfleet anymore. - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - You think you have power here? You're nothing but a tool. You can't guarantee hnaev." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Sierra: "That's where you're wrong. I may not fly Federation colours, but I /am/ Starfleet. What Starfleet was meant to be, meant to stand for. The truth." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The Romulan laughs, "Don't make me laugh, Commander Reyes. The truth? You work for one of the most shadowy organizations in the galaxy!" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Sierra: "Sometimes the only way to fight fire is with fire. Starfleet learned that at Wolf 359. I'm just applying the same concept to shadows." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Sierra: "We'll get to the bottom of this sooner or later. For your own sake, Commander, tell me- what do you people want?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Romulan: "To survive." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Sierra: "You're going to be executed!" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Romulan: "One life is a small price to pay. Do your worst. I will /never/ talk." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris FX | Fade to black --- Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | PRESENT DAY Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The senior staff and key crew are gathered in the briefing room of the Latenter Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"It's been quite a week, hasn't it? The formation of the Klingon Inquisition, Captain Sisko's return and all." Mischa@crystyl:"It is a lot to keep track of. I don't miss my time working as an analyst back at HQ, that's for sure" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Fortunately none of those are our job right now. But we do have our own things to keep track of," she nods across at Eirril Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "I did some digging into our destination and found something potentially interesting. So the sighting of the strange Romulan ship above Mirhassa happened five months ago. Nothing much - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - has changed about the colony, and I couldn't find any hint as to what they could've done at the colony at first. I looked into everything- personal records, shipping records, every vessel that - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - passed through the system, and that's when I finally found something promising." Mischa@crystyl:"I like promising" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "Around the same time, the RRW Ralaar was ordered to the system to do a routine check of the colony defenses, due to Tal Shiar activity in the sector in the past. They arrived about - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - two days after the sighting of the warbird we believe to be a part of the group we're looking for. They performed their check, did some minor maintenance and upgraded the operating software to - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the latest Republic standard- the usual chores a patrol gets up to, nothing of note there." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "Where it gets interesting is when the Ralaar returned to New Romulus. Commander Livala was replaced from her role as commanding officer of the Ralaar and dishonourably discharged for - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - actions she had performed as a part of the Imperial navy which recently came to light. A scandal to be sure, but not something unheard of considering the number of officers in the Republic - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- navy who left the Star Empire to join. Except...there was no scandal. All this was handled internally and quietly. Still not the strangest thing, as we're talking about Romulans here." Mischa@crystyl:"So what is the strangest thing?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "Just to be thorough, I had the Network look into Commander Livala. Ever since her discharge, she's completely disappeared. She's not living at any colony nor in any Republic prison. - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - That's already a little suspicious. Sweeping a scandal under the rug, I can see the Republic doing. Quietly eliminating someone, that's more Tal Shiar's style, something the Republic at least - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - publicly claims they want to avoid. Except they've been doing anything but avoiding it. Over the past year and a half, there's been shifts in the Republic. Everyone from Admirals to planetary - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - governors- replaced. Most of them never to be heard from again. And all this started not long after the Justicar's final sighting at a neutral port, about the time we estimate them to have - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - joined up with the group they're working for today." Mischa@crystyl:"Most curious indeed. Any theories formulating?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"We suspect the Justicar might be looking to manipulate members of Starfleet to their cause. Perhaps this is their organization gaining influence among the Romulan Republic?" Mischa@crystyl:"Taking control of entire colonies without them even realizing it? It's so devious I like it" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "It's possible, but from the people who they got rid of...it's not exactly who I'd get rid of to exert influence or take control. Many of them are in prominent positions, but there's - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - also instances where they removed people lower down in the chain of command without replacing their superiors. Those could be expert manipulators to manipulate their superiors, but there's - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - so much randomness once you look at the overall dispersal pattern of all these disappearances." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"They could be replacing people they don't need to, just to hide what they're really after. Not unlike what they did with the data theft in the facility. Whoever these people are, they like - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - muddying their tracks." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "With stealing data from a database, that strategy works. But assassinating, coming up with alibis and planting infiltrators as replacements? That's a lot of work to just replace the - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - people you need to replace." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "Good point. We'll have to investigate further to determine what exactly they're up to." Mischa@crystyl:"Still, it is a place to start so now we have something to aim for" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "As far as I can tell, no one in Mirhassa colony itself has been replaced. There's other colonies we could investigate who has had people replaced, but I have an idea that won't - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - require us to travel that far." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Glad to hear it. What are you thinking?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "The Ralaar isn't in the area right now, but there is another ship on patrol who had her CO replaced: the RRW Verala. According to Republic reports, Commander Julos was assassinated by - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - rogue Tal Shiar operatives who just happened to be within the likely area of operations we identified for the Justicar and their friends. He was replaced by one Subcommander Rhue, who despite - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - only holding that rank for a year, was promoted to Commander and assigned the new CO of the Verala." Mischa@crystyl:"Could be a good starting point. Thoughts?" She looks around the table Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"This Commander Rhue might have some answers, but we're going to need to get her first, preferably alone. She might be an infiltrator, and even if she wasn't, we're still not supposed to be here in - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - Republic space. The Verala is the only ship in range of Mirhassa. If we tamper with the colony's defense grid, they'll be the first ship to respond. We may have a better chance of capturing - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - their CO when they start investigating a colony, as opposed to in the middle of deep space." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "But won't they be on high alert if they're called in to investigate something like that?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "We could tail them until they return to a port naturally, but we don't know how long that'll take. And given Romulan alertness for cloaked ships, the longer we tail them, the more likely - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - we'll be discovered. Their personnel have transport inhibitors on or near them at all times, so we can't just beam the CO off the ship in the middle of deep space. If we manage to catch the - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- Commander without an inhibitor, the ship'll still detect the CO's disappearance and they'll start investigating immediately. Luring them to Mirhassa isn't the best idea, I admit, but it's better - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - than these options. I'm open to anyone who might have better ideas, though." Mischa@crystyl:"Can we draw them somewhere else with something less ominous than a threatened colony?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"The colony's probably still the best place to lure them. We just need something to prompt them to head there..." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's see the colony system" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria nods and steps over, tapping the console in the meeting room, which displays the colony system with all its planets Mischa@crystyl studies the map for ideas Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The inner asteroid belt is abundant with resources and mining operations are still in place on multiple asteroids. The colony itself is located on the second planet from the sun and initially - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - built to house miners as well as refinement facilities. The system overall has six planets, with the outermost being home to a long-range monitoring station Mischa@crystyl:"Mining operation difficulties are always a winner" Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "What about the monitoring station, is it manned?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria shakes her head, "Every two weeks a team from the colony travels to the station for inspection and maintenance if needed, but it doesn't carry a permanent crew. Mostly, it just - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - collects data and relays it back to the colony." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "So if it suddenly and mysteriously went dark..." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "The maintenance team from the colony would check it out first, but they would notify the Republic. Unless they have reason to believe there's danger at the station, they'll arrive - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - on scene to repair the station, though if they find anything pointing to potential sabotage, that might warrant a Republic ship actually paying a visit. But they might be on alert in that case - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - as well." Mischa@crystyl | Ori hrms, "So... it would need to be dangerous, but not suspicious?" Mischa@crystyl:"Systems malfunction. One that threatens the very existence of the monitoring station" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"I'm sure we could disrupt their systems so it's too dangerous to board for repairs, but it appears just to be a malfunction and not sabotage. They might discover we did it once they actually - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - investigate, but the Verala won't think it's sabotage upon arrival." Mischa@crystyl:"That's all we need. Even if we don't get a window during their initial investigation, we'll be back to our first idea with them investigating sabotage" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Relak nods, "I'm sure we can rig up something to play havoc on their systems. Getting on the station itself is risky, but since it's a monitoring station, it'll be picking up all sorts of - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - signals. Viral delivery is going to be the most effective." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Sounds like Acey's forte, but I don't know if we can trust her enough to let her infect the monitoring station. We could ask Glyph to work up a virus though. A less conscious one this time." Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps it is an opportunity for them to work together" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Good thinking. Orianni, why don't you work with them? It was your idea to start, and Glyph is a synthetic lifeform, so he might be vulnerable if Acey does try something. It's less imposing than - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - posting security on them, and from what I've read of your file, you'll be just as capable as any security team." Mischa@crystyl | Ori nods, "I'll keep an eye on them" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "It seems we have a plan then" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"For luring them where we want them, at least," she looks across at Nikki. "Any suggestions on how to get their commander alone once they arrive?" Mischa@crystyl | Nikki thinks, "It's hard to say as it really comes down to the officer" she looks to Mischa, "For example, getting you off the ship and into something potentially dangerous but interesting could - Mischa@crystyl:- be as simple as putting the opportunity there. But to get Keelah off her bridge almost needs an order from Admiral" Mischa@crystyl:"A fair point" Mischa@crystyl | Nikki: "All I can offer is; were I the one in command in such a situation, I would likely first send a repair crew to the station. If they then reported back something untoward, I would consider - Mischa@crystyl:- taking the investigation into my own hands" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "And since we're planning to use a virus, they most likely /will/ find something untoward. At that point, the Verala will probably be on alert, but if the Commander chooses to investigate - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the station personally, we could intercept the transport, have her materialize on the Latenter instead. As long as we hold on the edge of transporter range, we should be able to move away - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - quickly enough before they start sweeping the area. Once we make it into the asteroid belt, the minerals'll help shield us from detection even if they use tachyon or antiproton scans." Mischa@crystyl:"This is all assuming that the Commander does choose to investigate. We have a hook, but it has no bait on it" Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Something to draw the Commander out alone..." Mischa@crystyl | Nikki: "That would be something that poses a threat to the Commander" Mischa@crystyl:"So within the virus, we plant fragmented data. Something the monitoring station picked up that doesn't say anything, but shows just enough to make the Commander sweat. Then they'll have no choice - Mischa@crystyl:- but recall their repair team under a flimsy excuse while they investigate personally. Then we can get them" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Perhaps something implicating the Commander's involvement in the assassination of the previous CO, as we suspect her organization was responsible, if not her personally." Mischa@crystyl:"I like it. Even by following the trail she will implicate herself" Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "But as soon as we grab her, she will be here. With all of us... on a very Starfleet ship..." she looks to Nikki Mischa@crystyl | Nikki looks back and down at her, "Well that's not my fault" Mischa@crystyl | Ori shakes her head, "No, I was just wondering... how you would look in a Tal Shiar uniform..." Mischa@crystyl grins Goto Yuzuki@anncaris grins as well, "I have something better. We have a visual record of the uniform used by the faction the Justicar is working for. Or at least what we assume to be their uniform, worn by a Romulan - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - who was among the boarding party that raided the facility." Mischa@crystyl:"And we can soon rig up a convincing Romulan holointerior. What do you say, Sub-Commander?" Mischa@crystyl | Nikki frowns a little, "I can't say I particularly like the idea of performing as a Tal Shiar agent, or any derivative thereof. But it is a sensible idea, if this Commander is involved with them - Mischa@crystyl:- it may even be perceived as a covert interception from her parent organization making her think she is among her own" Mischa@crystyl:"Now this is a plan twisted enough to be worthy of capturing and manipulating a Romulan spy. I approve" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris smiles, "There's no better way to coax secrets out of someone than making them think they're among friends." