The investigation into the designs of the infiltrators pit the Latenter crew against the Children of Khan, an underground organization of genetically enhanced humans who despise the Federation for its anti-augment laws...
NPC@annpc#557 | ALPHA ERIDANI II NPC@annpc#557 | FEDERATION COLONY WORLD NPC@annpc#557 | The camera pans down on a large metropolis... NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://wpassets.halowaypoint.com/wp-content/2022/01/Silver-2-1024x511.jpg NPC@annpc#557 | Several shuttles fly by the camera as it moves through the city, settling on one building among many, this one looking largely non-descript next to its neighbours NPC@annpc#557 | The camera enters the building through one of its windows, spiralling down a large, hollow centre. It moves past various walkways and staircases, upon which formally-dressed employees of the - NPC@annpc#557 - organization that runs the building can be seen. The vast majority are human, but a Vulcan, a Tellarite, a pair of Denobulans and a Trill can be seen among the workers as well NPC@annpc#557 | Upon reaching the lobby on the ground floor, the camera settles on Mischa and Ori, dressed in civilian formal wear which blends in perfectly with the other inhabitants of the building NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa heads over to a line of replicators. One of the replicators frees up as a man steps away with a cup of coffee in hand. She looks to Ori, "Want a drink too?" Rianni@crystyl:"It would be rude not to. Even if they don't have your special tea blend" NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa taps away at the replicator, pouting when they indeed don't have her special tea blend. She slips an isolinear chip in and taps away, beaming as her tea replicates Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Never leave home without the mission essentials, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa smiles back, replicating something for Ori when a security guard steps over towards her, "Excuse me, ma'am. You're not allowed to add your own patterns to the replicators here." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa: "Oh, really? I didn't know, I'm still new around here." She chuckles nervously. "First day at work." NPC@annpc#557 | She slides the chip back out, "There. I didn't add anything permanently to the patterns, shouldn't be any trace of the pattern now." NPC@annpc#557 | The guard steps over, tapping the replicator and giving a nod once he's satisfied NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa: "Sorry about that. Won't happen again, promise." She smiles sweetly Rianni@crystyl nods and smiles, "Thank you for highlighting our error!" NPC@annpc#557 | The guard smiles back, "You're welcome. If you really want something added to the replicators, just go through management next time." Rianni@crystyl:"We will, of course!" NPC@annpc#557 | The guard walks off and Mischa leads the way into a nearby lift with her tea in hand. She takes a sip and as the door closes, Acey's voice sounds in their earpieces... NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "I'm in the building system, but it seems the shell company is keeping their data on a separate network. Logically, this would mean that they are actually holding some data worth - NPC@annpc#557 - concealing, unlike the other companies we've been investigating for the last month. I'm directing the lift to where you need to go." NPC@annpc#557 | The lift begins ascending without Mischa or Ori selecting a destination NPC@annpc#557 | The lift door opens on one of the middle floors of the building. Acey continues to give directions through their earpieces, and they proceed through the level NPC@annpc#557 | They soon enter a hallway with a security guard patrolling, but the guard promptly runs off in the opposite direction NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "Fortunately, I do have full access to the building's alarm systems as well." Rianni@crystyl smiles at that NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "Unfortunately, the company's server room lock is not connected to the building's main network. You will have to override that yourselves." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa steps up to the locked door, tapping on the control panel and quickly unlocking it, "No problem at all." Rianni@crystyl:"I am surprised that they are so heavily reliant on system isolation for this. I anticipated heavier physical security as well" Rianni@crystyl:"Or at least, I would have had heavier security as well" NPC@annpc#557 | They step through the doors into a large server room. Mischa takes out the same chip as before, approaching one of the servers. She moves to insert the chip, but is suddenly sent flying to the - NPC@annpc#557 - side, slamming into a server and sending sparks flying NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "Be careful what you wish for." NPC@annpc#557 | An individual flickers and appears, like a Jem'Hadar unshrouding. Except it's not a Jem'Hadar that appears before Ori, but a human man Rianni@crystyl looks around, "Expecting something and wishing for it are not the same thing" she plainly responds, either unsurprised by the appearance or making a very good show of being unphased by it NPC@annpc#557 | The shrouding man immediately moves to throw a punch at Ori Rianni@crystyl simply twists to one side to dodge, "I am still learning the finer points of etiquette, but I do not believe that is the proper way to greet a lady" NPC@annpc#557 | The shrouding man tilts his head slightly as she dodges, "Not in standard Federation culture. But you and I- we're not standard Federation citizens, are we?" He unleashes a kick next, this one - NPC@annpc#557 - much faster than the punch, moving at speeds unlikely to be achievable for even the most well-trained human Rianni@crystyl continues to infuriatingly stand her ground, intercepting it with a raised knee which she then kicks out to push his leg back then swinging it back across his one rooted leg to drop him, if she can NPC@annpc#557 | Ori kicks out his rooted leg, but the man reacts with inhuman speed, breaking his fall with a backwards roll before Ori has a chance to pin him down. He lands right in front of the server - NPC@annpc#557 - Mischa was initially going for and uses it to give himself more momentum as he pushes off towards Ori to tackle her down Rianni@crystyl allows him to connect, giving the appearance of being slow to react. However as soon as he grabs her he likely realizes this from the way she is already grabbing him as they tumble, positioning - Rianni@crystyl:- her feet to kick back and launch him in an onwards throw as she hits the deck. Promptly kicking her feet out to propel herself back to standing to turn and face him with a curiously tilted head, - Rianni@crystyl:- "You are more than Human" NPC@annpc#557 | The man once again breaks his fall with a roll, landing in a crouched stance as he looks up at Ori, "I am what we should've been, had we not been held back by paranoia and prejudice. What - NPC@annpc#557 - are you? Scans show you as human too, but you could be concealing who you really are with technology." Rianni@crystyl:"I am afraid to point out that you are more akin to a hastily constructed approximation of that. As for me, I am just an ordinary girl" she smiles sweetly, "But since I know you will not simply - Rianni@crystyl:- accept that answer. Then I suppose by comparison you could think of me as the true natural perfection of the Human condition. Though I'd really rather you didn't as it always sounds so conceited - Rianni@crystyl:- that, don't you think?" NPC@annpc#557 | Shrouding Man: "Why do you work against us? If what you say is true, you should be working with us." Rianni@crystyl:"I work for the betterment of all Humankind, not just one minority. Which really, when you think about it, is what you should all be doing isn't it?" NPC@annpc#557 | Shrouding Man: "You work for the Federation, don't you? So now they're trying to fight fire with fire? They're using you. We augments have no place among their so-called utopia. We're too - NPC@annpc#557 - ambitious, too cunning. Once they're done with you-" NPC@annpc#557 | Suddenly, streaks of energy emanate from the two consoles to either side of the augment. He is caught in the middle and screams before collapsing, his clothes singed and smoke rising from his - NPC@annpc#557 - body. A slightly bruised Mischa steps over, dusting off her uniform and fixing her hair as she looks down at the man NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "Oops. It would appear that he's dead, Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa: "I thought you were supposed to subdue him..." NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "I did not have a chance to scan him and analyze his physiology. I had assumed he would be able to take more than that, given his boasts. My apologies." Rianni@crystyl:"He did not get the chance to add gullible to his list of flaws in his supposedly peak condition..." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa: "Acey, do you have all the data?" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "Affirmative." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa: "That's what we came here for. I'm sure we'll only get more chances at obtaining a Child of Khan prisoner from here on." NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "What remains of him could still be helpful to analyze." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa: "We can't get a transport lock in the server room. Any thoughts on how to get the body back to the Latenter?" Rianni@crystyl:"Any method of physically removing him will not be conducive to an expedient exit" NPC@annpc#557 | <C - Acey> "We may have to settle for a sample and a scan. His DNA should be able to tell us plenty about his augmentations, and we can reconstruct the rest based on what we learn and the - NPC@annpc#557 - cursory scan data." Rianni@crystyl nods to Mischa and gets to work gathering the samples and scans NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa: "Acey, can you do what you did to kill him and make it look like an accident destroyed the server room? That should cover up the damage and set them back a little." NPC@annpc#557 <C - Acey> "Affirmative. I will execute the procedure and exit their systems once we depart." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa: "Perfect." She steps back over to the console beside the one she was slammed into, taking out the chip she had quietly inserted while Ori kept the augment distracted. With the chip - NPC@annpc#557 - back in her pocket, she looks back to Ori, "Ready to make our exit?" Rianni@crystyl stands, "Affirmative" NPC@annpc#557 | The two head out the doors of the server room... --- NPC@annpc#557 | Back on the Latenter, the senior staff is assembled in the conference room. Acey's projection stands by the console NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "The data we have retrieved from the last mission provides some useful information, for a change. Our current theory is that the previous shell companies we have been investigating - NPC@annpc#557 - belongs to the temporal infiltrators, who are far more skilled at concealing information given how long they have been operating in secret. All information points to Eridani Medical - NPC@annpc#557 - Technologies being a legitimate front for the Children of Khan, or at least some of its members. That is likely why we encountered one of their augments at the headquarters." Mischa@crystyl:"Did anything fruitful come from the samples gathered there?" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena nods, "We have some good insight into that augment you killed. Combined with data from Starfleet and our allies' other encounters with the group, it's safe to say that their augments - NPC@annpc#557 - are all different. Each member of the Children of Khan receives their own unique augmentations, though there are some points they have in common." Mischa@crystyl:"Anything of particular note in those similarities?" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena: "The augmentations have their base in the original human augments, as in, they're an evolution of the same process. But these augments are as close to Eugenics War augments as our warp - NPC@annpc#557 - drive is to Cochrane's designs. That is, we can see the inspiration, but it's been improved since then and other cultures have made their contributions too. In the augmentation's case, they've - NPC@annpc#557 - started to splice in alien genetics. The sample you brought back had some Jem'Hadar and Vulcanoid spliced in, the latter being too minute to tell exactly which Vulcanoid species it was from." Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "I find it unlikely that these people possess sufficient knowledge to conduct such splicing with any consistency" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "It's possible that they've had some assistance from their temporal friends. There's at least one changeling among them as the former Commodore Fox, and we all know how good they are - NPC@annpc#557 - at genetic engineering." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Or they could have recruited some rogue Vorta. Reports from the Lexington and DS9 indicate that the Dominion is on the verge of collapse. There's been an influx of refugees through - NPC@annpc#557 - the wormhole, including Vorta and even Jem'Hadar." Mischa@crystyl:"It is certainly a possibility. So then, what is our next move?