The Venator crosses paths with a suspicious Drenn ship during their search, and this encounter may not be as friendly as the Valley Forge's first contact...
Keliaya@anncaris | The camera opens on the Venator, cruising at warp
Keliaya@anncaris:"Captain's Log, Stardate 100234.3. The Venator is continuing our search pattern in the region around the missing ships. So far, there's been no further identification of who or what caused the -
Keliaya@anncaris:- destruction of our Lupan contact vessel. We've found no sign of the missing Starfleet ships either, just like the Lupan reported before their ship was destroyed."
Keliaya@anncaris | The camera zooms into the bridge of the Venator, where the crew are going about their routine daily work
Keliaya@anncaris | A conversation is going as the bridge officers perform their day to day tasks
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula: "Wait, that's right. The slipstream drive doesn't use dilithium at all, does it?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Azevedo: "Nope. It's all benamite crystals."
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "Very rare and unstable. Only have a limited supply of it on board, it'll probably deteriorate before we get back to the Heart, so stockpiling it would just be a waste. It's like -
Keliaya@anncaris - hoarding too much fresh food."
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula: "Why do we have so much dilithium on board then, if we're just going to be using as much as any other starship?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula: "Currency, as in...to trade?"
Rianni@crystyl:"It is a valuable commodity after all"
Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "That's what currency is for, Ensign. Even back home people trade with dilithium. But apparently dilithium isn't just a commodity to trade out here. It's actually the accepted form of -
Keliaya@anncaris - currency among the people who've started coming into this region."
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula: "I'm guessing they don't accept latinum out here, then."
Rianni@crystyl:"Truth is, just about anything can be used as currency"
Keliaya@anncaris nods, "You can use combadges as currency if you can make people agree on a value. But as rare as latinum is, it has no practical use, and there's no banks out here to control its value. So it's -
Keliaya@anncaris - only as valuable as what you and whoever you're trading with decides on. And the people out here aren't going to value latinum as much as we do. A Ferengi can probably explain this better than -
Keliaya@anncaris - I can, but the short version is, there's not much in the way of civilization in former Horde space right now to manage an economy. So people are trading with the one thing everyone can agree -
Keliaya@anncaris - on a value for because of its practical use, and that's dilithium."
Rianni@crystyl:"Because it's something everyone needs, everyone values it. So it makes for a natural baseline right?"
Keliaya@anncaris smiles, "Exactly."
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula nods, "I think I get it."
Keliaya@anncaris | Azevedo: "We're closing in on our next system. One of the ones surveyed by the Faraday before it went dark."
Keliaya@anncaris:"What do we have on it?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "Fourth planet is Class M. Ruins of Horde facilities today, previously the home of a civilization known as the Gyluska. Guardian records indicate only a small handful of their vessels -
Keliaya@anncaris - escaped, but no whereabouts on them afterwards. Suspected extinct."
Keliaya@anncaris:"An unfortunate but fairly typical story around these parts. Anything stand out about the system?"
Rianni@crystyl taps at her console, reviewing the available data from previous surveys while the crew build a current picture, just in case anything stands out
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix shakes his head, "No, largely typical of this region from the Faraday's reports, as you...wait. There's something new. Techno-signature."
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula: "I see it too, by the fourth planet. Looks like a ship."
Rianni@crystyl:"Any energy signatures from it?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula nods, "It's definitely active. We need to get closer for a better look, though."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "Want to cloak and get a closer look before they see us?"
Rianni@crystyl glances over and turns to Kelly, "Caution is warranted under the circumstances"
Keliaya@anncaris nods, "With our sensors, we probably saw them before they saw us. If they're not aware of us, it's best to keep it that way."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "I can't see any sign they've seen us yet so going dark" she engages the cloak
Keliaya@anncaris | As the Venator approaches, Sin gets clearer readings of the ship. It is unmistakably a Drenn Ecclesiarchy ship, of matching size and energy signature to one of the cruiser types that emerged -
Keliaya@anncaris - from the temporal vortex
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "Looks like one of those Drenn cruisers, might even be one of those we saw the last time we met them"
Keliaya@anncaris:"The Drenn had the technology to hide a fleet inside a temporal vortex...any sign of systems which could let it generate wormholes like the ones by the Lupan wreckage?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula shakes her head, "If they can generate temporal vortices, that ship definitely wasn't the one to do it."
Rianni@crystyl:"What would it be doing out here all alone like this...?"
Keliaya@anncaris:"That's a good question. The Guan Yu was directed here to investigate suspicious Drenn activity, but they never managed to learn what the Drenn were doing before they went missing."
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "I am detecting transporter signatures to and from the surface."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "Unless they did find out but never got to reporting it"
Rianni@crystyl:"Whatever they're up to, it would seem to be focused on the surface"
Keliaya@anncaris nods, "If they're transporting, they're probably keeping their shields down. Scan for lifeforms as soon as we're in range."
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix taps away at his console. A few moments later, he announces, "I'm detecting only Rider, or Drenn, lifesigns. No other species on board."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "Maybe they're scavenging. Looks like they've been in a scrape or two judging from the hull scorching. Nothing major, but... doesn't need a lot of excuses to go salvaging either"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "The transports fit the scavenging theory. They're transporting up debris from the surface. Lifesigns that transported down are all gathered by one of the Horde factory ruins."
Keliaya@anncaris looks to Sin, "Does the hull scorching patch Starfleet weaponry?"
Rianni@crystyl | Sin taps and checks
Rianni@crystyl | Sin shakes her moment after a moment, "Doesn't look it, certainly not anything like the Guan Yu. From the damage pattern, I'd say it's something like a pack of Lupan raiders. Probably not them -
Rianni@crystyl:- specifically because nothing there matches the heavy guns of the packship, just... a pack of small raider types"
Keliaya@anncaris nods, "So it probably wasn't fighting any of our ships. There's plenty of scavengers and pirates in this region for them to get into a fight with, and a pack of small raider types sounds like -
Keliaya@anncaris - one of those operations. Doesn't explain why they're out here in the first place, but it also doesn't connect them to our search."
