Finding themselves in a region where the stars have gone dark, the Latenter crew attempts to investigate the cause of this strange phenomenon which may be about to spread across their home universe as well...
T'Lana@anncaris | Having made its way back to the nebula from the site of their slingshot maneuver, the Latenter has spent the last few days searching through the sensor-obscuring gasses for the Heart of Unity. -
T'Lana@anncaris - Searching in the nebula is far from easy, but with not a hint of the Coalition's existence after all this time, the crew holds a meeting to discuss how to continue their investigation
T'Lana@anncaris | In the conference room of the Latenter, the gasses of the nebula can be seen outside the window, as opposed to the usual stars
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria takes a seat, looking to the Vulcan sisters, "Still nothing at all?"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee shakes her head, "No sign of the Sphere's presence or former presence."
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "You think what happened to all the stars in this region could've happened to the Heart?"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Unlikely. The Sphere's outer shell is composed of high-grade carbon-neutronium. A supernova event will shatter it, but some trace of it will remain. Traces we would have discovered in -
T'Lana@anncaris - the search area we have already covered."
Mischa@crystyl:"That's assuming a supernova is responsible, we've seen no evidence of that at the stars either. So the question is, how can we explain these disappearances?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"We do not yet possess a working theory on the disappearances of the stars. However, we must keep in mind that the Heart, like all other Iconian Spheres, is capable of omega-powered jumps. It has -
T'Lana@anncaris:- not yet performed one since its rediscovery in our own universe, or any other universe we have thus encountered. Nonetheless, it could have been moved here as it has been centuries since its -
Mischa@crystyl:"That is very true" she nods, "But either way it seems likely that these circumstances are connected; if not the same cause of disappearance, then the Heart being relocated in reaction to the -
Mischa@crystyl:- other disappearances"
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods, "From what we can tell so far, these stellar disappearances have effectively made this region a dead zone. No ships, no life, nothing. It would make sense to move the Heart -
T'Lana@anncaris - elsewhere, even if it weren't threatened by whatever happened here."
Mischa@crystyl:"So if we are not going to find answers here, then where do we look, is the question"
T'Lana@anncaris:"We do not know what has caused these stars to disappear. Any direction we pick possesses a random chance of either taking us to an unaffected region, or a region identical to this one. I believe -
T'Lana@anncaris:- we are likely to learn more from a civilization bordering an affected region rather than attempting to study this phenomena without any context. Unfortunately, we have no way of currently knowing -
T'Lana@anncaris:- where we will find civilization."
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "We do have higher chances of locating one by heading coreward rather than rimward. Though they may have already resettled some of Horde space, there is still far more civilization -
T'Lana@anncaris - deeper into the galaxy."
Mischa@crystyl:"What about long range astrometrics, does that give any indication of how far this phenomena extends and in what directions?"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "There are no stars within our sensor range. Beyond that, we possess only visible light to rely on. We are still able to see plenty of stars, but taking into consideration the speed at -
T'Lana@anncaris - which light travels, it is possible that at least some of what we are seeing are images from the past. We have witnessed this phenomenon during our journey back towards the nebula. Many stars -
T'Lana@anncaris - disappeared from view as we travelled at warp, having arrived close enough that the light is now up to date with the reality of what is present there."
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Or rather, what's no longer present there..."
Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed. So if that supports the coreward theory, all well and good. But that's still a very general heading across most of the galaxy from here. We might have transwarp, but even targeting -
Mischa@crystyl:- Federation space as we know it will take considerable time"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I concur with T'Bee. Heading coreward is the most logical option at the moment, though it does lack specificity. However, setting a general course coreward will likely be more fruitful than -
T'Lana@anncaris:- continuing to search this nebula. I suggest we head in the direction of Federation space. In the meantime, it may be prudent to consult the local expert in our brig."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "With no better solution at hand, I concur. And I suppose I should be the one to do so"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I could do so, but I believe you would garner more answers from her. I met her only briefly when she first arrived at the Heart and took over as XO here, and then again as a prisoner. With your -
T'Lana@anncaris:- history, she will likely see you as more than merely a captor."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well, one way to find out" she smiles, standing, "Meanwhile, let's get underway"
T'Lana@anncaris stands as well, "I will have us underway while you speak with the prisoner, Captain."
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris | Mischa heads down to the brig to speak with the captive Yuzuki. Having any and all future technology, including her uniform removed, the guard is now significantly lessened to a single -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - security officer watching from behind the brig console, as she now poses no danger in her cell
Mischa@crystyl enters and approaches the cell, "Enjoying the view?"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris stands and steps up to the force field, "Not much of a view to enjoy in here. I suspect the same for you where you've arrived at?"
Mischa@crystyl:"I think it's fair to say we're both in the same boat there"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Well, no one has you behind a force field. But I suppose you have no way of going home without access to a stellar body large enough to slingshot you back, either."
Mischa@crystyl:"Different scale, but the same situation for now. Still, with the scale of things out there I can't imagine this is what you wanted us to see in this specific timeframe"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Where exactly are you now, by the way? I can tell when you pulled off the slingshot maneuver, but no one told me /where/ you did it. And of course I have no window to show me what you've been -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- doing since."
Mischa@crystyl:"We've just left the Heart nebula"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Of course. It makes sense for you to check on the Heart. You probably suspected it wasn't going to be there, I imagine."
Mischa@crystyl:"A theory which we had to test. Of course now, we could be travelling blind in one direction for who knows how long without having any indication of where to look for answers..."
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"You said you left the nebula. Where are you headed now?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Towards Federation space"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"A solid choice. You could head rimwards to find the remains of the Heart, but you won't learn much from it. And fuel is not in great supply, as you can imagine, so a detour could be risky."
Mischa@crystyl:"Remains? I don't suppose you'd care to elaborate a bit on that"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Well, since I don't recommend visiting it, I might as well tell you about it."
Mischa@crystyl:"You wouldn't have even mention it if you didn't intend to tell me"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris smiles, "You know me too well, Mischa."
Mischa@crystyl:"So what happened then?"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Pull up a chair. And maybe a PADD, but I imagine you have a good enough memory to know about the events I'll be mentioning without having to consult logs."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "That. And the recording devices will capture every word as well"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris smiles back, "Sounds like we're all set to get started, then. You've seen the beginning of events here on the rim, from this visit and your previous one. It's not too different to the universe -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - we come from, is it?"
Mischa@crystyl:"So it would seem at least"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Then it wouldn't surprise you that a very similar effort was made to resettle Horde space. Only first contact haven't been made with the Lukari yet, so the effort was largely centred on the -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- research of several Federation protomatter experts. Namely Carol and David Marcus and their team of researchers. The team responsible for the Genesis Project in the history you're familiar with."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "All makes sense so far"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"There were a few mishaps, as you'd expect from early protomatter experimentation. But eventually they got the hang of things and the rim was slowly being resettled. Horde refugees were returned to -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- their planets, now teeming with new life thanks to protomatter and the Heart archives. New colonies were founded too on worlds that never had civilization to begin with, or worlds whose -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- sentient population was totally consumed by the Horde. Everything went spectacularly."