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Communications we've recovered indicate that the Children of Khan are planning a major operation, one even more drastic than the seizing of the USS Chesapeake. Given the other - NPC@annpc#557 - information we have learned, it is likely that this operation is related to what Commander McLafferty warned us about. There are also messages mentioning their benefactors, but no further - NPC@annpc#557 - detail on the specifics of their plans. However, the data has given us the location of a Children of Khan base which is at least somewhat involved with this operation." Mischa@crystyl:"So that base is our next infiltration target" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "That is my suggestion as well. The base will likely be more difficult to infiltrate, as it is located away from any settlements rather than hiding in the midst of civilization. The - NPC@annpc#557 - data provides no detail on the defenses of the base, so we will have to scout out the location and determine our course of action from there." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. I want you and Ori prepared to go down there, so work with Buena to learn all you can about the Children" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "We will be prepared to face more of them, and I will try to avoid any accidents again." Mischa@crystyl smiles a little, "I appreciate that" Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "You don't plan on joining us on this one Commander?" Mischa@crystyl:"We'll see, but if this is augment-central then you and Acey are the only ones who can realistically blend in and hold your own against them" Mischa@crystyl | Ori nods her understanding --- NPC@annpc#557 | As the Latenter heads towards the Children of Khan base, Buena leads Acey and Ori into sickbay NPC@annpc#557 | Buena steps into her office, taking a seat, "So, the Captain wants you to learn everything there is about these new augments." Rianni@crystyl walks with her, "Yep! Hoping you gleam some useful insights out of the scan data we brought back!" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena smiles, "That I've got for you. I assume you've read up about the Eugenics Wars and the augments of pre-warp Earth? You did study a bit in the Academy after all." Rianni@crystyl grins, "Oh I did more than study them! This one time while I was still serving my duties as Observer, we visited this planet that was some kind of ancient holographic recreation world. It pulled - Rianni@crystyl:- data from the ship computers and essentially decided that an ancient civil war setting pitting the crew against augments was the optimum form of entertainment for the landing party. I actually - Rianni@crystyl:- duelled with a recreation of the infamous Khan himself - and kicked his ass!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Interesting. I wonder how accurate this recreation was to the actual historical figure." Rianni@crystyl:"About as accurate our library data on him was, so there was no doubt a significant degree of interpolation at work there. But it was still very fun!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I assume it was quite a challenge, then?" Rianni@crystyl:"Certainly moreso than I was used to from a Human, though he probably wasn't on par with the augment I fought during the last mission" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena: "That augment's been made with more advanced procedures. Not perfect by any sense, but more dangerous, especially with the alien DNA spliced in. If you're familiar with Khan and his - NPC@annpc#557 - ilk, I assume you've heard that the greatest flaw of these old Earth augments was an unnaturally elevated and unhealthy level of ambition?" Rianni@crystyl nods, "Yes, and as I recall the Child of Khan suggested that was still there as well" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena: "From what I'm able to tell from the sample, to a degree. But these augments also have other flaws because they weren't made together with one consistent process. I believe this one you - NPC@annpc#557 - fought wasn't born as an augment at all, and doing some more research, it would seem consistent with the records of other members of the group that Starfleet is aware of." NPC@annpc#557 | Buena taps the console behind her desk, bringing up a number of dossier files Rianni@crystyl:"See now, being born like it is one thing at least - assuming you get it right of course - because that's just like a first time edit. But going back and changing code that's already been written - Rianni@crystyl:- will invite only instability" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena: "Exactly. Not all of them are flawed, but a good number of them are. You see, most members of the Children of Khan weren't created by the organization to be any kind of superior being. - NPC@annpc#557 - They were people who, for various reasons, underwent illegal genetic modification procedures, usually in their childhood at the request of their parents to correct something they see as a - NPC@annpc#557 - genetic shortcoming. As a result they had to grow up under the Federation's restrictions for augmented beings, resulting in them being barred from various professions and even educational - NPC@annpc#557 - institutions. They got bitter, and that's more or less how the group was founded originally." NPC@annpc#557 | Buena: "The Children of Khan have become more and more radical as they went on. They started augmenting themselves further, leading to the kind of augment you ran into." Rianni@crystyl:"Even more unstable" she nods NPC@annpc#557 | Buena nods, "They're far from the super-beings they believe themselves to be. While it's true that they have increased some of their attributes, most of them come with some deficiency in - NPC@annpc#557 - another. It's generally psychological in the case of most modern illegal augments, but that's the interesting part." Rianni@crystyl:"How so?" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena: "The one you encountered had a physical drawback as well. The addition of Jem'Hadar DNA resulted in his body requiring the same enzyme which requires the Jem'Hadar to take - NPC@annpc#557 - ketracel-white. I doubt the augment would've taken white specifically, but he would've needed to regularly take some kind of supplement. That means other Children of Khan, at least ones who've - NPC@annpc#557 - augmented themselves even further, probably have varying problems too." Rianni@crystyl:"A trait which will fly in the face of everyone's own superiority complex. Quite impressive actually that they are even able to sustain such a mentality whilst leaving with obvious shortcomings" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena: "I suspect that's a result of the psychological issues also resulting from their augmentation. It's difficult to confirm that without talking to him while he was alive, but I assume in - NPC@annpc#557 - your interactions, he was particularly arrogant and overconfident?" Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, which is quite understandable in the face of an adversary. Especially one that has been underestimated and then proven superior" NPC@annpc#557 | Buena: "True, but I think it might also be a natural part of his personality when interacting with anyone, due to the augmentations' effect on his psyche. But in any case, the point is, all of - NPC@annpc#557 - them probably have quite significant flaws that come with their enhancements, though the specifics will likely vary from augment to augment. If you can find out what that is, you'll probably - NPC@annpc#557 - be able to exploit it to your advantage. Just keep in mind that what works on one of them won't necessarily work on another due to the different augmentations they have." Rianni@crystyl nods, "Thanks Buena, I understand. Acey, do you think you will be able to assist in psychological evaluation of new encounters somehow?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "I will download the EMH's psychological analysis subroutine to diagnose any psychological drawbacks of their augmentations." Rianni@crystyl:"Thanks, I can normally work them out after a bit of interaction. But you can likely figure them out much faster than me" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "And speed may be of the essence, as we may not have the opportunity to interact with some of them for long before they attempt to kill us, depending on the situation. Though hopefully, - NPC@annpc#557 - we will be able to avoid being immediately antagonized. I am currently calculating a plan of infiltration which has an acceptable chance of success, though I cannot calculate the odds - NPC@annpc#557 - perfectly with the limited information we have on hand." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Always one step ahead!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Using the communications we recovered from our last mission, I can fabricate communiques which identify us as members of the Children of Khan visiting the base to oversee their - NPC@annpc#557 - progress. Their messages are rather frustratingly vague, but that will work in our favour now as our lack of knowledge on their specific plans will not show through the messages which are - NPC@annpc#557 - expected to be vague," she smiles Rianni@crystyl:"Every cloud has a silver lining!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Actually, the vast majority of clouds neither appear the colour silver nor possess any amounts of the element sil- oh, that was a metaphor." Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "Yes Acey, you're getting better at spotting them!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey smiles, "Thank you! The difficulty in my current plan will be improvising and keeping up the ruse once we are inside the base, but I can guarantee a high likelihood of a successful - NPC@annpc#557 - approach. It would be better if we could disguise the Dart, though the chances that they would be familiar with the SFI model is quite low." Rianni@crystyl:"Fortunately, improvising on the ground during infiltrations is my own speciality. As for the Dart, I'm happy to help in any way you think we can work on it!" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "External holoemitters will be of little use since we have to land. Some minor cosmetic alterations will have to do, perhaps a different paintjob more appropriate to overly confident - NPC@annpc#557 - augments. That will be quite simple to undo once the mission is complete, too." Rianni@crystyl:"Sounds fun" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey smiles, "Let's do some painting, then!" --- NPC@annpc#557 | A short while later, the Latenter approaches the system where the Children of Khan base is located... NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "Nothing on sensors at all yet. According to the data you recovered, the base is situated on the far side of a moon orbiting very close to one of the gas giants. I believe the gasses - NPC@annpc#557 - and the moon's own mineral composition is likely concealing the base from scans of the system. A well-hidden location." Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly the kind of place I would use" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "I see no stealth detection grid, nor any patrols in the system. Shall we venture closer for more detailed scans in order to verify the existence of the base?" Mischa@crystyl:"It would be prudent" she nods NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Taking us in. This new Reman cloak'll protect us even if they have some kind of stealth detection. They can't have anything /that/ advanced..." Mischa@crystyl:"Please do not jinx it. They are potentially subsided by the infiltrators don't forget" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Good point. Sorry Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | On the viewscreen, the moon comes into view with the gas giant behind it NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://astronomy.com/-/media/Images/4researchersh.jpg NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "I am picking up faint energy signatures. Analyzing...I can now confirm the existence of the base." Mischa@crystyl:"Very good. Let's prep our away team and gather all we can for them" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "Notifying Acey and Ori now." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The defenses seem to consist of basic turret emplacements, including photon torpedo turrets. I believe the base is Klingon in origin. 23rd century, judging from the design." Mischa@crystyl:"Charming" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Another abandoned post once used to spy on the Federation, like that Tal Shiar one the Verala found converted into an illegal genetics clinic. It makes sense; the Children of Khan - NPC@annpc#557 - don't have the resources to build their own bases, even with those front companies and secret funding. And these old spy stations have the perfect hiding spots already." Mischa@crystyl:"No sense letting good infrastructure go to waste. Though I hope they at least splashed on a coat of paint. Maybe some light fittings other than dull red..." NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "If they're splicing Klingon DNA with their own, maybe they'll like the dull red like the Klingons do. Who knows with them." Mischa@crystyl:"Fair point" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "I hope not. The last attempt to fuse Klingon and human augment DNA was disastrous enough." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed. So, anything else of use we can pass on to the away team?" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "I see no sign of any patrols. The base has a small hangar, but it is not large enough for even the smallest bird of prey class. I suspect the most they possess are runabouts or - NPC@annpc#557 - fighters, if they have any armed vessels at all." Mischa@crystyl:"At least the Dart should have no trouble then" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Speaking of which, the Dart is ready to launch. We should move outside their effective sensor range so the team appears to be approaching from outside the system." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Take us out" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay taps on his console, "Aye Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | Soon, Nethay announces, "We've exited their sensor range. All clear to launch the Dart now." Mischa@crystyl:"Signal Acey her launch clearance" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, giving the signal. Moments later, the Dart launches from the Latenter's shuttlebay. It appears on the viewscreen sporting a red paint with gold trimming, giving it an almost - NPC@annpc#557 - sports car like aesthetic Mischa@crystyl:"I do hope she doesn't grow attached to that paint job..." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "It does look nice...not the most covert, though." --- NPC@annpc#557 | Acey's newly repainted Dart lands inside the hangar of the old Klingon spy station. The door opens and Ori steps out with Acey, whose projection has been altered to look like a regular human, - NPC@annpc#557 - doing away with the android skin tone and eyes Rianni@crystyl looks around and makes her way towards the hangar exit, walking with a sense of purpose and authority NPC@annpc#557 | The hangar still looks rather Klingon, and worn too. There has been some effort to restore it, but the age of the facility clearly shows. Emblems of the Children of Khan have been painted over - NPC@annpc#557 - old Klingon ones, but traces of the old symbols can still be made out beneath. There are a few other craft in the hangar, mostly civilian shuttles, with one armed runabout-sized craft, though - NPC@annpc#557 - it's also of civilian design rather than a captured Starfleet craft NPC@annpc#557 | The door to the hangar slides open just before Ori and Acey reach it, and a human man steps through Rianni@crystyl steps up to the man NPC@annpc#557 | Man: "Welcome, Sisters. I am Jason Tyrell, head of this Sanctum." Rianni@crystyl:"You're the one in charge of the operation?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason nods, "That's right. I assume you're here about the...rogue element?" Rianni@crystyl:"Obviously" she scowls, "And I was in the middle of hunting a bunch of zealots when I got dragged out here for this too-" she suddenly throws her weight full force against him, pinning her forearm - Rianni@crystyl:- across his throat and holding him against the wall, "-so - Jason - as the one in charge, I do hope you're planning to impress us" she grins hungrily NPC@annpc#557 | Jason grits his teeth and nods, "As I told Zaya Khan herself...the rogue is contained. Any sensitive information has been cleared from this base already and operations are being moved off - NPC@annpc#557 - the Sanctum. I assure you, this setback will not delay us. As for the prisoner, I will leave it to you to determine what is to be done." Rianni@crystyl pauses a moment to consider before grinning and stealing a heavy and forced smooch and letting him down. She steps back, satisfied with the asserted dominance for now, "Glad to hear it! Perfection - Rianni@crystyl:- is as perfection does" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason cracks his neck slightly as she lets him go, "Come with me. I'll take you to where the traitor's being held." Rianni@crystyl smiles and follows, keeping an eye on their surroundings to make sure witnesses are displaying the desired reaction NPC@annpc#557 | The others in the base are regarding Ori with respect and a healthy amount of fear. She seems to have made a good first impression! NPC@annpc#557 | Jason leads them into a lift which still has the original Klingon red lighting. As he selects his destination and the doors close, he speaks again NPC@annpc#557 | Jason: "If it were up to me, I would've killed the traitor. But I know she's of value to the Khan, and doing so without her permission would be a mistake. Are you here to take her away?" Rianni@crystyl:"That's the idea. But we don't have to if we are given cause to doubt. You have already put sufficient measures in place here after all" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason nods, "She won't cause any trouble now that her treachery is known to us. And there's no sensitive information left to steal, anyways. You're welcome to have her if you like, though. - NPC@annpc#557 - I may run a sanctuary for all augments, traitors to the cause are not particularly welcome here." Rianni@crystyl:"Fair enough. I must say, I'm a little curious as to how she got caught. They weren't exactly detailed in the subspace comms as usual" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason: "We learned that she was responsible for the sabotage. When she tried to slip away, we were ready for her. Apprehended her in the hangar before she could get to a shuttle. For someone - NPC@annpc#557 - who can supposedly see the future, she didn't do a particularly good job of escaping. But I suppose we had her only route off this rock covered, so what could she do?" Rianni@crystyl:"That's what I want to know. Are you certain you uncovered all her sabotage?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason: "I'm sure of it. She doesn't have much technical skill." NPC@annpc#557 | Jason steps out of the lift and they find themselves now in an older part of the facility which has not been restored as much as the hangar and surrounding area Rianni@crystyl:"Wow. Substandard technical skill, substandard escape skill - even with foresight. Are you sure she's not just a norm?" she scoffs NPC@annpc#557 | Jason: "She knocked out Vikram, broke Beth's leg and left Hyon with a dislocated shoulder in the struggle to capture her. She might not be the best saboteur, but she's certainly not to be - NPC@annpc#557 - underestimated, either." Rianni@crystyl:"Duly noted. Any other insights you have to share, like who she betrayed us for?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason: "I know she wanted to join Starfleet as a little girl, but was denied entry due to being one of us. Maybe she thought selling us out to them would be her ticket in. She hasn't been in - NPC@annpc#557 - contact with anyone from Starfleet that we can determine, so she couldn't have been offered a deal by them, and she's not naive enough to act on such a fantasy without having secured a deal." Rianni@crystyl:"So someone else has got a hand in this" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason: "The last two times Zaya Khan was here, neither of them parted ways very happily. I think that's what caused her to go rogue, but I'm not privy to what exactly they talked about in - NPC@annpc#557 - private. If it's relevant to your visit here, I'm sure Zaya would've told you herself." Rianni@crystyl:"Yeah... you'd like to think. But only a fool leaves things to chance, so I will see for myself" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason nods, "I'd do the same in your shoes. She's all yours." He says as he opens the door to the brig. "Let me know if you need anything else." Rianni@crystyl:"I'll be sure to" --- NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile on the Latenter as they hold position at the edge of the system... NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Commander, we have a problem." Mischa@crystyl:"I thought we were getting away a bit too smoothly... what have you got?" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "The USS Shanakra has just been rerouted from its regular patrol route to this system with orders to seek out a Children of Khan base. The orders were signed by Fleet Admiral - NPC@annpc#557 - Yanishev." NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "That's one of the highest ranking flag officers suspected by the Shadow Guard to be a temporal infiltrator." NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Exactly. I think he's trying to cover up evidence." Mischa@crystyl:"How far out is the Shanakra?" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Two hours at maximum warp. Our away team might be able to get out in time, but they might also need more time. And if they pull out, chances of successfully infiltrating this base - NPC@annpc#557 - again is going to be pretty low..." Mischa@crystyl:"Hmm... recommendations?" NPC@annpc#557 | Hassan: "We have no information suggesting that Captain Th'vaalroth of the Shanakra is an infiltrator himself, but he's known for being the more militant type of Starfleet captain. That's - NPC@annpc#557 - likely why the Shanakra was chosen, that and their patrol route's proximity. He's probably not a part of the conspiracy and just someone following orders. If we can find some way to trick - NPC@annpc#557 - him, divert his attention somehow, he might just go for it assuming heâ€™s not here to intentionally get rid of evidence." Mischa@crystyl:"A deception it is then. A false distress signal perhaps, though that would only buy us a little time and raise his suspicions once found" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "He'll have to respond under General Order 6, but it won't buy us too much more time..." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "What if we use our new transwarp for this?" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "How will that aid us here?" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "It's not a fully formed idea yet, but if we manipulate our readings to look like one of the future ships, we might be able to lead the Shanakra on a chase before we accelerate faster - NPC@annpc#557 - than they can go to throw them off. It'll divert them away /and/ make their crew start wondering if there's a connection between the Children of Khan and the infiltrators without us revealing - NPC@annpc#557 - ourselves to explain what we know. Though if we use a distress call to draw their attention to us in the first place, we'll probably need some debris or something to make it look real..." Mischa@crystyl:"I don't suppose there's anything suitable just lying around the system..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Not this system, but there is another system in this sector which was the site of a battle between the Imperial Navy and the Heralds during the Iconian War. The Romulans salvaged - NPC@annpc#557 - anything of value, but there may still be enough debris to look like the convincing remnants of a destroyed Romulan vessel." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay nods, "Yes, I've heard of the place. Our old friend Admiral, then Commander Imaella spearheaded the Imperial efforts during that battle. I think we can get there and back in time at - NPC@annpc#557 - transwarp, but it might be a bit tight factoring in the time to collect and set up the debris." Mischa@crystyl:"We don't have much choice, let's get to work" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Aye Commander. Moving us out of the system and setting course for the battlefield now." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Deactivating cloaking device." NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "Rerouting the power to warp systems. We'll be set for transwarp soon." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Course is set, transwarp coils are fully powered, we're ready to engage." Mischa@crystyl:"Then let's get to it" NPC@annpc#557 | The Latenter jumps to warp, and a few moments later, the blue tunnel begins to form as they accelerate to transwarp... --- NPC@annpc#557 | After Jason leaves them to it, Ori and Acey step into an area which still very much resembles an old Klingon brig. All the cells are empty with the force fields inactive save one NPC@annpc#557 | Heading over, Ori sees a woman seated within with her back turned to them, wearing tattered clothes Rianni@crystyl steps over, poking the force field, "I would knock, but... yeah" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "Well that's strange. I didn't sense you coming. Are you blocking me telepathically somehow?" Rianni@crystyl:"Sorry. It's nothing personal, but there's enough voices in my head without having anyone else join in" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "You're not one of Jason's, then. I'm the only one here who the psionic experiments worked on." NPC@annpc#557 | The prisoner slowly begins to turn around, "Let me guess. You're here to bring me to Zaya." NPC@annpc#557 | As she turns, Ori first notices the unusually pale skin, then blood red eyes. Her ears seem to have slight points to them which is visible through her hair as she moves, though they aren't as - NPC@annpc#557 - pronounced as those seen on proper Vulcanoids Rianni@crystyl smiles, "This must be a novel experience for you; guessing" NPC@annpc#557 | The prisoner smiles back, "I'm not as self-absorbed as some of my peers. I'm well-aware that I don't know everything, and I have to guess more often than I'd like." Rianni@crystyl:"It would seem so, otherwise you wouldn't be here would you? Unless of course you wanted to get caught" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "I'd say yes to sound all ominous, but I have a feeling intimidation wouldn't work on you. But-" She pauses suddenly, walking up to the force field from the back of the cell. NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "Wait. Come closer." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey crosses her arms, "We are the ones interrogating you here." NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "What am I going to do, reach through the force field and grab you? This isn't an old-fashioned cage, and if my augmentations let me break through the force field I wouldn't have - NPC@annpc#557 - waited until now to do it. What've you got to lose by indulging me a little?" Rianni@crystyl:"It's fine. If we are to escort her out of here, a little trust in us wouldn't go amiss" she states, stepping forward NPC@annpc#557 | The prisoner moves right up to the force field, looking Ori over closely before smiling, "Yes. You're the ones who will free me." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Is that so?" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "I've seen it. You weren't sent here by Zaya. In a few minutes, Jason is going to find out and come through that door. You're going to free me, because you can't fight your way out - NPC@annpc#557 - of here alone, and we might be able to help each other." Rianni@crystyl:"Well that's good to know. But you are mistaken about one part" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "Oh? And what's that?" Rianni@crystyl smiles, "We are quite capable of fighting our way out of here alone. So before Jason comes charging through that door, convince me why you're worth dragging along when this fantastical vision of - Rianni@crystyl:- yours comes to pass" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "I don't know who sent you here, but I'm willing to bet you came for information on what the Children of Khan are planning." Rianni@crystyl:"And if that were true, you would be willing and able to offer said information? Just like that?" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "If that were true, would I be right in assuming that you want this information to stop these plans from going into motion?" Rianni@crystyl:"That would be a reasonable reason for someone outside the Children wanting to know such plans" she affirms without committing, naturally NPC@annpc#557 | The prisoner smiles, "That wasn't particularly hard to guess. We're not exactly the most popular right now, hijacking a Starfleet ship and all. Whatever your reason and whoever you're working - NPC@annpc#557 - for, our goals are aligned. So yes, I am willing and able to offer said information, because I expect you to act on it." Rianni@crystyl:"Which raises a fine point; why exactly did you betray the Children anyway?" NPC@annpc#557 | The prisoner smiles, "I was wondering when you'd ask. These visions of mine, they aren't perfect. They only show me what I'll be seeing in the future, so I have to be involved in whatever I - NPC@annpc#557 - see. It's only the relatively near future too, and it's not the definite future either. I can change it, as I learned pretty quickly through some wrestling matches with my fellow augments." Rianni@crystyl:"So it's like nearsighted precognition. But you said there that you can change it, so that doesn't really explain why you're so eager to go along with this theoretical escape idea" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "I saw that our current path wouldn't lead to the augments gaining more power and acceptance, but the opposite. We'd be banned altogether from the Federation, not just barred from - NPC@annpc#557 - certain professions. It'd be like the synthetics were after the attack on Mars. And I saw my own death, at your hands. I tried to convince Zaya, but she wouldn't listen. She claims to have - NPC@annpc#557 - contingencies in place if our benefactors were to betray us. So I took matters upon myself. I sabotaged our operations and I stopped seeing my own death. Once I was thrown in here, I saw you - NPC@annpc#557 - again, but this time, you came to rescue me. If I can completely prevent what the Children are about to do, I might just be able to stop us from digging our own grave." Rianni@crystyl:"That certainly is quite the turn of events. The price of precognition I suppose" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "So you're betraying the Children of Khan to save them?" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "My loyalty lies with all augments, not this one group. I joined the Khan to make a better future for us. Now that I see their goals aren't going to achieve that, it's only natural - NPC@annpc#557 - for me to betray them, wouldn't you say?" Rianni@crystyl:"I can certainly see how anyone outside the Khan would be more naturally aligned to your point of view" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "If we work with you, how do we know you won't betray us as well? You've demonstrated a willingness to betray those you work for already, after all." NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "Because you won't trust me more than you have to. If you give me an opportunity to betray you, that's your own failure. I'm not seeking to join you, whoever you are. This is a - NPC@annpc#557 - temporary alignment of objectives, nothing more." Rianni@crystyl:"Well, you can't fault her for honesty there" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "If you need more incentive to free me- Jason's already transferred all major operations and cleaned the computers here of any sensitive information. The only people who can get you - NPC@annpc#557 - what you came for are Jason, myself and a few other higher ranking members of this Sanctum. They're going to die before they talk or get captured. So you can wipe out this whole base and - NPC@annpc#557 - you'll still be leaving empty-handed unless you free me." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, Jason already kindly told me all about how he's done all of that" looks to Acey, "What do you think?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I believe what she's telling us now is the truth. It lines up with all the information Jason has told us, and while it is possible that her vision will come true and Jason will realize - NPC@annpc#557 - we're not members of the Children, there is a negligible chance that he could have known this at our arrival. I will need to confirm something quickly." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey steps up to the brig cell, setting her hand on the panel Rianni@crystyl watches curiously NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "The brig records align with the accounts, and I detect no sign of tampering. The prisoner was most likely not incarcerated today, and I calculate a less than 1% chance that this is part - NPC@annpc#557 - of some elaborate ploy to reverse-infiltrate us." Rianni@crystyl:"Less than 1%? Well, I'll take those odds! Think you can work your magic on this barrier then?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "Of course." Rianni@crystyl smiles and nods, "Then let's get to work" looking back to the prisoner, "So, what should I call you?" NPC@annpc#557 | Prisoner: "I'm Sabina. And you are?" Rianni@crystyl:"Sabina. Nice to meet you, I'm Orianni and my friend here is Acey" NPC@annpc#557 | The door to the brig slides open again and Jason steps in with four other augments NPC@annpc#557 | Jason: "I want them alive for questioning!" Rianni@crystyl looks over, "You'll have to be more specific if you're going to start making requests of us. And polite too, ever heard of 'please'?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jason: "It was a good show you put up, but the Khan never sent you. Don't worry, I'll soon find out who did." NPC@annpc#557 | The four augments with him start to advance, but before Ori has a chance to engage, the brig force field goes down and Sabina rushes out of her cell at inhuman speeds, slamming one of the - NPC@annpc#557 - augments hard into the wall. Stunned by the impact, he has no time to react as the rogue augment delivers a series of lightning-fast punches, knocking him out with time to spare as she spins - NPC@annpc#557 - around, parrying a blow from a woman who tried to catch her unaware. Meanwhile, two other augments go for Ori and Acey Rianni@crystyl follows suit, leaping in to engage both of them together so Acey doesn't get drawn in, aptly exchanging blows with one at a time NPC@annpc#557 | Ori manages to keep the attention of both. Though the augments are able to match her in terms of strength and speed, Ori's actual skill and training gives her the upper hand. She manages to - NPC@annpc#557 - take one out of the fight quickly and begins on the other one, who is going on the defensive. Sabina has defeated the second augment by now and goes for Jason himself, but the leader - NPC@annpc#557 - transports out upon realizing that things aren't going his way Rianni@crystyl tries to expedite things by quickly throwing her foe into the now open cell, anticipating Acey's readiness to seal them in NPC@annpc#557 | The force field immediately snaps into place as the last augment is thrown inside. Despite his quick reactions, he ends up charging head first into the field and getting knocked back, snarling NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina dusts off her hands as she looks back to Ori, "Well, I'm glad you're not trying to kill me." Rianni@crystyl:"Sabina, any idea where he would run off to?" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "Probably slinked off back to the control room to lock the place down. You want to try and capture him?" Rianni@crystyl:"He is not our objective, but now he's a loose end. If we don't contain him, he could make complications for our departure" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "The lifts will be the first thing he locks down. Luckily for you, you have someone who's familiar with the layout of the maintenance tunnels," she smirks Rianni@crystyl:"And someone else who can easily override his lockouts I'd wager. So, how about a leaf out of the Commanders book with a touch of misdirection?" she asks of Acey NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "What's your plan, Ori?" Rianni@crystyl:"We take the maintenance tunnels, but if you can remotely override the lifts then we can get them moving when we're in position. He'll be focused on that arrival so we can take him by surprise" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey smiles, "That's certainly a classic trick of the Commander. I'll have the lifts going once we're nearby." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Follow me, then." Rianni@crystyl smiles and nods, quickly following NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina leads the way into the maintenance tunnels of the facility, tight, very uncomfortable corridors and tunnels. They are even less well maintained than the lower levels of the facility, - NPC@annpc#557 - having seen no renovation. The majority of the tunnels are nearly pitch dark, with only dim red Klingon lighting in some places, but Sabina seems to have no problem navigating them NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "I should warn you- we're probably going to run into Kazem and Flynn too. If not in the control room, then somewhere around the Sanctum, depending on whether Jason has them guarding or - NPC@annpc#557 - trying to hunt us down." Rianni@crystyl:"Between the three of us we made light work of the last group, are these two anything more than them?" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "Flynn has Klingon DNA integrated into him. He's stronger than most of us, even me due to the volume of DNA they spliced into him. Kazem's the other one I can never beat, because - NPC@annpc#557 - he taught me most of what I know. He doesn't have any particularly special augmentation, but before he was a Children of Khan, he ran as an elite mercenary for a splinter faction of the Orion - NPC@annpc#557 - Syndicate led by the Branded Lady. He's trained in multiple Earth martial arts and picked up a few alien ones along the way too- Orion, Nausicaan, even some strange styles from beyond - NPC@annpc#557 - Federation territory." Rianni@crystyl:"Aah, so he's one of hers. Good, if he's got all that under his belt then I can have some real fun with him. Where did you say I can find him?" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "He's most likely to be out hunting for us, so if we don't run into him, I have a feeling he'll run into us before long. We're almost at the control centre now." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I am accessing the lift." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh right, the mission. I should stay on task for now. Play time can wait" she giggles NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "You must be /very/ dangerous if you're actually looking forward to a fight to the death with Kazem..." Rianni@crystyl:"You just got me all excited for it is all! It sounds like his martial training now is close to where mine was that time I kicked Khan's butt!" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "You've fought Zaya Khan before?" Rianni@crystyl:"Oh, no! Sorry, not Zaya - never met her. I meant Noonien-Singh" Rianni@crystyl:"Don't worry though, I've trained a lot more in the years since then, so it should be a fun workout!" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "You've fought...now I'm /really/ glad you're not here to kill me like that first vision." Rianni@crystyl:"Me too! I don't like killing as a rule, so wasteful" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "Good attitude. Let's try not to kill any more than we have to here. They might be standing against me now, but they're still fellow augments, and I've fought alongside many of - NPC@annpc#557 - them before. Quietly now, they'll be able to hear us soon..." Rianni@crystyl nods, whispering, "Don't worry. I have no intention of doing any permanent harm to anyone" NPC@annpc#557 | They arrive at the control centre from a vent on the floor. Above them, Jason stands with three other augments, one of them visibly taller than the rest. Jason and another one of the regular - NPC@annpc#557 - sized augments are armed with disruptors, and all of them are focused on the lift as it moves up Rianni@crystyl quietly slips out and approaches as far she can, poised to pounce when the others are set NPC@annpc#557 | The big one begins turning around as Ori approaches... Rianni@crystyl pounces before it's too late, vaulting off a console to launch her feet at his head. Not in a kick though, but aimed for a grapple allowing the force of her momentum to topple him NPC@annpc#557 | Ori manages to topple the big man, but the force of the impact barely seems to phase him. He reacts surprisingly quickly, grabbing Ori's leg and yanking her over to himself with extremely - NPC@annpc#557 - heightened strength Rianni@crystyl clearly relishes the rare close match, grinning as works lightning fast to twist herself around and take the hand grabbing her leg with her into a hold NPC@annpc#557 | The man growls as his hand is locked and forms a fist with his other hand, trying to strike Ori with all his might Rianni@crystyl cranes her neck to the side to avoid the punch, responding with an unsporting bite of the hand hoping to catch him unawares so she can twist her hold around more and grapple her legs around his - Rianni@crystyl:- throat while holding him from behind/underneath in a clean sleeper KO NPC@annpc#557 | His punch impacts the ground as it misses, causing a large dent which showcases his brute force. Fortunately, he relies too much on brute strength as he doesn't find a way to avoid the - NPC@annpc#557 - grapple. It takes a surprisingly long time and more energy than Ori is used to expending on a single target, but eventually he is knocked out Rianni@crystyl finally slumps under the weight of the brute, taking a fleeting moment to catch her breath and refocus on her surroundings NPC@annpc#557 | Looking around, Ori sees that the other augments have been subdued as well. Acey heads over to the consoles, where she begins tapping away NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina walks over to Ori, looking at the downed brute, "Looks like Flynn's finally met his match. Not bad." Rianni@crystyl giggles, "I have not had a workout like that in the longest time!" and slides out from under him and back to her feet, "I had to briefly focus all my attention on him and everything!" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Don't worry, we had everyone else in hand," she thumbs over to the downed Jason. "Do you want to leave him here, or take him along with you? He doesn't know anything more than I do, - NPC@annpc#557 - maybe even less, and interrogating him is going to be harder work than just asking me. But he did lock me up, so I wouldn't mind someone returning the favour." Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "Doing anything like that will only reinforce his vision of persecution" she moves over to Jason, hoisting him up into a chair and making him comfortable, "It may not go far, but - Rianni@crystyl:- perhaps when he sees that we did not ultimately harm any of them even after rendering them all unconscious, it will give him pause to reconsider his belief that everyone is an enemy just because - Rianni@crystyl:- of being an augment" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina smiles, doing the same and leaving Flynn in a comfortable position Rianni@crystyl:"Acey, anything of note in these computers before we bail?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Only that the Children of Khan were using this facility to conduct internal augmentations among their members, rather than an open black market facility like the old Tal Shiar listening - NPC@annpc#557 - post our Romulan friends discovered. The earlier experiments were conducted by known names in the eugenics underworld, but the records on recent operations have been wiped." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "They were Vorta, but not the ones we know. Some different breed, working with our mysterious benefactors. But I'll tell you more about that later. Let's get out of here while we can." Rianni@crystyl:"All good background information. But if there's nothing more, I think that's our cue to leave. I would rather not be here to test the theory of these guys appreciating our kindness" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I've unlocked the hangar. We should be free to launch once we return to the Dart." Rianni@crystyl:"Then let's get going!" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Kazem will probably be waiting for us there, just like he and Jason were when I tried to escape alone. Be ready for another tough fight." Rianni@crystyl | As the group finishes up and starts making their way out of the control room, Ori pauses and glances back to Jason with a thought in her mind... NPC@annpc#557 | Acey notices the pause and looks over to Ori, "Is something wrong?" Rianni@crystyl:"Something doesn't feel right still..." she looks around, "Is there a replicator here?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, stepping over to one located in the wall, "Here it is." Rianni@crystyl:"Ooh, thank you! This won't take a moment" she starts tapping away, programming something in NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina follows over curiously, "What're you doing?" Rianni@crystyl:"Something the other me would refer to as an olive branch" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "The...other you?" Rianni@crystyl:"That's... a story for later" she turns, beaming with satisfaction and holding a stuffed teddy bear that loosely resembles herself through it's outfit mostly NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina blinks at the bear, "Interesting..." Rianni@crystyl grins, searching around some with the bear cradled adoringly in her arms before finding a PADD. She taps away at it then goes over to Jason, setting the bear neatly in his lap, and the PADD held in- Rianni@crystyl:- it's hand with the simple message reading 'No hard feelingsâ€™ NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina glances at the PADD and laughs slightly, "I'm sure he won't take it personally with you. He'll be too busy sulking about my escape." Rianni@crystyl:"I hope so, but more importantly I hope this hammers home the point that he is not the real enemy in all of this" Rianni@crystyl:"If nothing else, a good cuddle can help with sulking!" she chuckles, "But that's enough distractions, I'm good now!" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina chuckles, "Let's head to the hangar, then." Rianni@crystyl:"Lead the way!" --- NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile, the Latenter sits on the edge of a system, with its star visible as a red orb in the distance. In front of the ship are pieces of debris, some still bearing the green hue of - NPC@annpc#557 - Romulan warbirds. A tractor beam activates sporadically from the Latenter, moving pieces of the debris around NPC@annpc#557 | The camera zooms through the debris and into the Latenter, where Mischa sits presiding over the operation NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "The scene is set, Commander." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Then it is time to roll the cameras and begin the action" NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "I've manipulated our temporal shielding to give off the same readings as the infiltrators' ships when out of phase. It'll only fool sensors though, shots won't pass through us so - NPC@annpc#557 - let's not get close enough for the Shanakra to open fire on us." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed, we may have grown accustomed to being seen of late. But not today, today we are ghosts again" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "Ready to send the distress call now, Commander." Mischa@crystyl claps her hands together, "Then it is show time! Send the signal" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria taps her console, "Signal is away." NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "Time to be a ghost?" He says with a smirk Mischa@crystyl smiles and nods, "Time to be a ghost" NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "Activating the modified temporal shields now." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "These readings should fool any ship into believing we are a temporal vessel, as long as we stay out of visual range." Mischa@crystyl:"That's all we need. A transwarp 'escape' should be a fitting icing on the cake" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Transwarp systems are ready to go. We can lead them on a little chase at regular warp first too, if we want to buy our team a little more time." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's see how things play out. Keep it in mind, but we may not get the chance depending how sharp they are" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "The Shanakra are appearing on long-range sensors now." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, let's stay sharp and make this convincing" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "Once they are closer, I suggest using our new antiproton array on the debris to further the deception that we are a temporal vessel that destroyed the Romulan ship." Mischa@crystyl nods, "That's what I like to see with making it convincing!" NPC@annpc#557 | A short while later, T'Bee announces, "The Shanakra should be close enough to clearly see our weapons fire." Mischa@crystyl:"Then proceed at your discretion" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel nods and taps her console. The Latenter fires a concentrated antiproton beam into a larger piece of debris, melting a corner of it off NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "The Shanakra has gone to red alert." Mischa@crystyl:"As well they should" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "They're trying to hail us now." Mischa@crystyl:"And sadly this is one occasion where we will not be extending them the courtesy of a response" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "The temporal ships never responded to us when we tried to contact them. Or well, the only response they usually give us is a virus," she chuckles slightly Mischa@crystyl:"And we're not about to do that to them" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "And they're broadcasting a general hail. Should I put it on?" Mischa@crystyl:"Why not" she nods NPC@annpc#557 | An Andorian in a captain's uniform appears on the viewscreen, "This is Captain Irilaar Th'vaalroth of the Federation starship Shanakra. Identify yourselves and explain your actions, or we will - NPC@annpc#557 - classify you as a hostile vessel." Mischa@crystyl:"Let us make like we are ignoring him for now, continue carving up the roast" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel nods, "Yes Commander." The Latenter fires another beam into the debris NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "They're getting closer. Should we run, or wait until they take aggressive action?" Mischa@crystyl:"It would help if they took an aggressive stance, but we also can't risk letting them expose our rouse" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay nods, "I'll pull us away before they can get a good visual." Mischa@crystyl:"Continue the facade until then" she nods over to T'Fel NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel continues with the firing NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "They've sent a final warning to explain our presence and actions." Mischa@crystyl:"Rightly so. Continue to feign ignorance" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "Aye Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "They are nearing visual range now and attempting to acquire weapons lock." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "Time to go, then." He begins turning the Latenter about Mischa@crystyl:"Be ready to take us transwarp if needed" NPC@annpc#557 | Starstreaks appear on the viewscreen as the Latenter jumps to warp NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "The Shanakra is in pursuit." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "I'm accelerating to their maximum warp." Mischa@crystyl:"Good, let's string them along as far as we can now" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "They are matching speed." Mischa@crystyl:"Does the Shanakra have much more in her?" NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "It looks like they're trying to push her in order to catch up with us." Mischa@crystyl:"Let them work for it. When they begin closing, we'll make our jump" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay nods, maintaining course and speed. A few minutes later, he announces, "They're starting to gain on us." Mischa@crystyl:"Time to make our final exit then" NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay grins happily, "Accelerating to transwarp." NPC@annpc#557 | The blue tunnel begins to form on the viewscreen as the Latenter zooms away Mischa@crystyl:"Now let us hope that we bought the away team sufficient time" --- NPC@annpc#557 | The three move through the facility, encountering no further resistance until they enter the hangar. Inside, they find three augments waiting for them, standing between the entrance and the Dart NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Kazem. I thought you'd be here again." NPC@annpc#557 | The central augment steps forward, "It's the only way out. Well, this or the transporter, but I thought you'd want your shuttle back." Rianni@crystyl:"And it is so very kind of you to keep watch over it for us" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "As good as you are Kazem, surely you realize you're outmatched if we've gotten this far already." NPC@annpc#557 | Kazem smiles, "That's why I'm evening the odds." He snaps his fingers and the runabout's deflector suddenly flares up, flooding the room with bright light Rianni@crystyl:"Ok, now that's just cheating" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina yelps and shrinks back, "Hey! That's not fair!" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazem laughs, "What do you take me for, a Klingon? I don't fight fair, I fight to win!" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "I'm not much help with that bright light on...think you can take Kazem?" Rianni@crystyl:"As well you should. It's a shame you still underestimated us" she looks to Acey, "About time to even the odds, would you say?" NPC@annpc#557 | A phaser bolt suddenly shoots out from the Dart, obliterating the unshielded runabout and causing Kazem and his augments to stagger back and shield their eyes Rianni@crystyl grins, "Oops! You appear to have had a slight accident there. Now considering we could have quite easily taken complete advantage and dropped you all right there, but have not done so. Perhaps you - Rianni@crystyl:- will reconsider this final chance to stand aside before any of you get really hurt" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazem narrows his eyes, "Why didn't you shoot us when we weren't aware you had control over your shuttle from here?" Rianni@crystyl:"Because you are not the real enemy here, we have no grudge against you. We just need Sabina here. You will find that nobody else has been seriously hurt either, just incapacitated" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazem: "You're after our benefactors, aren't you?" Rianni@crystyl:"That would depend on who your benefactors are. But if they are who I think they are, then they are really no friends to you" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazem sighs and steps aside, "I can see when I'm outmatched. And to be honest, I don't like the feel of these benefactors either. Reminds me a little of when the Branded Lady allied with those - NPC@annpc#557 - Scryer backstabbers." NPC@annpc#557 | The two other augments with him exchange glances before deciding to follow Kazem, reluctantly stepping aside as well Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "Yeah... fun times all around there! You'll be pleased to know that Vora is doing well for herself now though" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazem: "You've worked with her too?" Rianni@crystyl nods, "I wasn't there for the transition from her pirating days, but I worked for a while with those who were. The Vora I got to know is the Supreme Commander of the Colonial Fleet, and a key - Rianni@crystyl:- figurehead within the Coalition now formed out at the Heart of Unity" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazem: "So that's what she's up to these days...well, get out of here before the rest of the Sanctum arrives." Rianni@crystyl gives a nod of respect, "Hopefully the next time we cross paths, it will be on more friendly terms from the start" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazem nods back, staying out of the way as they board the Dart Rianni@crystyl climbs on board, "Acey, over to you. Time to get back to base" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina and Acey's projection steps inside as well and the Dart begins to lift off. The hangar door opens and they zoom out... NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Odd. I am unable to establish contact with the Latenter." Rianni@crystyl looks over, "They are not at the rendezvous?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "It does not appear so. They will be cloaked, but they are not responding to my communication attempts." Rianni@crystyl:"Extend your long range sensors to maximum, if no sign of the ship then maybe a warp trail if they had to vacate the area" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Scanning. I am picking up a warp trail leading away from the rendezvous point." Rianni@crystyl:"Is it the Latenter?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Affirmative. I believe they accelerated to transwarp, too. It must have been something quite urgent." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "You have a ship capable of transwarp?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well, I won't ask you to catch up to them" she chuckles, "But if we start following their route, will they be able to detect us if they return by transwarp?" Rianni@crystyl nods to Sabina, "Yes, and I am confident that won't be the last surprise for you today" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "The Dart's designed for a low profile. The Latenter has excellent sensors, but if they deviate slightly from the exact course they used to leave the system, there is a chance they may - NPC@annpc#557 - not see us. It would be safer to cloak and wait for them at the rendezvous point." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "We have no stealth detection capabilities all the way out here. You should be safe waiting for your ship to return." Rianni@crystyl nods, "Alright, let's do that then. They must have left for a reason, and for all we know that reason is still lurking around here so stay sharp" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Activating cloak, then." NPC@annpc#557 | The Dart cloaks as it heads towards the rendezvous point and settles in. Fifteen minutes pass without incident, and then... NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Long-range sensors are detecting a ship inbound." Rianni@crystyl:"The Latenter?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "It is too far away for identification, but the sensor data so far does not seem to fit the Latenter." Rianni@crystyl:"Best stay dark then and see who it is" looks to Sabina, "A visitor for the sanctuary?" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "I'm not privy to the Sanctum's schedule these days, but I have a feeling on who it might be..." Rianni@crystyl:"The benefactors?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "It appears to be a Starfleet design. Sentinel-class cruiser, though it is not running any transponders." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Zaya Khan. Jason must've notified her before he attacked us in the brig." Rianni@crystyl:"The Starfleet ship that got 'liberated'..." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "She has no idea we're cloaked here, though. For all she knows we might've warped away already. We should be safe if we remain dark here." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "One ship is not enough to perform an anti-cloaking sweep of the whole system. The possibility that we will be discovered is miniscule, and the Latenter will certainly know to - NPC@annpc#557 - approach under cloak as well." Rianni@crystyl:"Just to be safe, do what you can to keep us out of their way" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I'll make sure we're a safe distance away from them." --- NPC@annpc#557 | A short while later on the Latenter bridge... NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "We are approaching the system. Dropping to cruising speed." NPC@annpc#557 | The blue tunnel slowly fades from the viewscreen NPC@annpc#557 | Daurant: "Rebalancing power levels...and we are good to cloak." Mischa@crystyl:"Stay dark, let's get the lay of the land first" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel nods, "Activating cloaking device now." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "I am detecting a ship near the Children of Khan base. Curious. It appears to be a Starfleet design." NPC@annpc#557 | Nethay: "The Shanakra couldn't have gotten here before we did." Mischa@crystyl looks over, "The lost Sentinel" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "It's definitely not the Shanakra. There's no Starfleet transponder." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee: "I concur with the Commander. The sensor data does appear to be a match for the Sentinel class cruiser." Mischa@crystyl:"What is their current status?" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Fel: "They are holding position near the base." Mischa@crystyl:"First things first, conduct a thorough search for the Dart. If they got out before that ship arrived, they would be lurking here waiting for us. But Acey's sensors won't likely detect us under - Mischa@crystyl:- cloak so they'll be relying on us to find them" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Bee nods, "On it, Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | A minute later, T'Bee reports, "I have located the Dart waiting under cloak at the rendezvous point. We should be able to bring it on board without revealing ourselves." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Very good. Let's get them back and see what they know before acting rashly here. Hold position and continue monitoring in the meantime" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "I have established contact with the Dart. Acey reports that they are bringing a guest. Apparently it's not a prisoner, but an augment who's willingly come along." Mischa@crystyl:"Interesting. Well, then do have Acey show her our hospitality and I will go meet this new guest for myself" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria nods, "I can monitor the system from here and let you know if anything interesting happens." Mischa@crystyl stands, "Thank you" and heads off to meet the new guest --- Mischa@crystyl | By the time Acey and Ori show their guest to a modest lounge, Mischa is already there happily sipping tea and with a tray of more laid out ready NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I went through the liberty of replicating our guest some new clothes of her choosing. I hope you do not mind, Commander." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina steps in after the pair, now having discarded her damaged clothes for a long jacket worn atop a form-fitting suit. Most of her body is now covered, though the bruises on her face she - NPC@annpc#557 - had received during the fighting are already fading away, with only the slightest signs of red as if they had been healing for over a day. It is still visible though due to it being accented - NPC@annpc#557 - by her unusually pale skin Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Not at all, it gave me ample opportunity to allow the tea to properly brew. Come ladies, please join me" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina takes a seat opposite Mischa, "So you're the commander of this ship?" Mischa@crystyl smiles and nods, pouring a tea and offering it to Sabina, "Commander Leveson-Scott, it is a pleasure - albeit a surprising one - to meet you" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "I'm Sabina. Thank you for keeping your ship dimmer than the usual Starfleet lighting. I know you didn't do it for me, but I still appreciate it," she smiles back, taking the tea Mischa@crystyl tilts her head slightly as she observes, "You are photo-sensitive then, presumably owing to your particular brand of genetics I assume?" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, brushing aside some hair to better show the slightly pointed tips of her ears, "It's the Reman DNA." Mischa@crystyl:"Reman, interesting choice. I'd wager that was to favour psionic ability then" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Exactly. That's how I got the visions which led me here." Mischa@crystyl:"Precognition at that? How exactly did your visions lead you here then?" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "I saw visions that the Children of Khan's current course would lead to the opposite of what we're supposed to achieve. That it would cause augments through the Federation to be - NPC@annpc#557 - outright banned and hunted. But Zaya Khan refused to call off her plans and her deal with our mysterious benefactors. So I took matters into my own hands." NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "We found her in the brig of their base. Their local leader, Jason, thought that Zaya Khan had sent us to investigate her sabotage." Mischa@crystyl:"So you are not here as the intention of your actions, but rather an unintended result of getting caught" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Well it wasn't my original plan, but it was only after I got caught that I had visions of these two coming to free me," she gestures to Acey and Ori. "The capturing of the USS - NPC@annpc#557 - Chesapeake has already drawn a lot of attention to us augments, but I'm pretty sure the prosecution I saw in my visions will only come to fruition after the next stage of our plan. Right now, - NPC@annpc#557 - it's just the Children of Khan specifically that Starfleet's hunting down. If our next move succeeds, it might quickly turn into all augments." Mischa@crystyl:"I was informed that you were willing to cooperate, but you come across almost eager at this point. Whilst I won't say it isn't welcome, you will understand if I remain skeptical until hearing all - Mischa@crystyl:- of the details" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Of course. I don't expect you to trust me that easily. Zaya's plan, if it even is her plan and not just our benefactors', is essentially a takeover of the Federation. A coup, if you - NPC@annpc#557 - will. We have some people in the Federation government. A few sympathizers to the augment rights cause, some civilian augments and even some secret augments who've made their way into - NPC@annpc#557 - professions they're not supposed to be in. Our benefactors claim to have people very high up in Starfleet. The deal involves us taking out key figures in Starfleet's leadership not under their - NPC@annpc#557 - control. Within the month, these benefactors will have effective operational control over all of Starfleet." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Quite the curious stance these benefactors have, isn't it? Claiming to have their own sitting in high ranking Starfleet positions and yet still requiring the Children of Khan be needed - Mischa@crystyl:- to get their hands dirty against others. One does not to be a strategist on young Ori's level even to see a patsy in the making there" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "They need someone to do the dirty work for them. I was never a proponent of the plan from the start, and my visions now confirm that they'll just toss us aside once they're done - NPC@annpc#557 - using us. How Zaya could fall for this, I have no idea. I suspect there's something else going on, another part of the deal I'm not aware of. But I don't care about Zaya's personal ambitions. - NPC@annpc#557 - I fight for the cause the Children of Khan should be standing for, and it's obvious that the current plan isn't going to achieve that." Mischa@crystyl:"Either planned betrayal or outright arrogance at her own ability to thwart the benefactors betrayal would be the most likely thought process with Zaya, but that is quite frankly her own problem and- Mischa@crystyl:- not my immediate concern. Stopping her and the rest of the Children of Khan from doing something stupid against the Federation - moreso that is than stealing a starship - is more my concern" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "There are five targets that I'm aware of. Fleet Admirals Jorel Quinn and Enelya Torin, Vice Admirals Tuvok and T'Lia, and the Director of Starfleet Intelligence. You...have more - NPC@annpc#557:- than one ship looking into this, right?" Mischa@crystyl:"Undoubtedly. That is quite the list of targets, ambitious for the most part even for the benefactors" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "The facts do align with what we know so far, a suspected takeover with Admiral Quinn as a likely target. I can conceive of potential ways to eliminate Vice Admiral T'Lia Se'Lai and - NPC@annpc#557 - the benefactors may be able to reach the Director as we know their infiltration of Starfleet Intelligence goes deep. However, assassinating Admirals Torin and Tuvok will be quite the difficult - NPC@annpc#557 - task, considering they are both far from Federation controlled space." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Apparently, Admirals Torin and Tuvok have both discovered something about the benefactors' presence in Starfleet. They'll be secretly returning from their areas of operation through - NPC@annpc#557 - the Jouret gateway for what's intended to be a secret meeting to discuss their next steps. The benefactors somehow learned of this meeting. The Chesapeake is going to be there to eliminate - NPC@annpc#557 - them all in a single strike. As for the other two, I assume you suspected Quinn was already a target due to his scheduled heart operation?" Mischa@crystyl:"It made an obvious vulnerability" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "One of the Deputy Surgeon Generals is aligned with our benefactors, but I don't know which one. Once our agents eliminate Admiral T'Lia, the new Surgeon General, that person is going - NPC@annpc#557 - to move one of our sympathizers in position to eliminate Quinn, and then cover it up as a medical accident. I don't know if the plan will still go ahead if we save T'Lia, but T'Lia is going to - NPC@annpc#557 - be targeted before he is, so she's the one we need to protect first. The problem is, that attack is going to happen at the same time as the Chesapeake's. Which is why I said I really hope - NPC@annpc#557 - you've got friends you can count on." Mischa@crystyl:"I would not be worth my command if I did not have my fingers in enough different pies to exert influence across the galaxy" she grins NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I have calculated an ideal plan of action. Do you wish to discuss it in private, Commander, or in front of our guest?" Mischa@crystyl:"Not to sound untrusting, especially when you have been so forthcoming Sabina; but it would be optimal for me to discuss this first with my staff here. Once they are all up to speed, I will likely - Mischa@crystyl:- then request your presence and further insight" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "I understand. I've been forthcoming, but you have no reason to believe what I said is true. While lining up with what you know so far helps my credibility, I'm sure we both know - NPC@annpc#557 - that the best lies have pieces of truth woven in, and I'd be doubting me too if I were in your shoes.â€ NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina finishes her tea and stands, "I'll let you discuss things over first." Mischa@crystyl:"I appreciate your understanding. Rest assured, we'll be talking more once I've got everyone else up to speed. Thank you" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Thank you for having me aboard and giving me a chance. You'll see that you made the right call soon, I'm sure." She smiles and turns to head off NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Should one of us escort her?" Mischa@crystyl:"It would be unfair to expect her to find her own way around so soon. Ori, would you mind?" Mischa@crystyl | Ori nods, "Of course not Commander" and trails after Sabina Mischa@crystyl:"Alright Acey, let's hear what you're thinking" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "Assuming that the information Sabina has given us is indeed correct, which I calculate an 81.7% chance of it being, it would be wise to take her suggestion and not act alone in - NPC@annpc#557 - this. I recommend presenting this information to the Justicar to have them and their Romulan allies deal with the Chesapeake's attack on the secret meeting. If these admirals are returning - NPC@annpc#557 - quietly through the Jouret gateway, I calculate a high possibility that it will take place in or near Republic space. They may also be aware at this point that Romulan territory is, if not - NPC@annpc#557 - entirely clear of infiltrators, at least safer than Federation territory for them at the moment." Mischa@crystyl:"Which would leave us to deal with the threat against T'Lia" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I have been correlating information while Sabina was explaining. Admiral T'Lia's itinerary puts her in the Federation core for the next month, which is likely where the attempt will - NPC@annpc#557 - happen. It will be easier for us to operate there than the Romulans or the Justicar, who is still officially deemed a rogue vessel." Mischa@crystyl:"This will also put us one step closer to playing into the infiltrators hands" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "That is true, but if we prevent the assassinations, they will have nothing to blame on us. We may even be able to rally the admirals and form a plan of action to remove the - NPC@annpc#557 - infiltrators, if all goes well." Mischa@crystyl:"That is true. Perhaps most disconcerting in all of this is the fact that these Admirals all seem to have grown wise, and made plans to meet. Yet we learn about it from what is essentially hired - Mischa@crystyl:- muscle" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I believe they are attempting to keep the information to as small of a circle as possible to prevent others from learning of their plans, but it is likely that someone within their - NPC@annpc#557 - inner circle is associated with the infiltrators. It is not our being blamed for these assassinations which I believe to be the worst possibility. We are only one ship, like the Justicar. - NPC@annpc#557 - And as long as we can save some of the admirals, we will still have allies who know the truth." Mischa@crystyl:"This is one occasion where I would prefer the absolutes to the grey middle grounds; we must ensure they all survive. These five have been targeted for a reason, and their collective strength - Mischa@crystyl:- could combine to force a turning point in this cold war" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "Precisely. And while she may not be the most obviously vital, I believe T'Lia is one of the most important to save, second only to or perhaps on par with the Director of - NPC@annpc#557 - Starfleet Intelligence." Mischa@crystyl:"Because she is perceived as the easiest target and a way into the group?" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Because the data Starfleet Medical holds, and is capable of retrieving if they do not currently possess it, may be key in exposing the infiltrators. While the infiltrators themselves - NPC@annpc#557 - seem to be biologically indistinguishable from regular members of Starfleet, we know they have been, for reasons we do not yet fully understand, been replacing their retired infiltrators with - NPC@annpc#557 - members of other species who have undergone species reassignment surgery. Medical may play as critical of a role in unravelling this conspiracy as Intelligence." Mischa@crystyl:"Or a critical role in ramping up their operations..." she nods, "Well then, let's make sure this is another one for Keelah to owe me" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "Admirals Torin and Tuvok currently oversee the largest contingents of Starfleet forces located away from core Federation territory, while Quinn is responsible for the defense of - NPC@annpc#557 - Sector 001. We are fairly confident at this point that Admiral Yanishev, who presides over all non-MACO military movements, and Admiral Sh'viaqos, who heads Starfleet Security, are affiliated - NPC@annpc#557 - with the infiltrators. In the event that we are able to save one or all three of Admirals Quinn, Torin or Tuvok, there is between a 73.91 to 91.24% chance, depending on the admirals alive, - NPC@annpc#557 - that the Federation will be faced with full civil war should we fail to find a way to expose the infiltrators." Mischa@crystyl:"Then we have no choice but to succeed" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "The infiltrators have likely targeted these admirals for this very reason. They wish to avoid that outcome as much as we do, but it would not be an ideal outcome for either side. - NPC@annpc#557 - This is why I believe the safety of T'Lia and the Director to be the most paramount." Mischa@crystyl:"I will make my own subtle enquiries regarding the Chief. In the mean time, we must mobilize the Justicar and track down Admiral T'Lia" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "I will send you Admiral T'Lia's itinerary. Sabina may have more insight on where and how the Children of Khan plan to carry out their attack. I have also done some research into Sabina - NPC@annpc#557 - herself." Mischa@crystyl:"I welcome any insights into her, and the others involved" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey: "Her full name is Sabina Lin Dvorakova. She was born on Luna but suffered from a rare condition known as Oren's Syndrome. It can be kept under control by modern medicine, though the - NPC@annpc#557 - illegal genetic treatment she underwent meant that she could forgo regular treatments. She and her family disappeared from official records when she was the age of six, likely when she - NPC@annpc#557 - underwent the procedure. She resurfaced in the Federation twenty years later, openly proclaiming herself an augment and attempting to advocate for augment rights. Her efforts did not bear any - NPC@annpc#557 - fruit and she quickly vanished again afterwards." Mischa@crystyl:"I can certainly see why that would drive her to this group" NPC@annpc#557 | Acey nods, "I believe she is not lying about her motive, which gives her more credenc-" Mischa's combadge chimes Mischa@crystyl gives an apologetic look for the interruption as she taps, "Leveson-Scott" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Victoria> "The Chesapeake is transporting everyone out from the Klingon base." Mischa@crystyl:"They must be preparing to ship out. We need to contact the Justicar" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Victoria> "I will establish contact with them immediately, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you. We will have to tail the Chesapeake until the other pieces are in play" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Victoria> "Understood. We shall follow them once they leave the system." Mischa@crystyl:"Let me know when you have an encrypted channel to the Justicar" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Victoria> "Will do." --- Sierra Reyes@anncaris | A short while later, Mischa heads into her ready room as they manage to establish comms with the Justicar Sierra Reyes@anncaris appears on Mischa's console, wearing a more casual uniform jacket rather than the full uniform, "Hello Commander. Let me guess, you learned something important." Mischa@crystyl:"We finally made a breakthrough" she nods Sierra Reyes@anncaris smiles, "About time we made some progress. What'd you have?" Mischa@crystyl:"We have a list of their targets now, a much more refined window of opportunity" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Targets, plural? It's as we thought, then. Good thing we've got both major Romulan governments on side now. The Imperials are probably a little busy rebuilding and maintaining order, but we still - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- have their eyes and ears in their own territories." Mischa@crystyl nods, "And in order to cover all of these bases we're going to need your help, and theirs" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We're as eager to end these infiltrators' grasp on the galaxy as you are. Maybe even more so, considering my original Federation crew hasn't seen their homes and families since the mutiny. What do - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- you need us to do?" Mischa@crystyl:"Apparently, these Admirals have grown wise to the threat against them and are attempting to convene and form a counter plan. Of those, we are going to intercept and protect Admiral T'Lia Se'Lai - Mischa@crystyl:- since she is also likely a planned route them to get to Quinn using his upcoming medical procedure. What we need you to do is protect Admirals Tuvok and Torin as they make their way back to this - Mischa@crystyl:- region through the Jouret gateway" Sierra Reyes@anncaris nods, "Do we have any details on how the infiltrators plan to hit them?" Mischa@crystyl:"They are using the rogue augments. The captured Sentinel - the Chesapeake - is making its way there now with a full complement of augments. They are running without transponders, but we are - Mischa@crystyl:- currently tailing them so can easily help you pick up the trail" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"We heard about the augments taking that ship. Justicar should be able to handle a Sentinel, but we'll alert the Romulans just in case they have backup. We'll meet up with you and take over from - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- there while you intercept Admiral Se'Lai." Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you, I see this as a real definitive step towards resolving this whole affair. If we can get all of these Admirals working together with full knowledge of the infiltrators it could lock them - Mischa@crystyl:- down for good. Then of course there are the augments who are apparently not just on that ship, but have infiltrators and sympathisers of their own" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"I'm not surprised. The Federation's blanket restrictions on all augments have always been a little unfair if you ask me. Now it's no excuse to be helping a terrorist organization, but it's a bit - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- of a vicious cycle. We've been scared of augments since the Eugenics War and have always been on the harsher side to them. But the nature of most augments makes them react pretty violently, - Sierra Reyes@anncaris:- making the situation worse and fueling the fear. It's unfortunate- we've gotten Romulans, Klingons, Founders, even Borg and Iconians to the negotiating table, but it's our own people genetically - Sierra Reyes@anncaris - modified that we've never succeeded at making peace with even after all these years." Mischa@crystyl:"Which is most likely more due to a shortcoming on our part than theirs" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"That's what I think, too. What the augments are doing right now are wrong, obviously, but maybe we're at least partly to blame for it ourselves." Mischa@crystyl:"But sadly, socio-political idealism is not something we can use right now. I'm sending you our dossier on the leader of these augments, it may help in dealing with in whatever capacity you end up doing so" Sierra Reyes@anncaris nods, "We'll be on our way immediately. Let's hope this is the beginning of the downfall of these infiltrators." Mischa@crystyl:"There is no room for hope this time. We do whatever it takes to safeguard these Admirals and ensure their meeting proceeds as planned" Sierra Reyes@anncaris:"Then we'll make sure we don't fail." --- NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile, Ori shows Sabina to a set of guest quarters NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina steps through the door, asking, "So, will you be putting me under guard?" Rianni@crystyl steps in with her, "That would be a somewhat fruitless exercise on this ship" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "And why's that? Very good automated surveillance and security?" Rianni@crystyl:"That is an understatement. I don't mind admitting that even I would be hard pushed to subvert things on this ship" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina smiles, "Impressive. But I suppose I expect nothing less from a ship like this. Will I be restricted to quarters, or am I permitted to roam anywhere, and you'll simply respond if I try - NPC@annpc#557 - anything I shouldn't?" Rianni@crystyl:"There are restrictions on certain decks that you can not access. The turbolifts will not allow you to them, and should you attempt to bypass them by any means then you would be automatically - Rianni@crystyl:- transported into a holding cell. These are not personal limitations though, it is simply standard operating procedure here. Beyond that though, you are welcomed as a guest and so may conduct - Rianni@crystyl:- yourself freely within that" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "Thank you." She makes her way over to the sofa, taking a seat. "So, how did you come to work for Starfleet? You seem to be an augment too." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Or does Starfleet Intelligence bend the rules more than the other branches?" She adds with a smirk Rianni@crystyl follows a little, staying on her feet, "Contrary to popular myth, I do not believe SFI bends the rules that much. Well... they don't break them at any rate, they just take a more pragmatic approach- Rianni@crystyl:- to most things. As for me, despite appearances I am not actually an augment" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "You're...not human, then?" Rianni@crystyl:"Quite the contrary actually, I am actually the most Human Human there is" she chuckles, "And yes, I appreciate that probably requires some context... may I?" she gestures to the empty seat opposite NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina smiles, "Of course. I'm just a guest here, after all. It's not like I own this room or anything. But yes, I'm curious about this context." Rianni@crystyl sits, "Guest as you may be, as long as you are here these quarters are your home. Nobody would presume to take liberties here. So yes, context about me... though I am not augmented, I am - Rianni@crystyl:- genetically engineered. Not modified or enhanced beyond the capacity of the Human genome, just designed as the peak of the current evolution of the species" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "So you don't have any DNA spliced in or artificially edited, you were made to be what humans are capable of evolving into in the future?" Rianni@crystyl smiles, "I should have guessed an augment would be able to better interpret that concept than anyone else! Yes, you're exactly right. Of course, evolution can bring genetic mutation and dead ends. - Rianni@crystyl:- So my design isn't strictly the peak of the Human race, but simply the peak potential of Humans as they are now" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina nods, "I see. You know, ironically you're almost exactly what Khan would have wanted. Not Zaya Khan, the original Khan from the Eugenics War." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, it is not lost on me that my very existence is arguably an insult to all of the hopes and dreams of augments like him" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "An insult? So you weren't made by people who hold that view?" Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "No, if I was the result of Human genetic experimentation it would probably bundle me much more closely to all of you. I was created by an alien race to learn about the Federation.- Rianni@crystyl:- They are genetic masters to rival the Progenitors, and already at the very peak of their own evolution just as the Progenitors were when they mastered the art. Unfortunately, this limited their - Rianni@crystyl:- capacity to properly gauge species outside of their self inflicted isolation. And so when they created tools like me, they had no concept of the idea that other species were not also at their - Rianni@crystyl:- evolutionary peak" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Tools like you? What were you made for that requires a peak human specimen, rather than one of their own?" Rianni@crystyl:"Don't get me wrong, the peak design is simply my creators' way of interpreting genetic coding, they did not set out to purposely create superior examples of a race. As for the purpose, my original- Rianni@crystyl:- role there was what they call an Observer; Observers are used to assess a civilization for first contact potential by the Creators. They had bad experiences with the more traditional approach, and- Rianni@crystyl:- so withdrew into themselves as a matter of survival. Following those events, development of the Observers was a perfectly natural response as it allowed them to learn about a society from the - Rianni@crystyl:- inside, not from the dressed up front typically presented during first contacts. I believe there is an old saying about revealing skeletons in a closet. You could say that the Creators choose to - Rianni@crystyl:- explore those skeletons before deciding if they want to risk exposing themselves to a new people" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "An interesting approach. Is that why you're in Starfleet now, exploring these skeletons in the closet?" Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "No, far from it! That was some years ago now, and well... the situation grew rather complicated. You see my Creators have their version of Starfleetâ€™s Prime Directive. For first - Rianni@crystyl:- contact that specifically means doing nothing to alter the natural course of a civilization through observation. So the Observers are never simply created out of the blue, but only when - Rianni@crystyl:- circumstances suit. This typically means someone in a favourable position dying in relative isolation. The Creators would then retrieve that lost body and use it as the template for an observer. - Rianni@crystyl:- The template is also restored as far as they can, and stabilized in suspended animation. This allows a neural link to sustain the observer with basic knowledge of the species, and their own - Rianni@crystyl:- identity. Once the observation is complete and the Observer is extinguished, the template is either laid respectfully or returned to where they were found" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "How come you don't seem to be serving in your usual function? I mean, Starfleet Intelligence is a good place to infiltrate for the Federation's skeletons, but you're not exactly - NPC@annpc#557 - staying out of the way right now, are you?" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "If your purpose was completed some years ago, shouldn't you also be...extinguished?" Rianni@crystyl:"No, SFI might be good in some ways, but it is hardly the heart and soul of the Federation. As I said, there were complications owing in part to my Humanity. Without dragging along the specifics, - Rianni@crystyl:- after I was recalled I refused the order and asked for retirement; to live out the life I had memories of. This is probably why observations normally only last a few months, but mine dragged out - Rianni@crystyl:- to well over a year so I became far more attached to my friends and family than the Creators would have liked. Anyway, they refused so I requested asylum from the Federation. They panicked and had- Rianni@crystyl:- me executed, then returned my template to Starfleet since she was in fact quite healthy after their treatments. I am technically a version 2 of the Observer in fairness, remade before the template- Rianni@crystyl:- was released to attempt service as an envoy to stabilize a very shaky relationship. And... that didn't work either, the nasty folks the Creators tried to save Starfleet from used those events to - Rianni@crystyl:- start hunting the Creators again, they fled in a mass exodus and we eventually found the more reasonable Starfleet folks that I had faith in. I did actually serve alongside them for a while, but - Rianni@crystyl:- being on the same ship as my template was... awkward, so I took an offer to come here!" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "And you were allowed to join Starfleet because you're not technically an augment?" Rianni@crystyl:"Augmentation had nothing to do with it. I was not actually welcome in Starfleet officially, I only served alongside them while representing the Creators. I suppose this comes back to that SFI rule - Rianni@crystyl:- bending, since the Commander here has much more leeway with field commissions than an SFC Captain, she was the one who put me in my own uniform" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina grins, "So there was some rule bending involved. I knew it! Just not quite for the matter I thought it was bent for," she chuckles slightly Rianni@crystyl:"One of the core functions of SFI over SFC is to achieve necessary results for the greater good no matter the cost. So when someone like the Commander decides a person is of value to their - Rianni@crystyl:- objectives - even someone once considered an enemy of the state like me - they can act on that judgement, at least within their own domain. I am admittedly uncertain if I would be acknowledged as - Rianni@crystyl:- a serving officer should we visit Earth, for example" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "You don't have to justify it to me. I'm not a big fan of Starfleet rules anyways. I probably wouldn't be here either if the Commander did everything by the book, after all." Rianni@crystyl:"That is true, and equally true of many she now holds as her innermost circle. Though I do not presume to know what you desire, I think it fair that you realize the options available to you here" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "What I desire is to put a stop to Zaya and her benefactors' plans. I haven't thought much further ahead than that. I feel like that's already quite a lot of thinking for the time being." Rianni@crystyl nods, "Of course, and don't worry this is not a sales pitch or a recruitment drive. Just nudging open a few doors so they are there ready for you, should you decide to open them" she stands, "But - Rianni@crystyl:- I've thrown enough at you for now I'll bet" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "Well, thank you for explaining to me exactly who you are. And even though you aren't technically an augment, your service might just be able to change at least a few minds about what - NPC@annpc#557 - they think about...slightly different humans, we'll say." She smiles Rianni@crystyl:"There is far greater potential out there right now too, so maybe next time I can tell you about all that's been going on out towards the rim!" NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "I look forward to hearing it. I've come across a few rumours and news reports, but nothing more than the average galactic citizen at this point." NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina: "It sounds like quite the interesting series of events out there, though." Rianni@crystyl:"Until next time then!" she smiles and waves, turning to head out NPC@annpc#557 | Sabina waves back, "Until next time."