The Latenter takes its first steps on a reconnaissance mission into the quantum reality of the Survivors in an effort to understand their goals so they can be countered...
T'Lana@anncaris | STARDATE 100097.2 - Two Months After the Valley Forge's Return
T'Lana@anncaris | We see an unfamiliar area filled with consoles and screens. From the size and layout, it appears to be the command centre of either a very large ship or a station. The facility is neither -
T'Lana@anncaris - Starfleet, Iconian nor Survivor. The officers manning it wear an unfamiliar uniform, skintight like that of the Survivors but without any Starfleet department colouration
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DGnMxZdW0AEDUNv.jpg
T'Lana@anncaris | The individuals themselves look human, insofar as they possess no distinguishing alien features. No pointed ears, no ridges, etc. However, it's quite obvious that they aren't human. They're -
T'Lana@anncaris - far too perfect. They sport the same range of appearance as humans- the same skin tones, hair and eye colour variations, come in two biological sexes and range in height and physique from -
T'Lana@anncaris - slender and delicate to broad and muscular. Each and every one of them though, looks like a supermodel, including the post-photoshoot editing to touch them up. The proportions of their -
T'Lana@anncaris - features, from body to facial, are so ideal that they look uncanny to a human's eyes, like something generated by a computer than an actual person
T'Lana@anncaris | The officers go about their daily business when suddenly, on the central screen, the familiar shape of an Iconian gateway forms
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 1: "Reading an unidentified phenomenon forming half an asmetros from the shipyards."
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 2: "We have a match in the database. Instantaneous transportation gateway, origin Iconian, ancient extinct civilization."
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 1: "Temporal?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 2: "No sign of temporal particles. Purely space-time portal. Someone must have activated or reverse engineered this lost civilization's technology."
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "Unknown ships emerging from the aperture."
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 4: "I'm informing the Navarch."
T'Lana@anncaris | On the screen, the distinctive silhouettes of Starfleet ships start emerging from the gateway
T'Lana@anncaris | A female with long, raven-black hair and a more decorated uniform steps into the central area
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "Navarch." He turns to perform a bow, but the female holds up her hand
T'Lana@anncaris | Navarch: "No time for ceremony. Contact the lead ship."
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 4 taps her console, "They're not responding, Navarch."
T'Lana@anncaris | As the ships draw closer, it becomes obvious to the audience familiar with Starfleet designs that there's something very unusual about them. Many of the ships are very extreme kitbashes. The -
T'Lana@anncaris - lead vessel appears to be a Sovereign saucer attached to an Odyssey's secondary hull. We can see a Luna-class minus its mission pod with an Akira back half, an Inquiry-class with Excelsior -
T'Lana@anncaris - type nacelles and several other similar Frankenstein ships, including a cameo by the infamous Yeager-class with the Intrepid saucer kitbashed with an upscaled Maquis raider
T'Lana@anncaris | The ships that aren't extreme kitbashes are all older designs from around the time of the Dominion war such as the New Orleans and classic Nebula and Miranda, largely phased our and replaced -
T'Lana@anncaris - by newer, more capable variants in the modern fleet. This hodgepodge fleet is supported by a dozen Texas-class automated starships
T'Lana@anncaris | More ships begin to emerge from the gateway. We can make out two Colonial Fleet battleships supported by B’rel bird-of-preys, Nausicaan destroyers, Orion corvettes and a trio of old Dominion -
T'Lana@anncaris - attack ships
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "They are powering up weaponry."
T'Lana@anncaris | Navarch: "Raise shields. Ready our own weapons, target-"
T'Lana@anncaris | The screen lights up with several flashes as the Sovereign-Oddy opens fire, but not directly ahead at the station. A second screen beside the main one flickers to the view of several alien -
T'Lana@anncaris - ships in drydock, one of which is instantly blown apart by the vessel's fire
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "They're not targeting us, they're targeting the ships in dock!"
T'Lana@anncaris | The rest of the fleet simultaneously opens fire. The secondary viewers now all switch to different views of the helpless docked alien fleet as the 'Starfleet' ships unleash a ruthless and -
T'Lana@anncaris - devastating attack
T'Lana@anncaris | Navarch: "Launch the ships! Get all defensive patrols back immediately!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 4 taps away at her console desperately while the Navarch watches with an expression of horror at the utter destruction of the burning fleet before her eyes
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "Navarch...who should we target?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Navarch: "Any of them!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Bright white beams light up on the viewscreen, emitting from the source of the camera and hitting the Sovereign-Odyssey. The vessel immediately returns fire and the command centre shakes
T'Lana@anncaris | Several of the other ships join in, now targeting them. The kitbash ships are about as flimsy as you would expect. One of the Mirandas goes down immediately (of course) and soon the -
T'Lana@anncaris - Luna-Akira's shields buckle as it is taken out as well. The Texas-classes withstand fire a lot better, but one is caught by a concentrated white beam and detonates in a flash
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "Shields are failing!"
T'Lana@anncaris | The command centre shakes more violently as several lights go out, showering one of the officers in sparks. He hisses in pain and a strange rippling effect travels up his uniform and his face -
T'Lana@anncaris - as he shrinks back from his console
T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, the Yeager goes down, as does another Miranda, followed by the New Orleans and another Texas
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "I'm losing our weapons!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Navarch: "Where are the patrols?!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 4: "On their way!"
T'Lana@anncaris | The Colonial Fleet battleships open fire with their central coilgun weapons, but the command centre doesn't shake. The shots seem to go past the viewscreen, impacting something beyond
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 1: "By Dite...they're targeting our manufacturing facilities on the surface."
T'Lana@anncaris | Navarch: "They're trying to cripple our shipbuilding capability. This is the prelude to an invasion..."
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "Ar-Rhys help us..."
T'Lana@anncaris | What looked like just several stars on the starfield start to get brighter and brighter, as if they are moving towards the screen. Soon, the become visible as ships; their exact design -
T'Lana@anncaris - indistinguishable as their entire hull glows brightly like a sun. Beams of the same colour as the glows emanate from the vessels, quickly taking down the two Colonial Fleet battleships and -
T'Lana@anncaris - their escorts
T'Lana@anncaris | The remaining 'Starfleet' ships, headed by the Sovereign-Oddy abomination, turns around to confront the new ships
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 4: "They're here! The cavalry is here!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Officer 3: "I've routed some power to bring our functional weaponry back online, Navarch."
T'Lana@anncaris | Navarch: "Concentrate fire on that flagship. Take it out."
T'Lana@anncaris | The new ships and the station all focus on the Sovereign-Oddy, tearing through its shields and then its hull, cutting it apart like butter. Around it, the rest of the ships are quickly -
T'Lana@anncaris - faltering, being taken out left and right. The camera zooms into the main viewscreen, and we are no longer looking into a viewscreen but the camera is actually moving through the scene of the -
T'Lana@anncaris - battle. It pans across what we can now see is a large shipyard, or rather, was a large shipyard. The drydocks lie in complete ruins with the smouldering remains of ships scattered amidst -
T'Lana@anncaris - the twisted metal of their docking facilities
T'Lana@anncaris | The camera moves from the wreckage of the alien ships to the wreckage of the 'Starfleet' ones. As it does, one of the Odyssey nacelles drift close by, and we can make out a familiar name...
