After another infiltrator is exposed on a DSEC vessel, the fleet is put under lockdown as Starfleet begins an investigation. However, Keelah and Enelya begins to suspect that the entire situation may be orchestrated by the infiltrators to begin with, who are seeking to delay them from unraveling this conspiracy...
NPC@annpc#557 | In an unfamiliar-looking office, the mysterious man referred to as the Chief sits with his hands folded, staring at his console. Once again, the camera is positioned behind him so that his - NPC@annpc#557 - face is concealed NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Watson, who was previously seen at their meeting as well as with LCDR Hall while discussing the fate of Ashley Hall, appears on his screen. Beside her stands a female Vulcan wearing a - NPC@annpc#557 - similar uniform without the white stripe NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "Two dead, five wounded /and/ you have lost control of the Kratt?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "It was all going according to plan, Admiral. We did not expect-" NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "Did not expect the Aethon to return with a method to evade detection? Tell me, Captain, what /did/ you expect? They are Starfleet! They are of the same blood and flesh as we are. Did - NPC@annpc#557 - any of us give up when the odds seemed insurmountable? Did we ever run away with our tail between our legs when threatened by a superior force?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "I'm sorry, Chief. It will not happen again." NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "No. It will not. You're relieved of your command, Captain Watson. Commander V'Dena, you are hereby promoted to the field commission of Captain." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Admiral, please-" NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "You have failed us twice. You will not be given the opportunity to do so a third time." NPC@annpc#557 | The Chief taps the console, abruptly ending the call. He sits back for a moment, staring ahead. His right hand reaches over for a glass on his desk. He takes a long, slow sip from the glass, - NPC@annpc#557 - sets it back down, and taps the console again NPC@annpc#557 | This time, Commodore Fox appears on the screen, dressed in his SFI uniform NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "The Valley Forge is becoming quite a thorn in our side, my old friend." NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "Indeed it is." NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "Our plans have been forced to change over the last few months. Do you have anyone you can burn?" NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "I can spare Lieutenant Chavez on the Ankara. His exposure will not put anyone else at risk, and we no longer have a need for him in that role." NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "Excellent. Have preparations made for an 'accidental' exposure and extraction." NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "May I ask what purpose this serves?" NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "We cannot harm the Valley Forge or her crew, nor do I wish to even if such an option would not be more disruptive than the trouble they are causing us. But what we /can/ do is drown - NPC@annpc#557 - them in red tape. They are still a Starfleet vessel, subject to all the bureaucracy of the Federation. A bureaucracy /we/ control." NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "Would such an option not affect Operation Alpha Strike?" NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "I'll ensure that it's resolved beforehand. This is a contingency I hoped we wouldn't have to use, but I'm left with little choice." NPC@annpc#557 | Fox nods, "It will be done, Chief." NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "I know I can always count on you, Aka." --- NPC@annpc#557 | The Valley Forge still sits in orbit above Widhar, having completed their mission to return the artifacts and communicate with the Kratt, but still awaiting the return of the Aethon. In the - NPC@annpc#557 - background, the Gallant can also be seen in drydock, her hull now fully repaired though there is still some shuttle activity around the ship indicating additional work being done on it NPC@annpc#557 | The camera moves across the Valley Forge's hull and into the ready room, where Keelah sits and works away at her desk. As she does, her combadge sounds Keelah@crystyl taps, "Se'Lai" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "Captain, we've just received priority orders through the comm buoy, as well as a communications channel from Admiral Torin." Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you Eva, please patch it through in here" NPC@annpc#557 | A few seconds later, Enelya appears on Keelah's console, "Captain. I assume you've just received the priority orders?" Keelah@crystyl:"Yes Admiral, they arrived along with your hail so are just appearing on my console now" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "Another infiltrator was recently uncovered among the crew of the USS Ankara, one Lieutenant Rodrigo Chavez. An emergency meeting was held among the Admiralty earlier. All DSEC vessels - NPC@annpc#557 - have been ordered to either return to the Heart of Unity or the nearest friendly port of call to await a full investigation by a joint team of Starfleet Security, Starfleet Intelligence and - NPC@annpc#557 - JAG officers." Keelah@crystyl:"Indeed? Forgive my saying so Admiral, but does this not seem like a typically bureaucratic overreaction? Or is there some further significance to this one particular discovery?" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "Not that I know of. If anything, the discovery of Lieutenant Hall's sabotage was much more significant than this, but now that a second infiltrator has been identified on one of our - NPC@annpc#557 - ships, they think all of DSEC is infested with spies. I tried to convince them that an external investigation wasn't necessary for crews with as many telepaths as yours, but Admiral Seviar's - NPC@annpc#557 - been keeping up with your reports. He pointed out Ensign Sin's infiltration and the Architect's deception and used that to convince everyone that no ship's beyond suspicion." Keelah@crystyl:"If no ship is beyond suspicion, then it is only logical to surmise that - whatever the source of this infiltration - it is not limited to DESC or regional operations out here. How can we certain of- Keelah@crystyl:- the impartiality of any investigators?" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "We can't, but when I brought this up Seviar just claimed all the officers for the investigation will be carefully screened. I tried to remind them of the mess caused by major internal - NPC@annpc#557 - investigations in the past like Admiral Satie's investigation of the Enterprise-D, but they're just dead set on conducting some sort of investigation." Keelah@crystyl:"I do not like this Admiral, this whole investigation feels more suspect than anything that is to be the subject of the investigation. We will comply with your orders, of course. I assume being such- Keelah@crystyl:- a formal proceeding, that everything will be conducted correctly and the sanctity of privacy and individual rights will not be impeached?" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "I'll make sure it is. I don't want to give these orders either, but I have to comply with the other Admiralty myself. Just between you and me- I'm a little suspicious about the timing - NPC@annpc#557 - of all this. Lieutenant Chavez was exposed just a few days after the Aethon managed to free the Kratt. And the ship the Aethon encountered had similar capabilities to the ships responsible for - NPC@annpc#557 - evacuating Hall and Chavez. I have no evidence to back this up, but it feels like someone wants to ground us because we're interfering with whatever they're up to. As you said, if they have - NPC@annpc#557 - infiltrators on our ships, they could have people anywhere in Starfleet, including Starfleet Command." Keelah@crystyl:"Are we permitted to know the details of Chavez' unveiling?" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya nods, "Starfleet Intelligence has classified the report, but all ship captains have the required classification. I'm forwarding you the report now, just don't share it with your crew." Keelah@crystyl:"Understood. I doubt I will be able to glean anything from it, but the least I can do is review it for anything anomalous. You know, besides the whole convenience of it all" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "I agree. Look into it however you can, Captain." Keelah@crystyl:"And one more request Admiral before you go" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "What's that?" Keelah@crystyl:"Utilize our newer allies to independently investigate - the infiltration, and our own investigation. There are good people among them who we can trust, and who are disassociated enough from us to - Keelah@crystyl:- be deemed relatively free of suspicion themselves" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya nods, "A good suggestion. The orders only apply to DSEC vessels as well- QanwI' and the Aethon, when returned to her original Coalition crew, can also conduct an investigation of their - NPC@annpc#557 - own out where you are, though judging from the Aethon's report, I doubt there's much of a trail to follow in regards to the mystery ship." Keelah@crystyl:"You are probably right, Admiral. Rest assured I will ensure that all commanding officers in my detachment conduct themselves accordingly" Keelah@crystyl says with a small knowing smile at the unspoken implication of the statement NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "I'll leave things here in your capable hands then, Captain. Good luck." Keelah@crystyl:"To us all, Admiral" --- Romulan@annpc#557 | Back in the Heart of Unity, Enelya first approaches the Romulans, because who better to ask for rooting out infiltrators. To ensure privacy, she beams over to the RRW Deihu for an in-person - Romulan@annpc#557 - meeting with Commander Nadel... Enelya@crystyl materializes inside Nadel's ready room Romulan@annpc#557 | Nadel is waiting behind her desk. She looks up with a smile as Enelya transports in, "Welcome to the Deihu, Admiral. Normally you Starfleet-types don't tend to prefer doing things the more - Romulan@annpc#557 - cryptic Romulan way. To what do I owe this rare pleasure?" Enelya@crystyl:"I thought you might appreciate the less traditional approach, Commander. As you have no doubt already surmised, I have come to ask something of you in an... unofficial capacity" Romulan@annpc#557 | Nadel nods, "Most unusual for a Starfleet Admiral, especially one that isn't with Starfleet Intelligence. It must be quite the occasion to necessitate such a visit." Enelya@crystyl unclips her combadge and lays it on the desk, "What visit, Commander? I was never here" she smiles Romulan@annpc#557 | Nadel smiles back and nods, "Of course. So what might the theoretical subject of this conversation that never happened be about?" Enelya@crystyl takes out a PADD that she leaves on the desk as well, "It is a funny thing, this recent business with the Challenger and the betrayal of one of her officers by this unseen enemy who created mayhem - Enelya@crystyl:- for even the most powerful battleships at the Heart when evacuating. Even more curiously, another infiltrator has conveniently appeared on another of my starships. Conveniently grounding my fleet - Enelya@crystyl:- and forcing open access to a group of outside investigators. Commander, I believe you are someone who shares my disbelief in coincidences" Romulan@annpc#557 | Nadel nods, "Indeed, especially so many of them. You're concerned these investigators may be infiltrators themselves, and this entire investigation is simply an attempt to prevent you from - Romulan@annpc#557 - dealing with this new enemy." Enelya@crystyl:"The investigators themselves may be genuine, they may not be. Those steering events may - or may not - be. You are undoubtedly more familiar with this little dance than I. But you are right insofar - Enelya@crystyl:- that I do believe someone is forcing events down this path in order to impede our activities out here. If that is so, it could put everything at risk - not just DSEC, or just Starfleet. None of us- Enelya@crystyl:- want that I am sure. So... since I was never here, I could never have asked you anything directly. But now that you happen to have learned about this little suspicious mystery, I hope that you - Enelya@crystyl:- might find yourself suitably inclined to unravel that mystery" Romulan@annpc#557 | Nadel: "You do know how to pique a Romulan's interest," she smirks. "Yes, we shall be certain to look further into it." Enelya@crystyl:"Thank you Commander, I know you will appreciate the sensitivity of this situation from my very being here. I hope I am wrong in all of this, but my spots have been tingling ever since that ship - Enelya@crystyl:-first appeared around the Challenger. And I trust my spots" she smiles, standing and retrieving her combadge which she clips back to her tunic with a chirp, "It has been a pleasure as always to - Enelya@crystyl:-- catch up with Commander, we must do so again some time" Romulan@annpc#557 | Nadel: "Likewise, Admiral. If you need anything else looked into unofficially." Enelya@crystyl:"I know exactly who to come to. Good luck out there Commander" she taps her combadge, "One to beam back" --- NPC@annpc#557 | On the Aethon, the regular bridge crew are all gathered on the bridge as they draw closer to Widhar. Jatila joins them as well, observing the return NPC@annpc#557 | As they travel, the Dunishai comm officer announces, "Captain. There are Starfleet orders coming through the comm buoy. From your admiral, not the Valley Forge." Rianni@crystyl:"Orders direct from the Admiral? This is... unexpected" NPC@annpc#557 | Dunishai: "It seems all vessels of your Deep Space Exploratory Corps is being ordered to the nearest friendly port to await an investigation." Rianni@crystyl:"Investigation? What investigation? Well, we were on our way back to rendezvous with the Forge anyway so it's not exactly a detour of any kind. But still..