When the temporal infiltrators kidnap her daughter, Keelah is forced to go against orders to rescue her. Meanwhile, T'Pia tries to invoke her mother's negotiation skills in an attempt to convince her captor that it's not too late to do the right thing...
NPC@annpc#557 | In a less travelled hall on the Foundry, T'Pia is strolling about in her cadet uniform. As she turns a corner, she sees someone else in the hall walking towards her. As the figure approaches, - NPC@annpc#557 - we realize it is a face we've seen before- Captain Marion Watson. Captain Watson is wearing a uniform that invokes the one we've seen her in before, with blue shoulders and a dark body. - NPC@annpc#557 - However, this is not the command uniform of the future ships, but rather a modern enlisted Science uniform NPC@annpc#557 | Watson makes her way up to T'Pia, who of course does not recognize her NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Hi! You're Cadet T'Pia, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Pia pauses in the hall as she is addressed, "That's me!" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson smiles, "I've heard a lot about you!" She offers her hand to T'Pia. "I'm Petty Officer Watson of the Titov." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Pia takes the hand, "Nice to meet you, Wat-" She freezes as she notices something creeping down along Watson's arm onto hers. T'Pia tries to pull away, but Watson maintains her grip NPC@annpc#557 | T'Pia quickly raises her other hand to knock Watson back, but Watson blocks T'Pia with her wrist, knocking her hand aside. T'Pia steps forward, trying to trip Watson down, but Watson manages - NPC@annpc#557 - to step away, clearly a much more experienced and superior combatant. T'Pia falls back on her Vulcan strength, grabbing her hand back and squeezing hard NPC@annpc#557 | Watson yelps in pain, now trying to pull away from T'Pia but is unable to. Maintaining her grip, T'Pia reaches over and grabs Watson's neck with her other hand, starting to apply pressure - NPC@annpc#557 - in a classic Vulcan neck pinch NPC@annpc#557 | Watson's legs start to buckle and she drops on her knees, but whatever moved from Watson's arm onto T'Pia begins spreading and enveloping her. It crawls over her shoulder and up her other - NPC@annpc#557 - hand, forcing her to release Watson, who drops to the ground gasping, but not passed out from the incomplete neck pinch NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile, the substance begins to cover T'Pia's entire body. She manages to move her hand a little towards her body, but is unable to activate her combadge in time as it becomes encased in - NPC@annpc#557 - the material and frozen. As it spreads over her, a texture begins to form instead of simply being a grey, sand-like substance, a texture that appears to be a Regulator suit NPC@annpc#557 | T'Pia: "What is this-" NPC@annpc#557 | A Regulator helmet closes over T'Pia's face, silencing her before she can finish her sentence NPC@annpc#557 | Watson back to her feet slowly, "Programmable matter. A refinement upon your refinement of Olelian technology. The irony of using it on you isn't lost on me." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson shakes her injured hand, "Vulcan strength. So unfair. Forgive me for evening the odds with advanced technology." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson turns and begins walking away. The suit encased T'Pia follows behind in a very awkward manner NPC@annpc#557 | Watson pauses, glancing back, "Don't fight it. Even your Vulcan strength won't do much against a powered exosuit. It'll be easier for you to just sit back and let the suit take over." NPC@annpc#557 | There is no response as the exosuit-covered T'Pia continues to follow along in a very mechanical fashion NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Don't bother responding, either. I can't hear you and neither can anyone else. Don't worry, I won't keep you in there for longer than necessary." NPC@annpc#557 | The pair enter a turbolift and the doors close behind them... --- NPC@annpc#557 | On the VF, Keelah is called to the bridge... Keelah@crystyl steps off the turbolift, "What have we got?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly stands from the command chair, "The Borg are here, Captain." She gestures to the viewscreen, half of which displays Veladria on the bridge of the Aethon, and the other half showing one - NPC@annpc#557 - of the local Borg drones standing in front of a distinctly Borg background Keelah@crystyl looks over, taking her seat, "Welcome back Veladria, I am pleased to see your mission was a success" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "It took a little convincing, since this countermeasure would allow us to counter the tractor beams of the Borg as well as these mystery ships, so it meant one less effective defense - NPC@annpc#557 - for them. But once we managed to explain the dangers these temporal visitors posed, they were willing to help out." Keelah@crystyl:"Glad to hear it. And of course, since we're all allies now we shouldn't need to worry about defenses against one another" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria smiles back, "Exactly. We're still working on methods of defense for smaller ships like the Aethon, but the Borg believe they can install a modification to your armour generators in - NPC@annpc#557 - order to ward off any attempts at unwanted tractor locks, even against Borg and Borg-based tractor beams." Keelah@crystyl:"This is good news indeed" she looks to the Borg, "Thank you for coming to lend your assistance" NPC@annpc#557 | Drone: "Your survival is our survival. With your permission, we will board and install the upgrades." Keelah@crystyl:"Your work will need to be coordinated by my engineering staff. They know things about our systems that you do not, so their knowledge will be necessary to ensure a successful installation" NPC@annpc#557 | Drone: "We understand. Your vessel is neither identical to standard Starfleet design nor to the Valley Forge of Domina's universe which we are familiar with. We shall work with your personnel - NPC@annpc#557 - for maximum efficiency." Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you for your understanding" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "What's the rough concept of these modifications? So we can better assign personnel to work with you." NPC@annpc#557 | Drone: "This tractor beam technology is Borg. It cannot be countered by usual means because it is capable of adapting. Their vessels may be advanced, but they do not have the collective mind - NPC@annpc#557 - of the Borg. Our modifications will match the electromagnetic field of your armour to the frequency required to counter the tractor beam. You will adapt as they adapt." NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Depending on the speed of their computer processing, they may outpace us eventually, but such a powerful energy drain also requires significant energy to power. If they're expending - NPC@annpc#557 - power and not getting any in return, they won't keep it up forever. We can't say for sure whether they can sustain the beam for long enough to outpace your adapting, but it should at least - NPC@annpc#557 - buy you a minute or two." Keelah@crystyl:"A distinct advantage" she nods NPC@annpc#557 | Drone: "If your vessel is added to our Collective, we will be able to outpace them for far longer. However, we understand that is not an acceptable option. This is why we suggest - NPC@annpc#557 - modification of your existing systems." Keelah@crystyl:"An acceptable compromise" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Drone: "We shall transport drones on board whenever you are prepared." NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "I'll have Thorkildsen put together some teams to work with the Borg." Keelah@crystyl nods to Kelly, "Let's get it done" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods back and moves over towards the turbolift --- NPC@annpc#557 | T'Pia is forced to walk along by the suit, blocked off from the outside surroundings. After several minutes of this, she feels herself being transported. She materializes inside a cell - NPC@annpc#557 - without the suit around her, though a force field blocks her from exiting. Looking out from the field, she notes an interior which has some familiar elements, but is distinctly not that of any - NPC@annpc#557 - Starfleet or Coalition ship she recognizes T'Pia@crystyl looks around, instinctively first trying to use her combadge NPC@annpc#557 | Unsurprisingly, her combadge doesn't work T'Pia@crystyl:"Whoever you are, you know you won't get away with this" NPC@annpc#557 | A few seconds later, Watson steps in, running a device over the hand TP squeezed earlier, "Getting away isn't my plan. Not forever, at least." T'Pia@crystyl:"So I am not an insurance policy for you. Then logically, you came here specifically for me. You are after my mother and the Valley Forge?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson smiles, "Excellent deduction, Cadet. Though I'm not exactly thrilled you uncovered our work on the Challenger, either. But don't worry- I'm not out for revenge. You won't be harmed, I - NPC@annpc#557 - promise." T'Pia@crystyl looks around, "So this is what the inside of one of those ships looks like. Smaller than I expected..." she notes in a tone, clearly observing that it's not the same ship NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "That's because this isn't the ship you saw, just a small raider attached to it. Not unlike the Aquarius at the back of the Odyssey class, which I imagine you're quite familiar with." T'Pia@crystyl:"I thought as much as soon as you revealed that programmable matter of yours. Good to see that the technology will continue to evolve to such a high level. Not so good to see it used for kidnapping." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "It's...not the intended purpose. This is." She taps her belt and the matter begins to wrap around her as it did around T'Pia earlier, except this time forming a suit that isn't - NPC@annpc#557 - Regulator in design. It is instead the same suits seen by Sin in the underwater Progenitor ship T'Pia@crystyl:"Still a step up from current ergonomic chair concept. So what happens now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Well, you might be here for some time, so I won't keep you cooped up in that holding cell." She waves her hand and the force field disappears. "You can't roam freely, of course, but - NPC@annpc#557 - I'll give you one of the bunks. It's not guest quarters on your ship, but it's a much nicer space to be confined to than here." T'Pia@crystyl:"Fair enough. I take that to mean that you do not know where the Valley Forge is right now, and need to search for them. But you still haven't explained what this is all about" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson chuckles, turning to lead the way, "I'm not about to tell you my entire plan like some holo-villain. We wouldn't want you giving away our secrets when you inevitably return to your - NPC@annpc#557 - mother. But I know that Starfleet desire for answers, so I won't keep you entirely in the dark, either." T'Pia@crystyl:"Curious, so you intend to return me safely which suggests my presence here is more to guarantee my mothers attention and cooperation when you confront her. And yes, we want answers; and right now I- T'Pia@crystyl:- want most to understand who you people are and why you are doing the things you are doing. You appear to be from our future, which makes it illogical to undermine your own history. Furthermore, I - T'Pia@crystyl:- may only be a cadet but I am still Starfleet so it is my duty to make every effort to safeguard myself and others. And in order to do that, I need to understand your more immediate motives. - T'Pia@crystyl:- Perhaps with that understanding I would be better positioned to mediate your confrontation with my mother, maybe even help you find a more logical means to meet your desired ends" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "You're quite good at this, Cadet. Yes, you are here to guarantee your mother's attention. And I apologize for the manner which I brought you here, but I have a feeling you wouldn't - NPC@annpc#557 - have just come if I asked nicely." T'Pia@crystyl:"That would depend on your intentions, as I said" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "I'll explain them to you soon enough." The pair step onto a small bridge of sorts that look like the main area of a runabout. "And you're not the only one here who's Starfleet." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson taps a console as she walks by, and a holographic dossier comes up T'Pia@crystyl stops to observe NPC@annpc#557 | The dossier shows an image of Watson a few years younger. She is wearing a Starfleet Command division officer's uniform and identified as Lieutenant Commander Marion Watson. Her last posting - NPC@annpc#557 - was as Chief Tactical Officer of the USS Logos in 2415 before retiring to settle on the remote colony of Bregan II T'Pia@crystyl:"I don't understand. Why would you come out of retirement to undermine Starfleet when you clearly carry yourself as a Starfleet officer still? I fail to see the logic of all this" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Because I never went into retirement. You were the one who discovered Ashley Hall's work on the Challenger. Surely you can take a guess at how the pieces fit together." T'Pia@crystyl looks between Watson and the dossier, "You... are not really Commander Watson...?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "I can see how you would jump to such a conclusion, but no, I'm not a Changeling. I'm as much Commander Watson as you are Cadet T'Pia. Though it's Captain now." T'Pia@crystyl:"You do not conduct yourself like any Captain I have ever met, and I still can not see how all this is meant to fit together. This technology appears to be from our future, but you - and by - T'Pia@crystyl:- implication, Ashley Hall - are of this time. You claim loyalty to Starfleet but work to undermine it. I see nothing to justify all these conflicts" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson deactivates her helmet, but retains the rest of the suit as she turns to T'Pia, "Thank you very much for your vote of confidence there. Seems like no Vulcan wants me in command." She - NPC@annpc#557 - sighs. "You have it the wrong way around. I served Starfleet, but I claim loyalty to a higher power. And we are not undermining Starfleet. Starfleet is undermining us." T'Pia@crystyl thoughts linger on the comment about Vulcans not wanting her in command, but stays quiet on it, "What is this higher power, and how exactly can Starfleet be undermining them if we are not even - T'Pia@crystyl:- aware of them?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Because you're becoming aware of us, and you don't approve. Starfleet was founded on good ideals and principles, but the universe is dangerous and unforgiving. There have always been - NPC@annpc#557 - those who did work Starfleet was unwilling to do, and despite the shared goals, your morality has always gotten in the way of working together effectively." T'Pia@crystyl:"How can you judge us on our morality and reaction to you, when the only action you present us is unprovoked attacks and subterfuge? You are - are were at least - a senior command officer, you can - T'Pia@crystyl:- not be blind to the image you are portraying of your 'higher order'. Can you honestly say that when faced with the unknown threats you have presented to us, that you wouldn't have reacted the same - T'Pia@crystyl:- way?