Members of the Latenter crew find themselves drawn into detective work during their search for allies against the growing infiltrator threat.
NPC@annpc#557 | STARDATE 1413.7 NPC@annpc#557 | We see a closed blast door in a dimly lit hallway. A slight glowing dot begins emanating from the centre of the door, slowly turning into a line as it becomes clear that something is cutting - NPC@annpc#557 - its way through the door. Before long, the glow is forming a full rectangle... NPC@annpc#557 | A large section of the blast door is cut open, falling over with a loud thud. As it does, we see a very familiar sight NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/firstcontact/ch15/firstcontact0718.jpg NPC@annpc#557 | Beams of energy strike the Borg, downing the entire first line of drones. However, a second line steps up, and by then the shots are useless. The camera pans back to reveal the line of - NPC@annpc#557 - defenders, quickly remodulating their weapons and firing again NPC@annpc#557 | Another line of drones go down and the defenders remodulate and fire again. Despite their slow, walking advance, the Borg manage to get close faster than the defenders can adjust their weapons - NPC@annpc#557 - and some of the defenders start falling back NPC@annpc#557 | One man in the middle, who seems to be the leader of the group, continues firing as he draws and extends a baton, which begins to crackle with electrical energy NPC@annpc#557 | Man: "No! Stand your ground! We need to buy time for the evacuation ship. Engage them in close quarters if we have to, but they must not break through!" NPC@annpc#557 | He turns to give the others a solemn look, "We die so our people can survive." NPC@annpc#557 | The others draw identical looking batons, firing their last few shots with their pistols and rifles before tossing them aside and clashing with the Borg. They are quickly overwhelmed, with the - NPC@annpc#557 - Borg's mechanically enhanced strength overpowering them. It is clear that most of these people aren't soldiers, however, the leader seems to know what he is doing. He avoids getting into a - NPC@annpc#557 - contest of strength with the Borg, dodging and weaving through them and using their slower movement to his advantage as he strikes down multiple drones with his baton NPC@annpc#557 | As he fights, his communicator rings and a voice comes through it, <C> "Everyone's onboard, we're about to lift off! Get back here while you can!" NPC@annpc#557 | Leader: "Fall back! Fall back!" NPC@annpc#557 | As the leader turns to retreat, he finds himself face-to-face with a drone that had made its way behind him. He doesn't react fast enough as the drone backhands him, slamming him into the - NPC@annpc#557 - nearby wall. As he is stunned, the drone advances and extends its assimilation tubules... NPC@annpc#557 ...when it is struck hard over the head by another baton, the energy coursing through it as it collapses. A woman stands over the fallen drone and reaches over to offer the man a hand NPC@annpc#557 | But another drone appears behind her, grabbing her and inserting the tubules into her neck NPC@annpc#557 | The man scrambles to his feet, taking out the drone with his own baton, but it is already too late. The woman collapses with the drone, convulsing on the ground. With a sigh, he draws his - NPC@annpc#557 - pistol and puts her out of her misery NPC@annpc#557 | He turns around, only to see that none of his men had made it out alive. Several lie motionless on the ground, while others are in the process of being turned into Borg drones. He slowly backs - NPC@annpc#557 - away, firing several shots at those who are still transforming before he taps the pistol's controls and tosses it down the hall. The pistol overloads and detonates amidst the advancing Borg, - NPC@annpc#557 - and the man begins to sprint down the hall NPC@annpc#557 | He enters a hangar where a small ship is parked. Several other armed people are waving to him at the boarding ramp. He runs inside and the ramp closes behind him just as the Borg become - NPC@annpc#557 - visible at the hangar entrance NPC@annpc#557 | The man collapses his bloodied baton and slumps down on a nearby bench, staring blankly ahead of him. He stays still there for a good moment, when he is suddenly interrupted by a familiar faceâ€¦ NPC@annpc#557 | https://trekkingwithdennis.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/drtoliansorangenerationstimeisthefire1.jpg?w=450 NPC@annpc#557 | Soran: "Mattis! Did anyone else make it? Was anyone else with you? Detective?" NPC@annpc#557 | The man, Mattis, snaps out of his stupor and looks up, "No. I was the last one." NPC@annpc#557 | Soran: "Leandra? The children?" NPC@annpc#557 | Mattis shakes his head, "I'm sorry, doctor." NPC@annpc#557 | Soran: "No, no..." He shakes his head, rushing off. "No, stop the ship! You have to turn back! My wife and my children, they're still..." NPC@annpc#557 | Soran's voice trails off as he goes deeper into the ship. Mattis meanwhile turns around, looking out of a nearby window as the ship ascends from the planet. In orbit, several vessels are - NPC@annpc#557 - making a desperate stand against a Borg cube. Most of them go down after a few hits, but they fight on nonetheless, buying time for the transport as it jumps to warp... NPC@annpc#557 | The camera zooms in on the stark streaks as they fly by, and then slowly zoom out again, except now we are on the bridge of the Latenter watching the streaks on the viewscreen. NPC@annpc#557 | PRESENT DAY NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Beginning final approach at regular warp speeds now. We should be able to cloak." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Engaging cloak." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria turns to Mischa, "How shall we do this, Commander? We could go for maximum efficiency, send a representative or a team over to DS16 to make contact with Commander Tarasenko while the - NPC@annpc#557 - Latenter picks up the El-Aurian. Or vice-versa and dispatch a shuttle to the pre-warp planet while the Latenter goes to DS16. Or we could approach it one at a time, but I'm not sure either - NPC@annpc#557 - will demand the full attention of the ship and crew." Mischa@crystyl:"I think I would rather have the Latenter pick up the El-Aurian. A small team can go to DS16 to make contact with the Commander" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "Will you be staying with the Latenter then, or making contact with the Commander? You are the one she's most familiar with on the crew. And someone might have to explain to her - NPC@annpc#557 - why we told her the Justicar was destroyed, now that its participation in the Imperial Civil War has probably spread the news that it's very much intact and well..." Mischa@crystyl nods, "I'll go and speak with the Commander, I owe her that much" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "I'll have a small craft prepped for you. Or are you taking Acey's Dart?" Mischa@crystyl:"I think I'll take the Dart, Acey can join me that way as well then" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Alright, we'll drop you off near the station and proceed to pick up the El-Aurian, then." Mischa@crystyl:"Perfect" --- NPC@annpc#557 | In the shuttlebay, Mischa steps into Acey's Dart, where Acey's holoprojection is waiting for her, "Welcome back, Commander. We are just waiting for launch clearance." Mischa@crystyl smies, "Hello Acey. Are you looking forward to your first visit to a Starfleet facility since your evolution?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "I hope this will be less eventful than my last time on a Starfleet facility, though." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "I'm sure the odds of that are insignificant" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "3.77%, to be specific. There is always a chance, based on the various unusual and often disastrous situations which may befall a Starfleet deep space installation." Mischa@crystyl:"Well I call that sufficiently insignificant" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "Indeed it is. We have received launch clearance. Departing the Latenter now." NPC@annpc#557 | The Dart lifts off as the shuttlebay doors open, and they exit out into space NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I assume we will be approaching the station openly, as we are also Starfleet? Or will this be a stealth insertion?" Mischa@crystyl:"You assume correctly. We are here to speak to the Commander so it would not serve anything to make a stealth insertion" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "Yes, that makes sense." The Dart accelerates to warp. "My records indicate our last meeting with Commander Tarasenko was during the hunt for the Justicar, in which we falsified the - NPC@annpc#557 - Justicar's destruction. I calculate a 96.12% chance that we will have to explain ourselves for that situation." Mischa@crystyl:"Which is exactly why I am going along personally" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey tilts her head, "You would still be presenting the same information as any other member of the crew, would you not? Or is it because you have superior persuasive skills to everyone else?" Mischa@crystyl:"Whilst it is true that I may be more well versed in the arts of persuasion, it is more a matter of personal honour and professional courtesy. I am the commanding officer who made the decision to - Mischa@crystyl:- deceive the Commander, so it is also my responsibility to now amend that and though it would technically be permissible to delegate such a task to someone else, I would prefer to face the - Mischa@crystyl:- Commander myself because not only do I then avoid putting one of my officers into a potentially awkward confrontation, but I also then display professional respect towards the Commander by making - Mischa@crystyl:- a personal visit. You see, Humans can put a great deal of value on emotional connections and responses - moreso than technicalities and rules - so being me to speak to the Commander and in person - Mischa@crystyl:-creates a far more favourable likelihood of understanding than if I assigned one of my staff to relay information via a subspace channel" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "I believe I understand. Thank you for the explanation, Commander." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I'm glad it made sense. Understanding the nuances of Human social behaviour is not an easy thing, even for other biological lifeforms" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Yes, it can be quite confusing sometimes. But you explain well and in quite a logical manner, Commander." She smiles back Mischa@crystyl:"And you learn fast, with a silver tongue like that you could make quite the negotiator yourself" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Thank you, Commander!" Mischa@crystyl:"So how long until we reach the starbase?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Twenty-two minutes, seventeen seconds at this speed. Mischa@crystyl:"Time for a little refreshment then" she smiles, moving to replicate a cup of tea NPC@annpc#557 | A little over twenty minutes later, the warp streaks disappear outside the window as Acey's Dart drops to sublight NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "We are arriving at the station, Commander." Mischa@crystyl finishes her tea and sets it back in the replicator, "Excellent. Standard approach protocols from here now" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "Yes Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | As the Dart begins to approach the station, Acey reports, "Interesting." Mischa@crystyl:"That does not seem standard..." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Deep Space 16 is currently in a state of lockdown. Shall I put the traffic control officer through?" Mischa@crystyl:"Please do" NPC@annpc#557 | An officer in an ops uniform appears on the console Mischa steps up to NPC@annpc#557 | Traffic Control: "Hello. You are the officer in command of the incoming shuttle?" Mischa@crystyl:"Hello, yes. I am Commander Leveson-Scott. What is the nature of your lockdown?" NPC@annpc#557 | Traffic Control: "A security investigation, Commander. We've had two unresolved murders this week. May I ask about the purpose of your visit?" Mischa@crystyl:"I have come to speak with Commander Tarasenko" NPC@annpc#557 | Traffic Control: "Very well, I'll notify the Commander about it. She'll probably allow you to come on board, as the lockdown's primarily to ensure no suspects get away, rather than preventing - NPC@annpc#557 - anyone from getting on the station. Just hold position for the time being while I get the necessary authorization, please." Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you" NPC@annpc#557 | The comm ends NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "A security investigation. It seems Commander Tarasenko may be quite busy this week." Mischa@crystyl hrms, "Murder investigations at that. This is quite unprecedented for a Starfleet installation, I suspect local security will be in over their heads with this. Once the Commander is aware of my - Mischa@crystyl:- presence here I calculate a 99.999% chance that I will be enlisted to aid in the investigation, potentially wielding my previous deception about the Justicar to oblige my cooperation" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "The odds I calculated for the eventfulness of this visit would appear to be too low. I will have to adjust for future calculations." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "I think statistically your calculations on that one are perfectly fine. Suffice to say that we beat the odds" --- NPC@annpc#557 | Back on the Latenter, Ori is called to the conference room. She enters to find the rest of the senior staff present (minus Mischa, of course), and a Vulcan officer in a Science uniform who is - NPC@annpc#557 - not T'Bee. Ori has seen her around the ship before, though she doesn't know her Rianni@crystyl remains curious of the stranger, eyeing her as she takes her usual seat NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria speaks as Ori sits down, "We've arrived at the system, but unfortunately it seems we can't just beam our person out. He's keeping a transport inhibitor on him all the time. I don't - NPC@annpc#557 - know who he's expecting to get kidnapped by since this is a pre-warp planet. Maybe he's paranoid of Romulans since this isn't far from their space or something." Rianni@crystyl:"Possible. What about communication with him?" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "We can't detect any modern communication technology. They do have archaic forms of comm technology, but it relies on physical wires instead of any form of remote signals." NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant; "In short, there's no way to hack in and give him a message." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Not from up here, at least.' Rianni@crystyl:"So I take it we're going down there" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "Lossel, give us what you have on the planet so far." NPC@annpc#557 | The unfamiliar Vulcan officer stands and steps over to the console, "The planet is inhabited by a very typical Children species. No particularly distinct evolutionary traits or natural - NPC@annpc#557 - capabilities. Technologically, they seem to be at the stage where they are approaching nuclear power and early space exploration, but there is no sign of any nuclear generators or rocket ships - NPC@annpc#557 - yet. Planetary geography is closer to the Vulcan side of Class-M, but a Federation cultural observation mission from a century ago showed several points of development in parallel with Earth - NPC@annpc#557 - culture at a similar point in history." NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "That mission was when our El-Aurian decided to stay. His name is Mattis Gidar. As far as we know he hasn't had any contact with the outside galaxy since then. Hobus, the Iconian War, - NPC@annpc#557 - the Horde, he's probably in the dark about all that." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "Lossel, you specialized in observing such cultures in your time with Starfleet Command. You'll lead this mission and choose your team." NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel looks to Ori, "Ensign Orianni will accompany me. Her skillset is ideal for this mission and she will require no cosmetic adjustment to blend in with the natives of the planet." Rianni@crystyl nods, "The physical similarity to this species will take a lot out of the equation" NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "Not to mention the fact that you were created to observe Federation cultures and blend in among humans in particular. These people are not humans, but the similarities to old Earth - NPC@annpc#557 - culture may indicate that they share many psychological similarities, resulting in these parallel developments." Rianni@crystyl:"That would be my initial assessment as well, hence a lot being taken out of the equation!" she chirps, obviously excited for such a mission NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "We have a plan, then. Let's get to work." NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "I will have local clothing sent to your quarters, Ensign. Meet me in Transporter Room One in one hour." Rianni@crystyl nods and stands, "I will see you there" --- Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | After a little bit of waiting, Acey is allowed to dock with the station. She lands in a shuttlebay and Mischa exits the craft just as Commander Tarasenko is walking towards it Mischa@crystyl:looks around and steps over with a professional smile, "Permission to come aboard, Commander" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"That depends on whether or not you want to come aboard. We seem to have a serial killer on the loose, and I'm still half-tempted to punch you for telling me that Sierra and her crew were killed." Mischa@crystyl:chuckles, "I would not blame you for that. If it would really help..." she unclips her combadge Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:chuckles, "No, I think I've got enough reprimands and demotions for one career. Plus I was hoping to get your perspective on our case here, and punching you wouldn't exactly make you more eager to - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- help I imagine." Mischa@crystyl:reclips her combadge with a smile, "You are probably right" switching to a more sincere look, "For what it is worth, I took no pleasure in forcing that deception on you and apologize for it. Though - Mischa@crystyl:- I do also hope that seeing what has been going on out there now with the Justicar, you can appreciate the strategic importance of separating them from SFC the way we did" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:sighs and nods, "I still don't like it, but I know you had your reasons. You Intelligence people are all about the bigger picture and all. And sometimes we do need a bit of that." She waves for - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- Mischa to follow Mischa@crystyl:"I am glad you understand. And though it likely won't help, the decision to keep everyone outside the crew - even those closer like yourself - was as much for your own protection as the - Mischa@crystyl:- integrity of the mission. But you quite right, sometimes Starfleet actions require more drastic measures like this and it is exactly why we try to contain our operations within SFI as much as we - Mischa@crystyl:- can, because we know it is not fair to put Command officers and crews into positions such as you have been" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"But sometimes you need our help too, right? At least I assume you didn't come here just to apologize in person." Mischa@crystyl:"It is true that our mission has brought us here for other reasons, that is why I am only here in the shuttle. But I wanted to apologize to you personally on the Justicar matter" Mischa@crystyl:"And from the sounds of things, it is fortunate that I did so. Though homicide investigation is not exactly my purfew, I suspect it is closer to mine than many of your available security staff" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:nods, "Murder isn't something we deal with everyday on Federation installations, even ones by the border like DS16. And this one is something else. I've been in Security for over fifteen years now, - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- on starships and stations, and I've never seen anything like this." Mischa@crystyl:"Well obviously I can't promise success, but I will of course do everything I can to assist you in this" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Another pair of eyes might be useful. Everyone here is pretty stuck. And you've probably got a fresh perspective, coming in from a starship and all." Mischa@crystyl:"And if gets me even a little way back into your good graces, all the better" she smiles Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"So what have you come all this way for? Or is that something you'd rather discuss behind closed doors?" Mischa@crystyl:"There is a matter I wanted to discuss with you, but behind closed doors may well be better for it" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:nods, "Fair enough. I'll show you to the crime scene first. I probably won't be working on anything else until this is resolved, anyways." Mischa@crystyl:"Of course, first things first" she nods Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:continues leading the way, "I assume you've been working with Sierra after the whole...fake death thing?" Mischa@crystyl:"Not exclusively, but yes we have been working on shared objectives for a significant portion of that time" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"If you're working with her now and not against her...the whole mutiny business, was she set up?" Mischa@crystyl:"The mutiny was technically genuine, but not without just cause and arguably the correct action to take" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"So her CO was doing something against Starfleet regulations, then? Like the Pegasus incident?" Mischa@crystyl:"Well... no, technically speaking he wasn't doing anything against regulations specifically... this would be more comparable to the Founder infiltrations during the Dominion War" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"He was a...I should probably ask you more about this in private too, shouldn't I?" Mischa@crystyl:"I did say that the reason I wanted to speak with you was best reviewed behind closed doors" she smiles, alluding to the fact that the two topics are not mutually exclusive Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Right..." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"You Intel types and all your secrets," she chuckles slightly Mischa@crystyl:"And - perhaps more poignantly - everyone else's secrets" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"I'd ask what you've got on me out of curiosity, but I'm not sure I want to know..." Mischa@crystyl:chuckles, deliberately not saying anything more --- Alex Tarasenko@anncaris leads Mischa into a lift, and they exit on a deck with a visibly higher Security presence. Two Security ensigns are seen walking down the hallway with their tricorders, and as they proceed - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - further, they come across a door watched by two enlisted Security personnel with phaser rifles. The two greet Alex and one of them turns, tapping on the door which slides open Alex Tarasenko@anncaris steps into the room Mischa@crystyl follows, looking around Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | The room beyond is a complete mess. Tables are overturned, PADDs, decor and everything thrown all over the place. What seems to be the body of a Tellarite lies against a wall, with blood - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - not just around it but also on the walls and floor across the room. There are no blast marks, though; this seems to have purely been a close-quarters confrontation Mischa@crystyl:"Well. This is certainly different" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "I've seen a few messy crime scenes in my time. Not a pretty sight, but messy crime scenes are usually the easy ones. When everything's all over the place, the killer can't possibly clean - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - up all the evidence, which means it's usually just a matter of being thorough and checking everything. Not here, though." Mischa@crystyl:"Such scenes are normally associated with crimes of passion - extreme situational reactions driving people to otherwise unthinkable acts - certainly not premeditated. But you said earlier you were - Mischa@crystyl:- dealing with a serial killer, which would be contrary to that concept" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Exactly. Just two days ago we had a similar occurrence. The victim was Crewman Second Class Stefano Contini. He was found in an equipment storage room in a very similar scene. Everything - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- strewn about, blood everywhere. Cause of death, multiple lacerations by a small bladed weapon, likely a curved knife of some description." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris steps over to the Tellarite, which flickers, revealing that it is a projection rather than the actual victim's body. Mischa notices a portable holoprojector sitting nearby Alex Tarasenko@anncaris kneels over the body, pointing out the various injuries, "These were random slashings. Not the work of a calculated killer. Everything points to a crime of passion, except it happened twice to - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - two unrelated people, and there isn't a trace of evidence left at the scene despite the state it's in. Only DNA other than the victims are people who had reason to be in the room before the - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - victim's death. And there's no single person who was on both scenes." Mischa@crystyl:"No other signs of access to either area on internal sensors?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris shakes her head, "Nothing at all. No lifesigns, no unauthorized access or lock overriding, no transports. It's like something came in here, ripped the place apart and just vanished." Mischa@crystyl hrms, "I see this is just a projection so I assume both victims bodies are in the morgue?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"That's right. Our doctors have conducted an autopsy on both. Cause of death is pretty obvious, and the only unusual thing is the complete lack of samples from the attacker. There was definitely a - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- struggle on both scenes, so there /should/ be something. But this case has a habit of defying every expectation." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed. Would it be possible to examine the bodies?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Sure. But unless you have a medical background, I doubt you'll find anything the doctors have missed. Want me to take you there now, or would you like to look around the scene some more?" Mischa@crystyl:"I would like to start with them, and perhaps come back here once we've looked into something" she kneels down and sets a hand on the holoemitter, "Oh, and do you mind if take this along?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris gives Mischa a confused look, "Why do you need the projection of the body when we're going to look at the actual body?" Mischa@crystyl:"Not the projection, just the projector. You'll see" she smiles Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "Help yourself. We use it to mark the position the body was found when it gets moved off, but everyone who needs to examine the scene has already been through it multiple times. We'll - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- probably start cleanup soon if we don't get any suspects to pursue the case with." Mischa@crystyl stands, taking the projector with her, "To the morgue then" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris stands as well, leading the way to the morgue Alex Tarasenko@anncaris speaks as they walk, "With the lack of any solid evidence, we don't have much to go on except speculation right now. But I have a feeling this isn't the work of your typical murderer, - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - serial killer or professional assassin. Even the Taj DeSpu' leaves evidence behind, she's just long gone before you can use it to track down her whereabouts." Mischa@crystyl:"And of the few true professionals, she is one of the few likely to make such a mess. In fact I suspect anything but a professional here, but we will determine that in the morgue" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "Not a professional killer maybe, but certainly a professional disappearing act..." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Perhaps" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris soon arrives at the morgue, nodding to the officer on duty, "We'd like to see to the bodies of both recent murder victims." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Medical Officer: "Right this way, Commander." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | The officer leads them in, pulling out two bodies resting on shelves covered by a transparent material, almost like display cases. The Tellarite is exactly the same as the one depicted in the - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - hologram, only lying in a different position. The human body shows very similar injuries all over it, though inflicted in different parts of the body Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Medical Officer: "Shall I open them up, or is this good?" Mischa@crystyl:"If it is permissible, please do" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | The medical officer nods, tapping the small consoles on the front of both shelves, and the transparent layer slides down into the metal base Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Thank you. Now then..." she sets the projector down on a nearby table and taps her combadge, "Acey, I assume you have been keeping up to speed with us?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey flickers into existence from the holoprojector, surprising both Alex and the medical officer, "Of course, Commander." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Is that an EMH? Did you bring an EMH with you? Did...you know this was going on before you got here?" Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Sorry both, I was not certain she would know to establish the link to the projector before I instructed her to use my comm signal to sync in. Acey is an member of my crew, though not an EMH.- Mischa@crystyl:- She is however a synthetic and so - Acey - I would like your assistance in conducting a detailed analysis of the injuries to both bodies here. From your capabilities I would like to identify key - Mischa@crystyl:- indicators from the wounds to prove a consistent weapon to all injuries - or not, as the case may be. And also an attack pattern which you should also be able to discern based on the weapon - Mischa@crystyl:- identification" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "My avatar is created from the appearance of the EMH Mark VII, and I possess some elements of its code." Acey's avatar makes its way towards the bodies, "Analyzing now." Mischa@crystyl steps out of the way, joining the others, "Acey's superior sensory and analytical abilities here can more than match that of a rudimentary crime lab. I don't know if you've ever visited historical - Mischa@crystyl:- sites on Earth like the Smithsonian Institute, but if not I highly recommend it. Not only for the fascinating history preserved there, but in this case one such lab which specialized in advanced - Mischa@crystyl:- cold case investigations. If they could conduct such detailed analyses back then, Acey is more than capable of surpassing those standards" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "Yes, I imagine her investigative abilities must be quite something." Mischa@crystyl:"This is not exactly a typical application of her skills, but I am confident in them nonetheless" she smiles Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey moves from one body to the other, then turns to Mischa, "There is a possibility that these wounds were inflicted by an unusual weapon, but if that is the case, the weapon does not match - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - any well-attested designs in the Federation database. If this was indeed a physical tool, it was not designed for use as a weapon, but a ritual knife, perhaps a sacrificial tool. That would - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - indicate the work of some cult. Commander Tarasenko, do you know of any such groups in this region?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris shakes her head, "None that would do something like this to my knowledge. Violent cults also don't tend to conduct their affairs on Federation starbases. In my experience they stick to - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - backwater colonies, places where they could get away with this kind of behaviour." Mischa@crystyl:"Can you at least confirm that all of the wounds were caused by the same weapon?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "Affirmative. But the likelihood of this being a weapon is only 23.44%. There is a more likely, though not perfect, explanation." Mischa@crystyl:"That is fine, let us stick with what we do know right now. Take your analysis of the wounds; working within a reasonable margin of error the collective data from both bodies should allow you to - Mischa@crystyl:- formulate a close approximation of what the weapon looked like" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey stretches out a hand, and a strange, curved knife forms in it Alex Tarasenko@anncaris FX | https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-blqh8ck/images/stencil/590x590/products/4655/13152/IMG_0571__08920.1565728385.jpg?c=2 Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "This is what it could look like as a weapon. However, what I calculate to be the most likely possibility..." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | She holds out her other hand, and something else forms in it Alex Tarasenko@anncaris FX | https://i.etsystatic.com/9106427/r/il/b49d3a/3072481130/il_fullxfull.3072481130_gml5.jpg Mischa@crystyl:"Interesting. Using these as a basis, and taking note of the victims' height and weight; review the injury pattern. You should be able to estimate a build for the attacker in each instance, and - Mischa@crystyl:- also cross check that attacker profile with strength requirements to cause each injury" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey nods, "Calculating. I am able to formulate two potential profiles, Commander. One based on the assumption that it was a member of a Children species, the other that it was a creature of - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - a likely non-sentient species." Mischa@crystyl:"Interesting that both are potentially viable options. Let's see them" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey forms one, which is a short and small alien, like the projections of Nuhar used by some of their constructs as avatars Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | The second forms as a partially avian creature... Alex Tarasenko@anncaris FX | https://images.theconversation.com/files/283175/original/file-20190708-51278-86hiv3.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip Mischa@crystyl:"Well, one would expect either of those to stand out in a crowd..." she looks to Alex, "I don't suppose either of these seem familiar at all...?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris shakes her head, "Do the databases provide anything in this region that could match either of them?" Mischa@crystyl:"Acey, can you find anything?