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Widhar is our closest port. Aethon isn't exactly a DSEC vessel, but the Valley Forge personnel should probably return to the ship. But this is quite unusual..." NPC@annpc#557 | Dunishai: "Do you want me to contact the Valley Forge for more details?" Rianni@crystyl thinks briefly before nodding, "Yes, let's see what light they can shed on this" NPC@annpc#557 | The Dunishai officer nods and taps on his console. A few moments later, the Valley Forge bridge appears on the viewscreen NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila steps up closer to the middle to join Rianni, "Hello Captain Se'lai. We just wanted to confirm- have you received the same orders we're seeing now?" Rianni@crystyl | Keelah nods, "Yes, ladies. We all have. Upon your return here you are all to disembark and resume your duties here, handing the Aethon back to her regular crew" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "What is this investigation about?" Rianni@crystyl | Keelah: "Another infiltrator has been revealed, as a result all of DSEC is now being investigated to root out others" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "All of DSEC? Isn't that a bit...much? And DSEC isn't uniquely vulnerable to infiltration; any number of ships or even starbases could be affected." Rianni@crystyl nods, "This does indeed seem to be very... unusual, Captain" Rianni@crystyl | Keelah: "You are not alone in that opinion. Unfortunately, there is little that /we/ - as directly reporting officers under DSEC's command structure - can do besides cooperate. Understood? You - Rianni@crystyl:- sit a CO's chair now Rianni, but I trust you know your place and your duty" Rianni@crystyl 's eyes narrow slightly on Keelah before nodding, "Of course, Captain. I understand completely" Rianni@crystyl | Keelah: "Good. We can talk more upon your return, Valley Forge out" Rianni@crystyl leans back and to one side, resting her chin on her fist deep in thought NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila glances to Rianni as the comm ends, "Keelah seems as suspicious about this as we are." NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "The ship at the Kratt world- was the same type of ship not the one who extracted the infiltrator in the Sphere?" Rianni@crystyl:"Definitely. And I believe... she wants us to act" looking over, "It was indeed, and looking at these orders it seems the new infiltrator was uncovered just days after our mission there" NPC@annpc#557 | Suhani: "Right after we find one of their ships and thwart their plans, which conveniently leads into Starfleet grounding us? If that's not suspicious I don't know what is..." Rianni@crystyl:"It's so suspicious it's almost laughable, but without evidence there is little we can do to change things right now" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "She asked us to turn the Aethon over to her original crew. Neither the Aethon nor the Coalition crew are DSEC..." Rianni@crystyl:"Which I believe was exactly the point she was trying to emphasize. We may have to return to the Forge for lock down, but our crew here do not" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "I suppose we'll return and hand things back to the original crew, then." Rianni@crystyl:"Naturally, those are our orders after all. But I believe it is not a stretch of my acting role here to continue giving orders in the meantime. And if those orders happen to not yet be fulfilled by- Rianni@crystyl:- that time, then our wonderful and trustworthy crew here would undoubtedly feel a strong desire to see those orders through to completion" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria smirks, "That we will. So what're your orders, Captain?" Rianni@crystyl:"First off; trust no-one outside the Aethon family. You've all seen how dangerous these, um, shadow people are. If they were to have more eyes and ears on more ships, we do not want them to grow - Rianni@crystyl:- suspicious of the Aethon, or any of you remaining here once we depart. Beyond that, we need to get to the bottom of this. If the DSEC investigation is indeed being driven by the Shadows in a - Rianni@crystyl:- direct response to our successful mission, then it is our duty to root out that manipulation and put right the events we have set in motion. I would recommend starting with this latest infiltrator- Rianni@crystyl:- who was exposed. They could be genuine, or even an innocent officer who has been framed like Captain LaForge. Either way, there is unseen truth in those events, I bet. We just have to find them" NPC@annpc#557 | Dunishai: "We shall do all we can to find them, Captain." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Thank you - everyone - I know I am not your real Captain, but even now you continue to make me feel like I am. I have absolute faith in all of you and your capacity to discover the truth - Rianni@crystyl:- of things here. The Aethon was born out of impossible circumstances, and consistently meets - and overcomes - yet more. This will be no different" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles as well, "The way you gave that speech is certainly worthy of any real captain." Rianni@crystyl flushes and flusters, "I, well... thank you. I... may have been a little inspired by Captain Keelah over the years..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "She's taught you well. You'll become a fine captain once you have your own, permanent command." NPC@annpc#557 | Suhani: "The Defiant- or Gallant now, still doesn't have one, does it?" Rianni@crystyl:"You are kind as always" looking to Suhani, "No, I think Commander Keliaya was in command there. I would assume she has received similar orders to us from the Valley Forge, though that ship does not- Rianni@crystyl:- have an independent crew" NPC@annpc#557 | Suhani: "There's always the QanwI'. They can continue investigating too." NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "And the other Coalition forces back at the Heart. They're also not beholden to Starfleet orders." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes indeed, you are far from alone in all of this. Just keep in mind that the first infiltration occurred at the Heart. And whilst Starfleet may have been targeted, there is every chance that the - Rianni@crystyl:- Shadows influence spreads further out there. Stick with the QanwI' for now, Captain Vix' survival instinct is second to none so she will be invaluable to have at your side" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "That's a good point. These shadow ships seem to have technology from across the Coalition. It's very possible they've infiltrated other Coalition powers." Rianni@crystyl:"Exactly why I made my first standing order to trust nobody outside of the family" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Though...there is one group we can almost certainly trust." Rianni@crystyl looks over curiously, "And who might that be?" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "I can't believe I'm saying this but...the Borg. I believe there /are/ ways to go undercover among the Borg, I seem to remember hearing about a Starfleet crew that pulled it off for - NPC@annpc#557 - a mission during my time at the Academy, but long-term infiltration is impossible. Without being linked to the hive mind, they'll be found out eventually, and if they are linked, the Borg will - NPC@annpc#557:- learn about the infiltration. I suggested that we might be able to contact them for help to develop countermeasures against the shadow ships as well, but we've been unable to reach them from out - NPC@annpc#557:- here. They might be the best allies we can have.â€ Rianni@crystyl:"An excellent idea Veladria! I think it's definitely worth pursuing once you link up with the QanwI'" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria smiles, "I'll be sure to mention and look into it. Never thought there would be a day when I'd trust the Borg over Starfleet..." Rianni@crystyl:"This is a dark path we are starting to walk down, and I don't like it one bit" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I don't think any of us do. But we can't ignore the threat posed by these shadow people and their manipulations. Once we've dealt with them, I'm sure we'll be able to get to a - NPC@annpc#557 - point where we can trust our own people again. We just have to expose any other infiltrators they have with us at the moment." NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "This must be what the cold war with the Dominion felt like..." Rianni@crystyl:"I imagine so, yes. With the possibility of anyone being a Founder in disguise" NPC@annpc#557 | Suhani: "At least we knew who the Founders were and what they wanted. The most we've managed to find out here is that their ship has that same quantum signature as the Gallant." NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "And we have no idea what exactly that means for their origins or goals..." Rianni@crystyl:"True, but it's the most significant discovery about them to date - and don't you forget it!" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria smiles back, "Once we solve this whole conspiracy, I'll be sure no one forgets the OSN's contribution!" Rianni@crystyl:"I will do the same, for all of you!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "A fine captain indeed, Rianni." Rianni@crystyl flushes and sinks into her chair a little --- NPC@annpc#557 | Not long after communicating with the Aethon, Keelah is just in the process of moving back to her ready room when... NPC@annpc#557 | Gwi: "Captain, we have an Iconian gateway opening." Keelah@crystyl stops in her tracks and turns back, "On screen" she orders, heading back for her chair NPC@annpc#557 | On the viewscreen, an Iconian battleship emerges from the gateway, followed by a pair of cruisers and four raiders. Beside it, two additional gateways open, from with two more battleships - NPC@annpc#557 - come through, followed by the same number of additional ships Keelah@crystyl:"They never do things by halves do they..." NPC@annpc#557 | Gwi: "It certainly doesn't seem so, Captain. But why are they here now? The Kratt have already turned back." Keelah@crystyl:"Relief effort to aid the resettlement here perhaps?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "Last I heard, things were fairly well in hand here at Widhar. If anything they should be helping the refugees from the Corporate colony." NPC@annpc#557 | Thorkildsen: "Or the general reclamation efforts in Horde territory." Keelah@crystyl:"Those do seem more likely. Perhaps this is simply a waypoint en route" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "Looks like we'll know why they're here soon. We're being hailed by the lead battleship." Keelah@crystyl:"Good to know we're not completely out of the loop on things yet then. Put them through" NPC@annpc#557 | On the viewscreen, a Herald Harbinger appears with the background of an Iconian bridge behind him NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "Valley Forge. I am the Fifth Harbinger of T'Kay." Keelah@crystyl:"Greetings Harbinger, I am Captain Se'Lai. This is an unexpected visit, can we be of some assistance?" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "It is our hope that you may, though we have received notification just prior to our departure that your vessels have been ordered to stay here." Keelah@crystyl:"That is correct, we are under orders to hold position here for the moment. That does not necessarily mean we can not be of assistance though, depending on what it is you require of course" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "The Iconians have been discussing recent developments. As your people are aware, we possess little defense against temporal warfare and weaponry. The unidentified vessel seen in - NPC@annpc#557 - the Heart and in Kratt space pose a significant threat. My mistress has been tasked with its destruction by any means necessary." Keelah@crystyl:"A bold goal indeed. Though given Starfleet's clear lack of defense against them as well, I am somewhat curious as to your reasoning that we may be able to assist in this" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "You are a resourceful people, as you have demonstrated during both your conflict with us and your conflict with the Horde. The Iconian Empire may have once developed technologies - NPC@annpc#557 - beyond your own, but our ability for scientific innovation has been...diminished. You are most likely to develop effective countermeasures against these vessels, as you did against ours." Keelah@crystyl:"Defending against that ship is something that we are all interested in, so by all means you are welcome to join us in those efforts. We may be limited to theoretical research and simulation here - Keelah@crystyl:- for the moment, but that doesn't mean we can not come up with some beneficial ideas to be tested once this lockdown is over" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "That shall suffice. My mistress has given me two primary objectives- to track down the temporal vessel so additional Iconian ships can be called in to confront it, and to develop - NPC@annpc#557 - counters to their technology for the inevitable confrontation. As there is currently no clear trail to track, I will focus on the second task." Keelah@crystyl:"A sensible starting point. We have limited information to work with right now, but the Aethon is on it's way back here and I expect them to deliver our first accurate data capture on these ships. I- Keelah@crystyl:- recommend holding for the moment and using their data as a starting point" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "We will await their return and provide any assistance we can to the Coalition operations in the region while we are here.." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "I look forward to working with you on this" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "As I do, Captain Se'lai. We have heard much about your exploits from the Coalition." --- NPC@annpc#557 | Later that night, Enelya is asleep in her quarters aboard the USS al-Khwarizmi when a sound suddenly stirs her... Enelya@crystyl sits up, "Computer - lights" NPC@annpc#557 | The lights brighten, but not all the way- only enough to reveal a scarred Reman lurking in the shadows across the room NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "Please, forgive the intrusion, Admiral." Enelya@crystyl:"That would depend on the nature of the intrusion" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "I mean you no harm. As you can see, I have not forced my way into the depths of your mind. That is why we," he gestures around him, "are only in the most recent image of your memory." Enelya@crystyl:"Alright..." she starts, sitting up towards the end of the bed, "To what do I owe the pleasure now then?" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "You spoke with Commander Nadel earlier today concerning your suspicions that Starfleet is being manipulated." Enelya@crystyl:"If you say so. What of it?" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "I must confirm whether you are genuine, and this is not an attempt to bait my organization. Open your mind to me- I am not here to steal the secrets of your fleet, and I am sure a - NPC@annpc#557 - Trill as wise as you are would easily sense if I am pressing beyond what you allow me to see." Enelya@crystyl nods, "Very well, you may proceed" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth closes his eyes and the room dissolves around them. Hazy images fade in and out around them- of the Heart of Unity, of Starfleet Headquarters, Earth, Vulcan, Trill and the interiors of - NPC@annpc#557 - multiple different Starfleet ships, as well as a few non-Starfleet ones. Enelya doesn't sense the Reman forcing his way into any areas of her mind he isn't welcome, and before long the images - NPC@annpc#557 - fade away as the memory of Enelya's quarters solidifies once again NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "That will suffice." Enelya@crystyl:"So you are here on behalf of Nadel? NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "No. Nadel is conducting her own investigation into the matter and has Republic Intelligence looking into it. My official identity is a member of Republic Intelligence, and I was - NPC@annpc#557 - privy to the information. But I am not contacting you on their orders." Enelya@crystyl:"If you are not here on their behalf, then who's?" she enquires casually, replicating herself a glass of milk NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "I assume an admiral of your rank and position would have heard some whisper of the Shadow Guard?" Enelya@crystyl:"Some, no doubt" she replies elusively, sipping her milk NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "We are to the Republic what your Section 31 is to the Federation. My organization has spent the past year rooting out infiltrators from the Republic. We believe they are of the same - NPC@annpc#557 - faction as the ones you are currently concerned about." Enelya@crystyl:"So they are indeed far more deeply seeded across the quadrant than we first realized. I feared as much, but did not want to believe it. And presumably if they are in Starfleet and the Republic, - Enelya@crystyl:- they are likely elsewhere as well" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth nods, "We believe we have dealt with those within the Republic, but we continue our investigations and maintain our vigil. Intelligence confirms the presence of moles throughout - NPC@annpc#557 - the Federation. We do not yet know all their identities, but we suspect they have operatives within the highest levels of both Starfleet and your government. Our information suggests a similar - NPC@annpc#557 - level of infiltration within the Klingon Empire, but we have made less progress on that front." Enelya@crystyl:"Whilst this makes for an intriguing conspiracy, it does not help my more immediate concerns about the DSEC investigation. After all, it was simply the unveiling of one such infiltrator which - Enelya@crystyl:- prompted the action. If there were infiltrators behind this at a higher level, we have yet to see" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "Were any admirals by the name of Yanishev, Sh'viaqos or Seviar involved in prompting this lockdown and investigation?" Enelya@crystyl hrms, "Admiral Seviar was the JAG officer at the board hearing. He was a strong advocate of the investigation" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "Seviar is one of those we believe to be a mole, but we do not have concrete evidence to expose him. Or if we do, I have not been made aware of it. But it would seem likely this is - NPC@annpc#557 - not a true investigation." Enelya@crystyl:"Not exactly a solid conviction for me to fight back with. I am curious; you say you have been rooting out these infiltrators within the Republic for some time now, yes? How exactly have you - Enelya@crystyl:- achieved this? Also, how can you be so certain of your clean sweep, or the sanctity of the Shadow Guard itself?" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "Our ranks are filled with powerful telepaths. It would be unlikely for an infiltrator to slip through. One can never be certain of anything in the world of espionage, but the - NPC@annpc#557 - infiltrators' recent actions in sending the Latenter to learn the whereabouts of the rogue vessel Justicar, and by extension our forces and base of operation, suggests they have no sources on - NPC@annpc#557 - the inside of our organization. Of the wider Republic we are less confident, but we have been most meticulous." NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "If any infiltrators remain, they are not in the upper echelons of our society. They may still pass on information to their masters, but they will not be steering the course of the - NPC@annpc#557 - Republic." Enelya@crystyl:"Wait, the Latenter's mission was under infiltrator direction?" shakes her head, "No, one problem at a time. SFI will have to take care of themselves for the moment. Well I doubt you came here - Enelya@crystyl:- purely to fuel my growing paranoia about conspiracies and infiltrators since it's blooming quite nicely on it's own already. So why exactly did you feel it prudent for us to speak in person?" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth smirks slightly, "Not precisely in person. This is all a construct of your subconscious. I simply tuned my implant to your Starfleet frequency. It is safer this way. As for why I am - NPC@annpc#557 - here, I'm afraid there is little the Shadow Guard can do to resolve your situation. I can only warn you that the instigator of this investigation likely has ulterior motive. But we hope to - NPC@annpc#557 - change our lack of power soon." Enelya@crystyl:"Sounds like you have a plan in mind" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "While we are identifying infiltrators amidst your ranks, we are also seeking out any we are able to confirm as innocent of the conspiracy, such as yourself. There is only so far we - NPC@annpc#557 - can go from outside, as we have no authority within the Federation. We hope to create a network of people who are still loyal to the Federation to aid us, and yourselves, in rooting out the - NPC@annpc#557 - infiltrators." Enelya@crystyl nods, "Baby steps, I understand. We must proceed with caution, but we must still proceed" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth nods, "Our network is not particularly wide at the moment, but you are the highest ranking officer we have been able to confirm the innocence of. You have the potential to affirm the - NPC@annpc#557 - loyalty of those under your command and add many more to the list of those we can trust." Enelya@crystyl:"Verifying key personnel is one thing, but most of those will either have colleagues or subordinates. That will make utilizing people more challenging" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth: "The Shadow Guard will do our best to verify other personnel and connect different command structures. So far, we are certain we may trust Admiral Tuvok, Captain Harvson, Captain Xoha - NPC@annpc#557 - and Commander Leveson-Scott. Commander Reyes of the Justicar can also be trusted, though she is working directly with our organization and not within Starfleet." Enelya@crystyl:"Very well then, I will be sure to match your vigilance and work together on rooting this out once and for all" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth nods, "I shall be your liaison to the Shadow Guard. I will keep you informed of any developments. If you seek to contact me again, contact the Republic Intelligence vessel with our - NPC@annpc#557 - detachment here. Ask for any updates on intelligence the Republic has collected from Horde space." Enelya@crystyl:"Understood" NPC@annpc#557 | Axireth fades from view as the room suddenly darkens again. Then, Enelya finds herself stirring awake yet again, for real this time (or at least she thinks...) Enelya@crystyl looks around and sighs, "It's going to be one of those days..." --- NPC@annpc#557 | After the return of the Aethon, her senior crew gathers in the VF's meeting room with the VF's senior staff as well as Lexi and Captain Arvalan, the Lupan commander of the Aethon before the - NPC@annpc#557 - Kratt mission. NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Welcome back, Rianni. And good work in Kratt space. I knew you could do it." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni smiles, "Thank you, Commander. It was a complicated mission, but we would not have been successful were it not for the unique skills of everyone else" Keelah@crystyl smiles as well, "I am glad to see you are learning the value of the crew you command" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Sin and Emma did the real heavy lifting this time around. Without them..." NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "I read your reports, it's quite a journey you've all been through. Especially Emma." Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, I've read your report. Do yourself a favour and try not to dwell on the happenchance reliance on individuals and unique skillsets. I could not count the number of times this ship and crew have- Keelah@crystyl:- been saved by one individual or another who happened to be in the right place at the right time, or just happened to possess some unique attribute that proved to be a saving grace. Sometimes it is- Keelah@crystyl:- best simply to accept your good fortune and leave it at that" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni smiles again and nods, "Thank you both, I think I understand" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Now we have to figure out where to go from here. The Kratt danger is dealt with, but that ship you encountered managed to escape, and all DSEC ships are now locked down..." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Do we know any more about the investigation yet? What will happen, or when?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "We've received a few followup communications. The investigation team is going to be coming through the gateway to the Heart soon, but they'll investigate the ships inside the Heart - NPC@annpc#557 - or nearby first and work their way out from there. They're sending through a ship equipped with a quantum slipstream drive, and we'll have the Junayd and Iconians to help with travel as well. - NPC@annpc#557 - Even then, it's going to be a while before they make it to us." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni frowns, "Well that's frustrating..." NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "The good news is they're lifting the lockdown ship by ship once the investigation is over on each ship, so not all Starfleet ships are going to be grounded for the entire duration. But - NPC@annpc#557 - since we're one of the ones that's furthest away...that doesn't help us much." Keelah@crystyl:"Frustrating, it may be. But we have already concluded our mission here and then some. We are in orbit of a friendly world full of new people to learn about, and one steeped in Nuhar history at that. - Keelah@crystyl:- We will simply have to make the most of the situation and think of this like down time" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "There's also the Iconians who just arrived. They're looking to collaborate with us to develop defenses against these unidentified ships' technologies." Keelah@crystyl:"So Rianni, that is your first order of business. Before the Aethon departs, we need to download all relevant data and commence analysis of the mystery ship" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "I had mind to do just that, Captain. I will utilize the CIC simulation and begin detailed analysis straight away" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "I'll have the science teams start working with the Iconians. We've made quite a few steps forward in technology just from what we learned fighting the Iconians on the battlefield and - NPC@annpc#557 - salvaging their debris. Working /with/ them, I'm sure we'll be able to come up with something that can stand up against these ships, as powerful as they are." Keelah@crystyl:"I am trying to pool reliable resources to gather more information on them for you, but as you are all aware it is difficult right now to be open with others, which makes things difficult" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "I was wondering...should we collaborate with the Midway crew on the research, with the possibility of infiltrators and all?" Keelah@crystyl:"It would be unfair to them to keep them in the dark as to the Iconian presence here, and if there are infiltrators there then it would only draw their suspicion that we are on to them. So I will - Keelah@crystyl:- ask Pall if he has any suitable experts on board who can assist with the work. That should suffice for now. We will also continue to work with them on archaeological surveys of the planet - the - Keelah@crystyl:- Gallant's drones too, since they have a personal interest there" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "We'll keep an eye out in case anyone tries anything, but we can always use more minds for research and development." Keelah@crystyl:"In the interests of protecting ourselves from any potential infiltrators, I want to deploy our strongest psionics accordingly - keep them with those we are less familiar with, just in case" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Good call, Captain. Mia's done a thorough check of the Gallant and her drones as well; we've found no backdoors or anything that may have been planted for our enemies to exploit." Keelah@crystyl:"That ship is still part of this mystery, known thanks to the Aethon establishing the quantum signature connection. There may yet be more there for us to discover" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "I have people continuing to dig there as well. We're getting a good picture of what the history was like in that universe leading up to the Gallant crossing over to ours, but - NPC@annpc#557 - still nothing on that missing span of time when someone presumably pulled it out of interphase into our universe." Keelah@crystyl hrms, leaning back in her chair and looking out of the window, clearly contemplating something she probably shouldn't... NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "What're you thinking?" Keelah@crystyl:"The quantum signature of that ship matches the Gallant. So there is a connection to that universe, and where this is a connection it is logical to surmise that there is a presence. We know of - Keelah@crystyl:- established links between the two universes, so what about a recon mission...?