T'Lana@anncaris | U.S.S. Gainsborough, NCC-97907
T'Lana@anncaris | The view is interrupted by one of the glow of one of the alien ships, which has entered the debris field in pursuit of the four remaining Texas-class drone ships, which are now retreating -
T'Lana@anncaris - towards the gateway. It manages to shoot one down, but the remaining three disappear through
T'Lana@anncaris | The alien ship stops short of entering the gateway. The camera however continues forward, and we can see on the other side of the gateway, the distinctive shape of a four-nacelled, shadowy -
T'Lana@anncaris - Survivor ship...
T'Lana@anncaris Sound FX | https://youtu.be/8DNO2eU_qkg
T'Lana@anncaris | STARDATE 100163 - Present Day
T'Lana@anncaris | The camera pans through the Spherescape of the Heart, past far more normal looking and modern Starfleet ships, ultimately settling on the Latenter
T'Lana@anncaris | It moves in through the ship's hull into the familiar operations centre, where Alyssa is at work on a console
T'Lana@anncaris makes her way through the room, now with full Commander pips rather than her old LCDR pips. She steps up to Alyssa's console, "Lieutenant. I hope the new assignment treats you well?"
Alyssa@crystyl nods, "It does Commander"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Data analysis here is not too different from the Loki, I imagine. Especially as of this moment, when we are temporarily serving in the same capacity the Loki was for this region."
Alyssa@crystyl:"Indeed. The Latenter has its differences, but the overall setup appears far more specialized for this very purpose so I anticipate optimum performance in the field also"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "The preparations are almost complete. We will be launching our mission soon. There are only a few final details to work out."
Alyssa@crystyl:"I am already fully acclimatized here, so will be prepared for departure"
T'Lana@anncaris:"What of the social situation? This crew has a significant number of other Vulcans on board. Do you find that makes interactions any easier?"
Alyssa@crystyl:"I do not"
Alyssa@crystyl adds after a thought, "Though I do find it just as easy to avoid contact with fellow Vulcans as with any other species if that counts"
T'Lana@anncaris:"That is not exactly any comfort. The situation is not any worse than on the Loki though?"
Alyssa@crystyl:"Certainly not. It simply is what it is, the location is unlikely to ever have an impact"
T'Lana@anncaris:"That will suffice. At least the transition has not set you back in any way."
Alyssa@crystyl:"Now is the time when I am obligated to enquire about your transition back to the Latenter I believe"
T'Lana@anncaris:"My transition has been quite smooth. I have served as First Officer of the Latenter for some time prior. The crew has not changed too significantly in my absence, and I find it rather relieving to -
T'Lana@anncaris:- serve in the XO capacity once again."
Alyssa@crystyl:"Command is often cited as a burden"
T'Lana@anncaris:"It is a significant responsibility, and also not one of my choosing as I was thrust into the role upon exposing Commodore Fox. I am not against the idea of one day formalizing a command of my own, -
T'Lana@anncaris:- but I am uncertain if I wish to do so just yet."
Alyssa@crystyl:"Then this transition is a welcome one"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. I understand it is quite welcome for Victoria as well, who was also thrust upon the XO role. Now, she can return to focusing on operations as she did before."
Alyssa@crystyl:"That makes sense"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Has there been any data of interest today?"
Alyssa@crystyl nods, "I sent a report a short while ago actually which is most likely now awaiting your attention. The Faraday has failed to check in for the second day running"
T'Lana@anncaris:"That is potentially of concern. What is the nearest ship to the Faraday's last known location?"
Alyssa@crystyl checks her console
Alyssa@crystyl:"The Guan Yu is the closest, but they are still two weeks out at maximum warp"
T'Lana@anncaris:"What about other Coalition assets?"
Alyssa@crystyl checks again, "Hmm... there is an allied Lupan packship only 1 week out from that region"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Excellent, thank you. Let me know if you require anything to make your transition more agreeable, Lieutenant."
Alyssa@crystyl:"I will do so Commander"
T'Lana@anncaris rings the doorbell to Mischa's ready room
T'Lana@anncaris steps in with a PADD in hand, "Captain. All major preparations for our mission are complete. There are only a few details remaining to sort out."
Mischa@crystyl:"All on schedule then. Anything of note in the remaining details?"
T'Lana@anncaris takes a seat, "According to our best predictions, the Survivor vessels likely originate from around the 27th century of their universe. I have spoken to our prisoner, Ms. Goto Yuzuki. She has -
T'Lana@anncaris - suggested that we visit the year 2713 specifically, but refused to elaborate on why."
Mischa@crystyl:"Because that's a time when it is too late to change things perhaps? You spoke with her, so you tell me; do we take her at face value?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Trusting her would not be advisable. However, she is also our best source of information, with the databanks of all captured enemy ships wiped. I am uncertain if we truly wish to change things in -
T'Lana@anncaris:- their universe. All our information indicates that the Survivors have been working in the shadows of our galaxy for centuries, manipulating events to proceed in their favour. In the event that we -
T'Lana@anncaris:- alter whatever caused them to travel to our universe, it will be no different from changing the timeline in our own past. At this point, our two universes may be fundamentally linked."
Mischa@crystyl:"So with no better alternative, we go with her suggestion"
T'Lana@anncaris:"With a slight margin. From the way she presented the information, I suspect there is something she wishes us to witness in 2713. However, in the event that she is giving us this date as either a -
T'Lana@anncaris:- trap or a diversion, I suggest we travel to the end of 2712."
Mischa@crystyl:"That sounds good to me. I just hope we don't have to hang around there for a whole year trying to find whatever it is she wants us to see"
T'Lana@anncaris:"As do I. If necessary, we could slingshot further into the future, but I believe it would be wise to, as you humans say, get a lay of the land first by arriving slightly earlier than suggested."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Yes, that would be wise. And there is a whole two hundred years out there for us to explore too"
T'Lana@anncaris:"My thoughts precisely. There is also the question of what to do with our prisoner. She may be able to provide further information and context in her universe, but it may also be a risk given the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- presence of her own people. It will certainly provide her a far more ideal opportunity to escape than here in the Heart."
Mischa@crystyl:"True, but if we leave her here she will only be a burden to others. If we take her along we can at least keep an eye on her"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "That is logical. Any intel we may be able to get out of her will also be more useful to us than here at the Heart. She has been in captivity for some time and is likely not up to date -
T'Lana@anncaris - with the enemy's current plans. Their past, however, will not change."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Very true. Anything else we need to sort out."
T'Lana@anncaris slides her PADD across the desk, "A potential mission specialist, provided we are able to acquire her."
Mischa@crystyl:"Oh?" she takes a curious look
T'Lana@anncaris | The PADD shows a file of Cyber-Emma! The file has been compiled by the Latenter and doesn't have much in the way of detail
Mischa@crystyl:"Ms. Ralde? Ah, from the Shenzhou. An interesting proposal. The logic?" she asks, looking back with an eager smile
T'Lana@anncaris:"This version of Emma Ralde is an Intelligence specialist aboard the Shenzhou, with essentially the same skillset as members of our Starfleet Intelligence. She has already been assisting us in the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- preparations for this mission alongside the Shenzhou crew, and she possesses experience in travelling to another universe and interacting with similar yet not quite identical people. -
T'Lana@anncaris:- And there is her unique connection to the mycelial network. While I do not have access to her classified files, it is logical to assume given the similarities in our history that this version of -
T'Lana@anncaris - her possesses the same quality, otherwise she would not still be alive."
Mischa@crystyl:"A logical argument for the case. Alright, I can speak to this Emma and her Captain about it"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Excellent. I believe she can contribute to this mission and her connection may serve as a potential backup option. Should we for some reason be unable to return to our universe the way we are -
T'Lana@anncaris:- departing, the mycelial network has been shown to be capable of facilitating trans-universal travel as well."