Rianni@crystyl:"What do you want to do; leave them to it or make contact?"
Keliaya@anncaris:"Let's keep observing for a little bit more, make sure they're not up to anything more than salvage. Sin, I want a full analysis of their tactical systems, both to see if they'll be a threat to us -
Keliaya@anncaris:- if contact doesn't go well and so we can ID their weapons signatures if we find our ships destroyed."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin nods, "I can do that"
Rianni@crystyl:"What do we know about the former Horde facilities here?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "According to the Guardian intel, heavy industry. Components for shipyards, other factories, starbases."
Rianni@crystyl:"Could be innocent enough, but could be munitions and the like down there too"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "Certainly possible. I'll keep a close eye on what they're transporting up."
Keliaya@anncaris | The Venator bridge crew works away with their observation and analysis...
Rianni@crystyl | Sin; "Well... it's definitely a warship, no denying that. It's about as subtle as this tub of ours in that regard. But it's using those weird combined arrays the Drenn have, so if it comes to it,-
Rianni@crystyl - we could take them"
Rianni@crystyl turns, "Spoken like a true mercenary..."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin beams proudly at the insult
Keliaya@anncaris looks to Indrix, "Anything suspicious from their salvage operations?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix shakes his head, "I'm just seeing standard salvage work so far."
Keliaya@anncaris leans forward, thinking
Rianni@crystyl notices the look, "What are you thinking?"
Keliaya@anncaris:"We have no reason to suspect they're connected to the missing ships, so they probably won't respond aggressively if we reveal our presence. And if they do, we still have better odds in a -
Keliaya@anncaris:- confrontation. I think it should be relatively safe to make contact."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "Safe, sure. But don't think they're for a minute they're going to be all friendly to us"
Keliaya@anncaris:"I doubt they will, but it's worth a try asking them if they know what's going on out here, rather than hoping to run into something around where our ships went missing."
Rianni@crystyl:"Agreed. On both counts!"
Keliaya@anncaris:"Helm, take us just outside weapons range of the Drenn cruiser."
Keliaya@anncaris | Azevedo: "Aye Commander, taking us in."
Keliaya@anncaris | As the Venator moves closer, the ship becomes more clear on the viewscreen...
Keliaya@anncaris:"Tactical. Decloak and take us to yellow alert."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin cracks her knuckles and starts tapping
Keliaya@anncaris | The Venator decloaks and the Drenn cruiser begins to turn towards them
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "And of course, they've raised shields"
Rianni@crystyl:"We did just decloak on top of them after all"
Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Even a Starfleet ship would do the same in this situation."
Keliaya@anncaris | Eva: "I have a channel open."
Keliaya@anncaris | A male Drenn appears on the viewscreen in the command chair of a bridge
Keliaya@anncaris:"Drenn vessel. This is Commander Keliaya of the Federation starship Venator. I'd just like to start off by assuring that we mean you no harm. We're here on our own business in the region and -
Keliaya@anncaris:- noticed you here."
Keliaya@anncaris | Drenn Captain: "And we are here on Ecclesiarchy business. Is there a purpose to this dialogue?"
Keliaya@anncaris:"Yes, two of our ships have gone missing in this region. We were wondering if you knew anything about that."
Keliaya@anncaris | Drenn Captain: "You are the only vessel of your xenotype we have encountered out here."
Keliaya@anncaris:"Have you come across anyone with artificial wormhole technology?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Drenn Captain: "No."
Keliaya@anncaris:"We'll leave you to your business, then."
Keliaya@anncaris | The comm ends
Rianni@crystyl:"Not much for conversation are they"
Keliaya@anncaris:"Not this captain, at least. Eva senses that his answers were honest, but something is on his mind. Not directly related to the questions I was asking, but let's not overstay our welcome."
Rianni@crystyl:"Most likely anxious because they're salvaging things here they shouldn't be"
Keliaya@anncaris nods, "But we have our own mission here. If we recover the Guan Yu and her crew, then Vrolmacht can look into this. For now, I'll just file a report to the Coalition about their suspicious -
Keliaya@anncaris - presence here."
Rianni@crystyl:"Right! On with the search then?"
Keliaya@anncaris:"On with the search. Helm, resume our previous course."
Keliaya@anncaris | Azevedo: "Aye Commander."
Keliaya@anncaris | The Venator turns away from the Drenn ship and begins to head out of the system
Keliaya@anncaris looks around the bridge, "I should've asked this earlier, but, do you want me to give verbal orders to Eva? We don't need to talk to communicate, but I just realized it might be a little odd for -
Keliaya@anncaris - all of you not hearing me asking for hailing frequencies or to put the visual feed onscreen."
Rianni@crystyl smiles, "I'm used to it, so whatever works as far as I'm concerned"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "I don't mind, either. It's more efficient."
Keliaya@anncaris | Azevedo: "It /is/ going to be weird not hearing 'Onscreen' before a comm, but I'll get used to it."
Keliaya@anncaris | Eva smiles, "I'll announce when we have comms like I did earlier, just so everyone isn't surprised by a sudden viewscreen switch."
Rianni@crystyl:"That might be prudent, just in case someone is in the middle of speaking out of turn about the person about to come on screen" glances to Sin
Rianni@crystyl | Sin pretends she didn't see
Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "We'll give you all a warning to look your best, then. Sort out your hair, straighten your uniforms, whatever you have to do before our visual feed goes live."
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "I have to admit, the Drenn presence here is very...inexplicable. Guardian data indicates this planet fell to the Horde long after the Drenn Ecclesiarchy remnants had entered stasis. -
Keliaya@anncaris - If there is something special to salvage here, they likely wouldn't know of it. And there are plenty of other locations for salvage between here and where they're resettling. Could have heard -
Keliaya@anncaris - of something here from other scavengers, but...still seems unlikely for them to send a single ship out this way."