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "You weren't meant to see /any/ of it. That's the whole point of subterfuge. But if I were in your position and discovered it, I suppose I would react as you do. And it's precisely - NPC@annpc#557 - that reaction that's undermining us. Now we have to deal with it and do damage control." T'Pia@crystyl:"So if your intentions are as honorable as you seem to believe, why not simply talk to us and help us understand?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Because they're not honourable. Starfleet would reject many of our plans, the Klingons others, and the Arshai, the Regulators- you get the point. But what we're doing is necessary. - NPC@annpc#557 - Unlike your mother, we're not protecting the galaxy from the Horde. They were a clear enemy for the galaxy to unite against, and you know better than most how difficult it still was for Keelah - NPC@annpc#557 - to rally everyone into a cohesive force that could stand against the enemy." T'Pia@crystyl:"Wait... I think I have heard of your organization. Section 31, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson smiles, "Good guess, but no. We share many operating methods and a few personnel, but most of that organization is unaware of our goals, or even our existence." T'Pia@crystyl:"And you alluded to links with other governments, so you're like... a Section 31 Coalition or something then?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "More like a Coalition Section 31. Though we weren't founded to protect the Coalition from the shadows, as Section 31 was for the Federation. We adapted to serve our goals." T'Pia@crystyl:"So now you arbitrarily go around using underhanded methods to force others to align with your own goals? I see now that Starfleet was clearly rash in deeming you a threat" T'Pia@crystyl seems to have a hint of her father's sarcasm still when it suits NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Well in this case, perhaps that's a good thing." She steps over behind the console, tapping on it T'Pia@crystyl watches curiously, observing as much the method of working the consoles as what's being done NPC@annpc#557 | The console still bears some resemblance to LCARS, though there have been significant differences as well. From her time with the Coalition joint ship project, she is able to identify Arshai, - NPC@annpc#557 - Regulator, Romulan and Nuhar elements. T'Pia would likely have to take some time to figure out how to use these consoles, but she could definitely figure it out; they're far from truly alien T'Pia@crystyl looks again between Watson and the display, a little confused NPC@annpc#557 | Watson's voice comes out with a mechanical modulation: "Captain T'Keel Se'Lai. Service number LC-845-67J3 RPT. Your daughter T'Pia is currently in my custody. She is safe and well." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson gives T'Pia a gesture towards the screen NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Address her." T'Pia@crystyl looks to Watson, "Quoting her service number serves no purpose as she clearly already sees that what you say is technically true, Commander Watson. All you achieve with your attempts at subterfuge - T'Pia@crystyl:- at this point is emphasizing your desperation by attempting to intimidate my mother with your show of readily available knowledge" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "See. She is more than well enough to sabotage my intimidation. If you wish to see her again, you will come to the Fyroc System within seventy-two hours." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson taps the console, ending the recording NPC@annpc#557 | She deactivates her helmet again before looking to T'Pia, "As I promised, I won't harm you. But we need to give her sufficient pressure to disobey the lockdown." T'Pia@crystyl:"Why now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson gestures for T'Pia to follow, "Come. I'll explain my intentions to you- they won't matter much by the time you get back, anyways. And you can't inform your mother now that we've - NPC@annpc#557 - recorded the message," she smiles as she turns to lead the way again --- NPC@annpc#557 | Nearly a day after the Borg's arrival, the drones are working on the modifications to the Valley Forge. Keelah is in her ready room when her combadge sounds Keelah@crystyl taps, "Se'Lai" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "Captain, there's a priority transmission for you from the Heart of Unity." Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you Eva, please patch it through to my ready room" she turns to her console NPC@annpc#557 | An Andorian appears on her console. He is dressed in a flag officer's uniform with a single flag officer pip, but instead of the red stripe most commonly worn by flag officers, his uniform has - NPC@annpc#557 - a gold stripe NPC@annpc#557 | Andorian: "I am Commodore Kehl Th'zorril of Starfleet Security. I don't believe we're acquainted, I've only arrived recently as part of the investigation we're conducting into the DSEC - NPC@annpc#557 - infiltrations." Keelah@crystyl:"Pleased to make your acquaintance Commodore. Can I take your contact now to mean that there is a pertinent update on the investigation for us?" NPC@annpc#557 | Th'zorril: "We will get to the Valley Forge and Midway at the earliest possible convenience. However, this call does not concern our investigation here." Keelah@crystyl perks a brow, "Then why - may I ask - is a Commodore linked to this investigation contacting me now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Th'zorril: "As the highest ranking representative of Starfleet Security in this region, I believe it is appropriate for me to relay this news to you, a command officer, personally, rather than - NPC@annpc#557 - delegating to any aides. Your daughter, Cadet T'Pia Se'Lai, did not report for duty this morning. The internal sensors of the Foundry facility were unable to locate her presence. Her latest - NPC@annpc#557 - appearance on sensors was at the end of her previous shift, and her lifesigns and combadge signal both abruptly disappeared in one of the Foundry's lower level hallways." Keelah@crystyl leans in slowly as she listens, "Define 'lifesigns and combadge signal disappeared'. Please" NPC@annpc#557 | Th'zorril: "They vanished from internal sensor records. There is no evidence of weapons fire or any other foul play. However, we are currently unable to locate her. The Sphere facilities have - NPC@annpc#557 - all reported in with no data, as have all Starfleet vessels. Coalition vessels are still reporting in, but so far, nothing. There is not sensor coverage through the entire surface of the - NPC@annpc#557 - Sphere, so Sphere defense personnel have been given instructions to begin a search." Keelah@crystyl:"Are you certain she is still within the sphere? What about ships that have left?" NPC@annpc#557 | Th'zorril: "We cannot say anything for certain at this point, but all vessels that have left the Sphere since her disappearance have reported back with no sign of her lifesigns on board." Keelah@crystyl:"I appreciate you taking the time to apprise me of the situation, Commodore. What can we do to assist?" NPC@annpc#557 | Th'zorril: "As of this moment, simply remain put and inform us if you receive any word on your daughter. I understand it will be difficult to do, but your current orders to remain where you - NPC@annpc#557 - are still stand, and I do not possess the authority to override them. We have some of our best here in the Sphere right now, and we are doing everything we can to find your daughter - NPC@annpc#557 - expediently. If there is anything you can do, we-" The comm abruptly cuts Keelah@crystyl frowns and taps, "Commodore?" NPC@annpc#557 FX | Nothing Keelah@crystyl taps again, "Eva, we have lost comms with the Sphere. Can you verify?" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "Confirmed, Captain. I don't believe it's our end, one moment... The Midway also reports theyâ€™ve lost contact. One of the comm buoys must have gone out." Keelah@crystyl 's eyes narrow, "This can't be a coincidence..." NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "You think it has something to do with the transmission you were receiving?" Keelah@crystyl steps out of the ready room, "I do, Eva. Take us to yellow alert, something is amiss and I suspect we are being targeted" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Eva> "On it, Captain." Keelah@crystyl heads around to tactical, "Sharp eyes on long range sensors" then back to Eva, "Let's see what we can find out about the comms blackout" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva nods, tapping on her console, "Running some diagnostics now. I'm just sending some pings to see which buoy's the one that's been- huh." Keelah@crystyl:"What is it?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "We're receiving a message on Starfleet frequencies. Unable to identify the source, but it's for us." Keelah@crystyl:"They must have identified the same error and found a workaround. Let's have it" NPC@annpc#557 | The armoured Watson appears onscreen, with T'Pia next to her: "Captain T'Keel Se'Lai. Service number LC-845-67J3 RPT. Your daughter T'Pia is currently in my custody. She is safe and well." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson gestures at T'Pia, "Address her." Keelah@crystyl leans hard on Eva's console, glaring at the screen NPC@annpc#557 | T'Pia: "Quoting her service number serves no purpose as she clearly already sees that what you say is technically true, Commander Watson. All you achieve with your attempts at subterfuge NPC@annpc#557:- at this point is emphasizing your desperation by attempting to intimidate my mother with your show of readily available knowledge" NPC@annpc#557:| Watson: "See. She is more than well enough to sabotage my intimidation. If you wish to see her again, you will come to the Fyroc System within seventy-two hours." NPC@annpc#557 | The message ends Keelah@crystyl:"Watson? And she called her by rank as well, check Starfleet records for a match" moves to science, "Fyroc system, what do we know about it?" NPC@annpc#557 | Gwi taps his console, "Nothing in our records, apparently." NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "I'll check with our Coalition allies. This region was far from united before we arrived, it's not uncommon for a species or system to be known by a dozen different names." Keelah@crystyl:"Expediently please" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva nods, quickly getting to work on her console --- NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie announces from his console, "Watson's a very common human name, I'm getting multiple matches for Commander Watsons. There's two Watsons stationed on ships out here though, and - NPC@annpc#557 - neither of them is a Commander." Keelah@crystyl joins him, "Pia made a point of using the rank, so let's narrow it to that. We can approximate race, gender and build from the message using Pia as a baseline too" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie: "Good thinking." He taps his console, bringing up the message they received, "There's going to be some room for error with the suit, but she stands right beside T'Pia in several - NPC@annpc#557 - frames. I can use that to get a decent estimate on the height, and I can narrow down the build to anything that would fit inside a suit of that size." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Let's see how many Commander Watson's that leaves us with" NPC@annpc#557 | The console pops up with a list of personnel records, including ones of people wearing very old uniforms, up to pre-Federation ones. Silvestrie frowns slightly, "Computer, eliminate deceased - NPC@annpc#557 - matches." NPC@annpc#557 | The list shortens significantly as most of the matches disappear, leaving them with four records Keelah@crystyl:"That's more like it, pull up those four" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie pulls up the four records, "What do we have here...Lieutenant Commander Jen Watson, public relations at Starfleet HQ, active service. Commander Paloma Watson, former Starfleet - NPC@annpc#557 - Medical, retired to civilian service, and...interesting." Keelah@crystyl:"What have you got?" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie: "The last two are mother and daughter, both retired to civilian life at similar ages." Keelah@crystyl:"Curious indeed, but hardly damning" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie nods, "They certainly stand out from the others, especially the mother. Commander Sarah Watson was acting captain of the USS V'Tir during the Dominion War after the original CO was - NPC@annpc#557 - killed by a Changeling during their infiltrations. She commanded the ship through a number of engagements and was awarded numerous commendations by Starfleet. After the war, she was offered a - NPC@annpc#557 - promotion to Captain and command of one of the new Sovereign-class vessels being commissioned, but she turned it down to focus on her personal wellbeing after the war. A valid reason, and she - NPC@annpc#557 - did settle down to have a daughter afterwards, so it's not exactly suspicious." Keelah@crystyl:"And what about the daughter then, what is her story?" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie: "Lieutenant Commander Marion Watson served through the Klingon and Iconian Wars, but she has a less impressive career record than her mother. She also never had a command of her - NPC@annpc#557 - own, making it to Chief Tactical Officer before retiring to the same colony as her mother, and for similar reasons." Keelah@crystyl:"Those reasons seem less justifiable for the daughter" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie: "Well she did live through both the Klingon and Iconian Wars and saw a fair amount of combat and loss, but she hasn't had any children yet. Though to be fair, neither did her - NPC@annpc#557 - mother immediately upon retirement." Keelah@crystyl:"True, it's all believable enough. See what you can do to verify the current whereabouts of each of these four while we work to track down this system" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie nods, "I'll see what I can get, with our comms to the Sphere severed." NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "Speaking of comms, I've got some details on the Fyroc System." Keelah@crystyl heads over to Gwi without another word, clearly being more abrupt than usual, "So do we have an ID on this system yet?" NPC@annpc#557 | Gwi nods, "It matches with this one here on our charts," he motions. "We're going to need the Iconians' help to get there in three days, though." NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "According to the Iron Guardians, it's settled by a non-Children species that fled from the Horde generations ago. As a result of that, they're extremely untrusting of Children species." Keelah@crystyl:"Interesting choice for a handoff..." NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie: "I'm not sure it's a handoff. Feels more like bait to lure us into a trap..." Keelah@crystyl:"Not us. Me" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie: "It certainly seems personal...but why? You've never even met those future infiltrators. Could T'Pia be the real target here, since she uncovered one of them?" Keelah@crystyl:"Perhaps, but I suspect this all plays into their efforts to disrupt us like the DSEC investigation. That is exactly why the Valley Forge must remain here" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly steps out as the turbolift opens, "I was just about to ask whether I should get us prepared for departure. We're still going after T'Pia, right? Just not with the Valley Forge." Keelah@crystyl:"I am" she nods NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Wait, you as in you alone?" Keelah@crystyl turns to Kelly, "This is a strictly personal matter that I can not justify asking anyone else to take the risk of following" NPC@annpc#557 | Silvestrie: "And if some of us want to accompany you on this, would you permit us to join?" Keelah@crystyl:"I would not encourage it as it would also mean defying direct orders from the Commodore heading the investigation. The most logical course is for me to go alone" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Not if your suspicions are true and this is tied to a larger conspiracy, then you'd be giving them exactly what they want. Also, Pia is my best friend and I want to help too" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "The Aethon and QanwI' aren't bound to Starfleet orders, either. It's better than going in a runabout." Keelah@crystyl:"Very well... since the comms break did cause significant signal degradation and the Commodore's message came through garbled, I will depart with the QanwI' and Aethon shortly to mount a rescue and - Keelah@crystyl:- to capture the rogue Commander Watson. I will not order any of you to join this mission as you know the personal risks, but if you insist on taking them then be on board in 15 minutes" she - Keelah@crystyl:- concludes, stepping into the turbolift NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly looks to Rianni, "I'd love to go personally, but someone needs to stay here and watch over the Valley Forge. I don't expect we'll see much combat while we're here though, and Jorr can - NPC@annpc#557 - handle all the tactical systems in the meantime." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, "I'll head to the Aethon immediately Commander" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva smiles, "I'll go in your stead, Kelly. Besides, the Captain could use psionics on a dangerous mission like this." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Not to mention moral support, I don't think I've ever seen her so pent up" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva nods, "Any mother would be if their daughter is put into danger. I'll do everything I can to make sure she doesn't act too rashly." NPC@annpc#557 | Eva taps on her console, "I'll be there in a few minutes, I'm just notifying the Iconians of the situation so they can transport us." NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Stay safe out there, and make sure Keelah doesn't risk herself unnecessarily." --- NPC@annpc#557 | On Watson's raider, Watson escorts T'Pia through the small ship. She notes that there are no other crew around, but they do pass by a few hovering drones that remind her of Nuhar designs, - NPC@annpc#557 - though significantly different from standard Nuhar designs. TP notices a few design elements that seem to be inspired by Starfleet exocomps T'Pia@crystyl:"I take it these are not the intelligent self-aware drones" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson nods, "You're right. They're more so a part of our ships, a way for them to conduct maintenance on itself. Not unlike the role served by the drones inside a Nuhar construct. They're - NPC@annpc#557 - essentially the blood cells of our ships." T'Pia@crystyl:"I thought as much. I can't imagine the self aware ones would be too cooperative with your attempts to undermine their kind along with everyone else" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "We've never done anything to undermine the Nuhar, or any other AI. Well...we allowed the Romulan infiltrations which led to the synth attack on Mars to occur. But we did not cause - NPC@annpc#557 - that. Those were the actions of the Romulans of that time and their actions alone. We played no active role." T'Pia@crystyl:"And I suppose creating a threat to the Heart doesn't count, or sending the Kratt to destroy one of their few remaining historical worlds" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "There was never any true threat to the Heart. And sacrificing Widhar may seem cold and heartless, but that is only because you do not see the larger picture as we do. Our actions will - NPC@annpc#557 - save us all- synthetic, biological or energy life alike." T'Pia@crystyl:"Ah of course, that larger picture again. Must be convenient being able to obscure all your questionable morality behind that line" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "That is the way all temporal groups work, is it not? Think about it. There are others, organizations from your future who seek to safeguard their existence through the preservation of - NPC@annpc#557 - this particular reality. They wouldn't want to preserve their history if it led to a terrible future, they'd try to change it. Yet they have never interfered with our work. Which means what we - NPC@annpc#557 - are doing leads to a better future for all of us." T'Pia@crystyl:"Or that we will be successful in stopping you from interfering. Or that they are already working to help us stop you from destroying that future by using their proxies native to this timeframe" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson smiles, "But we have /already/ interfered. Your history as you know it is the fruit of our labour. Either they have already failed, which is quite unlikely as we would have some record - NPC@annpc#557 - of them attempting to stop us, or what we are doing is to their benefit as well." T'Pia@crystyl:"The arrogance of your beliefs truly knows no bounds" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "And neither does your unrelenting Starfleet devotion to the moral high ground and thinking you're always right. But I digress," she taps on a panel beside a doorway and the door - NPC@annpc#557 - slides open to reveal a small room with a bunk bed T'Pia@crystyl steps inside, "At least my devotion allows me to sleep at night. Hiding what I know to be wrong behind convenient 'bigger picture' excuses would not" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "To each their own. Anyways, your quarters have most of the amenities you'd be used to." She steps over to a replicator slot. "I've taken out the replicator components, but I kept the - NPC@annpc#557 - interface. You can use it to order what you like. It'll be replicated elsewhere, scanned for security and then transported into the replicator slot. The whole process'll only be slightly - NPC@annpc#557 - slower than the replicators you're used to. I'd give you access to a replicator directly, but I know someone of your engineering talent would probably find a way to do something with it, - NPC@annpc#557 - even if it is technology you don't fully understand yet." T'Pia@crystyl observes, "Even restricted as it is, I am curious to see how our current projects may one day develop. Though this does raise a point of curiosity..." NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "You're wondering how much information I'll give you?" T'Pia@crystyl:"Well, yes. But right now lingering on your reference to 'our future', as though it is not your own" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Well, I suppose it is our future now. It's the only future we can have. Not to mention that from a technical standpoint, most of us have mixed with the people of this universe. But - NPC@annpc#557 - you're right, our ancestors know a history different to this one." T'Pia@crystyl:"So you are not native to our universe, that confirms a few theories" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson nods, "Your mother has recently learned this information, so I will not be providing you with any additional insight by telling you. In the reality we came from, all this- the discovery - NPC@annpc#557 - of the Heart and defeat of the Horde, happened earlier in history. You've actually already made contact with our past- accidentally, while you were searching for the Thunderbolt artifact." T'Pia@crystyl:"I had a feeling that was the case. So what really happened to our Marion Watson?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "I didn't replace anyone. I was born here. Your universe never had a Marion Watson, and it never will. Your reality's David Marcus got himself killed by a Klingon. He never had the - NPC@annpc#557 - chance to have descendants, which means there's no one native to your universe to replicate the combination of genetics that make up me." T'Pia@crystyl:"I see, well top marks for commitment at least working over so many generations" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "We have remained dedicated to our plan, because we know what happens if we fail." T'Pia@crystyl:"And... we're back to the arrogance. Our universe is not yours. You have already shaped it into something new, which means you can not possibly predict the outcomes of events here" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Not everything, I admit. Your uncovering of our work was certainly unexpected. But some things remain a constant, and we know they will happen here. This is not the first universe we - NPC@annpc#557 - have acted upon. We've tried other methods, from direct timeline manipulation to revealing details of our future to you. All of it failed. This plan was not our first resort. It's our last." T'Pia@crystyl:"So you have yet to actually succeed in your goals of manipulating another universe to meet your own designs. Perhaps that is a sign that you shouldn't, or at the very least; adapt your plans now - T'Pia@crystyl:- that we are aware of them - that is arguably the most logical way to proceed rather than continuing to antagonize the galaxy" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson frowns, "That's not my point. We've never tried to manipulate before. But what we have tried is showing up at Starfleet HQ and just announcing our intentions. It doesn't make things - NPC@annpc#557 - better, arguably it makes some things worse. That's why we can't just tell you what goal we're working towards and instead work from the shadows. It's the only road open to us- and so far, - NPC@annpc#557 - we've been successful. And I intend to keep it that way." T'Pia@crystyl:"Perhaps so, but as I said that has changed now that your machinations have been revealed. And the longer you continue to proceed this way, the harder everyone will resist you - as a Starfleet - T'Pia@crystyl:- officer I am sure you are already quite aware of this. Therefore the most logical course would be to alter your plans according to the evolving situation. After all, it is quite likely that single- T'Pia@crystyl:- minded rigid approach in previous attempts that was the fail point, rather than the starting methods themselves, and the key to success is evolving with the galaxy you are manipulating" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson nods, "You make a good point, but I'm not in a position to make that call. I'm not even in a position to be doing what I'm doing right now, but it's the only way to prove myself to the - NPC@annpc#557 - Chief again, to show that I'm not just here because of the fame of my mother and my ancestors. Once my operation here is complete and I have my command again, I'll present the option to the - NPC@annpc#557 - Conclave. Assuming the Chief isn't considering it already." T'Pia@crystyl:"If you have already gone rogue from your organization, I would surmise that this 'Chief' of yours will only look to further punish you regardless of your results. Your best bet at this point would - T'Pia@crystyl:- to follow the logical course and help us to forge a new solution on your Chief. It is not too late, and it is your best chance of success from this" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Perhaps...I need to think on this, Cadet. Make yourself at home, as best you can, at least. And let me know if there's anything you need, within reason." T'Pia@crystyl:"You gave my mother a long window of time to rendezvous with us. I hope we can continue more of this conversation - I may be young, but I carry her memories and life experience. I can call upon that- T'Pia@crystyl:- to help you hypothesize on the variables of this encounter" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson nods, "I'm counting on it." She taps beside a console near the doorframe as she heads out, "You can access the comm system to call me from here. Just don't use it to annoy me, I /can/ - NPC@annpc#557 - mute you and then I wouldn't know if you actually need something." T'Pia@crystyl:"I still have hope that you will do the right thing and eagerly anticipate our next discussion. You will have no annoyance from me" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Thank you, Cadet." The door seals behind her as she exits --- Keelah@crystyl | Valedria turns as the door opens, sharply announcing, "Captain on deck!" Keelah@crystyl & Rianni, "At ease-..." turning to stare at each other a moment Keelah@crystyl smiles and gestures to the chair, "Have at it Captain, I am but a passenger" she smiles Keelah@crystyl | Rianni flushes a little and takes the chair Evanne Dra@annpc#557 steps onto the bridge a few seconds later, looking around and spotting Keelah, "Captain, I've informed the Iconians of the situation and they're sending one of their cruisers to open a gateway - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - for us." Keelah@crystyl hovers at Rianni's side for the time being, "Thank you Eva" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni meanwhile continues with Valedria, "How is work progressing with the Borg retrofit?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "They're going well. The Borg are efficient as ever and the Valley Forge should be able to shake off their tractor locks once they're complete. Unfortunately, we can't exactly do the - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - same with Aethon, but they have given us a hull polarization algorithm that might help, especially when combined with our maneuverability." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 steps over to take the comm console in the meantime Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, "It's better than nothing" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "We've passed it along to the QanwI' as well." Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"Speaking of which, QanwI' is just reporting ready.