Members of the Valley Forge crew once again find themselves having to resolve a local crisis while investigating the current situation of the Gamma Quadrant...
NPC@annpc#557 | The camera slowly zooms in towards a barren, rocky planet, one which clearly has no native life. As it moves closer however, structures can be seen on its surface NPC@annpc#557 | We hone in towards these structures, which become visible as rows upon rows of pyramid-shaped constructions NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://i.imgur.com/QdWGfPN.jpg NPC@annpc#557 | The camera enters one of the pyramids, showing a large, eerily empty chamber NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/halo/images/9/97/H2A_CinematicRender_MausoleumoftheArbiter.jpg NPC@annpc#557 | There is no music as the camera moves through the structure, which is lined with rows upon rows of pods, each one bearing a few lines of text in the An language. The only sound is the humming - NPC@annpc#557 - of machinery. A few drones hover about, tending to the technology, which is the extent of the activity NPC@annpc#557 | Then, as the camera moves through a window into what looks like some kind of operations centre, the calm is suddenly disrupted. An alarm sounds every few seconds, a red light flashes, and a - NPC@annpc#557 - small handful of An scramble around the consoles dotted around the small area. A door in the back slides open and a Masan steps through NPC@annpc#557 | Masan: "What's going on? NPC@annpc#557 | Kalan: "Satellite picked up an unidentified ship inbound, Lieutenant." NPC@annpc#557 | Masan: "Zealots?" NPC@annpc#557 | The Kalan shakes her head, "No, the signature isn't consistent with Dominion technology." NPC@annpc#557 | A Vesan speaks up, "And the technology is too advanced. The Dominion isn't going to give a ship of this capability to conscripts." NPC@annpc#557 | The Masan moves over behind the Vesan, "That probably means it's not mercenaries, either. If they've hired mercenaries with hardware like that, it would be engaging our ships, not attacking a - NPC@annpc#557 - tomb world." NPC@annpc#557 | A male Kalan joins, "Who other than zealots would have the impertinence to attack a tomb world?" NPC@annpc#557 | Masan: "Maybe they're not here to attack. If they've never met us before, they could think this is a small colony and want to make contact." NPC@annpc#557 | Female Kalan: "I doubt it, Lieutenant. The system's made a match." NPC@annpc#557 | Masan: "Show me." NPC@annpc#557 | The Masan steps over to the Kalan's console, which flickers to display... NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.enjin.com/users/15014689/pics/full/3987379.jpg NPC@annpc#557 | Masan: "Power up the defense turrets." NPC@annpc#557 | Vesan: "Lieutenant, the turrets are no match for that vessel's armaments." NPC@annpc#557 | Masan: "We were posted here to watch our honoured dead. We will do our duty, even if it means joining our brothers and sisters in death. Open the weapons locker. We fight to the last An." NPC@annpc#557 | The camera pulls up as the An move to arm themselves. We zoom out from the pyramid and as we have the entire arrangement of structures in frame, several white tachyon bursts can be seen firing - NPC@annpc#557 - up from turrets placed around the area. Return fire comes in the form of orange phaser bolts, quickly disabling the turrets NPC@annpc#557 | As the shooting stops, a shadow slowly looms over the collection of pyramids, a shadow distinctly the shape of a Starfleet Sentinel-class cruiser... --- NPC@annpc#557 | ELSEWHERE IN THE GAMMA QUADRANT NPC@annpc#557 | Keelah sits in her ready room when her combadge chirps Keelah@crystyl taps, "Se'Lai" NPC@annpc#557 <C - Eva> "Captain. Commander Kesa of our An escort has an update for you. Should I patch her through?" Keelah@crystyl:"Please do" NPC@annpc#557 | The Tak'an Commander appears on Keelah's console NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "Captain Se'Lai." Keelah@crystyl:"Commander. You have news?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa nods, "There has been another report of an encounter with the Lexington." Keelah@crystyl:"So we are adjusting course?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "That is what I wish to discuss with you. The most direct route towards their reported position will take us through this region here," she leans forward and taps something on a console - NPC@annpc#557 - on her end, and the feed is replaced by a starchart highlighting their current position, the location of the Lexington sighting, the direct route and the region she mentioned. "There are - NPC@annpc#557 - reports of Dominion zealots currently active in this region." Keelah@crystyl:"Do you believe we should avoid the region?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "That is up to you. I assume you aren't familiar with Dominion zealots? I doubt they were employed during your war with them." Keelah@crystyl:"Which is exactly why I am interested to hear your recommendation. What can you tell me about them? NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "They are conscripted forces. You are aware that some Dominion members worship the Founders as gods?" Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, very much so" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "Zealots are conscripted from those worlds, usually given outdated military equipment, or outsourced productions not up to the Dominion's official standards. They've never done this - NPC@annpc#557 - before in our long history of conflicts, but the Dominion are getting desperate now. Sometimes, they are used to supplement Jem'Hadar forces. Other times like these, they are sent to regions - NPC@annpc#557 - we've already liberated to cause trouble and make strengthening our hold difficult." Keelah@crystyl:"They certainly sound like a headache we could do without" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "The ones in the region I mentioned are essentially privateers. They function like Dominion-sanctioned pirates, but with religious loyalty to their masters. Their ships are no threat to - NPC@annpc#557 - our group, but they /are/ Dominion forces. I know you want to stay out of the fighting, which is why I wanted to inform you of their presence. Zealots are infamously unreasonable, and as - NPC@annpc#557 - you're travelling with An ships, we will be a potential target, even if they stand little to no chance of winning. Zealots are far from Jem'Hadar when it comes to skill, but they're just as - NPC@annpc#557 - willing to die for the Dominion." Keelah@crystyl:"I would prefer to avoid needless violence. What will it cost our journey time if we avoid the region?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "A little under three of your weeks." Keelah@crystyl:"And how long will the direct journey take?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "Only six days to cross the region where the Zealots were reported active, a total of four weeks overall. The complete detour will take about seven weeks. There is also the option to - NPC@annpc#557 - travel through the region but avoid the vicinity of specific systems where zealot activity is suspected or confirmed. That will make the total journey somewhere around five and a half weeks." Keelah@crystyl:"Either way, it seems unlikely to make a difference of any significance. The Lexington will be long gone even at our most optimistic scheduling" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa nods, "I doubt we'll be catching the Lexington exactly where they were sighted. Andarash ships have moved in to respond, after all. Shall we set the long course, then?" Keelah@crystyl:"It makes sense in this instance to avoid unnecessary risk. We can send a cloaked scout ahead to identify any potential threats, and refine our course as needed to optimize the route" Keelah@crystyl:"After all, even with these zealots presenting no tactical threat to the convoy as you say, involvement could end up costing us even more time as we have seen elsewhere" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "A good assessment. There's also one more thing you may want to know." Keelah@crystyl:"There are many things I still want to know. So do feel free to tick one off that list for me" she smiles a little NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "It concerns the nature of the sighting. The report says that the Lexington attacked a tomb world." Keelah@crystyl:"A... tomb world?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "It is our people's tradition to honour our dead by placing their bodies in a secure place. While its origins date back to ancient religions that are no longer practiced by the majority -- NPC@annpc#557 - of An, this particular tradition lives on as a way to show respect and remembrance to those we've lost. That is one of the reasons our exploration Motherships are so large. In addition to - NPC@annpc#557 - housing the living, they also house the dead, though I imagine the expedition would not have shown you the catacombs during your visits there." Keelah@crystyl:"You imagine correctly. But I thought we were heading into recently liberated territory. How is it a world such as this exists so far inside former Dominion territory?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "Those who fall in battle are buried on barren worlds we have taken and are fairly confident that we can hold. They serve as a memorial to the battles of the campaign these soldiers - NPC@annpc#557 - served in. While there have been some occasions where tomb worlds resided within regions that fell back into Dominion hands, the Jem'Hadar have a sense of warrior's honour and never lay hands - NPC@annpc#557 - upon the tombs. There is only one case of a tomb world being desecrated." NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "The story goes that a Vorta executed several of her Jem'Hadar commanders when they refused to desecrate the tombs on her orders. Ultimately, she fired the ship's weapons herself to - NPC@annpc#557 - destroy the tombs. The retaliation by the Andarash cost the Dominion significant resources, and the Vorta was in turn executed by the Founders, with her line being discontinued. So even they - NPC@annpc#557 - know better now." Keelah@crystyl:"And Captain Omar knows better as well. Even in outright conflict there is nothing to be gained from targeting such a world" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa nods, "Apparently, they were after something very specific. The tomb structures were all left intact. There were no casualties in the attack; the Andarash team stationed there were all - NPC@annpc#557 - stunned. They woke to find that two pods were missing, one of an Andarash officer, and the other of a Marshal. As far as we can tell, there was no relation between the two." Keelah@crystyl:"That is oddly specific. Clearly there is more meaning to this, and more intelligence behind their activities. Can we access the files on the two?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "I will send you what we have." Keelah@crystyl:"I'll get our people investigating the connections as we travel" NPC@annpc#557 | Kesa: "Keep us informed if you find anything." Keelah@crystyl:"Of course" --- T'Lana@anncaris | As the VF and co. are underway, Keelah receives a comm from the Loki... Keelah@crystyl taps her console, smiling and sitting back, "Commander" T'Lana@anncaris:"Captain. We have examined the data on the missing An graves you sent us." Keelah@crystyl:"Anything of note from your investigation?" T'Lana@anncaris:"The officer had a distinguished service record before her death, but I can see no reason for the Lexington to target her remains. She is far from the most distinguished hero of this recent - T'Lana@anncaris:- conflict. The Marshal has an interesting history, however." Keelah@crystyl:"Oh?" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Apparently, he was retired until the war broke out. He requested to return to service, but one does not simply step back into a role which is the equivalent of a Starfleet flag officer. - T'Lana@anncaris - Others had already filled his previous position. As a result, he took a voluntary demotion to the rank of Vice Commander, where he served as the second-in-command of a cruiser until he was - T'Lana@anncaris - killed in the field. Upon his death, he was returned to his previous rank and buried as a Marshal, which is why he is referred to as such now." Keelah@crystyl:"Interesting perhaps, but nothing to indicate why the Lexington would want to exhume him. Or anyone for that matter" T'Lana@anncaris:"Unfortunately not. This entire raid on the tomb world is quite illogical, and I can think of no justification for such an action." Keelah@crystyl:"Likewise, at least as long as we assume that it is what we are told it is and nothing more. The only logical conclusion I can reach right now is that there is something else going on here involving- Keelah@crystyl:- the An, and those two exhumed officers in particular" T'Lana@anncaris:"That is my conclusion as well. In any case, this invasion of the An's burial site will serve to further hostilities between the Lexington and the An. As we have witnessed ourselves, the An have - T'Lana@anncaris:- already classified them as a threat, but the Andarash are usually reasonable, and more in line with Starfleet than Dominion forces. However, all information we have so far suggests they hold - T'Lana@anncaris:- their dead in very high esteem. Should the Lexington encounter Andarash vessels other than those travelling with us now, I calculate an 84.13% chance that the An will not yield until either the - T'Lana@anncaris:- Lexington or their own vessels are destroyed." Keelah@crystyl:"Which only further brings their motives into question. Even if there was something underhanded going on at that tomb world and they needed to gather evidence, there are far more efficient ways to - Keelah@crystyl:- go about such an operation than staging a brazen attack - even if they did make a point of leaving the personnel unharmed" T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. They are no Starfleet Intelligence crew, but there must have been a more subtle way to do so than a direct attack." Keelah@crystyl:"It almost seems like the entire point was to antagonize the An. Which would only make sense if the theory about the Lexington no longer being under Starfleet control were true. But even then, the - Keelah@crystyl:- only benefit of such a tactic would be to paint Starfleet as their enemy, and since there is no actual Starfleet presence out here there is no tangible reward to that" T'Lana@anncaris:"Unless the intention is to shift the blame away from the faction controlling them, who are truly responsible for the attack. Perhaps they would rather lose the Lexington than draw the ire - T'Lana@anncaris:- of the An." Keelah@crystyl:"None of these scenarios are particularly inviting" T'Lana@anncaris:"It is fortunate that we encountered the An before the Lexington's raid on the tomb world rather than after. Convincing them to stand down would be more difficult now." Keelah@crystyl:"That much is true. In related news, what do you make of these zealots?" T'Lana@anncaris:"The Dominion does not seem the sort to make use of conscripts. While the Jem'Hadar are expendable, they are also engineered for war and highly skilled combatants. Utilizing conscripts and sub-par - T'Lana@anncaris:- equipment certainly shows the depths of the crisis they are currently in." Keelah@crystyl:"It does indeed seem to be a far cry from the Dominion we faced off against not that long ago" T'Lana@anncaris:"They seem to have fallen a long way since then. While the zealots may be poorly trained and poorly armed, I would still recommend caution if we encounter them. As of this moment, they are an - T'Lana@anncaris:- unknown factor to us. Those who are at a disadvantage will often find creative methods to even the odds. I suspect the zealots have minimal oversight from the Dominion and do not adhere to their - T'Lana@anncaris:- usual military doctrine, which will make them highly unpredictable opponents." T'Lana@anncaris:"For an Intelligence officer, it is always preferable to be facing a known and understood enemy than an unknown and unpredictable element, even if they may seem inferior." Keelah@crystyl smiles a little, "But if all our enemies were known and predictable there would be no need for an intelligence service now would there" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I will endeavour to gather further information on these zealots." Keelah@crystyl:"Hopefully we will not need to engage with them at all, but who is to say how our fortune will fair" T'Lana@anncaris:"It is always better to be prepared, even if these preparations prove unnecessary." Keelah@crystyl:"Exactly. Was there anything else you wanted to discuss?" T'Lana@anncaris:"Not for the moment, Captain. I will keep you informed of any developments." --- Keliaya@anncaris | Several days into their journey, Keelah takes the turbolift to the bridge to begin her shift for the day Keliaya@anncaris | The lift opens up onto the bridge where Kelly has been keeping watch over the night shift Keliaya@anncaris stands as Keelah exits, "Good morning, Captain." Keelah@crystyl steps over, sipping a mug of coffee, "Good morning Kelly. Another peaceful night shift I take it?" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Everything was nice and quiet, so Eva and I went through the information on the region that the An sent us. Found something that may be of interest there, though." Keelah@crystyl:"What did you learn?