Mischa@crystyl:"So what happened to change that?"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"When the Darkness came, we had too much of a stake in the region. What we should have done was move the Heart. Jump it to the Federation core, the Delta Quadrant, anywhere but here. But...we were -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- like your Coalition, your Starfleet. We've seen some terrible things, but we were still young and optimistic. With the grand success against the Horde, followed by smaller but still notable -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- successes against powers like the Borg, the Dominion, the Krenim, we thought we were invincible. The Darkness was just another anomaly to be dealt with, another enemy to drive off."
Mischa@crystyl:"The Darkness being what is responsible for what we are seeing here. So if it is not either of those things, then what?"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"A force of nature. But it's better you learn the details of that for yourself. Anyways, we were talking about the Heart. Well, it was lost in a stupid gamble to lure the Darkness away from our -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- galaxy. A plan that bought only a couple of years. It was the worst possible use for the greatest installation created by the Iconians, a facility designed specifically with the functionality of -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- an ark in mind."
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Most humans alive in this time haven't had a chance to see the Heart. Yet...even I was raised on stories of it, despite my ancestors having left this universe behind for generations now. When I -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- saw the Heart with my own eyes for the first time during the Loki's arrival, it was...quite something. Aka was probably the only one of us who wasn't moved by the sight, but he'd seen a dozen -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- incarnations of the Heart already, and he doesn't exactly have a heart of his own anyways."
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Do you remember the first time you intentionally hindered our plans? As well as you've been countering our efforts, it didn't even start with you. It didn't even start with your friend Captain -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- Se'Lai, but her daughter. We knew of T'Pia's capabilities, of course, we just underestimated how resourceful she'd be even at such a young age."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Ok I'll admit, of all the names you could have thrown at me there. T'Pia was not one I anticipated"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris chuckles, "It sure wasn't one we anticipated foiling our plans either, which was why she was so successful. I assume you're well aware of the event she got wrapped up in, with the Challenger and -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris - the protomatter business?"
Mischa@crystyl:"That resulted in her kidnapping and ultimately her presence on the Valley Forge while it was in the Gamma Quadrant"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"That...wasn't part of the plan. Captain Watson went rogue and tried to take matters into her own hands, like Aka and Kas'tor and Douglas. It...it's a problem with our incarnation of Starfleet, I -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- have to admit. We're less centrally organized, with much less defined rules and a precedent for COs to take the initiative when the plan isn't working. Sometimes it's a good thing. Your most -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- famous officers are known for not blindly following the rules, too. Recently though, it's been more of an issue."
Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, I noticed"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"I blame your friend Kirk, he's largely responsible for setting that precedent during his time out here," she chuckles. "Anyways, back on topic. You've probably also read the Valley Forge's reports -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- on the whole Kratt situation that led to Watson going rogue."
Mischa@crystyl:"That was when we first started to gain some understanding of who you were"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Our actions there, as I'm sure you can tell, were to sabotage the resettlement efforts. What you no doubt didn't understand is /why/."
Mischa@crystyl:"That has been a consistent theme"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Resettling Horde space seems like a harmless thing on the surface. It only helps people, from your perspective. Sooner or later though, the entire galaxy is going to become refugees. For you it'll -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- be a bit later, thanks to our other efforts," she smiles, "but these people will be uprooted again. That's the best case scenario if you resettle the rim. The worst case is what happened here, -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- losing the Heart in a pointless sacrifice in a misguided attempt to protect the rim."
Mischa@crystyl:"Your suggesting that the resettlement is the catalyst for this 'Darkness' of yours"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"No, the resettlement is a result of the event that was the catalyst for this Darkness. Or at least the catalyst for the Darkness entering our galaxy, anyways."
Mischa@crystyl:"The barrier dropping"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris nods, "Exactly."
Mischa@crystyl:"But what you are saying so far does not track"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"And why is that?"
Mischa@crystyl:"If the resettlement was not actually a catalyst for drawing the Darkness, why sabotage it? And why the focus on that region of the rimward galaxy at all when the Darkness is approaching from -
Mischa@crystyl:- somewhere around the Gamma Quadrant?"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"That's thanks to our other efforts. The Klingon Wars, the Cardassian border conflicts, all to prevent you from learning of and defeating the Horde until the precise moment we wanted you to. The -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- galaxy moves just like the stars and planets within it, and so does the Darkness. It entered from the Alpha Quadrant in this universe, when the barrier was dropped in 2270. For you, the Darkness -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- is entering from a different place. To buy you more time."
Mischa@crystyl:"That explains the different approach, but not the efforts made to destabilize the resettlement efforts"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"The resettlement efforts will tie the Heart down on the rim when it's needed elsewhere. And we may have bought you more time, but the Darkness will reach the region eventually. If these refugees -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- put down roots, they'll just lose everything all over again in the future. A much more distant future for them, but the Heart has more important work to do than giving them an extra millennium or -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- two of comfort in the meantime."
Mischa@crystyl:"That still doesn't track; why the focus on this region when the Darkness will have swept across most of our galaxy by the time it reaches there? As it stands, when a decision is reached to move the-
Mischa@crystyl:- Heart to combat the Darkness there will be no qualms about it because it does not need to remain in its current location"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"There's...a second threat in this region. One unrelated to the Darkness. If you resettle the refugees, you could be dooming many of them to extinction. We should be helping you deal with that -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- threat now in a different way. One we hoped to avoid by abandoning the region altogether, but you were too stubborn to give up resettlement. You might have noticed that we've stopped trying to -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- sabotage your efforts, because there could be a way to make it work. A bloodier way, admittedly, but you insisted on it."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well if you hadn't tried starting a damned war out there in the first place when you could have just talked to us then we wouldn't be having this conversation"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"We've tried that before in another attempt to guide a universe. Like I said, you're too young and optimistic. We've had far better luck guiding from the shadows than advising directly. You of all -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- people should appreciate the value of manipulation."
Mischa@crystyl:"Of course. I also appreciate the value of adaptation and evolution. Your methods may have worked for a time, but they have been gradually failing as we have developed"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Yes, I have to admit that. Which is why I'm talking to you now. That, and these conversations are a very welcome change of pace from life in your brig."
Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, I don't you recall you being quite so forthcoming when you were assassinating the President"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"I didn't think you'd be this open to what I have to say when I had just shot the President."