Rianni@crystyl:"Maybe what they're here for isn't here"
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "Captain, can I keep a box of things up here to throw at her when she goes all Observer'y like that?"
Keliaya@anncaris:"Let's not throw things across the bridge if we can avoid it. You might hit me by accident," she smirks
Rianni@crystyl | Sin grunts, "Fair..."
Rianni@crystyl sighs, "My point is... they got into a fight somewhere, over something, right? But there's no sign that was here. So maybe that's what he was anxious about; that we were on to whatever he fought -
Rianni@crystyl:- someone else over"
Keliaya@anncaris:"That's a good theory. I doubt they were just defending themselves from a pirate attack. No pirate would look at that ship and think it's a target for a raid."
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "Yeah, if those were my raiders I would need a pretty good reason to have picked a fight with that thing"
Keliaya@anncaris:"Maybe we'll learn about what the Drenn are doing out here as we continue our search. But like I was saying before, finding our missing ships is our priority. Any intel we can gether on the Drenn -
Keliaya@anncaris:- is just a bonus for the time being."
Keliaya@anncaris | The next day, Rianni and Emma are on the bridge covering Beta Shift as the Venator continues along its search pattern
Keliaya@anncaris | With no patients or studies to tend to in the lab, Dr. Qrehl has taken the science station for Commander Indrix and Security Chief th'Rylliss covers the Tactical station while Sin is off -
Keliaya@anncaris - enjoying her free time. An unfamiliar human LTJG works at the Engineering console while a female Benzite sits at the helm
Keliaya@anncaris | Qrehl: "So, Lieutenant Rylliss. Do you happen to have access to Ensign Ralde's records?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss: "Access? Yes. But there's a lot of black ink on it. More than I've seen on any other personnel file."
Rianni@crystyl quietly listens
Keliaya@anncaris | Qrehl looks to Emma, "This mystery isn't going to be easy to figure out, is it?"
Rianni@crystyl | Emma grins, "No mystery worth it ever is!"
Keliaya@anncaris | Qrehl chuckles, "I'll just have to keep digging, then."
Rianni@crystyl:"Well, good luck with that!"
Keliaya@anncaris | Qrehl: "Unless one of you slips up, of course..."
Rianni@crystyl shudders and turns to see Emma staring at her, "What? It might not be me..."
Rianni@crystyl | Emma, "We'll see..." she winks and smiles
Keliaya@anncaris | Qrehl: "We've got some more debris on sensors. Probably more Horde wreckage, but we should probably check to be thorough."
Rianni@crystyl nods, "Let's make sure"
Keliaya@anncaris | Pilot: "Taking us towards the debris."
Keliaya@anncaris | Qrehl: "It's not a big debris field like the Horde ones we've seen so far. Their ships tend to cluster together, don't they? Their whole deal was strength in overwhelming numbers, or so I've -
Keliaya@anncaris - heard. But I wasn't here for the war."
Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "For the most part, yeah. But subterfuge was also their way so anything is possible"
Keliaya@anncaris | Qrehl: "Really? This certainly looks like it can't be more than the debris of a single ship. Or two or three small ships, like birds of prey."
Rianni@crystyl:"Unlikely to be Horde then. Though Emma is right about them, anything less than full on fleet movements tend to be so subtle you wouldn't even know they were there. If these were Horde ships, it's -
Rianni@crystyl:- more likely that someone else reclaimed them before they were lost here. Still, we should, um, keep an open mind right?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss nods, "Keeping an open mind's always a good idea. Being locked into a preconception has ruined many investigations."
Rianni@crystyl:"Right! So, what /do/ we know about this debris?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Qrehl: "It's a small cluster. Nothing particularly special in the material composition, but...wait. I'm still picking up faint weapons residue. This definitely isn't Horde debris, it's much -
Keliaya@anncaris - more recent."
Rianni@crystyl:"How does that residue compare to the weapons on the Drenn ship we met?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss taps on his console, "It's a match. Good instincts, Lieutenant."
Rianni@crystyl:"It was Qrehl's comment about it being two or three smaller ships that got me thinking on it!"
Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "So was it just a pirate raid on the Drenn then?"
Rianni@crystyl:"Looks fairly typical so I guess it could just be a random location for an attack. But if our previous theory was right, then there might be something more to the immediate area"
Keliaya@anncaris | The LTJG engineer turns to Rianni. She notices that the man has distinctly cybernetic eyes, "I don't think it's random. The composition may be rather generic, but some of these pieces are -
Keliaya@anncaris - still intact enough. The computer's identified them as Rider craft."
Rianni@crystyl:"Interesting..." she ponders on the implications
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss: "So the Drenn got into a fight with their own people out here? I wonder why."
Rianni@crystyl:"The Riders are pretty mercenary, so it could just be conflicting assignments...?" she obviously doesn't even believe it possible as she says it
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss: "Possible, but there's a lot of mercenaries and pirates out here. It's too much of a coincidence for my liking."
Rianni@crystyl:"Yeah, mine too to be honest. Just sounding out possibilities"
Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "I wish I knew more about the inner workings of their culture, that might give some precedence for conflict"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss: "We've only got limited information on the Drenn. They were an imperialist culture at their height, led by a supposed Living God who was believed to have acquired extreme psionic -
Keliaya@anncaris - powers from the galactic barrier."
Rianni@crystyl:"If that's so, the barrier being gone and everyone else gaining abilities could lead to some discord"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss: "That's certainly a possibility. Should we inform the Commander of what we found here?"
Rianni@crystyl:"I don't think we need to disturb her just yet. After all, all we have is some more debris and a bit of conjecture"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss nods, "Many of these Rider gangs have territories, don't they? These are all smaller craft among the debris. They're going to need somewhere to resupply relatively often, somewhere -
Keliaya@anncaris - that can't be too far off."
Rianni@crystyl:"Exactly. We only know that the cruiser fought these raiders, we don't know why yet. But finding that home base or ship could lead us to those answers"
Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Not that we're actually searching for those answers..."