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eva taps her console, putting the file of one 'Felgan System' on the viewscreen Keliaya@anncaris:"The Felgan System. Home to Felgan Prime, formerly a Dominion world like most in this sector." Keelah@crystyl looks up over the rim of her mug Keliaya@anncaris:"Under the Dominion, it was one of the secondary trade hubs of the region. It had business, but it wasn't the most important port. The primary trade hub was devastated by the same plague we've been - Keliaya@anncaris:- trying to find a cure for. Now, it's the main trade hub. But that's not the interesting part." Keelah@crystyl:"It isn't?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eva: "You know how the Dominion was forced to free the Jem'Hadar from ketracel white as part of their recent agreement with the Federation? We can't verify that they've done it for /all/ - Keliaya@anncaris - Jem'Hadar, but they've definitely done it for some, as the ships we sent through to explore Dominion space like the Lexington reported no violations of the agreement." Keelah@crystyl:"I take it something here suggests ketracel is still in production?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eva: "The opposite, actually. Most Jem'Hadar still stayed loyal to the Dominion, since the loyalty engrained into them from training is enough. But there's some exceptions, some Jem'Hadar - Keliaya@anncaris - who've gone rogue. These exceptions were probably why the Dominion implemented the white. After the Dominion withdrew from this region, the An came in to offer the Felga their protection and - Keliaya@anncaris - were turned down. The Felga had apparently already made a deal with a band of rogue Jem'Hadar." Keelah@crystyl:"Does this perchance link in with the zealots we have been told about?" Keliaya@anncaris:"Partly. Because of their protection arrangement with the rogue Jem'Hadar, Felgan Prime is a neutral world, not subject to any of the policies of the Dominion or the Commonwealth. And the Felga - Keliaya@anncaris:- have really taken advantage of it. Even though their independence was still rather recent, they've gotten a reputation as a free port. They do business with anyone- An or Dominion, even pirates - Keliaya@anncaris:- and scavengers. It's apparently a port that's friendly to Dominion zealots, though the An patrol the nearby regions not under Felga jurisdiction to try and catch any they can. Some still slip - Keliaya@anncaris:- through though." Keelah@crystyl:"Interesting, as you say. We'll make sure our scouts are extra vigilant so we steer clear of them" Keliaya@anncaris:"I was actually thinking to pay them a visit. Not the Valley Forge, of course, that's too much of a risk. But with the An patrolling the region, most zealots get through by ditching their warships - Keliaya@anncaris:- and travelling on freighters and transports. The Felgan System itself is rather safe. If anyone starts trouble, the Jem'Hadar have free reign to punish them as long as the trouble is dealt with. - Keliaya@anncaris:- And going easy isn't a concept they're familiar with. Maybe I've spent too much time with Mischa and T'Lana...but it sounds like a good place to learn more about what we might run into." Keelah@crystyl smiles a little, "I think those two have been rubbing off on all of us more than we'd care to admit. So, you want to take a recon mission out there?" Keliaya@anncaris smiles back, "Specifically, Seelix. I think she'd be right at home in a port like Felgan. And they do supposedly have the best goods for lightyears around, so we might be able to pick up some - Keliaya@anncaris - supplies while we're at it, too." Keelah@crystyl:"Alright, sounds like a fruitful enough venture. Let's get a mission out then" Keliaya@anncaris:"Do you want me to oversee Seelix again, or do you think it's a good idea to have someone who specializes in Intel like T'Lana leading this one?" Keelah@crystyl:"I have no objection either way; You, T'Lana, even Rianni would make for suitable companions on this. Sin could also be useful on such a mission, though I don't know if anyone deserves having her - Keelah@crystyl:- and Seelix at the same time..." Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "That...might be a little too much, yes. I'll get a team together and be ready to head out with Seelix's ship once we near the system." Keelah@crystyl:"Sounds good" --- Keliaya@anncaris arrives on Seelix's ship in her excursion uniform alongside Rianni Keliaya@anncaris:"Time for you to get some fresh air again, Seelix." Seelix@crystyl looks around and snorts, "I see you're fully on board with the whole 'Starfleet undercover' bit then" Keliaya@anncaris:"We're not exactly going undercover. Even if someone recognizes our uniforms out here, Felgan's a free port. Their policy is to do business with anyone as long as things are kept civil in their - Keliaya@anncaris:- territory. So, no harm in having the benefit of our excursion uniforms." Seelix@crystyl:"Riiiight..." Keliaya@anncaris:"I've spent some time in the Rigel System, but this is still more your kind of planet. You think it might be a good idea to dress more casually? Some freighter crews have uniforms too, especially - Keliaya@anncaris:- ones who are part of big shipping companies. The people here aren't going to know any better seeing as they haven't met Starfleet before." Seelix@crystyl:"Yeah, you might be surprised. Especially with former Jem soldiers skulking around and that Lexington out there pissing everyone off. Just saying is all; what folks'll say to Starfleet and what - Seelix@crystyl:- they'll say about Starfleet are two very different things" Keliaya@anncaris:"I suppose so. We'll replicate some plain clothes before we get there, then. Course plotted and set?" Seelix@crystyl nods, "We're good to go whenever you're ready" Keliaya@anncaris:"Take us out. We'll have plenty of time to change on the way." Seelix@crystyl nods and the ship is soon underway Keliaya@anncaris:"Speaking of the former Jem'Hadar soldiers and keeping things civil...it seems like the laws are fairly standard. Their trader's guide sums it up fairly simply. Negotiating and haggling are fair - Keliaya@anncaris:- game. You can convince someone to buy something at a higher price than what it's worth or sell something for lower than its value, as long as you don't lie about the product. Scamming is strictly - Keliaya@anncaris:- prohibited, as is any kind of false advertising. You can make a deal sound nice, but you can't say anything about goods that isn't true." Seelix@crystyl grins, "Oh this will be fun!" Keliaya@anncaris smiles, "I had a feeling this would be your sort of place." Seelix@crystyl:"So, got any shopping list for me this time or just hunting for bargains?" Keliaya@anncaris:"A bit of both." She reaches over the console to pass Seelix a PADD, "Here's some supplies to keep an eye out for, but if you see any bargains we can use, feel free to negotiate some deals there." Seelix@crystyl takes the PADD, giving it a skim, "Fair enough" Keliaya@anncaris looks to Rianni, "As for you Lieutenant, if we do run into trouble down there, self-defense is permitted, but it's best to fight only as much as needed and run. If the Jem'Hadar beam in to see - Keliaya@anncaris - someone running away from a fight, they'll likely target the aggressors. Technically, Felga law allows you to defend yourself with lethal force if necessary, but practically, it seems traders - Keliaya@anncaris - recommend engaging in fights as little as possible. They've seen Jem'Hadar come in and gun down both sides of a fight without bothering to figure out who started it." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni nods, slipping on a short black jacket, "Of course Commander, it's not like I am ever spoiling for a fight or anything" Keliaya@anncaris smiles, "That's why I brought you and not any of Lexi's crew." She moves to replicate some clothes for herself too. "Oh, and if you find any weapons of interest, we're authorized to purchase - Keliaya@anncaris - those for study. While we're not on the front lines, we are travelling in the middle of a war, and it might be beneficial to understand any unusual weapon designs around these parts. We won't - Keliaya@anncaris - be acquiring any starship arrays of course, but personal equipment could give some insights if they use any unique particles for energy weaponry or anything like that." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Makes sense. I'll keep an eye out for any personal defensive tech in a similar vein too" Keliaya@anncaris:"Seelix and I will keep an eye on other interesting tech too, things we might be able to learn from, or at least learn about the residents of the region from. There's one other thing, too." Seelix@crystyl & Rianni both pause and look to Kelly Keliaya@anncaris:"This is apparently one of the few ports open to Dominion zealots. That's a new kind of force the Dominion is fielding in this war, composed of conscripts from the planets that are loyal to the - Keliaya@anncaris:- point of worshipping the Founders. Many of them have to smuggle themselves in and out, along with any supplies they acquire, due to the An presence in the region." Seelix@crystyl:"So you want to get a bead on this smuggling ring too. Got it" Keliaya@anncaris:"No, not quite. It might be helpful to find the smuggling ring or anyone who does business with the zealots, but only to learn more about them. We're working with the An here, not /for/ them, and - Keliaya@anncaris:- we're trying to keep neutral in this war going on. So we don't want to antagonize the zealots or make life difficult for them. We're just looking for intel in case we run into them outside of a - Keliaya@anncaris:- safe trading hub." Seelix@crystyl smiles, "Information is a valuable commodity after all. I like your thinking Boss!" Keliaya@anncaris smiles back, "Told you travelling with us wouldn't be so bad, Seelix." Seelix@crystyl:"Yeah, I never knew you uniforms had it in you. Guess being out in the wild has done you some good after all" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni narrows her eyes on Seelix, "You... do know we're not planning to gather intel just to then extort profit out of the An right? Right...?" Seelix@crystyl turns to Rianni, hand clasped to her chest in faux shock, "You wound me Leff-tenant!" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni just eyerolls again, "We both know that's what you were thinking" Seelix@crystyl grins, settling back to her seat, "Maaaaybe..." Keliaya@anncaris:"Let's not go around selling information. It might be profitable, but we're just collecting it for our own use. We've got plenty else to trade." Seelix@crystyl grins and winks, "Gotcha" Keliaya@anncaris:"We've got a Starfleet Intelligence ship with our group, so don't go trying to sell it behind our backs, either," she grins Seelix@crystyl smiles, "How could I forget one of my favourite customers!" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "What?" Seelix@crystyl:"What?" Seelix@crystyl & Rianni both stare and blink-blink a moment Keliaya@anncaris shakes her head, "I'm going to have to ask T'Lana about this..." Seelix@crystyl chuckles, "Good luck. You know the one thing worse than a Vulcan to get a straight answer out of?" Keliaya@anncaris:"A Vulcan Intelligence officer?" Seelix@crystyl snaps her fingers, "Now you're catching on!" Keliaya@anncaris:"Great, now it's not just the Intel officers rubbing off on me..." --- Keliaya@anncaris | Later, as they near their destination... Keliaya@anncaris steps out, dressed in her new outfit, "How's this look?" Seelix@crystyl gives a scrutinizing 'hmmm' "...less Starfleet more... dominatrix. I approve!" Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "I was going for something like a more formal merchant's attire, but that works too! I'm sure it'll fit in where we're going..." Seelix@crystyl:"You, know I think I've got some barding in the back somewhere. you could strap up the Leff-tenant and-" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni launches a PADD that bounces harmlessly off the back of Seelix' head, "Do not finish that sentence please" Seelix@crystyl grins back Keliaya@anncaris:"It's only a getup to stand out less, we don't have to literally fit the look!" She smirks, "I wouldn't mind, but let's not get carried away with why we're here." Seelix@crystyl:"Right, got to stay on mission and all that" Keliaya@anncaris grins, "I can always save the outfit for later, after all." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "So how far out are we now?" Keliaya@anncaris returns to her console, "Not far, now. Plenty of ships popping in and out of long-range sensors. Probably traffic coming and going from the system." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "I'll keep watch on them" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Let me know if you see anything of interest." Keliaya@anncaris | A few minutes later, Rianni's sensors pick up a small ship which appears to be a heavily modified freighter, armed with numerous disruptors and even a torpedo launcher. From the nature of the - Keliaya@anncaris - upgrades, it seems intended for offensive use, possibly a pirate ship of some kind Seelix@crystyl | Rianni pulls up the details for the others, "Well here's a suspicious one if ever I saw" Seelix@crystyl looks at the screen and gives a nod of approval, "Not bad for a hauler. Certainly got some serious aftermarket hardware on there" Keliaya@anncaris examines the details and nods too, "That's certainly some impressive modifications. Unfortunately I don't suppose they're meant to do any good. As dangerous as this region is, that configuration - Keliaya@anncaris - doesn't look intended for defense." Seelix@crystyl nods, "Yeah, could be a good glimpse of the kind of thing your zealots are using to come and go here" Keliaya@anncaris:"It's certainly possible," she taps away on her console. "Probably not that particular ship, though. There's only lifesigns of one species on that ship, probably just a crew and no passengers. - Keliaya@anncaris:- Cargo looks pretty full of a combination of Dominion and An tech, though." Seelix@crystyl:"Could be freelance runners" Keliaya@anncaris:"Maybe. I doubt they attacked actual Andarash or Dominion ships. As impressive as these upgrades are, that ship's still not going to take down a proper military squadron. More likely salvage from a - Keliaya@anncaris:- battlefield, given the tech from both sides." Seelix@crystyl:"Makes sense" Keliaya@anncaris nods towards Rianni, "Good spot, Lieutenant." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "I'm sure there'll be plenty more to spot" Keliaya@anncaris | Indeed, a few more minutes later as the system itself comes onto long-range sensors, Rianni picks up many more ships. Some of them are modified civilian designs, while others are freighters - Keliaya@anncaris - and transports still serving their original purpose. Some of those are gathered in convoys with armed ships, either the modified variant or ones that seem to have been designed for combat, - Keliaya@anncaris - serving as escort. There are also a few smaller, faster freighters like Seelix's, well-designed for blockade running or smuggling Keliaya@anncaris | Looking through them, Rianni soon spots one with a strange lifesign distribution- a smaller number of one species distributed around the ship, likely the crew, and a large number of another as - Keliaya@anncaris - passengers. The ship itself seems to be a transport modified to be rather well-armed Seelix@crystyl | Rianni flags it to the others again Seelix@crystyl nods, "Nothing like a good bit of people trafficking" Keliaya@anncaris:"Seems we've come to the same conclusion there. According to the files, that's one of the main reasons Felgan Prime decided to go independent instead of joining the Commonwealth. Any kind of - Keliaya@anncaris:- trade goes, including slavery and substances banned in Commonwealth space. We shouldn't have to worry about being kidnapped, though. Capturing people as slaves is forbidden, but anyone captured - Keliaya@anncaris:- outside Felgan territory is fair game." Seelix@crystyl:"How convenient. Honestly, if these people are going to sanction a trade they should sanction the whole process, not just the neat and tidy end of it. Hypocrites" Keliaya@anncaris:"Having people risk being captured and sold into slavery isn't exactly good for business, I imagine..." Seelix@crystyl:"Then they should not endorse that trade at all is my point" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Can't argue with you on that. I don't think they should endorse that trade under any circumstances, but unfortunately Starfleet doesn't have any authority out here. And thanks to their - Keliaya@anncaris - agreement with the Jem'Hadar, neither does the Commonwealth." Seelix@crystyl:"Yeah, been a while since I set foot in a completely free port like this now" Keliaya@anncaris:"Oh and since we're on the subject, I should mention- while it's illegal to capture someone against their will for slavery, it /is/ legal to willingly sign yourself into slavery, either for a - Keliaya@anncaris:- specific duration or indefinitely depending on the contract. I'm sure I don't need to tell someone of your experience to be careful with what deals you make though. You probably know it all - Keliaya@anncaris:- much better than I do." Seelix@crystyl:"Aah yes, I've done a few rounds of places that operate like this" Keliaya@anncaris:"I thought as much. Pretty sure I remember the Carrans permitting something similar back home, too." Seelix@crystyl nods, "Yeah, this place seems a lot like their little paradise" Keliaya@anncaris | As they enter the system, Rianni's sensors pick up the Jem'Hadar ships in orbit around the planet itself, no doubt the ones used by the rogue Jem'Hadar to keep order around here. They seem to - Keliaya@anncaris - be of the newer Dominion designs recently reported by the Federation, rather than Dominion War era ships Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "So that's what these things look like up close" Keliaya@anncaris:"Could be a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with them, in case we have to defend ourselves against them at some point in the future." