Using the Nuvan Cartel, the Latenter is able to lure out the Justicar's Romulan allies, but as Mischa finally comes face to face with the enemy, the lines between friend and foe begin to blur...
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | On the Latenter, the senior staff gathers in the conference room along with Commander Tarasenko as Eirril reports what he found on the Cartel base Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "Things are looking good for us. The Undine conspirator was indeed in contact with this Shadow Guard group. Normally, they have a very tight, almost foolproof system of authentication, - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - but we're in luck." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "They use a very difficult encryption on their messages. The ciphers are given to the infiltrator at every rendezvous. When a message comes in, it must be deciphered and a reply sent - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - within five minutes. The only way to crack this cipher is with brute force, and even Acey can't do it reliably with enough time left for us to get a reply out. In most cases, the message are - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - just to set up the next rendezvous, so in an ordinary case we'd never be able to confirm a rendezvous with the system they have in place." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"So what makes this case different?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril nods towards Commander Tarasenko, "Our guest here. The Undine contacted the Shadow Guard first to update them on the situation. The Shadow Guard replied with instructions to capture - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - Tarasenko alive. When that happens, the Undine was supposed to send another message with the same cipher and the Shadow Guard would set up the rendezvous that way. Since we already have the - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - previous message thread, we can take all the time we need to break the cipher and we've done just that. With the cipher, I can send a message as the Undine saying that we've captured Commander - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - Tarasenko and lure them into a rendezvous." Mischa@crystyl:"That is indeed fortuitous. So now we must decide where, when and how to best take advantage of that rendezvous" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "The obvious idea would be to ambush and capture whoever shows up to the rendezvous." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Tarasenko: "They must need me alive for a reason. From what we know of the Undine, they don't have to keep the people they're replacing as live prisoners." Mischa@crystyl:"True. As for the ambush and capture part, I am not so certain. After all, whoever shows up is most likely doing so under the orders of a higher authority" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Tarasenko nods, "Exactly. Let them take me, and see where they take me to." Mischa@crystyl:"a high-risk high-reward approach. I would rather not put you through that" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Tarasenko: "You have a cloaked ship. You can tail whoever picks me up. Unless you have a better idea?" Mischa@crystyl:"My first instinct would be for myself or Commander Goto to pose as you. And have the Latenter follow them" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Tarasenko: "You think it'll be convincing enough? I'm not questioning your skills to impersonate me, but what if they perform some detailed scans to make sure they have the right prisoner?" Mischa@crystyl:"A valid concern. Could we manipulate the records to suit our guise should they perform such checks?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "We can sort that out. And as much as I'd like to go, you've got more experience working with SFC, which probably puts you in a better position to impersonate the Commander." Mischa@crystyl grins, "I'm glad we don't have to toss a coin for it! That should satisfy any question about them verifying the ID then" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "I can ask the new Cartel leader to lend us one of their ships to transport our 'prisoner.' That should make the rendezvous convincing enough." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"For good measure, Acey can go as Nuvan. If they expect the Undine to shapeshift, she's someone who can pull off an illusion like that." Mischa@crystyl:"The borrowed ship will have to have sufficient cargo space for the Dart to be concealed in" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "I'll make sure we get a ship that's big enough. These Shadow Guard most likely have cloaked ships as well- we're going to need to plant a tracking device in order to follow them." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"You'll be watched as the prisoner, Mischa. I'll have another team take care of the tracking while they bring you on board." Mischa@crystyl:"Very good. I'll get Buena to slip a biometric tracker under my skin too, just in case" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Sounds like we have a plan. Shall we get to work?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, if nobody has anything else we should press on" --- Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Mischa makes preparations for the upcoming mission in her ready room when the doorbell rings Mischa@crystyl:"Come in" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris steps into the room, "Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Something on your mind Commander?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Well, you're going to be impersonating me. I'm sure you've read my file, probably multiple times by now. And I don't know how well these Shadow Guard know about me. Maybe nothing, but maybe - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - Sierra's told them some things. I was wondering if there's anything you want to know, to give a more convincing impression." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris takes a seat, "You can probably put together more surveillance footage or comm records of me than you can get through in the time we have, but why go through all that trouble when the source's - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - right here?" Mischa@crystyl:"That's fair" she smiles, leaning back in her chair, "Alright, why don't we start with your history with Sierra - there must be some significant memories the two of you shared" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Well, we met in the Academy. We didn't get to know one another right away but we became friends a few months into our first year. She was Operations, didn't specialize in Security at the time, but - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - we still had many of the same classes. Most of the time we spent together were in our Academy days, doing the sorts of things cadets do," she chuckles Mischa@crystyl:"Any antics in particular that stick in the mind?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Neither of us were academics- there were courses we excelled at, but we weren't the type of cadet to be the top of our class. That usually went to the classic Vulcan-types, as I'm sure you're aware. Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Both of us were quite middling, so Sierra came up with the idea of something to pull off on our class one day. She'd been reading up about James Kirk and his exploits, including the infamous - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test. We talked about it and how no-win scenarios aren't quite what they used to be in Kirk's day, because the rumours have spread and most cadets go into the - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- Academy either knowing what it's all about or hearing about it from another cadet. Typically one with a tradition of service in their family." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"We decided to do the exact opposite of what Kirk did," she smirks. "She hacked into a training simulation that was supposed to be perfectly beatable and altered it to be practically impossible. I - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- just served as lookout, Sierra did all the technical work. But the next day, we were the only two who knew what was going on and the rest of the class was in complete panic." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Quite the prank" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"And the best part was I'm pretty sure SFA still thinks it was human, well, Andorian error in the making of the program. So unless your people decided to look into this at some point, there's not - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - many others who know about what really happened outside of Sierra and myself. Anyone who has heard it will probably buy that you're me if you mention that story." Mischa@crystyl:"What about more of your personal history? Family, upbringing and the like. I know we have the details on file, but it is interesting to see what comes to mind for the person when reflecting on - Mischa@crystyl:- these aspects" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"We're hard colonial types. You're Earthborn, aren't you?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "I am, yes" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris grins, "Thought so. Don't need to see your record to tell. As I'm sure you're aware, life's very different in the outer colonies. There's a certain sense of...independent spirit out there. My - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - parents never bought into that whole Maquis business when it was going on; my mother even served a stint as enlisted security back during the Dominion War. But people out on the frontier is - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - very much about looking after ourselves. Most of my family worked in Minos Korva Colonial Security at one point or another. My father led the security force before he retired." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"My sister and I are the exceptions. Veronika works for CSAR- Colonial Search and Rescue. It's still a very outer colony centric organization, just not focused on security. Meanwhile, I went into - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - the family tradition of security service, but with Starfleet." Mischa@crystyl:"There must have been something that attracted you to this life over that of the colonial services" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"I suppose it was my mother's experiences in the Dominion War. I wanted to be a part of something bigger. I was never as ambitious as Sierra, though. It was more...Colonial Security was local - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - protection. Very direct, very personal, but there's very little we can do against something like another Dominion invasion. That's why I chose a career in Starfleet. If the Federation's safe, - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - then so would Minos Korva for the most part." Mischa@crystyl:"I can see the thinking behind the decision. Thank you for sharing the insights" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris smiles, "Happy to help. Let me know if there's anything else you want to know, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"I will review all the details before departing and let you know" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods and stands, "Good luck, Commander. I hope whatever they were planning to do to me isn't too bad, so you don't have to deal with too much trouble." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Don't worry, I have no intention of letting them get away with anything" --- T'Lana@anncaris | Buena takes away a medical device that looks like a larger hypospray as she steps back from Mischa on the edge of a medical bed, "There. The biometric tracker is in place. It's not completely - T'Lana@anncaris - foolproof, but it's the latest model so it's as concealed as it can be." Mischa@crystyl absently scratches at the spot where it now sits, "It is still a lot better than hoping nobody notices a viridian patch stuck to my arm" she chuckles T'Lana@anncaris | Buena chuckles as well, "That it is. Anything else you need from sickbay for this mission?" Mischa@crystyl:"No, I think that covers everything" T'Lana@anncaris | Buena nods, but before she can speak again, Mischa's combadge sounds Mischa@crystyl taps, "Leveson-Scott" T'Lana@anncaris <C - Victoria> "Commander, we have a comm from the Loki. T'Lana has something important for us." Mischa@crystyl:<C> â€œPut it through to the medical office pleaseâ€ T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "On it." Mischa@crystyl:"Apologies Ensign" she heads over to borrow Buena's console T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "No worries, Commander. I can live without my console for a few minutes." T'Lana@anncaris appears on the console. The feed is not the most clear and flickers once in a while, but it seems to be stable for now Mischa@crystyl:"T'Lana, what news?" T'Lana@anncaris:"I'm sending you the full report now. It may take a few moments. Apologies for the poor connection, we are at the Drenn world of Stronghold some distance from the Sphere, and I expect you are not - T'Lana@anncaris - directly next to any comm buoy or facility either." Mischa@crystyl:"No apology is need Lana, it is always good to hear from you regardless of the quality of transmission" T'Lana@anncaris:"Likewise, Mischa. In short, there has been an effort to sabotage the Coalition resettlement effort. An infiltrator hid two protomatter torpedoes on board the USS Challenger and revealed their - T'Lana@anncaris - presence after the Challenger arrived at the Sphere. Weaponized protomatter was expressly forbidden as part of the terms to employ protomatter technology, and you are familiar enough with the - T'Lana@anncaris - Regulators to be able to anticipate their reaction to this discovery." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, quite. This is a troubling development but I fail to see the connection that leads you to Stronghold" T'Lana@anncaris:"It is not connected to Stronghold. We are here as part of our observation into the Drenn as a potential threat. But it is connected to the Latenter's present mission, judging from your recent - T'Lana@anncaris - reports." Mischa@crystyl hrms, "I would have thought such an attack would present a higher priority threat for the Loki to investigate, but I'm sure Fox knows what he's doing. He does have all the facts after all. So how do - Mischa@crystyl:-you think this ties to our mission here?" T'Lana@anncaris | The report finally comes through on Mischa's console as T'Lana continues her explanation, "When Cadet T'Pia, Mana and several ensigns uncovered the member of the Challenger's crew responsible - T'Lana@anncaris - for the torpedoes, she was beamed away with transporter technology similar to that of the Regulators'. The signal of the transport and the communication that called for the extraction allowed - T'Lana@anncaris - a Regulator vessel to track the ship that had beamed the saboteur away. When the ship was revealed, it appeared to be the shadowy shape of a starship which seemed to have Starfleet design - T'Lana@anncaris - elements. The unidentified ship immediately disabled the Regulator vessel with chroniton torpedoes, quickly drained all power from three Starfleet ships that attempted to engage, and then used - T'Lana@anncaris - antiproton beams with Nuhar signature to cut down multiple Iconian ships before phasing through the Sphere surface and disappearing." Mischa@crystyl 's eyes narrow as she listens, "That sounds a little too familiar. This is troubling indeed" T'Lana@anncaris:"Multiple Coalition vessels are combing the nebula for the unidentified vessel and patrols in the sector are on high alert, but so far there is no sign of the ship." Mischa@crystyl:"I doubt they will find anything" T'Lana@anncaris:"As do I. The Coalition does not have access to Intelligence reports and have not made the connection to your mission, though they have come to much the same conclusions as you have regarding the - T'Lana@anncaris - origins of the vessel." Mischa@crystyl:"Well, that is something I suppose. This is an interesting new angle on our dilemma here as the implications are now much more widespread" T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. There is one other point of concern arising from the latest incident as well." Mischa@crystyl:"And that is?" T'Lana@anncaris:"The saboteur was identified to be one Lieutenant Ashley Hall, junior tactical officer on board the Challenger. Not only is her record flawless and shows no indication that she was involved in such - T'Lana@anncaris - activities, but the investigation also shows that she could not have been responsible for the creation of the protomatter torpedoes. She was merely responsible for loading them onto the - T'Lana@anncaris - Challenger and concealing their readings until the time was right. The Challenger acquired the torpedoes during its resupply at Deep Space 4, and there is a distinct possibility that - T'Lana@anncaris - additional Starfleet personnel on board that station was involved." Mischa@crystyl:"I'll look into it, see if there is any crossover with activity we've been monitoring here" T'Lana@anncaris:"Unfortunately, Starfleet Security has already learned of this and locked down Deep Space 4. I am afraid a discrete investigation is no longer possible, and the lockdown may only serve to inform - T'Lana@anncaris - the other conspirators to eradicate any remaining evidence." Mischa@crystyl sighs, "Of course, short sighted as ever. but no matter, we have been gathering historical data for some time now so there may be something there to tie all of this together" T'Lana@anncaris:"I hope so. I will keep you updated on any further developments here." Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you Lana. Good luck with your work at Stronghold" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Good luck with your mission as well, Mischa. It would seem what you are investigating may be more crucial than any of us previously anticipated." Mischa@crystyl transfers the received report to her database before vacating the office T'Lana@anncaris | Buena works away on another console in the main sickbay area. She looks up at Mischa as she exits, "Everything alright, Commander?" Mischa@crystyl:"Far from it, else we would be out of a job" she smiles Mischa@crystyl:"However things have just become rather more interesting" T'Lana@anncaris | Buena chuckles, "Good point. What's this new intel T'Lana's provided?" Mischa@crystyl:"That mysterious potential future ship we fought is not alone. Another one similar to it attempted to disrupt the Coalition back at the Heart" T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "At the Heart? This is even bigger than we thought, then..." Mischa@crystyl:"In more ways than one" T'Lana@anncaris | Buena: "Well, you've probably got even more to do now. You're all good to go, don't let me keep you here!" Mischa@crystyl nods, heading out to continue with her work --- NPC@annpc#557 | Some time later, Mischa boards Acey's Dart ready to go under disguise as Commander Tarasenko... NPC@annpc#557 | Acey appears in her usual projection as Mischa enters, "Well, you look different." Mischa@crystyl:"Really? I only changed clothes to suit that of a recently captured officer and adjusted my hair" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Well, you're normally much more...elegant. It is strange, seeing you more disheveled." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Says the one who can completely alter her appearance at will" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey smirks and flickers, turning into a projection of the former cartel boss Nuvan, "Yes, I suppose this would take more getting used to, wouldn't it?" She speaks with his voice as well Mischa@crystyl eyerolls with a smirk, "Show off" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan: "Sorry. I couldn't resist." 'Nuvan' begins to stretch, first his arms, then his torso and legs. His knees bend back at unnatural angles as a third leg sprouts behind him. His face - NPC@annpc#557 - contorts, his cranium stretches backwards, and soon there is an Undine towering before Mischa. "At least it isn't this." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Undine: "How does the transformation look, by the way? Natural enough?" Mischa@crystyl:"I'm not sure natural is a word that could ever be used to describe that sight, but yes - very convincing" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Acey flickers and goes back to her usual self, smiling back as well, "Perfect! I formed it from the Undine transformations we have caught on visual record. I doubt we'll need it, seeing as the - NPC@annpc#557 - Undine probably doesn't shift back just to speak with the people at the rendezvous. But it is good to have as an option, in case they ask Nuvan to prove his identity." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed, let us hope we do not need it" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "I'm ready to proceed to the ship when you are. Once we're there, I can upload myself into its systems and project Nuvan throughout the ship." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Let's get underway then" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey turns around and the Dart lifts off, making its way out of the Latenter's hangar. Soon, it nears the Cartel moon-base, approaching a ship that looks like a medium-sized freighter. It is - NPC@annpc#557 - larger than the one the Laffey caught and as Eirril promised, with more than enough room for Acey to land. The Dart sets down in one of its emptier cargo bays NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Tapping into the ship systems now. Nuvan will be ready soon." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, I'll head up to the flight deck and see you there" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "See you there, Commander!" NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa makes her way to the flight deck of the freighter, where Acey-Nuvan is sat in the Captain's chair with a few members of the Latenter crew around her disguised as the smuggler crew Mischa@crystyl:"Time to get underway then" NPC@annpc#557 | The pilot nods and taps on the console as the freighter begins moving its way out of the system NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan: "Wow, this ship has quite the colourful history. Eirril really came through for us!" Mischa@crystyl:"Is that so?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan nods, "It began its service as a luxury craft for the Romulan elite before Hobus, hence the holoprojection systems. It's not the best, but it was state-of-the-art for the late 24th - NPC@annpc#557 - century, and better than anything most freighters today field. And I probably don't need to look like Nuvan now. Or be in command." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey flickers back to her usual self away from the chair, "The chair is all yours, Commander!" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Why thank you Acey. So how did it go from luxury cruises to this?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "As you can imagine, there wasn't much demand for a luxury liner in Romulan space after Hobus. The Star Empire relegated it to run regular shipping and transport duties and the captain - NPC@annpc#557 - and crew slowly made modifications to better suit the new role. After eleven years as a transport, it was raided and captured by pirates, who sold it off to one of the Romulan crime cartels of - NPC@annpc#557 - the time. It was converted into a smuggling ship, and from there on, it changed hands quite frequently. Things were tumultuous in Romulan space, and crime lords rose and fell." NPC@annpc#557:"It even came into the hands of a freelance smuggler for a while, until said smuggler got into trouble with the Nuvan Cartel. Nuvan had him killed and confiscated the ship, and that's how it got - NPC@annpc#557 - here. There's been a significant amount of modification over the years, as you can tell from the fact that it no longer resembles anything luxurious." Mischa@crystyl:"Our Cartel must be eager to please their new bosses then. Good" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Acey smiles as well, "I'm sure Eirril's to thank for nudging them in the right direction as well. I do not imagine we were given a vessel with such excellent holo-systems by accident." Mischa@crystyl:"I'm glad to see it was worth keeping him on his toes" NPC@annpc#557 | Helm: "ETA to rendezvous point, fourteen hours." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Now we wait until we get there..." --- NPC@annpc#557 | Fourteen hours later, the ex-luxury cruiser freighter warps into the system where the rendezvous is planned to occur, with the Latenter cloaked not far behind them NPC@annpc#557 | Science Officer: "No sign of any other ships or tech signatures in the system." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "It is more than likely that whoever we are meeting is cloaked and awaiting us. That or they are late, which is significantly less likely." Mischa@crystyl watches from the sideline, ready to play her part, "Let's hold position at the designated coordinates and see what occurs" NPC@annpc#557 | Helm: "Aye Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | The freighter moves over to the designated coordinates and parks there. A minute passes, then... NPC@annpc#557 | Comms: "We're receiving a message. Applying Eirril's cipher now...and I have it decrypted. They're just asking for a response to verify that Nuvan has the cipher. Sending it now." Mischa@crystyl:"Well Acey, time to get in character" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods and flickers away and a projection of Nuvan appears in the central chair NPC@annpc#557 | On the viewscreen, a small warbird of similar configuration to those that aided the Justicar on their attack of the SFI facility decloaks into view NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/sto_gamepedia/images/0/01/Ship_Variant_-_ROM_-_Faeht_Intel_Warbird_Alpha_%28T6%29.png/revision/latest?cb=20180818164955 NPC@annpc#557 | Comm: "We have a full hail coming through now." NPC@annpc#557 | A female Reman appears on the viewscreen, dressed in the purplish uniform seen on other Shadow Guard members. The bridge behind her is very dark, lit by only some faint lights coming from - NPC@annpc#557 - various consoles, as expected from a Reman bridge. A few other bipedal shapes can be made out, but it's hard to tell what species they are from the darkness NPC@annpc#557 | Reman Commander: "Nuvan. You have the Commander?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan nods, "I do." He gestures at Mischa. "She is alive and in good condition, as I promised." Mischa@crystyl casts a sideways glance to the screen, snapping back and staring at the floor defiantly NPC@annpc#557 | Reman Commander: "Good. Take her to a secure room. I will send operatives to check and retrieve her." NPC@annpc#557 | The comm ends and Acey-Nuvan stands, "Time for the moment of truth, I believe you call it." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan: "Though moment of successfully concealing the truth may be more appropriate for this one," he smirks and leads the way NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan steps into the private quarters of the captain, sealing the door behind them before moving over to tap on the console. A few seconds later, a pair of Remans transport in by the - NPC@annpc#557 - door, one male and one female NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan: "Here is your new prisoner." NPC@annpc#557 | The male Reman steps over and circles around Mischa like a predator circling its prey Mischa@crystyl remains standing, rigid and defensive but defeated and still staring at the floor NPC@annpc#557 | Reman: "She looks like a human female. But why am I unable to read her?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan: "The new implants Starfleet developed. I could have removed it, but your instructions were that the Commander was to be left untouched." NPC@annpc#557 | The Reman nods and stops pacing, taking out a tricorder and giving Mischa a cursory scan NPC@annpc#557 | Reman Male: "Lifesigns match the ones on Starfleet records." NPC@annpc#557 | The Reman Female steps forward, raising a PADD and showing it to Acey-Nuvan: "This is the cipher for our next communication." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan looks at the PADD and nods and the Reman puts it away NPC@annpc#557 | Reman Female: "I hope Commander Tarasenko's investigation has not damaged your operations too greatly." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan: "We have suffered a few losses, but now that she has been dealt with, we will return to regular business soon enough." NPC@annpc#557 | Reman Female: "How much of your smuggling fleet is still active and unidentified by the Federation?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan: "45%. NPC@annpc#557 | Reman Female: "Do what you can to restore it to a minimum of 60% in the next three months. We will need to begin smuggling operatives across the border soon." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey-Nuvan: "I will ensure that we are ready when the time comes." NPC@annpc#557 | Reman Female: "Good. Vafann aerhiifv." NPC@annpc#557 | The Reman Male grabs one of Mischa's arms, and the three of them beam away... --- NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile by one of the Latenter's airlocks, Yuzuki steps over to Ori and Hassan, who are suiting up NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "The mission is simple. It's the same thing Mischa pulled off with the Valley Forge back when it was compromised. Jump across to the Romulan ship, except instead of forcing entry, - NPC@annpc#557 - plant the tracking beacon on their hull and jump right off. Avoid using thrusters whenever possible. You want to keep a low profile." Mischa@crystyl | Ori nods, "Understood Commander. Is there a preferable hull section to aim for with it?" NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki nods and hands them a PADD with scans of the ship, "Daurant's IDed the most discrete places to put the tracker. It's a small ship, so don't worry about landing exactly on the right - NPC@annpc#557 - spot. Just make sure you don't miss the ship, and it should only be a short spacewalk over." Mischa@crystyl | Ori takes the PADD, giving it a quick skim and committing to memory before passing it to Hassan NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan reads through the PADD as well before handing it back to Yuzuki NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "We'll remain under cloak, so you probably won't be able to jump back over to us. Don't worry about returning to the Latenter, these suits have several hours worth of oxygen. Just get - NPC@annpc#557 - off the Romulan ship. You might have to float in space for a while but we'll beam you back as soon as it's clear." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "No problem Commander" NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "Good luck out there." She heads back out, closing the inner airlock door behind her NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan puts on his helmet, locking it in place before looking over to Ori, "Ready, Ensign?" Mischa@crystyl | Ori turns to Hassan and nods, "Ready" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan opens the outer airlock, and the two leap out across the void of space with the tracking beacon... NPC@annpc#557 | Their trajectory is almost perfect thanks to the Latenter's positioning, requiring only three short bursts of the thrusters for minor course adjustments. After a few minutes of flying through - NPC@annpc#557 - empty space, they manage to land on one of the warbird's wings, a short walk away from an optimal placement site Mischa@crystyl | Ori latches on and magnetizes her boots, standing up straight and looking around before slowly walking towards the deployment spot NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan comments as they walk, "This is definitely a dedicated intel ship. The hull's covered in sensor pallets as densely as the Latenter. It's not as effective as the Latenter due to its - NPC@annpc#557 - smaller size, but let's be careful not to move right over one of those snesor pallet locations. They'll probably pass it off as a sensor blip if we walk over one or two, but if we - NPC@annpc#557 - get seen by too many they'll realize someone's moving across their hull. Your suit's scanners should be able to identify where the pallets are." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "An excellent observation Sir" she commends, checking her readouts and slightly adjusting her footing NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "Almost like navigating a minefield..." The two make their way across the hull carefully. Avoiding the sensors pallets slow their progress a bit, but they are still able to reach the - NPC@annpc#557 - placement point in good time thanks to the small size of the warbird Mischa@crystyl | Ori gets to work setting the beacon NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan kneels down beside her, helping out as well. Just as they finish, Hassan announces, "Tachyon buildup. They're activating their cloak. Time to go." Mischa@crystyl | Ori quickly finishes with a nod of acknowledgement. Declamping her boots and pushing off from the hull to get maximum distance before using her thrusters NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan does the same, and as they move away from the warbird, it shimmers and disappears from view NPC@annpc#557 | The two are left floating in the middle of space, with only the smuggling freighter visible in the distance Mischa@crystyl | Ori stretches her arms out, then folds her hands behind her head, "There is something oddly relaxing about floating in the void is there not?" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan chuckles, "It's like floating in water, but better. Just like water though, floating on a beach is nice, but you wouldn't want to be stuck in the middle of an ocean with no rescue in - NPC@annpc#557 - sight." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "I have never swam in an ocean, I will have to try it to compare" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "I'm sure we can find a good holoprogram to simulate the experience when we get back." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "More than likely. For now, I am quite content to enjoy this" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "It is nice to have some peace and quiet just staring at the stars. I know a few engineers who'd request EV duties just to enjoy the view out on the hull. But on the flip side there's - NPC@annpc#557 - ones who hate EV work." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Yes, I've met a few who were oddly adverse to it" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "Some species prefer open spaces. They don't like being stuck in a suit. And some have a strong sense of touch and find working with things through a suit difficult." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "I'll admit, the suits do hinder me too. But I find it a refreshing challenge" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "I'm glad you feel that way. One more name to add to the EV duties list." NPC@annpc#557 | As they float, they notice a speck emerging from the freighter and moving across the void NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "Looks like Acey's heading back. Shouldn't be long before they retrieve us now." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Good, I don't like the idea of the Commander being out there without us" NPC@annpc#557 | Sure enough, the two sparkle as they disappear into transporter beams... --- Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The two Remans escort Mischa through the ship. It doesn't take long to traverse the small vessel, and soon they reach a small brig area. The male gestures for Mischa to enter a cell Mischa@crystyl skulks inside Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Reman male taps a panel outside and a force field closes, locking Mischa into the cell. The Reman female heads out, while the male takes a seat behind a console, keeping watch Mischa@crystyl kicks around the cell a little before sitting, then laying back on the bed Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The brig is quiet for a good half hour as the Reman minds his own business on the console. Then, the door slides open and a Romulan male steps inside, wearing the same uniform as the rest of - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - the crew. He walks over towards Mischa's cell Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "Commander Aleksandra Tarasenko." Mischa@crystyl:"Tarasenko, Aleksandra, Lieutenant Commander. LH-119-7194 CWS" she responds without opening her eyes Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "At ease, Commander. You are not reporting for duty. And we are not your enemy. Apologies for the way we've had to bring you here, but we could not risk a conventional form of - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - communication." Mischa@crystyl sits up, cross legged, "Yet we are still talking through the forcefield of this cell" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "We must take precautions. Commander Reyes assures me that you can be trusted, but she did not know her own captain was an infiltrator until after the mutiny. Is it possible that a - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - close friend has kept the truth from her all these years? Yes. Unlikely, but not impossible." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright... so what happens now then?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "I know you are unlikely to listen to a Romulan." He opens a small case and a drone hovers out. "So I will allow someone more familiar to explain things." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | There is a flicker and the holographic image of Commander Reyes begins to form around the drone Sierra Reyes@anncaris stares into the cell once her hologram is fully formed. It still flickers every few seconds, likely due to connectivity issues Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Well...you're not who I was expecting to see." Mischa@crystyl smiles innocently, "I thought it was about time we talked face to... holo" Mischa@crystyl hops off the bed, stepping up to the forcefield Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Reman: "I do not understand. She matched the medical records of Commander Tarasenko." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "Someone must have altered them. Find out who she is." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Reman nods and steps outside Mischa@crystyl peers out past the holo, clearly entertained by causing confusion for her Romulan and Reman hosts Sierra Reyes@anncaris meanwhile scrutinizes Mischa, "About time? Who are you, one of the Laffey's crew? No, Alex would not send someone else to be captured in her stead. She's always the type to lead from the front. - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - Even if she was captured on purpose, she would always put herself in harm's way first. Unless there was someone vastly more qualified for the mission. Let me guess...Starfleet Intelligence?" Mischa@crystyl hrms, "That would be a reasonable deduction, wouldn't it?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"That or Section 31. Or both. They've been known to pass as SFI." Mischa@crystyl:"My but you do have quite the active imagination" she chuckles, heading back to sit on the bed Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Trust me, reality is crazier than anything either of us can imagine. I take it you are the ones who have been sent to hunt us?" Mischa@crystyl gasps, "You're being hunted?! But aren't you Starfleet?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Don't play coy with me. Tell me what you know. You won't be revealing any secrets. After all, we're your target. We know everything there is to know about ourselves." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I need to know if you are one of them, and the only way I can judge that is if you talk to me." Mischa@crystyl:"...'them'. You mean an imposter, like your former CO?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"No. Not an impostor. From what I can tell, he /was/ Pierre Renaud. Not a changeling or an Undine or- if you're here, the Undine is dead, isn't he?" Mischa@crystyl:"He was, and yet he also was not. But that was not the reason you mutinied now was it. No, you led that rebellion and took command before you learned his truth" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I mutinied because it was the right thing to do. He wanted to commit genocide on the Undine. It doesn't matter who he was to make that unacceptable. I assumed he was just one of unfortunately - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - many Starfleet officers who had lost their way. I led the mutiny with full intention to return to Starfleet and put him on court martial. Until I learned that his orders came from the top." Mischa@crystyl:"So you fell in with our Romulan friends here instead" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Not immediately, but yes. Do you even know who they are?" Mischa@crystyl:"We have not been formally introduced. quite rude really" she comments candidly with a glance to the Reman Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I'm curious to hear...who do you /think/ they are?" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I can see why Intelligence wanted you, you have a keen sense of reading through the wordplay. However I must disappoint; for I do not engage in conjecture" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Well then at least tell me what you've learned about them so far. As I said, you won't be revealing any secrets. If it isn't clear, I'm already in direct communication with them," she smiles back Mischa@crystyl:"Ok, I can play. It should help pass the time" she smiles back, "Well, they wear the uniform of the Shadow Guard for one" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Romulan smiles as well, "You know the name. That's a start." Mischa@crystyl:"One thing I do not know is what you felt you had to gain by replacing the cartel boss with an Undine. Unless..." her eyes narrow on the holo, as though expecting it to morph any moment Sierra Reyes@anncaris chuckles, "None of us are Undine. But that's exactly what an Undine would say, isn't it?" Mischa@crystyl:"It is" she chuckles, "It would also have been a little too convenient, and would simultaneously not have explained the temporal elements" Sierra Reyes@anncaris narrows her eyes at the mention of temporal elements, "Tell me more about these temporal elements." Mischa@crystyl:"Why the look Commander? I thought you knew everything already" she grins annoyingly Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Not /everything/. Just everything about the Shadow Guard. What do you know about the temporal element?" Mischa@crystyl:"Are you quite certain you know everything about the Shadow Guard...?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Yes," she sighs. "Fine, I'll give you something because you clearly won't talk otherwise." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Romulan gives Sierra an uncertain glance Sierra Reyes@anncaris glances back at the Romulan, "If she's one of them, she knows this already and it puts us at no further risk than we're at already. I know about this temporal element you're speaking of. We - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - do not know much yet, but they are not associated with the Shadow Guard." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "Remember when I said you were not our enemy? /They/ are our enemy." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Now, tell us what you know. Please." Mischa@crystyl:"If they were the enemy of the Shadow Guard then I can't wait to see how you explain their presence defending your Vault" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "Defending our Vault? What do you mean? If anything they're seeking it out to destroy it." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Where did you encounter them?" Mischa@crystyl:"Give me a starmap of this region and I will show you exactly where. After all, there are no secrets between you, right?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Romulan takes out a PADD and taps the console, opening a hole in the force field to slide the PADD through to Mischa Mischa@crystyl taps a few times before holding it up for them both to see with the Vault location highlighted Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "No. That is not where our base is located." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"You made that assumption based on where you encountered the temporal element, didn't you?" Mischa@crystyl shrugs, handing the PADD back, "No assumption really, but it was a good opportunity to test the fragility of your relationship" Sierra Reyes@anncaris looks to the Romulan, "I don't think she's one of them." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Romulan retrieves the PADD and nods, "I concur." Instead of closing the gap in the force field, he shuts it down Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"None of the ones we captured ever admitted to a temporal element, but you...you brought it up of your own accord." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "Not to mention your flawed deduction. You think we're working /with/ the infiltrators, don't you?" Mischa@crystyl hops off the bed, "Honestly, no I do not. I think that you all think you are doing the right thing - and perhaps you are. But your approach is far too clumsy. That is what I think" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Maybe, but we're fumbling in the dark here, and we've already made good progress." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Romulan: "Allow me to introduce myself properly. I am Calvum tr'Khellian of the /Republic/ Shadow Guard." Mischa@crystyl bows her head, "Now that is more like the civilized greeting I've come to expect from our Romulan friends. Jolan'tru Calvum tr'Khellian. I am Commander Mischa Leveson-Scott, Starfleet Intelligence" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Reman rushes into the room, "We've found a match! Commander Leveson-Scott of the USS Latenter, an Intelligence vessel." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Perfect timing..." Mischa@crystyl snickers. Of course she didn't hold out and count the timing for that. Right...? Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "Jolan tru, Commander Leveson-Scott. I expect you have never heard of the Shadow Guard prior to this, hence your thinking that we were associated with these infiltrators. We...do - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - infiltrate, but not to work against your people. D'Tan founded the Republic on his high ideals, you see, but we both know ideology alone is not enough to keep a civilization intact. Our - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - organization was founded under the secret orders of the Reman leader Obisek. An organization dedicated to protecting the Republic, vafann aerhiifv. Just as the Federation has Section 31, we - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - serve the Romulans from the shadows." Mischa@crystyl:"For the sake of expediency, I will say that I - of course - knew nothing of the Shadow Guard before now, and thank you for illuminating me. But I was not lying earlier when I said that I do not - Mischa@crystyl:- guess. So I never actually believed you to be associated with the temporal elements we know of. But I equally never believed that you were not affiliated" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "We are not affiliated, but the Republic...was, to an extent." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Very good, there is perhaps hope for you yet" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We have reason to believe that all the major powers of this region and maybe even beyond have been compromised. I thought it was just the Federation at first, until I encountered the Shadow Guard." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "We spent the past year cleansing the Republic of these infiltrators. We may now be the only unaffected civilization of this region, perhaps even the whole quadrant or the entire galaxy.