The Latenter, Shadow Guard and Imperial Navy unite for a desperate defense of the secret vault against the temporal vessels. Mischa learns some disturbing truths about their mysterious enemy.
NPC@annpc#557 | The future raider emerges from an Iconian gateway, and the camera slowly circles around it before zooming into its bridge NPC@annpc#557 | On the small bridge of the raider, Commodore Fox sits in the central seat, surrounded by other Loki officers in SFI uniform NPC@annpc#557 | An Ops officer turns to him, "We're being hailed, Commodore." NPC@annpc#557 | Fox nods, "Put them through." NPC@annpc#557 | Fox ripples, his uniform transforming instantly from the SFI one to the future variant worn by the Chief. On the viewscreen, a human captain wearing the same Command variant of the uniform - NPC@annpc#557 - as Watson appears NPC@annpc#557 | Fox: "Captain Douglas." NPC@annpc#557 | Douglas: "Aka. We've received our updated orders. We're just awaiting word on the coordinates." NPC@annpc#557 | Fox smiles, "I am sure my latest protege will come through for us. Let us put an end to this Shadow Guard." NPC@annpc#557 | Douglas: "It's about time." --- NPC@annpc#557 | On the Latenter, Mischa is called to the bridgeâ€¦ Mischa@crystyl strolls in a short time later, "What have we got?" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "We have a hit in one of the five systems in the region. I cannot yet confirm that it is a vault facility, as it is located within the mineral rich outer asteroid belt and we cannot - NPC@annpc#557 - gather any close scans due to the interference. However, the mass I have detected is significantly larger than anything else in the belt and nearly the size of a moon." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel adds, "Which matches the size of the known Vault." Mischa@crystyl:"And if we venture blindly in there, we'll likely blow our cloak from the strategically positioned asteroid belt and it's ambient conditions. But a small craft like Acey..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Has a significantly higher chance of slipping through undetected. We can position the Latenter just outside the system and launch Acey from there." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Proceed" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Moving to the edge of the system, Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "I assume you'll want to go with Acey?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "Just in case she does get noticed, we have a better of chance of a smooth resolution if I'm with her" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "A prudent measure. We should be in place soon, I can handle things up here if you want to head to the shuttlebay." Mischa@crystyl:"Perfect, thank you. We'll go dark once we're away as usual but I don't imagine this taking too long" she heads off, "You have the bridge" --- NPC@annpc#557 | As expected, Mischa finds Acey waiting for her when she steps into Acey's Dart NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Hello, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Hello Acey. Ready to get to work?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey smiles and nods, "We are heading in to scout this vault facility, correct?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes. And with any luck to find them before the Latenter so we can warn them of the Romulan search and coordinate our next move" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "If we confirm this is indeed the vault we seek, shall I contact them so you may send this warning?" Mischa@crystyl:"Let's just go one step at a time and see what we find there first" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Understood, Commander." Her avatar moves over, sitting down at the pilot seat. "Latenter is in position. We are clear to launch." Mischa@crystyl:"Take us out" NPC@annpc#557 | The Dart slowly lifts off, exiting the hangar into the space beyond. As they move towards the outer asteroid belt, Acey asks, "What are your thoughts on the Shadow Guard so far?" Mischa@crystyl:"I respect them more than I ever did the Tal Shiar, I suppose that is something" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "The Tal Shiar are not a very respectable organization. From my understanding, the Shadow Guard are perhaps more of a successor to the Reman Resistance than the Tal Shiar. How do they - NPC@annpc#557:- compare with the Resistance, in your opinion?" Mischa@crystyl hrms, "I never dealt directly with the Resistance too much, but yes they do seem to be more of a spiritual successor there. That is probably what kept them more honest in the end and working within- Mischa@crystyl:- the Republic as we do within Starfleet. As opposed to the Tal Shiar who are more of a Section 31 to Starfleet" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "It would seem that the Shadow Guard occupy a similar role to the Tal Shiar, or Section 31, but operate with the methods and morality of the Reman Resistance. According to our data, the - NPC@annpc#557 - Resistance does have quite a few commonalities to Section 31 in that regard to begin with." Mischa@crystyl:"True, but when it came to a crunch they stood with the Republic and focused on protecting their people, that made the difference in the end" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "And as the Shadow Guard are more of a spiritual successor to the Resistance, they are likely loyal to the Republic still as well." Mischa@crystyl:"They have proven to be so far, and loyal to us as well. Which is why we must continue this ruse of hunting them whilst establishing contact to see everyone out of this unharmed" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Agreed. We are approaching the asteroid belt now." NPC@annpc#557 | The asteroids come into view in the distance, coming closer and closer NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Scanning...I am still unable to obtain technical details, but the shape of the moon-sized object matches the known vault." Mischa@crystyl:"Well unless it's a conveniently vault-shaped moon..." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "The possibility of that are low enough to be considered impossible." Mischa@crystyl grins, "Well now I almost hope that is the case just to see the look on your face" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey smiles, "I am not human. The appearance of my avatar does not necessarily have to reflect any of my internal processes. I only match them for ease of communication." Mischa@crystyl:"Still. Would be fun. For me at least" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Fortunately for me, it would seem that is not the case. I am able to gather more data at this range. There are power signatures coming from the structure." Mischa@crystyl:"So it does indeed seem to be them. Any signs of movement? If not from the Romulans then from our errant Starfleet allies?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Affirmative. Analyzing now. They are light warbirds, and appear to be variations on the design of the Shadow Guard vessel we previously encountered. I am reading six in the area, but - NPC@annpc#557 - more may be concealed, either within the vault, further in the asteroid belt, or using cloaking devices." Mischa@crystyl:"Well then, I guess it's time to reach out" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I shall establish contact using their cipher. They will know it is us and that it will be safe to communicate." NPC@annpc#557 | A few moments pass before the familiar visage of Calvum tr'Khellian appears on a console NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Commander. How may we assist you?" Mischa@crystyl:"Ideally? By quickly making your vault disappear before the Romulan fleet now searching for it turn up..." NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum: "A Romulan fleet is searching for us? You speak of Vitellius' people?" Mischa@crystyl:"They were originally, yes. However their attempt was thwarted by the new loyalist fleet. They are now taking up the search since they want to find whatever Vitellius wanted here. The Latenter came - Mischa@crystyl:- to scout ahead so we could forewarn you of this and determine how best to proceed" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum nods, "I see. That is concerning. Our ships had intercepted a group of Vitellius' new alien allies nearby, and we had anticipated that he may send a larger fleet to seize the facility. - NPC@annpc#557 - These new loyalists, they are the ones led by Nikee ir-Fethraie t'Rllaillieu, no?" Mischa@crystyl:"Correct, and she is one of mine. What are you thinking?" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum smiles, "I suspected she was one of yours. I take it you have a plan for her?" Mischa@crystyl:"For now it is simply to reign in the shattered remnants of the former Star Empire before more troublesome elements like Vitellius get any ideas. Longer term, her background with the Republic opens - Mischa@crystyl:- certain doors towards potential unification but that is not yet in motion" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum: "I see. Unfortunately, even if we utilized all our ships, there is no possible way to move this station. As for concealing it, the vault is already as concealed as it can possibly be, - NPC@annpc#557 - which you have no doubt experienced on your way here. But perhaps the time of this facility's secrecy is over. With Vitellius returned, the location is no longer a secret anyways, and we - NPC@annpc#557 - always knew it was only a matter of time before it was discovered, even without him." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. However, of slightly more pressing concern is the fact that the Latenter is here now. We already suspect that the more dangerous temporal faction has a presence on my ship, and they have - Mischa@crystyl:- been pushing for us to find you. Even if I go back and divert the Latenter now, the arrival of the Romulan fleet will betray your presence" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Then it is time we fight back against this temporal faction. We had hoped to avoid open confrontation, but we have not been eliminating their operatives without preparing for that - NPC@annpc#557 - eventuality. Secrecy is still on our side, Commander, even if it may not seem so at the moment." Mischa@crystyl:"It always is. They still believe me to be their ally for one. But in revealing yourselves, I think that you can make allies of the loyalist Romulans to bolster numbers against the temporal faction" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Precisely. Let the Imperials come. I take it they do not yet know who we are, and are only searching for the facility?" Mischa@crystyl:"I believe so, they may have suspicions at best" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Good. We will keep our ties to the Republic concealed from them. We do not advertise it to begin with. They will simply believe us to be another faction, one which would be beneficial - NPC@annpc#557 - to ally with. As their allies, we may be able to aid in steering them towards the eventual reunification, but first we must deal with more immediate concerns." Mischa@crystyl:"My thoughts exactly. And as for the Latenter's part in all of this, I do not believe we can maintain our false allegiance beyond the arrival of their attack" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum nods, "We have analyzed the information on these vessels gathered by the RRW Verala. I am sending you an algorithm based on Borg code which will should allow you to adapt the frequency - NPC@annpc#557 - of hull polarization to counter their powerful drain. It will be less effective than actually having Borg technology implemented on your vessel, but it should prevent you from being disabled - NPC@annpc#557 - instantly. We will do our best to keep their attention off you." Mischa@crystyl:"Very well. We will utilize the deception as long as we can, but this will help when it fails. For now, we should return to the Latenter before anyone grows suspicious of our time spent away" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum nods, "Agreed. Maintain the ruse for as long as you can. We will prepare for battle here." Mischa@crystyl:"Jolan'tru. We'll see you on the other side of this" NPC@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Jolan'tru, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright Acey, let's get back and blow the cover off this vault" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "On it, Commander. I've also analyzed this algorithm we've received. It will be more effective the higher our processing capability, and while we cannot reach the efficiency of the - NPC@annpc#557 - Borg, I believe we should be able to keep it running for some time between myself, Glyph and Root's experience with Borg technology." Mischa@crystyl:"Good thinking, yes" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I shall begin integrating the algorithm as soon as we return." Mischa@crystyl:"Now we just have to hope that our Romulan fleet arrives here before the real enemy does" --- Romulan@annpc#557 | Some time later on the Kaishaasi, Nikki is called to the bridge Nikki@crystyl walks in, "Status" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "We believe we've located the vault, Empress. It is located within a mineral rich asteroid belt which is interfering with our scans. We can't confirm it is a vault from this distance, - Romulan@annpc#557 - but the size suggests that it likely is." Nikki@crystyl takes her seat, "How do you wish to proceed?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Normally, I would suggest sending a light warbird into the asteroid field to confirm that it is indeed a vault, but if the warbird is detected, it could be seen as a hostile act, and - Romulan@annpc#557 - that wouldn't be a good start to any potential negotiations." Nikki@crystyl:"Agreed. So we go straight in ourselves then?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella nods, "I suggest we decloak and move to the edge of the asteroid belt, but keep our escort ships cloaked in case we require support. Then we send a general hail towards the vault, - Romulan@annpc#557 - assuming they don't contact us first." Nikki@crystyl:"Sounds reasonable to me, proceed" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Decloak and move in." Romulan@annpc#557 FX | The Kaishaasi shimmers into view as it makes its way towards the system Romulan@annpc#557 | On the viewscreen, the outer asteroid belt slowly begins drawing into view as specks in the distance Romulan@annpc#557 | Comm Officer: "We're receiving a hail from the suspected vault." Nikki@crystyl:"Well that didn't take long. Open a channel" Romulan@annpc#557 | The comm officer nods and taps away. A few seconds later, a Reman with glowing eyes appears on the viewscreen Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "You must be the last remaining loyalists of the Star Empire I have heard about- or rebels, depending on who you ask. Empress Nikee, I presume, and Admiral Imaella?" Nikki@crystyl smiles, "You are very well informed I see" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "As are you, if you were able to find this place. You defeated Vitellius' forces and obtained the location from him, did you not?" Nikki@crystyl:"Yes, we determined that they were attempting to preoccupy us with a feint while sneaking their main force past us to assault your vault. Once we uncovered the truth and learned of something here - Nikki@crystyl:- that warranted that level of priority from Vitellius, well, seemed only natural to come and extend a hand of friendship since we share a common enemy" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "So you have come here in friendship. Good. Then there is some hope for the Star Empire yet, should you continue to lead it." Nikki@crystyl:"Your words are encouraging, if a little honeyed. You imply a desire to see a strong Empire continue to flourish, yet have remained hidden away at this vault. I can understand that perhaps the fight - Nikki@crystyl:- to save the Empire from itself has brought unwanted attention to your doorstep, and now you are forced to choose between the lesser of two undesirable outcomes. But that says nothing to your true - Nikki@crystyl:- intentions for being here in the first place" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "The greatest strength of our peoples have never been conquest, nor diplomacy. Though it may pain some to admit it, in those regards we are far outclassed by the Klingons and the - Romulan@annpc#557 - Federation. The talent of Remans and Romulans alike have always lain in secrecy, stealth, deception and manipulation. We require some form of visible, public government, of course, but that is - Romulan@annpc#557 - not what we seek to be here. We work from the shadows to secure the future of our peoples, as is our way. And I think with most of the Tal Shiar having gone rogue and largely obliterated - Romulan@annpc#557 - following the war with the Iconians, our role is more critical than ever." Nikki@crystyl:"You may well be right in that assessment" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "That is why we remain hidden. It is not that we hide from the plight of our peoples, or that we do not care. We have been operating in the shadows for some time now. You simply do not - Romulan@annpc#557 - see our contributions, as the point is not to be seen." Nikki@crystyl:"A standing that I can relate to. But since that position is no longer viable, well, here we are" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "Yes. Vitellius is aware of our position, and a facility of this size cannot be moved. Thanks to your efforts, his fleet has been dealt with. I do not doubt that he will continue to - Romulan@annpc#557 - pose a danger in the future, but it will take time for him to divert another fleet here. For the moment, there is another threat we must contend with." Nikki@crystyl 's eyes narrow, "What other threat...?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "A temporal faction whom we believe to have been manipulating our galaxy. They operate in secret, and even we have limited intelligence on them, but our efforts to thwart their plans - Romulan@annpc#557 - have caught their attention. We have information that suggests they will make a move on us soon. Once they are dealt with, we will provide you with additional support against Vitellius." Nikki@crystyl:"So, we scratch your back and then you scratch ours. Well it certainly wouldn't be the first such arrangement we have made. But we can't afford to ignore the threat from Vitellius indefinitely. If - Nikki@crystyl:- your intel on this foe is so scarce, how can you be certain that an attack is more imminent?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: 'Our intelligence on them overall is scarce, but we are quite confident of this attack. For the past year, we have been eliminating their agents in Romulan space. Would you not wish to - Romulan@annpc#557 - strike back at a group who was sabotaging your operations and compromising, capturing or assassinating your operatives?" Nikki@crystyl:"I would indeed. What exactly do you propose here now then?