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni smiles, working away, "Way ahead of you!" Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "I had a feeling you'd be jumping at the chance." Seelix@crystyl eyerolls, "You realize the sensors gather their readings whether you're watching them or not right?" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "Yeah, but if you leave them to it then you can't drill down on the detail and then it's too late once they're out of active range!" Seelix@crystyl:"You should just get one of your other 'you's' to do it for you then. Like my mechme's, I'm sure there's enough of you around by now to crew a full ship yeah?" Seelix@crystyl grins Seelix@crystyl | Rianni doesn't rise to it. But pokes her tongue for a self satisfied last word when nobody's looking Keliaya@anncaris looks to her console, "Huh. They've already given us transport coordinates. No ID request or anything. They really let anyone in here. But they did scan us." Seelix@crystyl beams, "Maybe my reputation precedes me and they are all too keen to welcome an entrepreneur of my calibre!" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "That. Or they have no standards" grins, now she has revenge Keliaya@anncaris chuckles at the exchange, "Anyways, we can head down to the surface, whenever everyone's ready." Seelix@crystyl:"Let's do it then" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni nods, "I'm good to go" Keliaya@anncaris turns and heads for the transporter --- Keliaya@anncaris:| The three materialize on a transporter pad, stepping out to what seems to be a city with significant historical roots. While large modern skyscrapers can be seen, they are mixed in with much - Keliaya@anncaris:- older buildings from various different eras of history. While there are large glowing signs both atop the towers and on street level serving as shop and street signage, the overall aesthetic of - Keliaya@anncaris:- the place seems much more in line with an older Earth city, most notably the ones with surviving infrastructure from before WWIII Keliaya@anncaris:"I was expecting something a bit more like Underworld or Rigel. Maybe it's just my impression of these places in the Alpha Quadrant..." Seelix@crystyl:looks around, "Yep. Definitely got that Carran feel" Keliaya@anncaris:nods, "I can see it. But it's a bit...cleaner than I thought it would be. I guess it's only just become a free port, though." Seelix@crystyl:"Or maybe you just have some nasty preconceptions about places like this" Keliaya@anncaris:"And of course, you've got good experiences with places like this, I take it." Seelix@crystyl:"Like you even have to ask! It's almost impossible to walk away from a world like this without a good profit" Keliaya@anncaris:"Impossible for someone like you, you mean. I imagine there's plenty who can walk away at a loss, if they don't know what they're doing." Seelix@crystyl:"Well sure, but that has nothing to do with the fact that they seem to look after the place" Keliaya@anncaris:"Right..." She checks her PADD. "There's a good vendor in this sector of the city. I'll lead the way, and you can do the bargaining, Seelix." Seelix@crystyl:"Sounds like a plan!" Keliaya@anncaris:starts to lead the way. As expected, there are an extremely diverse range of different species around here. The species that seems to be predominantly managing stores and conducting maintenance and - Keliaya@anncaris:- construction work are a race with pale blue skin of average to short stature. These are presumably the Felga, given their roles and numbers Keliaya@anncaris:grins at Rianni, "Another smaller species for you, Lieutenant. Though it seems like some of them can get as tall as we are." Keliaya@anncaris:| Though Rianni would certainly seem to be on the taller end of the spectrum if she were Felga! Seelix@crystyl | Rianni beams contentedly, "It's about time too!" Keliaya@anncaris:chuckles, "Maybe species evolving to be very large is more of an Alpha Quadrant thing." Seelix@crystyl:| Rianni hrms, "Maybe..." Keliaya@anncaris:"If only the war wasn't going on. This could be a nice place for us little people to settle down!" Seelix@crystyl:"Nice to see you two are enjoying yourselves" Keliaya@anncaris:"Hey, those of us less into bargaining have got to find other ways to entertain ourselves around here!" She glances at a large building featuring a sign translating into 'CASINO' just opposite a - Keliaya@anncaris:- smaller, three-storey structure which is clearly a club from the loud throbbing music emanating from it. "Of which there seems to be plenty, too. These Felga can give the Ferengi a run for their - Keliaya@anncaris:- latinum when it comes to setting up a trade hub." Seelix@crystyl:"Now there's a lucrative prospect in itself..." Keliaya@anncaris:"What, pitting the Felga against the Ferengi?" Seelix@crystyl:grins, "Too right!" Keliaya@anncaris:"Now that you mention it, that would be interesting to see. And I'm sure you can find /some/ way to make profit out of it, too..." Seelix@crystyl:"If I play my cards right I could retire out of it" Seelix@crystyl:| Rinni: "didn't you do that once and become ruler of a whole world. Remind me again how that worked out for you..." Seelix@crystyl:grumbles Keliaya@anncaris:chuckles, "Very good point, Lieutenant." Keliaya@anncaris:slows as a crowd seems gathered ahead. As they approach, they notice several hovering drones, projecting Felgan text which translates to 'STAY BACK' Seelix@crystyl:"Okay then... I'm going to go out on a limb and guess this is not part of your plan" Keliaya@anncaris:shakes her head, "The map doesn't give live updates of roadblocks. There's a way around through some side streets, but it might be a good idea to see what's going on. We are here for intel too, - Keliaya@anncaris:- after all." Seelix@crystyl:"Well you two have fun with that. I'm going to look for intel over... here..." Seelix@crystyl:| Rianni looks and frowns, "You mean the casino..." Seelix@crystyl:grins Keliaya@anncaris:"I really should keep an eye on you. See what you can learn here, Rianni." Seelix@crystyl:| Rianni nods and begins working her way into things Seelix@crystyl:looks to Kelly, "You just want to check it out too don't you" Keliaya@anncaris:"I'm more worried you'll find some way to cheat and get us chased down by Jem'Hadar, actually..." Seelix@crystyl:chuckles, "Yeah... can't blame you for that really" Keliaya@anncaris:"I knew you were thinking about it." Seelix@crystyl:"Hey, in my defense... um, yeah! You have to think about something to consciously avoid it right!" Keliaya@anncaris:"Most people don't have to consciously avoid cheating...they just do it by default." Seelix@crystyl:"Eh, that's peoples loss then" Keliaya@anncaris:| Meanwhile, Rianni sees that in the plaza sealed off by the drones' messages, a squad of Jem'Hadar march down, escorting a group of aliens who are lugging along multiple anti-grav carts filled - Keliaya@anncaris:- with barrels Keliaya@anncaris:| Some of the crowd are just waiting for the drones to let them through, but she spots one man watching with clear interest Seelix@crystyl:| Rianni of course pays special interest to him Keliaya@anncaris:| The man seems to be speaking on comms as he watches the shipment Seelix@crystyl:| Rianni gets close enough to listen in Seelix@crystyl:rolls 53 (1-100) Keliaya@anncaris:| Rianni gets as close as she dares without drawing attention to herself, but fortunately it's close enough to hear at least the man's side of the conversation, though not who he's talking to Keliaya@anncaris:| Man: "What's the budget we're working with?" Keliaya@anncaris:| Man: "Is that enough? That stuff is valuable." Keliaya@anncaris:| Man: "There's no point in procuring a little sample. We can't replicate it. Even the Dominion can't synthesize it, and we all know what they can do with biotech." Keliaya@anncaris:| Man: "Yes, that's why it's so valuable. It's only produced in that specific ecosystem." Keliaya@anncaris:| Man: "Look, I'm not a scientist either. Something about it having neural links." Keliaya@anncaris:| Man: "No, it's not alive. Why in the hells would that stop us anyways? People are full on selling slaves in this place." Keliaya@anncaris:| Man: "Oh, alright, resale value. Well, unless we get a full barrel of this stuff, we probably can't find a buyer. The whole quadrant knows trying to synthesize it is a dead end, or the An - Keliaya@anncaris:- would've done it long ago." Keliaya@anncaris:| Man: "Ah, well. Guess we'll have to pass up on this opportunity. Don't know when we'll see a shipment like that again. It's not easy to smuggle out, with how strict the Andarash are on it." Keliaya@anncaris:| The man ends the call. The Jem'Hadar disappear down a street and the drones hover off, letting the crowd pass as they follow the group to seal off something further down the road for the - Keliaya@anncaris:- valuable shipment to pass without interference Seelix@crystyl:| Rianni disperses with the crowd and finds the others to share a transcript of what she overheard --- Keliaya@anncaris and Seelix enter the casino, which despite the alien planet, is almost exactly what they expect to see. There are a number of terminals with gambling games around the establishment as well as - Keliaya@anncaris - tables where more complicated games were being played Seelix@crystyl looks around and grins, "Well if I'd had known we had this to look forward to, I'd have brought more of your valuables along!" Keliaya@anncaris:"I know I said don't cheat and get us into trouble, but please don't gamble everything we have away, either..." Seelix@crystyl:"Relax, I'm just pulling your leg!" Keliaya@anncaris steps over to a terminal, tapping away at it, "Looks like they use a tokens system. Not unlike the credit chips in the Rigel casinos." She taps away at the terminal, which provides a little card Seelix@crystyl joins her, quietly sizing the place and it's patrons up Keliaya@anncaris hands the card to Seelix, "Here. Some funds for you to play with. You're not getting more if you lose it all." Seelix@crystyl grins, "And it isn't even my birthday!" Keliaya@anncaris | The place seems very much in line with the architectural style of the planet. It seems they've designed the casino after their classic historical aesthetic. The patrons, meanwhile, appear - Keliaya@anncaris - to be primarily fellow spacers from their dress and the way they carry themselves, not to mention that the majority were off-world species, though some Felga were present as players and not - Keliaya@anncaris - just dealers Seelix@crystyl:"Well, I'm going to go work my magic. You coming or doing your own thing?" Keliaya@anncaris:"I need to keep an eye on you to make sure 'your magicâ€™ doesn't get us chased off the planet," she smirks. "And I might learn a thing or two." Seelix@crystyl turns and cracks her knuckles, "Alright, let's see what this place is made of then!" and makes her way to a nearby table Keliaya@anncaris | Seelix finds everyone playing some kind of game involving diamond-shaped dice Seelix@crystyl observes briefly but soon jumps into things, paying a surprising amount of attention to the conversations around her. Not that anyone could tell from looking as she seems engrossed Keliaya@anncaris | The people around her don't seem to be discussing much key intel, but she does pick up a good bit of how to play the game from them, and is able to very quickly grasp the flow of the game! Seelix@crystyl gives it a fair go, but her attention drifts around the room. Clearly she's searching for the inside track on something lucrative more than playing the games Keliaya@anncaris | As Seelix plays and tries to find something more lucrative, Rianni returns from observing the Jem'Hadar escorting the shipment and listening to the man Seelix@crystyl | Rianni heads over to Kelly, "That was more interesting than expected" she says, showing Kelly her tricorder with a transcript of what she overheard Keliaya@anncaris looks through the transcript, "Looks like they blocked the way for a very important shipment to pass through. I wonder what it was that's so valuable. It's clearly not able to be replicated, but - Keliaya@anncaris - the way he talked about it, it seems much more than just the region's equivalent of latinum. You don't buy latinum, you use latinum to buy other things..." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni nods and points on the tricorder, "And see here, all this talk about neural stuff and biotech" Keliaya@anncaris nods as well, "Neural links would explain why it can't be replicated. Like how we can't produce bio-neural gel in a replicator, that has to be specifically manufactured. From the sound of this, - Keliaya@anncaris - it can't even be manufactured. It has to be produced naturally. Reminds me of some book I read about what things were like in the early days of chemistry..." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni tilts her head curiously Keliaya@anncaris:"When most civilizations just begin studying chemistry, they often lack the knowledge or capability to produce many types of chemicals in the lab. And when they do produce something, it's often far - Keliaya@anncaris:- less efficiently than how nature produces it. Some chemicals were completely unproducible artificially until certain advancements were made. Bio-neural gel packs can't be replicated, but they can - Keliaya@anncaris:- still be made. Still, our technology isn't perfect. There are some things that just aren't possible for us to create yet, with a replicator or more involved processes." Keliaya@anncaris:"They're the exception rather than the norm now. Things like this were just much more common in the ancient times of most civilizations." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Yeah, I think I get it. So this shipment could have just been something cutting edge to these people then! But... they seemed awfully focused on flying off the An's sensors with it" Keliaya@anncaris points to something on the transcript, "Look here. They claim even the Dominion can't synthesize it. That suggests it's cutting edge to just about everyone here." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "That could certainly justify the extreme handling measures" Keliaya@anncaris:"And the suggested value." Keliaya@anncaris | As they talk, Rianni can swear she spots Eva among the patrons, drinking quietly by a bar to the side of the casino... Seelix@crystyl | Rianni doubletakes, "Was that-...? No, it couldn't be" Keliaya@anncaris:"What do you see? It's not another you, is it..." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni; "What? No, that's just silly!" she starts, craning her neck to try and catch another glimpse, "I just... I could swear I just saw Eva sat over there" Keliaya@anncaris peers over, "No, you're right. Well, partly right. That's not Eva. That's the Witch." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni frowns, "Now what the hell is she doing here..." Keliaya@anncaris:"I have no idea, but we should find out..." Keliaya@anncaris looks around to see if Seelix is still at the table Seelix@crystyl is not there Keliaya@anncaris sighs, "Great. Keelah is going to have my pips if Seelix slips away under my watch. Assuming we can even get back without her ship. I'll go find her and make sure she doesn't get up to any - Keliaya@anncaris - mischief. Corner the Witch while she's still here and see what she wants." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Alright. I'm not sure which of us has got the short straw here..." she smiles heading off to see the witch Seelix@crystyl | It takes some searching, but Kelly soon spots Seelix off at another table Keliaya@anncaris sneaks up to see what Seelix is up to, doing her best not to let Seelix know she's being watched so she doesn't hide whatever she's doing Seelix@crystyl now has a lot more treasure in front of her than the card Kelly gave. Somehow also including a pair of somebody's socks... Keliaya@anncaris narrows her eyes, "You earned all that in this time?" Seelix@crystyl:"Obviously" she hands the card back, "Here you go! Oh, and with interest" she holds out a prize sock for Kelly Keliaya@anncaris takes the card back, "I'm...not sure I want those. How did you even /get/ those?" Seelix@crystyl laughs, nodding towards a sorry looking spacer skulking out of the place with bare feet, "That idiot was so convinced he was on to a winner in this place he was about to put his ship down as - Seelix@crystyl:- collateral. A friendly wager showed him otherwise" Seelix@crystyl actually seems to have... helped Keliaya@anncaris:"Is that so? Well, you certainly didn't make me regret giving you that little allowance there..." Seelix@crystyl:"Like there was ever any doubt!" Seelix@crystyl has of course been spending all this time getting to know the players around town and learning whats really going on. Or trying at least Seelix@crystyl looks around, "So where'd she go? See! I told you to put a leash on that girl! While she's been off doing who knows what, I've got the dirt on that rukkus from outside you know" Keliaya@anncaris:"/She/ was telling me about what was going on outside. Did you learn something about that too?" Seelix@crystyl nods, seeming to be more focused on her game despite giving all the detail, "Yep. Everyone's all excitable over it - some miracle substance coming out of Commonwealth space. So rare there's only - Seelix@crystyl:- even one world that it comes from in the Protectorate!" Keliaya@anncaris:"Interesting. That must be the world with the ecosystem mentioned by the person Rianni listened in on," she smiles. "You're good at this, Seelix." Seelix@crystyl:"Give me a bit longer and I'll probably have the name and coordinates to the world" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Alright, you're doing well so far. I'll go check on Rianni. Don't wander off too far. I'll be keeping an eye in your direction..." Seelix@crystyl:"Like I ever would... oh, but... oh if I'm going to do this... I'm going to need more socks. And possibly a tribble..." she wanders off Keliaya@anncaris sighs, "Of course you will..." --- Keliaya@anncaris | As Kelly goes to find Seelix, Rianni approaches the table in the corner where the Witch is sitting and quietly observing the establishment Rianni@crystyl approaches, "You do get around now, don't you" Keliaya@anncaris | The Witch smiles, "Hello...Rianni, is it?" Rianni@crystyl:"I'm surprised you have to ask. Don't you preemptively know everything?" she smiles Keliaya@anncaris | Witch: "Yes, but there are also so many of you. It can be difficult to keep track." Keliaya@anncaris | The Witch smirks slightly, "Even for me." Rianni@crystyl eyerolls, "TouchÃ©. So, mind if I join you?" Keliaya@anncaris | Witch: "Of course you may. I was expecting you, after all." Rianni@crystyl pulls up a seat, "Of course you were... But the question is why?" Keliaya@anncaris | Witch: "Something is about to occur here. Something which I have an interest in, and which you may be able to assist in." Rianni@crystyl:"And here I was getting my hopes up that you had come here to assist us" Keliaya@anncaris | Witch: "My purpose is not to render you any direct aid. But what occurs here...could assist you. Not directly, quite possibly not in ways you will even recognize." Rianni@crystyl:"What occurs here..." she ponders, "You are talking about the delicate biotech that is being moved around town" Keliaya@anncaris | Witch: "Yes. And no. I also possess an interest in the source of that substance, which, for the record, is not biotech. But the source of that substance lies elsewhere, as does that interest." Rianni@crystyl:"You really do like talking in circles don't you. Is that an omnipotence thing?" Keliaya@anncaris | The Witch smiles, "Perhaps. You desire a clear answer? Very well. Someone will need your help. You will know when it occurs. And I am sure your Starfleet morality shall guide you the rest of - Keliaya@anncaris - the way." Rianni@crystyl eyes narrow, "If it were as simple as that, you would not have felt the need to have this conversation" Keliaya@anncaris | Witch: "How very observant of you. Yes, your Starfleet /regulations/, on the other hand, are not always in line with your beliefs. There is still a chance that you may take the wrong path." Rianni@crystyl:"I see. So you fear the outcome of a morality choice then" Keliaya@anncaris | The Witch nods, "You could say that. When the time comes, consider what Emma would want." Rianni@crystyl doubletakes, clearly not prepared for that, "What /Emma/ would want?" Keliaya@anncaris | Witch: "Or what a good Starfleet captain would do, but that's not always the most consistent or predictable, is it? One of the reasons you amuse the Q so much." Rianni@crystyl:"Why am I starting to get the feeling that you are talking more about me personally facing this dilemma, rather than us as an away team..." Keliaya@anncaris | Witch: "It's a bit of both. Speaking of your team, your Commander's heading back over. You'll want to report in to her," she gestures behind Rianni Rianni@crystyl looks around Keliaya@anncaris | She doesn't see Kelly or Seelix Rianni@crystyl turns back to the witch with a confused look Keliaya@anncaris | She finds that the Witch has vanished Rianni@crystyl stands, looking around now even more confused Keliaya@anncaris | This time, she spots Kelly walking up to her! Rianni@crystyl:"Commander, there you are!" Keliaya@anncaris:"I wasn't gone for /that/ long, was I? Is everything alright?" Rianni@crystyl sighs, "Just that witch messing with me for giggles, I'm sure" she chuckles Keliaya@anncaris chuckles as well, "Wouldn't put it past her. So, did she tell you what she's doing here?" Rianni@crystyl:"Not really. But she told me what she wanted to... she suggested that something is about to go down here, possibly involving that stuff from earlier. She was clearly concerned that we are to face a - Rianni@crystyl:- moral quandary, and that regulations would outweigh the 'right choice'" Keliaya@anncaris:"A moral quandary? I wonder what that could be. Is it related to that shipment everyone's talking about?" Rianni@crystyl:"In some part at least. She said she was more interested in wherever that stuff comes from though" Keliaya@anncaris:"But that's somewhere back in Commonwealth space, as I understand it. Can't be why she's here on Felgan Prime." Rianni@crystyl:"I guess it's all connected somehow? Hey, if this bio-whatever stuff comes from a specific planet and is as special as everyone thinks, do you think it might actually be connected to the plague?" Keliaya@anncaris considers for a moment, "If everyone knows it comes from the Commonwealth, they wouldn't have a particularly good claim blaming the Dominion for it. I doubt it's the source of the plague, but - Keliaya@anncaris - with how the Witch perceives time, it could be related. Either connected to the source of the plague in the distant past, or a potential solution towards it in the future." Rianni@crystyl:"Being a potential solution could be a favourite of the two, given that we are here now and she has drawn our attention" Keliaya@anncaris:"Did she suggest we should procure a sample of it?" Rianni@crystyl:"Nothing so specific. I couldn't even tell you for certain if that actually has anything to do with what she wants or not..." Keliaya@anncaris nods, "As expected from her... Come on, let's check back on Seelix. She's...actually been helpful, so I left her to gather some more information while we're here. I doubt it's a trick to play - Keliaya@anncaris - nice once and /then/ slip away, she probably could've slipped away the first time if she wanted to." Keliaya@anncaris:"Even then, I don't like leaving her alone for too long..." Rianni@crystyl:"And just when I thought today couldn't get any stranger..." Keliaya@anncaris chuckles and starts looking for Seelix again Rianni@crystyl | Kelly finds Seelix exactly where she left her. Shockingly Keliaya@anncaris:"And there she is. Huh. Didn't even move tables this time." Rianni@crystyl:"Will the wonders never cease!" Keliaya@anncaris:"I should scan her and see if she got switched with an alternate reality version or something. But for the moment, it might be a good idea not to...how do you humans put it? Don't overscrutinize a - Keliaya@anncaris:- gifted horse?" Rianni@crystyl:"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Not that I know what a gift horse is, or why you would ever want to look in a horse's mouth. But go figure" Keliaya@anncaris:"Yes, that saying. Must have some very specific historical origins. Anyways." Keliaya@anncaris steps up beside Seelix, "Learn anything new?" Rianni@crystyl | Seelix nods, "Like there was ever any doubt!" Rianni@crystyl | Seelix grins, ushering the pair over to a corner where they are less likely to be overheard Keliaya@anncaris follows over, "So, what else do you have for us?" Rianni@crystyl | Seelix: "Alright, so that shipment comes from somewhere called the Kalphen System. It's like a super miracle cure or something, like stem cells with a neural link. This old spacer - the former - Rianni@crystyl:- owner of these fine boots!" she indicates to her feet, "-reckons it's pretty much like programmable biomatter. With the neural link you can apparently 'think' yourself to a cure or some such!" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "I can see why that would be valuable. But if the An had access to this, why didn't they use it to combat the plague?" Rianni@crystyl:"Maybe they know it's in too limited supply or something?" Keliaya@anncaris:"True. If it comes from only one system, it must be very slow to produce." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix: "Yeah, or maybe they know more about this plague than they're letting on!" Keliaya@anncaris:"That's also possible. Good work, Seelix. I don't suppose there's much more to learn about this miracle cure from spacers and gamblers. Let's start our shopping. Maybe some of the people who handle - Keliaya@anncaris:- supplies might have further information for us." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix nods, "And now I've got a nice bit of pocket money to work with, it's the perfect time to go shopping!" Keliaya@anncaris smiles and stands, "Come on, then." --- Keliaya@anncaris | An hour later, the three are in a warehouse area, where Seelix has just finished negotiating a trade Keliaya@anncaris smiles, "And that's some more business done. Good work, Seelix." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix: "Eh, not bad. Not exciting either though" Keliaya@anncaris:"Well, we're only getting some basic supplies. Not much negotiating to be done there, I imagine. Everyone buys these goods, so the prices are pretty set. And the supplies themselves are nothing - Keliaya@anncaris:- special, especially after seeing that shipment the Jem'Hadar were guarding so closely." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix, "Yeah exactly. Which means these traders are no fun!" Keliaya@anncaris:"Looks like there's a major market tower which connects to this building. We could explore there, see what we learn, maybe pick up some more interesting things on the side." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix beams, "Good plan boss!" Keliaya@anncaris smiles and begins leading the way, "The connection should be over here..." Rianni@crystyl:"This all seems very elaborate for a trade area. I wonder if that was always the purpose of this place" Keliaya@anncaris heads through a tunnel with signs pointing the way, "Judging from the blend of different styles, it's probably got a long and very rich history. These older, more traditional-looking buildings - Keliaya@anncaris - might very well predate when the Dominion took over, and who knows what they used to be before then." Rianni@crystyl:"It would be interesting to learn more about these people while we are here. But don't worry, I know that is not our mission" she chuckles Keliaya@anncaris:"We're still out here to explore, Lieutenant. It might not be our main reason for visiting here, but there's always room to learn more!" Rianni@crystyl:"I will keep an eye out for points of interest, but won't go out of my way for it then" Keliaya@anncaris | The three emerge from the tunnel into a busy building with a number of stores within. Looking up, they can see that the market area stretches up for a few levels, though it's unclear whether - Keliaya@anncaris - the entirety of the tower is a shopping centre or if the higher levels have some other purpose Rianni@crystyl:"This may take more time to explore than we have here..." Keliaya@anncaris:"It's...a little bigger than I expected. I thought the first level or two were going to be a shopping area, and the rest just offices. Let's just pass through and see what we come across." Keliaya@anncaris | After a few minutes of walking, Rianni spots a shop with 'Defensive Equipment' in the name, sporting a number of displays showcasing weapons Rianni@crystyl pauses, "This may be a worth a quick look in line with our secondary objective" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Let's check it out." Rianni@crystyl heads in and starts browsing Rianni@crystyl | Seelix meanwhile seems disinterested and hangs around outside Keliaya@anncaris keeps an eye on Seelix while Rianni heads inside. A Felga steps out from the shelves to greet Rianni Keliaya@anncaris | Felga: "Welcome to Teldan Defensive Equipment. Can I help you find anything specific, or are you just browsing?" Rianni@crystyl:"Just browsing for the moment thanks. I don't know yet what sort of technology you generally have around here" Keliaya@anncaris | The Felga gestures around himself, "As you can see, we mostly keep weaponry on our shelves. Pistols, rifles, stun devices." He points behind the counter, where several suits of armour are on - Keliaya@anncaris - display. "Teldan sells armour and personal shielding too, but that's more expensive so we have them in-store. These are only holographic displays. If it's armour you want, you'll have to order - Keliaya@anncaris - it. We'll have something tailored to your proportions, either ready for pickup here or delivered via a cargo service, for an additional shipping fee of course." Rianni@crystyl:"Of course. Let's come back to that, tell me about your weapons" Keliaya@anncaris | Felga: "We sell primarily weapons intended for self-defense. Because of that, the majority of our stock is nadion-based and comes with lower settings to dissuade or stun your targets. We have - Keliaya@anncaris - some disruptor weapons which pack a heavier punch, if you need to defend yourself against armour or particularly tough opponents. There are also stun grenades, stun batons, sonic emitters and - Keliaya@anncaris - a small selection of EMP weaponry." Rianni@crystyl:"I can't imagine the Jem'Hadar being particularly satisfied with defensive nadion weapons" Keliaya@anncaris | Felga: "Oh, the Jem'Hadar are supplied almost exclusively by Kintax Arsenal. Our products are designed for ordinary people looking to keep themselves safe. Our primary clientele are the crews - Keliaya@anncaris - of transport vessels and smaller, planetary defense militias." Rianni@crystyl:"Really? How come planetary defense guys don't use the big Kintax stuff?" Keliaya@anncaris | Felga: "Some of them do, but Kintax equipment is significantly more expensive. That's not to say our gear is any lower quality. We simply serve different client bases. The weapons produced by - Keliaya@anncaris:- Kintax Arsenal is up to Dominion military standards. It is more firepower than necessary for most worlds simply seeking to maintain local order." Rianni@crystyl:"I get it. It's like paying a markup for a brand name" Keliaya@anncaris | The Felga smiles, "Exactly. I take it you aren't familiar with the major suppliers in this region?" Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "I'm... kind of new to the area, and potentially looking to gear up my crew if I can find anything suitable. What about your armours then?" Keliaya@anncaris | Felga: "Our armours are also designed to prioritize the wearer's personal safety. It doesn't come with those fancy strength enhancers or auto-simulant injectors that some of the more - Keliaya@anncaris - military minded brands produce. We create armour that's the perfect blend between light and effective; easy to use without having to extensively train with it, and affords you plenty of - Keliaya@anncaris - protection from enemy fire. Our design philosophy isn't to make the strongest armour, but the best choice of armour for freighter crews and militia." Rianni@crystyl:"It's highly versatile then. Does that mean it provides protection against a range of weapon types?" Keliaya@anncaris | The Felga smiles, "That's right. It's designed to take the blunt of damage off from energy weapons primarily since they are the most common, while still maintaining protection against - Keliaya@anncaris - projectiles and physical trauma. The additional energy shielding upgrade will make it even more effective against directed energy attacks. In addition to these, we offer several add-ons such - Keliaya@anncaris - as the health monitor, thrusters for maneuvering in space so it can double as an extravehicular suit, and targetting assistance which syncs with any of the weapons we produce, so you can hit - Keliaya@anncaris - your targets more easily." Rianni@crystyl:"That does sound rather impressive!" she looks closer at the armour displays, "All that capability must have a high power demand though..." Keliaya@anncaris | Felga: "Oh it certainly does. The power cells it uses are one of the reasons for their high value. Usually, crews who order these suits keep just one on board, either for the captain or a - Keliaya@anncaris - member of the crew who has prior combat experience or specializes in protecting the ship from danger." Keliaya@anncaris | As Rianni converses with the Felga, some kind of commotion appears to be going on outside, which has drawn the attention of Kelly and Seelix... Keliaya@anncaris | Rianni quickly notices as activity is clearly starting to rise outside Rianni@crystyl looks around, "Apologies. Thank you for the information, I may return but I need to check on my colleagues" she offers, turning to head out without waiting Keliaya@anncaris | Rianni steps out just in time to see a group of five Jem'Hadar walking through the area, the shoppers parting for them as they approach. A sleazy-looking alien with a tendril beard follows - Keliaya@anncaris - behind them Keliaya@anncaris | Bearded Alien: "Please, don't damage the goods! She's very valuable!" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar Leader: "We shall try out best, but our duty is to keep order around here." Rianni@crystyl approaches Kelly, "What's going on?" Keliaya@anncaris:"Looks like there's a security situation here. I'm not sure about the details yet." Keliaya@anncaris | One of the other Jem'Hadar turns to the crowd of people, "Stay back. We're setting up a perimeter here." Keliaya@anncaris | The store doors all begin to close, another Jem'Hadar waves towards a little eatery on the side, where the shoppers promptly move into Keliaya@anncaris:"We better follow the crowd." Rianni@crystyl nods and follows, "Maybe it's another shipment like that one earlier" Keliaya@anncaris enters the eatery as well, but takes up a spot where they can get a good vantage on the situation. The Jem'Hadar begin taking up cover as a force field springs into place Keliaya@anncaris:"I don't think so. They didn't do /that/ last time," she gestures at a Jem'Hadar in cover who is checking his rifle Rianni@crystyl:"This does appear to be something... more" Keliaya@anncaris | A few moments pass, and the force field suddenly begins to flicker erratically. The Jem'Hadar raise their rifles towards it... Rianni@crystyl:"I might be wrong, but the situation appears to be getting out of control for them" Keliaya@anncaris nods and continues to watch. A figure appears on the other side of the flickering field. Her skin is a shade of green, but she's clearly distinct from Orions, having no hair. Streaks of - Keliaya@anncaris - electricity appears to be running over her skin and her eyes glow a deep blue. A shockwave emanates out from her and the field fails, the shockwave travelling onwards and hitting the - Keliaya@anncaris:- Jem'Hadar, knocking them back Keliaya@anncaris | The Jem'Hadar leader recovers first, getting on his knees and raising his rifle to fire Keliaya@anncaris | Bearded Alien: "No! Don't kill her!" Keliaya@anncaris | The Jem'Hadar doesn't seem to be listening as he fires, but no energy comes from the rifle. He tosses aside the fried weapon and tries to get on his feet, but the green woman raises a hand and - Keliaya@anncaris - a stream of lightning bursts from it, striking the Jem'Hadar in his chest and knocking him down for good. The bearded alien turns and runs off while the remaining Jem'Hadar get up Keliaya@anncaris | Green Woman: "Stay down. I don't want to fight you!" Keliaya@anncaris | The other four Jem'Hadar charge her. She brings up both arms this time, sending out another shockwave that knocks all four out, causing the lights to flicker out in the entire area as well Rianni@crystyl:"This seems to be getting out of hand" she notes, watching the apparent organizer of the move hightail it out of there, "If this doesn't calm down people are going to get hurt" Keliaya@anncaris | The lights come back on, and the woman can be seen running in the direction the bearded alien went Keliaya@anncaris:"You think we should intervene, Lieutenant?" Rianni@crystyl:"The Jem'Hadar clearly have as much tact as always, and they just lost their Alpha too. So do you think we shouldn't?" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Let's go after her, then." Rianni@crystyl nods and hurries out with Kelly Keliaya@anncaris:"Seelix, you're staying with us too. No taking advantage of the situation." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix meanwhile watches, shaking her head at the pair. She takes advantage of the fuss to get a cheeky drink from behind the bar and plops down at a table with her feet up Keliaya@anncaris glares, "Seelix!" Rianni@crystyl | Seelix: "What?! Oh, I'm sorry, did you want one too?" Keliaya@anncaris:"I'm not leaving you here alone. Come on, you can take the drink with you if you really want." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix rises, "Fine! Just don't expect me to join in your heroics. Doesn't pay well" Keliaya@anncaris:"I won't. Just, stay in sight." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix salutes with her bottle, "Yes ma'am!" Rianni@crystyl sighs, "Please let me phaser her..." Keliaya@anncaris:"We still need her ship, remember? Come on, let's try and catch up with her while we still can." Rianni@crystyl continues along, "I'm pretty sure I could feather a stun setting so she wakes up in time to pilot us home..." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix: "I /can/ still hear you back here you know, Princess" Rianni@crystyl:"I'm aware" Keliaya@anncaris:"Let's...save that as a last resort in case she tries to slip away." --- Rianni@crystyl turns her attention to the situation at hand as they approach Keliaya@anncaris | They make their way through the building, but soon lose track of the green woman where the Jem'Hadar haven't been setting up a perimeter. The people here seem to be in some commotion though, - Keliaya@anncaris - and likely saw which way she went as many of them are staying by the side, talking excitedly or curiously, likely having moved aside for someone running through Rianni@crystyl stops the first person she makes eye contact with, "Which way did they go?" Keliaya@anncaris | A spacer points the way to another tunnel access, "I wouldn't follow her if I were you. She's headed right towards Jem'Hadar. There's going to be a fight." Rianni@crystyl nods and continues right along towards them, "Sounds like we need to hurry" Keliaya@anncaris follows along as well, "Indeed..." She breaks into a sprint down the tunnel Keliaya@anncaris | As they reach the end of the tunnel, they find four more downed Jem'Hadar. They step through into a chamber to be met with the bearded alien running. In his frantic flight, he doesn't stop - Keliaya@anncaris - fast enough and collides with Kelly, knocking them both over Keliaya@anncaris | The bearded alien tries to scramble to his feet quickly Rianni@crystyl tries to grab him, "Woah, hold on there!" Keliaya@anncaris | Rianni grabs him without much trouble Keliaya@anncaris | Bearded Alien: "Let go! We've got to get out of here!" Rianni@crystyl:"Hey just take it easy, we're here to help. Just... slow down a second" Keliaya@anncaris | Bearded Alien: "She's gonna come after me, as soon as she's done with the Jem'Hadar!" Rianni@crystyl:"Why? Weren't you all protecting her?" she asks, feigning naivety Keliaya@anncaris | Bearded Alien: "No, I was trying to get more Jem'Hadar to recapture her! I ran to where they were storing that healing gel shipment. The Jem'Hadar didn't take kindly to that and subdued me." Keliaya@anncaris gets back on her feet, "How are you out here, then?" Keliaya@anncaris | Bearded Alien: "She followed me in. The Jem'Hadar almost had her subdued too, then we would've been able to sort business out. But her powers, she can control the gel! The Jem'Hadar are being - Keliaya@anncaris - thrown around like cargo in a hold that's lost inertial dampeners! Forget her value, it's time to run!" Rianni@crystyl:"You make her sound like a wild beast on a rampage" Keliaya@anncaris | Bearded Alien: "It's not far off. Especially with what she's doing with all that ge-" Keliaya@anncaris | The building rumbles Keliaya@anncaris | Bearded Alien: "Let me go! I've got to get off this planet!" Rianni@crystyl hands him off to Seelix, raising a firm finger, "Stay" turning to Kelly, "Permission to approach?" Rianni@crystyl | Seelix and beardy look at each other then to Rianni, "Him or me?" Rianni@crystyl glances back, "Both of you!" Keliaya@anncaris nods to Rianni, "Be careful, Lieutenant." Rianni@crystyl:"I'll at least try and buy you some time to get people away from here" she nods, heading in cautiously Keliaya@anncaris | The first chamber inside is empty. Rianni heads the way the bearded alien comes from, down a hallway and to an intersection. She spots one hall with two damaged drones, likely where the woman - Keliaya@anncaris - went Rianni@crystyl continues following the trail Keliaya@anncaris | Down the hallway, Rianni finds several doors heading into unrelated rooms, and a passageway leading into the basement of the building. The structure rumbles again, whatever causing it clearly - Keliaya@anncaris - coming from below Rianni@crystyl:heads down towards the basement Keliaya@anncaris | As she heads down to the basement, she finds two more downed Jem'Hadar and an open door into a storage chamber. Another squad of Jem'Hadar charges down a different side of the hall, moving - Keliaya@anncaris - into position and taking cover by the open circular door frame Rianni@crystyl strolls over, "Why hello there" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "Stay back, civilian. We have a situation here." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, I noticed. And given how poory it's gone so far do you /really/ think this is the best approach?" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "You have an alternative?" Rianni@crystyl:"Let me go in first. She may be more amenable to someone who, well, isn't one of you" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "You hope to /negotiate/ with her?" Rianni@crystyl:"At this point, what have you got to lose?" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "Very well. It will be your death." Keliaya@anncaris | The Jem'Hadar signals for his team to hold Rianni@crystyl smiles cheerily, "Thank you!" she chirps, heading in Keliaya@anncaris | Rianni finds the bay in a complete mess, with busted barrels and canisters everywhere, as well as over a dozen fallen Jem'Hadar. In the centre stands a giant amorphous mass on two legs - Keliaya@anncaris - sprouting numerous tentacles. The tentacles withdraw inside the centre mass or converge, forming a slightly more humanoid, but still towering thing as it turns to her Keliaya@anncaris FX | https://cdnb.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/041/638/431/large/brandon-miller-blenderrender5.jpg?1632262658 Rianni@crystyl keeps her distance and holds her hands out to her sides as non-threateningly as possible, "Um, hello... green lady...?" Keliaya@anncaris | The giant thing pauses upon seeing Rianni. One of its long tentacles swoops down towards her Rianni@crystyl takes a minimal step to avoid it, "Please don't be alarmed, see; I'm not a Jem'Hadar" Keliaya@anncaris | The tentacle pauses and withdraws. Then, a series of tendrils emerge from the centre mass, carrying the green lady with it. The tendrils set her down on the ground, though they still connect - Keliaya@anncaris - her to the large mass as she lands Keliaya@anncaris FX | https://external-preview.redd.it/adNuUkpMEQZ83zVvHuJawE7xeuik5wzcxrdWTQhszvc.jpg?auto=webp&s=47008ba01b5715d9c0e3b970e030311df7aa8d8d Keliaya@anncaris | Green Lady: "Who are you? Why are you here?" Rianni@crystyl smiles softly, "It was clear you were scared, and I wanted to help" Keliaya@anncaris | Green Lady: "You want to help...me?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well you look to be in a spot of bother back there. But honestly I also wanted to help all the civilians back there who were getting scared. Whatever it is you were doing in here was making the - Rianni@crystyl:- building shake, and I can't imagine anyone wants to see all those people get hurt, right?" Keliaya@anncaris | The woman nods, "I don't want to bring this whole place down. I just want that slaver. That's all." Rianni@crystyl takes a step closer, "I'm Rianni. What's your name?" Keliaya@anncaris | Green Lady: "I'm called Eshara. You're not one of the locals here." Rianni@crystyl:"Eshara. What a beautiful name! And no, I am not local here. My friends and I are visiting as we pass through the region. So what's the deal with you and this slaver now?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "He and his friends killed the band I was working with. Captured and brought me here to sell as a prize. He had a good idea, restraining me with cuffs that didn't use any complex - Keliaya@anncaris - technology, sealing me in a specialized room. Unfortunately there was a little too much tech here and I broke free." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh wow, you're in a band? That's amazing!" Rianni@crystyl is strong with the feigned naivety today it seems Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "A small mercenary band. Too small to be called a company. They targeted us just for me. Just one of the reasons to want him dead." Rianni@crystyl:"Aah, /that/ kind of band. My mistake! So there's even more reasons you've got it in for him down?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Yeah. My freedom. The Jem'Hadar are only helping him because he brought me here as a slave, so I'm rogue property. If I kill him, I can force the Jem'Hadar to let me go." Rianni@crystyl:"I don't think they're going to like you doing that somehow..." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I agree to stop causing trouble once he's dead, they have no law holding me here. And if they want to pursue a vendetta, we both lose. They're blunt, but not completely unreasonable." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I've dealt with them before. Even got a few to go rogue and help me, back when I first escaped. I know their kind." Rianni@crystyl:"Surely there's a cleaner way to handle this though..." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Well you could convince that slaver to relinquish ownership. Or buy me off him if you've got the money. I'd prefer him dead, though." Rianni@crystyl:"Well if you could agree not to act rashly, I think I can get him in here" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Fine. But tell the Jem'Hadar to stay out. If they don't want to end up with a bad headache tomorrow. Thatâ€™s if they're lucky." Rianni@crystyl nods, turning away and tapping her combadge, "Tierno to Keliaya" Keliaya@anncaris <C> "Kelly here. Have you found her yet?" Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, the situation is under control. Could you bring the slaver down here to negotiate? We have grounds for talks, but a condition that it is only our party and him. No Jem'Hadar allowed" Keliaya@anncaris <C> "We can work with that. We're on our way to you now." Rianni@crystyl:"Thank you Commander" Rianni@crystyl turns back to Eshara, "Alright, my friends are on their way with the slaver so we can discuss terms" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "You call your friend 'Commander?' Are you with the Andarash?" Rianni@crystyl:"No, we are with what is called Starfleet" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Never heard of you. Just happened to stop by here for supplies?" Rianni@crystyl:"Pretty much. We are from the other side of the galaxy and currently crossing the region as we try to find our way home you see" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "How did you get yourself lost on the other side of the galaxy?" Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "That's... kind of a long story. Short version; we got very unlucky with some anomalies" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Good to know I'm not the only one who gets unlucky. You stop by Felgan Prime for supplies?" Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, exactly. You never know when you're next going to come across a port when in uncharted territory so it pays to make the most of it when you do!" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Yes, this would all be uncharted territory for you. But you're getting supplies on a new trading post, in a region you don't know, and you still decide to help get involved in - Keliaya@anncaris - something that isn't your business?" Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Well of course! We might not be in space right now, but Starfleet has a rule that we always answer a distress call. Ok, you didn't exactly reach out to us here. But it was clear you were - Rianni@crystyl:- in trouble, so it was only natural for us to try and help out" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Most people would've just turned and walked the other way. Especially at a port like this." Rianni@crystyl:"Most people seemed to be cowering in fear" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara smirks, raising one of the large tentacles attached to the mass behind her as her eyes glow blue again, "Well, this tends to inspire a little fear." Rianni@crystyl:"As does a band of Jem'Hadar running through a crowded promenade firing wildly at a moving target. I do not believe your appearance was as unsettling as you think, and it was more the overall - Rianni@crystyl:- situation" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "The Jem'Hadar certainly added to it. But most people who aren't Jem'Hadar wouldn't walk up to something like this," she gestures to the mass behind her again. "Your people all this - Keliaya@anncaris - brave, or is it just you?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well I am sure there are plenty who would have cowered as well - even from Starfleet - it is my job to protect my crew, and on the ground that includes my friends. If a situation warrants it, it is- Rianni@crystyl:- my duty to interject for their protection if needed" Keliaya@anncaris steps in with Seelix and the slaver behind her. She pauses, double-taking at the towering biological construct behind Eshara, "What is that...?" Keliaya@anncaris | Slaver: "/That/ used to be the gel stored in those containers. Still think bringing me here was a good idea?" Keliaya@anncaris:"She hasn't killed you yet." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Yet." Rianni@crystyl:"She is mad at you, with good reason from what I understand. But she has been very obliging so far in humouring my whimsical desire for a bloodshed-free outcome" Keliaya@anncaris | Slaver: "You're looking to...help me?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I'd rather kill you, but she insisted on trying it her way. Less risk of running into more trouble with the Jem'Hadar." Rianni@crystyl:"See, she really does want to kill you. And apparently that's the most viable way out of this obliged situation you have her in now. Or at least, the most cost effective" Keliaya@anncaris | Slaver: "I'm just the engineer! I didn't kill any of your friends, I just design the restraining tech, or lack of tech...you know!" Rianni@crystyl frowns, looking back to Eshara, "So he's... not the one who enslaved you?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "He's part of the crew who took me. You really think /he's/ capable of capturing me? Alone? But most of the crew went down in the fighting. He took me and made a run for it, to sell me - Keliaya@anncaris - here. So he's the one who owns me now." Rianni@crystyl:"Ah, thank you for clarifying" she turns back to him, "So, you're all that's left of the crew. Why not just let her go free then?" Keliaya@anncaris | Slaver: "Do you know who put the crew together?