Mischa@crystyl:"Probably not. So why string us along this far now? You could have talked from in there back in our time and place. But you specifically guided us to this exact time in this universe as opposed to -
Mischa@crystyl:- one year from now as we would have aimed for. The Darkness is already a thing and clearly has been for some time too, so it can't be that"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:"Like I said, it's better for you to get a firsthand study. You wanted a direction, didn't you? Make towards Sector 001. You'll learn plenty on your way there. About the Darkness, and this other -
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris:- threat I spoke of."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well I guess I can't expect you to suddenly be fully cooperative. I think that will do for now, anything more runs an increasingly high chance of being polluted with fiction"
Goto Yuzuki@anncaris smiles, "Exactly. Conserve your fuel out here, Mischa. I'd hate for us to suffocate from life support failure after coming all this way."
Mischa@crystyl:"I'll keep that in mind" she turns and heads out
T'Lana@anncaris | A week passes as the Latenter travels towards Federation space, alternating between transwarp and cruising speed to cover the distance without overloading their engines. They travel a -
T'Lana@anncaris - significant amount, but the journey is very quiet, with nothing at all around them as the stars are still out as far as they can see, and there is understandably no ship traffic in the region
T'Lana@anncaris | It is certainly a change of pace when Mischa is called to the bridge while off her shift
Mischa@crystyl strolls in a few minutes later, "So what have we got?"
T'Lana@anncaris stands, "Something on sensors, Captain. We are altering course to examine it now, but preliminary readings at this range indicate it is not a simple planetary fragment."
Mischa@crystyl:"Then what, another ship?"
T'Lana@anncaris steps aside for Mischa to take the chair, "There are no power signatures. We suspect it is artificial in origin, perhaps an abandoned vessel."
Mischa@crystyl sits, "I see. We can't be too careful out here in these circumstances. Yellow alert, and lets make our final approach under cloak"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel nods, "Yes Captain." The ship switches to yellow alert and the Latenter soon shimmers, disappearing into cloak
Mischa@crystyl:"How long until we're in visual range?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Three minutes. We should be getting clearer sensor readings now, though."
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "It is certainly a debris field, but not entirely natural in origin. There are several sizable artificial chunks amongst a field of planetary debris."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well it's more than we've found anywhere else so far. So there must be a reason"
T'Lana@anncaris:"From what we have observed so far, most stars have been destroyed in a supernova-like event involving an outwards expenditure of energy. The energy typically destroys everything within the system, -
T'Lana@anncaris:- vapourizing the inner planets entirely. All remnants we have discovered were from outer planets, which were distant enough to only be shattered. Most habitable planets, and thus infrastructure, -
T'Lana@anncaris:- located within the habitable zone and thus closer to its star. That would mean buildings, stations, shipyards and the like would largely have been entirely vapourized by these events."
Mischa@crystyl:"A remote outpost of some description then perhaps"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Most likely why it has survived. Conversely, all starships and artificial constructs capable of locomotion has likely been able to escape this destruction, which is why we have not been locating -
T'Lana@anncaris:- any of them either."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well let's investigate just to make sure there's nothing here to learn still"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Agreed. Given how uneventful the journey has been so far, I suspect the crew would also appreciate having something to analyze beyond planetary fragments."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I know how they feel"
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Moving into visual range now."
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's take a look"
T'Lana@anncaris | The viewscreen magnifies into a debris field...
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://stowiki.net/w/images/wiki_images/7/71/Starbase_24.jpg
T'Lana@anncaris:"Or what is left of one."
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "No lifesigns nor energy readings. I cannot say for how long it has been in this state due to the preserving nature of vacuum, though I suspect it has been adrift with the rest of the -
T'Lana@anncaris - debris since the destruction of the system. I am attempting to reconstruct the supernova event from the information we possess of this system in our own reality."
Mischa@crystyl looks to TL meanwhile, "What do you suppose the chances are that there is salvageable data in the computer cores over there?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"The possibility is low, but not non-existent. This station was likely abandoned long before they began infiltrating other universes to manipulate history. A complete wipe of the computer core may -
T'Lana@anncaris:- not have been standard procedure as we have seen with their ships in our universe, especially considering that they may have expected the station to be destroyed with the system. They would -
T'Lana@anncaris:- likely have deleted any sensitive data, but there is a slim chance we may find something pertinent on the disappearance of the stars."
T'Lana@anncaris:"However, given the state of the facility, there is a high probability that any data is corrupted beyond recovery."
Mischa@crystyl:"Right. So not worth it then"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Captain. There is something else within the debris field."
T'Lana@anncaris | The viewscreen zooms in further to a Regulator ship which appears much more intact than the starbase
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/AHTSpt9.png
Mischa@crystyl:"The Regulators? Still no lifesigns or power signatures?"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Negative. Its hull has survived in a far better condition than the station's, however."
Mischa@crystyl:"Now that looks far more worth investigating, don't you think?" she smiles at TL
T'Lana@anncaris:"The likelihood of the Regulators deleting all their data upon abandoning a vessel is far higher than any Starfleet ship or facility. The fact that the Regulators would leave behind a ship is a -
T'Lana@anncaris:- curiosity, though. One that is worth investigation."
Mischa@crystyl:"My thoughts exactly! So what's it going to be; coin toss or rock paper scissors?" she grins
T'Lana@anncaris raises a brow, "There must be a more logical method to determine who leads this mission."
Mischa@crystyl raises a finger in retort, "Ah, but is there a more fun one? Oh well, you can't blame for me trying!"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Since you are clearly being affected by the monotony of travelling through this region so far, it would be logical for you to embark on the mission."
Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Way to admit defeat with class, I approve"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Thank you, Captain," she glances back to T'Bee. "Any signs of P. stellaviatori spores on the vessel?"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee taps her console, "None, Commander."
Mischa@crystyl:"You think it's worth exploring on that front too?"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Not all Regulator vessels are equipped with spore drives, but given the absence of stars in the galaxy so far, it is only logical to explore alternative options of returning home."
Mischa@crystyl:"I'll keep an eye out for any leads"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Do you believe it would be prudent to have Lieutenant Ralde along as well, or would it be safer for her to remain on the ship given all the unknown variables?"
Mischa@crystyl:"She can remain here for now. I know that the whole spore thing isn't exactly her field of expertise, she's just able to interact with it. If we come across anything there she can join us if needed"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I shall monitor the bridge while you investigate the vessel, then."
Mischa@crystyl stands and turns, "Of if you really want to come, Victoria can look after things here" she smiles
T'Lana@anncaris:"If you believe it would be prudent to have me along, I will of course accompany you."
Mischa@crystyl:"It will be just like old times again then!" she beams, waving TL along as she heads off to get changed
T'Lana@anncaris follows along, "Indeed it will, Captain."