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "...into their universe?" Keelah@crystyl:"Exactly, yes. I will admit that it would have been better to have the Latenter here to send since Mischa has already been there and dealt with them. But we have her reports to guide us" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "They'll have to do, I suppose. Is there anything in the Temporal Prime Directive about travelling to observe a different universe?" Keelah@crystyl:"It gets a little... fuzzy. We know this universe is already distinct from our own, and there is historical interaction. Initial incursion there would be out of the question, but the presence of one- Keelah@crystyl:- of their ships - or more - here and now in our universe, and taking aggressive action at that, provides clear justification to investigate" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "A good point. I'll start looking into a means to make a controlled incursion to their universe." NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Without visiting a black hole or trapping ourselves in interphase, that is..." Keelah@crystyl:"Hopefully that is one of the secrets the Gallant is still able to yield to us. But yes, if nothing else there is the potential of using the route that Mischa first stumbled through. As for the - Keelah@crystyl:- assignment, regrettably we can not take it upon ourselves. But we have the Aethon and QanwI' here too and they are not locked down" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "I'll see what the Gallant can reveal; we're stuck here anyways in the meantime." --- Istar@anncaris | After the meeting, Lennie works away in the VF's lab as she assigns her science teams while waiting for the leaders of science departments on other vessels to join her. Veladria arrives first, - Istar@anncaris - walking into the lab with a smile, "Hello Lennie." Lendaria@crystyl turns with a smile, "Hey! Long time no see. Was wonderin' when ya were gonna come say hello again" Istar@anncaris | Veladria grins, "Says the one who went on a multi-year long-range exploratory mission with Starfleet. Though I have to admit, there's not quite anything like being out in the middle of the - Istar@anncaris - unknown. Especially for us scientists." Lendaria@crystyl:"Keeping outta trouble then? Or at least in a fun amount o'trouble?" Istar@anncaris | Veladria chuckles, "More or less, if you don't consider the Kratt mission trouble. But that's trouble all of us were involved in, so." Lendaria@crystyl:"Yeah, can't believe how messed up things got out there for ya in th'end. So how ya likin' th'Aethon, on a full time job there now?" Istar@anncaris | Veladria nods, "She's a small ship, but she grows on you over time. Besides, I'm no spoiled highborn- despite appearances. I was in Starfleet for a while as a cadet and junior officer, so I'm - Istar@anncaris - used to sharing living spaces." Lendaria@crystyl chuckles, "Glad to see th'OSN keepin' things real still. So ya here for assignment?" Istar@anncaris | Veladria: "For me and the handful of other scientifically-minded crew we have on the Aethon, while we're here. Lieutenant Tierno is working on her analysis of the shadow ship's capabilities - Istar@anncaris - overall, but we can start coming up with ways to counter the individual-" Istar@anncaris | Veladria steps out of the way as an Iconian gateway begins to open, "I still can't get used to that. Couldn't they just use transporters for personal travel like everyone else...?" Lendaria@crystyl laughs, "Guess to them this ain't no different" Istar@anncaris | The Harbinger emerges from the gateway, which closes behind him Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "Greetings, Commander Lendaria." Lendaria@crystyl:"Hey there. Harbinger... right?" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "Correct. I am the Fifth Harbinger of T'Kay." Lendaria@crystyl:"Good to meet ya. Clearly ya know me already, this's Veladria - OSN science liason to th'Aethon" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "Greetings, Veladria." Istar@anncaris | Veladria nods her head respectfully towards the Harbinger Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "Your species have always reminded me of our mistresses. I did not know them in their prime, but they were said to have been graceful beyond all measure. I have always imagined it - Istar@anncaris - was something akin to your matriarchs." Lendaria@crystyl smiles, "That so? I'll-a have t'keep tha' in mind next time I meet one of ya mistresses!" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "Or so I imagine. We have a mistress formed of flesh and blood among us now, but she is still young and learning the ways of the Iconians." Lendaria@crystyl:"Yeah, she's a real doll! So I assume ya keen t'get to work on things?" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "Yes. I have come to offer Heralds to assist. They will be able to aid you in any physical experiments which you may wish to conduct, as well as explaining our technologies should - Istar@anncaris - it be necessary. Unfortunately, we will be of little use for the actual development of new technologies and capabilities." Lendaria@crystyl:"Yeah... temporal mechanics ain't never been ya thing has it" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "That, and us Heralds were not created to innovate. We were made to serve, and though we are capable of some degree of creativity within our specialities, the furthering of science - Istar@anncaris - and invention of new technologies have always been the purview of our mistresses. Though we hope additional assistance will be arriving soon." Lendaria@crystyl:"Additional assistance?" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "We are not the only servants of our mistresses. They are asking the others to aid us as well. For the moment however, we are here to provide whatever assistance we can." Istar@anncaris | Veladria: "What about...transportation?" Istar@anncaris | The Harbinger glances between Lennie and Veladria: "You wish to travel somewhere?" Istar@anncaris | Veladria: "Not yet, but perhaps down the line. There was an avenue of research I wanted to look into, but haven't been able to yet." Istar@anncaris | Veladria looks to Lennie, "Has Lieutenant Tierno told you of the Borg idea yet?" Lendaria@crystyl shakes her head absently, "Nah, but it sure sounds curious!" Istar@anncaris | Veladria: "This was one of the individual capabilities I was talking about earlier that we might be able to counter. We noticed that the energy drain used by the shadow ship was a form of - Istar@anncaris - tractor beam rather than something like a tachyon beam. The closest thing we've seen are Borg tractor beams, so I suggested that we might be able to work with the Borg we've cut off from the - Istar@anncaris - wider Collective here to come up with a countermeasure." Lendaria@crystyl:"Seems worth investigatin' at th'very least. An' unlike me, both o'you'se guys're free t'go find 'em still" Istar@anncaris | Veladria nods, "We've been attempting to contact the Borg, but I don't think they have any ships close enough to pick up any of the communications we've sent." Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "That we may be able to assist with." Lendaria@crystyl:"I were hopin' ya'd say tha'!" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "We have been monitoring the Borg due to the threat posed by the Collective they have broken away from. So far, we have seen no cause for concern among these Borg. As a result of - Istar@anncaris - these efforts, we are aware of the world they have chosen to settle on." Lendaria@crystyl:"Perfect! Ya could go pull 'em into this then, or take th'Aethon there t'talk wit'em?" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "I will dispatch one of my cruisers to take the Aethon to their world. Diplomacy is within my purview, but travelling with other Coalition representation may be beneficial for such - Istar@anncaris - a request." Istar@anncaris | Veladria: "Wait, you were designed for diplomacy? Aren't you a little...large and intimidating?" Lendaria@crystyl snickers Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "That is precisely why I am suited to diplomacy." Istar@anncaris | Veladria: "Right. The male way of 'diplomacy.'" She chuckles Lendaria@crystyl:"Ain't just th'mistresses who make good Orions!" Istar@anncaris | Veladria: "It would seem so! And that's a compliment, coming from Orions. Even if we're not normally too fond of the male ways." Lendaria@crystyl:"Eh, they have their uses" Istar@anncaris | Harbinger: "As do we, for our mistresses. We are not their equals, but that is the point." Lendaria@crystyl:"Well, seems you'se two got some work t'do now" Istar@anncaris | Veladria nods, "I'll go speak to Captain Arvalan about the plan. Hopefully we'll be receiving some Borg support soon." --- Keliaya@anncaris | While Emma is resting in her quarters as Rianni works in the CIC on her analysis, the doorbell to their quarters chimes Emma Ralde@crystyl opens one eye, training it on the door, "It's open" Keliaya@anncaris steps through the door with a PADD in hand, "Hey Emma. How're you doing after that mission?" Emma Ralde@crystyl opens her other eye, smiling, "Hello Commander. I'm alright I guess, just another painful reminder of my curse" Keliaya@anncaris | Kelly nods, taking a seat on the arm of a nearby chair, "In your reports, you said the unknown ship named you specifically and seemed to know you'd remember what happened. Which suggests they - Keliaya@anncaris - probably knew who you were quite well..." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"That was our guess at least, based on what they said" Keliaya@anncaris:"That would mean either someone around us passed the information to them, or they have access to some of the most highly classified records in Starfleet. If I remember right, even Keelah couldn't - Keliaya@anncaris - access some of your records when we first found out who you were." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yes, that's right. Of course, it is possible that - if they are from the future - they know me through encounter, or my existence is more public knowledge" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "That's true. I hope your theory is the case; it's probably the least disturbing of the three. But anyways, I'm not here to form conspiracy theories, though this infiltration affair is - Keliaya@anncaris - weighing on everyone's minds right now." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yes, it is hard not to see ghosts in every corner. If we're not careful this will be Romulan War all over again" Keliaya@anncaris:"Exactly. A shadow enemy infiltrating and manipulating multiple factions, it does sound eerily similar to what I've read of the Romulan War." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"And everyone is still ancy enough following the Horde's infiltrations. Then the whole psionic resurgence thing. People can only take so much before everyone around them starts to look like an enemy" Keliaya@anncaris nods and sighs, "Here I thought the Architect betraying us was the worst thing that could happen..." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Insofar that he set us all up for this mess, it still was. But sorry, you didn't come here to discuss conspiracies you said" she smiles, sitting up, "So what can I do for you?" Keliaya@anncaris:"Well, it's something I'm not sure you're particularly eager to discuss, especially after that last mission. But you've been around for a long time, probably had access to some records that're - Keliaya@anncaris - classified for the rest of us like your own, and you must've picked up some things in all the research done to try and reverse your condition. I figured you'd have more experience with - Keliaya@anncaris - temporal matters than most. Some of our science officers have a good grasp on the theoretical, but not much practical experience." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Oh, I'm sorry Commander but I'm far than knowledgeable on the subject" Keliaya@anncaris:"Don't worry, I'm not expecting you to be an expert on the matter like a Temporal Investigations agent," she smiles. "And I'm not talking strictly about time travel, either. Keelah wants a way to - Keliaya@anncaris - cross over to the universe the Gallant came from, and unfortunately all the people who were actually on that mission aren't on the ship right now..." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Aah, now that is interesting. Because I don't know - well, much about anything truth be told - but you are right about things I've picked up along the way as part of my own situation. Namely, the - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- mycelial network" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "I remember when we accidentally travelled to the future, or /a/ future at least, when we were on that Regulator ship. It makes sense from what little I know about the network that we - Keliaya@anncaris - could use it to travel to different realities as well." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"That's one of the things I remember learning about during the early years after my accident. It is - I believe - the first recorded instance of an incursion between this reality and that of the - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- Terran Empire, with a starship from this side using a spore drive to traverse the network and winding up in that universe. So we know it does time, and reality. I am uncertain how both come - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- together though, and as for navigating to that specific quantum signature. Well... never mind a needle in a haystack. This is more like a blade of hay on a hay-covered planet!" Keliaya@anncaris:"In any case, if we want to use that method, we're going to need a Regulator ship. We have no spore drive, nor does any other ship we're aware of. If the Regulators do agree to help us, their ship - Keliaya@anncaris - is going to come with an Elachi Navigator, so don't worry, I won't need to ask you to navigate for us again," she smiles Keliaya@anncaris:"But the problem is the Regulators probably have even stricter regulations than Starfleet for travelling to other realities or time periods..." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Glad to hear it, but my point is that I don't know if it's even possible for them. But if anyone can do it, you know they could" she hrms, "They may do, they may not. Since their focus is much more- Emma Ralde@crystyl:- about technology here and now, they could be amenable to it under the Captain's premise that it is to investigate a potential enemy incursion into this reality" Keliaya@anncaris:"True. I'll bring the option to the Captain. It's worth a try, if nothing else." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Of course, failing that you could just try tapping up the Elachi themselves" she chuckles, "But either way it will have to be someone else's mission on someone else's ship as long as we're grounded" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "With the Iconians on our side, they might be able to ask the Elachi to conduct this mission, if they're able," she smiles. "Thank you for your ideas, Emma." Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles, "Any time!" --- T'Lana@anncaris | Meanwhile in the ready room, Keelah contacts the Loki to speak with T'Lana... Keelah@crystyl locks the door and taps at her console to establish the most secure channel she is able T'Lana@anncaris | A few seconds later, T'Lana appears on her console, "Captain. Impressive security, for a Starfleet Command vessel, at least. I presume you are concerned about this matter of infiltration?" Keelah@crystyl:"Among other things. I wanted to talk privately with you, but can only do so much from my end to secure our channel. I assume you have better means" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I have ensured that the channel is secure and we will not be overheard. I have been expecting a communication from you, in light of all that has occurred." Keelah@crystyl:"Indeed? Then it is logical to surmise that you possess further insight too, since you had cause to believe I would be in touch. I am choosing to trust you because I trust Mischa, and I know there - Keelah@crystyl:- is nobody she has more faith in than you. But I can not say the same for anyone else in SFI, now more than ever" T'Lana@anncaris:"I agree. This infiltration goes deeper than a few Lieutenants on several exploration vessels. I cannot yet say for certain how deep, but I may share the theory I have recently told Mischa." Keelah@crystyl:"I see you two are already studying this too, as I suspected. Please, what is your theory?" T'Lana@anncaris:"Actually, it was Spock's theory. The Spock of the alternate universe we visited, that is. He speculated based on the information we shared that our universe may have branched off from theirs due - T'Lana@anncaris - to the actions of time travellers from theirs. At the time, we believed this to be the case because they had encountered the Horde earlier than we did. With the Coalition at an overall lower - T'Lana@anncaris - level of technology, we speculated that they may have failed in their war and thus diverted the Enterprise's journey, creating this reality. This was primarily based on the evidence that the - T'Lana@anncaris - Klingon Neutral Zone was conveniently and perfectly formed so the Enterprise would just miss Horde space during their journey to the galactic barrier." Keelah@crystyl:"An intriguing theory. And one that throws new light on the multiverse theory of ours being the 'prime' universe. But I am glad to raised the topic of that Enterprise, because that is something else- Keelah@crystyl:- I wished to discuss" T'Lana@anncaris:"We know the theory is not entirely correct, as evidence from the Gallant reveals they did prevail against the Horde. However, the presence of vessels from their universe with advanced - T'Lana@anncaris - Coalition-based technology who are attempting to manipulate events here suggests that some elements of the theory could be accurate. We will need to learn more about these ships to prove or - T'Lana@anncaris:- disprove it, of course. What is this other subject you wished to discuss?" Keelah@crystyl:"I need to know what wasn't publicly shared about your incursion into that universe. Anything you can share to assist in repeating the process" T'Lana@anncaris:"There are a few details you are not yet aware of, but I do not believe any of them will aid in repeating the process. I assume you wish to revisit that universe to investigate into the origins of - T'Lana@anncaris - these vessels?" Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, exactly. They may not come from the same time period you visited there, but the Defiant-now-Gallant did. That's an unexplained connection on it's own which I want answered" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I have studied the method that brought us into that universe in order to bring us back. It was caused by an unexpected interaction between the Observer's wormhole and the unique black - T'Lana@anncaris - hole formed by the Guardians' attempt to destroy the Thunderbolt. It will be exceptionally dangerous and difficult to recreate now that the Observer's ship is gone. We may be able to repeat - T'Lana@anncaris - the process with another Junayd vessel, but there is a chance that the interaction may be different. We were only able to return by recreating the exact circumstances with the same ship, as we - T'Lana@anncaris - do not yet fully understand Junayd wormhole technology." Keelah@crystyl:"True. But any data you are able to share could be helpful in refining an alternative method. We know these mystery ships come from there, and they brought the Defiant with them. That means - Keelah@crystyl:- there is a way to establish controlled incursions, we simply have to discover it" T'Lana@anncaris taps on her console, "I am sending you what I have. It may be more viable to repeat the process the Defiant went through. We have defenses against the affects of interphase due to the similar - T'Lana@anncaris - fate of the Defiant from our own universe. The missing link appears to be how the ship exited interphase into our own universe, but per Commander Keliaya's reports, this information seems to - T'Lana@anncaris - have been wiped from the Defiant's computers with no trace remaining to recover." Keelah@crystyl:"Exactly why we are trying to piece it all together. That brings me on to the next matter; these mystery ships. I know the Loki is doing it's own thing right now, but I do not believe it would leave- Keelah@crystyl:- the Heart without some form of monitoring in place. We are helping the Iconians form some defenses against these ships and need all the data we can for this. I suspect that you have more than we - Keelah@crystyl:- do on that particular encounter. Possibly even more that we are not even aware of" T'Lana@anncaris:"As of this moment, the Loki is already on its way towards Kratt space to investigate. I do possess more information, but you do not officially possess the clearance to review it. Commodore Fox is - T'Lana@anncaris - unwilling to make an exception due to the presence of infiltrators, but I am confident that you may be trusted. Thus, I cannot deliver this information through this communication channel." Keelah@crystyl:"I believe I understand, I will of course do whatever I am able to further this investigation" T'Lana@anncaris:"We will stop by Widhar during our own investigation. I hope we will be able to aid you then, Captain." Keelah@crystyl:"Is that the investigation we are now locked down waiting for?" T'Lana@anncaris shakes her head, "No, that will be conducted by a separate team. Intelligence officers will be involved, as will members of the Department of Temporal Investigations, but it will be headed - T'Lana@anncaris - primarily by the Judge Advocate General's Office and Starfleet Security. We are searching for a means to track the unidentified vessels, per Commodore Fox's instructions." Keelah@crystyl:"Then it is entirely likely that our respective research projects will overlap with one another. It would be advantageous to collaborate so far as possible. One more matter Commander..." T'Lana@anncaris:"Yes, Captain?" Keelah@crystyl:"On the subject of the grounding investigation; you mentioned earlier discussing the infiltrators with Commander Leveson-Scott. Firstly, given her preoccupation with other affairs right now it would- Keelah@crystyl:- be... improbable that you two happened to discuss the matter in passing in the short time since the lockdown was announced. That would mean you were discussing it prior to this, which means there - Keelah@crystyl:- is some interest to her and her current mission also. Given that implication, it is also logical to deduce that the infiltrations are - at least suspected - to be more widespread" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Very astute, Captain. I am unable to provide you any details at this time. However, if the theory I shared earlier is correct, then it would mean these infiltrators have been manipulating - T'Lana@anncaris - us since at least the first Klingon-Federation War in the mid-23rd century. It is likely that their plans began even earlier in order to plant their agents throughout the Federation and - T'Lana@anncaris:- Klingon Houses. It would be logical to assume given their current presence that their actions have not scaled down since then; if anything their influence would have spread further and become - T'Lana@anncaris:- more deeply rooted. You can imagine how widespread their infiltration may be today." Keelah@crystyl:"I have been thinking about little else ever since this ill-conceived lockdown of all DSEC assets was put into place. If nothing else though, I am relieved to see that my caution is not wasted with - Keelah@crystyl:- you. But if what you say even has a fraction of reality to the theory, that could imply corruption at the highest possible level..." T'Lana@anncaris:"And across multiple powerful factions. I hope I am incorrect, Captain, but all evidence so far seems to support the theory. Your caution is certainly not misplaced. This is not Tal Shiar espionage - T'Lana@anncaris:- or Bluegill mind control or even Dominion and Undine infiltration. We are likely dealing with a conspiracy the scale of which we have never seen before, one which may be responsible for the very - T'Lana@anncaris:- creation of our particular quantum reality." Keelah@crystyl:"Quite the introduction into your world for me" she smiles a little, "Thank you for all your assistance Commander. I hope we will be able to talk again when you arrive here" T'Lana@anncaris:"Likewise, Captain. Remain vigilant, and live long and prosper." Keelah@crystyl:"Peace and long life, Commander" she nods before ending the comm. She leans back with a heavy sigh, turning to stare thoughtfully out at the stars while contemplating all they discussed --- Alien NPC@annpc#557 | After the Harbinger and Veladria's visit, Lennie continues working on assigning personnel when she hears the door slide open yet again Lendaria@crystyl turns, not surprised by all the drop in's at this point Alien NPC@annpc#557 | For some reason, Lennie's first instinct of the figure that walks through the door is that he reminds her of an attractive Orion male, even though the man's stature is smaller than that of the - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - average Orion and his skin lacks any distinctive shade of green. Perhaps itâ€™s the bald head...which quickly allows Lennie to realize that he is in fact a Deltan, giving another explanation - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - to the unusual reaction as they have a rather similar pheromone effect to Orions Alien NPC@annpc#557 | The Deltan steps further into the room, "Commander Lendaria, right?" Lendaria@crystyl smiles, "Tha's me! An' you'se are...? Alien NPC@annpc#557 | The Deltan smiles back, offering Lennie a hand, "Lieutenant Commander Edesh, Chief Science Officer of the Midway. I was mostly on the surface of Widhar before so I haven't gotten a chance to - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - meet you, but I've heard plenty about you. All good, of course." Lendaria@crystyl takes the hand and smiles, "All good, eh? Glad t'hear it! Course, didn't realise I were th'topic o'conversation on th'Midway. But hey, good t'meet ya still! Cap'n said y'all might be sendin' some - Lendaria@crystyl:- helpin' hands" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh chuckles, "I think you're a topic of conversation among quite a few science departments after your expedition out here. It's a pleasure to meet you too. I'm here to coordinate the - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - Midway's science teams with yours on the research we'll be doing." Lendaria@crystyl:"Great! Been too long since I got to collab wit' other Starfleet science teams, an'- wait, I'm-a really a talkin' point all around like tha'? But why?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh: "Well, it's more the research and discoveries you've made out here, but you've played quite a significant role in so many of them that you come up quite often. Not that you personally - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - aren't interesting, of course. In fact you come up often in discussions of Orion politics and such." Lendaria@crystyl:"Yeah, tha' figures. Been momma's daughter an' all. But... y'all often discuss Orion politics on th'Midway then?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh: "Not on the Midway, no. Unlike the Valley Forge, we don't have any Orion crew on board, but while we were in the Heart after the battle, I grew close to an Orion from one of the OSN - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - ships and often spoke with many of her friends." Lendaria@crystyl:"Aah, yep that'd do it! Well, tha's enough ego strokin' t'keep me goin' for a few hours. So ya got a plan of action in mind?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh grins, "Glad I made a good impression." He hands Lennie a PADD, "I've identified a number of officers with skills that might be relevant to what we're looking into. People who have - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - studied and done research into temporal mechanics beyond the mandatory Academy course, sensor experts, personnel who work on the deflectors often and are familiar with energy drains, and so on." Lendaria@crystyl takes the PADD, reading through as she listens, "Sounds good. So we can match 'em up wit'our teams on tha' basis. Any particular highlights in 'ere t'be aware of?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh: "Lieutenant Sakamoto is one of our best. Both his parents are members of Daystrom; he doesn't specialize in anything temporal but he's very adaptable. Easily one of the most - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - knowledgeable scientists I've had the pleasure of working with. He's worked in a number of specialities and can go head-to-head with any Vulcan in kal-toh. Sakamoto'll be a good addition to - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - any team, his wide berth of knowledge tends to open the way to some very interesting perspectives that others don't consider." Lendaria@crystyl:"Sounds like a real asset!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh: "That he certainly is. I expect it won't be too long until he gets to head a Science department himself. He's next in line for Assistant Chief here and my current Assistant Chief plans - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - to transfer to a starbase to start a family after our tour out here is done." Lendaria@crystyl:"Word to th'wise, starbase's ain't always safer than starships" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh nods, "I think she's aware, she just wants to be closer to her homeworld, but she doesn't want to leave the field entirely." Lendaria@crystyl:"Can't argue wit' tha'. Best thing I ever did were get back on an exploration ship!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh chuckles, "Maybe she'll get that urge once she tries starbase life as well! There's also Ensign T'Masi; she's not the most experienced but she has a very good grasp on temporal - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - mechanics. Besides, she might be young by Vulcan standards, but she's a Vulcan- even your captain's still on the young side by Vulcan standards, isn't she?" Lendaria@crystyl:"So they said, but Vulcan's're the worst when it comes to questions 'bout their age! So this T'Masi, specific experience gives her th'edge or just good ol' natural aptitude?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh: "A bit of both. She has quite an interest in temporal mechanics; she's never been involved in any temporal events but she's done some theoretical research into it, and she's very good - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - at making sense of the complexities of temporal mechanics. She's a natural with the more complex theories of physics." Lendaria@crystyl:"A young prodigy then, nice. Had a couple o'them around 'ere but never in science so this oughta be good!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Edesh: "I'm sure you'll love her, then! Anyways, I'll let you assign them to teams. All of them are quite excited to work with the famous Valley Forge crew as well," he smiles Lendaria@crystyl:"As we are wit' them!" --- NPC@annpc#557 | In an unfamiliar set of quarters, the Vulcan female we saw in the introduction is dressed in traditional robes as she sits in a meditative stance NPC@annpc#557 | The doorbell chimes and the Vulcan's eyes blink open, "Come in." NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Watson steps into the room, still dressed in her uniform, "Captain V'Dena." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "Captain Watson. To what do I owe this visit?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "You know why I'm here." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena stands, turning to the shorter human woman, "I'm sorry, Captain. I cannot approve you for duty." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "I've been sitting around doing nothing for a week! Please, just let me do something, anything, to start making up for my mistakes." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "In times such as these, I find it best to focus on the self, to centre yourself before you attempt to prove yourself to others." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson sighs, "Some people can't stay cooped up forever, V'Dena. I think I've spent long enough reflecting on my errors already." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "You suggested that we, quote, 'eliminate the Valley Forge from the equation.'" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "That was a week ago! Look, we don't all have Vulcan discipline and self-control. Sometimes we let our emotions get the better of us. Don't pretend that Vulcans are completely immune - NPC@annpc#557 - to it either, we've known each other for long enough to know that's not the case." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "The Admiral-" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Relieved me of /command/, not duty. I can still help as an officer, a member of the crew. Hell, give me some enlisted work to do and I'll take it. It's better than staring out the - NPC@annpc#557 - window in my quarters all day." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "I am still uncertain if he would approve. I have already allowed you to keep the captain's quarters despite my field promotion and granted you guest privileges around the ship. Your - NPC@annpc#557 - mother would have confined you to quarters." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "My mother's gone, and neither of us are her. You know me, V'Dena, and this is your command now. You don't need any admirals to make this call for you." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "It is precisely /because/ I know you that I am hesitant, Marion." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "That's not fair. That was one time. Okay, maybe two. Please, you know how much I hate being unable to contribute." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "I will grant you the access of an ensign. Nothing more." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson smiles, "Thank you, V'Dena." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "Your first shift in torpedo guidance recalibration begins tomorrow morning." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "I'll be there. Captain." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson turns and heads out the door --- NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile on the VF, Keelah is called to the bridge... Keelah@crystyl steps off the turbolift, "What have we got?" NPC@annpc#557 | Gwi: "We've been picking up strange subspace distortions. And now, a spatial rift's just started forming. A big one." Keelah@crystyl:"Subspace distortions? Could it be one of the mystery ships?" NPC@annpc#557 | Gwi: "I don't think so. It doesn't match anything from the previous encounters with these ships." Keelah@crystyl:"Let us hope that good fortune prevails then. Still, yellow alert is called for at least NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie, covering on tactical in Rianni and her assistant chief's absence, nods and taps his console, sending the ship to yellow alert NPC@annpc#557 | Gwi: "The rift has stabilized and stopped expanding." NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie: "Something's emerging from the rift! Multiple somethings." NPC@annpc#557 | Thorkildsen: "They're Iconian swarmers, Captain." Keelah@crystyl:"No matter how many times I remind myself that they are allies out here now, my instinct is still to go heavy evasive at that sight..." NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie nods, "Old habits die hard..." NPC@annpc#557 | As the first wave of swarmers come through, something much larger emerges from the rift, flanked by several additional swarmers NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/sto_gamepedia/images/b/bf/Obeliskcarrier.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20131030202208 Keelah@crystyl leans in, squinting at the unfamiliar image, "That's new..." NPC@annpc#557 | Thorkildsen: "Material compositions match those of structures in the Solanae Dyson Sphere. There's some Iconian technology, but it doesn't read like the other Iconian ships in the Heart." Keelah@crystyl:"A... Solanae ship?" NPC@annpc#557 | Thorkildsen: "It would seem so..." NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "We're being hailed by the Harbinger's ship, Captain." Keelah@crystyl:"Glad to hear it, on screen" NPC@annpc#557 | The Harbinger appears on the viewscreen with the background of his Iconian bridge behind him, "Valley Forge. There is no need to be concerned over the new arrivals." Keelah@crystyl:"That is reassuring. They are here to join your efforts I assume?" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "That is correct. I have informed your Commander Lendaria that the mistresses have reached out to their other servants for assistance. The Solanae have been their researchers for - NPC@annpc#557 - millenia now. They are best suited to the development of new weapons against these temporal enemies." Keelah@crystyl:"So that is a Solanae ship then, we were a little curious about the unfamiliar configuration" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "Few have seen such vessels. The Solanae do not field many ships intended for travel through our space. This one has come to serve as a mobile laboratory for the Solanae as they work - NPC@annpc#557 - here in the field." Keelah@crystyl:"Understood. I'll make sure Lendaria is aware of the added support; she will liaise with you accordingly on the deployment" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "The Solanae are not accustomed to working alongside non-subspace beings. The Iconians largely allowed them to do their work with little direct oversight. They have been instructed - NPC@annpc#557 - not to experiment with anything you possess without permission from its owners, but attempting to conduct joint research with them may be...complicated." Keelah@crystyl:"I appreciate the information. At the very least we need to establish some level of coordination - if nothing else just to ensure we don't duplicate each other's work. I have someone who they may be more - Keelah@crystyl:- amenable to liaising with, don't you worry" NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "You possess subspace beings among your crew?" Keelah@crystyl:"Not... exactly. It is a complicated story, but one I'm sure the science teams on board will be happy to indulge your curiosity about the next time you are here" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Harbinger: "Very well. I shall leave you to coordinate with the Solanae." Keelah@crystyl nods, leaning back as the comm closes, "Let's hope they are as sensitive to Emma's presence as the Elachi are, or this is going to be a very long day..." --- NPC@annpc#557 | In one of the VF's transporter rooms, Emma gets ready to greet the Solanae as several of them come on board to coordinate... NPC@annpc#557 | A pair of Solanae soon materialize on the transporter pad, accompanied by a non-combat Iconian drone hovering behind them Emma Ralde@crystyl finishes up on the controls and looks over, "Welcome to the Valley Forge. I'm Ensign Ralde" NPC@annpc#557 | Unlike the Solanae as they are in subspace, these ones are wearing suits which completely enclose their bodies, with the traditional robes atop them. Elements of their faces can still be seen - NPC@annpc#557 - but they are more shrouded than usual as their masks are only semi-transparent, and they still wear their hoods over it. One of the Solanae begin to emit their characteristic clicking noises, - NPC@annpc#557 - which the suit promptly translates, "You are...strange." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "Unusual." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "Most unusual." Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles, "Ordinarily that would be a matter of perspective. But I think I know what your sensing about me, and it is the reason I am here to facilitate your time here" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "You are here so we may experiment with you?" Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Um... no. I am here to serve as liaison, since we understand that even being here presents certain difficulties for you. Though I am not exactly like you, what I believe you sense of me is a shared- Emma Ralde@crystyl:- connection - one which I hope will go some way to making your time here more amenable" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "We believe we understand." It pauses for a moment. "...May we experiment with you?" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "You are interesting. New phenomena." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"You may study - /non-invasively/. I will even happily assist with relevant information and context for you. But none of your experiments, sorry" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "Very well. We will not interfere with the Emma Ralde lifeform's functions in any part of our studies." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I appreciate that. And thank you for showing me the courtesy of asking first, it is most welcome - and why I am willing to satisfy your curiosity about me within the established bounds" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "We do as the Iconians instruct." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "The Iconians instruct us to develop countermeasures to the temporal vessels." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "We must prioritize their command over our curiosity." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Of course, that is why we are all here. I understand you prefer to work independently on board your own ship so we will keep this to a minimum at your discretion. But we feel it necessary to share - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- research data and current theory in order to fully optimize the joint efforts. Or in short; there is no value in you starting fresh on a line of investigation if we have already researched it - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- further and found a flaw preventing it from being fruitful" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "Yes. Data already collected will be of benefit to our research." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"And I hope that you will find it in yourselves to reciprocate this gesture by keeping us informed about your own research as we move forwards. That is assuming of course, that you don't decide you - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- take a liking to us and choose to operate here alongside the other teams" she grins NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "We do not believe that conducting research alongside you will be fruitful." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "We have studied your kind. You are different." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "Different mind. Different thoughts." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "Collaboration will be difficult. But we have a proposal." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I know. But until you materialized here, you had no idea about me either, so I like to think anything is possible" she looks to S1 and smiles, "That's the spirit! What is your idea?" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "We will conduct research on our own. But we will research subjects you assign to us." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "You have your process. We have our process. Collaboration on the same research will be difficult. But collaboration overall is possible." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"That sounds suitably efficient. Well then, would you like me to take you to the science teams so you can begin debriefing with them?" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "Do your science teams also possess information on your unique state of being?" Emma Ralde@crystyl:"No specific details, but then even I don't have data to the degree that you would likely want. They have an outline understanding but I am happy to come along and share what I know about my - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- existence as well. In truth, the two topics are not quite mutually exclusive as there is some crossover of interest" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "Between the temporal vessels and your state of being?" Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "Yes!" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "Interesting. Is Emma Ralde a traveller from a different temporal point?" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "Another quantum universe, perhaps." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "An experiment to travel to another universe?" Emma Ralde@crystyl chuckles at all the guessing, "You do enjoy this game don't you! I am of this quantum universe, but the temporal vessels - at least in part - are not. I have travelled in time, but I am not - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- a traveller from a different temporal point. I do however originate from a temporal point inconsistent with my current biological existence" Emma Ralde@crystyl totally isn't trying to tease them skirting around the facts now... NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "Was Emma Ralde trapped in subspace while time progressed differently in your space?" Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Not exactly, but I was exposed to a powerful reaction in the mycelial network a few centuries ago. My physiology has remained unchanged since that day, and - with the recent help of the Elachi - I- Emma Ralde@crystyl:- have developed a deeper connection with the network to the extent of navigating it like they do, and communicating directly with one of the world trees. You see, like them, you are able to - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- perceive that part of me in a way that lifeforms of this galactic layer are not. I believe that is what you sensed upon our first meeting" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "A viable explanation." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "We have worked with Elachi. We noticed some similarity." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "How was Emma Ralde exposed to the mycelial network?" Emma Ralde@crystyl:"At that time in history, Starfleet was experimenting with a propulsion system that used the network much like the Regulator ships now use. However, they lacked the scientific understanding and maturity - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- to do so responsibly and ended up doing a lot of damage. One such instance resulted in an explosion of atomically agitated spores to which I was exposed" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "Interesting. We have yet to observe such a phenomena." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "Your understanding of our areas of existence appear to be as rudimentary as our understanding of yours when we first discovered yours." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"To my knowledge, I am unique in this experience. Even the World Tree was unable to offer any detailed explanation" she nods to S2, "Our knowledge is woefully limited. Even all that it is now, it has- Emma Ralde@crystyl:- grown exponentially in the last few years which just says how it was borderline total ignorance beforehand. In this, we- /I/ hope to sate my own curiosity as you do. I mentioned before about this - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- being linked to our current research project. That is because one plan we are trying to refine is making a temporal jump through the network into the quantum universe the enemy ships come from. I - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- believe this would be a prudent area for us to initially focus your expertise on. And I would like to remain and learn more about your existence, just as you were curious about my own" NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "We will study you and learn what we are able." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 2: "Without interfering with Emma Ralde's functionality." NPC@annpc#557 | Solanae 1: "First we will hear what your science team has learned already." Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles, "That's appreciated. And Emma Ralde will study and learn what she can of you while the opportunity is here. Come on, I'll take you to them" she chirps, leading the way --- Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile in the CIC, Rianni works away on studying the future vessels. Her assistant chief, the Betelgeusian Lieutenant Junior Grade Atlen Jorr, steps into the room Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "How're things going here, Lieutenant?" Rianni@crystyl stands at the usual control station, but rather than the customary gesturing and directing associated with things here, she leans - arms folded - on the console, watching the simulation loop over - Rianni@crystyl - over. She sighs, briefly dropping her head onto her arms, "Hey Jorr. About as well as can be expected. As long as expectations are for no progress at all..." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "Not enough information to allow for a detailed enough analysis? Or just haven't found any weaknesses we might be able to exploit?" Rianni@crystyl:"Right on both counts. The analysis is plenty detailed I suppose, we just haven't seen enough of them to form all the details. It's like... you know when you first meet someone of a new species; you- Rianni@crystyl:- might see one distinctive characteristic over all else; a Klingon's heavy build, a Vulcan's stoic presence, a Ferengi's ears. But seeing past that to find the Klingon opera and poetry, or the - Rianni@crystyl:- Vulcan smile, or the Ferengi... um... well yeah, you get the idea. It's like we're stuck on a first impression with these guys still..." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, "Seeing how elusive they are, I'm not surprised. Something similar happened during our first confrontations with the Borg. Nothing seemed to be able to harm them enough to slow them - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - down. They /had/ weaknesses, we just didn't know how to identify them yet." Rianni@crystyl:"And that's where we are now. I can normally get a decent read on a new ship just by studying it's design and behaviour. But this thing just seems so... Starfleet. It feels like I'm trying to read - Rianni@crystyl:- new context into a familiar story" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "There's theories going around that it might be a Coalition ship from an alternate future, right?" Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, indeed" she waves her hand and the simulation pauses around them, focusing in on the ship as a tactical display begins to form around it, "The core design appears to be Starfleet styling, but - Rianni@crystyl:- there are incorporated elements of technology from multiple Coalition species that we recognize. It's like looking at the end result of the project just getting underway at the Heart now. Except - Rianni@crystyl:- when we encountered this one out in the Aethon recently, we linked it's quantum signature to the Defiant - sorry the Gallant, and our link to that universe has only gone back in time so far too" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "I wonder if we might be able to find something if we...extrapolate. It's not precisely scientific, but I'm hardly a scientist. Assuming this is a Coalition ship, we might be able to - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - fill in the blanks with what we would do and extrapolate from there. As far as we know, the Gallant's universe is very similar to ours. It's not one of those like the Mirror Universe where - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - everything is drastically different." Rianni@crystyl:"You're right. And even with the Terran ships... we are able to extrapolate based on our comparative vessels! Good thinking!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "It might actually be easier with the Terran ships, since human ideas are so prominent in their design. It'll be more difficult with the combination of multiple Coalition species and - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - technologies, but we still have all of the same elements here in our own universe. So theoretically, it should be doable." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, it's the principle of it that counts! Come on, let's break this thing down again and see what we can figure" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, "Let's start from the top. The shape is certainly based on Starfleet design..." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "In fact, it reminds me of one of Starfleet's earliest designs, even predating the Federation. There's similarities to the Akira, but the nacelles don't hang down and it's overall - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - closer to the old NX-class. Which I believe was an inspiration for the Akira as well. We've always made ships that were variations of that design, haven't we?" Rianni@crystyl:"Pretty much. There have been a few slightly more outlandish designs like the Daedalus series with a spherical forward section, or more modern destroyers like the current Defiant. But even they - Rianni@crystyl:- still break down to this same core style. The configuration here though - whilst reminiscent of the pre-Federation Starfleet - is much more refined. It has gone back to that setup for a reason, - Rianni@crystyl:- and that design was used for Earth's first deep space missions as you said. With the nacelles only slightly raised from the plane of the saucer, and swept back as they are; I'd say this is a heavy- Rianni@crystyl:- destroyer; one meant to operate long term solo missions so it has more focus on the warp capability than a ship like the QanwI'" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, "It has a sleek profile as well, like both modern ships and early ships. Earlier it was discovered to be more efficient for warp, and later we went back to these designs when we - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - learned about subspace pollution. Seeing their level of technology, it makes sense that they're continuing with such designs, but a sleeker profile also means more effective stealth." Rianni@crystyl:"And the proportions of the nacelles go beyond that to suggest some emphasis on speed too. well, warp anyway, hence the heavy destroyer theory. Maybe it plays a part in the quantum slipstream too" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "That's a good theory, Lieutenant. We should run it by Thorkildsen; propulsion is his area of expertise." Rianni@crystyl nods, "I've already spoken to him about slotting in some time to assist here. Lennie will be sending someone along too, since ship tech isn't really her thing" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "We should have the Nuhar take a look at it as well. Two of them are still staying in orbit above Widhar." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "That one Construct utilized a slipstream drive, and the beam weapons on this ship seem to be based on Nuhar ones." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh right! We definitely want to get their eyes on this. The Iconians too while they're here" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, "From these scans, the hull composition seems to have more in common with Iconian ships than modern Starfleet ships." Rianni@crystyl:"Ok. So if we were back at the Heart now working on this new Coalition joint design... what attributes do we get from an Iconian hull than anyone else's?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "Right now I think we're working with Nuhar hulls, but Nuhar hull alloy have more neutronium. Iconians use it too, but in a smaller quantity, and neutronium's not exactly common. Perhaps - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- it's just the best balance between being effective and being economical?" Rianni@crystyl:"That makes sense. Kind of like the coating we gave the Valley Forge a while back" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, "Exactly, yes. Unlike the prototype they're working on back in the Heart, these ships must've been built as part of a fleet, so considerations had to be made for resource - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - availability and mass production, not just effectiveness." Rianni@crystyl:"And such a production line would carry a certain element of refinement with it too, in design terms. You don't mass produce starships without going through your NX's first!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "This ship certainly seems refined and not a prototype. I suspect it's likely one of the classes in active service from whatever time it came from." Rianni@crystyl:"Which means all of it's systems are going to be highly polished. But well and good as this is, we still just don't know what those are! We can figure a lot like this, but I just don't see how we - Rianni@crystyl:- can start learning to counter this thing without first learning what we're countering against..." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr takes out an isolinear chip, handing it over to Rianni, "The Captain asked me to deliver this to you. I haven't seen what's on it myself yet, but she mentioned something about new intel - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - you might be able to use. Maybe it could help." Rianni@crystyl blinkblinks, staring at the chip briefly before slotting it into the console to see what it contains Alien NPC@annpc#557 | The chip does not contain any direct sensor data (as the Latenter had them erased during both encounters with the mystery ships), but it does contain images of three ships unfamiliar to - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - Rianni. Two of them appear to be the same class, while the third is a different design Alien NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/sto_gamepedia/images/4/44/Tal%E2%80%99aura_Temporal_Destroyer.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20180331003132 Alien NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/sto_gamepedia/images/f/fe/Valkis_Temporal_Heavy_Dreadnought_Warbird_Promo.png/revision/latest?cb=20170309021123 Alien NPC@annpc#557 | While they appear to be viewscreen images, the computer identifies them as computer-generated imagery Rianni@crystyl 's eyes widen as she studies the images in front of her, "What in the...?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "Are these Romulan ships?" Rianni@crystyl:"They... sort of look it, don't they?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, "But they're not any design I've ever seen." Rianni@crystyl:"I'm not sure I even want to know where the Captain got these, or how. But she wouldn't send them down here to us if they weren't linked to this investigation. From that, I would have to assume - Rianni@crystyl:- these are essentially more of the same, like the ships we're trying to figure out" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "That would make sense. We have members of the Romulan Republic in the Heart; it's not a stretch to imagine that the Romulans are a part of this alternate Coalition as well. It could - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - explain the Romulan aesthetic." Rianni@crystyl:"This definitely changes our perception of the bigger picture. Look at these two Romulan style vessels. Both appear Romulan, but both very different at that" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, pointing to the flatter design, "Look at the windows on that thing. Unless it's built for miniature figures to crew, that ship must be larger than some space stations. It's - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - practically a flying starbase." Rianni@crystyl:"That's far more removed from the other than simply being a different class of ship..." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "Maybe this could be their flagship, or a mobile command centre of sorts?" Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "No, I think it's more than that. Looking at these two ships now is like comparing a D'Deridex to a 23rd century T'Varo" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "So you think the larger one is a newer, more advanced design?" Rianni@crystyl:"I don't know, maybe?" she tilts her head, looking at the images, "Stars, for all we know they all from different realities and this whole thing is just a wild goose chase!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, "That's also a possibility. But like you said, if Keelah sent this to us, she must believe it has some relevance to our analysis here." Rianni@crystyl:"Of course, so we must proceed under that premise. Let's run a visual analysis through the simulation; see if we can discern any consistent elements to tie either of these to our target vessel" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr taps away at the console to begin the simulation. The computer almost immediately identifies the two dark strips along the larger, flat Romulan-looking ship as the same type of antiproton - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - weapon array as the one seen on the Starfleet-looking ship scanned by the Aethon Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "That's a phaser strip? Or...antiproton strip as it would be here. In either case, we would /not/ want to be hit by that one." Rianni@crystyl:"Agreed. Well the consistent element ties that one to our target vessel. Interesting how both are independent ship builds that seem more like they are modified with Coalition tech. As opposed to a - Rianni@crystyl:- dedicated Coalition design like the one going on at the Heart now. Doesn't help us with the ships, but does provide further insight into the political dynamic of these people" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "Indeed. Every little piece of insight could be useful." He points to the six circular shapes in front of the smaller Romulan design. "Look at these. They resemble the proton weapons of - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - the Nuhar Constructs, the ones that are essentially miniature deflectors. But it's unique to this design, the others, even the other Romulan one, don't use them." Rianni@crystyl:"Ok, so we can be confident at least that both of these vessels are associated some way with ours. Maybe the Starfleet style ones are infiltrating us, which would mean... the Romulan ones must be - Rianni@crystyl:- trying to do the same with the Republic!