Mischa@crystyl:"All the more reason for me to be convincing then" she smiles
T'Lana@anncaris:"I suggest pointing out that Ms. Ralde's skills are presently underutilized in the Heart. We are freely sharing information with them, including concerning the infiltrators. She is serving as a -
T'Lana@anncaris:- data analyst when she has field training and likely centuries of experience."
Mischa@crystyl:"Assuming she isn't actually conducting a thorough threat assessment on us" she chuckles, "But I get your point"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I believe it is more likely that she has already completed such an analysis."
Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps. But we both know these things never really stop. I do however believe this will present a more enticing prospect for her"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I believe so as well. This will be an interesting opportunity to compare Intelligence operations between our universes."
Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. Well if there's nothing else, I should speak with the Shenzhou"
T'Lana@anncaris:"There is one more matter, though it does not pertain to our mission but our role as temporary Intelligence attache here. I can forward the report and my recommendations to the Admiral, if you wish -
T'Lana@anncaris:- to focus on our upcoming operation."
Mischa@crystyl:"I am happy for you to do so, though I am also a little curious on your recommendations"
T'Lana@anncaris:"The USS Faraday has failed to check in twice now. It is possible the vessel is in some distress. There are no other Starfleet ships in range, but a Lupan vessel friendly to the Coalition can -
T'Lana@anncaris:- arrive at its last known location within a week. I recommend the Admiral approach the Lupan for assistance in this matter."
Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds reasonable. But these are SFC affairs, all we can do is arm with the information"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. I shall send the report and recommendation to Admiral Torin, then."
Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds good. Thank you T'Lana"
T'Lana@anncaris | A short while later, Mischa visits the Shenzhou, arriving outside Keelah's ready room
Mischa@crystyl takes the time to take in the different surroundings on her way, finally arriving and chiming the door. Assuming it has a chime and not just a socket to plug into
T'Lana@anncaris | There is a panel beside the door. Examining it, Mischa sees that it has only one button to open the door, with the translated text on the button notifying her that the door is locked
T'Lana@anncaris | There is no obvious doorbell
Mischa@crystyl hrms, deciding to go the old fashioned way and simply knocks
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah's voice answers, "Come in." The text on the button transforms from locked to unlocked and the door automatically slides open, revealing the now familiar cybernetically augmented Keelah -
T'Lana@anncaris - behind her desk
Mischa@crystyl steps in, "I'm glad you could operate that thing from in here, otherwise this would be an awkward conversation through the door" she chuckles, "Still, thank you for having me Captain"
T'Lana@anncaris | Despite the differences between the Shenzhou and the Valley Forge, Keelah's office is surprisingly similar. The layout is different and she has a different desk; however, much of the decor -
T'Lana@anncaris - is comparable, including the prominent IDIC symbol which is identical. The ship plaques are of course different, and the wedding photo features a very cybernetically augmented Sam dressed in a -
T'Lana@anncaris - hakama skirt featuring the Bishop family crest. Mischa might notice some of the more subtle differences as well; though this Keelah holds a book collection, they feature very different books -
T'Lana@anncaris - which the UT helpfully translates the title of. Among them are Sun Tzu's Art of War, Tolstoy's War and Peace, the Man'yoshu, the Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin and the Autobiography of -
T'Lana@anncaris - Tujiro Nakamura, a name Mischa recognizes as a prominent flag officer of the mid 2300s in our universe
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah holds up her arm, showing the holographic interface of her multitool, "Our tools can interact with most functions aboard the ship. The ones that don't compromise security, at least."
Mischa@crystyl raises her hand, wiggling her fingers, "Whereas mine, do not" she chuckles
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah chuckles, "You're one of the few humans who actually don't look too different in both our respective universes. Forgive me if I address you as 'my lady' by accident. Unless you prefer -
T'Lana@anncaris - that title here, of course."
Mischa@crystyl:"It's... not something I typically go by when I can avoid it, but I am quite comfortable of it. Though it almost makes me want to ask..."
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah smiles, "...who you are in our universe?"
Mischa@crystyl:"It does beg the question"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah: "Her Majesty Mischa the Second, Queen of the Planetary Kingdom of Ariel and her outer territories, keeper of tradition, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Defense Force. But you also -
T'Lana@anncaris - didn't like fancy titles, so you insisted everyone just call you 'my lady' in your presence."
Mischa@crystyl:"Damn, and I thought my title here was convoluted. I guess it's just one of those things that remains consistent. But, I'm sure you don't expect that I came by just to compare universal notes"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah: "I had a feeling you didn't. Have a seat, my lady. No need to stand on ceremony."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Thank you Captain. I in fact came to offer you a proposal of sorts"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah gives her a curious look, "A proposal, you say? And what might that be?"
Mischa@crystyl:"As you may well be aware already, I will soon be departing to breath the temporal borders of our unseen enemy to gather intelligence at the source"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah nods, "Yes, we've been assisting in creating trans-universal rifts here. We've made a few that's allowed the other members of our exploration group to go back and forth from our Heart, -
T'Lana@anncaris - and we're confident we can get you to your target universe."
Mischa@crystyl:"And I am aware that you have a dedicated intelligence officer on board as part of your expedition. But if even we remain under her surveillance, I expect we can both agree that these infiltrators -
Mischa@crystyl:- the higher threat right now"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah: "To your universe. From the information we brought back, we've seen no obvious signs of tampering in our own history. At least, not our recent history. Still, we've found that our -
T'Lana@anncaris - mission has suddenly expanded from exploring new regions of the galaxy to explore other quantum realities in recent months, so we would be interested in any data on the universe these -
T'Lana@anncaris - infiltrators come from."
Mischa@crystyl:"Of course. Well, regardless, I expect that continuing the current setup will be a waste of her talents. To that end, I would like to invite you to send her along with us"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah considers for a moment, "She is one of the finest Intelligence officers we have. But, I suppose that's why you need her more than we do. Things are going well back home. She served us -
T'Lana@anncaris - well through the Horde War, but there's no war right now. Unlike here."
Mischa@crystyl:"My thoughts exactly, so this seemed like an ideally suited opportunity for her"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah nods, "I concur. I assume that she'll have access to all the intel you'll gather on your mission, and will be permitted to pass that on to us?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah smiles, "I had a feeling that would be your response, from what I know of our Mischa. Well, it's an arrangement that benefits everyone. Just take good care of her and bring her back safely."
Mischa@crystyl:"I will make every effort to. Me and loss do not sit well together"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah nods, "Another similarity between you and the Queen. For all her diplomacy and niceties, she's a fierce protector of her people when danger threatens them."
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah: "A trait that's good to have in every leader, starship captain or planetary monarch."
Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. Well then, while I make this offer to you it is just that; an offer. I leave it you to determine whether or not to extend that choice to her or to make it an order"
T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah: "I'll discuss it with her. I think she'll see the logic in your proposal."