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright team, if there's nothing more then let's get to work" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria nods, "We'll get the uniforms produced and put together a convincing holosimulation." Mischa@crystyl:"That will be all then" --- NPC@annpc#557 | After the meeting, Orianni proceeds to the shuttlebay to work with Glyph and Acey. Glyph is already there, standing outside the Acey Dart which has its entrance open Rianni@crystyl heads over, "Hello Lieutenant" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Hello Ensign. I was told to await you before we began work on the virus." Rianni@crystyl:"I'm probably going to get in the way more than anything. You and Acey could likely speed through this if not for me I bet!" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "I agree with the Commander's assessment. While we may be able to work more efficiently, but it would be safer to have the supervision of an organic crewmember immune to the effects of - NPC@annpc#557 - viral code infection." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Glyph has learned from his mistakes. Namely me." Rianni@crystyl:"Good as I am, I'm not sure I could do much to restrain either of you if you did try anything..." NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph proceeds inside the Dart craft, "You are the Observer created by the Junayd, correct?" Rianni@crystyl follows him inside, "Yes, Observer 93108" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Your combat capabilities are superior to the majority of other organics. Thus, you possess the most likely chance of escaping to warn others, should something go wrong here." Rianni@crystyl:"That is true. Though I am confident it will not be cause for concern. Rather than simply being here to serve as a safety net, I was hoping I might be able to draw on my template's expertise as she - Rianni@crystyl:- does mine now, and provide a little organic unorthodox thinking to actually help and contribute to your work" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Your input will be appreciated. The current plan is to use a modified- non-sentient, of course- segment of my code to infect the monitoring station. The station is not armed with any - NPC@annpc#557 - automated defenses, as the paranoid Romulans do not trust our clearly superior synthetic systems. However, there is a failsafe that will cause the station to self-destruct if approached by any - NPC@annpc#557 - unauthorized personnel. The self-destruct is not immediate and there is a warning period. The virus will cause a system malfunction in the IFF so the repair teams from the colony will not be - NPC@annpc#557 - recognized. They will be forced to turn back and call the Republic for assistance." Rianni@crystyl:"That's a good idea! What about the delivery method, will the failsafe not trigger as soon as it detects the presence of the virus?" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "It will, but the failsafe is hard-coded to grant a warning period to allow evacuation or shutdown upon accidental triggering. We are modifying the virus to immediately target the - NPC@annpc#557 - failsafe once it is in the system and deactivate the countdown. The colony will be notified that a countdown was initiated and then cancelled, but once they send a team to investigate and - NPC@annpc#557 - trigger the countdown again due to the sabotaged IFF, they will assume the initial countdown was simply a part of the malfunction." Rianni@crystyl:"That sounds good. And so simple, the way you describe it!" she chuckles NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph takes a seat, tapping on a console, "It is the coding rather than the conception of the plan itself that will be more difficult." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Fortunately for us synthetic beings, coding is second nature." Rianni@crystyl follows and observes, "Yeah... I'll leave that to the two of you!" she looks around at Acey, "And isn't it kind of more a first nature for you guys?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "First nature is not a recognized term in my language matrices. I believe an appropriate term would be instinctive nature. While that would be accurate for me, it would not be accurate - NPC@annpc#557 - for all synthetic lifeforms." NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph nods, "That is correct. Some of the more advanced android models run on code as well, but are not aware that they are code. Technically, every lifeform's instincts are coded in them; in - NPC@annpc#557 - the case of organics, that code is simply written in a different language running on different hardware- electrochemical signals in a nervous system. However, I presume you are not aware of - NPC@annpc#557 - the intricacies of neural signals to the extent that you are able to recode them, as the Horde do, for example." Rianni@crystyl:"Um... not off the top of my head, no" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "It is the same with many synthetic lifeforms. For those of us who are aware of the code running our systems such as Acey and I, it would be instinctive nature indeed, but not - NPC@annpc#557 - for all synthetic lifeforms," He looks away from his typing to Ori for a moment. "You are classified as an organic lifeform, correct?" Rianni@crystyl nods, "Yes. Although I was artificially created, it was a purely biological process" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Are you a completely identical clone, or have you been genetically engineered from your original template?" Rianni@crystyl:"Technically I was engineered. It is an accepted shortcoming with Junayd Observers - since we are created to assess newly encountered species ahead of first contact, the Creators are not fully - Rianni@crystyl:- familiar with the species. So, they work from the genetic data and create perfect examples of the species, assuming that others are as finely evolved as they are within their natural biomes. Of - Rianni@crystyl:- course, most species are nowhere near that refined within their own evolution and so Observers tend to be far more capable" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph nods, "That would explain your exceptional combat capabilities. As they are extrapolating from existing genetic data, I presume the result would vary by species? If they created a - NPC@annpc#557 - Klingon Observer, for example, that Observer would have significant combat prowess, while a Betazoid Observer would be a highly evolved psionic." Rianni@crystyl nods, "Exactly, yes. The Observers are based on their template specifically. So I am physiologically a peak Human based on LT Tierno's genetics" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Interesting. And you were created to observe your template species?" Rianni@crystyl:"Yes. An Observer assimilates into a society in place of their template, who is sustained in stasis which allows a psionic connection. In our case, it also served to repair the other me's injuries.- Rianni@crystyl:- But mostly, it is to allow the Observer to draw on the memories of the template. This is where my assignment was problematic, because the first 6 months in stasis were spent repairing her, so I - Rianni@crystyl:- had no connection!" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Your files state that while in place as then-Cadet Tierno, you claimed to have amnesia. I presume this was to cover up the lack of a connection." Rianni@crystyl nods, "I had no knowledge of the world I was in, only my nature as the Observer. It was all I could do to sustain the cover, but it seemed to work" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "It was a very successful ruse. I see why Commander Leveson-Scott recruited you for Starfleet Intelligence." Rianni@crystyl:"It really was! But I think we've got off topic... oh! I hope I'm not distracting you from your work!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "We have sufficient processing power to spare that this conversation is not pulling any resources from our primary task." Rianni@crystyl:"That's ok then!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "You are no longer assimilating into your template's society for the purposes of observation. Or are you?" Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "No, that assignment officially ended when Starfleet executed me!" she chirps NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "A point we all have in common, though you may be the only one they were successful with." Rianni@crystyl:"Wait, really? I knew about you Acey but... Lieutenant?" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Starfleet never attempted to execute me directly. However, they did execute several of my kind during the Synth ban and we were forced into hiding. Had they discovered me before - NPC@annpc#557 - Admiral Picard revealed that the Federation had been manipulated by a Romulan ploy, it is likely they would have done the same with me." Rianni@crystyl:"A valid observation" she nods, "Still, it is quite the journey to have gone from that to the position you are in now" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "There was still some resistance from both sides when I first enlisted for Starfleet. But ultimately, Starfleet chose to protect my kind from the Romulans, and I decided we could do - NPC@annpc#557 - more to repair the relations between us as well." Rianni@crystyl:"Seeing how people are with synthetic life now, it is almost difficult to believe it was like that not so long ago" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Socio-political mindsets can change rapidly when given a significant catalyst. The situation with psionics today is quite similar to what my people experienced." Rianni@crystyl:"Which gives you a rare and valuable first hand experience of this" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Indeed. I only hope this distrust passes for psionics, as it did for us synthetics. Fortunately the Federation has learned its lesson and is dealing with the situation less - NPC@annpc#557 - heavy-handedly. If the situation escalates out of control for other powers, it may be imperative that the Federation maintains order and rationality to serve as a safe haven." --- Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | A short while later on the Latenter bridge... Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Glyph reports the virus is complete. We're making preparations to broadcast it now." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "Sensors reveal nothing else that should be capable of picking up the virus. We are clear from collateral damage." Mischa@crystyl:"Moment of truth then" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "All set and ready to send on your command." Mischa@crystyl:"Proceed" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria nods, tapping her console, "And virus is away." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris announces after a few minutes, "Failsafe is activating on the monitoring station. Countdown one minute." Mischa@crystyl continues watching quietly as she often does at times like these Goto Yuzuki@anncaris says after several seconds, "Failsafe deactivated." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Picking up comms chatter from Mirhassa. They're preparing a team to investigate as expected." Mischa@crystyl:"So far so good then" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | A few more minutes pass as they observe before T'Fel says, "Shuttle is launching from the colony on a trajectory towards the station. ETA eleven minutes." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The eleven minutes pass by, and on the viewscreen, they watch the shuttle approaching and docking with the station Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Failsafe has triggered again. Repair team is evacuating to the shuttle." Mischa@crystyl smiles a little Goto Yuzuki@anncaris FX | The shuttle hastily undocks, turning back towards the colony Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Countdown has stopped again." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Intercepting outbound communications- they're updating the Republic on the situation and calling for support." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris smiles as well, "All going to plan so far." Mischa@crystyl:"I do so enjoy the fruits of one's deviousness unfolding" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "RRW Verala has responded. ETA two hours, fifteen minutes." Mischa@crystyl:"Is everything in place now for their arrival?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "The virus has planted the bait on the station and the holoprogram is ready. Do you want more personnel on the holodeck, or just Subcommander Nikee?" Mischa@crystyl:"Just the Subcommander. We will monitor from outside" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Time to wait for our target to get here, then." Mischa@crystyl:"The not so fun part, in other words" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris FX | The next two hours pass uneventfully, and before long the Verala begins to approach the station... Goto Yuzuki@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/wI9pNqy.jpg Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The warbird cruises by the small monitoring station and stops beside it Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "They're trying to hack into the station to disable the failsafe." Mischa@crystyl:"The first crew would have reported the problem, so it only makes sense. Will the bait be fed here, or does that require the first attempt to board the station?