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "We have a plan, but we cannot share the details in the case that they are already here and listening. All I will reveal is that we have not been holding on to this vault for nothing, - Romulan@annpc#557 - and possess a number of ships ready to protect the facility, as well as the significant defenses of the facility itself. However, any additional support you can provide will be appreciated." Nikki@crystyl:"Very well. Allow me some time to discuss this with my people here and determine how we may best proceed" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "Of course. You have no obligation to help us, and we welcome anything you can lend to this fight, even if it is the one vessel you have decloaked to approach us with now." Nikki@crystyl smiles at that, "Very good then. We will speak again soon" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "Until then, Empress." Romulan@annpc#557 FX | The comm ends Nikki@crystyl turns to Imaella, "Well..." Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "We can use their support against Vitellius for certain, but I am unsure about lending our ships for a battle against temporal foes. It is a dangerous endeavour and we may suffer - Romulan@annpc#557 - losses in the process. We will need to negotiate for more than simply an alliance. After all, we are not doing them a favour in return for a favour from them. Defeating Vitellius is in both - Romulan@annpc#557 - our interests, and that alone is already mutually beneficial." Nikki@crystyl:"True. What do you suggest then?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Averius said this was no research facility, unlike the first vault. This is a shipyard. I suggest negotiating for their shipbuilding facilities. We don't need access to them - Romulan@annpc#557 - ourselves, if they have secrets inside they do not wish us to find. They can build ships for us and we will take control of them after they are finished. Ask them to compensate us if we lose - Romulan@annpc#557 - any ships in defending their vault." Nikki@crystyl:"That seems reasonable. What about strategy?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "At the moment, we only have a small task force present, and they won't tell us their plans for the battle. I don't blame them, I'd do the same in their stead. If you can negotiate - Romulan@annpc#557 - sufficient compensation for any ship we lose, I will call in other vessels to join us here, but if we must fight before they arrive, then we stay cloaked, ambush the enemy and follow the lead - Romulan@annpc#557 - of their ships here. I will plan for fleet tactics should we be able to gather an entire fleet for the battle." Nikki@crystyl:"Sounds good to me. Alright, hail the vault again then. Let's see what they say" Romulan@annpc#557 | The comm officer nods and the comm reopens a moment later, with the Reman reappearing on the viewscreen Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "Will you aid us, then?" Nikki@crystyl:"We are willing, of course. However simply having a sworn allegiance is insufficient, since Vitellius is a common enemy to us both" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "I had expected you would negotiate. Very well- what do you want from us?" Nikki@crystyl:"We know this vault is a dedicated shipyard. If we are to help you maintain control over it, I expect you to replace any of our assets lost in the process. Moving forwards as allies, I would also - Nikki@crystyl:- like to continue that arrangement with your aid in rebuilding our fleets, suitably compensated under trade negotiation at that time" Romulan@annpc#557 | The Reman nods, "We will replace any vessels you lose while defending our vault, and provide our shipbuilding services in the future should you compensate us for the material costs. - Romulan@annpc#557 - Understand, however, that we will not be able to reproduce your vessels exactly due to the nature of this facility. If you lose a vessel, we will construct you a new one of similar or superior - Romulan@annpc#557 - capability of the same weight range, but not of the exact same class." Nikki@crystyl:"That is acceptable. I am no ship designer, but I have seen enough hardware evolution out at the Heart of Unity to see the benefits of evolving designs. I see it quite likely that change could even - Nikki@crystyl:- be an improvement over time. Then we have an accord" Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "Excellent. I look forward to the future of this partnership." Nikki@crystyl:"As do I. So as not to impede on your own defense strategy, we will keep our forces cloaked at the outer perimeter. When the enemy strikes, we will be in position to encircle them with your - Nikki@crystyl:- own defenses" Romulan@annpc#557 | The Reman nods, "A good strategy. Our own will hopefully become more clear as the battle progresses. I trust you will know what to do then." Nikki@crystyl:"As do I..." Romulan@annpc#557 | Reman: "Thank you for your support. Jolan'tru, Empress." Nikki@crystyl:"Jolan'tru" --- NPC@annpc#557 | Back on the Latenter, Mischa is in the ready room with Victoria NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "The Commodore's orders were to report in once we have the location of the vault. Do you want me to call it in and await further instruction?" Mischa@crystyl:"True, but can we safely report in without revealing our presence through comms?" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Probably not. We could move further away from the area, but then we'd lose eyes on the loyalists..." Mischa@crystyl:"We still have Yuzuki and Nikki there, we always have eyes on the loyalists" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Well, yes, but if we move away from them and something happens here, they could be in trouble. And we might not know what even happened to them until it's too late. I'm sure - NPC@annpc#557 - Yuzuki and Nikki can handle themselves in most cases though, and they seem to be getting along well with the vault so far from the latest communications, so I don't anticipate the risk being - NPC@annpc#557 - too great if you want to order us out to report in." Mischa@crystyl:"I think it would be best to be prudent" she nods, "Take us clear first and then we will report in to the Commodore" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods and stands, "On it, Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria heads out, and some time pass before Mischa's combadge chimes Mischa@crystyl taps, "Go ahead" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Victoria> "Commander, you should come to the bridge." Mischa@crystyl:"On my way" she taps again and steps out, rather curious as to the situation that warrants it NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa steps out to see Victoria at the centre of the bridge. Admiral Enelya Torin is on the viewscreen NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "I was unable to get through to the Loki, but we could get a signal to the Heart." Mischa@crystyl steps over, "Admiral, this is most unexpected" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "Commander Leveson-Scott. Good to see you again, though I wish it were under better circumstances." Mischa@crystyl:"...and what exactly makes these circumstances less than optimal?" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "We're still trying to piece together all the details, but the Loki is currently missing in action. Alongside the Valley Forge, QanwI' and Aethon." Mischa@crystyl:"MIA?" she sits, "What exactly is known so far, if I may ask?" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "I'm forwarding you all the relevant reports now. Have the ones on Cadet T'Pia's kidnapping made its way to you yet?" Mischa@crystyl:"I am aware, yes. Though I have not been privy to the SFC reports on that incident yet" Mischa@crystyl plays to get any extra info that may not already be on her radar, just to be prudent NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "I'll send them to you as well, then. In short, after T'Pia was safely recovered, the Loki made its way to Widhar with the Aethon and QanwI', towing along the raider that Watson was - NPC@annpc#557 - using. They docked the raider above Widhar and began studying it to learn more about these temporal infiltrators." Mischa@crystyl:"A fairly standard approach" she nods, "But something obviously went wrong there" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "We don't have the full picture of what happened next, because we only have reports from the USS Midway and the Coalition vessels above Widhar. From what we know, someone, likely more - NPC@annpc#557 - infiltrators, seized control of the raider. Everyone on board at the time was transported onto the Loki, and several lifesigns from the Loki then transported over to the raider. The raider - NPC@annpc#557 - tried to make its escape and Keelah ordered all ships to stop it. The Aethon attempted to slow it with a gravity well at the same time the raider generated an Iconian gateway, and the two - NPC@annpc#557 - began to interact. The nearest ships were pulled through the gateway before the Iconians managed to close it." Mischa@crystyl:"The Iconians know the gateway technology, surely they can form some hypothesis about the result of the two phenomena interacting?" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya nods, "They did. The gravity well interfered with the gateway and caused its destination to fluctuate. From their observations, it seems the raider entered the gateway and emerged at - NPC@annpc#557 - the intended destination, before it interacted with the gravity well and shifted. The missing ships were pulled through to a second, unknown destination, and the gateway shifted again after - NPC@annpc#557 - that before it was closed. The Iconians are only able to calculate the last destination of the gateway prior to closing, which is somewhere in the Delta Quadrant near the galactic core, but - NPC@annpc#557 - that's not the location the missing ships ended up at. They've already sent scouts there and found no sign of any Coalition vessels." Mischa@crystyl:"And there is no way to further estimate potential exit points?" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "Unfortunately not. The good news is that no solar flares came nor anything else came through the gateway, so the random destination wasn't the middle of a star and the ships are - NPC@annpc#557 - likely intact. But they could be anywhere in the galaxy." Mischa@crystyl:"I see. Well thank you for explaining the situation, Admiral" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "I wish I had better news, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Should we happen to learn anything of their fates, I will make sure to let you know" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya: "Likewise. Or at least I'll keep SFI informed, and they can get the news to you. Since you're working in the shadows and all." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Of course, farewell Admiral. Take care out there" NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya smiles back, "You too, Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | As the comm ends, Victoria looks to Mischa, "What now...send a general report to SFI, or keep monitoring on our own here?" Mischa@crystyl hrms, "...Raise a secure channel to HQ and patch it through to my ready room. I will consult on the disappearance of the Loki and take guidance from there as I do not know if this operation was - Mischa@crystyl:- sanctioned or working on a hunch of the Commodore" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "Understood." --- NPC@annpc#557 | In her ready room, Mischa looks through the reports that Enelya had sent her. There's very little information about what happened in the moments before the Loki and co. were pulled through the - NPC@annpc#557 - gateway, as the most detailed reports were made by the Midway and the Iron Guardians, both of whom didn't really have the full picture since they weren't included in T'Lana's investigation. - NPC@annpc#557 - From the last time T'Lana checked in and voiced suspicions about infiltrators on the Loki though, Mischa is probably able to get a good guess on what may have happened NPC@annpc#557 | As she reads the reports, her combadge chimes Mischa@crystyl taps, "Go ahead" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eirril> "You might want to come down to the Cell room. I found something you should see as soon as possible." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright Eirril, I'll be right with you" Mischa@crystyl stands and heads straight out. Mischa@crystyl enters the Cell a short time later, "So what have you got for me Eirril?" NPC@annpc#557 | For once, when Mischa heads into the Cell room, Eirril isn't working at the console. He's sitting on a chair, though he immediately gets to his feet upon her arrival, "Commander. It's... - NPC@annpc#557 - bad news." Mischa@crystyl:"Because I haven't had enough of that already today... alright, hit me" NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril nods, making his way over to his console, "You remember how I mentioned the replacements go back decades, and I dug up records of retired Starfleet officers from over a hundred years - NPC@annpc#557 - ago who had medical issues suggesting they might've undergone species reassignment?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "Of course" NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril: "One of our operatives recently dug up data from Drevis Prime Colony as part of my investigation. It was a popular spot for Starfleet officers to retire to back in the day, up there - NPC@annpc#557 - with Norpin and the like. If you recall, Drevis was taken by the Breen during the Dominion War, and when they were pushed out, they decided to go scorched earth on the place." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, I recall" NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril: "Well, one Kimura family held an estate on that world before that tragedy. The most prominent member of that family was Kimura Takashi, who was friends with Captain Hikaru Sulu. It - NPC@annpc#557 - fits the pattern of these infiltrators manipulating history- everyone knows how important Captain Sulu was. Takashi's records don't show any signs of species reassignment though, but he also - NPC@annpc#557 - barely spent any time in retirement. He was Admiralty and served for as long as he could, and died not long after going to Drevis." Mischa@crystyl:"Not the biggest slap in the face of bad news after your ominous warning" NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril: "I'm just starting from the beginning. Well, not really, because Takashi's mother, Matsuda Yuki, did retire early and show signs of species reassignment, which is why I suspect Takashi - NPC@annpc#557 - was a part of the whole history manipulating conspiracy. Takashi's dead now though, and it's impossible to say how much of what he did in his career was manipulating history and how much is - NPC@annpc#557 - just regular Starfleet business. Hard to tell with the things SFC get up to. But that's not the bad news." Mischa@crystyl:"Ah..." NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril: "Takashi's granddaughter was Lieutenant Kimura Chiyo. Her records also indicate possible species reassignment, so she might have been replaced by an impostor after she retired. Chiyo - NPC@annpc#557 - left Starfleet in her early thirties because she went to start a family. And she did. With Goto Hirokatsu. The same Goto Hirokatsu who's the grandfather of Commander Goto Yuzuki." Mischa@crystyl:"And there it is..." NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril nods, "There it is. I believe in coincidences as little as you do, which is to say not at all." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh Yuzu, why did it have to be you of all people..." NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril: "I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"What's worse is that we can do nothing about it right now" NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril nods, "She's on the Kaishaasi. We can't grab her without exposing ourselves. Should we get a covert message to Nikki about it, or?" Mischa@crystyl:"No, I don't want to put her in any more danger" NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril: "I'll keep digging and let you know of anything else I find. So far, there's nothing on the Goto side of the family, but one side being likely infiltrators is already damning enough - NPC@annpc#557 - I'd say..." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. But until I can confront her directly, this stays between us" NPC@annpc#557 | Eirril: "No one else'll hear a word about it, Commander." --- NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile on the Kaishaasi, Yuzuki sits down in her quarters, tapping away at her console, which reads 'SECURE CONNECTION ESTABLISHED.' NPC@annpc#557 | 'Fox' appears on the console, sporting the future uniform that he shifted to in the opening scene NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "Aka. I have the coordinates of the vault. Transferring them over now." NPC@annpc#557 | Aka: "Excellent work, Commander Goto. Remain on the Romulan flagship. We will extract you upon commencing the attack." NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "Extract me? Why?" NPC@annpc#557 | Aka: "Only temporarily. There's been a change of plans. I will replace your old friend Mischa. You shall return to the Latenter and ensure all proceeds smoothly during the initial transition." NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "This is Contingency 7A." NPC@annpc#557 | Aka nods NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "What's about Mischa, the real one?" NPC@annpc#557 | Aka: "We will capture her and attempt to recruit her to our cause. How things progress from there will be her choice." NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "It might be easier if I was along for that." NPC@annpc#557 | Aka: "Or it could be more difficult. We both know how much she dislikes being on the other end of deception." NPC@annpc#557 | Yuzuki: "Good point. I suppose we'll decide when it comes to it." NPC@annpc#557 | Aka: "We shall be at your position soon. Until then, Commander." --- Romulan@annpc#557 | A short while after their arrival, Nikki meets with Imaella and Faedani in the Kaishaasi's ready room Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "I've called our ships here. Not all of them, of course, just in case Vitellius gets any ideas. The group that was salvaging the site of our battle will be here soon, but it will take - Romulan@annpc#557 - time for the rest of our forces to arrive." Nikki@crystyl:"Maybe too much time, if the residents here are to be believed. But we can only do what we can do" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "I've already instructed them to make their way here as quickly as possible, but I fear you are right. Chances are only the battlegroup that remained at the site of our last - Romulan@annpc#557 - engagement will make it here in time, and even that is not certain." Nikki@crystyl:"So now it is a waiting game" Romulan@annpc#557 | Faedani nods, "In the meantime, I have been looking into these people's claims of a temporal faction working to manipulate events behind the scenes. I cannot confirm that there is indeed such - Romulan@annpc#557 - a faction at play, but it's not unsurprising that they would cover their tracks well. What I can tell you is that there have been a series of individuals, primarily in the Romulan Republic, - Romulan@annpc#557 - but also on several Imperial worlds, who lost their positions and faded into obscurity far too quickly to still be alive. I noticed this before and simply suspected it to be a typical power - Romulan@annpc#557 - play. The pattern fits the elimination of one party's rivals and replacement with those loyal to a new group, but it does also fit the eradication of deep cover operatives." Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella nods, "Which matches the Reman's claims of eliminating their agents through Romulan space." Nikki@crystyl:"I have seen enough in my time to have already had suspicions of such a thing. I have no doubt that this faction is a real threat. Their true nature may not be fully understood, but I am positive - Nikki@crystyl:- that they are in play" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Do you have any idea what forces we may expect from them?" Nikki@crystyl shakes her head, "Sadly not, though I would certainly prepare for a powerful foe" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "I shall inform all commanders to be prepared. If they are from the future or have benefactors in the future, we should expect advanced technology as well I assume?" Nikki@crystyl:"I certainly expect so. We should keep extra personnel on tactical analysis to develop countermeasures on the fly" Romulan@annpc#557 | Faedani: "We still have the Tal Shiar scientists from the research base. They'll be an asset here." Nikki@crystyl:"Yes, they could well be the deciding factor in our coming out of this in one piece" Romulan@annpc#557 | Faedani: "I will put them to good use. On the subject of assets, our new allies have also provided us some details on their shipbuilding capabilities." Nikki@crystyl:"Oh, good. A promising start from them. What do you make of their detail?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Faedani: "This vault facility was built to mass produce ships rapidly. They have repair docks to conduct repairs for more standard ships as well, but the ships produced by the vault are all - Romulan@annpc#557 - built from templates. Unlike regular ship construction, which involves the fabrication of components which are slowly assembled together, this vault can replicate large chunks of a ship at - Romulan@annpc#557 - once. An entire nacelle, for example, or the whole deflector dish. These components are then able to be quickly assembled together." Nikki@crystyl:"As efficient as one might expect from a production facility on this scale" Romulan@annpc#557 | Faedani: "The downside is that standard warbird designs are not intended to be constructed this way. That's why they'll be giving us equivalents to any ship we lose rather than exact - Romulan@annpc#557 - replacements. They can't build a T'Varo or a Dia Vectau. All vessels produced by this vault are unique classes made with this construction system in mind. These Shadow Guard have made tweaks - Romulan@annpc#557 - to the original designs to better suit their operations, but they're still variants on the same base templates." Nikki@crystyl:"Presumably then, if and when these ships need repairs they will require servicing at this same facility to maintain the build standards?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Faedani: "Not necessarily. The initial construction of the ship involves a very different process, but once fully assembled, they're functional warbirds like any other. We could maintain them - Romulan@annpc#557 - at Agrama, but it would be more ideal for them to be serviced here at least in the beginning, Not because of anything technical, but because these are classes that never entered service with - Romulan@annpc#557 - the Imperial fleet. No one knows them as well as the people in charge of this vault do." Nikki@crystyl:"That makes sense" Romulan@annpc#557 | Faedani: "Over time, as we learn more about them, we should be able to maintain them on our own, so we won't have to rely on the vault and the Shadow Guard as long as we keep their ships in - Romulan@annpc#557 - service." Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Good. We wouldn't want a repeat of the Klingon exchange situation." Nikki@crystyl:"Yes, I'm all for more independence in the long run" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "That's all the information we have on the situation at the moment. As you said...now we wait." --- NPC@annpc#557 | Not long after learning about Yuzuki, Mischa has just returned to her quarters for some rest when the ship suddenly goes to red alert NPC@annpc#557 | As expected, her combadge promptly chimes Mischa@crystyl taps her combadge while heading back out and making her way up there, "Status" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "They're here. We need you on the bridge, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Already on my way" Mischa@crystyl steps out of the lift a few minutes later, "So what have we got?" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Four vessels were just unveiled by the vault's detection systems, and several warbirds promptly decloaked and hit them with unstable warp bubbles like we did back at Mirhassa. The - NPC@annpc#557 - ships are unveiled and have begun firing on the vault as well as the nearby warbirds." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "One of them seems to have the same profile as the ship from Mirhassa, and the other two also appear to be a visual match for the two Romulan vessels with future technology we - NPC@annpc#557 - encountered when preventing the alternate reality. The smaller Romulan vessels, that is. As all our sensor data was erased from the first encounter, I cannot compare them accurately." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, let's monitor from a safe distance for now. Let the opening volleys settle and see how everything falls. We only get to doublecross them once" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Understood. I will analyze their tactical capabilities." NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "Our temporal shielding is ready to ward off any chroniton torpedo strikes." NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "The defenses against the draining tractor beam are implemented as well. It appears that these Romulan vessels are making use of the system as well." Mischa@crystyl:"I would expect nothing less" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The vessel with Starfleet design and one Romulan temporal vessel is focusing fire on the vault, while the other two are warding off the warbirds. The final vessel appears to be based - NPC@annpc#557 - on an Iconian raider and is very effective against the primarily light warbirds being utilized here." Mischa@crystyl:"Then that seems like a suitable primary target. Analyze for weaknesses and then prepare to decloak on their wing. We can feint a supporting move to get in close, but it will only work once" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel nods, tapping her console, "Like the original Iconian design, the raider appears to be a number of different components which are able to separate yet still operate together. - NPC@annpc#557 - This function is granting them significant evasive capabilities which has proven advantageous so far. It would be most effective to specifically target sections rather than firing at the - NPC@annpc#557 - vessel as a whole. Identifying the sections to prioritize now..." Mischa@crystyl:"Once you have your targeting pattern, we will move into position to feint support to them and get you a prime window" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "I have it now. Despite its size, that raider has significant shielding, so it is unlikely we will be able to breach its warp core even with our surprise assault. I will target the - NPC@annpc#557 - engines to hamper their extreme maneuverability and make the engagement more favourable." Mischa@crystyl:"Understood. Then commence the attack" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay nods, "Moving us into position now..." NPC@annpc#557 | The Latenter moves in towards the vault, where the four future vessels are firing against the defenses of the massive vault complex and a dozen warbirds. Most of them are variations of the - NPC@annpc#557 - small Shadow Guard ship seen previously, but two of them are medium sized warbirds bearing some resemblance to the Dhelan-class found commonly in the Republic Navy, but with a more Reman look NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/sto_gamepedia/images/0/0c/Rom_Ship_Hathos.png/revision/latest?cb=20190710101136 NPC@annpc#557 | Despite being significantly outnumbered, the future ships are clearly winning the fight. A light warbird is taken out by the raider as the Latenter approaches, and the future Romulan ship - NPC@annpc#557 - disables one of the medium Shadow Guard warbirds, causing the other to go evasive to try and avoid the same fate NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Firing solution is ready and weapons are locked on target, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Decloak and fire" NPC@annpc#557 | The Latenter ripples into view, unleashing all forward weapons on the tiny raider, phasers firing along with a barrage of torpedoes. Most of the shots score hits and flashes can be seen all - NPC@annpc#557 - across the raider. Despite this, the raider survives the barrage intact, its defenses clearly stronger than a ship that size has any right to possess. However, some scorch marks can be seen on - NPC@annpc#557 - its hull, and its engine trail waivers as it turns NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Multiple direct hits. The raider's maneuverability appears hampered." Mischa@crystyl:"Good, now recloak before anyone can get a solution on us" NPC@annpc#557 | The Latenter immediately recloaks, but the future Romulan ship that was fighting the Shadow Guard warbirds sends out a red wave towards the Latenter's general direction, causing them to - NPC@annpc#557 - shimmer back into view! NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "We have been hit with an antiproton pulse." Mischa@crystyl:"Should have known that wouldn't fly with them. Alright, continuous evasive and take targets of opportunity. We're not here to get into a slogging match with any heavy hitters, so I want analysts - Mischa@crystyl:- focused on system disruptions" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay nods, "Aye Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | A white flash emits from the future Romulan ship, sweeping across the space between it and the Latenter NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "The algorithm is working. Their tractor drain is unable to lock on for the moment, but it is attempting to adapt." Mischa@crystyl:"Keep on top of them" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "We are adapting to them in turn as quickly as possible." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The enemy raider has disabled another light warbird and is moving in towards us." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Even with damaged engines that thing's not going to be easy to outmaneuver..." Mischa@crystyl:"Then we won't. We might not be able to drain their power with it, but we still have a tractor beam" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee nods, "Tractor beam standing by. Shall we repulse or hold them?" Mischa@crystyl:"Hold them in our firing solution and finish what we started" Mischa@crystyl:"When they begin to slip, switch to repulsors to keep them off balance while we reposition" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "Understood." NPC@annpc#557 | As the raider closes in, Latenter activates the tractor beam, holding them in place as another barrage is unleashed on the raider. This time, the raider returns fire with bolts of red - NPC@annpc#557 - antiproton, rocking the Latenter's bridge NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Shields down to 80%." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "They are getting free. Repulsing now..." NPC@annpc#557 | The raider is pushed back, where a trio of Shadow Guard warbirds begin to engage it. Now much more visibly damaged, it is forced to go evasive and it breaks off its attack on the Latenter NPC@annpc#557 | The lights on the bridge flicker momentarily NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Shields just dropped to 75%." NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "They are adapting quicker than we are able, Commander. I am warding them off for as long as possible." Mischa@crystyl:"You're doing fine work Glyph, just keep giving it your all" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph taps quickly on his console, his fingers moving with inhuman speed across the interface. However, only a few seconds later, the lights flicker again, thenâ€¦ NPC@annpc#557 | Suddenly, a barrage of multiple glowing plasma torpedoes and disruptor fire slam into the future Romulan ship attacking the Latenter and it quickly cuts off the beam NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The Imperial Romulans have joined the battle." Mischa@crystyl:"Glad to see Nikki hasn't forgotten about us. Alright, let's regroup while we can and make sure these Romulans know we are on their side" NPC@annpc#557 | The Kaishaasi descends on the future Romulan vessel, supported by a trio of T'Varos. The remaining larger Shadow Guard warbird circles back and begins to engage as well upon seeing the Imperials Mischa@crystyl:"The last thing we need is eager Imperials targeting anything that looks like a Starfleet vessel..." --- Romulan@annpc#557 | On the Kaishaasi, the bridge crew are working intently at their consoles Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Concentrate fire on that temporal warbird." Romulan@annpc#557 | Tactical Officer: "What about the Starfleet-looking vessels? One of them seems to be with the temporal ships but the other was being attacked by the temporal warbird." Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "And neither are designs I'm familiar with." Mischa@crystyl | Nikki: "I am" she taps, marking the Latenter, "This is the Latenter, an SFI ship that was at the Battle of the Heart" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "What's it doing all the way out here?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Comm Officer: "We're receiving communications from the...Latenter, Admiral." Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "I suppose we're about to find out. Onscreen." Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella turns to the viewscreen as the Latenter's bridge appears on it Mischa@crystyl:"Esteemed Empress, Admiral, forgive the timing but I thought it was about time that introductions were in order. Not least because this enemy has ships that also bear a resemblance to Starfleet designs" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Yes, we were wondering that. I'm told they have temporal origins and aren't associated with you?" Mischa@crystyl:"They are indeed not. They are the enemy as much as the out of place Romulan vessels that are attacking you and the vault. We might only be one ship, but we're doing all we can to assist" Romulan@annpc#557 | The Kaishaasi bridge shakes slightly, and the tactical officer announces, "Shields down to 70%." Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Try to lead the enemy to another side of the vault so it will be in range of its other weapons," she looks back to the screen, "I don't suppose you just happened to be in the area by - Romulan@annpc#557 - coincidence?" Mischa@crystyl:"I suspect you believe in coincidences about as much as I do, so I won't lie to you" Mischa@crystyl doesn't offer any truth either though Romulan@annpc#557 | The bridge shakes again, and the tactical officer announces, "Shields down to 50%. One of the T'Varos have been disabled." Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Well you're obviously not with the enemy, and we can use any help we get right now. We can figure out just how you got here later." Mischa@crystyl:"I look forward to it" --- NPC@annpc#557 | Back on the Latenterâ€¦ NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The temporal warbird has regrouped with the other vessel of its class and is continuing the attack on the vault. The Starfleet vessel is in pursuit of the Kaishaasi and firing on the - NPC@annpc#557 - Imperial flagship. Curious. The firepower it is utilizing is barely a fraction of that employed on the vault and the Shadow Guard vessels." Mischa@crystyl:"They are up to something..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The Kaishaasi's aft shields have dropped below 30%, but they have lured the enemy ship into the line of fire of defenses on the other side of the vault. It is taking shield damage, - NPC@annpc#557 - albeit slowly." Mischa@crystyl:"I don't like that they are just letting themselves be drawn along by the Kaishaasi like that. What's their angle...?" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Kaishaasi has lost aft shields. They've transported someone off the ship..." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "It's not Nikki, otherwise our comm monitoring would hear about it..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "They are breaking off. They have cloaked, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Stop them!" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "On it!" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "It appears to be a regular cloak, not their temporal phasing. An antiproton sweep should reveal them." Mischa@crystyl:"Do it. And be ready to snag them at the first visible opportunity, destroy them if necessary" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee nods, "Activating antiproton sweep..." NPC@annpc#557 | Suddenly, the ship decloaks in front of the Latenter's position, a bright red beam erupting from one of its weapon strips. The Latenter's bridge shakes and sparks fly from overhead lights NPC@annpc#557 | Tâ€™Fel: "Direct hit. Forward shields down to 40%." Mischa@crystyl braces, "Fire at will!" NPC@annpc#557 | The Latenter evades, returning fire on the ship. It unleashes another red beam, grazing the Latenter's shields, then a series of red pulses NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Starboard shields at 20%. We cannot match this vessel in combat. I suggest continuing the Kaishaasi's strategy." Mischa@crystyl:"Do it" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay pulls the Latenter around towards the vault. The temporal ship follows, firing after them NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Aft shields down to 30%. We have lured them back into the vault's line of fire." NPC@annpc#557 | The vault lights up again as its weapons fire on the temporal ship, joined in by the Kaishaasi and its escort vessels NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Their forward shields are dropping below 75%. They are breaking off their pursuit." Mischa@crystyl:"I won't complain on this occasion. Bring us about and protect our rear arc while we get levels back up" NPC@annpc#557 | As the Latenter comes back around, Glyph says, "Commander. Take a look at this." Mischa@crystyl steps over, "What is it?" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph brings up the image of the ship just as it decloaked and fired on the Latenter earlier. He magnifies on its hull... NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://i.imgur.com/KZEeicA.jpg Mischa@crystyl:"Well now" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "We're being hailed. I strongly recommend against letting it through, they'll probably plant a virus like last time..." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed, we've got better things to do right now. Just send a written response; all forces disengage and fall back, then we can talk" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, getting to writing the message NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel raises a brow, "They...are disengaging." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "There is something on the far side of the asteroid belt. It was being obscured on the other side of the vault, but sensors can pick it up now. Multiple spatial anomalies, unclear what - NPC@annpc#557 - type with the mineral interference from the asteroids." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Whatever it is, the temporal ships look like they're turning towards it." Mischa@crystyl:"All of them?" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Affirmative, Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The remaining Shadow Guard vessels are in pursuit." Mischa@crystyl:"Well, I'll have to add that to the combat playbook: message them and ask them to go away..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "The anomalies are expanding. I...do not believe they are responsible for them. They are interdimensional rifts, and if these readings are accurate, they lead to fluidic space." Mischa@crystyl:"Species 8472 now as well?" pinches the bridge of her nose, "Next thing you'll be telling me that Q is having a foam party in my ready room..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "They've fired an antiproton burst. It appears two more of the medium sized Shadow Guard warbirds, a modified Scimitar-class and...the Justicar are generating the rifts?" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "I thought the Justicar was destroyed..." Mischa@crystyl:"Appearances can be deceiving Nethay, we know that better than most. Still... if they are generating the rifts then they must be calling in reinforcements..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "The rifts are not yet large enough for ships to pass through. We will need to cover them." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, let's lend a hand. But keep an eye out for that Valley Forge; they extracted someone from the Romulan flagship and I don't want them getting away" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Understood." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Engaging pursuit now. Looks like the Imperial Romulans are following too." Mischa@crystyl:"Let us only hope that the Shadow Guard know what they're doing" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Shields strength fully restored. Weapons standing by to fire as soon as we are in range." Mischa@crystyl:"Do we have eyes on our target vessel?" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Affirmative. They have not cloaked." Mischa@crystyl:"Are they engaging allied forces?" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "They are heading directly for the Justicar. Three of the light warbirds that were revealed by the antiproton pulse have just engaged-" There is a flash in the distance on the - NPC@annpc#557 - viewscreen. "Make that two." Mischa@crystyl:"Then let us run interference. Target the Valley Forge, we must bring them to their knees if we're to retrieve whoever they took" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Understood, Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | As the Latenter draws into range, T'Fel fires a barrage of weapons at the future ship. Meanwhile around them, the Kaishaasi has gone for one of the temporal warbirds, while the other - NPC@annpc#557 - medium-sized Shadow Guard warbird not opening a rift goes for the third, all of them supported by various smaller warbirds NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "The raider's back, 175-mark-12." NPC@annpc#557 | Indeed, while the Latenter fires at the future VF, the raider joins the fray, disabling another one of the Shadow Guard's light warbirds NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "They are still significantly damaged. We may be able to finish it off. Shall we focus on the Valley Forge?" Mischa@crystyl:"Keep us away from that raider as best as you can, but do not let relent on our target" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel nods and continues firing on the future VF. It stops advancing towards the Justicar, unleashing a trio of torpedoes from its aft launchers at the Latenter. Nethay evades one of them, but - NPC@annpc#557 - the other two impact, though unlike the last encounter, the shields flare up and absorb the hits, though they still detonate and rock the bridge NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Port shields at 40%." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "It's turning around towards us again!" Mischa@crystyl:"Tractor beams, keep them facing away" Mischa@crystyl turns to the analysts, "Now would be a good time to announce that you have a way to run interference on their computers..." NPC@annpc#557 | One of them speaks up, "Not yet...I don't know how Commander Goto did it last time, but since the Everett reset our ship we've lost all data of that..." Mischa@crystyl:"Evasive action then, we can't go toe-to-toe with a ship like that" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay nods, moving to evade. He dodges a Nuhar beam from the future VF, then another, and then suddenly there is an impact, sending several people tumbling across the bridge as it shakes NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "We have not been hit, Commander..." Mischa@crystyl straightens herself in her seat, "You'll have to do better than that..." NPC@annpc#557 | There is a faint blue glow on the viewscreen NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "It's an energy field of some kind, just appeared right in front of us!" Mischa@crystyl:"Back us off!" NPC@annpc#557 | As the Latenter backs away, another red beam emits from the future VF, thicker than before. This time, there is no room to evade as it impacts the side of the ship directly NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Port shields have failed." Mischa@crystyl:"Emergency power! Mobilize damage control teams" NPC@annpc#557 | The future VF wastes no time, following up the attack with a series of pulses which cut across the Latenter's now unshielded port side. The bridge shakes violently as multiple lights and - NPC@annpc#557 - consoles go out, and personnel are thrown all over the place NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "Hull breaches on decks seven, eight and nine! We have lost power to both port nacelles!" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "They are transporting personnel onto our hull near the breaches, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"All decks; boarding protocols!" retrieves her own phaser from a compartment under the chair and begins working on either wiping or encrypting sensitive files NPC@annpc#557 | Just as Mischa gets to work, the viewscreen flickering from the damage finally settles to reveal a fully open rift. The future VF is suddenly hit by a barrage of fire from behind and it begins - NPC@annpc#557 - to break away, revealing behind it the Justicar leading a number of Undine ships Mischa@crystyl says a silent thank you in her head NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph: "Undine are transporting onto our hull and confronting the boarders." Mischa@crystyl:"Make sure our forces know /not/ to attack the Undine" NPC@annpc#557 | Glyph nods, "Relaying it to them now." NPC@annpc#557 | Outside the Latenter on the hull, the boarders wearing the temporal faction's programmable matter suits engage in a battle with the Undine and members of Latenter's security team that have - NPC@annpc#557 - suited up. The boarders take down a security officer and several Undine, but are quickly overwhelmed as more and more Undine arrive. Soon, one of the boarders fall, followed by a second, - NPC@annpc#557 - a third and a fourth, and the rest beam away in the flashes of their Regulator-style transports NPC@annpc#557 | Back on the bridge, Glyph announces, "All boarders have transported back." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The temporal vessels are on the retreat. Undine and other allied forces are in pursuit." Mischa@crystyl:"Stay with them, but we will have to stay back. Signal the Justicar that the Valley Forge out there has a priority target on board" NPC@annpc#557 | The viewscreen shifts to a side view from the Latenter, where the pursuit can be seen. Several of the Undine ships join together, channeling their power and unleashing a single, powerful blow - NPC@annpc#557 - on one of the temporal warbirds, whose shields finally collapse. Plasma begins venting from one of its nacelles as it visibly slows down. The Kaishaasi and the modified Scimitar close in from - NPC@annpc#557 - the top and bottom, firing every forward weapon. Explosions ripple across the temporal warbird as multiple plasma torpedoes and disruptor bolts hit, and the powerful future ship goes down, - NPC@annpc#557 - crumbling apart and drifting for some distance before its singularity goes critical, sucking in what remains of its main body at that point NPC@annpc#557 | The Justicar and its Undine contingent continues pursuit of the future VF, firing at it. Suddenly, their shots are stopped by the same blue barrier, which quickly goes down to their combined - NPC@annpc#557 - weapon power and they continue to press the attack NPC@annpc#557 | The future raider swoops in again, the space ahead of it beginning to shift as it starts to generate a gateway. The Justicar immediately switches target, unleashing its powerful cannons on the - NPC@annpc#557 - raider. The Undine follow suit and the damage raider is finally finished off, losing cohesion and drifting off into several separate components, a few of which explode into smaller chunks of - NPC@annpc#557 - debris. The partially generated gateway fizzles out; however, this quick switch of target gives the future VF enough time as it accelerates to warp. Justicar and the Undine jump off right - NPC@annpc#557 - after it, but knowing the transwarp speeds these ships are capable of, it's likely a futile pursuit... NPC@annpc#557 | The combined Undine ships turn their fire to the remaining temporal warbird, but this one evades and immediately jumps away to warp as well NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay soon confirms what everyone is thinking, "Enemy vessels are retreating at transwarp 16. Justicar and the Undine are unable to match speed." Mischa@crystyl:"Contact the Romulans, see if they know who got taken yet" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, brushing back some loose hair as she taps on her console NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "All that to take out a single warbird and a raider..." Mischa@crystyl:"These ships are in a different league to anything we have" NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant nods, "I suppose we're fortunate to have come out in one piece at all, going up against temporal intruders like that. Well, in one piece, but not in very good condition..." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria turns to Mischa, "It's Commander Goto. I'm sorry, I know you two are close." Mischa@crystyl:"We were, once. But this extraction can mean only one thing" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "You think she's one of them..." Mischa@crystyl:"I knew she was before today, this only proves it" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "That may explain how she was able to hack these temporal vessels where our analysts failed." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "You knew...before today?" Mischa@crystyl:nods NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "I guess that's why you're the Commander..." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "The vault is hailing us." Mischa@crystyl:"On screen" NPC@annpc#557 | The Reman who spoke to Nikki and Imaella earlier appears on the viewscreen, "Commander Leveson-Scott. I have heard about you. It is good to finally speak with you." Mischa@crystyl:"My reputation precedes me? I must be losing my touch..." NPC@annpc#557 | Reman: "Only due to your hunt for the Justicar. You caused us quite the trouble when you were working against us. But now I hope your entire crew can see that the Justicar and the Shadow Guard - NPC@annpc#557 - share an enemy with Starfleet and the Federation." Mischa@crystyl:"And that said enemy was able to infiltrate even our own ranks" NPC@annpc#557 | Reman: "It is no failing of yours, but a testament to the danger they pose. As you can see here, we have had to resort to forging...unconventional alliances to stand against this foe. We can - NPC@annpc#557 - no longer even trust our own peoples." Mischa@crystyl:"That was quite the surprise arrival" NPC@annpc#557 | Reman: "It was all our plan. If the Undine had stood with us from the beginning, they would have brought more forces or made other plans entirely. This way, we could lure them in, strike a - NPC@annpc#557 - blow against them, and perhaps even recover some things of value from the wreckage. It is a victory, especially considering the strength of our enemy, but it was not without significant cost. - NPC@annpc#557 - We have promised the Imperials compensation and repairs for any harm they suffered during the battle, and we shall offer you the same." Mischa@crystyl:"That is most gracious of you, and we are hardly in a shape to stubbornly decline. And you are right, the interlopers have been gunning for you for a long time now, so the fact that you remain - Mischa@crystyl:- firmly in place here while they have retreated makes this a significant win for us all" NPC@annpc#557 | Reman: "Indeed. I will have my people ready a docking berth for you. Thank you for aiding us today." Mischa@crystyl:"No doubt we will speak again once the dust has settled" NPC@annpc#557 | Reman: "I expect as much. Until then, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Until then" --- Romulan@annpc#557 | The Latenter sits in one of the massive vault's docking berths, having recently settled inside. Romulan and Starfleet work bees alike circle the ship. On the bridge, Mischa is still in the - Romulan@annpc#557 - command seat as the bridge crew work to coordinate damage assessment and begin repair plans. As they work away, Victoria turns to Mischa, "The Kaishaasi is hailing us again." Mischa@crystyl looks up from her work, for once doing more typical Captain'y things than she is used to, "Ah, of course. Surprising they waited this long really. Put them on" Romulan@annpc#557 | The Kaishaasi's bridge appears on the viewscreen, with Imaella in the centre Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "That was quite the battle. And I thought the Iconians had advanced technology..." Mischa@crystyl:"The benefit of a few extra centuries of development" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "And collaboration between our peoples and many others, by the looks of it." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, there is a lot in these temporal ships that we recognize from our newer allies in the Coalition" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "The Coalition, those are your new friends by the rim, aren't they?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, the former and short lived Alpha Quadrant Alliance between the Federation, Romulan Republic and Klingon Empire has effectively been dissolved and reignited as part of something much larger - Mischa@crystyl:- now in the Coalition. Whilst it is currently centered on the Heart as neutral ground, it is not exclusively a rimward grouping. Other parties more familiar to you like the Orions, Iconians- Mischa@crystyl:- Elachi, even breakaway Borg factions are all affiliated as well. But your Empress knows this all too well, and is no doubt already several steps ahead in plans to ensure the reborn Star Empire - Mischa@crystyl:-doesn't get left behind" she smiles Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella nods, "Yes, she was there at the Coalition's founding. Speaking of which, she recognized you from there earlier, but you're a long way from the rim. Did you come out here to deal with - Romulan@annpc#557 - these temporal ships, or Vitellius?" Mischa@crystyl:"The temporal ships. Whilst we are aware of the current situation surrounding Vitellius, it would be... challenging for us to intervene without causing sever political complications" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "I understand. Vitellius hasn't provoked Starfleet yet, and you have no reason to start a war with him. You're working with these Shadow Guard, then? Or have you just made friends - Romulan@annpc#557 - with them recently too?" Mischa@crystyl:"The relationship is suitably complicated, as you can imagine. But yes, we established contact a while ago though have not been working as active allies. But we are two intelligence based bodies - Mischa@crystyl:- investigating the same threat, so it is a natural situation. Your alliance with them however - especially with Vitellius breathing down your necks - is rather more unexpected" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. Vitellius is a threat to us both, and even though more are rallying to our new Empress every day, our enemy still has more forces with these - Romulan@annpc#557 - Zauger fleets of his. We need our own allies as well if we are to win this." Mischa@crystyl:"There is no denying that. Even if there were more we could do to assist directly, we are only one ship still. And as you have seen, much of a threat as Vitellius is, we have bigger fish to fry still" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "I understand. Your ship is in no condition to help at the moment in any case. What of the other Starfleet vessel, the one that was helping the Shadow Guard open the rifts? We assumed - Romulan@annpc#557 - they were with you, but my intelligence officer identified it as a vessel that has gone rogue from Starfleet." Mischa@crystyl:"They are SFC for one thing, not Intel. The whole rogue thing was an imaginative construct thought up by these temporal infiltrators in an attempt to discredit the Justicar and her crew" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "So that is why you are here...these temporal infiltrators aren't just active in our space. They've infiltrated the Federation as well." Mischa@crystyl:"The Federation, Republic, your Empire, the Klingons, Cardassians, Orions... if there is a galactic power, it is safe to assume that these people have some form of influence with them" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "When they lowered our shields during the battle, they transported out a single individual- Lyirru, someone who arrived with the Empress and has been at her side since. We see no - Romulan@annpc#557 - reason for her to be a priority target, not above the Empress herself at least. The only explanation I have is that she was working for them, and it was an extraction." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, we drew the same conclusion. Given the long game plans these people play, I would surmise that they planted her alongside the Empress long ago, in anticipation of her one day claiming her - Mischa@crystyl:- birthright. At that time, they would have then had a trusted voice whispering in her ear. As for why they chose to extract her during this battle now... I can only surmise that their plans have - Mischa@crystyl:-been forced to change as a result of complications we know they have been dealt on other fronts" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "I take it you have been confronting them on other fronts as well, then?" Mischa@crystyl:"Well, not me personally" she smiles, "But yes, you and the Shadow Guard are not the only ones growing wise to their conduct. An attempted coup against Captain LaForge was recently averted out at - Mischa@crystyl:- the Heart, where they extracted an operative just like they did here from you. More recently than that, they have been interfering with SFC operations in the rim and were found to be driving a - Mischa@crystyl:- xenophobic bioweapon species into expansion into allied territory. One of my counterparts commanding a ship in that region was also recently exposed as one of these infiltrators, with my own - Mischa@crystyl:- former XO revealing things there and forcing them out. So yes, I believe todays extraction could well be a change of their plans in response to these recents setbacks we have collectively caused" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "It sounds like you're making progress against them, then. They've planted an operative by our Empress and have proven to be a threat to us as well as everyone else. While our focus - Romulan@annpc#557 - must remain on Vitellius, we will aid you against these temporal infiltrators if we are able." Mischa@crystyl:"The best you can do for now Admiral is to remain vigilant in looking after your own affairs without compromise. Just because one infiltrator has been removed, does not mean to say there aren't more" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "A good point. We will remain here until our repairs are complete, and then return to Agrama to ensure our people are clear of further infiltrators." Mischa@crystyl:"If only it were so easy. These are no Founders, or engineered replicas. They are genuine citizens born and bred here, and as natural a being in place as anyone around them. I was - Mischa@crystyl:- not speaking lightly when I talked about long game plans with them; our investigation has started to show evidence of their activity going back centuries, and many of their operatives are not even- Mischa@crystyl:- replacements of people but rather born and bred here for the very purpose of the infiltration" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella nods, "That does make it more difficult. We noticed during the battle that their ships give off a different quantum signature to our own. I take it their infiltrators aren't - Romulan@annpc#557 - distinguishable this way, then?" Mischa@crystyl:"Some may be, but certainly these thoroughbred ones - no. That signature is however a solid tell for their activity, if not for the people then the technology they use" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "We shall keep our eyes open for that signature. As for these thoroughbred operatives, we'll root them out the old fashioned way. We Romulans are no strangers to dealing with - Romulan@annpc#557 - infiltrators, even though these ones may admittedly be a little more dangerous than the usual." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed. Another good reason to maintain your new alliance with the Shadow Guard as they have a head start on rooting out these particular infiltrators" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "My intelligence officer will be sure to take full advantage of this alliance. Thank you for your advice, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"We are all friends here after all" she smiles, "Which reminds me, I have pertinent news for the Empress, if I may?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Of course," she steps aside, letting Nikki take the centre of the screen Mischa@crystyl | Nikki: "What is it Commander?" Mischa@crystyl:"Esteemed Empress. If I am correct, your time with Republic Intelligence had you serving on the Valley Forge" Mischa@crystyl | Nikki nods, "Yes, I was posted to that ship for their expedition which led to the discovery of the Heart of War" Mischa@crystyl:"Of course. Well, I thought you should know that they - along with the IKS QanwI', the Coalition ship Aethon, and a SFI cruiser - have been declared MIA" Mischa@crystyl | Nikki leans in a little, "What happened?" Mischa@crystyl:"I will send you all the details that are available. But it was the result of a recent confrontation with these temporal manipulators. They fled into one of their anomalies, but there were - Mischa@crystyl:- complications and those allied vessels were pulled through behind them. The best anyone can tell is that it deposited them... somewhere in this galaxy. We think" Mischa@crystyl | Nikki: "I see... Though there is nothing to be done about it, I of course have people there I am fond of after serving so long with them. I appreciate you bringing me this news" Mischa@crystyl bows her head lightly, "So Admiral, how long before you all ship back out?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "Most of our ships have only taken light damage. It seems the infiltrators were only aiming to take us out of the battle when they faced us, as opposed to the decidedly heavier force - Romulan@annpc#557 - they used on the Shadow Guard. Our repairs will not take too long, and I expect we will be able to depart in two weeks." Mischa@crystyl:"Then we should have plenty of opportunity to catch up more and share notes. If nothing else, yours is turning into quite the story of legend and I for one would relish the opportunity to hear it - Mischa@crystyl:- first hand" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella: "And I would like to learn more of what you know on these temporal infiltrators. For now, I shall leave you to your repairs. Thank you for indulging my curiosity, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"A rare pleasure to exchange notes with a prominent Admiral of the Star Empire" she smiles, "I couldn't resist indulging myself a little" Romulan@annpc#557 | Imaella smiles back, "Neither could I, especially with a Starfleet intelligence vessel." Mischa@crystyl:"I'm sure we will make the most of this time together here with our Shadow Guard hosts" --- Romulan@annpc#557 | After the Latenter settles into the docking berth, the Shadow Guard invite Mischa to exit the ship and visit their station... Romulan@annpc#557 | As the airlock door into the vault slides open, Mischa finds herself staring down a dark hallway. A figure emerges from the darkness, making its way towards her, but it's too dark to tell - Romulan@annpc#557 - exactly who it is Mischa@crystyl waits patiently, taking everything in until the figure draws nearer Romulan@annpc#557 | Her eyes begin to adjust to the darkness, and combined with the figure stepping closer, she's able to recognize him as Calvum Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Welcome to our vault, Commander." Mischa@crystyl steps over, "Thank you, it's been a while since I had to adjust to Reman lighting" she smiles Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum chuckles, "Yes, we have more Remans than Romulans around here, so the public areas of the station are all quite dimly-lit. Quite a contrast from your Starfleet vessel, I imagine." Mischa@crystyl:"The Latenter isn't quite as extreme as the more 'public face' vessels you typically see around the galaxy, but yes" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "So you actually do keep your ships darker? Interesting," he smiles as he turns to lead the way Mischa@crystyl follows, "To be more precise, we put a lot less emphasis on token Federation brightness. Since we serve no diplomatic function, extravagencies like that are not required" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum nods, "Yes, that makes sense. More like traditional Romulan vessels, as opposed to Reman lighting here, then." Mischa@crystyl:"A fair analogy" she nods Romulan@annpc#557 | The two pass by a pair of Remans holding toolkits, clearly making their way to work on some repairs Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Since your people will be here for some time as you make repairs, I thought I'd introduce you to the station. There are some areas you will be restricted from, as you no doubt - Romulan@annpc#557 - expected, but we are giving you access to all the non-critical regions of the facility. You and your crew can expect access roughly similar to what a civilian would get on one of your starbases." Mischa@crystyl:"That is most considerate" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum smiles, "Just wait until you hear what else we have to offer. I know your Starfleet vessels are largely self-sustaining, but I thought it wouldn't be particularly comfortable for you to - Romulan@annpc#557 - be cooped up in your ship all this time. Besides, this facility is vast and we're barely using up a fraction of it anyways." Mischa@crystyl:"Intriguing" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum leads Mischa into a large lounge area. It is slightly brighter than the halls, but still very much lit for Remans. Inside, there is hardly any activity, with only a single Reman - Romulan@annpc#557 - bartender working behind the bar Mischa@crystyl looks around, "Charming" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Like I said, it's a large facility and we can't occupy all of it. This area primarily services the crew who work the docking berths. It gets busier after a shift change, but at the - Romulan@annpc#557 - moment they're all occupied dealing with the new ships that have come in, such as yours. There's several others like this through the facility along with smaller mess halls. Your people are - Romulan@annpc#557 - welcome to visit any of them if you like." Mischa@crystyl:"A change of scenery is always welcome. And we are something of an impasse right now as well until we get a lead on the temporal enemy's next move" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum smiles, "We have plans. But first, let's talk about you," he heads towards a table by the side of the lounge, where a large window faces out into the interior of the vault. The damaged - Romulan@annpc#557 - Latenter can be seen docked in the distance, along with several Shadow Guard warbirds and one Imperial T'Varo Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum takes a seat, gesturing for Mischa to join opposite him Mischa@crystyl sits as well, a sorry sigh as she looks out her normally flawless vessel Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Don't worry, we'll have her good as new again. Better than new, actually. That's what I wanted to talk to you about." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Though we lost some of the temporal warbird's debris to its singularity breach, there's still a significant enough portion of it left that we're scavenging now, and there's many parts - Romulan@annpc#557 - of their raider salvageable as well. Our plan for when we were able to obtain technology from their ships was to study and attempt integration and recreation in order to equip our ships to - Romulan@annpc#557 - better combat the infiltrators." Mischa@crystyl:"A prudent silver lining to take out of any battle against a technologically superior force" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum nods, "We intended to augment our flagship, the SGW Stiletto, or the Justicar in this way. They will still be receiving some upgrades, but thanks to your efforts, neither vessel was - Romulan@annpc#557 - significantly damaged in the fighting. As they're still battle-ready, we don't want to drydock them for a significant amount of time just to implement prototype technology, in case we need - Romulan@annpc#557 - them. Your ship, on the other hand, is going to require some extensive repair anyways." Mischa@crystyl:"I am all for implementing improvements. But we'll have to make sure we fully understand any new technology first" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Of course. We're not just going to blindly plug unfamiliar technology in. While you're here, we plan on studying the salvage, a process your people are welcome to assist in. You may - Romulan@annpc#557 - not be a standard Starfleet ship, but I imagine your famed scientific and engineering capability still stands for your crew?" Mischa@crystyl:"Of course. Not everyone who works for SFI is a field operative. That would be like the old narrow minded views our peoples once held of one another; like every Romulan being a quintessential Tal - Mischa@crystyl:- Shiar agent, or every Klingon being of the Warrior caste" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum smiles, "As I thought. Well, these skills will certainly be helpful here. Your people can study analyze the debris with us, and decide what may be worth integrating into your - Romulan@annpc#557 - vessel. Then, we can equip the Latenter to better stand against them, the next time we encounter their ships." Mischa@crystyl:"I look forward to seeing what we come up with then" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "As do I. You've been a valuable ally against these temporal infiltrators, and a little upgrade from the spoils of battle is, I hope, a fitting compensation for the damage you've suffered. Mischa@crystyl:"Of course. What of the Justicar, and the Imperials for that matter; will they be making use of the same civilian facilities here, or is everyone being kept seperate?" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "The Imperials will be making use of the civilian facilities when they're here, but as I understand it, most of them will be departing in two weeks. The Justicar has slightly increased - Romulan@annpc#557 - access, and we'll give any of your personnel working with us to research the scavenged technology the necessary access to the lab facilities as well." Mischa@crystyl:"That is good. It would be optimal to catch up with Reyes while we are as well. And the Imperials, well it is always good to keep up with current affairs and the Admiral has promised to share their - Mischa@crystyl:- story with me" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum: "Speaking of, Commander Reyes has expressed an interest in talking with you as well. I can notify her if you're available now." Mischa@crystyl:"By all means, please" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum nods, "Would you like her to come here, or meet on one of your ships?" Mischa@crystyl:"Here seems fitting, mostly since we are already here" she chuckles, "That is fine with me, unless Reyes has another preference of course" Romulan@annpc#557 | Calvum taps on his wrist communicator, "Very well. I'm informing her now." --- Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Mischa is soon directed to a room on the vault, and she steps through to find a sizable office Sierra Reyes@anncaris is seated behind the desk and stands as Mischa enters, making her way over, "Commander. Good to finally see you in person." Mischa@crystyl steps over and smiles, "Likewise, it has been too long. It was good to see you still at the Shadow Guard's side when it came to the crunch" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles back, "We're out here to deal with these temporal intruders, and the Shadow Guard were some of the first allies we found. They've done right by us and we don't plan to abandon them." She - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - gestures for Mischa to join her at a nearby sofa in the office Mischa@crystyl sits, "Yes, that has been our experience with them as well. Hopefully now the Imperials can say the same too" Sierra Reyes@anncaris takes a seat as well, "Speaking of allies, I expect you're probably curious about the Undine." Mischa@crystyl:"I generally like to think I know any situation well enough to say that nothing surprises me. But that was unexpected" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Despite their antagonism leading up to the Iconian War, the Undine aren't as unreasonable as they seem. Back in the 2370s, not long after first encountering them, Janeway was able to establish a - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - degree of peaceful understanding with the Undine. Unfortunately, that was sabotaged by the Iconians' manipulations, but once we were able to prove to them that they were being used, I was able - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - continue from where Starfleet last left off in terms of negotiating with the Undine." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"You remember- the whole reason we mutinied was because our captain, one of the infiltrators, sought to carry out an unprovoked attack on the Undine." Mischa@crystyl:"So that was how you convinced them it was in their interests to assist; the manipulators see the Undine as a threat, so would likely continue to target them by turning others against them" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "Exactly. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy still, but they eventually understood that the temporal infiltrators were a threat and working against them is in our mutual interest." Mischa@crystyl:"So what do you expect next from them, another attempt at shutting down the Shadow Guard?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Eventually, yes. If I were them right now, I wouldn't order another attack immediately. It's impossible to say how many ships they have, but every ship we faced during that battle had a different - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- quantum signature from ours. Which suggests they're not built in our universe, and it's a possibility they don't even have the capability to build more here. It also fits why they sent four ships - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - here and not an entire fleet. I don't think they have numbers, and they'll probably feel the damage we've dealt them already." Mischa@crystyl:"There are also the setbacks we've been dealing them on other fronts too to consider" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"It's good to hear you've been hitting them on other fronts as well." Mischa@crystyl:"I wish I could take the credit, but this is all down to the Valley Forge" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"The Valley Forge...that's the ship making waves by the rim we've been hearing about, isn't it?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "Yes, the manipulators tried to shut down their efforts on the rim and Captain Se'Lai grew wise to their machinations. They also made the epic mistake of targeting her personally by abducting- Mischa@crystyl:- her daughter from the academy annex at the Heart of Unity. They recently paid the price for that miscalculation which resulted in a senior SFI infiltrator being exposed" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "I'm glad the rest of Starfleet is growing wise to the infiltration and starting to weed out their operatives. But I have a feeling they're too deeply rooted for Starfleet to handle - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - internally. From what I've seen, their infiltration of Romulan society is shallower, thanks to Romulan paranoia. In the Federation they're much more deeply rooted- a senior figure in SFI being - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - one example of that." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, rooting them out as we have been is firefighting at best. The only way we will ever be truly free of this threat is to attack it at the source. I see two ways of achieving that; one is to - Mischa@crystyl:- completely remove their leadership and find a means to prevent them even communicating with their universe ever again - which all seems very unlikely. The other, to establish dialogue with their - Mischa@crystyl:- leadership and convince them to cease all activity" Sierra Reyes@anncaris nods, "We've tried to identify their leadership through the operatives we're rooted out from Romulan territories. They rarely allow themselves to be captured, and the in the few cases they were, - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - interrogation was fairly futile, both conventional and telepathic. We don't know how to find their leadership, and I don't like the idea of sitting around waiting for their next move to get - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - more intel." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. It is rather frustrating that one of them appeared to have a change of heart and was willing to open talks, but they got to her before she could be interrogated. I believe she was - Mischa@crystyl:- ultimately recovered, though questions linger as to her surviving mental state. She is also beyond reach now regardless" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I assume this happened on the other front you mentioned?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "The operative in question was one Commander Watson who was tied to both the failed attempt to discredit Captain LaForge, and the abduction of Captain Se'Lai's daughter. According to local - Mischa@crystyl:- testimony, Watson had been persuaded by the young Vulcan to try a more cooperative approach with our universe. However, the SFI infiltrator intercepted them and took Watson before the Valley Forge- Mischa@crystyl:- could take custody. This ultimately led to previously mentioned events, and several allied ships from the rim being lost somewhere in the galaxy" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Somewhere in the galaxy? As in, they could be /anywhere/ in the entire galaxy?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "When the infiltrator was exposed they escaped on Watson's raider generating one of their anomalies. It reacted with a nearby gravity well and drew in several allied ships after them. - Mischa@crystyl:- Unfortunately, the timing and physics mean that it deposited them wildly at a random location. As of now, they are on their own in finding their way back to civilization so we can't count on - Mischa@crystyl:- getting anything from the recovered Watson" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I suppose a search mission is out of the question, then. I don't want to sit around and wait, but maybe now's the time to solidify our hold over what we do have. We've driven off this attack, and - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - now we should make sure we can ward off further attacks. The best way to do that is strengthening Romulan space and dealing with this civil war in the Star Empire." Mischa@crystyl:"You may well be right. So Vitellius then" Sierra Reyes@anncaris nods, "Let me hazard a guess- you're already working that side. The Imperials standing against him showing up not long after you arrived is no coincidence, is it?" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I couldn't possibly comment" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles back, "What about that Empress of theirs...the fact that she just happened to come from the same region your ship was last assigned to?" Mischa@crystyl:"I can't imagine what you are implying" Sierra Reyes@anncaris chuckles, "You Intel types..." She shakes her head, "/Assuming/ you do have a high profile operative already in deep cover, you probably want to keep an eye on the situation, monitor it up - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - close. But from the looks of your ship, it's going to be in here for at least two months, maybe more? Certainly more if you want to take full advantage of the Shadow Guard's resources and - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - get yourself a few non-Starfleet standard improvements like we did for the Justicar." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, we are certainly exploring the options presented from the recent spoils. So yes, 'assuming' I had a high profile operative in the Empresses court, I probably would want to keep an eye on them"- Mischa@crystyl:- she smiles, "Hypotheticals are fun, aren't they" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "Now, their flagship is here, so you could keep an eye on them by going undercover yourself, but two agents are riskier than one, especially now that the Imperials will be more - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - wary of infiltrators than ever. They know about the temporal infiltrators too after getting involved here. Not to mention that you've already spoken with their Admiral so the chances of them - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- recognizing you is even higher, if you want to undertake such a mission personally." Mischa@crystyl:"Much I typically relish such assignments, on this occasion you are not wrong. I also have a ship to command still" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I've read your files, or the ones we've obtained at least. You're a field operative, not an engineer, and your crew should be able to handle the technical work. You just need to approve any major - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - changes for the repairs. I have an idea..." Mischa@crystyl:"I am certainly open to options right now, and admittedly curious as to what you are thinking" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Shadow Guard ships are intended for recon, surveillance, intel gathering, much like your own. Their warbirds will be serving in an intelligence capacity against Vitellius rather than direct - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - military confrontation. The Justicar, on the other hand, is a battlecruiser. And thanks to the temporal infiltrators, we're widely known to be Starfleet mutineers not representing the - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- Federation. We'll be joining the efforts against Vitellius as part of the Shadow Guard's pledge to the Imperials, and we can do what we like against him without getting the Federation involved." Mischa@crystyl:"Something the Latenter can not do" she nods Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"You can join us. Keep an eye on your operative from the Justicar, and continue the work you've been doing on that front. With us you can keep in contact with the vault and be up to date on - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - anything with your ship's repairs. You won't be getting hands-on for the repairs yourself like some more technically inclined commanders, so this shouldn't hinder your repair efforts." Mischa@crystyl:"And once repairs are complete, the Latenter can join us. That sounds acceptable, yes" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "We have a plan, then. The Justicar'll be departing the vault when the Imperials do, so you'll have two weeks here to get your crew started on the repairs." Mischa@crystyl:"That should be plenty sufficient" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Thought as much. Well, I look forward to working with you more closely, Commander." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Likewise" --- NPC@annpc#557 | Later in the Latenter's conference room, Mischa informs the rest of the crew of their plans going forward... Mischa@crystyl:"Alright everyone, so we have an extended period in drydock ahead. I have already discussed the work with the Shadow Guard, and we are going to work closely with them and the Justicar crew to start - Mischa@crystyl:- reverse engineering salvage from the battle. Anything we can implement as an upgrade to the Latenter will be incorporated into the work" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "I will assemble all science personnel with relevant skills to assist with the study and reverse-engineering of the salvage." NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "There's a few ideas for additional countermeasures against the future ships I'd like to try out as well. Ones that aren't reliant on their tech. I'll send you the specs later." Mischa@crystyl:I will happily review them, but as you all know I am far from the most technically minded and would almost certainly defer back to your collective opinions on such matters. Which is why I intend to - Mischa@crystyl:- leave the renovations here in your hands" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "Where'll you be going, Commander?" Mischa@crystyl:"As you all know by now, Commander Goto turned out to be a traitor. Since her extraction we have lost our guiding hand for our Empress Nikki. So, once their minor repairs are complete I am going to - Mischa@crystyl:- ship out with the Justicar while they aid the Imperial loyalists in shutting down Vitellius" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "A sensible plan. We'll take good care of the Latenter for you while you're away." Mischa@crystyl:"I have every faith in all of you" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "If the Justicar is willing to take additional personnel, may I also recommend that Ensign Orianni accompany you as well? Her combat skills will keep you safe if there is a need, and - NPC@annpc#557 - her tactical thinking could be beneficial as you will no doubt become involved in more battles." Mischa@crystyl:"That makes sense, yes. Diverse as her skills are, she is also very much wasted here as I am right now. I am sure Reyes will have no objection my bringing an aide" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel nods, "I am sure she will see the logic. Her template served the Justicar well in the alternate reality we encountered, and I am certain Ori will be a boon for the crew." Mischa@crystyl:"Absolutely. Well, with that all out of the way we should get back to if there is nothing more" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "One other thing- with Commander Goto being an infiltrator, do you want me to investigate the specialists she brought with her over from the Loki? I've seen nothing to warrant concern - NPC@annpc#557 - in them so far, but if they are infiltrators, the future ships probably didn't get a chance to extract them. We've got countermeasure to prevent unwanted transport and their boarding parties - NPC@annpc#557 - never made it inside the Latenter." Mischa@crystyl:"It is entirely possible that there are more of these infiltrators on the Latenter, or at least sympathizers. However such presences are not strictly tied to the Loki specialists; as we saw with - Mischa@crystyl:- Goto, even long serving loyal officers can turn out to be infiltrators. There is every chance still that one of you is actually one of them, but while we must remain ever vigilant in the face of - Mischa@crystyl:- this enemy, it is crucial not to allow paranoia to dominate our decisions which is exactly why I continue to entrust each of you with the Latenters refurb" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "Thank you, Commander. We'll be sure to keep that in mind." Mischa@crystyl:"So to answer your question, yes please do continue to pursue signs of infiltration but you can limit yourself to the specialists from the Loki. Our Shadow Guard hosts have been fighting this enemy - Mischa@crystyl:- a lot longer, so I recommend learning all you can from their experiences while we are here" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan nods, "Understood. I'll ask the Shadow Guard for their tips on identifying these temporal infiltrators." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright. That done, let's get back to it" NPC@annpc#557 | The Latenter senior staff all nod and stand --- NPC@annpc#557 | In the future infiltrators' meeting room, various people are gathered, some entering the room physically, many others flickering into existence through holoprojectors. Once again, the - NPC@annpc#557 - mysterious Chief is at the head of the table. Fox, or rather Aka, flickers in, immediately turning to the Chief NPC@annpc#557 | Aka: "I apologize for my failure. We-" NPC@annpc#557 | The Chief holds up his hand, "Now is not the time to dwell on our mistakes." NPC@annpc#557 | Aka nods silently and takes a seat NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "You all know why I've called this emergency session of the Conclave. We've suffered a number of setbacks lately, the most recent of which is our defeat at the Shadow Guard Vault." NPC@annpc#557 | Kas'tor: "First our Romulan personnel, now two of our ships?! We must rally all our vessels and wipe this vault and the Shadow Guard off the face of the galaxy!" NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "No. I understand your desire for revenge. We all want vengeance for the comrades they have taken away from us, but our last attack was too hasty." NPC@annpc#557 | Andorian Captain: "What's our next move, then? We have to do something before they strike at us again." NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "It is more important than ever at this moment that we double down our plans. Operation Alpha Strike will be fast-tracked." NPC@annpc#557 | Gorn: "And the vault? We jussst leave it be?" NPC@annpc#557 | Chief: "They will be busy dealing with Vitellius. I don't see them going much further with him on their doorstep, and we need him gone anyways. We have assets observing the situation, and that - NPC@annpc#557 - will be enough. Soon, we'll build a new plan against the Shadow Guard, but first, we strengthen our hold over what we do have." NPC@annpc#557 | Chief nods to Fleet Admiral Yanishev, still wearing his 25th century flag officer's uniform, "Yanishev. Time to promote the pawn." NPC@annpc#557 | The room falls silent for a moment. A few of the infiltrator leadership show visible surprise. Most try to look neutral, but there's faint signs of unease, different from species to species - NPC@annpc#557 - and person to person. The Arshai admiral bites her lip slightly. The Andorian captain tugs on the sleeve of his uniform. Captain Douglas fidgets with a device in his hand NPC@annpc#557 | Finally, Yanishev gives a curt nod, "It will be done, Admiral." NPC@annpc#557 FX | Fade to black...
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Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Two weeks after the battle at the vault, Mischa leaves the Latenter in the hands of her crew to proceed with the repairs as she transports onto the Justicar with Ori Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The two materialize on a transporter pad, with Commander Reyes and a Romulan man in a Shadow Guard uniform waiting for them. This man is not Calvum and looks a good few years (or perhaps - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - even decades, it's harder to tell with Romulans) younger, appearing more like a human in his thirties Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Welcome to the Justicar, Commander. Ensign." Mischa@crystyl steps off the pad with a smile, "Thank you. This is Ensign Orianni, my aide here Mischa@crystyl | Ori gives a cheery little wave, more interested in taking in all that's new and different Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The transporter room of the Justicar gives the impression of something between the Latenter and the Valley Forge. The area is much more spartan than the Valley Forge and the lights seem - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - slightly brighter than the Latenter, but not as warm and comfortable as the Valley Forge's Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles back, "Nice to meet you, Orianni. This is Khivath ir-Corvus trâ€™Vaethirrai, my Intelligence officer and attache from the Shadow Guard.â€ Mischa@crystyl:"A pleasure" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Kivath inclines his head towards the two, "Commander. I think we'll be working closely during your stay here." Mischa@crystyl:"I imagine so. Unless of course our illustrious Captain wants me treading on her command toes instead" she chuckles Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Actually...with your command experience, I was thinking of granting you the authority of Second Officer. It's currently held by Commander bim Shach, my Chief Engineer, but he doesn't have much - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- experience commanding a ship and prefers to spend his time in Engineering anyways. You'll still be working in a primarily Intelligence capacity, just with the authority to step in if anything - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - happens to myself and Ekkoz. And you can advise Ekkoz when I'm not available too." Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds reasonable" she turns to the Romulan again, "And I have no interest in stepping on your toes here either. Consider me here in more of a consultation capacity" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Khivath nods, "Don't worry, Sierra and I have discussed your role quite extensively. Besides, against an enemy like what we're facing now, we can always use more intelligence support." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Exactly. Khivath is great, but he's the only real intel specialist I have, and another set of eyes could be very helpful." Mischa@crystyl:"Of course. However I always feel it is important to establish boundaries up front in these circumstances" she smiles, "As for Orianni, I assume there is always room for a young but capable tactical- Mischa@crystyl:- officer on the roster?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris nods, "On a battlecruiser like the Justicar, always. Ekkoz sometimes has to man the tactical console and serve as XO, so more hands in that department's definitely welcome here." Mischa@crystyl | Orianni: "Then it makes sense for me to cover the tactical station when Ekkoz is on duty so that he can prioritize his command responsibilities" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "Exactly what I was thinking. Speaking of roles and stations, come, follow me." Sierra Reyes@anncaris turns to lead the way Mischa@crystyl & Ori both follow Sierra Reyes@anncaris leads them and Khivath into a nearby turbolift, which begins to descend, "I'm sure you've read up on our ship, but in case you haven't been on an Avenger before- we are a cruiser, but our design - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - is more functional than standard Starfleet cruisers due to our more combat-focused role. We have most of the same amenities as other Starfleet ships- holodecks, a central lounge, and so on, - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - but our ship is less spacious and luxurious compared to other designs in the same weight range like Excelsiors." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "It's my first time on a dedicated battleship, so I can't wait to see it all!" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles at Ori's excitement, "I have a feeling you'll like the improvements we've made." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Oh I'm sure I will!" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"But first..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris steps out into a hallway as the lift doors open, continuing to lead the way. They pass by several crewmembers wearing the Justicar's uniform, which has changed significantly from the Starfleet - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - standard, though still in the same overall colour scheme Sierra Reyes@anncaris leads the way into a room filled with various consoles and monitors, very obviously an intel room, "I take it you can guess what this is for." Mischa@crystyl looks around and smiles, "Like home away from home" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Khivath smiles as well, "I had a feeling you'd like it. I primarily work out of here- you're welcome to use it as well for any of your data analysis needs." Mischa@crystyl:"We'll put it to good use aiding the Imperials against Vitellius now, I'm sure" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We also keep a bridge console set up for intel, but Khivath usually doesn't come up there unless it's the middle of a situation. If you're willing, Commander, I was hoping you could serve more - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- regular bridge shifts while you're here since you're taking the Second Officer role as well." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, of course. I can base myself and simply join Khivath here when the task requires it" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "Great. Now we have your roles settled, let's go on a quick tour to meet the rest of the crew." Mischa@crystyl turns and follows Sierra Reyes@anncaris starts to lead the way out again. This time, Khivath doesn't follow, settling in the intel room Sierra Reyes@anncaris | As they proceed through the ship, Mischa and Ori begin to get a familiar feeling. Much like the VF, there's a fair few green-skinned crewmembers in enlisted uniforms. However, the - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - ones here have the more subtle green hues more common in Romulans, and distinct pointed ears, with some sporting the forehead ridges as well Mischa@crystyl:"Quite the intermixed crew you have here. All Shadow Guard recruits?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"No, actually. All Shadow Guard personnel on board wear their uniform, like Khivath. Everyone you see in our crew uniforms are just regular new recruits to our crew. People we've picked up along - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - the way, mostly Romulans as we've been active in this region. Some are refugees fleeing the Star Empire's rule and more recently Vitellius' conquest, others pirates and criminals who we've - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - shown a better life." Mischa@crystyl:"Of course, that makes sense" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We had half a crew after the mutiny. Most of the people we dropped off weren't infiltrators, many of them were good officers who just didn't feel comfortable working with us. I couldn't force them - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- to stay, and we had to get our crew back up to capacity, so we recruited locally whenever possible." Mischa@crystyl:"It has been quite the trial for you all here. I look forward to the day when this whole threat is neutralized and we can restore the honour of the Justicar and her crew" Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "When the time comes, I hope we can secure these Romulans a place in Starfleet. They've settled in here quite comfortably." Mischa@crystyl:"I am sure their field commissions will be formalized, just like Ori's" Sierra Reyes@anncaris looks to Ori, "She received a field commission as well? I would've thought she came from the Academy..." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Well, I sort of did. Mostly..." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, but you were infiltrating Starfleet at the time. That tends to reflect poorly on your grades" she chuckles Sierra Reyes@anncaris narrows her eyes, "She was infiltrating Starfleet?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, Orianni was genetically engineered by a species called the Junayd to assess the Federations suitability for first contact. She was inserted in place of one cadet Rianni Tierno who was lost at - Mischa@crystyl:- the time. The situation became... complicated, and Ori here was ousted. After the Junayd became Coalition allies, she remained for a time to assist the Valley Forge but having two of her there - Mischa@crystyl:- created difficulties for them both. So, once I had made the Latenter's presence visible, I offered Ori a field commission and to continue a focus on her intelligence training" Mischa@crystyl | Ori beams: "I'm going to be a field operative!" Mischa@crystyl facepalms, "And the first rule of which is..." Mischa@crystyl | Ori, "Oh! I mean, I'm going to be a perfectly average tactical officer!" Mischa@crystyl:"Excited appearances to the contrary, this girl successfully infiltrated a starbase and multiple starships. Sustained that over a year whilst covertly communicating with her people without ever - Mischa@crystyl:- getting caught. I swear she does it on purpose at times like this, but she is actually one of the most skilled infiltrators I have ever met" Sierra Reyes@anncaris chuckles, "Well, infiltrator or tactical officer, we can use both with what we're doing. Our enemy sure knows what they're doing when it comes to infiltration." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "I was created as an Observer, meant for cultural assessment but fully capable of defense and evasion too. Observers are programmed to seamlessly blend in - long term - with a society" Mischa@crystyl:"In other words, you can drop her on an alien planet with physical disguising and she can quickly and easily pick up everything she needs in order to blend in" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Very impressive. I'm sure your skills will come in handy. And I'm very sure Tris is going to have a lot of questions for you, but first..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris steps into Main Engineering, with the warp core ahead, "Shach? You here?" Mischa@crystyl & Ori share a glance, both curious now who Tris isâ€¦ Sierra Reyes@anncaris | A gruff voice sounds in the distance, "Gimme a moment Commander!" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | There is the sound of metallic clanking, followed by a bang. A few seconds later, a Tellarite emerges from a nearby jefferies tube Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Shach: "Ah, these must be our guests!" he claps some dust off his hands as he walks over, "Lieutenant Commander Davig bim Shach, pleased to meet you!" Mischa@crystyl:"But my aren't you chipper! The pleasure is all mine, I'm sure. Commander Leveson-Scott, this is Ensign Orianni" Mischa@crystyl | Ori again gives a cheery wave Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Shach: "Well, I'm glad we didn't get too beat up in the battle so I didn't have to fix up my baby here too much. Oh wait...you come from the ship that took all the damage, didn't you?" Mischa@crystyl:"Well, I don't know if it's entirely fair to say that we took /all/ the damage. The Latenter was strategically targeted, as intel vessels often are, but she's not the most beat up she's ever been" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Shach nods, "You're in good hands at the vault, trust me. These Shadow Guard know what they're doing, and they've already gotten plenty of experience on Starfleet tech working with us, so I'm - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - sure they'll do a great job on your ship. You'll be better than ever before you know it!" Mischa@crystyl:"That's the plan at least. Meanwhile, we're going to be tagging along with you guys to keep an eye on the Romulans" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Shach: "We could use the help from you intel-types. Wouldn't have gotten nearly as far with sorting out this conspiracy business if we didn't make friends with the Shadow Guard!" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Well it is always nice to feel welcome" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Shach: "Do try to use the intel to get us /out/ of harm's way though, instead of something that gets the Commander rushing saucer-first into danger." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Duly noted" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I'm not reckless, you know. Not more so than any other Starfleet CO..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Shach shakes his head, "And that's the problem with you Command types..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris smirks, 'We wouldn't get anywhere without a little risk!" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Shach: "Well just try to scratch the paintjob a little less!" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I'll do my best." Mischa@crystyl:"Rule of Acquisition 62; the riskier the road, the greater the profit!" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Shach: "Great, now we've got Starfleet COs and Ferengi DaiMon," he chuckles, turning back to his work, "I'll see you two around! Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I may have picked up a few elements during a dabo game or two" --- Sierra Reyes@anncaris next leads Mischa and Ori to a door labelled LABORATORY. The door slides open to reveal a Trill inside, wearing a Science division Justicar officer's uniform Mischa@crystyl ; & Ori both look around curiously at what could be going on in here Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Trill appears to be tapping away at a console displaying a large amount of data and what appear to be analysis of debris pieces Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Hey Lieutenant Val. I hope we're not interrupting you." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Trill turns around with a smile, "No, not at all! These must be the two coming over from the Intelligence ship." Mischa@crystyl:"Must be" she smiles Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The Trill stands and steps over, excitedly offering her hand to the two, "I'm Lieutenant Tris Val, Chief Science Officer." Mischa@crystyl:"Commander Leveson-Scott, it is good to meet you Lieutenant" Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "So this is the Tris who you predicted would be interested in meeting us! You appear to have judged correctly... hi! I'm Orianni" she waves while Mischa shakes hands Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "She is indeed." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Tris: "Well, I've never worked with Starfleet Intelligence before. I mean, I've met Intelligence officers, those attaches you have on certain ships and starbases. But I've never worked with - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - anyone from a dedicated Intelligence vessel. Is it really different?" Mischa@crystyl:"Not so much. I actually worked as such an attache for a while myself" Mischa@crystyl clearly sees no harm in extended Sierra's torture of the Trill by making her fish Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Tris: "Really? But the missions you carry out must be different, right?" Mischa@crystyl:"Oh, just a little bit yes" she smiles Mischa@crystyl | Ori meanwhile - and as usual - doesn't get it at all, looking between the senior officers in turn as they speak with a confused look on her face, "I thought the Lieutenant was going to want to - Mischa@crystyl:- meet us because of me being a genetically engineered superior being made to infiltrate the Federation?" Mischa@crystyl | Ori managed to say as much with her usual over the top innocence. Somehow Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Tris turns to Ori, "You're a...what?" Mischa@crystyl | Ori smiles sweetly, "A genetically engineered superior being made to infiltrate the Federation of course! Though, technically it would be accurate to say that I'm a genetically superior Human I - Mischa@crystyl:- suppose..." she muses, idly tapping her lower lip Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Tris glances to Sierra, "You're right, I have /so/ many questions right now..." Mischa@crystyl chuckles Sierra Reyes@anncaris chuckles as well Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Tris turns back to Ori, "You're not infiltrating the Federation right now, yes? Otherwise you probably wouldn't be announcing it..." Mischa@crystyl | Ori smiles proudly, "Yes, I learned that was field operative training lesson 101: don't announce yourself!" Mischa@crystyl facepalms again Mischa@crystyl:"Ori /was/ what she claims, but that was some years ago now. Since then, her people have become allies of the Federation and she has since joined my crew with a field commission" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Tris: "So she's become an operative /for/ the Federation now?" Mischa@crystyl:"Well, technically in training. Though she has already successfully completed several missions with me going undercover and behind enemy lines" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Tris: "How interesting!" She looks to Ori again. "Who were your creators? Why did they have you infiltrate us? And how did they end up as our allies? Did a Starfleet Captain work their famous - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - diplomacy magic on them?" Mischa@crystyl chuckles and whispers to Sierra, "Perhaps we should leave them to it?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris chuckles, "Might be a good idea. I can show you the security offices in the meantime." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Sounds good to me. This... seems like it could take a while" Sierra Reyes@anncaris turns to lead the way, "Yes, Tris is quite the curious one. Even more so than most science officers, and that's saying something!" Mischa@crystyl follows, "I just hope she's ready for Ori..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I was more worried about Ori being ready for her..." Mischa@crystyl laughs, "Oh to be a fly on that wall..." Sierra Reyes@anncaris laughs, "Maybe we should've stayed behind and watched." Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps, but that would have been a little self-indulgent. Besides, Ori can give me a word for word account of the conversation later if I still desire the entertainment of it" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Is perfect memory one of her genetic enhancements?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | They step into a lift, which begins to move up Mischa@crystyl:"Since it is a trait that some Humans are capable of naturally, then I would surmise so yes" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Well, I'm definitely not one of those humans." Sierra Reyes@anncaris leads the way out of the lift and to another room. The door slides open to reveal an office, but no one is at the desk Mischa@crystyl follows, looking around curiously Sierra Reyes@anncaris | The occupant of the office is not seated at the desk, but on the floor near a sofa. A ring of Romulan daggers is orbiting around her but slowly veer off, each levitating to a rack where they - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - neatly settle. The occupant opens her eyes, the glow slowly fading from it as she stands. She wears a gold Justicar uniform with the pips of Lieutenant Junior Grade and her face bears clear - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - Reman features, but they seem much more subtle than an average Reman Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Siorax, meet Commander Mischa Leveson-Scott. Commander, this is Lieutenant Siorax, my Chief of Security." Mischa@crystyl:"A beneficiary of the psionic revolution I take it. Pleased to meet you" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Siorax: "Good to meet you too. Yes, I'm still learning to fully use and control these new abilities. I was always a telepath, but this," she extends a hand, summoning a cup of drink from the - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - desk into her hand, "This was more recent." Mischa@crystyl:"A rare gift indeed. Sadly not an area I'm particularly well versed in myself, so I doubt I would be able to help you on that front" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Siorax: "The Shadow Guard have been helping me with it so far. Or more accurately, we're figuring it out together." Mischa@crystyl:"I imagine Remans - or those with Reman blood in them even - have seen a higher percentile affected by the evolution" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Siorax: "Romulans too, so both sides of my parentage. Gave me a better chance than most, I suppose. Most Romulans who were affected tended to get a bit of telepathy though. There's a few - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - exceptions, like that wannabe-Emperor we're going after." Mischa@crystyl:"His benefits are limited by the technology he uses to forcible amplify them and exert his influence over his vassels. I believe in terms are raw power, he holds little to one like you who has - Mischa@crystyl:- already mastered such refinement and control over it" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Siorax: "If you want me to take him out, I get the bounty on his head." Sierra Reyes@anncaris gives Siorax a glare Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Siorax laughs, "I'm kidding! But we could use some more money, though. I mean, Justicar doesn't exactly have the benefits of your Federation society anymore." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We're not collecting bounties. We're doing this as allies of the Empress standing against him." Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Siorax pouts playfully, "Fine." Mischa@crystyl:"I have no doubt that the Empress will be eternally grateful for the Justicar's assistance and see fit to make sure you are suitably rewarded for your support" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Siorax smiles, "Now that's what I like to hear." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We'll leave you to your practice for when we do face Vitellius. Let's pay Monika a visit, Commander. Her office's not far from here." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Very well, "Enjoy your practice Lieutenant" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Siorax: "I'll see ya around, Commander." Sierra Reyes@anncaris leads the way out, "Siorax was a mercenary when we first ran into her. My former security chief was unfortunately killed in action a few months after. Given the infiltrators we're dealing with - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - and Sio's telepathic talents, she was the best candidate to take over the department, even if she might be newer to the crew. She's also a damn good fighter." Mischa@crystyl:"Believe me, I know all too well the benefits of unorthodox recruitment, especially when setting a ship up for a challenging mission" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I imagine Ori was similar, and you've had to do things that way a fair few times out on the rim?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, taking her on was certainly an affront to my more experienced tactical officers, but she is something of a special case for me and I was honourbound to take her under my wing. But even before our- Mischa@crystyl:- mission to tail the Valley Forge out to the rim, I have often recruited outside of the norm - even by SFI standards" she chuckles Sierra Reyes@anncaris chuckles, "I'm curious to hear some of these stories now. I have a feeling they're probably classified, aren't they?" Mischa@crystyl:"To an extent, yes. But I can tell you that my bridge crew consists of a Bajoran freedom fighter, a fully functional Borg drone - not one of the liberated - and a Krenim temporal researcher" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Quite a mix. And speaking of Borg..." She steps up to another door, tapping the doorbell this time Sierra Reyes@anncaris | A voice answers from within, "Come in." Sierra Reyes@anncaris steps through as the door slides open Sierra Reyes@anncaris | This office is quite different from the previous one, being filled with many more monitors and consoles, appearing almost like another intelligence room. Behind the desk sits a woman in a - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - Justicar operations uniform. She looks to be human, though traces of Borg implants are visible underneath her brown hair Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Woman: "Commander Mischa Leveson-Scott, I assume?" Mischa@crystyl:"You assume correctly" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Woman: "I am Ensign Monika Staskiewicz, Chief of Cybersecurity." Mischa@crystyl:"A dedicated cybersecurity chief on an SFC ship?" looks to Sierra, "Standard practice for the Justicar, or special assignment to fight the temporal crowd?