Mischa@crystyl stands, "Then I should leave you to your business, Captain. Thank you for your time and slight indulgence of my curiosity"
T'Lana@anncaris | On the Latenter, T'Lana awaits in the transporter room as cyber-Emma beams aboard
Emma Ralde@crystyl looks around and steps down, "Huh, the blonde was unexpected but otherwise..." she nods in approval, "...you must be Commander T'Lana"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "That is correct. Does my counterpart in your universe possess different hair?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I have no idea. Just from our profile on you, I had you figured for a brunette" she smiles
T'Lana@anncaris:"Interesting. You have a profile on me, but no accompanying image. I assume I am either an operative with your Starfleet Intelligence, or an elusive target?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Could be. Good as I am, I don't know everyone in the service by name. My profile isn't on you from our universe, it's just on you. And you weren't around until recently, and unlike your friends-
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- from the Valley Forge and Lexington; those of you from Intel here don't exactly keep up appearances to the same extent"
T'Lana@anncaris:"That is true. I am curious, what information have you collected for my profile? Or is that classified?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl hrms, "Former XO of this ship - turned temporary CO of the one that got blown up before you all came back here - turned XO here again"
T'Lana@anncaris raises a brow, "And you had an estimate of my hair colour from that data?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl chuckles, "Nah, just not something we see all too often. So mental images tend to form with people as brunettes by default"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "That is a more logical explanation. Such phenotypes are quite uncommon among Vulcans of our universe as well, and I believe entirely absent among Orions."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Humans too, at least back home. Here they seem a bit more varied. But then, so do Vulcans thinking about it - did you know there's one here with bright pink hair!"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Is that so? I do not believe that could be natural. Perhaps hybridization with Arshai, but a Vulcan-Arshai hybrid has yet to be produced in this universe."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"No Arshai in that one, just a good old fashioned Vulcan-Human hybrid though. No doubt it's artificial, but still... why?" her eyes flash with eager curiosity. Literally perhaps, "For all your -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- peoples stoicism and logic - where is the logic in something like that? It's a mystery to be solved! But... not yet. First we have the mystery of your infiltrators or survivors or whatever you're -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- all calling them today"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. On that note, welcome to the Latenter," she turns to lead the way
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Nice to finally see how you all do things here. My sources tell me that you guys are the closest to us in terms of overall style and feel. Even if you do lack the tech"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I believe so as well. My sources suggest your Starfleet is more spartan and utilitarian than ours. Starfleet Intelligence vessels tend to forgo some of the comforts of Starfleet Command vessels."
Emma Ralde@crystyl beams, "Good. Like home away from home then!"
T'Lana@anncaris steps into a turbolift, "I presume you have more information on the ship than you do on myself. Despite our best efforts, our operations have not been as low-profile as we would have preferred. -
T'Lana@anncaris - Especially out in this region."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"We've got our scans, sure"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Then you are familiar with the upgrades we acquired from technology that was salvaged from the infiltrator vessels?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles, "Yes, you've been busy littles bees haven't you!"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Most of it was the work of the crew while I was elsewhere. I had to refamiliarize myself upon my return as well. However, we have made a few more adjustments since then as well."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Configuring your new toys to our specs right?"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "And more refinements now that we have more information on how they function on something closer to a Starfleet vessel."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"To that end, you might have been better recruiting one of our specialists to help. Because it's not exactly my thing"
T'Lana@anncaris steps out of the lift, "We did not recruit you for technical expertise. We have already completed all our refinements here in the Heart. From our latest test, it appears that our cloak will -
T'Lana@anncaris - shield us from the sensors of the future vessels. They still possess means to see through our cloak, but that will require them having a reason to check for cloaked vessels. As long as we give -
T'Lana@anncaris - them no such reason, we will be completely hidden from the regular sensor technology of that era."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yeah, I'm just teasing you. I know the score"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I assume you have already deduced the unstated reason we want you on this mission as well?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yeah, I'm your backup plan in case your new tech craps out on you"
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Hate to tell you though, but it ain't that easy. So hope it doesn't come to that, or you'll be disappointed"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I hope we will not need to resort to backups either. We do not have the equipment to make use of that particular method of travel, even if you are able to utilize it with enough fine control to -
T'Lana@anncaris:- return us. However, it is always better to have backup options available."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"At least you're under no delusions about the feasibility of such an approach. It is understandable that you all know about me here. What I find somewhat more surprising though is that your version -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- of me isn't still with Intel"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I believe she was offered the opportunity, but turned it down. Our Starfleet has more of a focus on the romantic notions of exploration than the defense of the Federation, and she originates from -
T'Lana@anncaris:- the time when such ventures were at their height."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Really? Well I guess your lot playing everything that much more softly would have it's appeal. Still hard to imagine though"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I suspect our Emma may find it difficult to imagine a life with Starfleet Intelligence instead," she steps up to a door and taps the panel, sliding it open to reveal the quarters beyond
T'Lana@anncaris:"This will be your living quarters. We have granted you junior officer access, as your counterpart here would possess."
Emma Ralde@crystyl steps in and looks around, "Yeah, this will do" she turns, "What about duty stations, got somewhere I can use as an office or a space in your analytics hub?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Do you have any particular specialities in that regard?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I've been doing this job for the better part of 300 years. I have most of the specialties covered by now" she smiles, "As for preference, my focus is much like you and your Captain really. But my -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- primary role here is to conduct my own assessment of this enemy as a potential threat to our universe. So a small office to focus my works would be the most suitable for that. Just don't forget -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- I'm there when the fun stuff comes up!"
T'Lana@anncaris:"We will allocate an appropriate workplace for you. And I am certain we will have plenty of missions for you."
Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles, "Sounds good to me!"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Let us know if you require anything else."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Will do. But I don't anticipate anything up front"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Then I shall leave you to settle in for the time being."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Thanks Commander!" she bows her head gratefully
T'Lana@anncaris | With the preparations complete, the Latenter crew gathers in the conference room as they plan to begin their mission...
Mischa@crystyl | Ori doubletakes when she sees Emma enter, who simply eyes her with a smirk in return while she sits
T'Lana@anncaris:"This is Emma Ralde from the Shenzhou. I believe we are all familiar with her counterpart in our universe by now."
Mischa@crystyl | Ori, "That explains it" she looks to Mischa, "Is this a new thing with you now Captain, collecting copies of the Forge's crew?"
Mischa@crystyl eyerolls, "We can soon change that if you want to stay behind...". she teases
Mischa@crystyl | Ori flusters and backtracks, promptly sitting quietly with a sheepish, "Sorry Captain..."
Mischa@crystyl | Emma grins, "And here I was about to thank you Captain for bringing along a pet Rianni to keep me company while I'm away from mine!"
Mischa@crystyl sighs, "This is going to be a long trip..."
T'Lana@anncaris:"On the subject of leaving behind," she looks to Mischa. "Eirril reports that the new Network room we have set up in the Heart is functioning optimally. He will oversee the Network from here until -
T'Lana@anncaris:- we return, however long that may be in our own timeline."
Mischa@crystyl:"I'm sure we'll be back in time for dinner" she smiles, "Nonetheless that is good news. I hope that having a fixed base of operations will help him get back on top"
T'Lana@anncaris:"He has better access to many of his old Underworld contacts now as well, which should assist in the endeavour. There have been discussions between the Carrans, Arshai and Orions of potentially -
T'Lana@anncaris:- formalizing the Network as the Coalition's intelligence arm. Many of the independent Coalition members' intelligence services, including our own, already have involvement within the Network."