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Some dead man." Rianni@crystyl shakes her head Keliaya@anncaris | Slaver: "He was Bendral Maar. Best bounty hunter this side of the galaxy. If he was after her, she's valuable. And she's the strongest psionic I've ever seen, even with the recent surge in - Keliaya@anncaris - psionic powers. I figure she's worth a fortune." Rianni@crystyl:"Worth more than your own life? Because she's pretty set on exacting that payment right now..." Keliaya@anncaris nods, "You can't spend a fortune if you're dead. I'd let her go if I were you." Keliaya@anncaris | Slaver: "I guess you're right." He takes out a PADD and taps before tossing it to Rianni, "There. I relinquish all claims on her. Happy?" Rianni@crystyl catches the PADD and turns, presenting it to Eshara, "You tell me. Are we all happy now?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara looks through the PADD and nods, waving to the slaver, "Get out of here before I change my mind." Keliaya@anncaris | The slaver doesn't hesitate, turning and hurrying off Rianni@crystyl turns back to Eshara with a smile, "See, all done with minimal disruption and nobody else getting hurt" Keliaya@anncaris | The strands connecting Eshara to the thing behind her severs, and the mass collapses onto the ground with a thud Rianni@crystyl leans her head to one side, watching, then looking back Keliaya@anncaris | Some of the Jem'Hadar around the room start to stagger up slowly. One of them looks between Eshara and the fallen mass as well Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "You, offworlders. Did you manage to take that thing out?" Rianni@crystyl looks to them, "The situation has been resolved. The rest of your group is waiting outside" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "Not quite." He gestures to the fallen mass. "She's wasted a good portion of the shipment. The Felga are going to want compensation for it. Does that slaver still own her?" Rianni@crystyl:"No, nobody does now" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "That complicates matters. I don't suppose she has the wealth to pay for the gel she's used up." Rianni@crystyl:"Considered her situation leading here, I highly doubt it. Exactly how much value are we talking here?" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "I am Jem'Hadar. Finances are not my speciality. But I understand the value of this substance is significant." Rianni@crystyl:"You say it's not your speciality, but you sure do seem interested in it" Keliaya@anncaris | Jem'Hadar: "We serve the Felga now. They would not be pleased about this wastage, and I know they will want compensation." Rianni@crystyl:"But I'm afraid we don't-..." she pauses, slooooowly turning to Seelix Rianni@crystyl | Seelix tries to backstep away from Kelly's reach... Keliaya@anncaris turns to Seelix as well, "This would be a good time for your business acumen, Seelix." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix, "No fair, I won all that fair and sq-... I won all that!" Keliaya@anncaris:"I did give you that allowance to start. And we can compensate you once we get back." Rianni@crystyl | Seelix sighs, "I'm not getting out of this am I... damned Starfleet, always doing good even when it does you no good!" she tosses her loot chip to the Jem'Hadar and looks back to Kelly, "For the - Rianni@crystyl:- record though; I /was/ going to share that with you. So you've lost out too now" Rianni@crystyl looks to the Jem'Hadar expectantly Keliaya@anncaris:"Well, you're sharing it with us now too, aren't you?" she grins Rianni@crystyl | Seelix grumbles and pouts Keliaya@anncaris | The Jem'Hadar takes the chip and slides it into a PADD, checking it before nodding, "I don't know if it's enough, but it will do. It's something to satisfy the Felga and show that we're - Keliaya@anncaris - performing our duty. But if I were her," he motions to Eshara, "I would not be seen here anytime soon. If the Felga demand more, they may want us to capture her as compensation." Rianni@crystyl:"Makes sense" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Let's get out of here and let the Jem'Hadar clean up." Rianni@crystyl looks to Eshara, "Will you be alright from here?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara follows along as they head out of the cargo bay, "That Jem'Hadar's right. I should get off this planet. I don't suppose stealing a ship is a good idea, with the heat that's already on - Keliaya@anncaris - me..." Rianni@crystyl:"That does sound like it could be troublesome" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I assume you've got a ship? Don't worry, I'm not planning to hijack it." Rianni@crystyl:"We could speak to the Captain maybe" she looks to Kelly Keliaya@anncaris:"We can take her back to the Valley Forge. We're too far out to establish contact from Felgan Prime." Rianni@crystyl:"There you go then Eshara, it's a step in the right direction!" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I was about to ask for a ride. You don't have to take me anywhere specific. Just drop me off somewhere convenient. I'll find my way." --- Keliaya@anncaris | The team transports back to Seelix's ship with Eshara. She looks around as they make their way through the ship onto the bridge, glancing from the mech-Seelixes to the actual Seelix Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Do your species all look so alike?" Seelix@crystyl grins, "They wish! No, don't mind the mechme's. They are just my crew, designed and built myself!" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Oh, they're synthetic? Maybe I should have hijacked your ship..." she smirks Seelix@crystyl:"Yeah, don't be getting any funny ideas now..." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Don't worry, I'm only joking," she pats Seelix on the back casually. "It would be a poor way to repay you." Seelix@crystyl:"So what is the deal with you and tech anyway?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara's eyes begin to glow an electric blue as she reaches her hand towards the console in front of them which Kelly normally uses. The interface seems to glitch for a moment. Then, Seelix's - Keliaya@anncaris - communicator chirps Keliaya@anncaris watches curiously and warily Seelix@crystyl frowns, tapping her comm Keliaya@anncaris | The other end of the comm line opens on the console. Eshara leans in, "Say something." Keliaya@anncaris | Her voice comes from the console, which is then slightly picked up by the communicator, causing a brief feedback loop which quickly fades away as it gets quieter and quieter Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "That'll do." She waves her hand and the comm ends, the blue fading from her eyes as well Seelix@crystyl:"Well that's a neat party trick, especially if you want to make people's ears bleed..." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Oh I can do much more than that. I don't want to risk breaking your synthetics though. They look expensive. Especially since they're custom-made to look like you." Seelix@crystyl:"And a pain in the ass to fix. So what, you can like... link to tech then? Is it just stuff with power, or can you actually transfer data too?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "No, I can't transfer data. Not that I know of, at least. I can link to tech. The closer it is to me, the easier. Ship interfaces are difficult. Your synthetics probably won't be too - Keliaya@anncaris - hard. That gel thing in the cargo bay, that was just /made/ for me to play with. Never seen anything like it before but it took very little to get used to it. Probably thanks to its organic - Keliaya@anncaris - nature." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "You have a special connection with that gel then. What even is it?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I have no idea. Like I said, that's my first time seeing that stuff. But I know I usually have an easier time with biotech than fully mechanical tech." Seelix@crystyl:"So besides making speakers squeak and zapping lightning around the place. Any other good party tricks?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I'm still learning as I go. I can EMP tech pretty well. Could do that even before the Dominion implants, just like zapping people." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "Dominion implants?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "It's a long story. You should get underway first. You know, in case the Jem'Hadar get ordered to come after me." Seelix@crystyl | Seelix chuckles, "We're already set to go. Just awaiting the order boss!" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni looks around and the mechme's have indeed been busy sorting out all the prep Keliaya@anncaris:"These synthetics are effective. Seelix knows what she's doing with tech, they aren't just here to stand around and look pretty," she grins. "Take us out." Seelix@crystyl:"Aww, you said I'm pretty! No backsies!" Seelix@crystyl | The mechme's get the ship underway Keliaya@anncaris:"I'm going to regret this, aren't I..." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni nods Keliaya@anncaris looks to Eshara, "So, what's this about Dominion implants." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Your people were affected by the surge in psionic activity too, right?" Seelix@crystyl snorts, "More like caused it!" and wanders off Seelix@crystyl | Rianni sighs, "Ignore her. Yes, Many species including our were affected by it" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "My people lived under the Dominion for many years. These electric abilities we have are natural, a self-defense mechanism we've had since before we were walking, talking, intelligent - Keliaya@anncaris - life. The Dominion didn't have much interest in my people. Our shock attacks weren't very practical since they required touch to work, and we never built spaceships or anything. So we were - Keliaya@anncaris - just another labour force, until the psionic business happened. Then, some of us had our abilities amplified. And the Dominion took notice." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "I am not surprised" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "They took the strongest of us and experimented on us. I was their biggest success. Don't understand all the things they did, but it was a combination of genetic engineering and - Keliaya@anncaris - cybernetic implants. Before the experiments, I could send out those electric shockwaves, EMP tech, stun people. And my touch was strong enough to completely fry someone, not just stop their - Keliaya@anncaris - heart. But I couldn't direct the outward bursts very well. It usually hit everything around me, not just what I wanted to hit." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "Is that why you have this bounty on you now, because the Dominion want some return on their investment?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Could be. I didn't know I had a bounty. Must be a private one, because the crew I ran with was pretty connected to business around here, including the shadier work. Never saw a public - Keliaya@anncaris - bounty on me. Someone hired them personally rather than putting out a wanted listing." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "Do you know anything about this group who the slaver said was behind it?" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I hadn't been out in the wider galaxy for long. The name he said sounds a little familiar, though. I think he was supposed to be some big-shot bounty hunter." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni looks to Kelly, "I can speak to Commander T'Lana about investigating further if we feel it's pertinent" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "It might be worth looking into it, in case more bounty hunters come after her." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Probably a good idea to drop me off at the next inhabited planet. I appreciate your help so far, but you probably don't want to deal with all this heat." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "It's not outside the realm of possibility. but let's not get ahead of ourselves, you might not even want to stick around with us anyway!" Keliaya@anncaris:"We'll talk to our Captain about it when we get back. This is only a small trade ship, we have a bigger group, and we're currently travelling with the An too." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Making new friends already? The An are powerful friends to have." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "Starfleet technically has friendly relations with the Dominion as well, but our convoy is yet to interact with them since we arrived on the far side of their territory from ours" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "You're friends with the Dominion too? Didn't you say you came from the other end of the galaxy or something?" Seelix@crystyl | Rianni: "Yes, but there is a wormhole on the other side of Dominion space from here that links back to our region of the galaxy. It was the discovery of this and subsequent exploration of this side- Seelix@crystyl:- of it that led to our first encounter with them. And the bloody war that ensued afterwards..." Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Doesn't surprise me, knowing the Dominion. No doubt they saw the wormhole as a chance to expand their 'order' into a whole different part of the galaxy." Seelix@crystyl | Rianni nods, "Exactly. It was a huge conflict, but ultimately we defeated them and in the years that followed, a delicate alliance of sorts formed" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Good to hear it's not just the An keeping them in check." --- Keliaya@anncaris | After changing back to their uniforms, Kelly and Rianni transport to the Valley Forge with Eshara. Keelah awaits them at the transporter room, having been notified of the new guest Keliaya@anncaris materializes with the others on the transporter pad Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Welcome back ladies. And you must be Eshara, welcome to the Valley Forge" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara looks to Keelah as they step off the transporter pad, "You the Captain they mentioned?" Keelah@crystyl:"Well I certainly hope so" she smiles, "I am Captain Se'Lai" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "You in charge of this ship, or this whole expedition? Or both?" Keelah@crystyl:"Both, for the most part. Some are travelling with us by choice like our An escort" Keliaya@anncaris looks to Rianni, "Emma should be on Ops duty now. Why don't you ask her to assign some guest quarters and show our visitor to where she can stay while she's here. Maybe give her a tour too, - Keliaya@anncaris - if she'd like." Keelah@crystyl | Rianni nods, gesturing to Eshara, "Come on, I can show you around a little" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara nods back and follows Rianni while Kelly looks back to Keelah, "I should probably tell you more about the new guest." Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, you probably should. Ready room?" Keliaya@anncaris nods and starts heading out of the transporter room, "We don't know if she'll be here to stay. She just needed a ride off Felgan Prime, but with her situation...well, I'll explain from the - Keliaya@anncaris - beginning once we get to the ready room." Keelah@crystyl:"Sounds like it was quite the supply run indeed" Keliaya@anncaris:"That it certainly was. We only learned a little about what we set out to learn, but picked up some other interesting intel." Keliaya@anncaris steps into the lift as she talks, "Bridge." Keelah@crystyl:"Well you have not missed much of anything here at least" Keliaya@anncaris smiles, "Glad to hear things have been going smoothly here." Keliaya@anncaris steps into the ready room upon arriving at the bridge Keelah@crystyl walks in, taking a relaxed seat on the sofa, "So, what's the deal with our new guest?" Keliaya@anncaris joins Keelah on the sofa, "We ran into her while exploring one of their market buildings. She took down a squad of Jem'Hadar who were trying to stop her, and Rianni recommended we intervene to - Keliaya@anncaris - make sure other people didn't get hurt. It turns out she was going after the slaver who brought her to Felgan and owns her, in order to free herself. Rianni persuaded her to stand down, we - Keliaya@anncaris - were able to get the slaver to relinquish his claim and pay the Jem'Hadar for the damages done. The Jem'Hadar we talked to wasn't sure if the payment would be enough and advised Eshara to get - Keliaya@anncaris - off the planet in case the Felga ordered them to try and recapture her for full compensation. She doesn't have a ship or money, so here she is." Keelah@crystyl:"I did not realize we were in the business of liberating slaves" Keliaya@anncaris:"She liberated herself. We just intervened to minimize violence and try to resolve things peacefully. I know, it's not supposed to be our business. Starfleet protocol would probably be to stay out - Keliaya@anncaris:- of it, and I was a little reluctant to get involved when Rianni suggested to go after her. But the only time I've seen psionics as powerful as Eshara's was with Sin or the Architect, or Eva when - Keliaya@anncaris:- she was still being affected by the Architect's possession. If someone didn't calm things down, a lot of innocent bystanders could've been hurt, so I had to agree with Lieutenant Tierno's - Keliaya@anncaris - assessment. And speaking of Eva, the Witch showed up on Felgan Prime too and seemed to have an interest in something, quite possibly Eshara." Keelah@crystyl:"Well that escalated quickly" she sighs, "So we have gone from a liberated slave, to one who may still have bounty hunters coming for her. To one who ranks among the most powerful psionics, and of - Keelah@crystyl:- possible interest to the witch as well... anything else?" Keliaya@anncaris:"Well, her psionics seem to specialize around technology. Her natural abilities allow her to send EMP shockwaves, I think what we saw with the Jem'Hadar might've been a demonstration of that. So - Keliaya@anncaris:- she can render energy weapons useless around her. The Dominion experimented on her, and now she can use her abilities to tap into technology and interface with them." Keelah@crystyl:"So she is a walking EMP as well. Remind me again why we think it is a good idea to have her on board a starship?" she smiles a little Keliaya@anncaris:"She does seem to have good control over her abilities. And she is willing for us to let her off at the next inhabited planet we come across. But given her psionic talents, maybe the people we have - Keliaya@anncaris:- on board could help her fully master her abilities, if she wants to stay. Assuming you're willing to let her remain on board, too." Keelah@crystyl:"You know I have no objection to powerful psionics being on board. As long as I can trust them not to be a threat to the ship and crew" Keliaya@anncaris:"I don't know her well yet, but Rianni was able to reason with her. And she was friendly enough on the way back here. Her little rampage on the surface doesn't really make a good case, but I think - Keliaya@anncaris:- given her circumstances, her anger there is understandable. We'll have to see if she behaves, but from what I've seen, I don't think she's going to be a problem. These bounty hunters after her - Keliaya@anncaris:- on the other hand... /That/ might cause issues for us." Keelah@crystyl:"What can you tell me about them?