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss taps his console, "I've got something! The Faraday reports indicated the Riders setting up in this area. At the time it was a salvage operation, but also the beginnings of a colony, -
Keliaya@anncaris - mostly built up from materials collected from the salvaging. It's in this sector, within our search area."
Rianni@crystyl:"Well it could be a good source of leads on our missing ships if nothing else. Alright, let's go check it out"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss nods, "Forwarding the system coordinates to the helm."
Keliaya@anncaris | The pilot taps her console a bit before announcing, "Course set and ready, Lieutenant."
Rianni@crystyl:"What's our eta at cruising speed?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Pilot: "About ten hours."
Rianni@crystyl:"That works then! Let's go"
Keliaya@anncaris | The pilot presses her console again and the stars stretch into starstreaks as the Venator accelerates to warp...
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 | Sin is off-duty in her quarters when the doorbell rings
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 steps in, "Have you given up yelling at everyone that it's open and we can just come and go as we please?"
Sin@crystyl shrugs, "They kept telling me off for yelling at people at the temple, guess it stuck..."
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 smiles, "Not because you're getting more settled in and actually considering this your home?"
Sin@crystyl scoffs, "Pfft, as if!"
Sin@crystyl:"Well you may as well sit down now you're here. Making me uncomfortable you standing there all polite-looking"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 grins, "And here you are inviting me to sit, too. Are you sure it's not you getting used to the ideas of these being /your/ quarters?"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 takes a seat on the sofa beside Sin
Sin@crystyl:"You know it's crowded enough in my head without you trying to shoehorn your way in as well"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"I'm sure someone of your psionic talent would know if I was trying to shoehorn my way into your head. I just wanted to ask you for some information, the old fashioned way."
Sin@crystyl smiles, "How novel! So what morsel of my wisdom were you looking for me to impart?"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"It sounds like your time in the temple might've had other impacts on you too..."
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 chuckles, "Anyways, I'm here to ask about the Drenn."
Sin@crystyl:"Yes, I got very well practiced at hiding my sarcastic tone and taking more pleasure in knowing I'd fooled someone" she looks to Eva, "the Drenn, what about them?"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"When the Valley Forge first made contact with them, you were invited to their largest ship to speak with some of their leadership. So I thought you might have better insight into their culture -
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:- than the rest of us."
Sin@crystyl:"Um... I don't know, they were into my psionics I guess"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"Well, we're trying to figure out what they're up to out here. You probably haven't heard yet, but we found the remains of the ships that the Drenn cruiser was fighting."
Sin@crystyl:"Is this another one of those temporally displaced ships?"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 shakes her head, "No, it was Rider craft. It seems the Drenn were fighting their cousins who didn't go into stasis with them. It could be a coincidence, Riders have been known to do mercenary -
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - work or turn to piracy, but we feel like there's more to it. There's a new Rider colony in the area- well, I guess it's more of an outpost at this point. With the size of their craft we -
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - suspect they were probably Riders based out of there."
Sin@crystyl hrms, "Well those Drenn who quizzed me about the awakening were very interested in the possibility of someone - either them or a Rider - developing abilities and rising to challenge their 'living -
Sin@crystyl:- god'. Or at least the idea of that person. They never came clean, but I always thought they were a bit suss about it and still reckon there is no real living god"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 nods, "I didn't sense any psionics among them when they arrived, either. So if there is no living god, you think they could be hunting down actual Riders with psionics in order to stop any -
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 - threats to the reign of their Ecclesiarchs?"
Sin@crystyl:"I certainly wouldn't put it past them"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"That would explain their presence all the way out here. From what we can tell, there's no reason for them to be here for salvage. There's plenty of materials for them where they returned."
Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, so if there's a Rider base here there's a risk of there being a potential threat to them here"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"So they could be out eliminating any potential competition. Or I suppose it's not really competition, if their living god doesn't actually exist. That's certainly a valid theory."
Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, well... I mean, making up theories to fit a loose collection of facts is easy..."
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:"We're headed towards this colony-outpost now, so we'll see what more we can figure out. But I think something is definitely suspicious about their society, in regards to this living god and their -
Evanne Dra@annpc#557:- Ecclesiarchy, at least. It wouldn't be the first time someone's made up stories to stay in power, like that Risian engineer the Valley Forge found back in the day. I think that was before your time"
Sin@crystyl:"Sounds like it yeah"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 smiles, "Thanks for your insight, Sin. We'll be arriving at the system in about three hours. I'll see you on the bridge then."
Sin@crystyl:"Will do. And thanks, I guess, for the heads up on what we're heading into"
Evanne Dra@annpc#557 stands, "No problem. It could be nothing, but the destroyed Rider ships...aren't exactly a good sign."
Keliaya@anncaris steps onto the bridge as they begin to near the destination system
Keliaya@anncaris:"How's everything going?"
Rianni@crystyl stands, "Perfect timing! We found some more debris that we determined was that of the ships who caused the damage to the cruiser we met; Rider ships"
Keliaya@anncaris:"It wasn't a coincidence, I picked something up from Eva who stopped by the bridge earlier. One of the benefits of our connection, only one of us needs to turn up on the bridge for the -
Keliaya@anncaris:- other to know what's going on," she smiles
Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "Right! Well, since nothing else came up we've moved to investigate the nearby Rider colony logged by the Faraday. I figured even if it there's no link between their activity and our -
Rianni@crystyl - search, the colony might have more answers about our missing ships"
Keliaya@anncaris takes a seat on the command chair, checking the console beside it, "Good call, Rianni. It is in the search area, and the Faraday came by here sometime before it went missing."
Rianni@crystyl nods, "That was what I thought. Anyway, we're just coming up on the system now"
Keliaya@anncaris | The lift opens again and Eva and Sin steps out
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "Sensors picking up no active energy signatures in the system."
Rianni@crystyl:"What about the colony?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "No energy signatures there, either. It seems...abandoned. No lifesigns, but the structures are intact."