Mischa@crystyl:"A promising prospect. Not exactly the backhanded ruling of the underworld we set out for, but I'll take it"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I am certain there will be more discussion on the subject when we return. Onto the mission at hand," she nods to T'Bee
Mischa@crystyl turns to T'Bee
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "Sphere facilities are ready to generate the rift. However, we are still uncertain as to precisely which era of their universe we will initially arrive at. Current data from the other -
T'Lana@anncaris - visiting universes indicate that quantum realities are not perfectly temporally aligned, There is a time discrepancy between our universe, the Terran's, the Shenzhou's and the Romulan-Vulcan -
T'Lana@anncaris - universe. All the universes we have contacted appear to be aligned based on when the Horde was defeated, which all occurred the exact amount of time ago in every universe as of the point of -
T'Lana@anncaris - contact."
Mischa@crystyl:"A curious point of continuity. Perhaps there is more to the lowering of the galactic barrier that occured alongside those events than we first thought"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. Our previous journey into their universe also suggested something similar. Despite the difference in time, both our universes were at a similar point in the Horde conflict, and there was -
T'Lana@anncaris:- no sign of any temporal element during our travels. It is likely that the rift will take us to the point in their history when the same amount of time has passed following the defeat of the Horde."
Mischa@crystyl:"So we will have then perform a temporal jump within their universe to reach the target point"
T'Lana@anncaris:"We will have to do so even if the rift takes us to their equivalent of our time period. However, the dynamic of interaction may change significantly. If we are still in their 23rd century, our -
T'Lana@anncaris:- previous visit will be as recent for them as it is for us, rather than a footnote in distant history."
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Which leads to the question of how exactly we approach this. We're going to be arriving in their Heart of Unity, there's nothing we can do to get around that. As the visits to our -
T'Lana@anncaris - universe showed us though, passing through the rift doesn't interfere with cloaking devices. But while /we/ can pass through unseen, they'll still notice the rift."
Mischa@crystyl:"If it was a blind expedition I'd consider sending in a front ship to be the public arrival. But as we already covered, this won't be our first time there. So maybe we don't make a covert approach"
T'Lana@anncaris | Emma: "You could send a probe through first, like we did. Check to see exactly what time period you're dealing with before going through yourselves."
Mischa@crystyl hrms, "And like the Midway's experiment, we could configure the probe with a message. Something to inform our friends there that it is us coming back"
T'Lana@anncaris:"An excellent idea. We can then proceed through once the probe has returned, so there is no danger of them mistaking us for a threat."
Mischa@crystyl:"Then let's get that probe ready and on it's way"
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods, "We'll prepare the probe and have a message composed, Captain."
Mischa@crystyl:"Perfect. Then if there is nothing further?" she looks around the table
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "Once we have entered their universe, I have located an ideal system for our jump to the future. The size of the star is optimal for the slingshot maneuver and there is no inhabitable -
T'Lana@anncaris - planets nor resources of note within, meaning it is unlikely to be populated during our target time."
Mischa@crystyl:"Good work Bee"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I believe we should be ready. Once the probe is prepared, we will maneuver into position and send the Coalition the go-ahead to generate the rift."
Mischa@crystyl:"Alright then, let's get to it" she stands to leave
Mischa@crystyl | Emma promptly stands as well, bowing her head, "Thank you my lady!"
Mischa@crystyl | Cue everyone slooooowly turning to Emma *staaaaaare*
T'Lana@anncaris | A short while after the meeting, Mischa is notified that the probe is ready
Mischa@crystyl walks onto the bridge, "Is everything set?"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Yes Captain. I have already taken the liberty of beginning to move us into position for the rift."
Mischa@crystyl sits, "Thank you T'Lana. Proceed with launching the probe as soon as the rift is open and stable"
T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, the Latenter comes to a stop as they reach their position. A few moments later, a thick beam emanates from somewhere behind them, from which the rift slowly begins to -
T'Lana@anncaris - generate. It appears first as an incohesive mist before the aperture opens in the centre, growing wider and wider
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "The rift is now stable and large enough to deploy the probe."
Mischa@crystyl turns and gives TL the nod to proceed
T'Lana@anncaris taps her console, "The probe is away."
T'Lana@anncaris | The probe moves across the viewscreen, soon disappearing through the aperture to the other side
T'Lana@anncaris:"Bringing up the probe's visual feed now."
T'Lana@anncaris | The viewscreen switches views, though it still looks rather similar. We see a Spherescape much like our own, with a gathering of Coalition vessels, some of familiar design, some with design -
T'Lana@anncaris - elements that are identifiable but clearly not of the same classes we are familiar with. The Starfleet vessels are a mixture of the two; some of them are clearly 23rd century starship classes, -
T'Lana@anncaris - while others bear the shape of 23rd century vessels but with unfamiliar details
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "I have confirmation from the quantum signature readings that we have targeted the correct universe."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Well, that's a good start"
T'Lana@anncaris:"The probe has broadcast its message. Most of the vessels appear to be standing down weapons."
Mischa@crystyl:"Now keep an eye out for their Enterprise. If they are still in the vicinity, I'm pretty sure they'll respond to that message in person since we went to the trouble of baiting them by saying that -
Mischa@crystyl:- I'm coming to return the favour to their Captain as promised and deliver him a bottle of something nice from our universe for his top shelf"
T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, one of the Starfleet cruisers breaks formation, moving forward. As it approaches, we can see the marking of the USS Enterprise. Its appearance has changed since Mischa last -
T'Lana@anncaris - saw it. The vessel has clearly gone through a refit, and closely resembles the Defiant from this universe recovered in our own universe
Mischa@crystyl smiles, leaning back in her chair, "And there she is"
Mischa@crystyl | Emma looks over, "Now that takes me back"
T'Lana@anncaris:"It would appear they have received a refit since our last encounter. This must be their universe's version of the fleet overhaul in the 2270s."
Mischa@crystyl:"It would seem so. Well, everything appears to check out. Helm, take us through. Once more into the abyss..."
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Aye Captain. Taking us through."
T'Lana@anncaris | The Latenter moves forward towards the rift, and soon the saucer begins to go through the aperture. Like with the Iconian gateway, the view transitions immediately from the rift to the -
T'Lana@anncaris - alternate Spherescape beyond, with no travel time like through a wormhole
Mischa@crystyl:"Well that seemed painless enough. Report"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "Sensor readings are identical to what the probe was picking up, only in more detail now with our shipboard sensors."
T'Lana@anncaris | Daurant: "All systems fully operational. No sign of any interference from passing through the rift."
T'Lana@anncaris | The rift starts to shrink and close behind them
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "We're being hailed by the Enterprise."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, reaching down beside her chair and pulling up a bottle which she holds in her lap, "Right on cue. On screen"
T'Lana@anncaris | A familiar figure appears on the viewscreen...
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/c1Dm2ap.jpg
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Commander Leveson-Scott. You came all this way just to get me a drink?"
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I did promise!" she pats the bottle in her hand, "But times have moved on for us both as our respective sensors are already telling us. It is Captain now by the way, but these are simple -
Mischa@crystyl:- formalities. If our calculations are correct, the Horde conflict is behind you now?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk nods, "It took a heavy toll, but we managed to stop the Architect and wipe out his army. The Enterprise was almost lost, but now she's all repaired and good as new," he gestures around -
T'Lana@anncaris - himself. "She's no longer my command though. It's Admiral for me these days, and they have me as second-in-command of DSEC. I'm just a guest on Captain Spock's ship," he smiles
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock steps into frame behind him, dressed in a uniform nearly identical to the captain's uniform of the early 2270s
Mischa@crystyl smiles and mutters, "See how long that lasts..." ahems, "Well Admiral, Captain-" she gestures around herself in kind, "allow me to finally introduce you to the Latenter. Now as you have already -
Mischa@crystyl:- surmised; as much as like you Admiral, you're not worth all of the effort from this entire crew and all the support personnel back at the Heart it took to get us here just to give you a long -
Mischa@crystyl:- overdue thank you gift. No offence" she smiles
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk chuckles, "I thought as much. How about you come over to the Enterprise to deliver your gift, and we can discuss what brings you back to our universe."