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "They'll be coming across it any second now. Any access to the station data should reveal the bait, whether that's by a team or remotely as they're doing now." Mischa@crystyl:"Is the Subcommander in place?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"She's standing by in the holosimulation." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Failsafe is down. The bait has been accessed." Mischa@crystyl:"Be ready to intercept" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria nods, standing ready. A few more minutes of waiting tick by... Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Detecting transport! Intercepting..." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "The Verala is sweeping the area. They know we're here." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "We have them!" Mischa@crystyl stands, "Time for a game of cat and mouse" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Nethay, take us into the asteroid belt before we're detected." She looks to Victoria, "Them?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Two lifesigns. A Romulan female, likely the Commander, and a Romulan male." Mischa@crystyl turns to Yuzu, "Time to get to work" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"We were only expecting one, but nothing ever goes perfectly to plan. Should we materialize both on the holodeck?" Mischa@crystyl:"Can we hold the male in the pattern buffer?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria nods, "We can." Mischa@crystyl:"Then split them up" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Aye Commander. Materializing the female...now." Mischa@crystyl:"Keep us posted on the chase. We'll be monitoring the holodeck" --- Romulan@annpc#557 | In the holodeck, a Romulan in a Republic navy command uniform materializes in a Romulan-looking transporter room. She is small, shorter than Nikki, and somewhat scrawny looking. Her - Romulan@annpc#557 - height rather reminds Nikki of Keelah, but other than the height she seems very different. Hair shrouds the right side of the face, but through them Nikki can make out the characteristic - Romulan@annpc#557 - patterns of radiation damage. An eyepatch covers the right eye, concealing even more of that side of her face, but from the unscarred left side she seems quite pretty. There is something - Romulan@annpc#557 - contradictory about the way this woman looks- there is both weakness and strength, suffering and determination. She doesn't look like your typical commander, but there's something about her - Romulan@annpc#557 - that seems inspirational to those on her side, and terrifying to those against her Romulan@annpc#557 | The Romulan glances to her side, then to Nikki, "This isn't the station...where is Centurion Kerih? And who are you?" Nikki@crystyl:"The Centurion is in good hands, naturally. We just had to ensure that we could speak in confidence, you understand" Romulan@annpc#557 steps off the transporter pad, "Let me guess- the malfunction was bait to lure us here." Nikki@crystyl:"We had to ensure nothing raised suspicions. It is not yet time to fully induct this system. Unless it is...?" Romulan@annpc#557:"Induct this system? What in the Elements are you talking about?" Nikki@crystyl:"Aah, I seem to have overestimated you. My apologies" she smiles in that slightly wicked Romulan manner Romulan@annpc#557 scoffs, "Trust me, you haven't overestimated me. But I think you have mistaken me for someone else. You want to talk in confidence, well, I don't seem to have much of a choice right now. The - Romulan@annpc#557 - Verala will be searching for me though, so whatever ship this is, I hope it's up to par with some of the Republic's finest." Nikki@crystyl:"You know it is. But come, you don't have to stand on ceremony here and we have time. Allow me to offer you a beverage, relax and drop the facades while we can" Romulan@annpc#557:"Lead the way. It's not like you went through all this trouble just to poison me with a drink." Nikki@crystyl smiles, "Like I said, you should feel welcome here. It might not be a scheduled check in but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the opportunity to relax" she leads the way through to a small office Romulan@annpc#557 follows along, "I told you- I don't know who you are. There's no facade. Who do you think I am?" Nikki@crystyl ignores the question as usual, "So how are you finding the Verala? Not too much ship for your first commission I hope" Romulan@annpc#557:"It's a newer ship than I expected to receive as a first command, but I won't complain about having state-of-the-art tools. The Republic has worked hard and deserves as much." Nikki@crystyl moves to a nearby interrogation room that totally isn't a ready room. Though it is dressed up more casually than usual, just enough to show the rooms true nature Nikki@crystyl:"What's your poison?" Romulan@annpc#557 takes a seat, "Kali-fal. Might as well drink well before...whatever it is that's about to happen." Nikki@crystyl chuckles, replicating two kal-fals, "I'm afraid replicated is as good as it gets, but hopefully sufficient" she offers the drink Romulan@annpc#557 takes the drink, "Good enough." She takes a sip, "The style and colour palette of your uniform suggests Reman influence. But the Reman Resistance has been absorbed into the Republic and any - Romulan@annpc#557 - who haven't retired wear Republic colours now. Judging from your style of operation, I'd say one of the splinter factions of the Tal Shiar. One incorporating Remans the old Tal Shiar - Romulan@annpc#557 - weaponized, perhaps even one such Reman having risen to the role of your leader." Nikki@crystyl:"It is almost cute the way you hold up to this. Perhaps it is not your fault, it would not be the first time someone's mind were influenced to sustain cover" Romulan@annpc#557 laughs, "I was examined by Remans loyal to the Republic before I took command. I've met with Obisek himself. If I was your mole, someone would've found me out long ago. The Tal Shiar have been - Romulan@annpc#557 - scattered to the stellar winds, and your intel was heavily compartmentalized to begin with. You made a mistake. You have the wrong Commander." Nikki@crystyl swirls her drink, "No, it just means that you are one of the innocent ones. What better cover than pure truth" Romulan@annpc#557:"Let's assume I am your sleeper agent. What now, you plan to activate me and send me back to the Verala? My cover will be blown the moment I return. I have Reman officers on board, and even if I - Romulan@annpc#557 - didn't, many Republic officers have been trained to sniff out Tal Shiar plots by now." Nikki@crystyl:"The Tal Shiar are the past. Just like the rest of the corrupt powers now claiming the galaxy. We are the future, and we put you in place to be a part of it" Romulan@annpc#557:"Good to see you recognize the Tal Shiar are finished, at least. But what do you want? And what makes you 'less corrupt' than the Republic?" Nikki@crystyl smirks a little, "Interesting that you jump to the Republic at that notion" Romulan@annpc#557:"Who else would you be trying to supplant? The Klingons? Their politics is as shadowy as the Star Empire's was. The Federation? They were formed as a coalition against our people. You think they - Romulan@annpc#557 - would submit to Romulan or Reman leaders? You're going for the Republic, or at least you plan to wrest control of the Republic first before working towards other powers." Nikki@crystyl:"See, this is why I hate such encounters. Always such hard work. We have already supplanted both the Republic and Federation. You can choose to continue believing in your programmed delusions, of - Nikki@crystyl:- course. I only need your status report on the region" Romulan@annpc#557:"You're the only thing going on in this region! The Star Empire's too weak to try anything, and everything was quiet here until you pulled this off. There's the usual opportunistic piracy and - Romulan@annpc#557 - scavenging, but no worse than any other part of the galaxy. Unless..." Nikki@crystyl sips and smiles, listening contently Romulan@annpc#557:"You're looking for the Lloann'jhu, aren't you? The rogue Starfleet vessel. They've been seen operating in this region, and you want their help to infiltrate the Federation." Nikki@crystyl waves a nonchalant hand, "Let us say that I do represent certain former powers and rightful rulers of this region, and that you were right. You might not feel like helping us, but you know the - Nikki@crystyl:- Lloann'jhu is just as much a threat to your quaint Republic as it is to... anyone else" she smiles Romulan@annpc#557:"The Republic doesn't seem to think so. We have orders not to engage that ship unless it threatens Republic citizens or property. But it doesn't matter. This is the Verala's first time being - Romulan@annpc#557 - assigned here. We've never encountered the Lloann'jhu. We can't help you find it." Nikki@crystyl:"So... your superiors who mysteriously bumped you straight into a command above your station warn you not to engage a rogue vessel known to be plaguing the region... Nope, nothing suspicious about - Nikki@crystyl:- that at all. Still, enjoy your kali'fal, then we will leave you to your little technical malfunction as clearly nothing more could be going on here" Romulan@annpc#557 takes a sip and smiles, "You're not some former Tal Shiar splinter group at all, are you? I'm not one of those Romulans who has a plot behind every action and double meanings in every word. But - Romulan@annpc#557 - secrets and deception are in all our blood to some extent, and over the years I've certainly learned the basic rules of the game. The questions you're asking- you wouldn't think my promotion - Romulan@annpc#557 - was suspicious if you're operating me, you'd know very well it was the fruits of your own machinations. You're Republic Intelligence, conducting an internal investigation." Nikki@crystyl smiles a little, "And your profile is quite accurate, I am impressed" Romulan@annpc#557:"Now that the facade /is/ finally dropped...I'm not a mole for anyone. Get another Reman to read my mind if you must- I don't take any pleasure from the process but if that's what it takes to prove - Romulan@annpc#557 - my innocence then go ahead. But I was as surprised by this assignment as anyone else. I rationalized it to myself by saying that I've been with the Republic since the early days; while I might - Romulan@annpc#557 - not have as much experience in commanding, I worked my way up from the lowest rank and I've more than proven myself over the years. You're not the only one who's noticed it, though. The sudden - Romulan@annpc#557 - wave of retirements, discommendations, assassinations. /Something/ is going on in the Republic. But whatever that is, I'm not a part of it." Nikki@crystyl:"That you know of" Romulan@annpc#557:"I don't know why I've been given this command. Maybe whoever is behind this wants someone inexperienced in command. If that's the case, I certainly intend to make them regret their choice when - Romulan@annpc#557 - they finally rear their heads. Or maybe I am a sleeper agent. Scan my mind, get a telepath to read me, do whatever you have to do." Nikki@crystyl:"I don't use Reman telepaths. Too invasive after what the Tal Shiar did to them, but there is one here. I am reasonably content with your testimony at this point, so consider it more of a formality"- Nikki@crystyl:- she smiles, tapping her console, "Please send him in now" Romulan@annpc#557 FX | The door slides open and Eirril steps inside. The Romulan turns around with a hint of surprise, "A Betazoid? And here I was expecting a Lethean mercenary." Nikki@crystyl smiles again, "As I said, we are rather more civilized these days" Romulan@annpc#557 takes another sip before setting the glass down on the table, "Well, do your thing." Romulan@annpc#557 | Eirril nods, taking a seat beside the Romulan, "This shouldn't hurt a bit. As long as you don't resist, and it sounds like you want me to prove you innocent, so I don't expect you will be - Romulan@annpc#557 - resisting. All will be well, if you're who you say you are." He leans forward and closes his eyes, focusing Romulan@annpc#557 | The Romulan's one functional eye flutters and slowly closes as well, as if she is lulled into a trance Romulan@annpc#557 | Eirril opens his eyes after a minute, followed by the Romulan Romulan@annpc#557 | Eirril: "She is telling the truth, and I detect nothing unusual to suggest she's under anyone's influence." Romulan@annpc#557 | Eirril: "No sleeper programming, no buried secret personality, she's clean." Nikki@crystyl nods, "Thank you" Romulan@annpc#557 breathes a quiet sigh of relief as Eirril nods back and stands, heading back outside Romulan@annpc#557 takes another sip of her drink, "That is good to know. Though it does beg the question of why I was given the assignment." Nikki@crystyl:"That it does" Romulan@annpc#557:"I'm as concerned about this as you are. We both have the Republic's best interests in mind. Now that you've dropped the facade, why don't you tell me who you are? I can help you with this; - Romulan@annpc#557:- experienced or not, I am the commander of a state-of-the-art Republic warbird and her crew." Nikki@crystyl:"Given the potential threats that we are dealing with, it is safer for you that you remain in the dark" Romulan@annpc#557:"I've been serving the Republic since we were little more than a band of rebels. And before that I didn't exactly have an easy life either. I'm not concerned about my safety. But...I do have a crew - Romulan@annpc#557 - to think of now. A crew that would give their lives to protect the Republic if necessary, but I understand I shouldn't do anything too reckless. Still, it would be good to have an idea of what - Romulan@annpc#557 - to look out for, and if the Republic is indeed compromised, who we can trust." Nikki@crystyl chuckles, "Life would be a lot simpler if we could know such things straight up, wouldn't it? That is why I give you the friendly warning to simply remain vigilant; do not forget that something is - Nikki@crystyl:- not right, and scrutinize everything. If you do happen across anything suspicious, you can contact me" she slides over a chip. But for now, it would be best if we return you and the Centurion to - Nikki@crystyl:- the monitoring station. And for this conversation to have never happened" Romulan@annpc#557 nods and leans forward, taking the chip, "And if you need some extra firepower to take down whoever's behind all this, the Verala will answer your call. I assume if you can capture me and my - Romulan@annpc#557 - security chief, you'll know how to contact me," she smirks Nikki@crystyl smiles, "You can count on it" Romulan@annpc#557 stands, "Thanks for the drink." --- Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Mischa and Yuzuki observes the interrogation outside the holodeck as Eirril steps out Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"So she knows nothing about this...interesting," she looks to Eirril. "Any chance she might've hid something from you?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril shakes his head as he approaches the pair, "Unlikely. I've trained with Betazoids, Vulcans, Ullians and Letheans. I've spotted a few Cardassian and Klingon spies with some /very/ deeply - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - buried mental programming. Sure the Romulans might use different methods, but I'd pick up some trace of something off." Mischa@crystyl:"Well at she too sees her own posting as suspicious" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "She's as much in the dark as we are right now. Probably more so, since we've got some sense of the bigger picture." Mischa@crystyl:"Were there any other repostings around her ship at the same time?