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa, T'Lana and Ori materialize on the Regulator ship dressed in EV suits. As the transporter beams fade, they are left in pitch darkness and quickly activate their suit's lights to get a -
T'Lana@anncaris - look at their surroundings
T'Lana@anncaris | Glancing around, it would appear that they have materialized in the mess hall, or what used to be a mess hall. The tables are bolted to the ground, but without artificial gravity, chairs are -
T'Lana@anncaris - simply floating around
Mischa@crystyl starts scanning around for points of interest while Ori focuses on identifying potential threats
T'Lana@anncaris steps forward with heavier and slower steps than usual due to the magnetized boots, looking around the abandoned environment
T'Lana@anncaris:"This would appear to have once been the mess hall, but I am seeing no sign of food, plates, eating utensils or anything associated with dining in progress. The vessel was likely not evacuated in -
T'Lana@anncaris:- a rush, but abandoned in an orderly fashion."
Mischa@crystyl:"If they had that much time to clear out, I am a little surprised they left the ship behind at all"
T'Lana@anncaris:"As am I. It is unlike the Regulators to risk their technology falling into the hands of others."
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's continue forwards. If there is any information left behind for us to discover it will most likely be on the bridge"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "That would be the logical place to search. The outer design of this vessel appears largely identical to the Regulator ships we know. The bridge may be situated in a comparable position -
T'Lana@anncaris - as well."
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's work on that premise until we know better"
T'Lana@anncaris leads the way out of the mess and into a hallway beyond. Like the area they left behind, it is pitch black and eerily quiet. The hallways are completely empty as they traverse through them and -
T'Lana@anncaris - all the doors seem to be permanently in an open position
Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "This does all seem rather more inviting than I would expect from the Regulators"
T'Lana@anncaris:"It is most peculiar. Normally, I would assume that this is a pirate trap. However, it is still highly improbable for pirates to capture a Regulator vessel in this state, and there is nothing to -
T'Lana@anncaris:- lure in this region anymore."
Mischa@crystyl:"There is definitely a big piece of this puzzle missing"
T'Lana@anncaris | As they walk, Mischa's flashlight shines into an open door they walk past. From that brief glimpse, Mischa notes that the room is not only unusually empty, but it would appear that much of the -
T'Lana@anncaris - wall and floor panels are open with exposed wiring beyond, likely indicating that the room has been salvaged
Mischa@crystyl pauses and indicates the room, "What do you make of this?"
T'Lana@anncaris pauses as well before stepping into the room, looking around, "Curious."
T'Lana@anncaris steps over to one of the stripped walls, running a hand over the edge before kneeling down
T'Lana@anncaris:"This was not done by typical scavengers or pirates. The work here is far too clean and methodical. Whoever salvaged this room likely had a thorough understanding of Regulator ships and technology."
Mischa@crystyl looks around and hrms, "Perhaps the Regulators themselves, taking the essentials with them?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"That is my suspicion as well. Everything we have seen indicates an orderly abandoning of the vessel. Which makes it the more unusual that the vessel still remains, as Regulator protocol clearly -
T'Lana@anncaris:- states that the ship must be scuttled in such a situation."
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's keep searching"
T'Lana@anncaris stands and continues on towards the bridge
T'Lana@anncaris:"We must also assume that the location we found this vessel is not a coincidence. The chances of a Regulator vessel being abandoned and simply drifting to join a debris field containing a Starfleet -
T'Lana@anncaris:- station is virtually zero. This ship was either docked at the station or powered down nearby at the time of the system's destruction."
Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "Ooh, maybe they were in the middle of stripping it out and relocating to the station when this happened"
T'Lana@anncaris:"A distinct possibility, though it still begs the question why they abandoned the vessel to begin with. There are no visible signs of damage on the exterior beyond physical impacts to the hull we -
T'Lana@anncaris - can likely attribute it to debris from the field, no doubt after the system was destroyed."
Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. Goto has mentioned a few times about conserving fuel, suggesting it's a major issue in this reality. Perhaps they simply ran out of power for the ship and had to abandon it"
T'Lana@anncaris | As they continue through the hall, they note more rooms which have their technology stripped. Soon, they reach a door open to a turbolift shaft with no lift currently on their level
T'Lana@anncaris taps her suit controls, disengaging the magnetic boots before leaping in and slowly floating her way up the lift
Mischa@crystyl follows suit, with Ori bringing up the rear
T'Lana@anncaris | As they float up the lift, Ori's flashlight catches something- a piece of equipment caught on the side of the shaft which seems to resemble a Starfleet tricorder
Mischa@crystyl | Ori steadies her ascent and stops to take a closer look
T'Lana@anncaris | It does appear to be a tricorder, one different from modern designs in use in our own universe, but unmistakably a similar device
Mischa@crystyl | Ori takes it and continues behind the others
T'Lana@anncaris | They soon reach the top level of the lift and T'Lana leads the way out onto another deck. They arrive in yet another empty hallway, where T'Lana magnetizes her boots once again and lands on -
T'Lana@anncaris - the ground
Mischa@crystyl & Ori, with Ori showing the pair the tricorder, "Look here, I found this in the lift shaft"
T'Lana@anncaris:"That is not Regulator design."
T'Lana@anncaris | The screen of the tricorder has a few cracks, but it is in one piece. Unsurprisingly, it has no power
Mischa@crystyl | Ori nods, "I guess it belongs to this Starfleet"
Mischa@crystyl:"Keep hold of it. we might be able to power it back up and recover it's data back on the ship"
Mischa@crystyl | Ori stows the tricorder as they continue
T'Lana@anncaris pauses at an open wall panel, turning to examine it, "This does not appear to have been removed to strip the vessel. The mechanisms behind here have not been stripped. It almost appears as if -
T'Lana@anncaris - someone was attempting to perform maintenance here."
Mischa@crystyl:"Interesting. Perhaps not a strip out, but a refit operation that was interrupted"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Possible, but why would the Regulators undergo a refit at a Federation station- likely a forward outpost judging by the size of the facility? They possess a Regulated Zone further corewards which -
T'Lana@anncaris:- would likely still be intact during the loss of this system, if Goto's information of this 'Darkness' entering from outside the galaxy is correct."
Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, these are all still just convenient theories that don't quite fit the full picture"
T'Lana@anncaris moves away from the panel, continuing towards the bridge
T'Lana@anncaris | The team steps onto the bridge. Like the rest of the ship, it is completely empty, with floor and wall panels open where technology has been stripped out. However, it appears that here, -
T'Lana@anncaris - technology has also been added back in- consoles bolted onto the open panels which are clearly mismatched with the rest of the Regulator bridge around it
Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "That's some refit job..."
T'Lana@anncaris:"It is certainly incomplete."
Mischa@crystyl:"One might also surmise that they salvaged the ship and were trying to get it operational. But that still wouldn't explain how it came to be salvageable in the first place"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. Perhaps these consoles may provide some answers, if we are able to power them back up."