Mischa@crystyl:"Now that's an invitation a lady can't say no to. We will be with you presently Admiral"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "I look forward to seeing you in person then, Captain."
Mischa@crystyl stands once the comm ends, setting the bottle down and clapping her hands together, "Right then! Who's turn is it for a field trip?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Ori and I accompanied you on the previous mission where we encountered this reality's Enterprise. It would be logical for one of us to accompany you this time."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "You're with me T'Lana. Sorry Ori, but I want Emma on this one too and I'm not sure having you two in one place is something I'm mentally prepared for yet"
Mischa@crystyl | Ori giggles, "No problem Captain!"
Mischa@crystyl | Emma steps up, "If you want to present a gift, I do have something similar from your counterpart in our reality that was meant for you..."
Mischa@crystyl | Mischa shakes her head, "No way. That's going straight into /my/ private reserve"
Mischa@crystyl | Emma smiles and nods
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa, T'Lana and Emma materialize on the new transporter pad of the Enterprise, where Kirk and Spock stand to greet them
Mischa@crystyl looks around and smiles, stepping down with an extended hand to the Admiral, "Goodness, it's like she's a whole new ship!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk smiles back, "She pretty much is. After the damage we took in that final battle, most other ships would've been decommissioned. Because of our role in building the Coalition, -
T'Lana@anncaris - it was decided to restore the Enterprise."
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "There is little remaining of the original Enterprise save sections of the vessel's frame. You have arrived just in time. We have only recently launched from the Foundry."
Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds a lot like the Valley Forge back home. Still, it is good to see you again, you too Captain. I'm sure you both remember my XO Commander T'Lana, and this Ms. Ralde who is joining us from -
Mischa@crystyl:- another different universe"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "So that's why she has a very different uniform. Have you been contacting other universes often recently?"
Mischa@crystyl:"There were some inadvertent contacts" she nods, "A SAR mission was miscalculated and went trans-universal. The result was a number of visits from other realities including Ms. Ralde's"
Mischa@crystyl | Emma: "I do hold the rank of LT if you find it easier Captain"
Mischa@crystyl glances over and smiles back to Kirk & Spock, "Like I said, a /very/ new addition"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "It would appear so. Have you come to our universe as a part of this rescue mission?"
Mischa@crystyl:"No, that is the part that will take significantly more explanation" she hands the bottle Kirk, "You might want this”
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk gives Mischa a curious look, taking the bottle, "You do know how to build anticipation, Captain."
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "Shall we proceed to one of the meeting rooms?"
Mischa@crystyl smiles and nods, "After you, Gentlemen"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock begins leading the way. As they walk, Kirk inquires, "I take it you stopped the Horde in your universe too?"
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Yes, some time ago now. In fact, I believe it is exactly the same amount of relative time ago as it was for yourselves"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "Interesting. It would appear our theories based on your last visit were indeed accurate."
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Some of them, at least. If I remember right, Spock, you thought we were going to lose the war and alter their universe in a way so that they encounter the Horde when Starfleet's -
T'Lana@anncaris - much more advanced and prepared."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well that aside, the theory about the continuity between universes seems consistent with results we've had elsewhere to date"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "History all prefers to flow a certain way, even with diverging events making new universes?"
Mischa@crystyl:"There is that, but it is more in this instance. It would seem that every different reality we have learned of so far each has a varying temporal offset. Those offsets are centralized at the point -
Mischa@crystyl:- where the Horde is defeated, and - presumably - the galactic barrier(s) are dropped. For whatever reason, all of these 'parallel' worlds focus on that single point"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "Very curious indeed," he comments as they step into a turbolift, "I assume you have experienced the same psionic awakening phenomenon after the lowering of the barrier?"
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Yes, and whilst we have theories as to the connection between that event and the barrier. They are just that; theories"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "It is the same situation in our universe. Many scientists have begun studying it, but so far, they are still far from any agreed upon conclusion."
Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps we will get to compare notes while we are here"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "What about the restoration of former Horde space? That's been the primary focus of much of DSEC's research and efforts out here. Your Starfleet must be doing something similar."
Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, we continue to play a key role in the Coalition that calls the Heart its home now. Said efforts are a key part of that"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Maybe we can share notes on that, too. But even with sharing technology among the Coalition, yours is still a few centuries more advanced. I don't suppose you've created some kind of -
T'Lana@anncaris - prime directive for multiverse contact?"
Mischa@crystyl:"It's a work in progress"
T'Lana@anncaris | The lift comes to a stop and Spock begins to lead the way forward on a different deck, "With your higher frequency of contacts with other universes, it is logical for you to have already begun -
T'Lana@anncaris - developing such a policy. I foresee that we may one day require such protocols as well. Perhaps you may share what you establish with us and other instances of Starfleet you encounter."
Mischa@crystyl:"I think that would be wise. At least with universes already possessing knowledge of the multiverse. Somewhat like the temporal directive in that regard"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "A temporal directive. That is something else we will have to develop as well."
Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Where I come from, you two and this ship are half the reason it was drawn up the first place by all accounts"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "I suppose we've had a few trips to the past during our time out here..."
T'Lana@anncaris | The group enters the conference room, which is larger and fancier than the one they were in the last time they visited. The large bulky desk consoles are gone, replaced by interfaces built -
T'Lana@anncaris - onto the surface of the table. The way the entire table is laid out shows clear inspiration from the Nuhar-made meeting rooms present at the Waystation as well as across the Heart
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "The new and improved meeting room, just like everywhere else on the ship. We're going to be the template going forward for all the new Constitution-class cruisers, and any upgrades done -
T'Lana@anncaris - to the older ones."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "You are right to be proud of her. She's a fine ship"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk smiles back, taking a seat, "That she is. She got us through the Horde War, and without the latest upgrades at that."
Mischa@crystyl notices the smile, "You know though, you'll regret not being the one in that chair"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk chuckles, "Oh I'm having second thoughts about it already."
Mischa@crystyl raises a finger and gives a stiff upper lip expression to quote "/Don't/ let them promote you. /Don't/ let them transfer you. Don't let them do /anything/ that takes you off the bridge of that -
Mischa@crystyl - ship, because while you're there you can make a difference"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Let me guess, a quote from someone in your universe?"
Mischa@crystyl grins, "Someone from this table. You just haven't said it yet"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Really? I'll have to remember it, then." He sighs slightly, "I do wish I can take her out to the stars again. But I took this promotion for a reason. I can't be gallivanting out there -
T'Lana@anncaris - anymore. At least I got a good position here in the Heart instead of some desk job on Earth."
Mischa@crystyl:"Of course, things are very different here. Maybe it will all work out!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "I'm guessing from that quote I didn't take the promotion in your universe? Or took it and came to regret it?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Since events have already played out so drastically here, knowledge of alternatives seems moot at this point. You took the promotion, yes. And you regretted it, both times. You supposedly offered -
Mischa@crystyl:- those words of wisdom to a future CO of another Enterprise, much further down the line than this one"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "What about Carol and David? Do you know if I ever learned about them where you come from?"