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "Cross-referencing. Nearest potential match to the former- Dewan. Planet of origin, Dewa III, now known as Mol'Rihan. Status: Extinct." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "Nearest potential match to the latter- several species within the family 'Protomogai.' Planet of origin, Romulus. Status: Extinct." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Well that's not helpful..." Mischa@crystyl:"I wouldn't say that" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"They both seem to be tied to Romulans. But we're right next to Romulan space, and there's many Romulans on board. Doesn't narrow the list of suspects down by much, but I guess it's something." Mischa@crystyl:"So the question now is; how does an extinct Romulan lifeform come to be on the station, evading sensors at that. We have already determined that transporters were not used, but what about psionics?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"That's a possibility, considering what's been going on lately. Romulans and Remans especially are getting more psionically powerful, aren't they?" Mischa@crystyl:"As is everyone else. And this would fit my hypothesis as well" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"And what hypothesis is that?" Mischa@crystyl:"That this is someone flexing those newly found psionic muscles, so to speak. Perhaps even subconsciously and unaware of their actions, or perhaps intentionally to test and focus themselves" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "Which is why these victims are so random. A Starfleet crewman and a Tellarite merchant." Mischa@crystyl:"That is my theory, yes. Right now I believe a psionic is responsible, but we do not yet know the context. First things first; if you have not done so already, I recommend issuing guidance to all - Mischa@crystyl:- station personnel for everyone to remain in groups of at least two people at all times. If someone gets attacked again, at the very least someone with them can raise the alarm" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Good call. Both victims so far were killed when they were alone. The attacks also just started this week, and there's a clear connection to Romulans. We'll start looking into the Romulan refugees - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - we've taken on board recently, along with any others that might've come on the station in the last month." Mischa@crystyl:"Do so, but contain your investigation to tertiary information only at this time. Any direct questioning of the Romulan contingent could quickly give rise to a sense of persecution" Mischa@crystyl:"Acey, we need a means of identifying and tracking psionic signals. Based on our existing technological developments on this front, do you have any suggestions?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "If this attacker is indeed a psionic projection, I should be able to calibrate the station sensors to detect the psionic energy that will emit from the location of the attack. However, - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - tracing its source will be more difficult. I will have to monitor the neural activity of the individual, which requires a medical scanner in close proximity." Mischa@crystyl:"Every little helps, even if it ultimately rules out a possibility. We still don't know for certain this is a psionic case, that is still just the most viable theory right now. There could be any - Mischa@crystyl:- number of other possibilities we've yet to account for ranging from temporal anomalies to mischievous interdimensional beings" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"I was beginning to suspect the last one myself, actually. Nothing else seems to fit, but your theory does make a lot of sense. Let me get the precautions in place." She steps off to the side, - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - tapping her combadge and giving orders Mischa@crystyl watches Alex, "Interesting that you would suspect the last so specifically. Has one in particular by chance been making himself known?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris shakes her head, "No, but I've run into a couple on other postings. And there's been rumours of difficult to track interdimensional beings getting involved in the Imperial Civil War." Mischa@crystyl scratches her shoulder lightly, "Exactly why we can't just presume our first theory to be correct. Wise as it is to put these precautionary measures in place we should continue to pursue all other - Mischa@crystyl:- avenues of investigation as well" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Psionics or not, the Romulan connection definitely seems to be there. And I know just the place to get started on that end." --- Alien NPC@annpc#557 | On the Latenter, Ori meets up with Lossel in the transporter room, wearing the local outfit she was given. She steps in to find Lossel also wearing a dress, with her more obvious Vulcan - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - features altered Rianni@crystyl looks Lossel up and down, "You appear well suited to blend in on this planet now" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "As do you, Ensign. We will be visually identical to any locals once we transport down to the service." She steps up to Ori. "Your arm, please." Rianni@crystyl offers her arm up with a curious expression Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel wraps a silver bracelet around her wrist, "This will serve as our combadge for the mission. Its translation matrix has also been updated with all language information we have obtained - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - by monitoring the planet's radio transmissions." Rianni@crystyl studies it on her wrist, "Intriguing design. Is this also styled after local aesthetics?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel nods, "Indeed it is. I am wearing an identical device." She raises her hand to show Ori. "We will be going as mother and daughter. If anyone inquires, we purchased these bracelets - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - together while we were living in the city of Cresnach." Rianni@crystyl:"I am impressed at the level of thought you have put into this" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "I was once a cultural observation specialist with Starfleet Command. I was recruited into Intelligence during the Klingon War, when the Klingons attempted to seize control of a world - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - I was observing and I aided Intelligence in its liberation." Rianni@crystyl nods, "Yes I recall hearing that you were like the Starfleet equivalent of an Observer. I found it quite surprising to learn you even had such a role given the extreme reaction I received when - Rianni@crystyl:- Starfleet learned of my presence as a cultural observer..." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "I believe it may be a matter of pride. We observe pre-warp cultures discreetly because we do not believe they are ready for contact with life from beyond their planet. As all - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - Federation species have achieved warp capability and regularly make contact with other forms of life more advanced than us, evolutionarily or technologically, we believe ourselves to be - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - adequately prepared for first contact. The notion that another species may deem that we are not advanced enough for direct contact and require observation just like beings who wage war by - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - hurling rocks at one another and rely on scalpels and sutures for medical treatment is something that may be difficult for the egos of many." Rianni@crystyl:"The hypocrisy of that whole founding principle of the Federation has long been a subject I have struggled to reconcile with my own experiences. But now I have my first chance to work with a - Rianni@crystyl:- Starfleet Observer, so I anticipate many new insights to help with this!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "I hope so. Even though it was my people who selected warp capability as the point to identify whether or not a civilization is ready for first contact, as one who has observed - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- many cultures, I must admit that the principle is not perfect. I have encountered several civilizations who are socially ready for contact with life from other worlds despite not yet building a - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- warp drive, and many who are warp capable but not socially enlightened. In terms of measuring readiness for contact, warp capability is far more arbitrary than the Federation makes it seem. The - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- logic behind choosing that point is simply due to the fact that contact with other life will be inevitable once a civilization begins constructing warp drives, whether or not they are truly ready." Rianni@crystyl:"In broad strokes terms it does make sense as a baseline consideration. However the difficulties you describe are exactly why the Junayd evolved this further to the development of the Observers" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "To determine whether a culture is ready for contact on a case-by-case basis, rather than using an arbitrary measure?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well... it's not so much as that, but more that Creators found that when alien bodies present themselves - like Starfleet would on a first contact mission - they naturally put their best foot - Rianni@crystyl:- forward, pull out all the stops and everything. They send the most impressive ship with a captain who is a silver tongued diplomat and give the new encounter the best possible impression of - Rianni@crystyl:- themselves. The Junayd fell foul of aliens approaching in this manner in the past, and so determined that the only way to truly know a potential new galactic friend is to know them as they know - Rianni@crystyl:- themselves. Therein come the Observers; genetically engineered and designed to seamlessly integrate into a society and learn from within. My placement was optimal as they found a cadet for my - Rianni@crystyl:- template, allowing me to actually discover how the Federation teaches it's future generations to conduct such first contacts. This is a much more drawn out process, and there are certainly no - Rianni@crystyl:- strict 'yes/no' criteria beyond the fact that a species had made itself aware to the Creators, most likely through passing near their space. Beyond that, it was largely determined by the - Rianni@crystyl:- recommendation of the Observer, being framed by a member of the new species on behalf of that new species" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel nods, "I do see the benefits of your approach. It would certainly provide a far more accurate picture of the civilization you are dealing with. Unfortunately, it would be very difficult - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - for something which is the size of the Federation to adopt such a method, given the amounts of first contacts the Federation conducts on a regular basis. Our method does have its flaws, but - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - the true nature of a civilization will show itself eventually, regardless of how much they attempt to present their best appearances during the initial meetings." Rianni@crystyl:"Which in the Creators case almost meant their own extinction. But don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing the point. I agree that the current method works best for the Federation and the Creators' - Rianni@crystyl:- worked best for them. It is just the Federations hypocrisy that I struggle with, mostly because... I vouched for them despite the Creators' concerns. Only those concerns turned out to be valid and- Rianni@crystyl:- I turned out to be wrong. I guess I just want to understand my error..." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "What precisely was your logic for vouching for the Federation, and what were your Creators' concerns?