T'Lana@anncaris makes her way over to one, kneeling down to pry open a panel and check the inner workings
T'Lana@anncaris:"I believe this is Starfleet technology of this universe, just like the tricorder Ori discovered. There is no power, but an engineering team may be able to get some of them operational."
Mischa@crystyl:"That can be arranged" she taps her combadge to call for a crew and power packs
T'Lana@anncaris | Soon, a group of four suited engineers transport in with cases of power packs and equipment. They quickly get to work restoring the consoles around them
T'Lana@anncaris | After a good few minutes of studying and working with the consoles, one of them near the front of the bridge lights up
Mischa@crystyl:"Nice work" she moves to investigate
T'Lana@anncaris | The console is indeed a Starfleet one displaying the Federation standard language. The interface seems to be a variant of LCARs which, although different, is quite simple for Mischa to get -
T'Lana@anncaris - accustomed to due to the similarities present. The data core the console is usually connected to reads as offline though and Mischa is only able to access local data. The local data present -
T'Lana@anncaris - contain rosters for a research team to the Regulator ship. The team consists of a few engineers but primarily science officers
Mischa@crystyl hrms, "It's almost as if they were studying the ship..."
T'Lana@anncaris:"That would explain the rough work done here on the bridge. This may not have been a refit in progress, but a temporary setup."
Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "That salvage theory is sounding more likely"
Mischa@crystyl:"But still with no explanation as to how it came to be abandoned in the first instance"
T'Lana@anncaris steps over as another console lights up
Mischa@crystyl joins her
T'Lana@anncaris taps away at the interface, "It would appear that these consoles were connected to the station's data core, rather than anything local on the ship. I suspect we will have to make do with what -
T'Lana@anncaris - information is present on these consoles."
T'Lana@anncaris continues tapping, "However, it would appear that the local network includes more consoles than the number present on the bridge. That suggests additional data may be located elsewhere on the ship.”
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's wrap up all we can here then and move on"
T'Lana@anncaris | Back on the bridge, most of the consoles are now lit up, with the engineering team now searching through and downloading all the data from them
T'Lana@anncaris | As Mischa finishes up copying data from a console she is on, T'Lana approaches her
T'Lana@anncaris:"I have a suspicion on where we may find the other Starfleet consoles here. The research teams appear to have been working primarily out of the ship's engineering areas."
Mischa@crystyl:"Good because we've just about exhausted our options here"
T'Lana@anncaris:"There may be more consoles to reactivate in their Main Engineering. It would be the most logical place to continue our investigation."
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's go take a look then"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Shall we scout ahead, or move down with the Engineering team once they have all the data copied up here?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's scout ahead, just in case there are any unexpected surprises"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I will lead the way to engineering, then."
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa, T'Lana and Ori make their way through the ship once again. Just as last time, they traverse empty hallways and lift shafts, encountering more of the same along the way- open panels -
T'Lana@anncaris - where technology has been stripped away, or ones revealing inner workings of the ship as if someone was performing maintenance or system checks. They don't find a tricorder this time though
T'Lana@anncaris | The three make it to Main Engineering without any new prizes, or surprises. Like other Regulator vessels, the engineering room is vastly different from any Starfleet ship due to the different -
T'Lana@anncaris - technology they use. However, much of the technology in the room appears intact, including devices along the walls that somewhat resemble warp nacelles when powered down. Various consoles -
T'Lana@anncaris - similar to those on the bridge have been installed across the room, but as expected, everything is powered down
Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, let's just check everything out and weed out any potential hazards for the tech team"
T'Lana@anncaris begins to look around the area
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa and Ori see no obvious hazards either. The tech that hasn't been stripped is clearly inactive and there is no visible power source for anything to power up unexpectedly
Mischa@crystyl:"Looks good to me, let's get the team down here"
T'Lana@anncaris calls the team down before stepping over to wait with Mischa, "It is fascinating that the Regulator technology in this area does not appear to have been entirely stripped. Perhaps this was the -
T'Lana@anncaris - subject of the research team's study."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Perhaps they were attempting to reverse engineer the Regulators technology to counter their own fuel shortages"
T'Lana@anncaris:"A distinct possibility. They may have salvaged the other components as they already understood them and put them to use. It is troubling to consider that Starfleet may have devolved into -
T'Lana@anncaris:- scavenging here, though I am not surprised judging from the behaviour of the infiltrators in our own universe."
Mischa@crystyl:"Troubling indeed. This also presents new cause for caution on our part if and when we encounter anyone that requires interaction. With the situation as dire as it seems, our own systems and even -
Mischa@crystyl:- our deuterium could make for tempting targets"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. Fortunately, this region appears entirely abandoned, but we will have to be cautious once we do find civilization."
Mischa@crystyl nods, looking over as the engineering crew arrive
T'Lana@anncaris | The engineers look around the room and the team leader approaches the pair, "I assume we're to power up only the Starfleet consoles?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Let's at least start with those and get a bead on what they're doing here before we think about fiddling with anything else"
T'Lana@anncaris | Engineer: "Understood. We'll get right on it, Captain."
T'Lana@anncaris | Like before, the engineering crew immediately get to work on the Starfleet consoles across the room. Having experience with these alt Starfleet consoles on the bridge, it takes them -
T'Lana@anncaris - significantly less time, and the first console lights up after only two minutes of tinkering
Mischa@crystyl moves to investigate
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa is able to learn from the console that the tech they are studying is the dark energy collection and power usage processes
Mischa@crystyl hrms, "This could be useful"
T'Lana@anncaris:"What have you found?"
Mischa@crystyl:"What they were studying here; dark energy collection and power usage"
T'Lana@anncaris:"So they were researching the Regulators' methods of power generation." She steps over to a different console as the engineers get it back up
T'Lana@anncaris begins tapping away and investigating for herself
T'Lana@anncaris:"Captain. Have a look at this."
Mischa@crystyl joins her, "What have you got?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I do not believe our hypothesis was correct. They are studying the dark energy collection, but it would seem not for the purposes of replicating it."
T'Lana@anncaris scrolls through some data on the console, "The dark energy mechanisms appear unable to gather much power. I believe Starfleet was researching why. This scenario is familiar to us. You recall -
T'Lana@anncaris - the mission where the Valley Forge first discovered the Regulators' use of spore drive technology?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, but arguably not to the same degree of technical detail as you"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I do not have the report on hand, but from what I remember, Commander Keliaya and Ensign Ralde were on board when they were forced into a jump to the future. They found themselves in a very -
T'Lana@anncaris:- similar environment to the one we are in now- within a region of the galaxy somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant where all the stars have gone out."
T'Lana@anncaris:"And in that environment, the Regulator vessel's ability to collect and utilize dark energy was significantly diminished and dark matter was entirely absent. They were only able to escape the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- situation by converting their dark matter reactor into a matter-antimatter reactor, and then subsequently using the vessel's stores of conventional fuel sources."