Rianni@crystyl:"Could they have wiped out the whole colony?"
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "And leave things so intact?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "The Ensign makes a good point. Not with conventional weapons. A biological or chemical agent, perhaps. I'll scan for organic remains once we're closer."
Rianni@crystyl:"Unlikely, I'll admit. But if they went all out on the ground rather than hitting it from orbit, maybe"
Rianni@crystyl | Sin: "Slow it to impulse there Tierno. I'm seeing signs of orbital bombardment. Nothing heavy, but it's there. Weird though, it looks more like tactical strikes at the outskirts rather than a -
Rianni@crystyl:- heavy hit of the colony itself"
Rianni@crystyl hrms, "Colony defenses like shield generators or weapon platforms maybe"
Keliaya@anncaris:"Do the weapons signatures match the Drenn?"
Rianni@crystyl | Sin nods, "That they do"
Keliaya@anncaris:"So they brought down the colony's defenses, but they didn't destroy the colony itself. But all the people are gone."
Keliaya@anncaris looks to Indrix, "Any sign of organic remains?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix: "Only trace amounts of organic matter. Not enough to be the entire colony's remains. No sign of any biological or chemical contagion, either."
Keliaya@anncaris:"It's looking to be the most likely scenario. But this is more in line with a slaver raid than the actions of an interstellar empire..."
Rianni@crystyl:"Whoever is responsible, they could - however unlikely - be involved in the disappearance of our ships out here"
Keliaya@anncaris nods, "It doesn't seem related to our missing ships, but we can't just ignore this in case there is some connection we miss. Before we send a team down though," she glances back, "Nqakula, ready -
Keliaya@anncaris - a probe. I want to be absolutely sure there hasn't been any biological or chemical attack here."
Keliaya@anncaris | Nqakula nods, "We're preparing a probe now, Commander."
Keliaya@anncaris:"Launch it towards the colony when you're ready."
Keliaya@anncaris | A short while later, a probe launches from one of the Venator's many torpedo tubes, flying down towards the surface of the planet
Keliaya@anncaris | Indrix announces after the probe disappears into the atmosphere, "Environment is confirmed safe, Commander. It is picking up more weapons residue, however. Personal arms, judging from these -
Keliaya@anncaris - readings. Most likely landing parties, perhaps the colonists defending against landing parties or both."
Keliaya@anncaris:"It's certainly looking like an abduction now. Alright, let's take a closer look. Rianni, you're up. Take Lieutenant Rylliss with you, we'll need his investigation skills on this. Rest of the team -
Keliaya@anncaris:- is up to your discretion."
Rianni@crystyl nods, "Right! Nqakula and Rylliss with me" she stands and looks to Ryllis, "And we want a couple of security escorts, preferably with urban combat experience if we have any. Even if it doesn't come-
Rianni@crystyl - to needing them, their insight might help us get a read on things we see"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss nods, "I know just the man for the job."
Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Perfect, let's get to the transporter then"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rianni materializes in the Rider colony alongside Rylliss, Nqakula, and two enlisted security personnel. The three security immediately look around
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss: "Coast is clear."
Rianni@crystyl looks to Rylliss, "so viewing this as an investigation, where do you recommend we start?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss looks around, "This place is completely empty." He points to the side, "That's the largest building, and with a central position. Probably the best place to start."
Rianni@crystyl looks ands nods, "Makes sense. Alright everyone, let's move out but stay sharp. Just because we didn't detect anything more doesn't mean there aren't surprises down here"
NPC@annpc#557 | The two security enlisted nod back, holding their phaser rifles ready. Rylliss leads the way with a Tellarite enlisted, while a human enlisted holds the rear guard
Rianni@crystyl looks to Nqakula as they walk, "I hope you don't mind me dragging you along. But a scientific approach could be helpful to working out what we find here"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula smiles, "Don't worry, I don't mind away mission duties. I just hope it doesn't turn into a combat situation. I've heard of your reputation, but I'm not as good at fighting."
Rianni@crystyl:"I... have a reputation?" she looks overly concerned
NPC@annpc#557 | Human Security: "I think she means your combat skill. I've been hearing about it from the crew who served with you on the Valley Forge."
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula nods, "They say you're as good as a MACO."
Rianni@crystyl:"It's true that I retained some knowledge and instinct from the Observer I guess... But still, I have a reputation...?" she mutters, still not believing it
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula: "It's not bad or anything! Not that you like to fight, just that you're good at it. Only when you need to, of course."
Rianni@crystyl:"I guess it's just something I need to get used to..." she chuckles, "But not to worry in any case. Just stay close to us, and if anything ever happens just listen your security escorts!"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula nods, "Got it. Thanks, Lieutenant."
NPC@annpc#557 | As they near the central building, Rylliss comes to a stop and kneels down to check something
Rianni@crystyl:"What have you got?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss: "Take a look at this," He points at the ground, where several rows of footprints are clearly visible
Rianni@crystyl takes a closer look trying to work them all out
Rianni@crystyl:rolls 51 (1-100)
Rianni@crystyl:"So they were big - bigger than me at least - and a lot of them. Can you tell anything from the spread?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss nods, motioning around him, "The spread of the prints, the spacing in between each pair- these were made by people who knew what they were doing. Covering each other while advancing, -
NPC@annpc#557 - watching their corners. Military for sure, not your average pirates or slavers."
Rianni@crystyl:"All heading one way or are there multiple directions?" she asks, studying the prints to learn what he explaining
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss begins moving forward, though still at a half-creep, "They diverge over here, but I think they're just taking different paths towards the central structure."
Rianni@crystyl:"So it was an assault team moving in rather than local defense getting someone out"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss nods, "It seems that way." He stands fully, continuing towards the central building which is now not far before them
Rianni@crystyl:"So they eliminated the defenses, then sent an elite squad in who made a beeline for this place..."