â€ Mischa@crystyl:"I would not be so complacent" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"In any case, we're making progress and hurting them. That's why you were sent to hunt us, or so we think. The Federation is being controlled, Commander. You're being used." Mischa@crystyl:"Of course" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We don't yet know what these infiltrators want, but I'm not very keen on letting them run the Federation, and I don't suppose you are, either." Mischa@crystyl:"They chose to make us an enemy" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "I'm glad you can see we're on the same side here. Even if you're just pretending to play along. But I'm sure you've done your research while hunting for me, and you can see something is - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - wrong as clearly as I did during the mutiny." Mischa@crystyl:"I know you better than you possibly comprehend Commander, and I know that righteousness courses through your veins. Even if you were to be found acting on the wrong side, it would not be without a - Mischa@crystyl:- devout belief that it was still the right one" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I don't approve of all the Shadow Guard's methods, either. But this is the only way. As long as these infiltrators are still in Starfleet, if I go back, they'll brand me a traitor, cover this all - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - up and continue with whatever they're planning. We have no choice but to finish what we started now. When the infiltrators are gone, I'll gladly accept whatever consequences Starfleet sees - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - fit for me. In a court martial judged by actual fellow officers." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Now there's the Commander Reyes I know" Sierra Reyes@anncaris thinks for a moment, "You're probably following us, aren't you? Your ship, that is." Mischa@crystyl:"That would be a reasonable assumption" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"What were the circumstances you encountered the temporal element under again?" Mischa@crystyl:"I believe the best description would be... variable" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Were you the ones who discovered it? And how?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum nods, "They don't usually reveal themselves, and they can be difficult to find." Mischa@crystyl:"Ok let's see now... the first time was while we were picking up your trail. I found them spying on a colony I suspected you were going to be looking into. I did not find the Justicar, but I did - Mischa@crystyl:- find them. Then of course there was the encounter at the Vault, though that was a distinctly Romulan variant but equally unpleasant. I also happen to know that another vessel was recently - Mischa@crystyl:- uncovered at the Heart of Unity" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "In the dyson sphere you came from?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "Interesting turn of events isn't it? And it was not the same ship that has been operating in this region, but another of similar design" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "That is concerning..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"The one you found while picking up our trail...what colony was it?" Mischa@crystyl:"Mirhassa" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "Mirhassa...we have a report from the RRW Verala concerning such an encounter in that system. You were there? They made no mention of you." Mischa@crystyl smiles Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "You convinced them to stay quiet. I'm impressed, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"So far the only surprising thing in all of this is that they would send me to track you down, because that inevitably would lead to the outcome of this conversation and my picking up the trail to - Mischa@crystyl:- end their machinations. This leads me to believe that the Heart may be more of a focal point for all of this than first suspected" Sierra Reyes@anncaris nods, "That's very likely. As for why they sent you to track us..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "You have a theory?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"It's hard to say without knowing what they want. But...what exactly was your mission? To destroy us, or just to track us down?" Mischa@crystyl:"Track you down, of course. That said, there was always an unspoken understanding that preserving the sanctity of the region was paramount, whatever the cost" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I thought the commander of the vessel coming after us would be one of them. Perhaps even some test of loyalty. Since it seems like you're not...maybe they've identified you as a threat and are - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- seeking to take us both out. I'm pretty sure I might know why the vessel was at Mirhassa, though." Mischa@crystyl:"Taking us both out of the way at once would be a sensible ploy for them, albeit an ambitious one. And I will admit to a certain curiosity as to what you know about the significance of Mirhassa" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "Nothing at all. We captured one of their infiltrators there, but she's not being held there. It was just the most convenient place to grab her." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"And that's exactly why I might know what they were doing. Your ship didn't find the vessel, Commander. If I recall correctly from the report, the Verala did while searching for a suspected cloaked - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - ship. They think that was the ship with temporal technology, but it wasn't, was it? It was you they were really after." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Very good, I knew you'd get there in the end" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I have a suspicion that ship wasn't there because it was investigating us. It might have been there because you were. They're following you to get to us, either to eliminate us both or, in the - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - case you were intended to eliminate us and they didn't anticipate that you would learn so much, perhaps finish the job in your stead. Starfleet is compromised and they certainly have access to - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - all your reports and whereabouts, if they don't already have their own infiltrators deep within SFI. They're making you do the hard work of tracking for them." Mischa@crystyl:"Certainly an interesting possibility, except there was no prior word of our presence in that system prior to their detection. For you theory to fit, they would have to have been staking out every - Mischa@crystyl:- system in unison. Which may not be beyond the realm of possibility" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"It's also possible they have a tracker on your ship. Or worst case scenario, an infiltrator." Mischa@crystyl:"There is no denying the possibility, though the likelihood is infinitesimal given our isolation" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"The plan was initially to bring Commander Tarasenko to me on the Justicar. I'm glad we took the precaution of not picking her up ourselves. But in the case that ship is following you every step of - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - the way and you're tracking this warbird...leading you to us could cause both our ships' destruction. On the other hand, it might lure out our stalker." Mischa@crystyl:"This is where the clumsy approach will get you destroyed. But let us assume for a moment that your theory is correct, then we now have the advantage" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"You have an idea, Commander?" Mischa@crystyl:"As you said, we can lure out the stalker. But we can not just stumble along and simply plan to react if and when they appear - they are too powerful for such trivial plays" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"That's my concern. We can lure them out, but we have no way to fight them yet." Mischa@crystyl:"When someone is too powerful to hold as an enemy, it is prudent to make them your friend" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"You're thinking of playing along? Capturing us and offering us to them or something like that?" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Actually, I was thinking of proving to them that I am on their side by destroying you in front of them" she grins Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I can't risk the people under my command. We have no idea what they'll do to them. I don't suppose this'll work with just me?" Mischa@crystyl:"Worry not, I believe we can setup a suitable fake core breach and hide the evidence in the aftermath thanks to our Romulan friends here" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "What do you need from us? I will bring it to the captain of this vessel." Mischa@crystyl:"If your ship is also destroyed in the frey, the singularity implosion would consume the wreckage of the Justicar. At least, that is what it would look like on their sensors" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "This is not a combat vessel, but the Justicar alone is already a formidable ship, and we are capable of providing support still. How would you make it convincing that your vessel can - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - destroy both of us?" Mischa@crystyl:"That is a fair question, and not one I necessarily have the answer to. However if we can find a way, it would be preferable still to presenting Commander Reyes to them as a trophy" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"There's one thing we can do...but why don't you put on some clothes and we can talk somewhere a little more comfortable. It's going to be a while before we reach the Justicar's location anyways." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "That sounds good" --- Sierra Reyes@anncaris | After getting some clothes from the onboard replicator, Mischa joins Calvum and the Reman captain in the ship's ready room Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "Apologies again for our initial reception. We didn't know if you were one of them." Mischa@crystyl:"Technically you still don't, and I don't know if you are. This is the game we play" Mischa@crystyl:"However you did not set out to receive /me/ at all..." she smirks Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum smiles, "We did not, but it all worked out well. Do you wish to contact your ship, inform them of the change of plans? Perhaps have some of your specialists call in to discuss as well?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, may I?" she gestures to the console on his desk Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "It's not my console." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Reman nods Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "This is Commander Kiamex. The ship is hers, I'm just tagging along." Mischa@crystyl steps over and opens an encrypted channel, being sure not to give away their presence in any way. Nodding to Kiamex, "Of course. Commander" she dips her head Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Shadow Guard ship is equipped with a comm system that is extremely well-configured for discrete communications. It's like old Tal Shiar communication systems, but modernized and improved - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - beyond what any Tal Shiar remnants have. Mischa is able to get a discrete channel back to the Latenter easily Mischa@crystyl still puts effort into protecting her signal from the systems she is using to send it, "Leveson-Scott to Latenter" Sierra Reyes@anncaris <C - Victoria> "Commander? We weren't expecting direct contact from you. Is everything alright?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, quite. I need to speak with Acey, could you patch me through to her Dart?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris <C - Victoria> "Of course. Patching you through now." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | A few seconds later, Acey's voice comes through, "Commander. How did you manage to contact us from the Shadow Guard vessel?" Mischa@crystyl:"With great ease in fact Acey, all will be explained. But first, please summon Orianni so that we three may consult through your secure connection" Sierra Reyes@anncaris <C - Acey> "Right away, Commander." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | A short while later, Ori would arrive in Acey's Dart and join in the communication Mischa@crystyl:"Ok ladies, we need to brainstorm on a hypothetical scenario. It goes like this; the Latenter is compromised and being tracked by the mystery ship. The Justicar and the Romulan ship I boarded are - Mischa@crystyl:- our only potential allies. Even combined we know we can not overpower the mystery ship, but we may be able to fool them into thinking the Latenter is on their side. This would be best achieved by - Mischa@crystyl:- having them witness the Latenter destroying the other two, how do you achieve this? Go." Sierra Reyes@anncaris <C - Acey> "This is a very specific hypothetical scenario..." Mischa@crystyl:"Aren't they always?" Mischa@crystyl:"Tell you what, to offset the detailed nature I'll give you Commander Reyes, and the CO of the Romulan ship who - for arguments sake - we shall hypothetically call Kiamex. Say hello to your cohorts" Mischa@crystyl | Orianni: "Um... hello...?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Kiamex: "Hello. You are certain you can trust these members of your crew?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris appears from the projector drone as well Mischa@crystyl:"Absolutely. Orianni has one of the best tactical minds for fleet engagement that you will ever see, and Acey is the most advanced artificial intelligence I've ever had the pleasure of working with.- Mischa@crystyl:- Moreso, both are recent chance additions to the crew on my decision alone" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "Ooh I see! This is not really a hypothetical at all, is it? Sorry, not the best first impression of how advanced I am." Mischa@crystyl:"Acey, when it comes to double-entendres, intelligence, counter-ingelligence and every conceivable variation of agents, double agents, triple agents and so forth... everything is hypothetical until - Mischa@crystyl:- it is not" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "I understand. Well, there is only a 3.61% chance that the Latenter will be victorious against an engagement with both the Justicar and the Shadow Guard vessel, and out of that, only a - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - 0.41% chance that the Latenter would emerge without extensive damage." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "That was my thought as well. Only without the...very precise statistics." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "However, I have a solution." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I had a feeling you would say that" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "You are on board the Shadow Guard vessel. And I am a sentient virus. You could hypothetically say that your cover was blown and you had to break free. With no way back to the Latenter, - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - the only systems you were able to access was communications. So you opened the vessel for me to infect, and together we managed to seize control of this ship. With both ships, our chances - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - against the Justicar are much more reasonable. Especially as the Justicar will expect this vessel to be an ally and thus be caught off guard." Mischa@crystyl:"I like it" Mischa@crystyl | Orianni: "The problem remains though that this would imply your 'hypothetical' Romulan crew as co-conspirators, that could... hypothetically put them under the mystery ship's scrutiny as well" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "I am capable of a great deal of functions once I gain full control, as seen when I seized control of the Starfleet Intelligence facility. It would not be unbelievable for me to have - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - eliminated the vessel's crew with some help from the Commander." Mischa@crystyl looks to the others with her, "She is not exaggerating, it's actually how we met" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "And you wonder why we Romulans aren't very trusting of synthetic life..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "The vessel itself can be seen to have been lost in the battle with the Justicar, so there will be no record to verify." Mischa@crystyl:"Context is everything my dear Calvum" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "As for the engagement itself, I shall leave that to Ori. It is her specialty, after all." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Since we aren't expecting the warbird to attack us, it would not be unbelievable for a pre-emptive attack to weaken us significantly. Like the Reliant did to the Enterprise before the Battle of - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - the Mutara Nebula." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "We should be able to work something about, especially with the element of surprise" she nods, "Add to that an unexpected arrival of the Latenter in the midst of that chaos the Justicar - Mischa@crystyl:- could quite feasibly be overwhelmed, especially when accounting for the Commanders knowledge of starfleet vessels and Acey's capabilities" Mischa@crystyl:"This is all well and good of course, but remember our hypothetical scenario; we are not actually looking to best these two ships for real. That is all backstory, what we actually need to achieve is- Mischa@crystyl:- the illusion of that playing out and the Justicar escaping while our folly believe them to be destroyed" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Kiamex: "Both our vessels have battle cloaks, so slipping away from the end of the battle will not be difficult. We can sacrifice our singularity core, eject it to create the desired - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - explosion, then cloak and slip away. The Justicar can tow us back to install another core once we are clear." Mischa@crystyl:"That would certainly do it" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We can simulate some damage by fluctuating our power readings and making it look like our systems are failing on sensors, but actual hull damage will be harder to fake. Our shields can go down for - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - real, but there's only so much hull damage we can take before there is serious harm done." Mischa@crystyl:"All we need to do is make it appear that the ship is destroyed and then lost into the singularity implosion" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "In this hypothetical scenario, are we fooling only the mystery ship, or the rest of the Latenter's crew as well?" Mischa@crystyl hrms, "A good point Acey. if it were as simple as fooling the mystery ship then we could easily do it by setting off an antimatter explosion of comparable size. But if there were a way for us to do- Mischa@crystyl:- this under the nose of our own crew, that would be optimal" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "Faking hull damage is very difficult without causing actual damage to the hulls. Faking sensor readings /of/ hull damage, however, is much simpler. I have studied the Latenter's sensor - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - systems extensively as part of my efforts to guard the ship against further intrusions by the virus I could not delete when we encountered the vessel at Mirhassa. I can manipulate the - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - sensor readings and visual feed to appear as if both the Justicar and the warbird take heavy damage and are subsequently destroyed, while in reality all we are doing is taking down their - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - shields. The power fluctuations will still help, and the singularity core will need to be sacrificed so the final explosion can be detected from afar, of course." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "I can regulate weapon yields to put on a good show without actually hitting hard too" Mischa@crystyl:"Well. It is starting to sound like this could actually work" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Once our shields are down, you can beam me off as a prisoner to make it more convincing." Mischa@crystyl:"I thought we were going through all of this to avoid putting you in direct danger like that" she chuckles Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"You're sure they'll buy it with no evidence but your own falsified sensor logs?" Mischa@crystyl:"We don't even know who 'they' are, so no I am anything but sure" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "Oh, they won't be falsified. I plan to block the actual sensors and write in every line of input manually. There will be no editing of the logs after the fact. To anyone viewing the - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - logs, it will simply appear as the actual sensor logs of the Latenter. No tampering will be detected because there will be no tampering. I will simply be replacing the Latenter's regular - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - sensor feed with this story we are constructing." Mischa@crystyl:"It is your call Commander" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I don't mind being captured, as long as the rest of my crew is safe. But there's a risk that they might ask you to hand me over, and if they use telepaths to get inside my head, it could ruin this - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - entire operation, not to mention compromise other Shadow Guard secrets. It might be safer if they believe I'm dead." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "What about you, Commander? Should you remain on the Shadow Guard ship until the last minute, and we beam you out just before the singularity core explosion, or do you wish to return to - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - the Latenter? I can hypothetically control an entire warbird by myself just as I control a Dart, but judging by your stunt with the Mandukar at the Vault, it may be more believable for you to - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - remain." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "What is this Vault you keep speaking of? The location of our base has not been compromised to our knowledge." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Otherwise that ship probably would've attacked it by now." Mischa@crystyl nods, "I will remain here for the duration with a last minute beamout. As for the vault, that is a good question" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "Do you know of a third vault? Or are you speaking of the original abandoned facility? From what we know, there have not been any significant incidents there either." Mischa@crystyl:"It is the one I highlighted to you earlier" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Calvum: "There is no vault in that location. And if there was, it would have been consumed by the Hobus supernova. The schematics to build such facilities were lost with the homeworld, so they - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - could not have constructed it after the supernova." Mischa@crystyl:"Not anymore perhaps, but in all our research everything still kept pointing back to this system" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Maybe, but it seems like we have a plan. Let's deal with the immediate problem first." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. Once we commit to this, it may be a while before we can reconvene. Hopefully it will get them off our backs, but nothing is certain" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Kiamex takes out a chip and hands it to Mischa, "Did you receive the cipher my people gave to Nuvan, or whoever that was?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "That was me. And I have the cipher." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Kiamex: "Good. When things are clear, proceed to the coordinates on that chip and send a message with that cipher. The Shadow Guard will receive it." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Until then, we'll keep our heads down. Even more than usual." Mischa@crystyl:"Ok ladies, from now on this is a classified operation. Nobody outside of this conversation will have any knowledge of it" Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Yes Commander!" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Acey: "Understood Commander." --- Sierra Reyes@anncaris | As the warbird continues towards the Justicar, Mischa waits in the small lounge/dining room of the ship. It is much nicer than the small and spartan mess hall where most of the crew dines, - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - with this area being more of an officer's lounge with additional amenities and space Mischa@crystyl seems to be performing maintenance on the replicator Sierra Reyes@anncaris | While Mischa works on the replicator, the door slides open and the holo-drone hovers inside... Mischa@crystyl doesn't seem to pay it an notice, both arms deep within the open panel she is working on Sierra Reyes@anncaris 's holoprojection forms around the drone again Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"There you ar- what are you doing?" Mischa@crystyl:"Nothing quite so nefarious as you are thinking Commander, I assure you" she continues to work, "Or do you go by Captain now?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris chuckles, "I didn't promote myself, if that's what you're thinking. Besides, the Romulans don't use the Captain rank, so they'll usually just call me Commander anyways." Mischa@crystyl:"I did not think you were so vain as to assume the rank, but you are Captain of the Justicar now so I thought it best to see what the preference is" she grunts, pulling her arms back out and - Mischa@crystyl:- standing back, "Now, you stubborn Romulan thing, let's try this again; tea, Prince of Wales blend" she watches the drink materializes and finally turns, sipping with satisfaction Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"So /that's/ what you were trying to do" she smiles, "You must really like that blend of tea. Well, some of my crew refer to me as Captain, but I prefer Commander." Mischa@crystyl moves and leans against the back of a nearby chair, "Good to know, I am of the same mindset as it goes but I can't imagine you hovered your way in here just to discuss command preferences" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Not quite. So you came on this ship under the guise of Commander Tarasenko. But I know the real Alex was conducting an investigation into the Nuvan Cartel, and she was quite likely looking for me." Mischa@crystyl:"Correct on both counts" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"So what happened to her? How did you get here instead of her?" Mischa@crystyl:"You can stand down from yellow alert Commander" she chuckles, sipping more tea, "Tarasenko is safe aboard the Latenter. As a guest I might add, after the Undine turned on her at the cartel I got - Mischa@crystyl:- her out and she has been working with us since then" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "That's good to hear. You're including her in your investigation, then?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, she is a fine officer and already did a lot of the legwork with the cartel" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Explains how you pulled this off so well," she smirks. "Do you plan to keep her in the dark about this plan as well? She's not going to be very pleased with you blowing us up, you know." Mischa@crystyl:"For now, yes. Though it is regrettable to put her through it, her reaction will help sell the ruse to any potential infiltrator on board" Sierra Reyes@anncaris nods, "That's true. Well, she's on your ship. It's your decision, just don't blame me if she hates you for it." Mischa@crystyl:"If it helps us protect the Federation in the bigger picture, she can hate me all she likes. I would rather hope not and would like to think that she is a little more seasoned now and will - Mischa@crystyl:- ultimately appreciate the decision. But we shall see" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I agree. It is a small sacrifice to make in the larger scheme of things." Mischa@crystyl:"A concept you are all too familiar with" Sierra Reyes@anncaris nods, "As are you, I'd imagine." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I've made a career out of it. You could say having that concept of the bigger picture is a consistent personality trait in those of us invited to serve the office" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Maybe that's why your people were so intent to recruit me." Mischa@crystyl:"I would assume so, yes. Yet you were never tempted?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"If I say yes. that would be a lie and I have a feeling you'd see right through me. Of course I was tempted- increased security access, specialized training, who wouldn't be tempted?" she smirks Mischa@crystyl:"So what held you back? Life in the shadows?" Mischa@crystyl:"After all, there are no heroes in this line of work. Just ghosts" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Something like that. A lot of people say I'm here for the fame and glory. And they're not entirely wrong, especially if it's nineteen year old me we're talking about. But it's not just about being - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - a hero. I grew up on stories of the Starfleet legends. As children, almost everyone dreamed of becoming the next Picard or Janeway. As everyone grew though, they started thinking, 'I'm not - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - good enough' or 'I'll never make it.' I wanted to show them that it could be done. After all, what was Picard before he was a legend? Just the son of two grape farmers. The Federation is about - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - a society where you always strive for more, where you always look to improve yourself. But after all we've done, so many have begun to see Starfleet as something larger than life." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I didn't turn down Intelligence's offers just because I want to be a hero. I did it because I wanted to show that anyone /can/ be a hero. You don't have to have elite training, or to come from a - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - family with extensive service, or be a demi-god destined for some Bajoran prophecy." Mischa@crystyl sips, listening with intrigue, "So who was it?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"What do you mean, who was it?" Mischa@crystyl:"Who was it you were so adamant about proving this to?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"You probably expect me to say someone in my family, but my family was always very supportive. It was more my friends growing up. There's a point, between childhood and adulthood, when many people - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - stop dreaming. They decide to settle for something more within grasp. Even in the Federation when improvement is always encouraged, there's this psychological phenomenon that makes people want - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- to settle, to say 'I've grown enough and this is who I will be now for the rest of my life.' And I feel like the Federation as a whole has reached such a point." Mischa@crystyl:"Ah yes, utopia lethargy. So your plan is to become a living legend and then stand proud before those childhood friends to demonstrate to them that it was indeed achievable?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Many citizens of the Federation think it's a paradise. But this whole infiltration conspiracy aside, there's still people, from Earth to the outer colonies, who think they're not good enough for - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - Starfleet. Not to mention the Federation is tied down by politics and bureaucracy when dealing with any injustice outside its own borders. I suppose my childhood friends were the source, but - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - it's about more than them now. Wolf-359 showed us the consequences of our military complacency. I have a feeling everything we're dealing with now could be a sign of our social complacency. - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - And if we don't continue to evolve as a civilization, this complacency could mark the beginning of the end for the Federation." Mischa@crystyl:"So in other words, the answer to my original question is... yourself" she smiles Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles back, "In short, yes. I've read up on your file as well, Commander. I obtained it from the Intelligence facility we raided- I hope you don't mind, I'm sure you've been all over mine so - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - it's only fair. I'm curious what made someone like you /accept/ Intelligence's offer. Even for Earth, you grew up in a very privileged family. Whatever made you choose intensive field agent - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - training and a life in the shadows?" Mischa@crystyl:"It was exactly because of that upbringing. All my youth felt like living in a gilded cage, and I yearned for adventure and the thrill of life" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"But you could've had that as a security or tactical officer, couldn't you? Even an engineer or science officer looking at the kinds of things Starfleet Command vessels run into out here." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, and that's exactly what I first set out to do. But when I was approached by that recruiting officer and offered the opportunity for training to undertake the most dangerous assignments in - Mischa@crystyl:- Starfleet with the biggest stakes?" she smiles, "How could a young thrillseeker refuse?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris chuckles, "I can see your thinking. I suppose you have the best of both worlds now, with your time attached to Starfleet Command and having your own starship to command now." Mischa@crystyl:"I realized long ago that I was being groomed as a poster girl for the Chiefs more open operational philosophy. I have made sure that it was worthwhile for me" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"You think this might be a test for you after all? Even though you're not involved with the infiltrators yet...maybe they're testing to see if you'd be a good candidate to work with them." Mischa@crystyl:"It is not beyond the realm of possibility, but no I was speaking more generally regarding my career to date" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I know, it just crossed my mind as you were speaking about it. A poster girl for Starfleet Intelligence...before you know it the infiltrators will start having poster girls themselves." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Now wouldn't that be something" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"It would certainly make our job easier. Speaking of which, I've asked Calvum to provide you with what we have on infiltrators in the Federation. We've only manage to identify a few high-profile - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - ones so far though. The infiltration of the Romulan Republic included personnel among the lower levels as well, and I have a feeling it'll be the same for the Federation." Mischa@crystyl:"I am curious how you believe you have identified these infiltrators" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"The orders Captain Renaud received gave us one. From there on we've been working outwards from him. Looking through records of interactions, investigating these people using Shadow Guard sources. - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - That wasn't enough, which is why we raided yours." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We're not sure of many of the people we've identified, so most of them are flagged as potential infiltrators. But there's a few we're fairly confident in." Mischa@crystyl skims through the list curiously to see if Hall was there Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Hall is not, and neither is anyone below the rank of Commander. However, there are a few very prominent names, including Fleet Admiral Yanishev, Vice Admiral Sh'viaqos and Admiral Seviar, - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - along with the current Vice President of the Federation. Of those, Yanishev and Sh'viaqos are listed as confirmed Mischa@crystyl:"I will certainly be interesting to see how you have these identified" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"There's some details on there. Fleet Admiral Yanishev was the one who gave Captain Renaud the order. We began with him, and the others he's had very frequent communication with. They all seem to - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - be in the same specific circle among the top echelons of the Federation power structure. It's possible some of the unconfirmed ones are being played rather than actively involved, but someone - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - with the record and intelligence of Admiral Seviar...it's more likely he's privy to their plans." Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps. And why is it you call them infiltrators exactly?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"That's a good question. I think that's just because we initially assumed them to be. But among the Republic personnel we've captured, we can't find any evidence that they aren't exactly who they - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - claim to be. No signs that they've been replaced or were planted for nefarious purposes. It's looking more likely to be some sort of intergalactic secret society, crossing the borders of - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - multiple Alpha and Beta Quadrant powers. We...just got used to using the term for a lack of understanding what they really are." Mischa@crystyl:"I understand, well thank you for the shared intelligence. This should help bluff our way past them once this initial ploy is done" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I hope so. You'll be arriving at the Justicar in a little over three hours. Enjoy your tea, Commander." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I shall, thank you" raising the cup before taking another sip Sierra Reyes@anncaris turns to leave, the hologram flickering away as she does, leaving the drone to float out the door --- Romulan@annpc#557 | Three hours later, Mischa is called to the bridge of the warbird Mischa@crystyl steps off the lift, looking around Romulan@annpc#557 | The lift door opens to Calvum waiting nearby. Though dark, the scene of 'carnage' on the rest of the bridge is all too clear, with Remans sprawled on consoles or laying on the ground, their - Romulan@annpc#557 - uniforms torn and with blackened holes. Smatterings of what look like green Romulanoid blood have been painted near the better-lit areas where they are visible Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "We're almost there. You should contact your ship formally this time, let them know you've 'taken over.'â€ Mischa@crystyl looks around, "An impressive display. Is this all supposed to have been my handiwork?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "With a little help from that AI of yours." Romulan@annpc#557 | Commander Kiamex looks up from her position on the floor, "We had to make it look convincing. My crew would never go down without a fight." Mischa@crystyl hrms, "Then you must do one thing for me" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "What is it?" Mischa@crystyl:"Hit me" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum nods and promptly slams Mischa across the face, "Apologies. I'm sure your doctors can take care of the bruising easily enough once you return." Mischa@crystyl staggers sideways with the impact, bracing against the wall. She chews her lip and nods, "Good" she finishes by yanking one sleeve of her jacket to almost tear it off at the shoulder, "As the - Mischa@crystyl:- Commander said, you would not go down without a fight. I'm good, but a whole bridge of Romulan and Reman elite in close quarters? Even I would struggle to come out of that unscathed" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Agreed." He draws his disruptor and moves to hand it to Mischa before he glances around, then promptly fires at an unoccupied console Romulan@annpc#557 | Kiamex: "Hey!" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "A sparking console makes it look more authentic as well. It won't be much more to repair on top of dropping your singularity core." Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum hands the disruptor over to Mischa, "You'll want this, too." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, pulling a pin from her hair bun and ruffling it up before taking it, "Thank you. Alright, show time" she moves to a station Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum steps aside and out of view, letting Mischa contact the Latenter Mischa@crystyl taps away, opening up an encrypted channel, "Leveson-Scott to Latenter. Please respond, this is an Alpha-one priority" Romulan@annpc#557 | A few seconds later, Yuzuki appears on the viewscreen, seated in the Latenter's command chair, "Mischa? What happened over there?" Mischa@crystyl appears braced against the console, still catching her breath, "They were not so happy when they realized I wasn't the Commander they were looking for" Romulan@annpc#557 | Yuzuki nods, "I can imagine...are you alright? Do we need to extract you or send reinforcements to that ship?" Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "Negative, maintain relative position and cloak. It wasn't easy, but I managed to get a comm through to you a while ago now. Sorry I couldn't say hello at the time, but I was on - Mischa@crystyl:- the clock and needed to link Acey into the systems here. With her assistance, I now have control of the warbird" she grins, "And we already on course to rendezvous with the Justicar" Romulan@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "So that's where we're headed. Commander Reyes wanted a word with her old friend, I take it?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, it seems they were going to try and sway her too so she would abandon Starfleet and join their cause. But now we can end this before the Justicar gets any more future tech upgrades" Romulan@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "They're upgrading themselves with future technology? I assume they don't know we're coming." Mischa@crystyl:"They are expecting the rendezvous with the warbird of course, but otherwise no; we have a complete element of surprise and I plan to seize that opportunity. I'm going to disable the comm relay here - Mischa@crystyl:- so they will think it took damage. Once I draw into range of the Justicar, I'll be able to hit them with a precision strike before they even suspect anything let alone prepare defenses or raise - Mischa@crystyl:- shields. During that opening chaos, I want you decloak and join the attack. We will disable them and then take Reyes into custody" Romulan@annpc#557 | Yuzuki nods, "Understood, Commander. Time to arrival?" Mischa@crystyl sets the Romulan disruptor down on top of the console, and taps, "At our present speed, eta is... 12 minutes" Romulan@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "We'll be standing by to engage when you do. Good luck, Mischa." Mischa@crystyl:"One more thing Yuzuchan, with the comms blackout I'll be unable to contact you if we hit any troubles here. Even with Acey's help this is a lot of warbird for just us to manage, let alone in - Mischa@crystyl:- combat. I'll be relying on you to keep a set of eyes of on me and pull me out if you see this ship faltering" Romulan@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "Of course. The Justicar's a formidable ship, even without modifications, and that's a scout warbird. If we see you in trouble, you can count on us to get you out." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I can always count on you Yuzuchan. Stay strong, stay focused and I'll see you on the other side of this" Romulan@annpc#557 | Yuzuki smiles back, "See you soon, Mischa." Mischa@crystyl closes the comm, "Alright, now for the fun part. Good show Commander - all of you - and the console definitely helped" she smirks to Calvum Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum smirks back as he steps out of view, "Now onto the second stage of the show..." Mischa@crystyl:"I would offer to help, but something tells me I'd just get in the way" Romulan@annpc#557 | The bridge officers get back up, returning to their stations while looking like walking corpses Romulan@annpc#557 | Kiamex smiles, "We've got this handled. You've played your part well, Commander, and I hope your officers back on your ship are just as good." Mischa@crystyl heads around to the back where she can stay out of their way, "I just hope I haven't strung them along for no reason. Don't worry, Acey and Orianni have got us covered from the Latenter" --- Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Twelve minutes later, the Latenter drops out of warp. The decloaked warbird is on the viewscreen in front of them, slowly moving towards the familiar shape of an Avenger-class cruiser Rianni@crystyl:"There it is, just as the Commander anticipated. Tactical systems are standing by" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "Be ready to decloak and fire as soon as the Commander launches her attack from the warbird." Rianni@crystyl:"We'll be ready" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | As they come closer, the modifications of the Justicar become clear as elements of a very Romulan-looking green glow come from its hull. Much of its hull plating is also reading as Romulan - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - composition rather than Starfleet, but its tactical systems still seem to be more or less Starfleet, using phaser weaponry Goto Yuzuki@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/Wf2zBOZ.jpg Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | As expected the Justicar's shields do not seem to be raised, at least from the Latenter's readings Rianni@crystyl:"So far so good..." she mutters, tense with anticipation Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The warbird edges ever closer to the 'unsuspecting' Justicar. Suddenly at near point-blank range, it flares up as a glowing high-yield plasma torpedo is fired from it, followed by a barrage - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - from its forward facing disruptors. The torpedo slams straight into the front of the Justicar's saucer. Ori's readings show all save two of the Justicar's forward cannons, their heaviest - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - weapons, going offline immediately. The disruptors meanwhile seem to cripple the Justicar's deflector dish Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Now! Target the nacelles and make sure they can't escape!" Rianni@crystyl:"The Justicar has taken heavy damage! Multiple weapon systems offline and main deflector is fried! Launching attack pattern gamme" she taps quickly, decloaking the Latenter on the Justicar's - Rianni@crystyl:- port-aft and hitting the nearest nacelle with a rapid volley of 'full power' cannon fire Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The cannon shots batter the Justicar's nacelle, and on the viewscreen its lights flicker erratically before going out, with a trail of plasma leaking out behind it. Armour plating deploys over - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the exposed lit parts of the other nacelle, but it is already too late- Ori's sensors show that the Justicar is no longer fit for warp Rianni@crystyl:"That's done it Commander, they aren't going anywhere" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | As the warbird turns to break off after its point-blank attack, the Justicar grabs it in a tractor beam and begins battering away at it with its two remaining cannons, as well as several - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - beams. The bridge shakes as the Latenter is hit by the rogue battlecrusier's aft beams, lowering shields to 85% Rianni@crystyl:"Shields holding at 85%. They are trying to even the odds it seems" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Evasive maneuvers. Bring us to their starboard side and try to take out those remaining cannons. The warbird won't be able to take much more of it." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Nethay nods and dodges several more beams, though a few find their mark and the shields drop down to 80. The warbird's shields are quickly failing, but they manage to polarize their hull and - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - wriggle free of the tractor beam. It darts away from the cannons' reach, but a few beams catch the warbird, punching through its shields and landing a hit on its engines, causing it to begin - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - swerving Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Latenter's bridge rocks again as the shield goes down to 75%, but they are in position to fire on the Justicar's remaining cannons Rianni@crystyl hits the Justicar with multiple royal blue phaser beams as the Latenter rolls up and over with Nethay's maneuvering before targeting the remaining weapons arrays with a brighter blue overcharged - Rianni@crystyl:- and concentrated beam Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The Justicar manages to hit the Latenter with a few cannon shots despite Nethay's maneuvering, its powerful cannons lowering the shields to near 50% in just a few hits. However, Ori's shots - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - completely destroy the Justicar's cannons before they can manage more hits, along with multiple beam arrays on the starboard side Rianni@crystyl:"That's the heavy cannons down!" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Good work, Ensign." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The Justicar breaks away from the Latenter, chasing after the damaged warbird Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Now target the engines and-" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The Justicar manages to get the warbird on its port side and fires its remaining weapons, one of the beams tearing off a wing. Both the warbird and the Justicar's hull integrity are beginning - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - to read as dangerously low. If prisoners aren't extracted from the Justicar, there may not be another chance to do so, and same with Mischa on the warbird Rianni@crystyl:"They're tearing themselves apart! Reading massive structural integrity failure on both ships!" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Belay my previous order. Get Mischa out of there first and try to identify Commander Reyes and beam her into the brig." Rianni@crystyl:"Refocusing tactical sensors to support transporter lock" Rianni@crystyl | Victoria, "I have the Commander!" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The warbird's singularity containment begins to collapse. Meanwhile, power begins to fail across the Justicar and its engines go down without requiring any additional effort from the Latenter. - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - The crippled Justicar starts drifting towards the warbird... Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"What about Reyes?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Victoria shakes her head, "The plasma and radiation leak is interfering with our transporter locks. I can't get anyone on the Justicar." Rianni@crystyl:"The warbird's singularity is going critical! It's going to breach!" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Can we tow the Justicar out of the collapse radius?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | T'Bee: "There is not enough ti-" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | On the viewscreen, the badly damaged Justicar collides with the small warbird. Mere seconds later, the singularity goes critical, creating a miniature black hole like formation which swells larger - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - as the warbird crumples and is sucked in. Then, the Justicar begins to crumple as well, its hull deforming and breaking apart from the intense gravitational forces, then disappears into the - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - singularity. Shuttlecraft and escape pods seem to launch, but none of them can escape the force of the singularity as they are all pulled in Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | The viewscreen lights up with a bright flash as the singularity collapses, leaving nothing behind Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Any survivors?" Rianni@crystyl:"Scanning the area..." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | There are no survivors. The only thing remaining are three small fragments of what seem to be the Justicar's hull, with one of them giving off readings of damage by Federation phaser weaponry, - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - seemingly a finishing touch left behind by the Justicar's crew as some 'evidence' of their destruction Rianni@crystyl:"Save for a few scraps of debris, nobody would ever know they were even here..." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris sighs, "I suppose that's that. Acey's still here in the Dart, correct? Mischa said she helped take over and pilot the warbird, but I don't think she would've downloaded all of herself onto there." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, it looks like she did most of the work through that initial comm connection. She is a virus by nature so it is natural to surmise that she is able to reproduce and spread like one" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"That's good to hear. At least we didn't lose anyone. And the Commander is fine as well?" Rianni@crystyl | Mischa answers for herself as she enters, still looking thoroughly ragged, "I think I laddered my tights, but I'll live" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris stands and smiles, "Welcome back to the bridge, Commander. I wish we could've taken them in alive, but at least they're no longer a threat." Rianni@crystyl | Mischa nods, stepping over and patting Yuzu on the shoulder - subtly leaning on her a little to sit down - she smiles, "Thank you Yuzuchan, it is indeed regrettable but you are quite right of - Rianni@crystyl:- course; our job was to contain the threat and we have done so" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods back, "Did you learn anything new from the warbird before it was destroyed? Anything about who their Romulan allies are?" Rianni@crystyl | Mischa: "It was as we feared; the Shadow Guard went rogue. Obisek's people were never satisfied with the Republic" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"That explains the Reman elements. I presume there's more of them out there?" Rianni@crystyl | Mischa: "More Shadow Guard, more rogue elements turned to their cause. There is always more dirty work to be done in order to safeguard our future" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"They'll be a problem, but I expect their ability to strike out against Federation targets will be significantly lessened without the Justicar on their side. Did you ever find out what turned Reyes - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - and her mutineers to their side?" Rianni@crystyl | Mischa: "The same thing it always is; expert manipulation of facts to tell a story. They convinced Reyes that the future faction were here trying to destroy everything, corrupting it from within.- Rianni@crystyl:- But that was the one thing we could never get straight, because that would have been undoing their own history. Now we know the truth of it" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"The future technology must still be out there. How do we deal with that?" Rianni@crystyl:"If I'm reading the Commander right, it sounds like we may not have to...?" Rianni@crystyl | Mischa: "Well, maybe. That might be a little premature though Ensign. The future Coalition ship seems to be acting in our interests after all. But we encountered future Romulan elements too in - Rianni@crystyl:- alternate reality, and given the upgrades we saw on the Justicar it is likely that they are here too and that is the true enemy we are yet shut down" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"You think that could be why the Everett didn't want to help us in dealing with the future technology? Because they knew these future Coalition ships are already here and taking care of this - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - particular situation?" Rianni@crystyl | Mischa: "As usual we are limited guesswork, but you can't deny that it's the first theory which actually fits all of the facts" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "It makes sense. There's a lot more work to be done unravelling the temporal part of this, but at least we've dealt with the Justicar for now. There's not much left to clean up- I can file - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- a preliminary report. You should go down to sickbay and get those bruises looked after." Rianni@crystyl | Mischa stands again and nods, "No arguments from me this time. You have the bridge, let's hold here for the time being while we effect repairs and reassess things" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris retakes the seat, "You heard the Commander. And collect those pieces of debris that are left. We don't want the Republic knowing we were ever here, since we technically shouldn't be." Rianni@crystyl:"I can have Acey gather it all up manually. Sticking to sublight engines, she won't leave any lasting energy signatures unlike the cargo transporters" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris smiles, "Good thinking, Ensign. Have it done." --- Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | In sickbay, Buena is treating Mischa's bruises when Commander Tarasenko storms in Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"You destroyed the Justicar? Please tell me you got survivors off that ship..." Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "There is nobody from the Justicar on this ship now. I am sorry Commander" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Why? I thought you wanted to know the reason they went rogue as well, and bring them back into Starfleet custody." Mischa@crystyl:"That is what we tried to do. We had disabled the Justicar but Reyes pursued the seconded warbird with a vengeance. They were too close when the singularity imploded" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"You were on the warbird yourself, weren't you? Someone had to have been commanding that ship and it certainly was not the Remans. How did you get out in time, but no one on the Justicar was beamed - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - out of there?" Mischa@crystyl:"I was extracted first when they detected the buildup of the breach. The team tried to pull the Justicar crew but were unable to get transporter locks. Again, I am sorry this is the result you have - Mischa@crystyl:- been presented with as it is not what we set out to achieve. But as regrettable as this is, we are where we are" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Look me in the eye and tell me this really wasn't what you were after all along. That you weren't sent out here to destroy the Justicar and everyone on board to clear the stain of an active rogue - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- Starfleet ship and were just using me to get here." Mischa@crystyl stands from the bed, calmly stepping forwards and holding Alex' eyes with her own every moment. Calmly and honestly stating, "We were sent out here to investigate the problem and stop it. Though - Mischa@crystyl:- that order may have carried and undertone of 'by any means necessary', I can honestly tell you that not once along the way have I ever resolved to destroying the Justicar and-or harming or killing- Mischa@crystyl:- a single member of her crew" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"I can never tell when you intel types are lying..." she takes a seat on a nearby stool and sighs. "I've seen more than enough combat to know how hectic things can get. Battles rarely go according - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- plan and the unexpected happens all the time. And I don't suppose negotiation was an option, since you'd probably lose without the element of surprise." Mischa@crystyl:"We did a lot of tactical analysis and even with using the warbird with aa surprise attack it was far from a secure victory" she places a sympathetic hand on Alex' shoulder, "I do regret putting you- Mischa@crystyl:- through this. I don't know if it will help now, but for what it is worth I genuinely believe that one day we will look back to this moment with a much more reflective context" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "At least tell me you have some idea of why she went rogue and sided with these Remans." Mischa@crystyl:"Not as much as I would like. But I believe that - true to fashion - she believed she was acting for the greater good of the galaxy" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"How does working with Romulans and Remans achieve that?" Mischa@crystyl:"That is the part I am not yet clear on. Our job here is not yet done Commander, but there is no need to put you through any more. We can return you to your ship while working out our next move" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "As much as I'd like to take these Remans down and find out just exactly what they offered to tempt Sierra on their side, I'll probably be in enough trouble as is with Command after - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - rushing over to Nuvan's base. Going back is probably for the best." Mischa@crystyl:"For what it's worth; your resilience, fortitude and adaptability will be commended in my own mission reports. That will be fed back to SFC to offset any doubt regarding your actions" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Thank you, Commander. If you need any help from us with this group, just let me know. I'm sure you can handle yourselves, but most of us on DS16 have plenty of experience dealing with Romulans and - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - Remans. And we know our area of operation." Mischa@crystyl:"I appreciate that Commander. Don't worry, I am confident we will work together again" she smiles faintly Alex Tarasenko@anncaris stands, "Let's hope next time things go a little more according to plan. How /did/ you take over that warbird to begin with? I know you intel agents are good, but not /that/ good." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed, even I am not that good. I got a discrete comm out and brought Acey back with me. As an Iconian virus at her core, she was able to effect rudimentary control over the warbird's systems" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Acey is an Iconian virus? And here I thought she was just a sentient hologram. Isn't she one of the EMH variants?" Mischa@crystyl:"She incorporated an EMH program when she first became sentient. That went on to become her avatar when we helped facilitate her transition" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"I've never heard of an Iconian virus becoming sentient. Or any virus, for that matter. If Sierra were here, I'm sure she'd be quite fascinated by all this." Mischa@crystyl:"No doubt. Acey is truly unique, and in a sense owes her existence now to this whole series of events" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Really? Was it some Iconian technology you came across on your search out here?" Mischa@crystyl:"Not us exactly. There was a facility which came under attack by this rogue force. To better defend themselves they rushed through an ambitious plan to augment an Iconian virus they were studying - Mischa@crystyl:- with the mapping of a positronic net from a Soong-type android. The result was typically volatile, but Acey came into being and has continued to grow as a person in our company" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"So that's why she has those android-looking eyes and slightly inhuman skin tone. I thought that was unusual for an EMH avatar." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Yes, being a naturally quick study it did not take her long to latch on to the concept of biological parenthood and the idea that children carry traits from both parents. As the child of - Mischa@crystyl:- an Iconian virus and a Soong android, she decided that her normal appearance should reflect that" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"She sounds quite interesting. Lifeforms and programming isn't my area of expertise, but I'll see if I can get to know her a little better while I'm here. You're welcome to call me if you need - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - anything from me in the meantime." Mischa@crystyl:"I will do so Commander, thank you. As soon as we're ready to depart we'll make for a rendezvous to return you to your ship" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods and turns to head out --- Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Later in the day, Yuzuki calls Mischa to the ready room Mischa@crystyl strolls in, quirking a look at Yuzu behind her desk, "Trying it on for size?