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "Do you think that's where the Captain got these images from? The Republic and their encounters with these ships?" Rianni@crystyl:"We know Nikki left us to go on assignment with the Latenter, and she did suddenly appear on the RNN as a claimant Empress, so it could be they're working some obscure angle to fight this same enemy- Rianni@crystyl:- and I wouldn't be surprised if Nikki fed relevant info back to the Captain when news of our situation spread" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr nods, "A good point, Rianni. I wonder how Nikki claiming the position of Empress has to do with fighting these infiltrators, but I suppose this is why we leave the espionage games to the - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - people in SFI," he chuckles. "I'll stick with the tactical analysis, what we're best at." Rianni@crystyl:"Agreed. I've seen enough of that world in my sleep thanks to the other me. My guess is that Commander Leveson-Scott is using this is an excuse to maneuver people across the quadrant in some - Rianni@crystyl:- elaborate galaxy and lifetime spanning game of chess" she chuckles Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Jorr: "Well, good luck to her! Let's see what else we can learn from the data here, maybe our tactical analysis can get back to her and help her plans down the line." Rianni@crystyl smiles and nods, "If there's anything to dissect from these images, we'll find it!" --- Keliaya@anncaris | As the crew works on their research, Keelah is doing her own work in the ready room when the doorbell chimes Keelah@crystyl:"Come in" Keliaya@anncaris steps into the room, "Captain. How's the research going here on the Valley Forge?" Keelah@crystyl:"It is early days, but I am enthused by the joint venture" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Me too. It's...different to be doing research with the Iconians and Solanae's support, and not developing countermeasures against them. We'll be able to learn so much more with their - Keliaya@anncaris - support rather than trying to piece everything together from the debris." Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, it is quite exhilarating to have either of them along, let alone both groups. Speaking of the Solanae, I've not heard any complaints - or weapons fire - yet, so I assume they were amenable to - Keelah@crystyl:- Emma's presence as we had hoped?" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "I just checked in there before I came up here. They seem to be getting along. The Solanae are quite interested in Emma, but she's managed to set boundaries. They're not so much working - Keliaya@anncaris - with us as theyâ€™re taking orders from us on what areas to research on their own. They think it'll be more effective and I'm inclined to agree." Keelah@crystyl:"It would certainly seem to fit their natural pattern; sounds like they are essentially placing us in the role the Iconians would normally serve" Keliaya@anncaris:"It would seem like it. We don't really know what their research process is, and they don't share many of the ethical concerns over certain avenues of research that we have, but the Iconians - Keliaya@anncaris - did instruct them not to experiment on something that doesn't belong to them without permission. That's a start, I suppose. In any case, we need all the assistance we can get. The Aethon's - Keliaya@anncaris - gone with an Iconian cruiser to contact the Borg, and they have just as many problems when it comes to exactly how ethical their research methods are." Keelah@crystyl:"It would be very easy to let ourselves slide in that regard under the premise of 'they are doing it, not us'. But I feel it is important that as long as we are involved in the work, that we - Keelah@crystyl:- maintain our own standards and expectations across all involved" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "I'll make sure we keep an eye on them." She takes out a PADD, "I've also been looking into the possibility of that potential recon mission you mentioned." Keelah@crystyl:"And what have you found?" Keliaya@anncaris:"We've been looking into several options. The first is a repeat of the method Mischa arrived in that universe through, but we don't have the Observer's ship anymore. We could reach out to the - Keliaya@anncaris - Junayd, but it's hard to say whether a different ship generating a different wormhole would have the same effect." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Yes, it is as we suspected. And the second?" Keliaya@anncaris:"An multidimensional transporter, like the ones used to reconfigure transporters to bring someone to the mirror universe. It's still one of the more viable methods we have, but the problem is that - Keliaya@anncaris - the further away a universe is, the more power we need to transport over. The mirror universe is the most closely tied to our own, and we've had numerous transitions simply by accident, so it - Keliaya@anncaris - takes minimal power to get there. The Gallant's universe is definitely connected to ours in some way, so it's doable. Our preliminary power estimates however are too large for the Valley - Keliaya@anncaris - Forge. With the power supply of an Iconian or Junayd ship, it should be possible- or even better, drawing power directly from the Heart of Unity." Keelah@crystyl:"The Heart is all well and good, but if we have to wait until we get back there then it would defeat the point of conducting the mission in order to close out this DSEC investigation" Keliaya@anncaris:"I might be able to get it to work with one of the Iconian battleships here. There's two other potential options as well, though they might not be ideal." Keelah@crystyl:"Well our best option so far sounds like a one way trip. Unless whoever goes can find an Iconian batteship on the other side to power the return trip" she chuckles, "Let's hear the other options." Keliaya@anncaris:"The Gallant is an option. We've disconnected the phase cloak but not removed it entirely and we can easily reconnect it and duplicate the circumstances that brought them into interphase. It's - Keliaya@anncaris - exiting interphase that's more problematic, since the data on what brought the Gallant into our universe was erased. But the mirror universe provided us a solution for that too," she smiles Keelah@crystyl:"Oh?" Keliaya@anncaris:"Specifically, the intel Rianni obtained. I believe we can use their method for crossing into our universe to exit interphase into a specific universe of our choosing. I have two concerns with this - Keliaya@anncaris - plan, though." Keelah@crystyl:"Only two? I'm impressed" Keliaya@anncaris:"Okay, three if you count the risk of not getting to the right universe and ending up in the mirror universe or something like that," she chuckles. "But I'm hoping we'll be able to minimize if not - Keliaya@anncaris - completely eliminate that. What I am worried about is that the last time this method was used to cross universes, they attracted the attention of the Architect and set the events of his - Keliaya@anncaris - release into motion. We might know better than to free him, but we could still attract the attention of interphasic beings while we're transitioning over." Keliaya@anncaris:"And we all remember what happened that time interphasic parasites got on board the ship..." Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, I would prefer not to invite that particular dance again. So is that all of our options now?" Keliaya@anncaris:"There's one more that Emma suggested- the mycelial network. We can't do it ourselves, but we might be able to reach out to the Regulators, or the Iconians for the Elachi that work for them to - Keliaya@anncaris - attempt something. Since we know so little about that particular portion of subspace though, I can't say how difficult it is." Keelah@crystyl hrms, "Perhaps if we can learn more about the option, we can determine if it is worth pursuing over any of the others. Meanwhile, it sounds like your transporter idea is the best" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "I'll contact the Iconians about using their ship for it. Assuming it works and takes us to the time period we expect, whoever we sent over should be able to make use of their Iconians or - Keliaya@anncaris - Heart of Unity to come back. As long as we don't arrive /before/ they defeat the Horde again." Keelah@crystyl:"So we'll continue to progress both options for now and see which comes to fruition" Keliaya@anncaris:"Sounds good to me. I'll get to work on them right away, Captain. We'll also have to figure out who to send over if we do pursue the transporter option. Emma and Mia would be the obvious choices, - Keliaya@anncaris - but they're members of our crew and shouldn't be embarking on missions." Keelah@crystyl:"Who would be our candidates with the mycelial option?" Keliaya@anncaris:"The Regulator and Elachi crew, whichever ends up agreeing to the mission, will probably be helming it. I suspect other Coalition groups might send along representatives too." Keelah@crystyl:"That would certainly save us having to try and hide a missing crew member or two" Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "That it would. Anyways, I'll see where we get with each method and keep you updated on our progress." Keelah@crystyl:"Perfect, thank you Kelly" --- NPC@annpc#557 | In the hangar bay of an unfamiliar ship, crew wearing the uniforms of the mystery vessels are working and chatting away. The bay itself is filled with various small craft, some of them with a - NPC@annpc#557 - distinctly Starfleet aesthetic, though they don't match up to any known Starfleet design. Above these craft, suspended from the ceiling of the bay, hangs a number of pods of some description NPC@annpc#557 | Two of the crew, chatting by a shuttle, pick up their PADDs and tap away at them before moving out of the bay. Soon, the other crew around the bay begin to do the same, with a few of them - NPC@annpc#557 - still in the middle of work quickly wrapping up whatever they were doing. Meanwhile, different crewmembers begin entering the bay, greeting one another and the ones who are leaving, and it - NPC@annpc#557 - becomes clear that this is the changing of a shift NPC@annpc#557 | One arriving crewmember is an inconspicuous looking human with gold shoulders and a black stripe. She doesn't greet anyone and seems to be actively avoiding people as she makes her way through - NPC@annpc#557 - the area. No one seems to notice her among the large hangar and the activity of the shift change NPC@annpc#557 | As she reaches the centre of the shuttlebay, she brings up a holographic interface and taps on it. A ramp opens, leading down...somewhere NPC@annpc#557 | The woman steps down into what seems like a much smaller hallway, and soon reaches a door that slides open to a small area with several consoles and a window, almost resembling the main - NPC@annpc#557 - area of a runabout but larger. She sits down on the central chair, tapping on the console in front of her NPC@annpc#557 | Several mechanical sounds can be heard echoing through the area. The stars outside the window shift slightly and whatever she is in is clearly moving. The woman taps her badge and her - NPC@annpc#557 - uniform and appearance flicker to reveal Captain Watson, dressed in her white-striped, blue shoulder uniform but without her usual badge on, instead having a different device in its place NPC@annpc#557 | Outside the ship, something detaches from the bottom of the vessel and quickly darts away from it. As it does, several pieces of the ship detach from the main body, hovering beside it. The - NPC@annpc#557 - vessel has the very similar profile to an Iconian raider, but the hull is clearly not Iconian and resembles the larger ship it broke away from NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://i.imgur.com/p1UNUBj.jpg --- NPC@annpc#557 | On the bridge of the unfamiliar ship, Captain V'Dena strides out of a lift, "Hail the raider." NPC@annpc#557 | An officer nods and taps his console. Captain Watson appears on the viewscreen, with the raider bridge visible around her NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "I had feared that you would betray my trust. Return at once with the raider, Watson." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "You know I can't do that. I'm doing what needs to be done." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "We both know that is not true, Marion. You are trying to prove yourself." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "You're damn right I am. You were more of a student to my mother than I ever was. Everything I tried to do, she always told me about how you did better. The only reason I got my - NPC@annpc#557 - captaincy before you is because I'm a full-blooded human and have a shorter lifespan. And now I don't even have that. I will show the Chief that I'm every bit as capable as you and worthy of - NPC@annpc#557 - being my mother's daughter. Of being his descendant." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "I understand how much your family's legacy has weighed upon you, but please, this is not the time for rash action. You must control your feelings and put your own ego behind you. Our - NPC@annpc#557 - operation is in peril-" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Because I put it in peril! Because the Chief trusted me, and I failed! I'm going to fix this, I have to." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "Marion-" NPC@annpc#557 | The comm abruptly cuts NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "Emergency overrides?" NPC@annpc#557 | A gold-shouldered officer shakes her head, "She overwrote them." NPC@annpc#557 | V'Dena: "Power up antiproton arrays. Lock tractor beam on the raider." NPC@annpc#557 | The draining tractor beam of the ship locks on to the raider, but its hovering components shuffle around and it quickly breaks free. A light emits from the front of the raider and an Iconian - NPC@annpc#557 - gateway forms. The raider darts through just as a thick antiproton beam fires from the cruiser, passing through the gateway. It's difficult to tell whether the beam hit the raider on the other - NPC@annpc#557 - side, as the gateway immediately closes shut and the cruiser comes to a stop in front of where it was NPC@annpc#557 | Back on the bridge, V'Dena watches as the raider disappears into the gateway, "Inform Commodore Fox of the incident. I will be in my ready room." NPC@annpc#557 | She promptly turns, heading off through a door to the side of the bridge