NPC@annpc#557 | As they arrive, they can see scorch marks on the outer walls of the building where energy weapons hit. Crates and tables barricade the entrances, but one of the entrances has been blown through
NPC@annpc#557 | Several windows on the upper floors of the central building lay open, and scorch marks can be seen on the ground leading up to the blasted down door
Rianni@crystyl looks around, "...and clearly met some heavy resistance"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss begins to move around the building, following some more prints
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss: "They were definitely professionals. I think a team of them kept the defenders occupied while others went for a flanking maneuver here."
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss continues following the prints to the back of the building, where...
NPC@annpc#557 ...they find a large hole blown through a wall, where the footprints stream in
Rianni@crystyl:"I'm going to go out on a limb and say they went in that way"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss nods, "Let's go in and see if we can figure out what they were after."
Rianni@crystyl nods, "Proceed with caution"
NPC@annpc#557 | The Tellarite moves in first, rifle raised and looking around the corners carefully before stepping in. Some light streams in from open or destroyed windows. There is clear signs of conflict -
NPC@annpc#557 - inside, more scorch marks, dents on the walls, overturned tables and chairs and some traces of blood, though not particularly significant
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula begins to scan around with her tricorder as they go. She approaches a piece of destroyed machinery in the middle of the hall, something which stands out even in the mess of the building
Rianni@crystyl follows, "A terminal of some kind?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula shakes her head, "No, I'm pretty sure this is- was, a transport inhibitor."
NPC@annpc#557 | The Tellarite points down the hall with his rifle, "Looks like another one up ahead."
Rianni@crystyl:"So they bunkered down in here to try and stave off the abductors"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss nods, "From the size and location, this was probably a town centre of sorts. It looks like the Drenn came here, wiped out the colony defenses and probably started transporting people -
NPC@annpc#557 - out. Some of them managed to gather in here and set up defenses, which forced the Drenn to dispatch troops to the surface. Meaning they really wanted the people alive, rather than leveling the -
NPC@annpc#557 - building."
Rianni@crystyl:"Let's keep looking, see if we can find anything about these people"
Rianni@crystyl:rolls 100 (1-100)
NPC@annpc#557 | The team continues through the building, finding several more of the transport inhibitor devices, all but confirming that the colonists hid out in here to avoid being transported away by their -
NPC@annpc#557 - attackers. On the second floor, they find a number of consoles and terminals which are not only in good condition, but still appear to have some power to them
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss moves up to one of the consoles, starting to search it for information
NPC@annpc#557 | Rianni notices something odd- that a console between two powered up ones, which itself is perfectly in good condition, is for some reason powered down
Rianni@crystyl moves to take a closer look at it
NPC@annpc#557 | The console is definitely undamaged, but despite being the same as the others around it, for some reason it's run out of power
Rianni@crystyl waves Nqakula over, "Hey what do you make of this? It looks fine, and in a chain with those others. But this one doesn't seem to be working for some reason"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula: "Weird." She opens up a panel and takes a look. "Looks like everything's fine. It's just run out of power. I should be able to transfer some from one of our power cells..."
Rianni@crystyl:"Think you can hook it up?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula: "I think so. Just one moment..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula gets to work and soon, the console lights up. A message on it reads: "LOW POWER. RECORDING ENDED."
Rianni@crystyl:"Recording? Maybe we can download it to a tricorder to play back"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula: "Let me give it a try."
NPC@annpc#557 | She steps up to the console, tapping it and her tricorder, "Here we go."
Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Nicely done"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula: "It's a massive file. It must have kept recording this whole time, which is why this console ran out of power when the others around it are still functioning. Should I play it back -
NPC@annpc#557 - now, Lieutenant?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula taps the tricorder and a female Rider appears on the screen as the video plays, speaking with the background of distant weapons fire
NPC@annpc#557 | Rider: "They jammed our comms. I'm recording this here in the off chance someone finds it. Our Riders have gone dark. Then they showed up above our colony, a...a warship of some kind, just -
NPC@annpc#557 - tore up our defenses and started beaming us out. We retreated in-"
NPC@annpc#557 | The camera shakes as a loud boom can be heard, followed by weapons fire getting closer
NPC@annpc#557 | Rider: "I-I don't know how much time we have left. They...they're us. Our species, but more organized than our Riders. Soldiers."
NPC@annpc#557 | Loud shouting can be heard over the background
NPC@annpc#557 | Rider: "We've heard rumours. Rumours of our ancient civilization somehow coming back. I don't know if this is them, but we-"
NPC@annpc#557 | The woman is cut off as she disappears into a transporter beam. The camera continues pointing into the empty room for a short while...
NPC@annpc#557 ...then Drenn soldiers come into view, easily distinguishable by their horns. They wear grey armour and helmets, though the helmets don't cover their horns which protrude through them
NPC@annpc#557 | Drenn 1: "We have them all, sir."
NPC@annpc#557 | A second Drenn nods and taps his helmet, "The Reconquest proceeds as He planned. Glory to His name."
NPC@annpc#557 | The rest of the Drenn soldiers pump a fist in the air, all of them chanting in a rather cult-like fashion, "Glory to His name! May the Living God of the Drenn spread His light and our might -
NPC@annpc#557 - across the stars once more!"
NPC@annpc#557 | All the Drenn disappear away in transporter beams, and the recording continues with nothing but the empty room from here on
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula: "I don't like the sound of that..."
Rianni@crystyl:"Our suspicions may have been right after all. Only it wasn't a specific threat this figurehead, they're just out to dominate"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nqakula: "We should report back to the Commander with this information."
Rianni@crystyl nods, "I don't think we're going to get anything more of use here now" looking to the others, "Ready to get back?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Rylliss nods, "You're the team leader. You've got the honour of calling for transport," he smiles
Rianni@crystyl smiles and taps her combadge, "Venator, five to beam up"
Rianni@crystyl | Rylliss and the security escort reappear on the Venator's transporter pad, immediately seeing something is wrong from the flustered operator
Rianni@crystyl | Rylliss narrows his eyes on the operator and looks around, widening them again when he sees that Rianni and Nqakula are missing
Rianni@crystyl | Rylliss snaps back to the operator, stomping down from the pad, "What happened?"