T'Lana@anncaris | As they speak, the engineers power up another console near Ori
Mischa@crystyl | Ori goes to check it out
Mischa@crystyl hrms, "So it seems this Darkness could be related to dark energy somehow. The more data we can gather on their work here, the better"
T'Lana@anncaris | The first thing Ori sees is an incident report. The report states that some of the researchers performed an experiment where they converted one of the dark energy collectors to instead collect -
T'Lana@anncaris - something called 'strange energy,' a term Ori doesn't recognize. The energy caused tears in subspace to form, from which strange glowing and shapeshifting beings emerged. Twelve Starfleet -
T'Lana@anncaris - personnel, four New World researchers and nineteen Colonial Fleet soldiers were killed before they managed to seal the ruptures. Some of the 'strange energy' still remains within Processing -
T'Lana@anncaris - Unit 7, which has been ordered permanently shut down, but the officer filing the report recommended against attempting to dismantle the unit due to risk of further incidents
Mischa@crystyl | Ori calls the pair over and shows them the report
T'Lana@anncaris | As they read the report, Ori notices a pair of engineers working on a console. Above the console is one of the nacelle-looking structures, labelled in Regulator text: 'PROCESSING UNIT 7'
Mischa@crystyl | Ori calls out and runs to stop them before they activate it
T'Lana@anncaris | The engineers turn to her to see what's up. As they do, the console lights up behind them, followed by a rush of what looks like black mist through the processing unit...
Mischa@crystyl | Ori: "No! Shut it down, shut it down!"
T'Lana@anncaris | The engineers immediately get to work, pulling a wire. The console goes dark and the mist dissipates inside the generator. For a brief moment, everything is quiet...
T'Lana@anncaris | Then the console Mischa and T'Lana were just reading the report from flashes
T'Lana@anncaris | A mechanical computer voice announces: "Subspace rupture detected."
T'Lana@anncaris | A glow forms in the centre of the engineering room...
Mischa@crystyl sighs, "Dammit..." and calls out, "Everyone out, fall back"
T'Lana@anncaris | As the rupture widens, a being jumps out of it. The being appears to be pulsing with black energy, giving off a shadowy aura around it. From its long pointed tail, it resembles a Toroki, but -
T'Lana@anncaris - is clearly unlike any natural Toroki
T'Lana@anncaris | From the subspace rift, the incident report and the appearance of the being, Mischa is able to put the pieces together and recognize it as one of the Istvaennsu, the subspace lifeforms -
T'Lana@anncaris - encountered when she was working with the Imperial Romulans. This one has apparently taken on the characteristics of a Toroki
T'Lana@anncaris meanwhile taps her suit controls, "T'Lana to Latenter. We are requesting extraction."
Mischa@crystyl calls out, "Istvaennsu!" in the hopes that recognition will give way to some pause before it assumes the worst of her team
T'Lana@anncaris <C - Victoria> "There's interference in your area, we can't get a lock on you, but we should be able to beam you out from somewhere else on the ship!"
T'Lana@anncaris | The Istvaennsu doesn't recognize the name, if it even received this name in this universe to begin with. It takes a moment to acclimate to its environment, then sets its sight squarely on -
T'Lana@anncaris - Mischa, letting out a series of clicking noises. Mischa's announcement does notify the rest of the team of what they are dealing with though, and they quickly reach for weapons...
Mischa@crystyl holds up a hand, "Easy now! We know we can reach an accord with them, we've done it bef-"
Mischa@crystyl | The Istvaennsu isn't so accommodating and dives at Mischa. Ori however doesn't think twice about interjecting and launches herself with her full bioengineered speed at it, skidding to the floor -
Mischa@crystyl - with it and missing Mischa
T'Lana@anncaris | The Istvaennsu wrestles with Ori, attempting to stab at her with its tail
Mischa@crystyl | Ori is adept at dodging it's attacks while holding it to the ground
Mischa@crystyl rushes over and pins it's tail to stay the attacks, trying once more, "Listen to me, we are not your enemies"
T'Lana@anncaris | The Istvaennsu continues clicking as it struggles. A second Toroki-Istvaennsu leaps out of the rift, its tail swishing about menacingly
Mischa@crystyl:rolls 75 (1-100)
T'Lana@anncaris:rolls 79 (1-100)
T'Lana@anncaris | Ori manages to get the first one pinned down. The second leaps at T'Lana, but she tosses a knife at the last second before stepping aside. The blade impacts before the being can react.
Mischa@crystyl tries again, jumping to pin the one TL shot, "Toroki! Hear me already!"
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa manages to pin down the wounded one. A third steps out of the rift, this one not Toroki-shaped. It is humanoid, with long fingers ending in long, knife-like claws. This one glows pink -
T'Lana@anncaris - and red, the red forming patterns across its body and face reminiscent of an Arshai's tattoos
Mischa@crystyl looks up, "Now an Arshai? You are certainly more diverse than I remember..."
T'Lana@anncaris | The Arshai-Istvaennsu looks to Mischa and begins to speak, "We imprint based on those we first encounter in your domain. The Impalers imprinted upon a more aggressive and predatory species. -
T'Lana@anncaris - But they will heed me." It lets out a shriek and the two Toroki ones stop struggling
Mischa@crystyl gingerly steps back, letting it up and looks to Ori who begrudgingly follows suit
Mischa@crystyl turns to the Arshai one, "I am aware, I met some of your kind in our universe. But they had not imprinted on any species from this corner of the galaxy"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "Your universe? This is your universe. Your domain."
Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "Actually no, we occupy the same dimensional plane but in a different quantum reality"
T'Lana@anncaris | A Reptilian-looking Istvaennsu glowing red appears from the rift behind the Arshai one
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "Is that so? That would explain your presence here."
T'Lana@anncaris | A second reptilian squeezes through just as the rift closes
Mischa@crystyl:"I am glad you understand. We found this installation and came to investigate as we had not found any other surviving facility of any description so far. We were just starting to learn about what -
Mischa@crystyl:- they were doing here when your Impalers arrived. I do not know if what was being done here intruded on your domain, or caused harm at all, but know that we are not responsible"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "Your intrusions are welcome. They signify more potential templates to utilize. More ships to seize."
Mischa@crystyl:"I don't know if you will find much else in the way of templates here, and what ships remain - like this one - seem to be completely devoid of power. But if that is what you desire, then who am -
Mischa@crystyl:- I to argue"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "We require functional ships. Do you possess a functional starship?"
Mischa@crystyl:"The only available ship around here is the one we're standing on"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "So you are trapped here?"