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris chuckles, "Nah, just borrowing the desk to file the reports," she smiles. "We have the same access levels, so don't worry. I won't see anything I shouldn't. Unless you have something personal on - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - your console," she stands Mischa@crystyl:"My personal files are on my personal computer. Thank you for handling the reports, but I'm sure you didn't want to talk about those" she moves to make a tea Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"As I'd have thought. No, I called you here because Commodore Fox wants to talk and congratulate you on dealing with the Justicar." Mischa@crystyl turns back, sipping her tea, "Good news travels faster than I ever I see" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "That it does. I can let him know if you're ready, and he'll get on the line." Mischa@crystyl gestures with a smile, "By all means" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris taps on the console a few times, "He should be with us in a few minutes. How're you doing after your mission on the warbird? Getting through all these Remans and Romulans and then commanding - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - that warbird in the battle must have been quite the challenge, even with Acey's help." Mischa@crystyl:"It was not my cleanest work, I'll be the first to admit. But needs-must" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "It wasn't the cleanest operation overall, but it got us the Justicar in the end." Mischa@crystyl:"That it did, but the Justicar was just one ship. This Romulan snake still has it's head somewhere" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Indeed. If only we saved the warbird or the Justicar, that could've provided us a way in with them." Mischa@crystyl:"That was the necessary risk of our plan. We will just have to pick up the search anew" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"I hope it'll be easier from this point now that we have an idea of who they are." Mischa@crystyl:"You and I both. It might even easier still if we were able to reach out to our future friends" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"You mean the ship from Mirhassa who you suspect to be helping us?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "It all makes perfect sense now with the Romulan rogues confirmed. They are - most likely - a future Coalition ship sent back to preserve the integrity of the timeline by eliminating the - Mischa@crystyl:- Romulan threat. Ergo, one must assume that our mission will be unsuccessful without their intervention too" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"It also makes sense why they didn't damage us at all, just drained our power enough for them to make their escape unseen." Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly, yes. They needed us to catch up to the point where we are on the same page" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris looks back to the console as it chimes and turns it around, "Looks like Fox is ready for us now." She takes a seat in front of the desk Mischa@crystyl sits beside her, looking to the screen Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | A few seconds later, Commodore Fox appears on the viewscreen, dressed in his SFI uniform, "Commander Leveson-Scott. Commander Goto. Congratulations on your neutralization of the Justicar." Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you Commodore" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Fox: "Have you obtained any actionable intelligence on the Shadow Guard from their warbird before it was destroyed?" Mischa@crystyl:"Regrettably not, Sir. They were predictably close-lipped around me" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Fox: "And I would expect the data available on their ship to be just as compartmentalized as that of the Tal Shiar?" Mischa@crystyl:"Possibly even moreso as we seem to be dealing with a new generation of Romulan Intelligence. Our people spacewalked onto the hull of that ship and it paralleled the Latenter for it's surveillance - Mischa@crystyl:- capability despite having less than half the hull surface to mount palettes on" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Fox nods, "A formidable threat indeed. With the ships they are fielding, you surmized that they must possess some form of shipbuilding facility, possibly even on the scale of the Vault." Mischa@crystyl:"That still seems the most plausible scenario" she nods, "I did learn that they are not focused on the system where we encountered the alternate timeline vault. That one was destroyed by Hobus here" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Fox: "We have sent operatives into the known Vault before, and none have obtained any data on other similar facilities. It would seem the Vaults are not aware of one another. However Obisek - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - and his Remans learned of the one used by the Shadow Guard now, it was not from their time in that facility. Find this Vault, Commander. I do not expect you to take it down on your own, but - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- these facilities are not mobile. Identify its location first, and we will determine our course of action from there." Mischa@crystyl:"Understood. What of the future faction presence/s?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Fox: "Commander Goto tells me you believe the future Coalition vessels to be aiding us?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "It is the only theory that fits the facts. I do not know for certain without establishing contact, but based on observations I currently suspect that this is a future Coalition vessel here - Mischa@crystyl:- preserve the integrity of future history" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Fox: "If that is the case, perhaps it will be kind enough to deal with the Vault for us, once you discover its location. I must only presume that it has not yet acted because it also does not - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - know where to go. For the time being, do not engage it unless it engages you first. I have briefed the Department of Temporal Investigations on their presence." Mischa@crystyl:"Understood Sir, I am hopeful that now we are caught up to where we need to be on current events, we will soon be able to establish contact" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Fox: "If it is truly here to help us, I would not be surprised if they decided to show themselves at the Vault. Such a facility would require multiple fleets of modern starships to take down, - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- to say nothing of any defending vessels around it, and any victory would come at a tremendous cost of life. These ships likely operate under the Temporal Prime Directive, or a variant of it. They - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - will show themselves only when absolutely necessary." Mischa@crystyl:"We shall see what happens then" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Fox: "Focus your efforts on finding the Vault for now. Good luck, Commanders. Fox out." Mischa@crystyl:"Well" she sips, "We had best develop some new leads then" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "It seems so. I don't know if what Eirril has is relevant, but he wanted to see us too. I thought we should probably talk to the Commodore first." Mischa@crystyl:"Good call. Want to head down there now?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Let's go." --- Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Mischa and Yuzuki make their way to the cell room, where Eirril is busying himself with work, surveillance footage, communications and data streams displayed across multiple monitors in the room Mischa@crystyl:"Eirril, Yuzuchan tells me you have timely news for us?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril nods, "I'm not sure about the timely part, but I do have something for you," he motions them closer Mischa@crystyl steps over curiously Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril pulls up a personnel file, "I've been looking into Lieutenant Ashley Hall. Nothing jumps out from her record, so I started looking into her parents. Once again, nothing. Fairly ordinary - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - officers, served a few tours in Starfleet and then retired to Mantilles colony. It was all too normal." Mischa@crystyl:"A cozy cover?" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "That's what I thought too, but the Halls have a full civilian life on Mantilles, complete with civilian jobs, a home, all that. I was looking into every element of the Halls family - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - and then it finally started adding up. The first red flag was in several of Jacob Hall's comm messages where he says he served on the Endeavour. He never served on the Endeavour, he served on - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the /Endurance/. He hasn't been diagnosed with any neural degenerative disorder so his memory should be fine, and you and I both know people don't mix up the names of the ships they served on - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - like that. A slip in one conversation, maybe, but this was like a dozen messages over the course of a few months." Mischa@crystyl:"Definitely a red flag" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "The second one came up as I was checking to make sure Jacob Hall didn't have any neural disorders. I found a medical condition his wife has, Laruva Syndrome. It's practically unheard - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - of in humans, there's no way to develop it unless they've been exposed to a very specific set of conditions, but it's very common among older Orion females." Mischa@crystyl:"Orions? Huh" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "I passed on the files to medical specialists who work for the Network. It's not a certain conclusion, but the medical conditions and treatments the Halls have match those that - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - commonly surface in operatives who live out their lives after undergoing species reassignment surgery." Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "I don't think the Halls are on Mantilles at all." Mischa@crystyl:"That follows" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril: "I'm still trying to work on where the real Halls are, if they're even still alive or in our timeline. So far, nothing. I'm afraid that's all I have for now, but I thought you'd want - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - to know. If Ashley Hall is a proven conspirator and her parents are suspicious too...whatever's going on, these people must've been planted in the Federation decades ago. For what purpose I - Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - can only imagine." Mischa@crystyl:"Keep digging Eirril, this could give us a valuable lead to our current task if we can identify an origin" Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Eirril nods, "I'll keep you informed if anything else comes up."
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Alyssa@crystyl | On board the Loki there is an air of routine about the place while the ship travels. Giving TL some time to explore and relax T'Lana@anncaris enters the mess hall and makes her way over to the replicator, where she replicates a bowl of plomeek soup Alyssa@crystyl looking around she would see the usual small groups of established social circles enjoying each others company, and a lone Vulcan sitting at an otherwise empty table sipping at a spiced tea T'Lana@anncaris spots the lone Vulcan, picking up the tray with her soup and making her way over, "Hello Lieutenant. Do you mind if I join you?" Alyssa@crystyl looks up, sizing her up briefly, "I have no objection" returning to sip her tea, casting a second glance to the stranger as she sips T'Lana@anncaris sets down her tray, sitting opposite her fellow Vulcan, "I did not know whether you are waiting for someone or have decided to sit on your own." Alyssa@crystyl:"If I did not know better I would think that were an attempt at humour" T'Lana@anncaris picks up her spoon, taking a sip of her soup, "I would like to believe that my humour has become better than that after spending significant time among other cultures. I am genuinely curious as - T'Lana@anncaris - to why you are seated alone.â€ Alyssa@crystyl:"I find the odour... difficult to suffer. Distancing myself from others and filling my sinuses with the aroma of a strong spiced tea just about affords me the indulgence of observing others" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I understand. Have you spoken with the medical personnel concerning prescriptions or salves to manage our natural sense of smell?" Alyssa@crystyl:"No, I prefer not to dull the natural senses. Meditation and careful application of non-medical measures through a strict regime help keep the mind focused" T'Lana@anncaris takes another sip of soup, "Do you interact with the crew often outside of your duties, or do you prefer to observe?" Alyssa@crystyl shakes her head, "No, I mostly meditate or study in my quarters. However, part of my agreement with the CMO for not using medical means to dull my senses is that I attend social forums such as this- Alyssa@crystyl:- on a... strongly negotiated schedule" T'Lana@anncaris:"I see. So your presence here is mandatory, then?" Alyssa@crystyl:"That would not be an inaccurate term for it" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Are you more comfortable with the presence of other Vulcans, or do you prefer solitude in any situation?" Alyssa@crystyl:"I have grown accustomed to my own company and harbor no desires for companionship" T'Lana@anncaris takes another spoonful of soup, "May I ask why that is?" Alyssa@crystyl:"You may" she notes flatly, sipping her tea T'Lana@anncaris:"Is it due to negative experiences or simply a personal preference?" Alyssa@crystyl:"I have no idea really, it is simply how I am and have always been" T'Lana@anncaris:"Then it is a part of your personality. Thank you for satisfying my curiosity. I hope my presence is not too uncomfortable for you." Alyssa@crystyl:"It is not. It will also earn me a little grace from medical scrutiny so could be argued to in fact be quite welcome" T'Lana@anncaris:"I shall keep that in mind. My assignment to this vessel is not intended to be permanent, but knowing the crew better will still help my performance while I am here. What is your name, Lieutenant?" Alyssa@crystyl:"Alyssa" T'Lana@anncaris:"And your position on the Loki?" Alyssa@crystyl:"I am an analyst" T'Lana@anncaris:"You work with data more often than personnel, I assume." Alyssa@crystyl nods, "Yes, almost exclusively. There are of course other analysts who I have to work with when duty requires it" T'Lana@anncaris:"I can see why such a role would appeal to you. Thank you again for entertaining my questions, Alyssa. I will try not to disturb you often, though if I see you in the mess in the future, I may - T'Lana@anncaris - approach on occasion if it helps satisfy Medical's requirements for you." Alyssa@crystyl:"I would not object. It would be appropriate for me to enquire about your identity and role now would it not?" T'Lana@anncaris:"I am Commander T'Lana, temporarily assigned as executive officer in place of Commander Goto." Alyssa@crystyl:"That explains why I have not seen Commander Goto following her usual schedule. Hm, I believe that satisfied a point of social curiosity" she perks a brow, "Fascinating" T'Lana@anncaris:"I expect you are now curious as to the reason she has been transferred?" Alyssa@crystyl:"Since you already stated your presence as temporary it is logical to assume that Commander Goto was required to work an assignment away from the Loki since our mission at that time was simply to - Alyssa@crystyl:- relieve the Latenter. It would follow that she left with that ship in your place to provide specialist expertise unique to her past experience but not your own" T'Lana@anncaris:"An excellent conclusion. The same logic applies to my presence as well, due to my experience in this region." Alyssa@crystyl:"True, but if it were only your expertise being required here, then Commander Goto would still be following her regular routine" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "It was a mutually beneficial exchange." Alyssa@crystyl:"As - I believe - this has been" she stands, "Good day Commander" depositing her cup and heading out without so much as another word T'Lana@anncaris raises a brow before returning to eating her soup