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Both. As a former cybersecurity specialist myself, I recognize its importance more than most in SFC. Always thought there should be more than a handful or sometimes just a single expert in a - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - crew's security department. But we barely had a crew at first, so it was kind of pointless making a new sub-department. When we began recruiting and going up against the temporal infiltrators - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - I implemented my plans. But once all this is over, assuming Starfleet keeps me in command here, I don't plan on removing the sub-department either." Mischa@crystyl:"Nor should you. It is pretty standard practice on board ships like the Latenter too" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Monika: "As one would expect from a Starfleet Intelligence vessel. However, I also agree that it would be very beneficial for non-Intelligence vessels, especially ones expected to frequent - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - dangerous environments such as battlecruisers or exploration cruisers, to maintain a dedicated and sizable cybersecurity sub-department." Mischa@crystyl:"Quite right too. More and more are maintaining permanent intelligence postings these days, but dedicated cybersecurity certainly has its place too" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Monika: "I thought you would agree, Commander. Keeping pace with cyberwarfare is as vital as keeping pace with weapons and starship development. A well-placed virus can easily cripple an enemy - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - ship, often times more effectively than a phaser." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, or an allied vessel. I once served as XO aboard an SFC flagship that fell foul to exactly that so I understand completely" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Monika nods, "It is our hope that demonstrating the successful implementation of a cybersecurity department in our operations here will prompt Starfleet Command to implement one as a - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - regular part of a vessel's organization once we return to the Federation. At least for larger vessels with significant Security personnel." Mischa@crystyl:"I'm sure it will be one of many insights the fleet will reap from your return and reinstatement" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We just have to deal with the infiltrators from the future first. No big ask, right?" Sierra Reyes@anncaris | Monika: "Doing so will serve as one of the many reasons implementing this will benefit all Starfleet vessels." Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles at Mischa, "But a little help from our friends in SFI can't hurt, either." Mischa@crystyl smiles back, "It never normally hurts you SFC types. The only difference now is that you actually know we're actively working with you" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Well, we're not exactly standard SFC at the moment either, are we? Anyways, we'll let Monika get on with her work and I'll show you to your quarters." Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Then check to make sure Tris isn't trying to get Ori on a specimen table or anything..." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "or vice-versa" --- Rianni@crystyl:"Oh, well the Creators became allies after I found the Valley Forge. So I guess you could say that a Starfleet Captain did their diplomacy thing, as Captain Keelah came to our aid and helped the - Rianni@crystyl:- Creators extinguish a deadly threat! As for the Creators themselves, they are called the Junayd and they made me based on my template to serve as a cultural observer" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "That leads to /so/ many more questions," she chuckles. "I suppose I shouldn't just stand around in the lab and bombard you with them...come on, I have an office nearby." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh, but I should probably stick with-..." looks around, "Oh, they left... ok then. Lead on then I guess!" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris smiles, leading on to her office, "Hopefully I'm not asking too many questions, you just sound like you have so much to tell!" Rianni@crystyl:"It's funny, people always seem to get that impression about me when they learn of my origin..." NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Well, it's a very interesting origin! I mean, I certainly don't come from a background half as fascinating as yours." Rianni@crystyl:"I think everyone's background is interesting! Yours just isn't to you because you've known it forever" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "That's a good point. But it's not everyday I run into a genetically engineered...superspy? Okay, maybe a bit more common out here, but still haven't run into anyone with a similar - NPC@annpc#557 - background to you!" Rianni@crystyl:"That is understandable. I am the only Observer created for Humanity or the Federation, and one of the few to have been repurposed post-observation" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris steps into her office, moving to take a seat, "I assume the other Observers are made from the genetics of the species they're observing, too. So they blend in seamlessly?" Rianni@crystyl sits across from her, "Yes, that is the nature of Observers" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "What happens to the others post-observation if they aren't repurposed? Do they just integrate into the societies they infiltrate?" Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "Nooo... nonono, redundant Observers are terminated and the templates body returned to give families closure" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Terminated? But...you're sentient beings, aren't you?" Rianni@crystyl nods, "I think I'm sentient at least! We are perfect replicas of our templates, better than the originals in fact, but we are intended as temporary artificial life" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "So your creators, those...Junayd, they make you with the intention to discard you eventually? I suppose I've heard of more callous things...anyways, how did you end up being repurposed?" Rianni@crystyl:"My situation became complicated after I recommended the Federation for first contact. The Creators overturned the recommendation which I made based on observation of the people, in favour of their - Rianni@crystyl:- observations deeming the Federation to be far too violent and volatile. Following that disagreement, You see, Starfleet had failed to heed their warnings about a dangerous species and pursued - Rianni@crystyl:- first contact with them, despite my warnings that it was actually how that species began an aggressive invasion. I did eventually convince the Creators to step in before the enemy could attack - Rianni@crystyl:- Starfleet but it turned into a messy three way battle and neither side trusted the other enough. I had to expose my nature to Starfleet in order to bring that salvation and so requested asylum. - Rianni@crystyl:- But... in favour of diplomatic relations I was instead handed back to Creators for execution. Then I was executed, not a fun memory I tell you and one I'm thankful my template didn't have to share- Rianni@crystyl:- with me! But because of the complicated diplomatic situation at the time, I was repurposed to serve as liaison in attempted peace talks, but that didn't work either so eventually I disappeared back- Rianni@crystyl:- into the home territory with the Creators to try and stave off the enemy threat" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Wait, you were repurposed /after/ you were killed? Were you...brought back, like a Vorta or something?" Rianni@crystyl:"Very much like that actually! Though Dominion technology is vastly inferior, the principle is very much the same" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Interesting. So you've technically died once already?" Rianni@crystyl nods, "That is correct, yes" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris nods, "I haven't experienced dying yet, but I've heard it's a very unpleasant experience, so you have my sympathies." Rianni@crystyl:"I might indulge a curiosity also - if it is not rude to ask - are you joined?" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "I am, but this is Val's first host. Which is why I've never experienced dying firsthand yet." Rianni@crystyl:"Wow, a first generation symbiont? I've met a couple of joined Trill before but they're always several generations in. See, I told you your story was unique and interesting too!" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Well, there are other first generation symbionts out there, you just haven't met them! We have to start somewhere, after all." Rianni@crystyl:"Of course, but it's still something very rare and special about you! I imagine it brings it's own unique challenges for both symbiont and host, as I understand the symbionts experience is often - Rianni@crystyl:- leant on during the joining process, and settling afterwards" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris nods, "I still have a few things to draw upon from what Val learned communicating with the older symbionts, but for the most part, we're just experiencing the universe together," she - NPC@annpc#557 - smiles. "It's why I was chosen, since I was already curious and eager to explore before being joined, so it's the perfect opportunity for Val to learn more during the first joining!" Rianni@crystyl:"How wonderful! You know, the connection between an Observer and their template has been likened to that of a Trill host and symbiont. So seeing the galaxy for the first time myself with echoes of - Rianni@crystyl:- her memories in my mind is a feeling that I think is quite sympathetic to yours" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Very interesting! Do you have a connection to your template, as in the original genetics you were based on?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well, had, to be precise. That is how Observers are given a way into a civilization you see; the Creators don't just arbitrarily create an approximation of a member of a species after all. So in order Rianni@crystyl:-not to influence any natural occurrence within a species affairs - like our Prime Directive - they only make templates from those who are near death. They then keep them in prolonged - Rianni@crystyl:- stasis - repairing them where they can - and sustaining a psionic level neural link which allows the Observer to call upon the memories of the template, and even adopt the personality and - Rianni@crystyl:- mannerisms to a point. It works two ways as well, and on the rare occassion that a template is both fit to return and in a condition which warrants their memory being intact, they retain - Rianni@crystyl:- the memories gained by the Observer in their stead. They can even inherit some skills and traits through observation of the Observer like my template did!" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "So your template's still alive? Unlike those ones you talk about earlier, whose bodies are returned to their families." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes! She was actually the reason I ended up where I did, because when I set out to find help for the Creators I knew I wanted to find her. She is now LT Tierno of the Valley Forge! Her damage was - Rianni@crystyl:- extensive, but with my Observation running for so long the Creators were able to fully heal her" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "And you said she's inherited memories and skills from you?" Rianni@crystyl:"Memories; completely. Skills; to a point. She is still limited by her physiology after all. So, like, she inherited my understanding of martial arts for example, but lacks the physical strength to - Rianni@crystyl:- deliver it with the same speed and agility that I could" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris nods, "Because she doesn't have the genetically enhanced physiology that you do. Still, I imagine the understanding helps her out quite a lot!" Rianni@crystyl:"Oh yes! Some skills transfer more completely too, but that is perhaps less relevant to the genetics side of things! It is arguably one of the fundamental flaws in the Creators' old methods like - Rianni@crystyl:- that, you see. Because they are very highly evolved themselves, akin - possibly - to the Progenitors or Iconians at their peak, they can only view genetics at their level. So when they look at - Rianni@crystyl:- less evolved species like the Children species we belong to, they can only see them at their genetic peak as well! This means that an Observer inevitably becomes a 'fully evolved' superior example- Rianni@crystyl:- of their specific template's genetic sequencing" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "So they've made you as a fully evolved human at your species' genetic peak, rather than introducing any elements from other species. All the abilities you have now are human, just - NPC@annpc#557 - better than the average modern human?" Rianni@crystyl:"Specifically, I'm a fully evolved example of Rianni's genetic makeup, but yes" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Your medical records must be very fascinating..." Rianni@crystyl:"Actually that's the fun thing about it; because I am so closely designed against her own genetics, I am indistinguishable from her on any medical scans!" Rianni@crystyl:"I actually passed several in depth medicals during my observation period. The only exception was a slight genetic mutation on one of her markers - benign and meaningless beyond serving as a genetic- Rianni@crystyl:- fingerprint of sorts, but that difference was simply shrugged off as an anomalous reading during my exams" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris nods, "Yes, that makes sense. You wouldn't be a very good infiltrator if you were obviously genetically enhanced, would you!" Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "That's true! With more advanced technology it would of course be easy to distinguish between us, but for now at least that is beyond Starfleet's capability" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris chuckles as well, "In other words, we have plenty of room to improve still, genetically and technologically." Rianni@crystyl:"In every way! We all do still, that's the beauty of life that the Creators are just now starting to re-learn again" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris smiles, "I'm glad they are! Hopefully their interactions with us and others could teach them not to do things like disposing of you when your use is over..." Rianni@crystyl:"Federation species often find that practice distasteful and question why the Creators do not simply go straight in with diplomatic talks. Whilst - as a Human - I share that feeling, I do also - Rianni@crystyl:- understand that we are typically made for a very short lived purpose and not generally lasting long enough to develop an independent thought about it" Rianni@crystyl:"But, you will be pleased to know that the Creators no longer function in this manner!" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Really? They've already changed?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well it's early days still. But after the Valley Forge heard my plea and aided the Creators against what would have no doubt been an extinction level conflict for them, they have taken to a - Rianni@crystyl:- slightly more open starting play, albeit a tentative one. But I trust that the Coalition are rewarding their show of faith!" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "I hope so! By slightly more open starting play, I assume you mean no more Observers infiltrating societies to observe them?" Rianni@crystyl:"Indeed. Partially due to the fact that they had to evacuate their homeworld and travel far across space to the outer rim where they now work to resettle, so they lack a lot of the facilities they - Rianni@crystyl:- once had. But they couldn't continue with their resettlement without making allies and so their fleet now resides above the Arshai homeworld where many war refugees took temporary accommodation. In- Rianni@crystyl:- return for allowing their presence, they are supporting the Coalition with their technology - use of, not knowledge of - and supporting the fleet with wormhole traffic and such" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "And your repurposing, I assume that has to do with Observers no longer being needed, or?" Rianni@crystyl:"Initially it was serve in that ad-hoc diplomatic role, but after that failed - since I was already repurposed and cut loose of the template anyway - I was permitted to remain active in light of the- Rianni@crystyl:- impending conflict. I ended up working as a scout once the exodus began" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "How'd you go from that to becoming an independent person in Starfleet now?" Rianni@crystyl:"Hmm, well, after the exodus I remained on the Valley Forge to show the Creators' support in the conflict by aiding their mission. My ship was able to generate wormholes, so this was utilized - Rianni@crystyl:- several times while fighting the Horde. But, I had to sacrifice it at the Battle of the Heart when the Horde breached the main starship gate, and the Creators' are still far from building anew. - Rianni@crystyl:- Though I was accepted on the Valley Forge, it was... complicated being on a crew with my template, and so when CMDR Leveson-Scott offered me the field commission to join her on the Latenter... I - Rianni@crystyl:- don't know, it just seemed like the right move I suppose!" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "You're the first Observer to re-integrate with your template's people after infiltration, right?" Rianni@crystyl:"In an open capacity like this, yes. There have been a few with extenuating circumstances who ended up living out their lives but none to return in this capacity, and certainly not working alongside- Rianni@crystyl:- their template!" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris smiles, "I'm glad it's all working out for you! Quite an experimental period for your creators overall too, but it sounds like it's paying off!" Rianni@crystyl:"I'm sure it will, thank you! It has certainly not been the easiest existence for the most part, but I do savour it" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "I hope it keeps going as well for both you and your creators. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, Ensign! There's a lot more I'd love to learn about you, but I should probably let you - NPC@annpc#557 - get settled in first..." Rianni@crystyl:"Right! I'd better go see where the Commander got to... it's been fun chatting though!" NPC@annpc#557 | Tris: "Likewise! I look forward to talking more with you while you're on board!"