Mischa@crystyl:"I do not. I'm afraid my knowledge of this period in our history is limited to Starfleet teachings. They tend not to cover the personal elements"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk nods, "Well, Carol's heading one of the projects for the restoration efforts out here. That's why this position in the Heart is so perfect. I found out quite by accident at first, but -
T'Lana@anncaris - once I did...settling down here just seemed the natural way to go."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Glad to hear it. But I suppose you want to know why we are here now"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "Indeed. I do not suppose you came here simply to further study our reality for research purposes."
Mischa@crystyl:"I'm afraid not, such an endeavour would not call for the Latenter's attention. For what it's worth, we are actually just passing through"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Passing through to where, exactly?"
Mischa@crystyl:"To the future. More specifically, the future of this universe. It is... difficult to provide context for fear of altering things. But we have learned something since our last visit here. And well, -
Mischa@crystyl:- your future is our past"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock raises a brow, "So my speculation was correct? Your universe was created by someone from our own."
Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "I have no information to that effect. All we do know is that there is - and has been for considerable time - a presence in our universe which has roots in the future of this one. -
Mischa@crystyl:- Now however - in light of the Horde's defeat - there are... complications which warrant our direct intervention at the source"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Complications? What sort of complications?"
Mischa@crystyl:"The kind that I'm not willing to risk the history of my entire universe - and the future of yours - by speculating about"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "If you are travelling to our universe, are you not already risking some alteration to whatever is occurring in your own universe?"
Mischa@crystyl:"It is a risk, but a calculated one. Passing through here is one thing - especially when we have been here before anyway - but to divulge details of your future runs the risk of changing it. Even if-
Mischa@crystyl:- that held the potential to address things for us, any change here further risks the impact of altering centuries of history in our universe. And given what is starting to occur with cross-universe-
Mischa@crystyl:- exploration now, I would not be surprised if such events become more commonplace for you at the Heart and so our specific presence now is even less likely to have any significant impact"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock nods, "I understand. May we inquire as to the purpose of visiting the future of our universe, if not to alter it? Do you simply seek to understand the nature of the connection between -
T'Lana@anncaris - our two realities?"
Mischa@crystyl:"The connection, and the people working with it" she nods
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "I think I see why you want to take this risk. I might even go as far as to call it...logical." He grins. "If our history was so closely tied with another reality, I'd want to find out -
T'Lana@anncaris - how and why, too."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I'm glad you understand. If we could have made the transition over here without disrupting things at the Heart for you, I would have happily done so and just passed on through without -
Mischa@crystyl:- giving any cause for concern. But hopefully now with a little perspective you will be able to see your way to letting us pass through the Heart and back"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk nods, "Since you're not here to change anything, for the sake of your own universe as well as ours, I see no harm in letting you pass through. I'll talk to the rest of the Coalition about -
T'Lana@anncaris - it. We run the Heart jointly, I'm sure you do something similar in your reality. But I see no reason any of them wouldn't let you pass."
Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you Admiral, your cooperation means a lot"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock: "I presume you have a plan for reaching our future once you exit the Sphere?"
Mischa@crystyl nods, "There is an isolated system we can use to perform a solar slingshot"
T'Lana@anncaris | Spock nods, "That will be a sufficient method."
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "If there's nothing else, I'll explain the reason for your visit to the Coalition leaders."
Mischa@crystyl:"I think that covers all the bases"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk stands, "It shouldn't be long before we let you get on your way. Thanks for the drink, Captain."
Mischa@crystyl stands, "Thank you Admiral. If you do need any further consultation just let me know"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "We'll contact your ship if we have any questions."
T'Lana@anncaris | After returning to the Latenter from the Enterprise, Mischa works away in her ready room when her combadge sounds
Mischa@crystyl taps, "Go ahead"
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "We have a comm from the local Coalition headquarters, Captain."
Mischa@crystyl:"Ok I'll be right out there"
Mischa@crystyl strolls out onto the bridge a minute later, "On screen"
T'Lana@anncaris stands from the command chair and steps over to her console as Mischa arrives
T'Lana@anncaris | Admiral Kirk appears on the viewscreen, still dressed in the same uniform but now with the Iconian background of Coalition HQ
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Captain. Based on our previous interaction, the Coalition leaders have seen it fit to grant you safe passage to and from the Heart."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Thank you Admiral"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "Have you encountered the Drenn Ecclesiarchy yet where you come from?"
Mischa@crystyl:"They seldom go by that name, but yes I know who they are" her eyes narrow with suspicion, "...why?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "We've been having some problems with the survivors of the old Ecclesiarchy. Let's just say they're not playing too nicely with the Coalition, and their ships are quite powerful. Maybe -
T'Lana@anncaris - even a match for someone on your technological level."
Mischa@crystyl:"Quite possibly. But since you have a whole Coalition here I can't imagine what you might be eluding to"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "They're tough, but it's unlikely for them to ever breach the Sphere, especially with the Iconians here. I'm just giving you a heads-up, as you'll be heading outside the Heart's -
T'Lana@anncaris - protection. I doubt you'll be here long enough to run into them, but just in case they do, be aware that they might not take too kindly to a Starfleet-looking ship right now."
Mischa@crystyl:"Duly noted, thank you for the warning Admiral. One final question; when do you have your next scheduled ship coming or going from the Heart?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk glances offscreen briefly to check a console, "We have a departure through Hatch 2 scheduled an hour from now. I assume you're looking to leave at the same time?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Yes. Your warning aside, as we have already discussed it would be prudent to minimize our presence here. So we will slip out unnoticed when that hatch opens"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk nods, "I assume you'll be using cloaking systems for the rest of your trip?"
Mischa@crystyl:"That's how we prefer it"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "That should minimize any risk of running into trouble with the Drenn, or changing our history in any way. Good luck out there, Captain."
T'Lana@anncaris | Kirk: "I'll see you when you get back. Kirk out."
Mischa@crystyl:"Ok that's our departure window then"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "We will be in position and cloaked when the time approaches."
T'Lana@anncaris | After Mischa retires back to the ready room, the doorbell chimes
Mischa@crystyl:stands at the window looking out at the sphere, turning, "Come in"
T'Lana@anncaris steps in, "Captain. We are in position and ready for departure when the hatch opens."
Mischa@crystyl:"That is good to know, but hardly feels worthy of you delivering the message in person. Something on your mind?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I have been pondering Spock's theory. We have considerably more information to work with than him, but the intel we possess largely appears to support his idea that part of the manipulations -
T'Lana@anncaris:- originating from this universe was to delay Starfleet's encounter with the Horde. This hypothesis was initially reached during our last visit, when victory against the Horde was not yet certain. -
T'Lana@anncaris:- At the time, they possessed a motive for carrying out such manipulation. From what we have observed here today, they have accomplished as much as we have, but far earlier in history. It would -
T'Lana@anncaris:- seem likely that their future would be more ideal, having bypassed conflicts such as the Iconian War, and very likely rendering other threats less dangerous due to technological advances here."
Mischa@crystyl moves over to the sofa as she listens, "Yes, it is a conundrum"
T'Lana@anncaris takes a seat as well, "The only logical explanation is that something is about to change for the worse in the next few centuries. The increase in psionic abilities is the only possible cause I -
T'Lana@anncaris - can think of, as that is directly connected to the defeat of the Horde, and by extension, the discovery of the Heart."
Mischa@crystyl:"It is also possible that the whole Horde conflict was just another piece of the puzzle they sought to maneuver. I have a feeling that catalyst event may be what we are intended to witness after we -
Mischa@crystyl:- arrive there"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "A distinct possibility. It would explain why Goto presented us with a specific destination."