â€ Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Perfect, let's break orbit and form up with them ready to hit the gateway" glancing to Keelah, "With your permission of course, Captain" Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Relax Rianni, I'm not here to take command of the Aethon. As I said, I am just a passenger for now. I will direct the mission itself upon arrival" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Understood" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | The Lupan helmsman taps away at his console as the Aethon moves to form up with the QanwI' Evanne Dra@annpc#557 looks to Rianni, "Lieuten- or should I call you Captain now as well?" Keelah@crystyl:"Captain would be the proper term of address as she is serving as CO on this bridge" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, "Right. Captain, you should know that the inhabitants of Fyroc are extremely xenophobic, especially towards Children species, but even the Iron Guardians actively avoid them. They don't - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - tend to bother others, but their policy seems to be attack on sight for anything that enters their system. Since Aethon and QanwI' both have cloak, I was wondering if you'd like to open the - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - gateway outside the system and approach under cloak to scout first." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Yes, with the Iconians assistance we should reach the system with more than enough time that we don't have to rush in. We will drop outside the system and scout under cloak, yes" Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"What about the Iconians? I presume the cruiser will come through with us and stay out of sensor range of the system so it can take us back? Or provide support should we need it." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Yes, they are to hold at the gateway exit point and await further instructions from there" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, tapping her console, "Alright, everything's set. The Iconian cruiser is standing by to open the gateway. On your mark, Captain." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni glances briefly to Keelah, then to the front, "Punch it" Keelah@crystyl watches as they enter the gateway, leaning to Rianni in a hushed tone and with a perked brow, "...'punch it'?" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Yeah, I know. It sounded weird to me too. I'll have to keep trying to come up with something more... me" Keelah@crystyl chuckles some, seemingly at least a little distracted from the current dilemma by her protege Evanne Dra@annpc#557 chuckles as well, "Keep at it, I'm sure you'll find something!" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | The Aethon and QanwI' soon emerge from the gateway in the midst of a different region... Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Guardian: "Cloaking systems standing by, Captain." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Engage cloak and begin our approach. Sensors at maximum resolution, hold at any sign of anomalous readings" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | The QanwI' and Aethon both shimmer and disappear as they make their approach towards the system... Keelah@crystyl:"How long until the given rendezvous time?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"We still have sixty-five hours, but Commander Watson said meet us in seventy-two, not precisely at seventy-two, so they might be here already." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Then it's Kratt all over again; full dark sweep and analysis" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "On it." She taps away at her console. "I'm reading two dozen ships in the system and a large number of smaller fighter craft. No lifesigns in any of them, though." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Automated defenses?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Guardian: "Negative. These beings are tungsten-based. We've never encountered other life like it, and the Aethon's sensors wouldn't recognize them as lifesigns." Keelah@crystyl joins Veladria at her console, "Allow me to assist. Perhaps together, we can accurately reconfigure sensors" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "By all means, Captain. I'd welcome to help. If they're based on a metal, I imagine they might show up more like synthetic life..." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "My theory as well" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | As Keelah works on the sensors, she notices an unusual energy reading showing up on all scans of the ships as well as other things inside the system... Keelah@crystyl highlights them to Veladria, "What do you make of this?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Interesting...these readings seem to indicate some major unusual graviton disturbances in the area. But there's no sign of what could be causing them. I'm trying to locate what the - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - source might be..." Keelah@crystyl looks to Rianni, "I recommend steering well clear of all these readings, at least until we can better determine their nature" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Helm, you heard the Captain; wide berth of the graviton readings" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Lupan: "Understood, Captain." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "There's no one source. It's through the whole system and seems to be coming from a variety of sources encircling...of course, the asteroid belt!" Keelah@crystyl:"Curious readings for an asteroid belt" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria taps on her consoles, "Take a look at this, Captain. At first I thought they were just regular defensive emplacements inside the asteroids- turrets, mines and such, but I think - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - they're the source of the graviton readings." Keelah@crystyl:"An unusual astronomical configuration like this could be the reason this system was selected. I'm going to cross-examine our sensor readings with records of previous encounters with the mystery - Keelah@crystyl:- vessels, perhaps there is something in these graviton readings that is important to them" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Or a naturally occuring state which could be used to maintain a balance of terror and prevent us from apprehending Watson at first sight" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni moves to a tactical console, "I'll see what I can figure out on that front too" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Keelah doesn't find anything relevant with the previous records of the mystery vessels. However, Rianni does manage to discern that while the structures in the asteroid belt do contain turret - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - systems, they are not primarily turrets. Instead, they look more like power generators of some kind... Keelah@crystyl | Rianni, "Power generators... with these spread throughout the entire belt, you could almost... oh..." Keelah@crystyl looks over, "Could almost...?" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Among other things, envelop the inner belt region in an energy field" Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"A massive shield around the whole inner portion of the system?" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Not confirmed of course, but it is certainly one possibility that fits this distribution" Keelah@crystyl:"And such a creation would certainly not be out of place in the home of a xenophobic people" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | The Guardian tactical officer nods, "Exactly." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "I think I've figured out the gravitational readings as well." Keelah@crystyl looks back, "What have you got?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "This isn't a regular asteroid belt. I've run the numbers through the computers- the asteroids we see are only a small part of it. The only explanation for the missing gravitational - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - forces is that the belt is filled with dark matter asteroids. I think these generators harness the gravitational energy of these asteroids...or maybe amplifies them." Keelah@crystyl:"Dark matter asteroids, a rare phenomena indeed" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "I remember Emma telling me about them. Something else Starfleet experimented with in the past" Keelah@crystyl turns, "I was not aware of the historical reference" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "I... think it was another one of those things they pretended never happened, like the mycelial network travel" Keelah@crystyl nods, "Makes sense" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Given the increased gravitational forces provided by the dark matter asteroids, I think what's happening here is that the presence of dark matter asteroids are drawing other dark - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - matter asteroids passing in the area towards itself, leading to this accumulation over time. What caused the first asteroids to be in the belt though is anyone's guess..." Keelah@crystyl:"Perhaps it was no natural occurrence. Nonetheless, this seems increasingly likely to be the reason for our handoff location being here. We have lots of time still, so lets learn what we can" - Keelah@crystyl:- she turns to Rianni, "I would recommend having the QanwI' maintain a distant intercept buffer. In case our folly arrives early, they can force an intercept before they enter the asteroid belt" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods and looks to Eva, "A sound strategy, please relay to the QanwI'! Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, tapping her console, "Relaying it to them now, Captain." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "I'll keep analyzing, see what else I can learn about this system." --- NPC@annpc#557 | Several hours after their initial conversation, T'Pia is in the quarters she's been locked inside when the doorbell sounds T'Pia@crystyl opens the door, standing at its side, leaning very nonchalantly against the wall panel she absolutely wasn't trying to break in to, "Hey Commander" NPC@annpc#557 | At first glance, Watson still seems to be dressed similarly to before, but T'Pia quickly notices that she is wearing a different uniform. She still has the blue shoulders, but instead of the - NPC@annpc#557 - dark stripe of enlisted personnel, it now has a different-looking white stripe, and the rest of the uniform is black rather than the enlisted grey. She still seems to be wearing the same - NPC@annpc#557 - Starfleet combadge as before though, "Hello Cadet. I hope being cooped up isn't too unbearable for you?" T'Pia@crystyl waves a dismissive hand, moving to sit down, "Please, compared to classes?" T'Pia@crystyl:"So is this your proper uniform now - that of the Starfleet in your origin universe?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson chuckles as she follows in, pulling up a chair and sitting down nearby, "Yes. Well, everything except the combadge, at least." T'Pia@crystyl:"Interesting, I assume this is for my benefit; to further demonstrate how we are not so different or some such thing?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson smiles, "You're overthinking it, Cadet. I've been wearing this uniform for the past six years. I'm just more used to it." T'Pia@crystyl:"I'm glad to hear it. Such a display would have felt like a step backwards after our previous conversation" she smiles, "I take it then, you are looking to continue that discussion?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson nods, "That's correct. I've read all the files there are to read about your mother, but I can't possibly come close to knowing her like you do." T'Pia@crystyl:"Nobody can, it is our special bond. So why did you choose to target her specifically anyway, especially since you did not know her too well - especially at the time you went rogue and put your plan - T'Pia@crystyl:- into motion" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "As I'm sure your mother has already concluded by now, this whole fleet lockdown is part of our plan to stop you from interfering. But on its own, I don't think it'll be enough. It'll - NPC@annpc#557 - delay you, yes, but my plan, well, my original plan at least was to force your mother to disobey orders. That would give Starfleet enough reason to hold her back from this for longer than the - NPC@annpc#557 - other ships, allowing us to proceed with our plan while further stalling the Valley Forge. I brought you with me because I knew your safety was something she would be willing to disobey orders - NPC@annpc#557 - to ensure." T'Pia@crystyl:"Logical, but why the emphasis on the Valley Forge specifically?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Because the Valley Forge and the other ships travelling with her are primarily the ones interfering with our plans right now, at least in this region, and you've proven yourself - NPC@annpc#557 - capable through your previous work here. You like to think that when the time comes, every Starfleet officer would rise to the occasion and do as you do. And I'm sure plenty would try. But the - NPC@annpc#557 - truth is, when we control the fleet, very few are able to do anything. Most will cave to the pressure and follow orders, whether for their own careers, to protect their crews, or any number of - NPC@annpc#557 - other reasons. The Valley Forge is one of the few ships which we calculate could interfere and achieve a degree of success." T'Pia@crystyl:"And I suspect a decent portion of those others equally capable of that level of independent thought are also DSEC" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson nods, "And with your role in the Horde conflict, the Valley Forge has become quite an inspiration within DSEC. Other DSEC ships may still decide to work against us independently, but - NPC@annpc#557 - if the Valley Forge begins to focus on doing so, you will actively inspire other vessels to do so. And while that might sound like something you want to happen right now, trust me, it isn't. - NPC@annpc#557 - A few ships working against us and going rogue is something we can handle- it's already happened, in fact. But an entire fleet? Considering how much influence we hold over the rest of the - NPC@annpc#557 - Federation, this could rapidly escalate into a civil war." T'Pia@crystyl:"Not just a civil war, but if the Valley Forge were to make a stand there are plenty among the Coalition allies who would stand with them - even against the rest of Starfleet. It sounds like you have T'Pia@crystyl:- indeed been giving serious thought to our previous discussion about adapting plans, since you seem to now see the inevitable" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson nods, "That's what I was thinking as well. We have personnel within other Coalition powers as well. They won't just be standing against the rest of Starfleet. In the worst case - NPC@annpc#557 - scenario, this could lead to chaos on a galactic scale." T'Pia@crystyl:"Indeed. So what is your plan now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Well, I can't just confess to the Coalition what we've been doing for the past few centuries. Someone will probably capture me before I have the chance to tell them much, not to - NPC@annpc#557 - mention that I'm just one person and they may not even trust what I say. If we do reveal ourselves, it has to be done slowly, tactfully, and with the consensus of the entire Conclave. My plan - NPC@annpc#557 - is still to focus on the Valley Forge, but not to get it in trouble in order to delay their actions against us." T'Pia@crystyl:"Then to what end?