Rianni@crystyl | The operator flaps, "I- I don't know sir! One moment you were all there. Then... their signals just dropped out!"
Rianni@crystyl | Rylliss groans, tapping his combadge, "Th'Rylliss to Tierno... Th'Rylliss to Nqakula..." he sighs, "Dammit, inform the Commander! I'm on my way to the bridge"
Rianni@crystyl | Meanwhile on the surface, Rianni and Nqakula share a concerned glance as they start to dematerialize, but then are suddenly still on the surface...
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula: "Um...what just happened? Looks like we're still in the colony building. Where's everyone else?"
Rianni@crystyl taps her combadge to try calling the ship but it just chirps an error message
Rianni@crystyl frowns, "This stinks" readying her phaser, "We may not be alone here, I think there's an inhibitor blocking us and they're jamming our comms"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula takes out her tricorder, scanning around before looking to Rianni as she mentions the inhibitor, "The inhibitors, of course! One of them must've reactivated. I think I can pinpoint -
Ann Carter@anncaris - which one..." she looks back at her tricorder as she starts to follow the readings
Rianni@crystyl walks close with her, "These things tend not to happen on their own. Use caution"
Ann Carter@anncaris | As Nqakula steps out of the main room with the consoles, she suddenly freezes. Rianni sees the reason a second too late as a male Rider stands beside the door, a disruptor pointed at Nqakula's side
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "Drop your weapons."
Rianni@crystyl instinctively brings her phaser to bear on him before tentatively raising her hands and holding the weapon out to her side, "Woah now! Take it easy, see we're not your enemy"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula meanwhile instinctively drops her tricorder and raises her arms as she's held at disruptor point
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "Tell me where you took- wait...you're not one of my people."
Rianni@crystyl:"No we are not. Look we can talk about this, just let her go"
Ann Carter@anncaris | The Rider gestures for Nqakula to back up, but he keeps his disruptor in hand, "Who are you? What're you doing in our colony?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula promptly backs up to stand beside Rianni
Rianni@crystyl:"We were in the region on a search for some missing ships of ours. We thought to visit the colony here and see if anybody had seen them as they may have visited here as well before they went missing"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "And you've got nothing to do with the others of my people, the ones who came and took everyone here?"
Rianni@crystyl:"We know of them, but that's about it. So what do you say, think we can lose the weapons now?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "How do I know you're telling the truth? You're wearing uniforms. Most people out here don't have uniforms. The ones that attacked us, they fought like organized soldiers. How do I know -
Ann Carter@anncaris - you aren't their engineering branch or something, come to scavenge our equipment once you've taken our people?"
Rianni@crystyl:"Well as you already noted, we are not your kin. We are with Starfleet and the Coalition"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "The Coalition. I've heard of you. You guys defeated the Horde, isn't that right?"
Rianni@crystyl:"That we did"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "Stay where you are." He keeps his eyes on the pair as he makes his way into the room they were just leaving
Rianni@crystyl turns and watches, speaking softly to Nqakula, "You alright?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula nods, "He surprised me there for sure, but I'm okay."
Ann Carter@anncaris | The Rider meanwhile starts tapping away at one of the consoles
Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Glad to hear it" continuing to watch the Rider
Ann Carter@anncaris | The Rider gestures them closer with his disruptor, "Come here."
Rianni@crystyl steps over, "What is it?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula follows along. They see that he has a file up showing various Coalition members and their faction emblems
Ann Carter@anncaris | The Rider takes a step towards them as well, leaning down as he takes a closer look at Rianni's combadge, then back to the screen before lowering his disruptor, "Guess you're telling the truth -
Ann Carter@anncaris - after all."
Rianni@crystyl nods, clipping her phaser back too, "You are right to make certain in the circumstances"
Ann Carter@anncaris | The Rider turns back to the console, tapping some more. A low quality image of a ship, clearly taken from a magnified view, appears on the screen
Ann Carter@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/44qeqvM.jpg
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "Is this your ship?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula: "No, but I think that's the Faraday! It's the right class at least, can't make out the name and registry."
Rianni@crystyl nods, "That was the ship that first went missing in the region"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "So that's the ship you're looking for?"
Rianni@crystyl:"One of them, yes. But we can return to that later, let's start over first. I'm LT Tierno and this is ENS Nqakula"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Rider: "I'm Holnir. One of the mechanics for the Rider gang here."
Rianni@crystyl smiles a little, "Holnir, alright. Now first things first, do you think you could at least remove the comm jamming for us? If I don't contact our ship they'll start thinking about sending down an -
Rianni@crystyl:- armed search party. And that's just more confusion that I'm sure we can all do without"
Ann Carter@anncaris | The Rider nods, "Give me a moment, I should be able to do that from here." He steps over to another console and starts tapping
Ann Carter@anncaris | Holnir: "There. That'll do it."
Rianni@crystyl smiles at him, "Thank you! Now this won't take a moment" she taps her combadge, "Tierno to Venator"
Ann Carter@anncaris <C - Kelly> "Rianni! What's going on down there? Are you alright?"
Rianni@crystyl:"There was a bit of a situation Commander, but everything is in hand now. We have encountered a survivor from the colony and are just having a little talk now"
Ann Carter@anncaris <C - Kelly> "Should I recall the MACO team we've just beamed down to the surface?"
Rianni@crystyl looks to Holnir, "Is there anyone else here who requires aid or assistance?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Holnir shakes his head, "No, I'm the only one left here. They took everyone else."
Rianni@crystyl nods, "Recall confirmed Commander, there is just the one survivor so the MACO's will not be needed. We are going to continue our conversation here before returning now is all"
Ann Carter@anncaris <C - Kelly> "I'll pull the MACOs back on board, then. Let me know if the survivor needs counselling support or anything like that."