â€ Keliaya@anncaris:"Not much. Apparently she was captured due to a particularly well-known one by the name of Bendral Maar. He didn't survive the fight though, and the slaver was an engineer on his team who - Keliaya@anncaris:- took advantage of the situation and figured Eshara was very valuable. He doesn't know who issued the bounty though, and neither does Eshara. Our main suspicion is the Dominion, but we were - Keliaya@anncaris:- hoping for T'Lana and the Loki to look into it." Keelah@crystyl:"Sounds like I will be adding more to her list of things to do. At least they won't be getting bored on the Loki" Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "Indeed. We have a little intel for them, too. We didn't learn too much about the zealots, but I talked to some vendors who've heard about them. They come from a variety of worlds - Keliaya@anncaris - across the Dominion, so there's no one type of zealot. One of the vendors did have a story on a particular group of them, though." Keelah@crystyl:"Oh?" Keliaya@anncaris:"There's a story about a very ruthless group, the Ventray Penitents. Their ancestors were part of a civilization that resisted the Dominion particularly fiercely. Even after their leadership was - Keliaya@anncaris:- killed and the Dominion took over, they still kept fighting through resistance movements. The Founders decided to make an example of them. The Jem'Hadar were ordered to wipe out every adult - Keliaya@anncaris:- of the species, but all children under a certain age were to remain untouched. The Founders then made a rare public appearance, proclaiming to the children that their elders made the mistake - Keliaya@anncaris:- of defying the gods, and they had been given the chance to redeem themselves because the gods were merciful. The Ventray's unrelenting defiance was turned to undying loyalty through these - Keliaya@anncaris:- children. Their descendants are some of the most devoted Dominion members, and now they've been called upon to fight for the Founders." Keelah@crystyl:"Charming. I take it there is no indication of their current movements?" Keliaya@anncaris shakes her head, "No, unfortunately I wasn't able to get any details. But that story should give you an idea of the kind of people they are. Each group has their own story, their own reasons for - Keliaya@anncaris - fighting for the Dominion, or I should say, different ways the Dominion brainwashed them." Keelah@crystyl:"Well, we shall simply have to continue our focus on avoiding contact for now then. How was your supply run, did that at least bear fruit?" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "We were able to procure some supplies. We also learned something else, about the An rather than the Dominion." Keelah@crystyl:"And what is that?" Keliaya@anncaris:"They're using a substance that serves as a miracle healing agent. It's a gel that's described as stem cells with neural links which can be converted into any type of organic tissue with the right - Keliaya@anncaris:- electro-chemical impulses. It can't be replicated, as expected from the complexity of the neural links, but apparently even the Dominion hasn't been able to synthesize it. It can only be found - Keliaya@anncaris:- naturally in one system that's a Commonwealth Protectorate, which is what makes it so valuable." Keliaya@anncaris:"That's the reason for the damages we had to pay the Jem'Hadar. Eshara used up quite a bit of the substance, converting it into some large biological construct to fight the Jem'Hadar." Keelah@crystyl perks a brow, "This sounds like quite the fascinating substance. I don't suppose you brought back any samples to study?" Keliaya@anncaris shakes her head, "Unfortunately not. We had to pay for what Eshara used up in the fight. Unless Seelix smuggled some out of there. I should ask, knowing her..." Keelah@crystyl sighs, "And knowing her, it will cost us more than you gave the Jem'Hadar to get whatever she did recover, if anything. Still, this does sound like a most fascinating substance. It would be a shame- Keelah@crystyl - not to learn more about it after all of this" Keliaya@anncaris:"I'm sure the An have plenty of data on it, if not samples. The question is whether or not they'd be willing to share, though." Keelah@crystyl:"Do you have reason to think they wouldn't?" Keliaya@anncaris:"Well the gel itself appears to be quite precious, so they might not want to give us samples. But they've been pretty open with their data so far. They probably have plenty of their own research on - Keliaya@anncaris:- it, since it originates from their territory." Keelah@crystyl:"That makes sense. I will be sure to make clear that we understand it's rarity and that it is simply academic curiosity" Keliaya@anncaris:"In the meantime, you're comfortable with Eshara remaining with us, at least for as long as she wishes to?" Keelah@crystyl smiles, "I trust your and Rianni's judgement. The witches involvement less so, but she hasn't actually done wrong by us yet" Keliaya@anncaris nods, "She's picked up more from the Q than I'd like...but I think ultimately she is trying to help. Even if she's all cryptic about it." Keelah@crystyl:"Is it worth quizzing her about all of this?" Keliaya@anncaris shakes her head, "I doubt she'll be straightforward. She already showed up on Felgan Prime and seemed to hint that she wanted us to intervene. She's probably already told us everything she's - Keliaya@anncaris - willing to reveal." Keelah@crystyl:"Fair enough" she smiles, "Well if there's nothing more then, I'm sure you are keen to get some downtime" Keliaya@anncaris smiles back and stands, "That's all I've got to report for now. I'll let you know if anything else comes up." Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you Kelly" --- Keliaya@anncaris | Meanwhile, Rianni shows Eshara around the ship and steps into the mess hall Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Impressive ship you've got. This your main ship, judging by the Captain's presence? She's in charge of the whole expedition, after all." Rianni@crystyl:"Yes, that's right. The Valley Forge was built to be a long term home for it's crew and their families, so it has to be on the comfortable side" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "A long term home? Wait, did you /anticipate/ being lost on the other side of the galaxy?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well... yeah! Just, not this side of the galaxy" she chuckles, "Come on, let's get a drink and relax a while and I can tell you all about it if you want. You hungry? Can get whatever you want" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Some food would be nice. That slaver didn't exactly give me gourmet meals." Rianni@crystyl heads over to a nearby replicator, "Well it might not be gourmet, but the replicator can serve up pretty much whatever you fancy" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara follows over, "I doubt it's got anything from my home planet, but let's see..." she steps up, browsing through the options Rianni@crystyl:"If you are uncertain, you can always ask it for a selection based on criteria" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Let's see...what aquatic food is there?" The replicator switches to show seafood options and she taps one, replicating a squid dish Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara smiles, "This'll do." Rianni@crystyl smiles as well, "Perfect!" she taps and gets herself a slice of cheesecake, then moves to take a seat, "Come on then, let's enjoy!â€ Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara follows over, taking a seat and setting the dish down in front of her, starting to dig in Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Your replicators are good quality too. Food tastes much more authentic than the ones on the merc ship." Rianni@crystyl takes a bite too, enjoying a moment to savour, "Mmm... you're not wrong!" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "So, you were gonna tell me more about anticipating getting lost?" Rianni@crystyl:"Right! Well basically, we are here now in what we call the Gamma Quadrant. The other side of the wormhole is the Alpha Quadrant which is where we come from. We set out some years ago now on a - Rianni@crystyl:- journey from our home near the core of the Alpha quadrant towards the galactic rim of the Beta Quadrant. We completed that journey and were exploring the new region when an unexpected event - Rianni@crystyl:- dropped us to the far side of this quadrant" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "And what exactly was this unexpected event?" Rianni@crystyl:"Well, we were in a bit of a scrape with these nasty time travelling folks - or at least they're something like that, I'm still not really sure! They opened an artificial wormhole to escape, and one- Rianni@crystyl:- of the ships with us had happened to form a gravity well near them at the same time to stop said escape. Unfortunately, the two phenomena reacted with an exponential increase of potency, which - Rianni@crystyl:- pulled us and a few other allied ships into the wormhole" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "And you ended up here. So time travel technology /is/ a thing. I've heard rumours, but never actually seen it in action." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh yes, it is definitely a thing. There are actually multiple ways to time travel, some don't even involve dedicated technology for it! Though they are of course far less reliable" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "So it wasn't just spacers making up stories. Huh." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "I bet you've heard some good ones" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara smiles back, "Well, a good few of them /were/ probably made up. But who knows, there might've been a few real ones stuck in there too." Rianni@crystyl:"The best fiction includes /just/ enough truth to make it plausible!" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Very true. And I probably shouldn't be the one to judge the plausibility of stories. My own story sounds implausible enough. Until I show off just what I can do," she smirks Rianni@crystyl:"Well that's one thing you won't have to worry about while you are here. With the things this crew has seen, I doubt anything you can do would surprise them" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Is that because you've travelled so much, had so much experience?" Rianni@crystyl:"Yeah, I think that's definitely a big part of it. Of course, that journey also led us to the whole psionic thing and there's a good few on board with us who are real powerhouses in that area" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Led you to the whole psionic thing? So what you friend said about you causing all that is one of those stories with a bit of truth to it?" Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "Yes, I suppose it is. Tell me, what do you know about the creation of life in the galaxy? I mean, I know many species have very strong beliefs on the matter and it can sway from extreme - Rianni@crystyl:- religion to devout scientific study" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "We never developed particularly advanced science before the Dominion took over. They claim that everything in the universe was once liquid. Then, some life lost their way, became - Keliaya@anncaris - stuck in solid forms and all that. The Founders are the last remaining vestiges of the gods we once were, and because they can see beyond a single, limited form, they've got the foresight to - Keliaya@anncaris - bring peace and order to the universe. A bunch of nonsense and propaganda, if you ask me." Rianni@crystyl:"Well I can't speak to their beliefs or origins, but I can tell you what we've learned in recent years that led up to the psionic awakening if that's of interest" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "If it connects to this psionic awakening business, count me interested." Rianni@crystyl:"Well, we learned that life like us was created by a species called the Progenitors hundreds of thousands of years ago. At that time they had the galaxy to themselves, save for the Q Continuum. And - Rianni@crystyl:- so they seeded the galaxy with their genetic designs, hoping that life would one day flourish and advanced sentient beings like them would evolve. And we all did; the Progenitors look a lot like - Rianni@crystyl:- us! At least they did, they are long gone now. There was one who survived until recently who was called 'the Architect'. He was the one who actually designed the common genomes found across the - Rianni@crystyl:- peoples of the galaxy now. However, he had a darker motive behind this grand design as it turns out. You see, he was among a group of Progenitors who envied the Q and wanted to match their power. - Rianni@crystyl:- So, he included this psionic potential in his life designs hoping that one of the seeded species could eventually evolve to surpass the physical limitations of the Progenitors, allowing them to - Rianni@crystyl:- take the bodies of said species for their own so that they could ascend to match or even surpass the Q. Of course, they screwed up towards the end and turned themselves into what we called the - Rianni@crystyl:- 'Horde', though more colourful terms have been used throughout galactic history like 'the army of the dead' and such - maybe you've heard wild spacer stories about them! But yeah, they have been - Rianni@crystyl:- slowly encroaching into the galaxy for thousands of years, and our original journey led us to the beach head of that war. There was a battle of unprecedented scale, and one of our psionics used an- Rianni@crystyl:- ancient Iconian weapon designed to defeat the Horde. It did - in an instant - the entire Horde, countless millions strong, was blinked out of existence! So now with that threat finally shut down, - Rianni@crystyl:- there was an awakening of psionic power across the galaxy. Coincidentally though, at the same time as this the barrier which did surround the galaxy disappeared - the barrier which was known to - Rianni@crystyl:- have an absurd psionic effect on anyone who got near it! So the theory now goes that the Q placed that barrier to stop the Horde spreading across the universe, using the psionic power of all the - Rianni@crystyl:- 'Children' species in the galaxy to sustain it. With the Horde gone, the Q dropped the barrier, and so that psionic power became apparent at it's source; us" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "So you're saying we were all psionic experiments for this Architect person? Guess I don't feel so bad for being a Dominion experiment now," she chuckles Rianni@crystyl:"Sort of, I guess. I think for the most part the Progenitors really did just want to create life! But as always, there was a rogue element with darker ambitions" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "Doesn't surprise me. I assume the Q dropping this barrier is the source of psionics getting stronger?" Rianni@crystyl:"That is our theory at least, though far from confirmed at the source" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara nods, "And you say you've got quite a few strong psionics like me on board?" Rianni@crystyl:"I don't think anyone has quite got your specific skills, but there are other strong psionics here yes. Like Sin or- oh wait, yeah, if anyone, she could do what you do. Or at least something like it - Rianni@crystyl:- I bet! She has this kind of... obsession with being the best, so anytime she encounters a new 'trick' as Seelix puts it, she goes out of her way to figure out how to do it. But there's also Eva - Rianni@crystyl:- and Kelly who have a unique psionic link, and of course the Witch! She's... basically a Q at this point" she chuckles Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "The...Witch?" Rianni@crystyl:"Yeah... that's what she's known as. I think it's just an old nickname that stuck or something" Keliaya@anncaris | Eshara: "I'll be sure to pay them a visit while I'm here. Thanks for the tour, and the introductions." --- NPC@annpc#557 | The next day, Sin is in her quarters when the doorbell chimes Sin@crystyl:"Come in already" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara steps in, "Did you expect me to come in without ringing the bell? Thought you liked some warning first." Sin@crystyl:sits with a drink in hand, holding out a glass with a second one to Eshara, "That would suggest I didn't know you were coming" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Right. Your psionic abilities. I assume they include telepathy and all that," she approaches, taking the glass. "Thanks." Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, but I try to stay out of people's heads as much as I can. Got enough voices in my own without adding to them! Hey, I might wear their uniform but I'm not like the rest of them so I hope you're - Sin@crystyl:- not planning to stand on ceremony the whole time here" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara hops into a seat beside Sin, "I thought you talk a little different. More like the people I'm used to hanging with." Sin@crystyl:"Oh yeah, you a hunter too then?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "No, I was working as a merc the last few months. You were a hunter?" Sin@crystyl:"Yep. Came here on a job to take down someone travelling with this ship. Was going great too, but then the whole Horde business came to light right when my abilities were starting to manifest so... - Sin@crystyl:- yep, I ended up sticking around" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Wait, your abilities only manifested after you stopped working as a hunter? Would've been useful for that job. Sure would have helped that Bendral fellow who came after me." Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, we aren't born with them. They manifest when reach a certain maturity, or at least have the potential to. Not many Ocampa tend to embrace their powers. Or maybe they do now, I don't know. - Sin@crystyl:- Been away waaaay too long to have a bead on them now. But I do get why they are typically apprehensive about manifesting powers though, I mean, I was - what - 2 or 3 when they started. That's a - Sin@crystyl:- lot take on board when you're learning everything else in life so fast!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Two or three? Years?" Sin@crystyl smiles, swirling her drink, "Yeah, they were the good old days alright!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Are your years longer than ours? Or do you mature that fast?" Sin@crystyl:"My species are fast maturing and short lived" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "How long do you live for?" Sin@crystyl:"Normally not more than a decade, and most don't see that much. Not me though, I plan to live forever!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "A decade? It takes us that long just to develop into our adult forms!" Sin@crystyl:"And a lot of species take even longer!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Well it is longer if you count full adulthood as breeding age. That takes another decade and a half to two, depending on the individual. Our larval stage don't even look like this, - NPC@annpc#557 - unlike the young of most mammalian species." Sin@crystyl:"I'm sure the sciencey folks here can't wait to learn all about that process. But you didn't come here to talk biology" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "No, and I'm no expert on my people's biology anyways. I came here cause Rianni mentioned you were one of the strong psionics on board." Sin@crystyl smirks, "Only 'one of'? I must be slacking" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara smirks back, "Well, it's a little difficult to compare our power. I probably do very different things from what you do. Like I can't sense you approaching." Sin@crystyl:"So what exactly do you do?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara's eyes light up again. A few seconds later, the doorbell chimes again. Then again. Then several more times in rapid succession, before going silent as her eyes turn back to their - NPC@annpc#557 - natural green hue Sin@crystyl looks over bemused, "Well that's... cute. Can't say I've ever met someone with the power to manipulate doorbells before" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Not just doorbells. Pretty much all tech. But the simpler or closer to me it is, the easier they are to control. I can also fry it with an EMP, but I have a feeling the Captain of the - NPC@annpc#557 - ship wouldn't be all too pleased with that demonstration," she chuckles Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, she does tend to get a bit grumpy when you put the ship and crew at risk" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara nods, "And I can't demonstrate using this against a person, either," she raises a hand with several jolts of electricity coursing up her palms and through her fingers. "But all of my - NPC@annpc#557 - abilities seem to be based around energy and signals and all that. Probably because it ties back into our biology." Sin@crystyl leans in, watching more closely, "Ok, now that is impressive! Is that pure psionic or bio-electrical?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "A mix of both, I think. My people have natural bio-electrical abilities. The recent psionic awakening, as your people seem fond of calling it, seems to have exponentially increased - NPC@annpc#557 - those abilities for some of us. From what I understood of the Dominion's studies of us, there's definitely a psionic element to what we're doing." Sin@crystyl:"Interesting. Sounds like it could be using psionics to manipulate and control those bioelectrics that would ordinarily be more of an instinctive thing I guess" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara nods, "That sounds pretty likely. The ability to manipulate tech isn't entirely natural, though. That only came after the Dominion experiments." Sin@crystyl:"When you say Dominion experiments... is that you experimenting with them, or them experimenting on you?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Them experimenting on me. I don't know much about our biology besides, well, being one of us." Sin@crystyl:"Damn, that sucks. Well if you're after help undoing whatever they did to you, probably better off with the Doc than me" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Undo it? I don't want to undo it. Well, unless the Dominion botched it up and these upgrades will kill me or something. And from what I know, the Dominion proclaimed me to be their - NPC@annpc#557 - successful, stable sample." Sin@crystyl:"Oh, well that's something at least then!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Don't get me wrong, I didn't /like/ being experimented on. But now that I have these additional abilities, I'm not about to give them up, either. You wouldn't give up your powers, - NPC@annpc#557 - would you?" Sin@crystyl:"Hells no! That's why I'm sticking around here for now, life is too short and too fun to go evolving into omnipotence straight away!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Evolving into omnipotence? That's an option?" Sin@crystyl:"Well, for me at least. It's... kind of a natural evolution for my people. But one that very few have ever gone through with" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Why not? Omnipotence sounds pretty sweet." Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, but you get eternity to enjoy it. So I figure; why not make the most of having a body while I can. And I mean, come on, it's a body to be enjoyed, let's be honest!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "That's a good point. No need to rush to become omnipotent. Especially if the change's irreversible, so might as well enjoy this life as long as you can!" Sin@crystyl:"Oh it probably is reversible. Well, not literally. But if I make sure I'm good enough when I do go, I'm pretty sure I can become like the Q and choose to use a physical form when it suits" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "You sure know a lot more about this psionic business than I do. Maybe I should stick around a bit, see what I can pick up." Sin@crystyl:"Aha! So that's it is it? You're looking to learn?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "I still haven't figured out everything I can do with those Dominion improvements, so...yes. I'm hoping to pick up a thing or two, if I can." Sin@crystyl:"Well I'm honoured and all, but honestly I'm not sure how much help I can be really. I mean, I don't have any bioelectrics or anything so I don't really know how you go about controlling that sort - Sin@crystyl:- of thing" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Maybe I can learn more about psionics in general from you. All of you people seem to have a pretty good grasp over it. What /can/ you do, by the way? Other than sensing when people - NPC@annpc#557 - are about to visit the doorbell," she grins Sin@crystyl laughs, "I like you! As for what I can do... how to describe it? I guess you can best say that I do whatever I want" she demonstrates, setting her glass down and unfurling her hand to reveal a - Sin@crystyl:- flickering ball of fire over her palm. She weaves her hand around it, toys with it, then gestures towards Eshara sending the ball coasting gently around her in a circle then back to her waiting pal NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara follows the ball of fire with her eyes, "That's not tied with any biological ability, right? Like, you can't breathe fire or anything." Sin@crystyl:"Well, not naturally. But I could appear to" she snaps her fingers and the fireball transforms into a ball of electrical energy, "Perhaps this is more your flavour" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara chuckles, "It's certainly more familiar. Is it more than an illusion? Can you actually harm people with it?" Sin@crystyl:"Oh it is quite real, all of it is" she claps her hands together, disappearing the electrical ball, "Like this..." she concentrates a moment, holding her hands out slightly with her palms raised. - Sin@crystyl:- Soon the pair begin to levitate off their seats NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara looks around as they levitate, "Woah. I certainly can't do that. Yet, at least." Sin@crystyl:"Most recently I've been learning to manipulate atmospheric and environmental conditions around me, and even creating barriers to enclose that change, or protect me from it" she sets them back down,- Sin@crystyl:- "But still, nothing quite gets the old adrenaline running like making your enemies blood boil in their veins!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "That sounds more deadly than my shock attacks..." Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, could well be!" she sighs whimsically, "Yep, worked wonders for keeping my minions in check back when I was working on world domination!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "You were...what?" Sin@crystyl:"Oh yeah, crazy times! We got kind of trapped on this backwards planet for aaaages. Thought we were doomed to live out our lives there for sure! You'd have hated it though, tech did not work there. - Sin@crystyl:- Like /at all/! So I had to pass the time somehow, right!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Hey, my shock works pretty well on organics, too. But I guess I'd lose out on my biggest advantage, since plenty of others can do just as much damage, if not more..." Sin@crystyl:"So that's me really. Like I said, I do what I want! When I get the idea for how to do something, I figure it out and then make myself the best at it. But I suppose if you want to get more technical, - Sin@crystyl:- you could call it a form of telekinesis" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "Hopefully I'll get to see more of what you can do while I'm here." Sin@crystyl:"I'm always happy to have a new playmate! What it boils down to though is this; your natural racial ability is bioelectrics as we know. Mine is to comprehend things at a subatomic level, and the - Sin@crystyl:- macroscopic levels beyond that which don't even have classifications yet. So when I create the flame for example, it is not an illusion or trickery. I am simply using telekinesis to rearrange the - Sin@crystyl:- molecular structure of the air to create the flame. Similarly I can excite the atoms to make it more intense. Make sense?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara nods, "Makes sense to me." Sin@crystyl:"And it is that same basic principle by which I do everything. As for training though, I'm really no teacher. That's why I stuck around on the ship after the Horde thing; didn't want to deal with - Sin@crystyl:- growing fan club and the 'cult of Sin' or whatever they're called. I just try stuff and either it works or it doesn't really..." NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara chuckles, "Pretty much how I've been getting to learn what I'm capable of, too. Sounds like we'll get along just fine." Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, it'll be fun to have a kindred spirit around for a while. Seelix is fine in small doses, but she's not psionic at all so I always play nice with her. And as for the Witch, well, she's the - Sin@crystyl:- closest to being my equal but damn does she take pleasure in winding you up. She even puts me to shame!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "I'll be careful with her, then. Thanks for the warning." Sin@crystyl:"Speaking of sticking around, is that your plan? I mean, are you the latest misfit to sign on with this merry band of do-gooders now or what?" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara: "I don't know yet. I guess we'll see. For the time being, I don't have anywhere else to go, anyways." Sin@crystyl:"Then we'll just have to make sure to have some fun with you while you're here then won't we!" NPC@annpc#557 | Eshara smirks, "That we will!" --- Alien NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/f/f0/Taris_surf.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20090830165727 Alien NPC@annpc#557 | A heavily damaged ship sits in orbit of Felgan Prime, with numerous small work craft circling about. They seem to be performing field repairs and damage control on the vessel Alien NPC@annpc#557 | The camera pans down, past a passing Dominion-War era Jem'Hadar attack ship, descending down to a city much like the one Seelix and co. visited Alien NPC@annpc#557 | It settles on a skyscraper with tinted windows, zooming into one such window to an office beyond. It is a relatively ordinary workspace, save for a larger than usual number of consoles and - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - display screens on and around the desk. A female Felga is seated behind the desk, and in front of her... Alien NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://media.moddb.com/cache/images/games/1/72/71878/thumb_620x2000/noemi-varnai-jg.jpg Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Felga: "The subject of your interest departed Felgan Prime with three aliens. Two of them were of one species, the third another, all of them unknown in this region." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Bandaged Man: "Surely an information broker of your repute has more than 'species unknown.'" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | The Felga smiles and taps her console, "Of course. I ran a very thorough check for you. The lone alien of its species, I could not find any data on her. But the two, the biometrics for them - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - brought something up. Some data on them was located in Dominion databases. They are called 'human' and come from a distant region of the galaxy." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Bandaged Man: "There can't be many of them here, then." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Felga: "My thoughts exactly. And it didn't take me long to get a lead. Certain members of the Andarash have submitted a bounty through back channels on them. Not these individuals - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - specifically, but a ship they are tied to." She taps her console again, and a hologram of a Sentinel-class cruiser projects above it Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Felga: "Apparently they raided a tomb world, and the An are willing to do anything to bring them to justice. Or at least make life difficult for them." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Bandaged Man: "The bounty should cover some of my losses, though I doubt I will make a profit from this." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Felga: "This is none of my business, I know. But I should advise you, as one professional to another. It is unwise to pursue a vendetta. There are certain risks in your line of work, and-" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Bandaged Man: "I am not pursuing a vendetta. I am Bendral Maar. I have a reputation to maintain, and I cannot let an upstart psionic tarnish what I have created through years of dedicated work." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Felga: "Very well. If you are going after this cruiser, you'll need some serious firepower." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Bendral Maar: "I will build a new team. Have you found me the engineer who betrayed me?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Felga: "Yes. He departed aboard the Darkstar, a privateer vessel crewed by others of his-" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Bendral holds up a bandaged hand, "Captain Heketar's ship. I know the one. I shall start with his crew." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Felga: "Is there anything else?" Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Bendral Maar: "I heard that a shipment of the miracle gel, Kalphias, arrived on Felgan." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Felga: "That's correct." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | Bendral Maar: "I trust that someone with your connections will be able to procure me some," he reaches into a pocket of his vest, digging out a credit chip and sliding it across the table. "I - Alien NPC@annpc#557 - believe this should cover the costs." Alien NPC@annpc#557 | FADE TO BLACK