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well, based on my social interactions the people seemed to be generally caring and quite empathic when they wanted to be. There was genuine love of exploration and a thirst for knowledge. In short;- Rianni@crystyl:- wise people, valuable allies, and cherished friends" Rianni@crystyl:"The Creators concerns came from long range monitoring of hostile engagements and non-hostile interactions with other species known to be a high threat. The two views were polarized" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel nods, "I have a theory on why you erred, based on my knowledge of the Federation and experience with cultural observation. Have you heard of the Jalga Monks of Torrik IV?" Rianni@crystyl shakes her head blankly Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "The Jalga Monks are a religious order. Many of them are trained in combat, but they refrain from violence whenever possible and utilize their training responsibly. Over time, their - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - order and religion grew prominent enough to effectively influence the cities within which their temples resided, and eventually, entire nations." Rianni@crystyl:"Sounds comparable to a number of similar orders I'm aware of so far" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "In the early 24th century, the Federation sent a team to observe Torrik IV. They deemed that the culture there was peaceful and respectful, unusually so for a civilization in their - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- point in development. When the team moved on to a different continent, they grew complacent. Three researchers were brutally attacked by the locals of that continent for simply saying the wrong - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- thing. An emergency transport was enacted to save their lives, causing a violation of the Prime Directive. The rest of the incident is irrelevant to the discussion here, however. The point is, - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- the parts of the planet not influenced by the monks turned out to be far more like Klingons in behaviour, diametrically opposed to those who follow the Jalga religion." Rianni@crystyl:"But it's not like those subject to the Junayd Observation were from different regions with variable cultures or anything. In fact, most operated as part of the same broader team out of a single - Rianni@crystyl:- starbase" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel nods, "Indeed, but the Federation is more diverse than usual. Starfleet may require its personnel to hold similar morality and follow a strict set of rules, but as you have no doubt - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - seen so far, many Starfleet regulations have room for interpretation. The diversity of an entity formed from so many different species and cultures goes without saying. The point is, Starfleet - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - officers, despite wearing the same uniform and sometimes even serving under the same command, can vary quite drastically from one another. The balance between individuality and social cohesion - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- is a difficult one, and the Federation as a whole leans more towards the side of individuality than many other cultures." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, this was discovered early on and regarded as highly anomalous. The shortcoming then is in my inadequate preparation to fully assess such a diverse society. But ultimately it matters not, the - Rianni@crystyl:- Creators were more accurate in describing the Federation as wild and unpredictable" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel nods, "I cannot disagree with that conclusion. Many Federation members and Starfleet personnel are not driven by logic and are indeed unpredictable. However, that does not always mean - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - dangerous. Your assessment was also correct for describing the majority of us. Both are true, even if they may be contradictory at times." Rianni@crystyl:"Indeed. Which is why I now take everything on the previously discussed case by case basis. Only not in terms of societies, but social constructs at a more local level as well. It has served me well- Rianni@crystyl:- since I was reborn and is what led me here" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel nods, "I agree." She gestures to the transporter pad, "If you are prepared, we may transport to the surface." Rianni@crystyl nods and smiles, "Thank you for taking the time to provide fresh insight on my own experiences. I found it quite useful!" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Lossel: "I was glad my perspective was helpful." --- Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Ori and Lossel materialize in the midst of an empty warehouse Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "This is the most secluded beam-in point near the El-Aurian lifesign. We are within a city called Torna on a large continent in the southern hemisphere." Rianni@crystyl:"Understood. How far away are we?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Only a few streets away." She takes out a tricorder and does a scan, "The lifesigns still appear to be in the same location. I suspect it is a residence or an office, or perhaps both." Rianni@crystyl:"Hopefully alone at that. We may have difficulty explaining our sudden presence if he is - say - at home with family since we don't even know what he calls himself here" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel nods, "Indeed. Let us proceed to the location first and investigate." She begins making her way out of the warehouse. "I can do most of the talking with the locals here and use what I - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- know of the culture here to make ourselves incognito, as I am supposed to be your guardian here. When we reach Mattis however, we may need to persuade him to come with us." Rianni@crystyl:"I will follow your lead and do my part" she nods Alien NPC@annpc#557:| They exit the warehouse to a side alley and soon make their way onto a busy main street, with a bustling city around them... Alien NPC@annpc#557:FX | https://i.ytimg.com/vi/OJbX_iqEqmI/maxresdefault.jpg Rianni@crystyl:looks around, taking in all the chaos Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Quite the similarities with the pictures and holosimulations of ancient Earth, is it not?" Rianni@crystyl:"Early to mid 20th century I believe" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Indeed. Their development had similarities to that of Earth's a hundred years ago as well, and it seems the trend has continued, hence my theory that these natives share some - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- psychological similarity with humans. Even if you are not familiar with that particular period of Earth culture, you may find the people surprisingly easy to relate to." Rianni@crystyl:"That would be a fair assessment from what we know so far. I really must look further into this trend of worlds developing in parallel to Earth someday..." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "From what I understand of Earth culture at the time, there are a few key differences. Monotheistic religions were largely dominant on Earth during this time period, but the majority of - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- this planet, including the continent we are on, still worships a pantheon of deities. From the Federation's observation of this planet a century ago, some of these religions seem to have - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- developed elements of monotheism, incorporating an all-powerful creator god above the lesser deities of various elements of life, but the polytheistic elements appear to have been integrated - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- rather than pushed out. Radio transmissions indicate the beliefs are largely the same in this century as well." Rianni@crystyl:"Intriguing. I wonder if the monotheism which so often accompanies these parallel developing worlds also stems from external influence as many of t he polytheistic ones do" she sighs, "More to - Rianni@crystyl:- study..." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel nods, "A distinct possibility." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| As they walk, Ori takes note of a pair of women wearing what seem to be armoured robes, clearly standing out from the crowd Alien NPC@annpc#557:| FX | https://art.ngfiles.com/images/392000/392228_rocktopus64_gothic-warrior-nun.jpg?f1449634199 Rianni@crystyl:"Note the heraldry, religious enforcement may be on the strict side here" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel nods, "The average member of the populace do not appear to carry overt religious icons, however. We should be beneath suspicion as long as we do not draw attention to ourselves." Rianni@crystyl:continues watching and listening for signs of religious conduct in interactions and greetings Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Ori overheards a passerby who trips uttering a curse with some religious connotation, but otherwise the people do not seem to be overly religious. As they continue down the street though, the two - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- armoured women approach them... Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Woman 1: "Hello, ladies. How's your morning?" Rianni@crystyl:lets Lossel take the lead as planned Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "We're good, you?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Woman 2: "Quiet so far. No incidents today or last night, and I hope it stays that way." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Pardon us, we come from out of town. Are there often incidents here?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Woman 1 laughs, "It's a big city, hun. There's usually more crime in places like this. That's why we're here." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Woman 2: "I had a feeling you were visitors. Try to stay on the main streets if you have to be out after dark. We do our best to patrol the city, but the Sisters can't be everywhere at once. Be - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- careful, don't trust strangers and you should be fine." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel nods, "Thank you." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Woman 1: "Stay safe, ladies, and may Saorina watch over you." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The two armoured women move on Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Another difference from Earth culture, it would seem. Fortunately they were not interested in religious enforcement, but moreso in law enforcement." Rianni@crystyl:"A curious combination of religion and law. But that was most insightful" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Indeed. Unlike civilizations with more advanced communications systems, we will have to learn much here as we go through direct observation. There is only so much we may gleam from radio - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- transmissions outside of local news and their styles of music." Rianni@crystyl:"It could be prudent to keep an eye out for local printed communiques as well" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "An excellent suggestion." She glances around, spotting a young boy selling some newspapers Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "We will need some local currency. We may also attempt to steal one of the papers directly." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Ori sees that it will be a bit harder to take one of the boy's newspapers without anyone noticing, but stealing a single newspaper is less likely to ruin someone's day than their money. However, - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- having some currency in hand could come in handy for other activities down the line too Rianni@crystyl:"I would prefer not to steal given the choice, especially from a young boy selling newspapers..." Rianni@crystyl:"Perhaps he would be willing to trade instead" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Perhaps. Do you believe we have something he would value and which we are able to give away?" Rianni@crystyl:taps her earring, "These are nondescript and contain no unusual materials. I believe they could quite easily be considered as nothing special locally but still worth more than a newspaper. I'm sure - Rianni@crystyl:- they have places where an enterprising young man like that can trade such things in for a healthy profit, and it may even curry additional favour with the boy" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel nods, "You are correct, they would do no harm if circulated among the local population. I will leave you to barter with him then, Ensign." Rianni@crystyl:nods and heads over, subtly transitioning into a more youthful demeanor with a slightly more vibrant step and an adorable smile. She times her approach so she has the boy to herself Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The boy turns to Ori as she heads over, "Hello miss! You want a paper? Only 5 nair, all the latest news!" Rianni@crystyl:smiles, "My aren't you polite! You make me feel like a real lady talking like that! So this is the latest issue?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The boy smiles back, "I always sell the latest issue, miss. Local goings-on or international business, whatever you're interested in, it'll be in the paper." Rianni@crystyl:scoffs, "Come on. Sure they might print local goings-on and all, but that's no use to a visitor like me! But I bet they could print a whole extra issue with all the real goings-on you hear about!" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Boy: "I do hear a few things standing around here every morning. You after rumours then, or just general directions 'round town?" Rianni@crystyl:"A little of both really. See, I'm new in town and really could do with getting the lay of the land. I might not have much in the way of nair for you, but..." she reaches up and unclips one of her - Rianni@crystyl:- earrings, "These things are such a nuisance you know, always coming unclipped and falling down never to be found again..." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The boy's eyes light up, "Well that's sure gonna be worth more than 5 nair! I'll tell ya anything you wanna know." Rianni@crystyl:smiles, "I had a feeling you would be an enterprising young man! So come on, what's the real world around town here?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Boy: "I've been hearing Lucky Lornach's butting heads with the Sisters. I don't suppose you've heard of Lornach?" Rianni@crystyl:"Some local figure I'm guessing" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The boy nods, "He's the biggest, baddest mob boss in Torna. The Sisters of Saorina have had a chapter here for years now, but more and more girls are joining up. And more Sisters on the streets - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- means bad business for Lornach, y'know?" Rianni@crystyl:nods, "Makes sense. Any idea what's got them grinding against each other so much, or is it just a general opposition to one another?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Boy: "I don't think there's one thing or another you can say's causing this. Sisters have never liked Lornach and his people and Lornach's never liked them. It's just all the things going on over - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- the years making 'em hate each other more and more. And it's getting bad." Rianni@crystyl:sighs, "Different town, same old story. Anything else I ought to know?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Boy: "They're building a new tower in the city which they say'll be the tallest one in Torna yet. Won't be finished for a while though, so you'll probably have to come back in a few years if you - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- wanna climb to the top. For now, the Carhal Tower's the best place to go if you want a good view of the city from up on high. They got a twenty nair entrance fee, though." Rianni@crystyl:"Eh... one day maybe if I find some decent work. More interested good places to stay and eat at the moment" she laughs, then looks up and around at the skyline, "Still, going ever taller you say...?- Rianni@crystyl:- Keep going like this and they'll end up in the stars!" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The boy chuckles, "Wouldn't surprise me! You know those rich fellas, always tryna one-up each other." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh how the other half live, right? Anyways, I really appreciate the heads up. You've been a real help" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Boy: "Glad to be! Thanks for the earrings, miss!" Rianni@crystyl:"And I'm glad it was worth your time for you" she turns to head away but pauses and looks back, "Oh! I... should probably grab one of your rags too since I've kept you for so long. You mind?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Boy: "Go ahead!" Rianni@crystyl:grins and takes one off the stack, "Stay sharp!" giving a cheery wave as she heads off Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The boy smiles and waves back before turning his attention back to advertising the paper Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Excellent work, Ensign." Rianni@crystyl:hands over the paper, "As I suspected, the boy was most insightful" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel nods, continuing to lead the way as she examines the paper, "What information did he provide?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well, much to the parallel consistency they are in something of a construction boon right now with competitive racing to build the tallest skyscraper. Everyone's excited about one underway - Rianni@crystyl:- in the city here now. Also in line with the parallel is organized crime it seems; the big mob boss in the city - one 'Lucky Lornach' - keeps butting heads with the Sisters - those armoured law - Rianni@crystyl:- enforcers we met. both sides growing in numbers and as a result encroaching more on each others terrain, as it were" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel nods, "I see." She flips through the newspaper. "It would appear that regular law enforcement is present in the city as well, according to the information in this paper. I am curious how - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- these Sisters fit into the landscape here." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh and speaking of the landscape, the current tallest building is Carhal Tower. They offer tours to the top for 20 Nair - that's the local currency by the way - which, considering he was asking 5 - Rianni@crystyl:- for a newspaper, doesn't seem a bad price overall. May speak some regarding the local economy overall given the presence of both organized crime and strong religion" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Excellent observations. I shall keep them in mind. We should be upon our destination soon." Rianni@crystyl:nods, "Thank you" --- Alex Tarasenko@anncaris leads Mischa and Acey through the station Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "Where exactly are you taking us, Commander?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"For a drink." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey tilts her head, "I thought we were supposed to be investigating further." Mischa@crystyl:"Never underestimate the value of hearsay at a starbase lounge" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris smiles, "My thoughts exactly." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris enters the lounge, waving to the bartender, "Synthesized medovukha, as usual." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | The bartender turns, revealing himself to be an old Romulan man Alex Tarasenko@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/tufZgLP.jpg Mischa@crystyl:"A cup of english tea for me, please" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Bartender: "Coming right up." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris takes a seat at the bar as she waits Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | The bartender turns with the drinks in hand, setting them on the table before looking to Alex, "Shouldn't you be investigating those murders on the station?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"That's why I'm here." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Bartender: "Well no one's died in my bar." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Charming as always." She looks to Mischa, "Commander, meet Galan, proprietor of the Shooting Star," she leans in and whispers. "You'll like him. He was a spy once, too." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan: "I can hear you, you know." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"I wasn't keeping it from you. Just everyone else in the bar." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan shrugs, "Pretty sure all the regulars have figured it out by now. It's kind of an open secret." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Well hopefully at least you have a little more finesse about it than your commander here. It is a pleasure to meet you Galan, and this is my associate Acey" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan looks to Acey, "Can I get you a drink?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "I do not require liquids for sustenance." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan squints, "Oh, right. You're a synthetic lifeform. Be careful around Romulan space. Your kind's not very popular with some of my people. There're those who'd go to war over it. Ridiculous - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- thing to go to war over if you ask me, but they're convinced of some end-of-the-universe nonsense." Mischa@crystyl:"No shortage of those around anyway, so what's one more right" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan chuckles, "Exactly. I like your attitude, Commander...what's the name again? Not sure if you never mentioned it, or I'm just getting old." Mischa@crystyl:"If what she says about you is true, I should probably lie on principle shouldn't I?" she chuckles, "No matter; you may call me Mischa" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan: "Very well, Mischa. So what brings your investigation to my bar?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"What do you know about protomogai, Galan?" Mischa@crystyl thumbs towards Alex, "That" sipping her drink, "And this tea" she smiles Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan: "Well you've already got the tea. As for protomogai, it's a prehistoric animal from Romulus. Progenitor of the mogai, yes, the very same ones the ships are named after. You want more - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- details than that, you'll have to find yourselves a paleontologist. If you're asking about it, I'm guessing it's got some connection to your case?" Mischa@crystyl:"Actually I'd heard what adorable pets they might make so was hoping to find someone on the station who might be selling them. You always seem to find rogue merchants selling tribbles in bars so... - Mischa@crystyl:- here we are! But from what you say I've got more chance of making a coffee table out of one... too bad" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan: "If you're looking for one you're about a couple million years too late. Forget when we discovered Romulus, the protomogai went extinct long before we even evolved sentience back on - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- Vulcan! Even the fossil records are probably gone now after Hobus, unless some senator kept a private collection on an off-world getaway or something. No, your best hope is probably time travel." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "I'll keep that in mind then" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan: "There's no groups that use it as a symbol to my knowledge, either. You know us Romulans, we like our birdies. The protomogai was as much reptile as it was avian. It's generally the - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris - domain of fantastical holoprograms or children's toys." Mischa@crystyl:"A reptile-like avian? Well next you'll be telling me it breathed fire too. Oh please say it breathed fire!" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan: "If you find the right holoprogram they can." Mischa@crystyl:"Tempting but I think my holotechs will yell at me if I put any more flying beast holoprograms in the matrix" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Thanks for the information, Galan." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Galan: "I'll let you know if I see anything protomogai-related, Commander." He steps off to serve other customers Alex Tarasenko@anncaris looks to Mischa, "It's looking more and more like your theory has some merit to it. Popular monster in holosims, someone might've gotten the idea to manifest one from that." Mischa@crystyl:"Possible, but this doesn't really go anything to further prove or disprove the theory so far" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"No, could still be some other entity who's just taken a liking for the form. Or is just messing with us. Any ideas on where to look? I don't want to just wait around until it strikes again." Mischa@crystyl:"With the pattern to date, there is very little value in searching randomly. Unless you want to try speaking with the refugees I can't think of much else that we aren't already doing in the - Mischa@crystyl:- background" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris sighs, "Then I suppose we'll just have to wait and see..." --- Alien NPC@annpc#557:| As they walk on, Lossel discreetly checks her tricorder again and announces, "He is in the building after the next." Rianni@crystyl:watches and tries to determine the purpose of the building as they come into view Alien NPC@annpc#557:| As they arrive, Ori sees that it is a three-storey brick building with a corner shop at the bottom. There is a door beside the corner shop with a window in it Rianni@crystyl:"Looks like humble residencies occupy the higher floors above the retailer" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "His lifesigns were on a slightly higher elevation. He must be on one of the higher floors." She makes her way over to the side door and pulls it open. "It does not seem to be locked." Rianni@crystyl:"Perhaps communal entrances do not warrant any security? Still, seems surprising given everything else going on here" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Indeed." As they step in, Lossel turns to a sign on the wall listing room numbers and their purposes Rianni@crystyl:looks around the rest of the area Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Ori doesn't find anything of interest in the rest of the area, only a staircase leading up. Lossel meanwhile comments, "I believe I know where to go. Follow me," She begins heading up the steps Rianni@crystyl:follows Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel stops at the second floor, making her way down a hall and into an open door. As Ori passes through the door, she notices words written onto it which her UT translates into - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- 'Private Investigator.' Inside, a woman sits behind a counter, reading a newspaper Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel makes her way up to the counter, "Hello. May we speak with the detective?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The woman lowers her newspaper and looks up, "Have you made an appointment?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel shakes her head, "I am afraid not, but we have some information which he may be interested in." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The woman nods, "He's currently speaking with someone, but once he's free, I'll let him know you're here. Feel free to take a seat and wait." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel takes a seat, casually opening her own newspaper and reading it as well Rianni@crystyl:joins her quietly Alien NPC@annpc#557:| As they sit, Ori hears the voices in the other room getting louder and more audible.. Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Voice 1: "...telling you, they took my daughter!" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Voice 2: "Brecan, the Sisters don't kidnap girls. She left to join them of her own free will, you know what she's like." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Brecan: "Well in that case she's just gonna get herself killed by Lornach's thugs! Then Lornach's gonna think I've turned traitor or something and probably do me in too!" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Voice 2: "I'll find your daughter, and I'll do what I can to talk her out of this. But if she's set on joining the Order, then there's nothing I can do." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Brecan: "The Sisters know damn well how volatile things are with the mob. If I bring this to the boss it'll start a war! Do they want a war?!" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Voice 2: "If you bring this to your boss, you're as good as painting a target on your daughter's head." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Brecan: "Yeah, why'd you think I'm coming to you, detective? Get my daughter back and talk some sense into these nuns." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Voice 2: "I'll do everything I can. Try not to cause any more trouble with the Sisters, for your daughter's sake." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Brecan: "You still owe me a favour. Don't forget that." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| The door opens and a man steps out, quickly leaving. A second man emerges in the doorway a moment later- the very same one from the beginning of the episode. He looks a little older than before, - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- about a decade or so. A long scar now decorates the left side of his jaw, but his face is still very much recognizable as the same man. There is nothing about him that says El-Aurian, however. - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- His clothes don't look like the traditional dress that Ori would've seen in records of other El-Aurians such as Guinan; instead, he's the spitting image of a noir detective Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Secretary: "Murgan, these ladies wanted to see you. They claim to have important information." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis, or Murgan as he seems to be called here, nods, "Is that so? Come on in, then." Rianni@crystyl:stands and follows Lossel in Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis leads them into his office, taking a seat behind his desk Alien NPC@annpc#557:FX | https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f8/93/14/f893144bfc2e723fb741dda9014457d0.png Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "So, what important information have you got for me, ladies?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Actually, we were hoping for your assistance. I only told that to the woman outside as we did not have an appointment, and it was more likely to gain us entrance." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis narrows his eyes, "You must have quite an urgent case, then? Why don't you go to the police first, or the Sisters? They'll help ladies like you." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "You are Mattis Gidar, are you not?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "So you come from offworld, then. What brings you all the way here to look for me?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "We require someone who is naturally attuned to the flow of timelines, and your investigative capabilities may also prove to be useful for our mission." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "I'm sure there must be other people who can help you." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "You were the most convenient within reach, and the fact that you have stayed beneath notice on this world for the past century means you are likely not involved in what is occurring now." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "You ever think that maybe I'm here because I don't /want/ to get involved in whatever's going on out there?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel looks to Ori to see if she can make an argument to convince him... Rianni@crystyl:"I think you are because you felt the need to hide from whatever was going on at the time. But you could have spent your considerable lifespan running further and further, going beyond the galaxy - Rianni@crystyl:- itself. But you didn't, you stayed relatively close, which tells me you still care about something out there. I won't pretend to understand that which I have no knowledge of, but it is clear to me- Rianni@crystyl:- that there is something there, probably the same thing driving you into hiding as it is that keeps you staying near in hope" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis nods, "You're right. I care about people. That's why I do what I do- to help folks. But you want me to deal with timelines and what not. I'm done with that kind of large scale business. - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- You got a case that needs solving, I can give you my nairs on it, but I'm not getting involved in conflicts. Who are you here representing, anyways?" Rianni@crystyl:"This may not be the best answer given what you just said about scale, but... everyone. But more specifically we are Starfleet" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "And what exactly is going on out there that makes you need my help?" Rianni@crystyl:"There is a temporal faction at work who originate from a parallel universe. They have been manipulating events here on a galactic scale for countless centuries already; discreetly replacing people - Rianni@crystyl:- and working galactic powers against each other. Though they are not likely responsible for every major conflict during this galactic era, they have certainly had a hand in the majority - Rianni@crystyl:- manipulating the likes of the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, and further afield with the likes of the Iconians, Dominion and even the Borg as we understand it" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "And you just want me to be like...a living temporal sensor?" Rianni@crystyl:"I would not put it so crudely. Whilst it is true that we sought you out because of your capacity to interpret timelines we are not so presumptuous as to just ask that of you. We have already - Rianni@crystyl:- started to develop a temporal observatory on our ship, based on proven Krenim designs. What we lack is the ability to properly work with the information it gives us. So when you really cut through- Rianni@crystyl:- it all - regardless of our intent and how grand a scale we are trying to help people on or not - all we are asking is to learn from you; for you to be our teacher and guide us" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "A consultant, huh. I guess I can do that. Just don't ask me to fight in some war against this temporal faction." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "We are not soldiers. We represent Starfleet Intelligence." Rianni@crystyl:"Avoiding war is exactly why we are doing this" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis nods, "If you're Intelligence, then tell me what you know about these temporal folks. I'm a detective- I like to have some details of what I'm getting into." Rianni@crystyl:"I understand. Well, we have all the detailed data in our computers which you will be able to get at. But in summary; this comes back to the Progenitors and the Horde - are you aware of them?