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "You've been...fairly receptive so far. Once I return you to your mother unharmed and show her that I mean you no harm, do you believe she shall be as well?" T'Pia@crystyl:"I have been meditating whilst in confinement here, calming and centering my thoughts. That will help her remain objective and focused as she will be approaching right now with no sense of distress - T'Pia@crystyl:- from me. She will be distrustful of you, of course. But if you are honest with her and true to yourself, then I see no reason why she would not give you the chance to prove your sincerity. She has- T'Pia@crystyl:- after all, taken arguably bigger risks when extending olive branches in the past" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson smiles, "Good. Because I want to try and convince her to let us continue our operations, to try and explain to her their importance. We've recruited individuals native to your timeline - NPC@annpc#557 - to our cause before, because our goals are ultimately for your benefit. While I imagine your mother may not approve of our methods and might not join us, I'm hoping I can at least talk her out - NPC@annpc#557 - of working against us. After all, she's worked with plenty of people whose methods she doesn't entirely approve of. Commander Leveson-Scott, Supreme Commander Vora, the Lupan, to name a few." T'Pia@crystyl:"True, but if you hope to convince her to turn a blind eye while your Conclave continues doing things like turning the Kratt against millions of civilians around them, then I'll tell you now not to - T'Pia@crystyl:- waste your time" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "That was a reaction to the failure of our initial plan, and we made sure that the populations were not in serious-" she sighs. "But that's besides the point right now. I'm not going - NPC@annpc#557 - to ask her to turn a blind eye to what we do. I just want to make her understand who we are and why we do what we do. Then, when she sees something she doesn't approve of, she wouldn't - NPC@annpc#557 - immediately act against us- she'd be able to communicate with us, make her point, and perhaps help the Conclave in working out alternative solutions. It would be better to make an ally of - NPC@annpc#557 - someone like your mother rather than an enemy." T'Pia@crystyl:"That much is true, and whilst I personally don't think it will be enough - it is... a start. For what it is worth Commander, I think you are very brave to be taking this new course" she smiles, - T'Pia@crystyl:- "More than deserving of a Captain's rank, and as one like my mother who would stand head and shoulders above the average leader" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson smiles, "Thank you, Cadet. It's high praise coming from you." T'Pia@crystyl:"So, how long until we make this rendezvous now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Oh we can reach there anytime now. This is essentially a new Coalition class of Iconian raider. It can generate temporary medium gateways. I've just been holding position due to the - NPC@annpc#557 - change of plans. My initial plan was to plant your lifesign inside the Fyroc defenses, which would prompt her to pass through the defenses in order to reach you. This would mean not only - NPC@annpc#557 - violating her standing orders, but breaking General Order Two, since the only way past the Fyroc defenses is by taking down their defenses or at least dealing significant damage to them. The - NPC@annpc#557 - defense generators are unmanned so no one will be harmed, but it will constitute a use of force against a foreign power who has done nothing to warrant it." T'Pia@crystyl:"So that was why you chose that system specifically, I must admit I was also curious about that. So what is your plan now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "Well, there's no reason for your mother to damage the Fyroc defenses without me planting the lifesign. I've cut off the communications buoys and laid a false trail that'll lead my - NPC@annpc#557 - former ship elsewhere. They won't know where I've called your mother to, which means all I have to do now is proceed to the system, contact her, and we should be able to speak without any - NPC@annpc#557 - danger. Our other vessels shouldn't have been in range to pick up that message." T'Pia@crystyl:"And what if they were in range? Or what if someone there knows you well enough to predict this course of action?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "V'Dena knows me well, but I also know her well. And while I admit she may be better than me at /some/ things, I've always excelled at deception and misdirection. If she was able to - NPC@annpc#557 - stop me, she would have done so before I got away with the raider. And if someone does show up, I should be able to evade them in this raider for long enough to open a gateway and escape. In - NPC@annpc#557 - that situation, I'll give you an alternate rendezvous point, which only you and I know. You can pass that to your mother and convince her to meet with me again, if she even needs convincing - NPC@annpc#557 - after she sees one of our vessels trying to chase me down." T'Pia@crystyl:"Staging such an escape would not be beyond the capabilities of an organization such as yours, she would still be suspicious but wanting to believe, I think. And that gets you away, but what happens- T'Pia@crystyl:- to the rest of us if your ship appears?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson: "You'll be fine. They won't harm the Valley Forge, or the Aethon and QanwI' if they're with you. It would be counter to the effects we want to have on this timeline, and we avoid - NPC@annpc#557 - loss of Coalition life if necessary. You saw us in the Sphere. We disabled the Starfleet and Regulator vessels. We only destroyed the Iconian vessels because they were crewed by Heralds and - NPC@annpc#557 - Iconian constructs, and the newer variants as well, who are more like our drones than actual crew. In the worst case scenario they'd use the power drain to disable you for a while to make - NPC@annpc#557 - an exit, but no lasting damage will be done. If we wanted to do that, we would have already." T'Pia@crystyl:"Fair point. So I assume we are waiting within sensor range under cloak to spot their arrival?" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson shakes her head, "Not yet, but they'll have to arrive with an Iconian gateway, and chances are they'll take an Iconian ship with them since they'll be out of comms range and unable to - NPC@annpc#557 - call for the ship to take them back. Iconian ships don't cloak and are quite distinct, so we won't miss them even if they just send the Aethon in to scout." T'Pia@crystyl:"So it's just a matter of waiting to see an Iconian gateway form in the region" NPC@annpc#557 | Watson nods, "Anyways, thank you for your advice, and sharing your thoughts with me." She stands. "I'll let you know when we arrive at the system." T'Pia@crystyl:"I'll be ready" --- Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | On the Aethon bridge, the crew works away at their consoles... Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Yes, that's it! Captain, I know what the defense system here is doing." Keelah@crystyl steps over, "Excellent work Veladria! So what are we looking at?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Rianni was right about an energy field enveloping the entire inner belt region, but it's not a defensive shield." Keelah@crystyl:"She did say that was only one possibility too. So what do you think it is?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "It's a graviton field. These generators through the belt are amplifying and manipulating the gravitational forces of the dark matter asteroids. It's essentially a shield of gravity, - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - trapping anything that tries to enter the system. Ships, shuttles or torpedoes will be immobilized. Energy can still pass through, but energy weaponry will dissipate long before it reaches - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - the inhabited planet." Keelah@crystyl:"Quite the trap indeed" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "Cloaks are of no use here, since we'll still be caught by the gravity. Even a phase cloak won't be of any help. There's only two ways through this field if we're not invited. - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - Either we use a gateway or wormhole to bypass the field, in which case they'll know we're coming, or destroying the generators with energy weaponry from outside the field, which will inform - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - them they're under attack as well. It's not a flawless trap, but it's a flawless early warning system." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | The Guardian nods in agreement, "There's no way I can think of for someone to enter the inner system without making their presence known." Keelah@crystyl:"Then we must make sure to intercept Watson before she can arrive and setup to force us into that danger zone" Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"Do you think that might be her plan? To herd us into the trap?" Keelah@crystyl:"It would seem likely. Either that, or using their superior technology to somehow bypass this defense and prevent us from enacting a rescue" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "That's what I was thinking as well. Perhaps they're trying to drive the Coalition into a conflict with the locals here, like they did with the Kratt?" Keelah@crystyl:"After kidnapping cadets I wouldn't put anything past them" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 leans forward and taps on her console as something flashes on it, "We have a message from the Iconian cruiser. They've picked up another gateway opening. It's not one of theirs." Keelah@crystyl looks to Rianni, "This could be it" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Red alert. Is the QanwI' closer than us?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Guardian: "Affirmative." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "then get them underway. Helm, move us to secondary position" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, "QanwI' is on the move now." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | The Lupan helmsman taps on his console, turning the Aethon to move it into the secondary position Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria soon announces, "I have the ship that emerged from the new gateway on sensors. It's a small raider craft. Seems to have a similar profile to an Iconian raider, but our sensors don't - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - register it as an Iconian vessel. The same quantum signature from the Gallant and the ship above the Kratt world is also present on it." Keelah@crystyl:"Not very subtle, given the circumstances" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Make sure QanwI' doesn't jump the gun, tail and stand by on tractor beams" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, "I'm letting Captain Vix know now. T'Pia's likely on that ship, and as excited as she might be for a fight with this vessel, I'm sure she wouldn't want to put Pia at risk." Keelah@crystyl:"She's eager, but not foolhardy. You need not worry" Keelah@crystyl | True to form, Lexi acknowledges, albeit while voicing her different opinion with numerous Klingon expletives Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"QanwI' acknowledges, but Captain Vix isn't exactly happy about it..." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni chuckles, "Tell her I'll make it up to her later with a sparring session" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, "Will do, Captain." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 taps on her console before announcing, "The raider's sending a message. They want to establish a secure comm connection with whichever vessel Keelah is on. Which means us." Keelah@crystyl:"Alright, let's get to it. Rianni, maintain your alert status and lock that ship down at the first sign of movement against us" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, looking to the screen as Keelah steps forward Evanne Dra@annpc#557 continues to tap on her console, and a few moments later, Watson appears on the viewscreen on the bridge of the raider Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Watson: "Captain Se'Lai. I apologize for the manner by which I drew your attention." Keelah@crystyl:"You have stooped to a new low with this latest attempt to usurp our efforts. Making things personal against me and kidnapping my daughter are beyond despicable. You insult that uniform, by any - Keelah@crystyl:- variant of it you might wear. Now where is T'Pia?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Watson gestures behind her and a door slides open, revealing T'Pia. She waves for T'Pia to approach, "Come, Cadet. Explain the situation to your mother, please." Keelah@crystyl | TP steps up beside Watson, "Mother, I know you are concerned but the situation has changed. I promise you am I quite alright and Commander Watson has been very accommodating" she glances to - Keelah@crystyl:- Watson, "We have been talking and the Commander has come to appreciate that the Conclave's actions here are illogical and doomed to failure. Or at least, she is starting to see that - to the point- Keelah@crystyl:- where this rendezvous is no longer playing out as it was first intended to, which is why you were able to detect our arrival in the first place. Mother, the Commander has gone rogue from the - Keelah@crystyl:- Conclave and now has a proposition for you. Please, hear her out" Keelah@crystyl perks a brow, her first instinct naturally being Stockholm Syndrome, or some sci-fi variant thereof. She looks to Watson, "You have clearly won her over at least, but I will take a lot more - Keelah@crystyl:- convincing" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Watson: "You have a bond with your daughter. I assume you can sense that she is telling the truth, and under no duress from me." Keelah@crystyl:"I can tell that she believes this to be the truth, that does not preclude the possibility of your deceiving or manipulating her" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Watson: "A fair point. Before we speak further then, I will return her to you as a gesture of good will. You may decide how she is to be returned, as I imagine you might not trust me to - Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - transport her onto your ship." Keelah@crystyl:"Lower your shields while we tractor your vessel. We will transport you and T'Pia on board together, then we can talk" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Watson considers for a second before nodding, "Very well." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Our tractor beam is standing by." Keelah@crystyl perks a brow, having not expected the cooperation, "...very good then. Hold your position and disengage shields. We will speak again shortly in person" turns to Eva signing to cut the comm Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods and cuts the comm Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Well that was... unexpected" Keelah@crystyl:"I assume we have a suitable holding facility on board?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Guardian: "Well the Aethon doesn't have a brig, but our quarters are secure enough to hold a prisoner." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, "The QanwI' might be a better call if we want full security measures for holding a prisoner." Keelah@crystyl:"No, she appears to be showing good faith, so we shall do the same. Brute force is not a useful weapon against this enemy anyhow, so she will still be more secure with the expertise here to hold her. - Keelah@crystyl:- Secure a set of quarters and transport them in when ready while the QanwI' takes the ship under tow. Once all is locked down, I think we should rendezvous with the Iconians and prepare to return" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, "We'll see to everything Captain. Now go give Pia a big hug from me... and you. Probably from you first..." Keelah@crystyl smiles, patting her on the shoulder as she walks past on her way out Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | A few seconds after Keelah exits, the Guardian announces, "They've lowered their shields." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "You heard the Captain then, have the QanwI' lock a tractor beam then transport them both here. Once they're on board, we'll move together back to the gateway" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, tapping her console to inform the QanwI' Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Captain, I'm picking up a subspace distortion...I've never seen anything like this before..." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "An ambush?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Perhaps. I'm trying to find the source now..." Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Guardian: "There's a transport on the raider. It wasn't us!" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "Can we intercept the signal?" Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, "I'm on it!" She taps away at her console... --- NPC@annpc#557 | In the transporter room, two figures begin to materialize, but Keelah quickly notes that they are taking longer than they should... Keelah@crystyl takes over the controls to compensate NPC@annpc#557 | Keelah manages to stabilize the transport momentarily. She notes that someone else was trying to pull the signal away from them, but the pull disappears on one of the transports and T'Pia - NPC@annpc#557 - quickly materializes on the transporter pad Keelah@crystyl rushes over to grab her Keelah@crystyl | Pia looks around, "Where's Watson?" Keelah@crystyl:"Uncertain. Something intercepted the transporter signal" she taps her combadge, "Bridge, report; what happened to Watson?" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "We couldn't get her, Captain. She just...materialized into space and detonated. Is Pia alright?" Keelah@crystyl:"She is ok. Clarify... did you say she... detonated?" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "That's right. You should come to the bridge." Keelah@crystyl:"We're on our way" she holds an arm around TP and the pair quickly return to the bridge --- NPC@annpc#557 | As Keelah steps back onto the bridge, she notices a Starfleet bridge on the viewscreen. In the centre of the bridge sits Commodore Fox in his SFI uniform NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "Captain Se'Lai. It seems it falls to Starfleet Intelligence once again to save you from your overtrusting nature." Keelah@crystyl:"Commodore Fox. Please explain" NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "We were monitoring the communication between you and this...Commander Watson. Her agreement to give up her ship and allow you to take her prisoner was suspicious, to say the least. So - NPC@annpc#557 - instead of taking her at her word, I took the initiative to transport them first. It seems my suspicion was warranted, as she had used the classic method of chemically transforming her body - NPC@annpc#557 - into a bomb. Most likely to assassinate you." Keelah@crystyl:"I see. Well then, it is... convenient that you happened to be range to not only intercept that secure comm but to reach us and act so promptly as well" NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "We are here for the same reason you are, Captain. As I'm sure my first officer T'Lana has already informed you, we were on our way to the Valley Forge's position and happened to be in - NPC@annpc#557 - range of the first message Watson sent, which included the site of the meeting. We diverted course at once and was able to reach the system shortly after you came through the gateway thanks to - NPC@annpc#557 - our proximity. Not knowing your precise locations as your vessels were also cloaked, I decided that we should not expose one another and stayed hidden to monitor the situation, only - NPC@annpc#557 - interfering when I deemed necessary." Keelah@crystyl:"As I said, it was convenient that you were in range then. However that detonation may have attracted unwanted local attention so if it's all the same to you, I would suggest we make our exit" NPC@annpc#557 | Fox nods, "Agreed. We can shorten our own journey and return to Widhar with you using the Iconian vessel you came with." Keelah@crystyl:"Very well, as soon as we secure Watson's raider we'll be underway" NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "We will stay alert and watch for any local activity while you do so." NPC@annpc#557 | The comm ends Keelah@crystyl turns to Eva, "See if the Iconians can park that raider for us while we travel back" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva nods, "I assume we're taking it with us?" Keelah@crystyl:"And I don't want any of Fox's people anywhere near it" NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "Understood." NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "That was rather convenient timing..." Keelah@crystyl:"And positioning, I don't trust it for one moment. Even if Watson were doing as he suggested, the timing of that explosion was far too precise. Analyse all available data before we leave" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "I'm on it, Captain." --- NPC@annpc#557 | As the bridge works away on analyzing the info, T'Pia and Keelah step into the makeshift ready room/office that Jatila had set up on the Aethon Keelah@crystyl holds her close again as soon as the door closes, "Oh Pia, I am so sorry that you got caught up in all of this" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Pia hugs Keelah back, "It's not your fault, mum. I'm the one that found out about their schemes first on the Challenger. I'm glad we're both alright, though." Keelah@crystyl:"As am I, daughter" she smiles, stepping back but still holding her NPC@annpc#557 | T'Pia: "I don't think we're quite out of it yet, though. Especially not if what Commander Watson said was true. We might just have an even bigger problem on our hands..." Keelah@crystyl:"That is an understatement Pia. Please-" she sits, drawing TP down beside her, "Tell me what happened with Watson" NPC@annpc#557 | TP takes a seat beside her, "She was originally just luring you here to make you disobey orders and get the Valley Forge locked down for longer, but she soon saw the logic of talking to you - NPC@annpc#557 - and explaining everything. I /think/ she was sincere about it." Keelah@crystyl:"Let us assume for the moment that she was; what do you know of her changed plans?" NPC@annpc#557 | TP: "She said she couldn't simply hand herself into the Coalition and confess everything, but she wanted to tell you about it. I think she was hoping to recruit you into their conspiracy - NPC@annpc#557 - or at least tell you about this greater goal they're working towards that could supposedly justify their actions so the Valley Forge wouldn't work against them." Keelah@crystyl:"That seems rather optimistic of her, but I suppose it does fit" NPC@annpc#557 | TP: "She never told me about what this end she was working towards was that could possibly justify the means, but she seemed to believe in it and must've thought that you would understand too. - NPC@annpc#557 - She didn't think you'd join them, but she wanted you to stop interfering with what they were doing. She talked about how their organization has influence throughout the Federation and the rest - NPC@annpc#557 - of the galaxy, but was scared of the support you could rally up after everything you did for the Coalition." Keelah@crystyl:"She must have known that I would never simply turn a blind eye to things like this Kratt invasion and the DSEC shutdown" NPC@annpc#557 | TP nods, "Exactly. And she was afraid that if you got DSEC and the Coalition to stand against their machinations, it could lead to a civil war in the Federation, or possibly even through the - NPC@annpc#557 - entire galaxy. So she concluded it was best to tell you the truth first, and figure out where to go from there. It was sound logic, and she seemed like she really believed it." Keelah@crystyl:"And now it seems entirely likely that she was killed for it" NPC@annpc#557 | TP nods again sadly, "I was just getting somewhere with her, too. I don't trust Commodore Fox, either. Even if Watson was lying to me and just using me, why would she turn herself into a bomb? - NPC@annpc#557 - She had me, after all. It's just not a logical plan at all." Keelah@crystyl:"I agree, right now we must assume that she was killed by this - what did you call them? - Conclave" NPC@annpc#557 | TP: "That's the term Watson used, though it sounds like she was referring to their leadership and not the organization as a whole. Like the Admiralty for us, or the New World Council. Speaking - NPC@annpc#557 - of the organization...she said you've already learned that they're from an alternate universe?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "Yes, while Rianni was out with the Aethon to return the artifacts to the Silverblood they encountered another of those ships like the one you exposed at the Heart. The quantum signature - Keelah@crystyl:- matched that of the form Defiant that we found" NPC@annpc#557 | TP: "I heard about the Defiant back at the Heart! Watson also mentioned that she and the others on those future ships come from that universe, but they've been here a long time and were born - NPC@annpc#557 - in ours." Keelah@crystyl perks a brow, "They are from that universe, but born in ours? Some elaboration may be required to that" NPC@annpc#557 | TP: "Their ancestors were from that universe, but all of them who are alive now are born here. Maybe even with some ancestors from our universe, which is why they don't seem to have a - NPC@annpc#557 - different quantum signature. Watson also said that she never replaced anyone, so she /was/ the real Commander Watson. They're not pretending to be existing officers of Starfleet like the - NPC@annpc#557 - Changelings or Undine were, they're actually joining Starfleet, working their way through the ranks and scattering themselves through the fleet." Keelah@crystyl:"That is... an unexpected scale of things" NPC@annpc#557 | TP nods, "I think she mentioned they've been at this for centuries, and it's not just Starfleet either by the sounds of things. She says they have influence through the galaxy, which makes - NPC@annpc#557 - sense since they seem to be part of a future Coalition in their universe. It's more than just Federation species." Keelah@crystyl:"That would certainly fit the scale" NPC@annpc#557 | TP: "It's certainly not impossible that Commodore Fox could be-" NPC@annpc#557 | Keelah's combadge chirps Keelah@crystyl taps, "Se'Lai" patting TP on the shoulder to apologize for the interruption NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "We've gone over all the data, Captain, and the Iconians have secured the raider." Keelah@crystyl:"Then it is time to get underway" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "Yes Captain." --- NPC@annpc#557 | As Keelah returns to the bridge, the crew are already lined up to return through the gateway. This time, the much larger USS Loki looms above them as the Iconians move into position to - NPC@annpc#557 - generate another gateway... NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Captain." Keelah@crystyl relaxes beside Rianni again, looking out at the looming Loki, "As you were Veladria, I am back to being but a passenger" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Right. Anyways, I wanted to let you know what I've found. It seems Commander Watson's transporter signal was taken back to the Loki before being beamed into space separately. I - NPC@annpc#557 - believe they had sufficient time to quickly implant her with a bomb, but it's not exactly definitive evidence. It could also be that they realized she was going to detonate and then beamed her - NPC@annpc#557 - out in time." Keelah@crystyl:"According to Commodore Fox, they simply intercepted the signal and redirected her to materialize in space. If they had received her and then ejected her again, that would have been reflected in his- Keelah@crystyl:- statement" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "True. I'm sure he'll say he just omitted the detail or something, though. It makes him more suspicious, but I don't think it's enough to prove that he was behind the detonation." Keelah@crystyl:"Not even close. It is however enough to make me question Watson's current whereabouts..." NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "I've analyzed the detonation as well, everything looks right for the type of explosion it should be, but that's not difficult to replicate without actually killing Watson." Keelah@crystyl:"I can't speak for anyone else, but if I were trying to reign in a rogue officer before they cause Starfleet some damage I would aim to capture and rehabilitate rather than kill, wouldn't you?" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria nods, "Especially if I'm also a member of the same fleet." Keelah@crystyl:"So it at least feasible that Watson is still alive and on the Loki. If so, then there is a chance she can still be useful to us" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "It's certainly a possibility." NPC@annpc#557 | On the viewscreen, the gateway opens and the ships begin proceeding through NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "What do you mean, a chance she can still be useful?" Keelah@crystyl looks over, "Assuming for the moment that she was being sincere, she could have been willing to provide us intel on the enemy - even bring us into the loop on their decision making with view to - Keelah@crystyl:- it being the beginning of a new relationship to better steer their actions. If she is alive, that hope remains a possibility" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "But how do we get her off the Loki? SFI ships are very secure..." Keelah@crystyl:"Fortunately, we have an ally on the inside of this particular one whom I am already schedule to meet with once we get back" NPC@annpc#557 | Veladria: "Yes, that would certainly help..." NPC@annpc#557 | On the viewscreen, Widhar comes into view as they exit from the gateway NPC@annpc#557 | Eva: "The Valley Forge is contacting us." Keelah@crystyl:"But this all indulging conjecture. For now, we stick with the facts and focus on investigating the raider once we return" Keelah@crystyl | Rianni: "On screen" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly appears on the viewscreen on the VF bridge, "Welcome back, everyone. I hope you managed to recover Pia safely?" Keelah@crystyl | TP smiles and waves from the corner, "Hello Commander! I am quite well, thank you" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly smiles, "Hey Pia! It's good to see you back! Though I imagine none of us expected you returning this way..." Keelah@crystyl steps back over to Rianni, "You don't know the half of it Kelly. I'll debrief you in full once we get back, but for now just be advised that we are travelling back with the Loki" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "We're just seeing them on sensors here. I knew they were coming here to investigate, but I didn't expect them to come through the gateway with you now." Keelah@crystyl:"It was a convenient happenchance that brought everything together" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Interesting...well, I'll see you back on the ship soon, Captain." Keelah@crystyl nods, "See you soon Kelly" --- T'Lana@anncaris | Not long after returning to the Valley Forge, Keelah is in her ready room when her combadge chirps Keelah@crystyl taps, "Se'Lai" T'Lana@anncaris <C - TQ> "Captain, Commander T'Lana from the Loki is asking to transport on board to speak with you." Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you Tee, please have her shown to my ready room" T'Lana@anncaris <C - TQ> "Right away, Captain." T'Lana@anncaris | After a minute, the doorbell chimes Keelah@crystyl:"Come in" T'Lana@anncaris steps into the room, "Captain. It is agreeable to finally speak in person once more." Keelah@crystyl:"Always a pleasure. Please, sit, this is no formal debrief" T'Lana@anncaris nods, taking a seat, "I am glad you were able to recover your daughter safely. I apologize we did not announce our presence earlier and collaborate- the Commodore ordered that we remain concealed." Keelah@crystyl:"Lucky for us that you were there at all, it would seem" T'Lana@anncaris:"It would seem so, though I find it odd that this Commander Watson would transform herself into a bomb. It seems quite an illogical method to choose for your assassination when so many other - T'Lana@anncaris:- options would have been available, especially given their advanced technology." Keelah@crystyl:"And the fact that she already had T'Pia hostage, and a solid plan to use that system's defenses to force our hands. But as your CO said, when he fortunately decided to intercept the transport, that- Keelah@crystyl:- is exactly what they detected which is why the Loki diverted her rematerialization, right" T'Lana@anncaris:"I do not believe that is correct. Our logs suggest she was taken by our transporter beam. It was likely during the analysis of the pattern in the buffer that we confirmed she had a bomb, then - T'Lana@anncaris - transported her in a separate transport into space. I was not in the transporter room, but she should have materialized for at least a moment before being transported a second time." Keelah@crystyl:"Curious that Fox did not mention that, and our analysis also confirmed that she must have materialized on the Loki for - as you say - at least a moment" T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. It is also quite coincidental that Fox decided to intercept her and she was indeed about to explode. As I understand it, he allowed you to intercept T'Pia's transport, but not Watson's." Keelah@crystyl:"Commander, it sounds almost like you do not believe events as they have been presented" T'Lana@anncaris:"You know it is my job to question coincidences. The Commodore simply deciding to act instead of warning you may seem unusual to you, but it does fit his psychological profile. However, the other - T'Lana@anncaris - coincidences involved, such as correctly predicting the source of the threat, does appear to be quite a leap of intuition." Keelah@crystyl:"Everything about this is making it very hard for me to accept facts. Unfortunately, I am limited in my ability to investigate. You on the other hand..." T'Lana@anncaris:"You wish me to investigate what had truly occurred during the transports." Keelah@crystyl:"We both know it is beyond my remit to issue you assignments. However, I would hope that your inquisitive nature will drive you to disprove a worrying theory of mine" T'Lana@anncaris:"You are not the only one with such a theory, Captain. I have served with the Commodore prior to this first officer exchange, but with these widespread infiltrations, we cannot discount such - T'Lana@anncaris:- theories. I hope the Commodore simply made one of his intuitive and not necessarily logical leaps which happened to pay off, but it is my duty to know for certain." Keelah@crystyl:"Then allow me to share a theory with you. These infiltrators - like Watson - are generational. Of the alternate universe we suspected already, but born and bred in this universe - literally raised - Keelah@crystyl:- from birth to fulfill these clandestine roles. This much we know from Watson's own testimony to T'Pia, along with the claim that she is a descendent of one David Marcus, who died in this universe - Keelah@crystyl:- but not in that one. She also told Pia that they influence multiple galactic powers at every level right to the top. So my theory for you to disprove is that Fox is one such person, or working - Keelah@crystyl:- with them. He never moved the Loki into range to assist in Pia's rescue or control the situation, but to prevent Watson from effectively defecting and revealing all of these details to me. And - Keelah@crystyl:- with Watson being of such a prominent lineage, I would theorize that he would not simply execute her but capture. So if my theory is correct, then she is still alive and being held on the Loki" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "It is a possibility I cannot discount until I have evidence to disprove it. I shall look into your claims and inform you of anything I find." Keelah@crystyl:"I truly hope I am wrong about all of this. But if I am not, then you don't need me to tell you how dangerous someone like Fox could be in those circumstances" T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. And if your theory is correct, then there must be a significant number of others among the Loki crew who are collaborating with him as well. He would already be a valuable asset to these - T'Lana@anncaris - infiltrators in his current position, but he could not possibly capture and hold Watson on his own, even if he is the commanding officer." Keelah@crystyl:"Seeing how ruthless these people can be, executing her to get her silence may have been a possibility. In which case, that brief window where she materialized on the Loki would be when something - Keelah@crystyl:- was done. Either she was switched, or something was done to cause the chemical explosion" T'Lana@anncaris:"If either case is true, there must at least be one other infiltrator on the Loki in order to transport her back into space to detonate." Keelah@crystyl:"Indeed. Hard as they must be to come by in your line of work, I hope you have trustworthy allies on the Loki. Attacking such an investigation alone is no enviable task" T'Lana@anncaris:"I have not had the opportunity to know the Loki crew as closely as the Latenter's, but I believe there are a few I can trust, who I can be confident would not be involved in this conspiracy." Keelah@crystyl:"Well I hope for your sake that you are right. What of Commander Leveson-Scott? I know she is busy reshaping the Romulan Empire, but I also know she is resourceful. If you haven't already, perhaps - Keelah@crystyl:- she can assist somehow as well" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I shall contact her to see if there is any assistance she may provide. There is another avenue of investigation I wish to inquire into as well- the raider used by Watson." Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, I am keeping it locked down on the Iconian ship for now. But we will also be investigating that. I assume Fox will want your people on it, so perhaps you can persuade him to assign you to - Keelah@crystyl:- investigate with us" T'Lana@anncaris:"I believe so. If he sends any other specialists, I will keep a close watch on them until I can disprove your theory of infiltrators being active on the Loki." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Not exactly the catch up we had planned now, was it?" T'Lana@anncaris:"Not quite. Hopefully, I will be able to put your fears to rest soon, but it would be logical to prepare for the worst." Keelah@crystyl:"The further down this conspiracy hole we tumble, the further out of my depth I find myself. I may need to rely on your expertise more in the days ahead" T'Lana@anncaris:"I will assist you where you need, Captain." She stands. "I shall keep you informed of the progress on my investigations. Please share anything you learn from your studies of the raider as well." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Of course, hopefully we will see you there to conduct the investigation" T'Lana@anncaris:"I hope so as well." --- T'Lana@anncaris | On the Loki. Alyssa is in her quarters when her doorbell rings Alyssa@crystyl:"Come in" T'Lana@anncaris steps into the room, "Lieutenant. I hope I am not disrupting anything?" Alyssa@crystyl looks over, "Commander, this is quite unexpected. No disruption of consequence however, so you need not concern yourself with cursory platitudes" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Knowing your aversion to social situations, I would not normally come to your quarters without informing you well in advance. However, this is a special situation." She gestures to the - T'Lana@anncaris - sofa, "May I?" Alyssa@crystyl gestures in kind, "By all means. So what is so special about this situation?" T'Lana@anncaris takes a seat, setting a small device beside her and activating it, "Are you aware of what happened during the operation earlier?" Alyssa@crystyl:"Only by proxy, but I understand that we saved the Valley Forge from an exploding kidnapper" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "That was more or less the situation, yes. I assume you are also informed of the infiltrator situation that has led up to this kidnapping?" Alyssa@crystyl:"You will have to be more specific, which infiltrator situation?" T'Lana@anncaris:"The one which has DSEC's vessels locked down after infiltrators were discovered on the Challenger and more recently the Ankara." Alyssa@crystyl:"Aah yes, of course. Then yes, I am also aware of current events" T'Lana@anncaris:"Excellent," she hands Alyssa a PADD. "Here are all the official details on the operation." Alyssa@crystyl takes it and skims, "I assume this is pertinent for some new assignment you have for me?" T'Lana@anncaris:"That is correct, but this is an off-the-books assignment, as you may have gathered from the dampener," she taps the device she placed Alyssa@crystyl:"Ah of course, most people don't normally carry those and use them to guarantee privacy in day to day encounters do they..." T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. It is not common even for Intelligence operatives when outside the field. But it is prudent to have this inactive in case my suspicions have any validity." Alyssa@crystyl:"I must try to remember that in the future. But... suspicions?" T'Lana@anncaris:"As you see in the reports, Commodore Fox suspected Commander Watson was up to something after rather simply agreeing to giving up her hostage and being taken captive by the Aethon. He took the - T'Lana@anncaris - initiative to transport Watson and the hostage out, upon which we learned that Watson had turned herself into a bomb, so she was transported into space. While such a leap of intuition is not - T'Lana@anncaris - unusual for the Commodore, the events as explained do not seem to be a logical plan on Commander Watson's part." Alyssa@crystyl:"I am sure you do not need me to highlight that the Commodore is not Vulcan. As with most Humans, he is prone illogical decision making" T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed, and neither is this Commander Watson. However, most emotionally-driven beings have little control over their core survival instincts. The tactic of turning one's own body into a bomb is - T'Lana@anncaris - statistically far more popular with those who are zealously devoted to an ideal, and those who have developed control over base instincts, such as ourselves. While I cannot say that Watson is - T'Lana@anncaris - not a fanatic for whatever cause she serves, in either case, transforming herself into a bomb is quite illogical when she has a hostage on hand to sacrifice instead. She is not doing it out of - T'Lana@anncaris - mercy either, since T'Pia would still be well within the blast radius should they materialize together on the Aethon. Her plan for assassination simply makes no sense from any perspective." Alyssa@crystyl:"You make a fair argument, but lack any evidence I assume. So what exactly is your suspicion regarding the Commodore, and... why are you telling me about it?" T'Lana@anncaris:"The other rationalization for the events is that Watson was never a bomb, and this was a convenient excuse to either quietly capture or execute her, in either case disposing of any potential - T'Lana@anncaris - evidence in the process. This explanation has far more disturbing implications, but is unfortunately the more logical one. As for why I am telling you, if this explanation is correct, that - T'Lana@anncaris - means there are infiltrators on board the Loki working to cover up the effects of Watson going rogue." Alyssa@crystyl:"You imply that our own crew is compromised, Far more disturbing indeed... You realize though by telling me this you are putting me in a difficult position" T'Lana@anncaris:"I understand and apologize. However, there are few I may trust as I have not served on this crew for particularly long. What I know of you suggests you are among the least likely to be involved in - T'Lana@anncaris - such a conspiracy, if there is indeed one on this ship. I cannot investigate alone, and there is little the crew of the Valley Forge may do to assist." Alyssa@crystyl:"Your reasoning is sound as always. Though it may require an element of creative truth exposition to cover, I can not ignore the possibility that you are correct. So what can I do to assist?" T'Lana@anncaris:"If my suspicions are correct, there are two potential explanations- either Watson has been executed, or Watson was captured and is being kept prisoner somewhere on board. A combination of both is - T'Lana@anncaris - not impossible but unlikely, as it would be far simpler to execute her when she appeared to die to everyone else, though perhaps the infiltrators wish to extract information about what she has - T'Lana@anncaris - already given away first. In any of these scenarios, the transporter logs would most likely have been altered. I will discretely obtain a copy of them for you to analyze." Alyssa@crystyl:"Very well, that should be simple enough" T'Lana@anncaris:"If the second and third scenarios are true, then Watson is, or at least was, being kept somewhere on the Loki in secret. I will attempt to find this location, and should I come across any further - T'Lana@anncaris - data which I require your assistance with, I shall pass them along to you. Make sure you disconnect the console from the ship computer network before analyzing any of this information, and if - T'Lana@anncaris - you require comparison with something in the databases, download the file separately and transfer it to a console not tied to the network." Alyssa@crystyl nods, "I understand Commander, I will be cautious" T'Lana@anncaris nods back and stands, "I shall visit again soon with the transporter data." Alyssa@crystyl:"Alright then" T'Lana@anncaris deactivates the dampener, taking it with her as she heads out, "Until next time, Lieutenant."