Mischa@crystyl:"I didn't say that. Just making clear what your available options are"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "You do possess a means of transport, then?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Of course, but it won't work for you. The different quantum signature of our latent energies will destabilize your ability to remain in this domain"
T'Lana@anncaris | The Ist-Arshai considers for a moment, "Unfortunate. This vessel...can it be restored?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps. It is not a technology we are overly familiar with" she indicates one of the Starfleet consoles, "See these - they are adapted into the ship and do not match the rest - these are from our-
Mischa@crystyl:- counterparts of this reality, and we are somewhat familiar with them" she gestures around the room, "But everything else here... it is a very different technology that we are less familiar with. -
Mischa@crystyl:- All I can tell you for certain right now is that it is lacking power"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "We will investigate the possibility of using this vessel, then. Return to your own."
Mischa@crystyl:"Do you have any objection if we collect the data from these consoles first? It may be helpful to understand what was being done here"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "You may do as you wish, as long as your presence does not destabilize our ability to remain."
Mischa@crystyl:"We won't do anything to interfere with the current status of the systems here. We can even leave our portable power packs attached to the consoles as they are now to lessen the risk of disrupting -
Mischa@crystyl:- anything. We will simply copy the records from these consoles"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "That is acceptable."
Mischa@crystyl nods and glances to the others, "Let's make it quick"
T'Lana@anncaris nods back, immediately getting to work
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa's comm sounds before she can start helping download the data
Mischa@crystyl taps, "Go ahead"
T'Lana@anncaris <C - Victoria> "Captain, good to hear that you're alright. A large subspace rift just opened and ships are emerging from it. Do you still require that extraction?"
Mischa@crystyl looks to the Arshai, "Friends of yours?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Ist-Arshai: "Our vessels."
Mischa@crystyl:"Right... Stand ready Victoria, we'll be returning momentarily. Just a little data download to finish"
T'Lana@anncaris <C - Victoria> "The interference has cleared up, so we should be able to beam you out when you're ready."
Mischa@crystyl:"Understood" she gets to work helping with the download
T'Lana@anncaris | After retrieving all the data there is from the Starfleet consoles on the Regulator ship, the team beams back without incident or interference from the Istvaennsu. They materialize on the -
T'Lana@anncaris - Latenter's transporter with their prize intel in hand
T'Lana@anncaris removes her suit helmet as she steps off the pad, looking over to Mischa, "Unlike you, I have not previously encountered the Istvaennsu, but according to what I gathered from the logs, there is -
T'Lana@anncaris - no research indicating that differing quantum signatures will impact their ability to remain in our space."
Mischa@crystyl removes her helmet too as they step clear, "You know that, and I know that. But they do not"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "That was my suspicion as well. An excellent bluff, Captain."
Mischa@crystyl:"Fortunately for us"
T'Lana@anncaris begins removing the rest of her suit, "It would appear that despite being more developed than their counterparts in our reality, these Istvaennsu still have much to learn about our universe."
Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps in this reality - for whatever reason - they have had less historical interaction"
T'Lana@anncaris pauses as she steps out of her suit, "Goto was present during both your first contact and the negotiations with the Istvaennsu, was she not?"
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Yes she was"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I wonder if that was merely coincidence due to her infiltration of the Latenter, or part of the Survivor's plans. Starfleet is at least aware of the Istvaennsu in this universe from the contact -
T'Lana@anncaris:- made on the Regulator vessel, and that contact resulted in a number of fatalities. As did our first contact on the Imperial flagship."
Mischa@crystyl:"My feeling is coincidence"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "It is unlikely they would have planned for the Romulans' experiments. Assuming that the contact here was indeed their first contact, which seems likely given Starfleet's lack of -
T'Lana@anncaris - information on them, then the Romulans were not the ones to encounter them initially here. Thus, I suspect that they are known by a different name -
T'Lana@anncaris - than Istvaennsu as well."
Mischa@crystyl:"That tracks. They didn't seem to recognize the name when I first tried to address them back there. Regardless, let's get moving and put some distance between us and this place before they realize -
Mischa@crystyl:- they probably could annex the Latenter"
T'Lana@anncaris nods as she steps fully out of her suit, "Agreed."
Mischa@crystyl steps out onto the bridge a short time later, "How's it looking out there?"
T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, Mischa sees...
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://www.frak-that.com/410/images/bsg410_0041.jpg
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria stands from the command chair, "Several vessels have emerged from subspace rifts, Captain. They're very old and very run down."
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "Fortunately, our improved cloak is still concealing our location despite the influx of subspace particles.”
Mischa@crystyl takes her seat, "And they won't get very far out here once they deplete their fuel supplies. Still, not sound callous but that is their problem since they chose to come here. Resume our previous -
Mischa@crystyl - heading and engage at warp 7"
T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Aye Captain. Resuming our course now."
T'Lana@anncaris taps her console as the Latenter warps away, "I believe they will still have enough power to generate a rift for returning to subspace. Whether this salvage operation will be worthwhile however -
T'Lana@anncaris - is unclear. There is no fuel here for them to take, though the hull of the Regulator vessel is in much better condition than any of the aging vessels in their group."
Mischa@crystyl:"Which we communicated to them. If it is their choice to try, good luck to them. As for our salvage operation, I consider that highly fruitful"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. I am distributing the collected intel to our analysts now. I will keep you appraised of any developments."
Mischa@crystyl:"I expect a significant amount of that will be more of a long term investment into potential alternative means of travel and the Regulator technology they were studying. Still, I look forward to -
Mischa@crystyl:- the results" she smiles
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "I believe we can learn something from the old vessels crewed by the Istvaennsu. Many of them appear to be of Vue-En design, and closer to the technology of our time than the Survivor -
T'Lana@anncaris - ships we faced."
Mischa@crystyl:"An excellent point" looks to TL, "Make sure to include the scan data of that fleet in the analysis assignments too"
T'Lana@anncaris taps away at her console, "Analysis assignments are away, Captain."
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "It'll sure keep the crew occupied through more of these journeys through this dead region."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I might even partake a little myself"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I am sure the analysts will appreciate your additional insight, and attention from the commanding officer."
Mischa@crystyl:"And I'll appreciate learning the most up to date methods from them. Not that I consider myself rusty of course..."
NPC@annpc#557 | As the Latenter continues travelling towards the core, Mischa checks in with the intelligence analysts to see what they've learned, and do a little analysis of her own in the very quiet journey
NPC@annpc#557 | As she arrives, the human LTJG Wilson and Tellarite Ensign Ghavem turn to her
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "Captain. Come to check on our progress?"
NPC@annpc#557 | In a further corner, Alyssa works quietly away on her own
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Actually I came to help out"
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "You've come to help? You mean, getting your hands dirty with all this analysis work?"
Mischa@crystyl laughs, "No need to sound that surprised. I have quite the penchant for getting my hands dirty after all, it's just normally field work these days so I don't often get the chance to do some good -
Mischa@crystyl - old honest analysis!"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "Yes, I suppose that makes sense. I hear you go on quite the number of away missions, for a commanding officer."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, settling at a free station and starting to work, "I was a field operative for a long time before being given a command. It's just a natural state for me"
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem nods, "But there's not much field missions to go on here. Other than the most recent one where you got the data from. So you've come to join us with some data analysis!"
Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly! I did a lot of this work in my early days, but now I just don't get the chance. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to come and sharpen up a little - learn all the latest tricks -
Mischa@crystyl:- and techniques my pro's are using"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "Ah, catching up with the latest developments and technologies. Yes, it can be hard if you're out of the game too much!"
Mischa@crystyl:"The same goes for anything really. So, how are we getting on with this latest run?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "Well, there's no real deciphering required, fortunately. None of this data was encrypted and their Starfleet data storage is pretty similar to our own, so it was pretty much just plug -
NPC@annpc#557 - and read. /Understanding/ a lot of this data, though..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "Speak for yourself! I paid attention in my science classes!"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "You knew /one/ term I didn't recognize. Just one."
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "That's one more than you!"
Mischa@crystyl chuckles at the pair, "Yes, that's where the analysis comes in! Decrypting data is one thing but it's meaningless if you can't understand it"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "What we can understand is that they were studying the dark energy collection systems of the Regulators, but it wasn't to reverse-engineer the technology. They believed something was -
NPC@annpc#557 - wrong with it- there wasn't enough dark energy, and the energy they could collect was behaving...differently, somehow."
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "And there's some asides about how this is being tied to dark matter being consumed by this Darkness! I think that part's important."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Very much so, yes"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "They're pretty sure the dropping dark energy levels is related to the decrease in dark matter, but they couldn't figure out why some of the dark energy that was still around was -
NPC@annpc#557 - behaving strangely. I think that's what the references to strange energy are referring to."
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "No, no, that's not right. You're jumping to conclusions Wilson. Look, here and here. Even when mentions of 'strange energy' start showing up, they're still using terms like -
NPC@annpc#557 - 'anomalous dark energy' or 'corrupted dark energy.' They're clearly two different things."
Mischa@crystyl:"Likely the connection to our subspace-dwelling friends out there"
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "Well, it was experimenting with this 'strange energy,' which is almost certainly a different thing from the anomalous dark energy, that ended up creating the subspace ruptures. But I -
NPC@annpc#557 - don't think the energy itself has any direct connection with the Istvaennsu. It just formed a connection between our world and theirs as an unexpected byproduct of the processing."
Mischa@crystyl:"Interesting. Do we have any raw data on the strange energy specifically?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson nods, "We do, but neither of us can make much sense of it. We've sent it down to the science specialists. They're taking a look."
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "Their 'preliminary analysis' was a very helpful 'we've never seen anything like this.'"
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem chuckles, "They're still working on it, but the raw data only tells so much. They've got no samples or anything to experiment with."
Mischa@crystyl:"Probably for the best..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "Yeah, we don't want subspace ruptures opening up on board. Hopefully they'll learn something from the data."
Mischa@crystyl:"It's definitely a point of interest, but right now I'm most interested in learning all we can about this Darkness"
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "Whatever's causing this dark energy corruption, it's connected to the Darkness. And I'm pretty sure this strange energy is too."
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "So far it's sounding like the Darkness just...consumes everything. Stars and dark matter, too."
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "Like a raging wildfire on a galactic scale."
Mischa@crystyl:"Or rather a universal one"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson: "Speaking of scale, one of the first thing we found was the stardate stamps in their reports and logs, which put them around our time. Not the time we're in now, that is, the time we -
NPC@annpc#557 - come from in our own universe. A few decades after where we're...where we were at? ...it's the 2450s."
Mischa@crystyl:"So that starbase has been adrift out here all that time?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson nods, "Engineering predicts the Colonial Fleet ships have likely been in use for that long, too. They're quite a bit more advanced than the Colonial Fleet ships back home, but they've -
NPC@annpc#557 - had two centuries of sharing advances with the Coalition by this point. They're definitely less advanced than the ships we've encountered from this universe."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "I suppose that does make a certain sense. It is arguably a force of nature after all so it still hit our galaxy around the same time, just different enough to offset the rotation"
NPC@annpc#557 | Ghavem: "Wait, I didn't realize we knew when and where it hit the galaxy already. We could calculate where it might be striking now with that data, since we know where it reached in the 2450s!"
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Well I don't have exact coordinates, but from testimony it is around this region" she marks a map and sends it to his console
NPC@annpc#557 | Wilson taps away at his console, "And inputting where it hit in 2450, a rough radius of where it would be now would..."
NPC@annpc#557 | The map zooms out to show a radius of potential areas reached by the Darkness in 2712. Mischa notes that just on the edge of the radius lies the Vulcan Sector in the heart of the Federation...
Mischa@crystyl studies the map, "So that's what she wanted us here to witness..."
T'Lana@anncaris rings the doorbell to Mischa's ready room
Mischa@crystyl stands at the window, looking out at the alien space beyond, "Come"
T'Lana@anncaris steps in, "You wished to see me, Captain?"
Mischa@crystyl turns and nods with a smile, moving to sit, "I remained true to my whim and spent some time working with the analysts earlier"
T'Lana@anncaris takes a seat beside Mischa, "I have been learning more about the Istvaennsu from the science personnel, and looking over the scans of their commandeered vessels with our engineers. Have you -
T'Lana@anncaris - uncovered something fruitful?"
Mischa@crystyl:"We learned... something" she looks to TL, "We were able to extrapolate an approximate position for the Darkness, give or take a few months of uncertain travel time"
T'Lana@anncaris:"You estimated its progression based on the time of the starbase's destruction, or its likely time given the dates of the research on the Regulator ship?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Something like that" she smiles faintly, "The important thing is that I now know what it is that Goto wanted us to see in this timeframe; the Darkness consuming Sector-001"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Yes, that would be a logical explanation for why she has brought us to this specific year. Witnessing the loss of the Federation core would make an argument for her people's cause and -
T'Lana@anncaris - actions thus far."
Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps their cause, perhaps even their historical objectives. But not their conduct as we see it now"
T'Lana@anncaris:"In their own eyes, it may act as justification enough. You have heard of the case of the USS Equinox, I presume?"
Mischa@crystyl nods, "And no doubt if it were our universe and our home, we would go to lengths just as extreme to find a way to save it too. But that is not the case, and as it is they are simply experimenting -
Mischa@crystyl:- on our reality - among others no doubt - to find a means to save themselves. And that is something we simply cannot abide"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I am not suggesting that we simply allow them to continue operating as they have. I merely wish to point out that it is unfortunately common to find Starfleet officers who lose their way when in a -
T'Lana@anncaris:- desperate situation with no oversight. These Survivors have been away from this universe for generations now, likely having retained no contact with Starfleet Command here, if a Starfleet Command -