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "I don't know all the ins and outs of it, but I've heard the word." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel raises a brow, "You were on this world for the last century. How could you be aware of them?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis smirks a little, "My people's butted heads with the Q Continuum. You'll find that we know a thing or two about the galaxy." Rianni@crystyl:smiles, "So I have heard, but I did not want to presume about your knowledge. So the Progenitors inadvertently created the Horde when they did the rest of us; a failed experiment if you like from - Rianni@crystyl:- the Architect. They ended up devolving into a literal army of the dead and have since slowly marched across the galaxy from the far rim. The Q played a part too in siphoning the collective psionic- Rianni@crystyl:- energy of the Children population to form the galactic barrier as a means of containing the Horde threat. You may or may not have noticed it here, but there has been a recent uplift in psionic - Rianni@crystyl:- ability across Children species around the entire galaxy; this was the result of our defeating the Architect and destroying the Horde" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis nods, "So that's what caused it. The effects were relatively minor here, probably only what amounts to small increases in the measurements you call ESP. It had a slightly stronger effect - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- on me, and I suppose probably other species who've been around for longer too." Rianni@crystyl:"Ok well that's our own galactic affairs. This is where it starts getting interesting" Rianni@crystyl:"This stand against the Horde has brought together a joining of species not unlike the Federation in principle, we call the Coalition. In the previously mentioned parallel universe the Coalition - Rianni@crystyl:- has continued into a far distant future - though we do not know if they have defeated the Horde there or continue to fight exactly. What we do know is that they are likely as close to a true - Rianni@crystyl:- 'prime' universe as there may be. That future Coalition has been using the multiverse like a science lab; infiltrating galactic powers and manipulating them like a collosal game of chess. - Rianni@crystyl:- Sometimes their actions may even be benevolent at the time, but more often than not they are driving different species into conflicts with one another in an experiment to force different political- Rianni@crystyl:- borders, allegiances, subsequent histories unfolding and so on. All in the name of mastering a perfect strategy to use against the Horde which we can only presume they would then attempt to - Rianni@crystyl:- replicate by travelling back in time and altering the history of their own universe" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "Looks like that version of your Coalition's developed quite a Q complex." Rianni@crystyl:"Perhaps. But it's really the Progenitors who had the Q complex. It turns out that with at least one primary faction involved in their seeding of the galaxy became obsessed with the Q. They created - Rianni@crystyl:- the Children in an attempt to use natural evolution to spur on psionic potential with the view to one day returning and claiming the physical bodies of the 'lucky' species who evolved far enough - Rianni@crystyl:- that when the Progenitors took them over they would be able to rival the Continuum's power" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "So that's the full story behind the Horde business. Thanks for enlightening me. I'll come with you, but I got some business to wrap up here quickly first, if you don't mind?" Rianni@crystyl:"It would be unreasonable for us to ask you to simply drop everything" she smiles, "Though it is not my personal decision to make, I expect we have some scope within our mission parameters to assist- Rianni@crystyl:- you in this given the circumstances?" she looks to Lossel Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel nods, "I agree. The quicker you are able to resolve your affairs here, the sooner you will be underway. It will only be logical to assist." Rianni@crystyl:smiles, "So what can we do to help?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "You might have better luck talking with the Sisters of Saorina. I've worked with them before and they like me well enough, but they tend to be a little more amenable with ladies like you. Alien NPC@annpc#557:- Go to their chapter headquarters here in Torna and see if they got a new recruit called Ailish Scalaid. You familiar with what's been going on in this city?" Rianni@crystyl:nods, "We're aware of the situation between them and the mob boss, yes" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis smiles, "I thought you would've done your research. Well, Ailish's the daughter of Brecan Scalaid, the man you saw coming out of this office earlier. Brecan's a member of the mob, and an - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- occasional informant for me when it benefits him. If Ailish is there, try and talk her into going back home. Situation could get bad if she joins the Sisters, for her and all the Sisters." Rianni@crystyl:"Ailish must already understand this. So what do we know of her real reason for going to them?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "She's always looked up to the Sisters. I knew her since she was a little girl. She grew up without a mother. Brecan's not the greatest fellow, but he never did anything terrible to his - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- daughter. Never spent much time with her, either, and living with a mob lieutenant isn't exactly safe. I think she wants a family, somewhere to belong and feel safe like a lot of the girls who - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- join the Sisters. She's got a sense of the political ramifications, but she's still a kid, even by local definitions, let alone El-Aurian ones." Rianni@crystyl:"Fair enough. Anything else of relevance we should know?" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis: "You know the background of the Sisters and their order?" Rianni@crystyl:"Not beyond a vague concept. Anything you can share to provide additional context would help" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Mattis stands, making his way over to a shelf and retrieving a small book and handing it over to Lossel, "Here. The introduction should have all the information you need. Saves me giving you a - Alien NPC@annpc#557:- history lesson and it should be a light read for a Vulcan. Book's got some more details too, might help you figure out how to talk over the more zealous Sisters." Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel taps her ears to see if her disguise had failed, eliciting a smirk from Mattis as he sits back down Rianni@crystyl:"The perception of the El-Aurians is not to be underestimated" Alien NPC@annpc#557:| Lossel: "Indeed. Let us find the Sisters' headquarters, then." Rianni@crystyl:nods, "We'll speak again once we have news" --- Alex Tarasenko@anncaris leads Mischa and Acey to her office, "Since we can do little else except wait, might as well tell me what you're here about. But first- just how sensitive is all this?" Mischa@crystyl:"Enough so to justify what you may consider your more extreme internal security blackouts for the conversation" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, stepping over to the door and tapping the panel to seal it before making her way over to the console opposite her desk Alex Tarasenko@anncaris gives the console a few taps and it goes dark. She moves behind her desk, typing away at the console there Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"We're secure here. Closed down anything that can be hacked into for listening in and set some additional security in place, courtesy of Galan." Mischa@crystyl:"Going beyond standard issue with your installations here I see, I approve" she smiles, taking a seat Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Well we're right next to Romulan space. We had to adapt, or we'd always be on the back foot." Mischa@crystyl:"Very true. Still, we did not come here to speak with the diligent station Commander. But rather, the experienced security officer in you" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "So what is it that's brought you all the way here to look for me?" Mischa@crystyl:"Acey, could you relay the message please" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey nods, repeating the contents of the message, "Listen. Don't have much time. Covered evidence of a plot to kill. Seize power. The highest levels of the Feder- If they succeed. Could - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- declare you and any. They're going to hit. To Sector 001 and." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris narrows her eyes. "And where did you pick up this message?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey: "From one Commander McLafferty of Starfleet Security. The vessel he was on exploded shortly after he delivered the message." Mischa@crystyl:"He went to great lengths to get this message to me in person, he was a trusted friend I once served with and despite clearly knowing the risk to himself in doing so, he still felt it necessary to - Mischa@crystyl:- push as hard as he did to deliver it" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"It must be a really important message. Why is it so broken? Interference from whoever killed him?" Mischa@crystyl:"That's about the long and short of it, yes" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"From what you did pick up, it sounds like they're planning a major assassination. This wouldn't have to do with the infiltrations you mentioned before, would it?" Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly, yes. They are the one true threat right now, and not just to us. Sierra learned this on the Justicar before the alleged mutiny" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "And now it seems they're trying to seize complete power in the Federation. That means they're likely aiming to replace top government and Starfleet officials." Mischa@crystyl:"They almost certainly have some already, but our best projections right now based on this indicate Admiral Quinn as the likely target" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"He's certainly important enough to be at risk. And you...want me to look into this, see what I can find out from inside Starfleet Security?" Mischa@crystyl:"That's the general idea" she nods, "As implied in the message; there appears to be an additional motive in this against me personally. Most likely to discredit by framing if I had to guess, since I- Mischa@crystyl:- have been making quite the nuisance of myself for them already" she chuckles Alex Tarasenko@anncaris chuckles, "I bet you have. I'll do some digging and-" Her combadge sounds and she taps it, "Commander Tarasenko." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris <C - Security Officer> "There's been another attack." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:"Where?â€ Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:<C - Security Officer> "Deck 15, in one of the Engineering areas. Two casualties have been sent to sickbay, but no fatalities this time." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris nods, "I'm on my way." Alex Tarasenko@anncaris stands, "Looks like it's still willing to strike when the targets aren't alone. But maybe not as effectively." Mischa@crystyl stands, "This could be our break. Acey, anything from your sensor net?" Alex Tarasenko@anncaris | Acey nods, "There was a significant amount of psionic energy on Deck 15. I cannot pinpoint the individual that caused it, but judging by its sudden appearance and disappearance, it must have - Alex Tarasenko@anncaris:- been manifested remotely or the result of a powerful being that can transport itself at will, such as a Q." Mischa@crystyl:"Well it's a start. Let's get down there and see how these folks are doing"