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NPC@annpc#557 | Some time after returning to the VF, Keelah is called to Jatila's counselling office... Keelah@crystyl enters, "I suppose there was no avoiding this particular summons now, was there" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila shakes her head, "It would be remiss of me as trauma counsellor not to check up on you." She gestures to a chair, "Come, have a seat, Captain." Keelah@crystyl sits, "I understand and so will indulge accordingly, though I assure you it is quite unnecessary" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "I'll try not to keep you for too long. I know you're a busy woman. How's T'Pia doing?" Keelah@crystyl:"She is mostly just excited to be back here and see her friends again. I think she is a little concerned about Watson's fate, and the dark implications of this whole affair, but that is not new from Keelah@crystyl:- recent events" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Yes, I imagine coming back to all her friends here must help. She doesn't begrudge Watson for taking her away without her permission?" Keelah@crystyl:"No, in fact I think they grew quite close during their time together. Don't get me wrong, she's certainly not become sympathetic to Watson's cause or anything like that for you to worry about. But - Keelah@crystyl:- she did an admirable job of engaging with Watson to learn her plans, and actually seemed to have convinced her to alter her approach to a more cooperative meeting with us" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You think she was sincere about the cooperation? I was not present personally, but the reports say it was a deception to get to you." Keelah@crystyl:"That is the official line, yes, as it is what aligns with the facts. But Pia's opinion is different, and regardless of the facts - as a mother - I have to believe in her, even if she was ultimately- Keelah@crystyl:- deceived by Watson. However since everything is transpiring to be more than it first appears on this mission, I am keeping myself open to the possibility that she was indeed sincere" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I am no tactical expert, but I must admit it is...unusual for her to sacrifice her life so recklessly to harm yours in such a gamble. I am a psychological expert though, and she had - NPC@annpc#557 - to have been very unhinged to do something like that. Especially when she's in possession of that technologically advanced raider." Keelah@crystyl:"Indeed. But for now at least, the facts are what they are. And they say that she was that unhinged, so we shall see" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You believe Pia's evaluation that Watson was truthful, but what do you feel about her personally? Regardless of her intentions, she did betray Starfleet and the Federation and took - NPC@annpc#557 - your daughter away from the Sphere against her will." Keelah@crystyl:"All of which are completely unacceptable. From Pia's description, she no more betrayed Starfleet than an SFI operative is betraying an enemy government they infiltrate. Watson may not have been - Keelah@crystyl:- true to Starfleet, but she was apparently true to her own convictions, and I can respect that. But targeting me personally, and attacking me by going after Pia made things personal and that - Keelah@crystyl:- changes things. It sounds like it was a desperate and ill-conceived move, which is likely why Pia was - seemingly - successful in convincing her to rethink her plan" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "If you had successfully retrieved her as planned, how would you have responded to her?" Keelah@crystyl:"Cautiously giving her the benefit of the doubt at Pia's behest" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "I am glad to see the amount of faith you place in your daughter. She certainly seems to have carried herself well, despite the dangerous and unfamiliar situation she was put - NPC@annpc#557 - into. Not to mention everything she's done previously." Keelah@crystyl:"Perhaps something Watson failed to factor in, or was likely unable to as she did not know, is the strong psionic bond between Pia and I. I assume you are aware of the Vulcan maternal connection?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I am, yes." Keelah@crystyl:"And since you should have access to medical histories on board, you also know of the unusual circumstances surrounding Pia's birth" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I've read about the accelerated growth and development." Keelah@crystyl:"Well that development - building her cognitive function to match her physical maturity - imprinted my mind onto hers, not entirely unlike when a katra is transferred to someone else. Coupled with - Keelah@crystyl:- the natural maternal bond, our connection was significantly stronger - at least compared to my experience of my connection with my own mother. It is not unheard of for Vulcans to reach out to one - Keelah@crystyl:- another across vast distances spanning the galaxy, in times of duress and even to communicate directly. So given that at no time I felt anything to worry about from Pia, I knew she never felt in - Keelah@crystyl:- any real danger while with Watson" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I see. So you were able to sense T'Pia's feelings the entire time, and did not detect any distress?" Keelah@crystyl:"It's not quite that we constantly feel each other's emotions as Betazoids might. But when our emotions run high, one tends to feel that the other is experiencing those heightened emotions" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "And you never sensed anything too serious. It must still be a stressful situation though, knowing that your daughter was in someone else's hands, potentially that of an enemy. - NPC@annpc#557 - She was thankfully not harmed, but the situation could have changed at any moment while it was still occuring." Keelah@crystyl:"Which is why - if anything - Pia likely felt my tension through all of this" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And she was still able to stay calm and work to convince her captor to give herself up," She smiles. "Someone certainly seems to have inherited your talent for diplomatic finesse." Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, she is very much her mother's daughter as a result of her start in life" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "That she is. Well, I shouldn't keep you- I'm sure you want to spend some time with her now that she's back, not to mention your duties." Keelah@crystyl smiles and stands, "Yes, for the first time I am somewhat glad that we are locked down so I have an excuse not to take her back to the Heart just yet. Thank you for checking in" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "You're welcome, Captain. I imagine you would like to keep her at your side for a little longer in this time. Let me know if there's anything else Counselling can do to - NPC@annpc#557 - help. Or if there's anyone else that you think might need our attention. Between the lockdown and the infiltration scare, morale is not in the best of places. At least the joint research work - NPC@annpc#557 - has most of the crew occupied for the moment, though." Keelah@crystyl:"That is true. Though I don't believe she needs counselling per se, I would be interested in your expert opinion on Watson. Perhaps you could do a little profiling based on Pia's experiences with - Keelah@crystyl:- her, just in case it might come in useful still" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I'll look into it." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Thank you again" and heads out --- NPC@annpc#557 | A day after Jatila's meeting with Keelah, T'Pia is called to her Counselling office as well T'Pia@crystyl steps into the office, "Hello! I'm not late am I?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "No, not at all! Come, join me. And welcome back to the Valley Forge." T'Pia@crystyl smiles as she sits, "Thank you! Not exactly planned, but happy to make the most of being here" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Yes, I wish you had returned under better circumstances as well. But you seem to have managed to get along with this Commander Watson during your time with her, according to your - NPC@annpc#557 - mother." T'Pia@crystyl:"She was... surprisingly open to logical reflection. For a Human" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Not all humans are illogical. And if her claims are correct, she's descended from a family of very capable scientists. At least they were in our universe, I don't imagine - NPC@annpc#557 - they were too different where she came from." T'Pia@crystyl:"I'm afraid I am not party to those details, but your supposition is a fair assumption" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila taps at her console, "I've been looking at her records. Your mother wanted me to see if I can work out a psychological profile for her. I have her Starfleet psychological files here, - NPC@annpc#557 - but I think it's fair to say Starfleet probably didn't have the full picture, and you might have some further insight from your time with her." T'Pia@crystyl:"So she is pursuing the possibility that Watson is still alive then? Good. I'll help however I can!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "It seems like you might have a few things in common with her. That could also be a part of why she was willing to hear you out." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Though I must say you're in a much better position than she is." T'Pia@crystyl:"I... really?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Her mother was also quite a successful captain. Perhaps not as famous as Keelah though, but still a respected commanding officer of her own right. I don't suppose you've heard of - NPC@annpc#557 - Sarah Watson?" T'Pia@crystyl shakes her head, "Only through recent events and dialogue with her daughter" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "She began her career as a science officer, but made it to first officer of the USS V'Tir. She took command of that ship when the captain was killed in action and served as its captain - NPC@annpc#557 - through the Dominion War. She became quite known for her tactical skill despite her origins as a science officer." T'Pia@crystyl:"I bet Rianni knows of her then! Her relationship with her mother is one thing, but... when we first started talking about her potential change of tact with my mother, she made some comments - T'Pia@crystyl:- suggesting she had issues with a Vulcan captain. Since she was apparently of that rank prior to her going rogue, maybe something to do with her demotion, but it definitely stuck" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Really? She has served under Vulcan officers, but her last command with Starfleet wasn't with a Vulcan captain. She did seem to have a friendly rivalry with a Vulcan, though..." T'Pia@crystyl:"I don't know the significance - or the specifics - but it was like... like she felt added pressure to prove herself either to a Vulcan, or over one maybe" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila turns her console to T'Pia, "Here, it seems she had some friendly competition with one Commander V'Dena, which also goes back to her mother. V'Dena was the daughter of Saaris, a close - NPC@annpc#557 - friend of Sarah Watson and an officer under her command. Unfortunately, Saaris died during the Dominion War, but her daughter remained a close friend of the family." T'Pia@crystyl:"That could certainly explain her less than rational behaviour when it comes to Vulcans. Or at least, those in a position of authority or deemed as a threat" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Indeed. It also seems like she may have been trying a bit too hard to live up to her mother's name, rather than finding her own path. Like her mother, Marion displayed an aptitude for - NPC@annpc#557 - science in her first year at the Academy, but apparently chose to pursue tactical studies. I suspect this is because while Sarah was a science officer, she was better known for her tactical - NPC@annpc#557 - decisions during wartime. That's why I said you're in a better position than her. Your mother is a great engineer and while you are following in her footsteps, you're not trying to replicate - NPC@annpc#557 - her legacy exactly and instead apply your talents to ship design, which Keelah isn't known for." T'Pia@crystyl:"Yes, I'm not really sure where that came from. Maybe a desire to set myself apart from her because of my imprinting. Though I do recall one of my earliest memories from when a friend was - T'Pia@crystyl:- babysitting me and I doodled a picture of a ship. It looked more like a spider, because apparently lots of nacelles pointing in all directions would make it go faster in all directions..." she - T'Pia@crystyl:- chuckles, "I also have no aspirations for command, but then neither did mother at my age. I do believe though that my focus on design has sufficed to steer me along an independent path" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles at the doodle description as well, "Yes, I believe you have a much healthier connection to your mother's legacy. Commander Watson seems to have aspired for command, and never - NPC@annpc#557 - quite developed the skills and attitude necessary. Previous psychological analysis have said that she was burdened by the pressure of living up to her mother's name. And if what she told you - NPC@annpc#557 - about being descended from her universe's David Marcus is true, it would also mean she's descended from their universe's James Kirk. Another connection to you, as he was the captain of the - NPC@annpc#557 - vessel that discovered the Heart of Unity and spearheaded the Coalition in their universe, and also an even larger name to live up to." T'Pia@crystyl:"Or more so perhaps, a further connection to my mother. And why Watson was so fixated with her. And... maybe why she was amenable to a more collaborative approach. What if it wasn't the approach - T'Pia@crystyl:- itself that won her over, but the fact that it was setting her on par with a Captain who shares that comparison with her legacy which she'd never been able to live up to?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Perhaps." She smiles, "Thank you for the insights, T'Pia. It's unfortunate I can't evaluate her firsthand, but your experience is certainly invaluable here."