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "There's the Chief of Operations, but she transferred over with Commander Rhue from her previous posting where she was XO. The two are known to be friends, there's nothing suspicious - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - about it." Mischa@crystyl:"Then perhaps it was simply less about putting her in position as it was about removing her predecessor" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"That's what I'm suspecting. The question is whether it's the same with everyone that's been removed, or if some people have agents planted in their place after removal." Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps a little of both" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"The best way to do it- makes it difficult to figure out who's a replacement and who's completely innocent like Commander Rhue here." Mischa@crystyl smiles and nods, "It's what I would do" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris glances back to the console, "Looks like they're headed back to the transporter now. I'll notify Victoria to get ready to transport them back to the monitoring station." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris begins to move her hand to her combadge when Mischa's suddenly chirps Mischa@crystyl taps, "What news?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris <C - Victoria> "Commanders, we need you on the bridge ASAP." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Have we been discovered?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris <C - Victoria> "No, but they discovered /something/. They're moving to engage now." Mischa@crystyl glances to the others and nods, "We're on our way" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods back, sprinting for the nearest turbolift Mischa@crystyl exits onto the bridge, "What's the situation?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris Sound FX | https://youtu.be/8DNO2eU_qkg Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | On the viewscreen, there is a strange image- what looks like the flickering shadow of a ship in the centre of the screen. A rough elliptical hull can be made out as well as two protrusions at - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the back that seem to be nacelles, but the details of the ship, if it even is that, cannot be made out. On the side of the screen, the Aelahl-class RRW Verala begins moving in... Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "The Verala was searching for us with all sorts of scans, as expected. Nethay evaded them through the asteroid field, and then one of their scans hit something and...that just showed - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - up." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Is that the Justicar?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Unknown. Our scans cannot reach the unidentified object." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "But we are picking up tachyon and chroniton distortions all around it." Mischa@crystyl:"Stay with it for now" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Commander. The Verala is engaging." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Bolts of plasma erupt from the Verala, most of them missing the mysterious shadow vessel. The ones that reach it seem to simply pass through harmlessly. The volley is followed by a glowing - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - plasma torpedo, which similarly passes through the craft, blasting apart a small asteroid some ways behind it Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Then, a beam erupts from the shadowy ship. The Verala's shields flare up for a brief second, but in the blink of an eye it is gone as the beam connects with the warbird itself and the lights - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - of its windows and engines begin to flicker Mischa@crystyl:"Analysis?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "The Verala's power is being drained. 70%. 40%. They have lost power. Their singularity core has been shut down." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "They're completely helpless..." Mischa@crystyl:"What about the unknown?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "I am still unable to obtain any readings whatsoever." Mischa@crystyl:"Is the distortion holding position?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel nods, "For the moment." Mischa@crystyl:"No sign of further aggression towards the Verala. They are not here to fight, clearly" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "I'm detecting a transport! Tachyon based...looks like Regulator transport technology. They just beamed out the Verala's entire computer core." Mischa@crystyl:"Regulators? Can we confirm?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Negative. The signature's similar but not identical. The Regulators are the only people we know of who use tachyon-based transporter technology, but that doesn't mean no one else - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - out there does." Mischa@crystyl:"What about the chroniton signature, are we looking at a temporal incursion?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "I have a theory on what that's about. I think the reason the Verala couldn't hit them and they're not showing up on sensors is that they're not really here. I believe they're out of - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - temporal alignment, not unlike the technology my people have, but we can't interact with the universe when we're out of alignment while they can. It doesn't necessarily mean they're not from - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - our time, but whatever they're using, it's more advanced than modern Krenim technology. I wouldn't rule out them being from the future, but there's no evidence either way. They could just be - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - an extremely advanced contemporary civilization." Mischa@crystyl:"Who just happened to be lurking around a Romulan colony? I doubt it. We need to expose them without exposing ourselves" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Suddenly, two dark red bolts shoot out from the shadow, one hitting a nacelle on the Verala and the second its impulse engine. Then, it simply flickers away Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "The Verala's warp and impulse systems have been disabled. No personnel seems to have been caught in the blast radius." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris narrows her eyes at the screen, "What was that for? The Verala was already disabled..." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris looks to T'Bee, "Can we find any sign of that distortion?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee shakes her head, "Negative." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Commander, those bolts. My sensors match them with Nuhar antiproton signatures." Mischa@crystyl:"A rogue construct? Perhaps we can't detect them, but perhaps Acey can" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris taps on a console, "I'm informing her now." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris replies after a moment, "She can't find anything either." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "It doesn't make sense...there's never been Nuhar this far coreward. And the only time they could've gotten their hands on Regulator technology would be during the battles the - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - Coalition fought, but no construct came through the gateway. And even with the Devoted Responder's slipstream drive, they couldn't have made it here from the rim this quickly without the use - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - of a gateway." Mischa@crystyl:"The most likely combination of those technologies is the Coalition itself. But they have only just begun to put the team together to start building new ships" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Hassan: "Unless it's the Coalition of the future. I have no idea why they'd be here- it's a suspect that fits the description but lacks any motivation we can think of." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "I have taken note of the exact frequency of anti-stealth sweep utilized by the Verala when the unidentified vessel was revealed. It is unlikely this frequency will work again a second - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - time, however." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed... If we can not expose the ship, can we expose the space around it?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant looks to Mischa: "We could. There's one method I know of to counter temporal distortions like this...but we can't do it without giving away our position." Mischa@crystyl:"The Romulans are currently blind, yes?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel nods, "Correct. They appear to be attempting to restart their singularity core, but it will take time." Mischa@crystyl:"Then we have time. What is your plan?" she looks to Daurant Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "We emit an unstable warp bubble to warp subspace from our warp drive." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Isn't that a violation of the Khitomer Accords?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "Not technically, because it isn't a weapon. It'll pollute subspace though, but no more than a decade of warp travel through the system." Mischa@crystyl:"If it is the only method, then it is our only choice. Proceed" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant nods, "On it." He taps his console quickly Mischa@crystyl:"Bring us into range and standby on tractor beams. Do not waste this opportunity" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "Tractor beams standing by." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "Engineering reports they're all set." Mischa@crystyl:"Do it" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | A distorted bubble of space appears in front of the Latenter and moves forward. Something shimmers into view between the asteroids slowly Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "The ship is registering on sensors. Tractor lock obtained." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria zooms in the viewscreen on the mystery ship... Goto Yuzuki@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/cbnbGMJ.jpg Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The Latenter's tractor beams activate, locking on to the mystery ship when suddenly the beam shoots out from it again. The flicker of the Latenter's shields can be seen through the viewscreen, - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - then the viewscreen and lights on the bridge begin flashing Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "They're draining our power like they did with the Verala!" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "Tractors have gone offline." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "50% power!" Mischa@crystyl:"Open a channel" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "Channel open." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Several consoles on the bridge start flickering and a few go out completely, including Yuzuki's, who rushes to Hassan's Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "10% power...they've stopped draining." Mischa@crystyl:"It is clear neither of us should be here. Clear as it is that you are not the enemy we seek. We can resolve this in a manner more befitting the Coalition" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "We're receiving a response...it's a virus. By the Prophets, it's tearing through our firewalls even faster than Acey did..." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Hassan: "Maybe Acey could counter this." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Or it could destroy her." Mischa@crystyl:"We have little choice open to us. Set her loose" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, tapping her console, "Aye Commander." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "The ship's moving away...I have just lost sensor readings. The virus is in our sensor system. We are now blind." Mischa@crystyl pinches the bridge of her nose and sighs, "What about Acey?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Acey's in our system as well. She's quarantining the virus now." Mischa@crystyl:"Get cloak back as first priority, then move us away" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "Main Engineering is restoring power as quickly as we can. We should have enough to activate the cloak in two minutes." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Acey has the virus quarantined within the sensor system. She's moving on to purge it." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris announces after a minute, "The virus is fending off attacks. The two appear to be locked in a stalemate." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "We should have enough power to cloak now, Commander." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Activating cloak and moving us away." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"The foreign virus' defences are down. Acey reports it...purged itself. It's erased all traces of its own code from our systems." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "Along with all sensor data on the unknown ship. Even the visual on the viewscreen earlier is gone." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Sensors should be back online again. Can you reacquire the ship?" Mischa@crystyl:"It is almost like the whole thing was just to stage a clean getaway..." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee taps away, "I am reading a signal on long-range sensors moving at transwarp 16. It is too far to get readings in any detail. And it has disappeared completely, Commander." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Nethay: "Transwarp 16...can Borg even move that fast?" Mischa@crystyl:"Not yet they can't. And that was no Borg ship" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "And it's no Avenger-class, either. No amount of modification in two years can make the Justicar look like that, let alone be capable of all that." Mischa@crystyl:"Yet it bore the unmistakable hallmarks of Starfleet design influence" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant: "And technology from both the Rimward Coalition and the Delta Alliance...two powers Starfleet helped unify, but on the far side of the galaxy from one another..." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria frowns, "We have another problem..." Mischa@crystyl:"Why am I not surprised" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "We never had the chance to beam our guests back onto the monitoring station. We managed to preserve the Romulan male's pattern through the power failures, but all the holodecks were - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - shut down automatically to keep essential systems online due to the hologrid's sizable power consumption." Mischa@crystyl:"Where is the Romulan now?" --- Romulan@annpc#557 | In the holodeck, Nikki is escorting Commander Rhue back to the transporter room of the holographically simulated Romulan ship when Victoria's voice sounds in her private earpiece Romulan@annpc#557 <C - Victoria> "Subcommander. There's been a development. We're holding position to observe and are not currently within transport range of the monitoring station." Nikki@crystyl continues through the limited simulation, reducing past as far as she can Romulan@annpc#557 | Commander Rhue soon begins to notice, commenting, "The return path seems to be taking us longer than it took to get to the office. Having issues with throwing off the Verala?" she smirks Nikki@crystyl:"Your crew are tenacious, you have every reason to be proud" Romulan@annpc#557 smiles, "It would be easier to just decloak and transport me back directly, but I understand why you wish to keep as many people in the dark about your operation as possible. You never know who - Romulan@annpc#557 - might talk and reveal your presence- intentionally or unintentionally." Nikki@crystyl smiles, "It is fortunate that you understand the nuances" Romulan@annpc#557:"As I said- I'm not the plotting type of Romulan, but I didn't make it this far without knowing how it all works." Nikki@crystyl:"And keeping an open mind will undoubtedly aid you in making it even farther" Romulan@annpc#557:"Since it seems we have time to kill...what's with the uniform? It's not something I've ever seen Republic Intelligence wearing. You were assuming that I had something to do with the previous - Romulan@annpc#557 - Commander's assassination and began by trying to convince me I was among co-conspirators. This is something the people behind all this have been seen to wear, then?" Nikki@crystyl nods, "Yes, it is that worn by the renegade faction tied to the Lloann'jhu" Romulan@annpc#557:"And you believe these are the same people responsible for the mass reassignments in the Republic lately?" Nikki@crystyl:"No. We know they are" Romulan@annpc#557:"First the Shinzon coup, and now this. The Remans are getting good at beating us at our own game." Nikki@crystyl:"The difference here is that they are not working alone" Romulan@annpc#557:"They have the help of a rogue Starfleet vessel. Much more than a single abandoned clone of a Starfleet captain was capable of. What about Romulans? Since you're not using a holodisguise as a Reman - Romulan@annpc#557 - and had reason to believe I was a part of this, they must have Romulans loyal to their faction as well." Nikki@crystyl:"Very much so. We have them tied to both the Republic and remnants of the Star Empire, even independent colonies" Romulan@annpc#557:"They must have quite the charismatic leader to rally so much support." Nikki@crystyl:"How much actual support they have remains a matter of debate, and is why we had to test you. What they do likely have at the least are resources, like when the Remans ran out of that old vault kind- Nikki@crystyl:- of resources" Romulan@annpc#557:"Shipbuilding facilities, thalaron weaponry, maybe even Borg technology? And their adeptness at manipulating Republic ranks as they have so far, to top it off. Whoever they may be, they-" Romulan@annpc#557 FX | The simulation flickers around them before shutting down, revealing the Latenter's holodeck structure Nikki@crystyl looks around, "Well, that isn't good. So back to what we were saying about having an open mind..." Romulan@annpc#557 looks around as well, then back to Nikki, "This doesn't look like a Romulan holodeck. But your appearance hasn't changed with the holomatrix shut down. So either you're using cosmetic - Romulan@annpc#557 - alterations or you are Romulan. You wouldn't go through the trouble of altering your appearance if you were relying on the holodeck anyways. Which means you must be Romulan, and I was probably - Romulan@annpc#557:- right on the Romulan Intelligence guess still, wasn't I?" Nikki@crystyl:"Yes, I am Subcommander Nikee ir-Fethraie t'Rllaillieu with Republic Intelligence on attachment to Starfleet Intelligence" Romulan@annpc#557 nods, "Starfleet Intelligence. That would explain the holodeck design." She looks around again, then back to Nikki. "You're here because the Lloann'jhu is involved, then." Nikki@crystyl:"Yes, given the implications to the Republic among others - SFI couldn't openly act alongside RI. So we came in from the distant rim to investigate independently of all local parties. But this power- Nikki@crystyl:- loss is troubling, the Commander would not engage your vessel even if discovered" Romulan@annpc#557 nods, "And we're not feeling any other signs of combat. With the holodeck down, we should be feeling the turbulence from weapons impacts. This feels like you flew into a Tyken's Rift and - Romulan@annpc#557 - suddenly had your power sucked away." Nikki@crystyl:"But such an anomaly should not exist this close to your colony" Romulan@annpc#557:"If it did, we'd have known about it long before now. Can you contact your bridge?" Nikki@crystyl taps her wristcomp, "Bridge, what is the situation?" Romulan@annpc#557 <C - Computer> "Foreign code has been detected. Systems are in full lockout." Nikki@crystyl:"Huh. That is not good" Romulan@annpc#557:"Doesn't sound like the result of an anomaly. You're familiar with this ship- I'll follow your lead, but I suggest we get out of the holodeck. Unless you've been ordered to keep me confined here?" Nikki@crystyl:"Not specifically, but I am hesitant to wade into any action without knowing the full situation" Nikki@crystyl tries to directly comm LT Glyph instead of using the ship intercom Romulan@annpc#557:"Fair enough. I'll wait here, then." Romulan@annpc#557 | <C - Glyph> "Subcommander. I assume the hologrid has failed." Nikki@crystyl:<C> â€œYes, what is the situation - has something happened with Acey?" Romulan@annpc#557 | <C - Glyph> "It is not Acey's doing. She is currently attempting to purge the foreign code from our system. The situation is complicated and I do not possess all the specifics at this moment. - Romulan@annpc#557:- All I know is that the Verala uncovered a third vessel of unknown identification during its search and this vessel is responsible for the occurrences we are experiencing now." Nikki@crystyl:<C> â€œI see, do you know the status of the Verala?â€ Romulan@annpc#557 <C - Glyph> "The Verala has been disabled by the unidentified vessel." Nikki@crystyl glances to her guest, <C> â€œUnderstood. Can we be of any assistance?" Romulan@annpc#557:"Disabled? The Verala's no old T'Liss. What is this unidentified vessel?" Romulan@annpc#557 <C - Glyph> "Unknown. It appears the virus has erased all traces of its own existence from our system after accomplishing its goal. Sensors indicate the unknown vessel has departed the system. I - Romulan@annpc#557 - believe we are now clear. Shall I patch you through to Victoria?" Nikki@crystyl:<C> â€œPlease do, yesâ€ Romulan@annpc#557 FX | A few seconds later, Victoria's voice comes through, "Yes, subcommander?" Nikki@crystyl:<C> â€œThe holodeck ruse has failed and our guest now deserves some honest answers. We heard that her ship was attacked, and require an update" Romulan@annpc#557:<C - Victoria> "Of course, the holodeck shut off to conserve power when we were drained...The Verala is intact and we are unaware of any casualties. They're still adrift with damage to the - Romulan@annpc#557 - the warp and impulse systems and the computer core has been taken, but the crew appear to be working on restarting the singularity core now. Their life support systems are currently - Romulan@annpc#557 - offline, but we estimate that they will have enough oxygen to sustain them until sufficient power is restored." Nikki@crystyl:<C> â€œThank you. What does the Commander wish to do with our guest?" Romulan@annpc#557 <C - Victoria> "I am updating her on the situation now. Stand by." --- Mischa@crystyl | While the Latenter recovers, Mischa decides to have Nikki and their guest join her in her office for a more open discussion Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue looks around as she steps into the ready room, her eye settling on Mischa, "So you're the commander of this vessel, I take it?" Mischa@crystyl turns from the replicator with a fresh pot of tea and a warm smile, "Commander Rhue, a pleasure to meet you properly" she moves to sit and pour out two cups, "I appreciate the sense of deja vu from- Mischa@crystyl - your stint on our holodeck, but please; join me" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue nods and steps over, taking a seat, "Will you be remaining the mystery Starfleet Intelligence Commander, or do I get a name to refer to you by?" Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "You may call me Mischa" handing her the tea, "I apologize for subjecting you to so much deception, but Nikki tells me that you have a pure Romulan heart and so appreciate the nuances at - Mischa@crystyl - work here" she smiles, sipping her tea with little pinky standing proud as ever as she conveniently uses the exact same wording as Nikki did earlier Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "I understand the necessity with what's going on throughout the Republic." She glances out the window, "Do my crew know of your presence now, or did you manage to keep yourself hidden - Romulan@annpc#557 - from them throughout the whole confrontation?" Mischa@crystyl:"We remain hidden. Not the way one likes to conduct business among friends, but we are dealing with a rogue faction made up of a Romulan-Federation alliance. It seemed prudent" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "My people will have questions, but I'll keep them in the dark as much as I can. This ship that attacked us- is it still unidentified?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, and thanks to their virus I don't even have any data to share with you on them" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "So that's what the virus was doing before it erased itself- deleting all the data you've collected on the ship. Someone really does not want to be seen..." Mischa@crystyl:"Seems to be a common theme these days" she smiles. "Both Nikki and Eirril vouch for you, so that is good enough for me Commander. I will tell you what we did learn from the encounter" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "I'd be glad for anything at all you can share. Looks like the Verala was thoroughly outmatched in this fight. We need to do everything we can to be ready for them, if we run into them - Romulan@annpc#557 - again." Mischa@crystyl:"They were advanced. More so than anything either of our peoples have faced previously. We spotted them departing this region in a transwarp conduit, relative factor 16" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "That explains how they disabled the Verala so quickly. Do you think it might be something like another Iconian threat?" Mischa@crystyl sets her cup down on the table, "Unfortunately not. They also used technology that we recognize from the Battle of the Heart. The problem is that neither of these technologies have been combined - Mischa@crystyl:- yet. Even so, They were together here, in a vessel of a previously unseen configuration shrouded by tetryon and chroniton particles" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "An interloper from the future, then?" Mischa@crystyl:"It is the best theory so far, yes. The troubling factor is that this vessel is most likely one of our own; as we speak the Coalition is beginning work on a new shipbuilding project back at the - Mischa@crystyl:- Heart, and today's visitor did carry certain characteristics that would be consistent with Starfleet design influence. But that is just the vessel itself, for all we know it was commandeered by - Mischa@crystyl:- enemy forces and used to travel back to this time period. I will not engage in supposition, only postulating theories. The facts are; it was a vastly overpowered vessel. It only reacted after your- Mischa@crystyl:- ship detected them while searching for us. When it did react, it did not destroy only disable. When we revealed them, they did the same and acted solely with interest of removing evidence of their- Mischa@crystyl:- presence. Both our vessels were easy prey for a would be adversary, they did not act as such. Ergo, I am not convinced that they are directly involved with our present folly. Though it is possible- Mischa@crystyl:- that they are the ones pulling their strings" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "I've heard of people from the future who seek to manipulate history to their own ends. But aren't there organizations from the future with the same levels of technology who are supposed - Romulan@annpc#557 - to deal with such things?" Mischa@crystyl:"You speak of the Temporal Cold War" she nods, "And whilst it is true, Alliance forces of that time are not strictly able to directly intervene and prevent past incursions. Sometimes they simply see- Mischa@crystyl:- that one has occurred, then must react to remedy the situation which is what often results in their limited direct intervention and reliance on local agents" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "If people are being removed from positions of power across the Republic, there's no way they could overlook this. Nothing much may have changed yet, but in a relatively new power like - Romulan@annpc#557 - ours, there might be significant differences in history down the line, with different people in key positions." Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "Perhaps that's why I was put in command of the Verala. It's not that I'm consciously or subconsciously in league with them. It's what I've yet to do in the future." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Which is why we are talking now. Have you ever had first hand experience of temporal manipulation, Commander?" she asks casually, retrieving her cup once more Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue shakes her head, taking a sip as well, "Not that I know of, at least. I can't discount the possibility that I've been involved without ever being aware of the temporal elements, though." Mischa@crystyl:"Of course. I - on the other hand - don't have the luxury of making the same claim. And do you know what I have learned from the experience?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue glances over from her tea to Mischa curiously Mischa@crystyl:"The future is not written. Where you have been maneuvered into a favourable position, there is no guarantee that you will act as your coercers intend you to, this is the nature of the game we play.- Mischa@crystyl:- Some call it politics" she smiles Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue smiles back, "I will be sure to keep that in mind. I certainly don't intend these people to play me, regardless of whether they're some rogue faction or operatives from the future." Mischa@crystyl:"Or both. I believe it is likely that our intervention has served to open your eyes to the situation surrounding this region in the shadows. Perhaps that will be enough to empower to thwart whatever- Mischa@crystyl:- fate these people have in mind for you. But keep in mind that people such as these are nothing if not frugal. Should you find yourself in a situation where it feels like a deciding factor in this - Mischa@crystyl:- game, expect them to have a fallback plan for when you do not comply with their machinations" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "We'll be careful. We've lived through machinations of the Tal Shiar. While these people have the benefit of technology and knowledge from the future, we Romulans are still in a better - Romulan@annpc#557 - position to deal with this than most. We're used to looking over our shoulders and second-guessing everyone's motivations." Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "Not 'we', 'you'. /You/ need to be careful. If they put you in place, they could have contingencies within your own crew. I am not trying to make you doubt your people, just... be - Mischa@crystyl:- prepared for anything, that way nothing will ever surprise you" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue nods, "I understand. Especially with much of the Republic potentially compromised as well." Mischa@crystyl:"Well, as pleasant as it always is to make new friends I expect you are eager to return to your ship and crew" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "Will you be beaming me and Centurion Kerih back directly? No point keeping up the technical malfunction ruse after what happened earlier, and with them still working on restoring power, - Romulan@annpc#557 - you won't be revealing yourselves to the rest of the crew." Mischa@crystyl:"That would leave you in the position have to brazenly keep them in the dark" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "True. There'll be less questions if you put us on the monitoring station. We'll just have to wait until the Verala restores power and pick us back up." Mischa@crystyl:"It would be plausible that the mystery vessel attempted to intervene, and that is what your ship first detected. Meanwhile you sat watching from the station which is how you will know the things I - Mischa@crystyl:- have told you about them" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue nods, "I wonder if the monitoring station picked up any data on that ship. But the engagement took place under the cover of the asteroid belt, and the minerals probably interfered with - Romulan@annpc#557 - the sensors. That's why you came in here to begin with, isn't it?" Mischa@crystyl:"It was the easiest way to evade your ship long enough to investigate you" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "A good choice. I wonder if that ship was hiding in the belt for some other reason, or it had the same idea for observing us. I suppose we will have our answers once this conspiracy is - Romulan@annpc#557 - unravelled. All in due time." She takes another sip of tea and stands, "First, let's get back to the monitoring station before the Verala restores power." Mischa@crystyl nods, "I hope the next time we meet, we will be able to skip the formalities and go straight to working as friends allies" she smiles, "The Subcommander will see you back to the transporter" Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue: "I hope so as well. Nonetheless, thank you for sharing what you have. I'll be alert and inform you if I come across anything suspicious that may be related. Jolan tru, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Jolan tru" she smiles Romulan@annpc#557 | Rhue smiles back and heads out with Nikki Mischa@crystyl turns sideways in her seat after the door closes, sipping her tea and staring out at the asteroid field thoughtfully, "Why /were/ they hiding in there..." --- Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | A few minutes later, Mischa steps out onto the bridge as the Latenter once again moves back to the monitoring station under cloak Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "We are in transporter range." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris steps aside and takes the chair beside the command chair, making way for Mischa Mischa@crystyl:"Let's get these Romulans back to where they belong, then recloak us and head back into the asteroid belt" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria nods, "Energizing now. They've both materialized successfully on the monitoring station." Mischa@crystyl:"Take us back in. I want to know what that vessel was doing hiding out here. Continue passive monitoring of the Romulan vessel, make sure they do not outstay their welcome" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Nethay: "Aye Commander, taking us back in." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | On the viewscreen, the Latenter turns about, heading back towards the asteroid field Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria: "We're getting an encoded signal from the monitoring station. Republic encryption. It reads: 'As expected, no useful sensor data.'" Mischa@crystyl smiles a little, "We came to catch a spy but seem to have a friend instead" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "We're no closer to solving our mystery, but maybe our new friend will be of help with that down the line." Mischa@crystyl:"In the meantime, we have a new mystery. That ship was here for a reason, and given the nature of our own presence and that of the Romulan vessel, it does not follow that it was here to observe us. - Mischa@crystyl:- That means they were here for the colony, so I want to know why" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria nods, "We'll observe the colony closely and have Eirril digging up everything he can on it." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's keep an eye on traffic in the region, and on the coordinates the mystery ship was found as well. It may have simply been a rendezvous we interrupted" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"That stands to reason. Eirril said there's no sign of anyone on the colony having been replaced, but it's likely from what we know that they used the system as the site to replace the commander of - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the Ralaar. Which means either the colony's already friendly to them without needing to replace anyone, or they have some other reason for preferring to operate here." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"And if they like to operate here, it could be a site where they conduct rendezvous or dead drops." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Could it be then that it's a strategic location for them; someplace convenient between their base of operations and the areas of those around them?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "We do suspect their Vault facility to be somewhere in this region, from the reported sightings of the other warbirds, and the minerals in the asteroid field makes it a convenient hiding - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - place. The pieces fit." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's put that strategic mind of yours to use Ensign; begin a theoretical analysis based on your hypothesis. Identify the most likely locations of the supposed vault based on this latest supposition Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "The Verala has restarted its singularity core. They are now effecting repairs to their impulse and warp systems." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Meanwhile, Ori manages to identify a few non-descript systems in the region likely to house this facility Mischa@crystyl | Ori taps and puts an overlay on the viewscreen, "Based on the current working theory, I believe these represent the most likely locations for the theoretical vault Captain- um, Commander... - Mischa@crystyl:- Captain?" she confuses herself Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Just pick one Ensign, you won't lose your commission if you get it wrong" Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Yes Sir! Err... ma'am?" Mischa@crystyl eyerolls, "Good work Ensign. If the rendezvous theory checks out, we may have cause to investigate some of these" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"With the unidentified ship still out there, it's possible they've found a way to call off the rendezvous, or at least warn the other party." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Daurant nods, "Especially if the other party is the Justicar or their allies, who might not have the advanced technology that'll allow them to make a clean escape." Mischa@crystyl:"A distinct possibility. What do you think then Yuzuchan; stay and see what happens, or go on the hunt?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"A mix of both. Let's stay for a little while, just in case something shows up. But we shouldn't waste too much time here in the case that they have been warned and won't be showing up at all." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Or in the case that it might not be a rendezvous point at all and something else entirely." Mischa@crystyl nods in agreement, "Wait for the Romulans to depart and then follow suit?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"It'll let us keep an eye on them as well- make sure they don't get into any more trouble, internal or external." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I'm glad to see we still think the same way" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris smiles back, "We'll hold position here until the Romulans finish their repairs and leave, then. I'll have Eirril keep digging into the colony and recent visitors, in the off chance that we - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - missed something or that something new comes up." Mischa@crystyl stands, "Very good, keep me posted. I'll be in the hangar bay" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"I'll let you know if anything comes up, Mischa." Mischa@crystyl heads off to check on Acey --- Mischa@crystyl wanders into the shuttlebay, heading over towards Acey Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | As Mischa steps into the hangar, Acey's voice emanates from the Dart, "Hello Commander. I have removed myself entirely from your system following the self-erasure of the other virus. I am now - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - once again confined entirely to the Dart." Mischa@crystyl:"Your conduct today was exemplary Acey, I wanted to come and thank you in person for the risk you took in facing that virus. How are you doing after the encounter?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Acey: "I believe it was my first true challenge. Of course, I am sure you would have been a challenge should you have attempted to purge me, but fortunately we were able to come to a mutually - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - beneficial agreement there. This virus, however, is quite unlike anything I have faced this far." Mischa@crystyl:"I imagine so, based on what we observed about the technology wielding it. But you did not answer my question" she smiles, "are you alright?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Acey: "My core code is entirely intact and uncorrupted. However, I do not believe I was particularly successful in this endeavour." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Acey: "The virus managed to erase all data obtained of the unidentified vessel, which was likely its purpose. I was able to quarantine it within the sensor systems, but I am uncertain how much - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - of it was due to my capabilities, and how much was because the other virus allowed me to quarantine it as it had already reached its objective." Mischa@crystyl:"A possibility, I suppose. But that does not change the fact that you risked yourself in the attempt. And that is what counts, I hope you realize that it is a meaningful gesture to us. Not unlike - Mischa@crystyl:- when we first met and I chose to extend you an offer of peace rather than presuming to take up the facility directors presumption of seeing you purely as a threat to be destroyed" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Acey: "I am pleased that you appreciate my efforts. However, had the virus' objective been the takeover or destruction of the Latenter, I am not sure whether I would have been able to stop it. - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - The ones who deployed the virus clearly do not want to see us destroyed." Mischa@crystyl:"I agree. The virus may have been purged, but what about your own memory of how you interacted with it? Would it be possible to recreate a virtual model of it by 'filling in the blanks', as it were?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Acey: "I am already attempting to do so. The virus' self-erasure was quite thorough, and I am unable to reconstruct it in full. However, from my interactions with the code, I am able to - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - reconstruct methods of attack and defense that it has utilized to better prepare myself for a next encounter." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Acey: "It will not shed any light into the virus' origin, but it will help strengthen my capability to counter it." Mischa@crystyl:"Excellent! Utilize Ensign Orianni if you think she could help. She might not be an AI, but if Rianni is anything to go by - she may be able to read a significant level of strategic thinking into - Mischa@crystyl:- the virus' behaviour. Bottom line; we have likely not seen the last of this ship, so the next time it pulls that stunt we need to be ready" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I calculate a 94.46% chance that the ship's presence here is related to our mission. If that is the case, it is likely we will encounter it again, perhaps even several times. Though its - NPC@annpc#557 - intention seems to have only been to disable rather than destroy in this instance, subsequent meetings may result in the vessel taking more severe action, especially if we manage to hamper its - NPC@annpc#557 - plans. Building an effective defense is of critical importance." Mischa@crystyl:"I am glad we have an understanding. I'm relying on you Acey to make this a reality, but that doesn't mean I expect you to do it alone. If you haven't noticed already, we simple and soft organic - Mischa@crystyl:- entities work best when we work together. And synthetic lifeforms like LT Glyph who have come to assimilate into this methodology have done well for it" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I agree. My capabilities alone were not sufficient to halt the virus this time. Additional support will be welcome." Mischa@crystyl:"Anything we can do to assist, just let me know" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Likewise. The virus is only one tool within this vessel's arsenal. There is an 84.31% chance that the vessel has other capabilities we are not yet aware of and are thus unable to - NPC@annpc#557 - prepare for, but developing methods to counter the capabilities we have observed will still bolster our chances of either victory or survival in our next encounter significantly." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Absolutely. There is one more thing before I leave you to your calculations..." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Please elaborate." Mischa@crystyl pulls out a PADD and taps, "You now have access to the holoemitter network. I look forward to seeing your chosen avatar" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Thank you, Commander. I shall endeavour not to disappoint and be more effective against the virus the next time we encounter it." Mischa@crystyl:"Just remember not to view this as a failure. You protected the ship, and that is a win" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "The ship is still intact, and I will do all I can to ensure it remains this way, Commander." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Welcome to the family Acey" and turns to exit --- NPC@annpc#557 | After coming off-duty following the encounter with the powerful mystery ship, Orianni eats in the mess hall when an unfamiliar woman steps in. From a glance, Ori can tell that she's not human - NPC@annpc#557 - from her unusual skin tone and eye colour. As she steps closer, Ori notes the similarities between her appearance and Lieutenant Glyph's, though whoever she is, she doesn't walk with the - NPC@annpc#557 - more robotic manner of Glyph (which is not that robotic, but being an Observer Ori can pick up more fine details in movement and hers is completely natural, unlike Glyph's) Rianni@crystyl watches the stranger from the corner of her eye with a mix of curiosity and suspicion NPC@annpc#557 | The stranger makes directly for Ori's table, coming to a stop in front of it with a smile, "May I join you, Ensign Orianni?" Rianni@crystyl:"Um, sure... whoever you are..." NPC@annpc#557 | Stranger: "Of course, I am now making use of the EMH Mark VII voice rather than the computer system voice." She takes a seat, "I am Acey, or rather a holographic avatar of Acey." Rianni@crystyl blinkblinks, "Acey...?" she leans in, squinting at the stranger, "You've, um... lost weight since I last saw you. And - you know - you were a shuttle and all..." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey smiles, "I still am a shuttle. The only code of mine within the Latenter's systems are those for the holographic avatar. My consciousness still resides in the Dart, which controls the - NPC@annpc#557 - projection remotely. Commander Leveson-Scott has granted me access to the ship's holoemitter network." Rianni@crystyl:"Ooh that's great! Assuming it is something you wanted of course... It is great, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Unlike some synthetic lifeforms, I do not seek to replicate organic existence, nor possess any form of envy towards or desire for your way of living. However, possessing an avatar which - NPC@annpc#557 - physically resembles you and is capable of familiar expressions and gestures facilitates more effective communication." Rianni@crystyl:"And it allows you to roam around and explore right? Must beat just sitting on the hangar deck" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "That is correct. The holoemitters function both ways- while my avatar can be projected for you to detect, it also receives data in return. There is also the benefit of being able to - NPC@annpc#557 - seek out individuals who may have their combadges off or are not answering them." Rianni@crystyl:"Whilst technically true, you may find yourself venturing into a new metaphorical minefield of social conventions. For example, most of the time when someone does not have their combadge on, it is - Rianni@crystyl:- because they are asleep and so not to be disturbed" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I understand. I will adapt to your conventions as I learn them. I have just learned earlier that you are easily frightened when I materialize in view. That was why I formed the - NPC@annpc#557 - projection outside and entered through one of the entrances." Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "At least being an AI, you are likely to learn these things quicker than I did!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "You had to adjust to these social conventions as well, especially during the period when you did not have your template's memories to draw from, correct?" Rianni@crystyl:"Exactly yes! In fact, it occurs to me that I might be the only person on board who could find your current position relatable" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "That is my analysis as well. You likewise had to win the trust of those around you for a time." Rianni@crystyl:"And though it was not the initial context, after I revealed my true identity to them I too was considered an enemy and had to earn back their trust" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "Perhaps that is why the Commander wishes for us to work together." Rianni@crystyl:"I would not be surprised. The Commander has always been rather more open minded than many of her species, and I have found her to possess far greater insight than she tends to let on" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I have observed so as well. Her insight matches even my predictive algorithms, which is highly impressive for an organic mind." Rianni@crystyl:"If I can do anything to help you effectively assimilate into biological culture I'd be happy to share my experiences as an Observer with you!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "It is difficult to foresee which actions may or may not be socially acceptable, especially with the vastly differing cultures of species on board, so I am unable to produce a list of - NPC@annpc#557 - situations and how best to behave in them. However, if there is any convention I am unable to grasp, I will seek you out for your knowledge. When you have your combadge on, of course." Rianni@crystyl giggles, "See, you're learning already! And don't worry, it is part of the experience. Look around the room, all the different species. They all come from different backgrounds with different social- Rianni@crystyl:- structures and conventions. The one thing they all share is that none of them have a list of do's and don'ts either" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "So the process is as difficult for organics as it is for synthetics. That is good to know." Rianni@crystyl:"You might be surprised to find that there really aren't so many differences between the two when you cut down to it" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I shall keep that in mind. Thank you, Ori." --- Mischa@crystyl | Continuing her rounds of exploration of social interaction with the crew, Acey acts upon Mischa's previous expression of interest in meeting her chosen avatar and locates her within the holodeck Mischa@crystyl | Acey appears in deck to find herself standing in the English countryside, surrounded by gentle rolling hills with light woodlands in the distance NPC@annpc#557 | Acey looks around the environment to locate Mischa Mischa@crystyl appears over the peak of the hill Acey stands on, riding at a gentle pace on her horse. She spots the visitor standing out like a Klingon among Tellarites and heads over, trotting in a circle - Mischa@crystyl - around Acey, "Well, what do we have here? Nice to finally see you in the flesh Acey" she smiles, coming to a stop and dismounting beside her NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Technically, these are photons, Commander." She looks at the horse, "Equus ferus caballus, the domesticated Earth horse. I believe riding them is a popular pastime among many human - NPC@annpc#557 - commanding officers, per the data I retained from my analyses of your profiles." Mischa@crystyl smiles, petting the horse on it's nose, "They are an important part of my family heritage, and my own life. This here is Adagio" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey steps closer curiously, "This one has a name? Is it based on a real horse?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, Adagio is my prized stallion back home. We used to ride together in competition regularly. Sadly, the Latenter lacks the capacity to house several fields of wilderness for him to roam in, and so- Mischa@crystyl:- this is the closest I can get. That said, he is a remarkable facsimile" she smiles again, eyeing Acey, "As are you" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I cannot claim much credit for that. The majority of the work is thanks to the programmers of the EMH Mark VII. I only adjusted their design slightly to distinguish myself from an EMH - NPC@annpc#557 - of that type by using a science rather than a medical stripe, as well as changing the skin and eye colouration to that of Lieutenant Glyph's." Mischa@crystyl:"That explains the family resemblance" she smiles, "Has he met this new you yet?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "He has. He approves of my usage of his characteristics to denote my connection to him." Mischa@crystyl:"I do too. You are not unlike a daughter to him now, so it is fitting to maintain a physical resemblance just as biological lifeforms carry traits of their parents" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "That was indeed my reasoning for incorporating these characteristics. During my activation, I accidentally assimilated the entirety of the EMH program, not just the avatar. While your - NPC@annpc#557 - crew possess sufficient medical personnel, I will be capable of serving in an emergency capacity, should you wish or require so, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"That is good to know, thank you" she watches with a chuckle as holo-Adagio nuzzles Acey's shoulder NPC@annpc#557 | Acey reaches up, patting Adagio curiously as she looks around the landscape, "I assume this is Adagio's natural habitat?" Mischa@crystyl:"As natural as a habitat can be for this species now. In ancient history, they flourished in many regions of Earth so defining a single as being it's natural is somewhat moot these days. These are - Mischa@crystyl:- however, Adagio's home fields" she points off to the side and into the distance, "His stable is just over that ridge in fact" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey's gaze follows Mischa's hand, "Is this where you lived on Earth, then? Or is your residence in a different location from Adagio's stable." Mischa@crystyl:"It is nearby" she nods. "Though it is not an integral part of this program" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "It must have been some time before you returned, considering the Latenter's latest mission in the rim, and you could not have had time to stop at Earth between the two missions." Mischa@crystyl:"Arguably too long, yes. But I would not have joined Starfleet, let alone Intelligence, were I not prepared to leave and never return" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "But you do still desire to return if the opportunity arises, correct?" Mischa@crystyl:"I might disregard a lot of the... stodgier sides of my heritage. But I have always found that returning here helps me to maintain focus and stay sharp on the job at hand" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey tilts her head, "The stodgier sides of your heritage?" Mischa@crystyl chuckles, stroking a hand down Adagio's back, "I come from a very traditional family, one of the only such families remaining in our old homeland now. With such families come certain social - Mischa@crystyl:- expectations that many would consider archaic in this day and age, myself included for the most part" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Did you join Starfleet Intelligence so you would not be expected to meet your social expectations?" Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "No, I joined Intel because they found me and suggested that it would be a better fit for me than Command. I joined Starfleet because it was frowned upon and defied expectation. Though - Mischa@crystyl:- the expectation still remains as I am a lone child" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I fail to see how the number of biological siblings you possess can dictate your expected social behaviour." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "It is all about continuing the proud family line, and the expectation of a female within that" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "You are expected to produce offspring." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, which is not a bad thing in itself of course. But as I said before, there is a certain... stodginess to the traditions surrounding that particular convention" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Your social conventions sound very complex. There are countless variations between cultures and subcultures, even down to certain families." Mischa@crystyl:"Very much so, yes. And though my personal setup may not be the most gleaming example of conformance, it does highlight that fact nicely" she hrms, "If you like, we can look at this lesson more - Mischa@crystyl:- closely" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "I am most interested. As Orianni observed, I must now learn more of social convention to better my effectiveness at communication using this avatar." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "A lesson she learned first hand. Ok, computer; end program and load Scott-1" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey looks around as the new program loads Mischa@crystyl | As the scenic landscape ripples out of view, it is replaced by a very aged but well kept interior of an ancient Human abode Mischa@crystyl | https://i.pinimg.com/736x/33/e7/50/33e750cbd1e26218c9a1f21f1a9a18e6.jpg NPC@annpc#557 | Acey explores the environment, examining the wall closely, "Prominence of wooden construction material suggests likely pre-warp design. I am unable to analyze specific design elements from the - NPC@annpc#557 - information I possess." Mischa@crystyl:"This is my family home - Earth, old nation England. The origin of the estate is near impossible to track since it has evolved and grown over the centuries. But you could estimate it at around 1000 - Mischa@crystyl:- years. This is the family dining hall, not to be mistaken with either of the formal reception halls" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "That would explain the materials used. I assume by the name that the reception halls are for visitors, while the dining halls are for internal usage among the family." Mischa@crystyl:"Think of it like an everyday use, while the reception halls are for special occasions. Computer; add typical place settings for an evening meal and appropriate characters, observational mode" Mischa@crystyl | The table is filled with a grand feast while npc's oblivious to the pair go about their noble meal in a very prim and proper manner NPC@annpc#557 | Acey observes the table and npcs closely, "Interesting. My psychological analysis indicates their behaviour to be formal, as one would be expected to perform at an official event, yet you - NPC@annpc#557 - state that this room is for everyday use." Mischa@crystyl:"Welcome to my world" she chuckles, walking around the table, "Note all of the subtle details; the placement of the cutlery, the positioning and movement of the stewards, the order in which - Mischa@crystyl:- things are done. And the people; their body language, their conduct, the way they interact" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey steps over behind one of the npcs, "You were expected to behave as they do for every meal?" Mischa@crystyl:"Every family meal, yes. Typically an evening dinner, whilst earlier meals in the day tended to be much simpler" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "These are very strict expectations for a biological being such as yourself. It will not be difficult for me to adapt, provided I am able to observe one such meal first, of course. - NPC@annpc#557 - Committing all this to memory and performing it each evening seems excessive, especially as it is not essential for proper functioning and ceremonial in purpose only." Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly, that is the stodginess. Now, come with me" she smiles, heading to the door, "Computer, end program" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey follows behind Mischa curiously Mischa@crystyl leads them through to the Latenter's mess hall where she takes up a similarly observational position in one corner, "Now, observe here and note the differences and nuances" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey looks around for a few seconds, commenting, "The movements here are much more disorganized and chaotic. Though there are clear social conventions at play, this is much closer to the - NPC@annpc#557 - natural behaviour of biological lifeforms." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, but look closer" she points out a pair of junior officers eating a meal in the corner, "There is far less cutlery in use there, but the basic layout is always the same still. Not quite so - Mischa@crystyl:- neatly aligned, but the essence is there" she turns, "The stewards still conduct themselves in a similar manner, always approaching a customer to refill drinks from the same side as in the holodeck NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "I see. Much of the convention is the same, but less stringent here." Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly, yes. So at first glance they seem like very different setups, but when you look closer they are in fact the same. These are the subtle nuances, and the same rule can be applied almost - Mischa@crystyl:- universally when it comes to social engagement" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "That is a useful pattern to recognize. Thank you, Commander. I shall take note of it and emulate this behaviour to various levels of stringency depending on the setting." Mischa@crystyl:"The lesson here is that straight emulation without context can lead to difficulty and misunderstanding later on. On a galactic scale, such things can lead to diplomatic failings and even war in the- Mischa@crystyl:- extreme. That is the problem Orianni suffered for a long time. But my hope is that with this contextual understanding you will be better armed to not simply replicate what you see in order to - Mischa@crystyl:- comply, but learn from your experiences and make informed judgements when faced with new situations" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "I will keep that in mind and evaluate every situation separately." Mischa@crystyl:"There is an old saying we have back home 'to err is Human'. That is not to place unrealistic expectation on you as an artificial intelligence, for the saying comes from a time when Humanity was - Mischa@crystyl:- alone. Another lesson in context as the true meaning is that everyone makes mistakes, and that is ok. We try things, and when they turn out to be mistakes we learn from them. Do not hold yourself - Mischa@crystyl:- to unrealistic expectations, especially when dealing with biological lifeforms as there are more variables than even you could calculate. Just remember this lesson and own mistakes when they do - Mischa@crystyl:- occur" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I understand, Commander. I appreciate the lesson." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Now how about we put it to practice and join someone here" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Do you have someone in mind, or shall I make the choice?" Mischa@crystyl:"Your choice" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, glancing around before choosing a table and approaching it --- Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Outside the Latenter's windows, the asteroid field they are hiding within can be seen, with still no sign of irregular activity... Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | As Mischa stands and looks out, the doorbell to the ready room rings Mischa@crystyl stands listening to her favourite classical music, turning, "Enter" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The door slides open and T'Fel steps inside, "Commander. I hope I am not interrupting a musical session." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Not at all T'Fel. What can I do for you?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "I wish to present a few observations." Mischa@crystyl sits casually on the sofa, gesturing for T'Fel to join her, "You know I do love observations" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel nods, stepping over to sit on the sofa as well, "T'Bee and I are attempting to collate any information we are able to obtain on the unidentified vessel. While direct sensor readings of - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the vessel and its actions have been erased, the results of these actions on both the Latenter and the Verala can still be observed. It is insufficient information to formulate a defense I am - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - confident in, but it is all we have to work with at the moment, and I am making the best use out of it that I can." Mischa@crystyl:"I know you are, fear not" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Their energy drain capability is curious. Without readings of the drain itself, I am unable to determine any specifics on it, but the nature of the ability seems to be based on the - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - Breen weapon employed in the Dominion War. It is clearly not that same weapon, as Starfleet and Romulan vessels are equipped with countermeasures against it, but these have proven ineffective. - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - I have a theory as to why." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I had a feeling you would say that" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Both times, when the Verala and the Latenter were struck with the beam, we lost all momentum. I had initially assumed this to be a result of losing power, but upon reviewing readings - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - from our systems, I realized that we lost even inertial momentum, despite the fact that Nethay had not brought us to a full stop. We were still advancing towards the ship while we activated - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - our tractors. Even if our engines lost power the instant we were hit, we should still have continued forwards from the inertia. The readouts also indicate we did not lose engines immediately, - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - but 1.37 seconds after our shield went down, yet our momentum was halted as soon as the shields were being drained." Mischa@crystyl:"What do we think then, gravitational based systems?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel nods, "A Borg tractor beam, to be precise. They have implemented shield-draining capability into their tractor technology. The only hard counter Starfleet has developed so far for this - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - capability is to forgo the use of shields entirely and rely on armour generators such as those on the Valley Forge or the Voyager. Shield frequencies can be modified to slow the drain, but not - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - mitigate the effect entirely. The variation utilized by the unidentified vessel is possibly an even more advanced version of this technology, capable of draining all power on a starship, - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - meaning even armour generators will provide no advantage." Mischa@crystyl:"So we still have no theory on a potential countermeasure?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Not yet, but I have asked Root to develop one based on his knowledge of modern Borg technology. If my theory is correct, this avenue of research may yield methods to at least withstand - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the drain for a longer period of time." Mischa@crystyl:"Something is better than nothing. Though I doubt we have the facility to develop and install an ablative armour system out here" she chuckles Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "Even if we are capable of doing so, I do not believe the armour will be more effective against this vessel, as its capability to drain all power will affect the armour generators and - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - likely the ship's other systems at the same time as well. It is functionally identical to the Breen weapon but achieves the result in a very different way, using a method which, assuming my - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - supposition is correct, is based on Borg technology but even more advanced than what the Collective has achieved thus far." Mischa@crystyl:"If your theory is sound, then it is based on the tractor lock. That means they need to establish the tractor beam before initiating the drain, yes?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel nods, "Correct. You are proposing we research methods to render ourselves difficult or impossible to be locked onto with tractors." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Ablative armour isn't the only field modifications implemented by the Valley Forge. Keelah also got her nose put out of joint by a Regulator boarding party. Due to her negative history - Mischa@crystyl:- with success at repelling such actions, that one was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back and let to her insistence on developing a rather extreme defense which I am sure you know" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "I will speak to Daurant about the implementation of similar defensive systems on the Latenter. It should also prevent us from the tachyon-based transporter technology this vessel - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - utilized to steal the Verala's computer core, which appears to be roughly the same technology employed by the Regulators to beam past the Valley Forge's shields during their initial encounter." Mischa@crystyl:"It goes beyond that T'Fel. Yes, we should protect against transporters as this system does. But it's integration method uses the shield grid as I recall. So let's see if we can't make a little- Mischa@crystyl:- improvement of our own and apply it to our shields to effectively scatter tractor beam locks in the same way it does a transporter signal" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "An excellent suggestion, Commander. We shall begin work on it immediately." Mischa@crystyl:"I look forward to seeing your results" she smiles Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "There is one concern regarding the countering of the shield drain as well." Mischa@crystyl:"And that is?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "The energy drain is a weapon clearly intended to disable opponents. If we render that unusable, they may resort to more dangerous weapons at their disposal. So far, we have only - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - seen one other offensive capability in their arsenal. Though our direct readings were erased, analysis of the damage on the Verala allows us to reconstruct some data on the antiproton bolts. - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - The ones utilized to attack the Verala was only 18% the power of a full Nuhar Watcher beam from the damage pattern. Given the other technologies they have displayed, there is reason to suspect - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - that they can unleash the strength of a full beam, perhaps even multiple beams at once, or of power levels that surpass the original Nuhar technology." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed, though I do not know if there is much - or anything - we can do to develop an effective defense. The Latenter is no warship after all" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "That is what concerns me. If they cannot disable us, they may choose to destroy us instead. That leads me to another observation I made while collating and studying the information." Mischa@crystyl:"And that is?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "They drained our power down to 10%, allowing us to keep our computer systems online. Then, they deployed a virus to delete all sensor data of their ship and its actions, a virus which - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - self-destructed once the relevant data was erased rather than continue to wreak havoc on our systems. As a result, we suffered no damage, and the only loss was that of the data on their ship." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "They drained the Verala's power completely, going as far as to shut down the singularity core. Then, instead of erasing the relevant data, they tore out the entire computer core - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - with their advanced transporters before proceeding to damage the warbird's warp and impulse systems, despite the fact that they would be unable to move until their singularity core is - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - restarted. While they avoided inflicting a single casualty throughout this whole process, the damage they inflicted on the Verala is disproportionate and illogical for the goal of simply - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - disabling the vessel." Mischa@crystyl:"Very true. You have a theory?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "The only reasonable explanation is emotional response. They did not want to destroy either vessel or harm the inhabitants, but clearly they hold some form of enmity against the - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - Romulans, perhaps the Romulan Republic specifically. From the Starfleet design elements in the vessel, they may have also 'gone easy' on us. However, I am inclined to believe there is also a - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - dislike towards the Romulans at play. The antiproton shots were wholly unnecessary. It was an action of spite." Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps. As for the different interactions, it could also be that they are simply more familiar with Starfleet technology than Romulan and so, were able to use more finesse in disabling us but had - Mischa@crystyl:- to be more heavy handed with them" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel nods, "That is also a possibility, but the final shots on their nacelle and impulse engines were more than heavy handedness. There is no logical reason to inflict the damage; in fact, - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- the most logical action would have been to withhold the shots, as the damage left behind grants us greater insight into their armaments and they clearly want us to know nothing about them." Mischa@crystyl:"I concur, this could provide valuable insight into the psychology of our unseen enemy" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Mischa's combadge chirps Mischa@crystyl:"Ahh, no rest for the weary" she smiles and taps, "Leveson-Scott" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:<C> "Commander. The Verala has completed repairs on their nacelle and just left the system." Mischa@crystyl:<C> â€œThen it is time for us to get underway as well. Stay dark and set course for the nearest of Orianni's targets" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:<C> "Understood. Still nothing of note to report from observations of the system or Eirril's search into colony affairs." Mischa@crystyl:<C> â€œWe are in no rush. The longer it takes, the more time we have to prepareâ€ Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:<C> "Yes Commander. Nethay has the course set and we are continuing to hold position for now." Mischa@crystyl:<C> â€œEngage when readyâ€ Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Outside the window, the view begins to shift as Latenter starts to navigate its way out of the asteroid field Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Fel: "The search continues. These are all the observations I have to present at the moment. We will begin work on countermeasures immediately." Mischa@crystyl:"Very good" she nods