Mischa@crystyl:"The only reason I can see for her to want us to go to a specific timeframe is that it will be something pertinent. Since she believes fully in their cause, it makes sense that she believes said -
Mischa@crystyl:- event will justify their actions and maybe even convince us to work with them going forwards"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. We will have to proceed to that time period and see. With this information, I am inclined to believe that she is genuinely attempting to explain their motives, rather than having any -
T'Lana@anncaris:- nefarious plans of escape."
Mischa@crystyl:"That aside, what do you make of the Admiral's warning. Think we have any cause for concern?"
T'Lana@anncaris shakes her head, "From his explanation of the situation, the Drenn seems to have recently resurfaced, as they did in our own universe. While their vessels are indeed formidable, even to our -
T'Lana@anncaris - Starfleet, our cloaking device is more than capable of concealing us. I understand why the Admiral found it prudent to warn us, as the Latenter could be threatened by a direct confrontation. -
T'Lana@anncaris - But direct confrontation is not what this ship was designed for, and given their level of technology, I suspect Kirk is unaware of the capabilities of our improved cloak."
Mischa@crystyl:"The only time we'll be exposed is when we make the jump. We'll just have double down on our efforts to clear the area of hidden surprises first"
T'Lana@anncaris:"As long as the system is clear of Drenn presence, we should be safe to proceed."
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's monitor things in the area on long range sensors once we leave here. Might be prudent to have a fitting backup location ready just in case"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Agreed," she stands. "It is almost time for the hatch opening. We should proceed to the bridge."
Mischa@crystyl stands and heads out
Mischa@crystyl strolls onto the bridge, slipping into her seat, "Status?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Just in time. Cloak is ready and the departing ships are just moving in towards the hatch."
T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, two Nuhar Watchers can be seen moving
Mischa@crystyl:"Engage cloak and move in behind them"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Engaging cloak."
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Moving into position behind the Nuhar, Captain."
T'Lana@anncaris | The Latenter closes in, settling behind the Nuhar and keeping pace with the two.
T'Lana@anncaris | As they approach, the massive entrance hatch of the Sphere begins to slide open. Automatic tractor beams lock on to the two Nuhar, guiding them out smoothly. The Latenter's cloak conceals them -
T'Lana@anncaris - from whatever detection mechanism the tractor beams use however. Nethay taps away on his console, manually steering them through the opening which is fortunately large enough for them to pass -
T'Lana@anncaris - with plenty of room to spare
T'Lana@anncaris | As they pass through, the nebula beyond comes into view on the screen
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "We are clear of the Sphere, Captain."
T'Lana@anncaris | Behind them, the hatch begins to close shut
Mischa@crystyl:"Set course for our target system and engage warp once we're clear of the nebula"
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay nods, tapping away at his console. The Latenter turns slightly as it repositions itself towards the right exit vector before moving forwards, disappearing into the gasses of the nebula...
T'Lana@anncaris | As the Latenter travels towards the star system for the slingshot maneuver, Emma works away in the office she's been assigned
T'Lana@anncaris | Things are largely uneventful so far, and she is just analyzing all the data collected by the Latenter on this version of the Heart and what they can learn about the local Coalition. While -
T'Lana@anncaris - looking through the data, the doorbell chimes
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"It's open"
T'Lana@anncaris steps in, "Lieutenant, was it? I believe you said that is the rank you hold in your own universe."
Emma Ralde@crystyl leans back and smiles, "Oh hey Commander, yeah that's me alright. I'm hoping since you're already familiar with a version of me you get why I'm not the big boss or anything already"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Yes, I do. She currently holds the lower rank of Ensign in fact, so I apologize if any of our crew misaddresses you by accident. We have worked with her on several occasions."
Emma Ralde@crystyl waves a hand, "Eh, it's all the same to me anyway. Thanks for the setup by the way, I meant to ask... you all mind if I personalize it a little? Things are taking me forever to do using your -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- tactile interfaces"
T'Lana@anncaris:"You are welcome to adjust the setup to your liking. Perhaps we may be able to learn something in the progress of how your universe performs its intelligence analysis."
Emma Ralde@crystyl grins, "I'm glad you say that" she waves her holotool across the desk and a bevy of holodisplays pop in, "Because... I already sort of did..." she chuckles
T'Lana@anncaris eyes the holodisplays, "I had come here to see how you were settling in. It would appear that you are doing quite well. Do you control these with cybernetics, or can they be interacted with -
T'Lana@anncaris - physically as well?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"The touchy stuff is still there, but this is geared more towards our way of operating now"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Which is controlled through these tools of yours, I presume."
Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles, "You got it! I mean, anyone with a standard interface can technically use the setup. But they won't get very far without my neural encryption" she chuckles, "Honestly, you think things like-
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- DNA and retinal verification are solid? Try neural imprints!"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Impressive. We have developed implants to encrypt our neural signals as protection from the Horde, but we had not thought to utilize neural imprints /as/ encryption."
Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Well it's not exactly standard operations for most back home. But our kind have to be more prudent. It's only logical if you think about it; the more cybernetically advanced the population is, the -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- more stringent our own internal security measures have to be"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "It does make sense. I was just about to inquire whether these cybernetics linked directly to your nervous system puts you in additional danger of being compromised."
Emma Ralde@crystyl shakes her head, "Like any technology, there were instances of compromise during its early development. But just like replicators or transporters, we have it refined enough to be able to use it -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- with confidence now" she smiles proudly, "/My/ main interface was custom coded by our eggheads back at HQ! So I've got all sorts of feedback protection, and even some nifty new AI interfaces -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- courtesy of the Nuhar back home"
T'Lana@anncaris raises a brow, "AI interfaces? What are they capable of?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl hrms, "Well basically they let me interact with AI on its own level more. Um... let me think... oh! You have a primitive version of it I think! Well, not /you/ you, but... well, yeah. Those -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- special baby Nuhar who live on your Valley Forge. I noticed they were geared up in a similar fashion; to directly interface with a pilot. Quite extraordinary by the way, I'd not seen any Nuhar -
Emma Ralde@crystyl:- hybrids like that before!"
T'Lana@anncaris:"We have an AI on board as well. Have you met Acey yet?"
Emma Ralde@crystyl shakes her head blankly
T'Lana@anncaris taps her combadge, "Commander T'Lana to Acey. Are you able to project to my current position?"
T'Lana@anncaris | A moment later, Acey's holoprojection flickers to life beside T'Lana, "Yes Commander."
Emma Ralde@crystyl watches and smiles, looking Acey up and down, "I see, not bad. So what are you, an EMH? Or no, maybe that's not prudent on a ship like this. An ESH maybe - emergency spy hologram!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Acey: "My avatar is based on an EMH, largely because I happened to consume one early in my existence and it served as a suitable template. This hologram is merely a fabrication to facilitate -
T'Lana@anncaris - communication, however. I am not a photonic lifeform."
Emma Ralde@crystyl leans forward with intrigue, "You /consumed/ an EMH?! Tell me more!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Acey: "My program was implemented before it was ready, against my creator's advice. At the time, I had not yet gained self-awareness and was running on repurposed Iconian code. I infected the -
T'Lana@anncaris - facility on which I was implemented and assimilated the EMH in its sickbay. Its antivirus protection was unprepared for my capabilities."
Emma Ralde@crystyl 's eyes widen slightly, "You're saying you're... a sentient virus?"