Rianni@crystyl:"Will advise shortly Commander. Tierno out"
Rianni@crystyl looks back to Holnir, "There, all good now"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Holnir makes his way back to the two, "Sorry for blocking your transport out. I've had some time to prepare down here and when I saw people beaming in, I assumed it was the attackers coming back."
Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "You don't need to apologize, I would have done the exact same thing in your position"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula: "How did you escape capture when the whole colony got taken?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Holnir: "I work in the hangars, where the Riders store all their tech. Back in our old territory, they confiscated a lifesign concealing device from some Clenduros thief. When that ship showed -
Ann Carter@anncaris - overhead and started beaming folks out, I powered it up and put it on," he taps a device around his wrist
Ann Carter@anncaris | Nqakula nods, "So that's why you didn't show up on my tricorder either."
Rianni@crystyl:"It would seem you are quite fortunate then. What are you going to do now though?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Holnir: "I don't know. Our Riders haven't come back, so I'm guessing they've either they've been captured too or taken out. I've got no ship to leave this place on my own."
Rianni@crystyl:"While we saw plenty of evidence of the fight that occurred, we didn't see any bodies at all. So I would guess that everyone was taken. Have you had previous encounters with these others at all?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Holnir shakes his head, "We've heard rumours, but that's it. We certainly hadn't done anything to upset them. They just showed up and took everyone."
Rianni@crystyl:"I see. We found a recording from here showing them taking everyone, but I didn't know if this was their interaction here or if perhaps there had already been a dispute of some kind. Still, if you -
Rianni@crystyl:- are now stranded here, do you want to come with us?"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Holnir: "Better than staying here. Inhibitor traps or no, I didn't hold any illusion that I could beat them on my own. But I had to try. They got my family."
Rianni@crystyl:"I see. I am sorry to hear that. Still though, I suggest we head back to our ship. No doubt our Captain will be keen to discuss these events with you"
Ann Carter@anncaris | Holnir nods, "Let me shut off the inhibitor. I have to do that from the device itself, since I rigged it up from the remains of all the damaged ones and it's not connected to the building."
Rianni@crystyl:"Alright, let's go then"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rianni, Nqakula and Holnir materialize on the transporter pad of the Venator. Kelly awaits them off the pad, with two enlisted security on the door
Keliaya@anncaris smiles, "It's good to have you back. This must be the survivor you mentioned."
Rianni@crystyl steps down, "Yes, this is Holnir. Holnir this is our Captain; Commander Keliaya"
Keliaya@anncaris | Holnir gives a nod of greetings, "Thanks for having me on board."
Keliaya@anncaris:"It's the least we can do. My security chief's already briefed me on what we've learned about the attack on your colony, but I'd like to hear your perspective on it too."
Keliaya@anncaris | Holnir: "I'll tell you all the details I know. Anything for a chance to get my family and friends back from them."
Keliaya@anncaris looks to Rianni, "We'll be in the ready room. You have the bridge- if there's any sign of Drenn activity, cloak us and let me know."
Rianni@crystyl nods, "Understood Commander. We'll arrange some guest quarters for Holnir too" she heads out
Keliaya@anncaris | We see a replay of the recording discovered on the colony...
Keliaya@anncaris | Drenn 1: "We have them all, sir."
Keliaya@anncaris | A second Drenn nods and taps his helmet, "The Reconquest proceeds as He planned. Glory to His name."
Keliaya@anncaris | The rest of the Drenn soldiers pump a fist in the air, all of them chanting in a rather cult-like fashion, "Glory to His name! May the Living God of the Drenn spread His light and our might -
Keliaya@anncaris - across the stars once more!"
Keliaya@anncaris | As the Drenn transport away, the camera zooms out to show the recording playing on the console in the Venator's meeting room where the senior staff are gathered
Keliaya@anncaris:"From what we can tell, it looks like the Drenn are out to rebuild their empire. It's difficult to tell exactly what their plans are, but they seem to be targeting their own people, at least to -
Keliaya@anncaris:- begin with. I've checked on Coalition channels and there's multiple non-Rider colonies and salvage operations between here and Stronghold that haven't been disrupted. But there have been word -
Keliaya@anncaris:- of other Rider gangs getting hit and at least one other colony under the protection of a different gang has gone dark."
Rianni@crystyl:"They mention reconquest which suggests reclaiming old territory, but all they did here was abduct the population and then abandoned the colony itself"
Keliaya@anncaris | Eva: "Conquest doesn't necessarily have to refer to territory. It could mean people."
Keliaya@anncaris | Azevedo: "The Drenn have a state religion, don't they?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Eva: "They call themselves the Drenn Ecclesiarchy."
Rianni@crystyl:"Sure, but if all they are doing with these Riders is abducting them then how exactly are they reconquering anything? The Riders won't just roll over and take it, and with their colonies abandoned -
Rianni@crystyl:- there's nowhere left to rule over them as a state. So what are they doing with everyone they take that could constitute reconquering and not just taking everyone prisoner?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Azevedo: "In ancient Earth, many religions saw themselves as the one true religion. They believed it was their sacred duty to convert everyone to their own beliefs. And when they weren't able -
Keliaya@anncaris - to convince people to just roll over and accept their ways, they often resorted to military action. But that still doesn't quite explain why they took everyone prisoner instead of just -
Keliaya@anncaris - conquering the colony."
Keliaya@anncaris:"I might have an explanation for that. Speculation, at least."
Keliaya@anncaris:"The Drenn might've come back with a significant fleet, but they haven't even finished resettling one world yet. Their goal is probably to reconquer all their former territories, but doing that at -
Keliaya@anncaris:- this point would be spreading themselves thin. And there's no shortage of raw materials with the salvage left behind by the Horde. The one resource they /are/ short on is people. Even with -
Keliaya@anncaris:- hundreds of ships, that's still not a large population. There's only so many people they could fit on an exodus like theirs."
Rianni@crystyl:"I think I get it, so they're probably enslaving them to rebuild"
Keliaya@anncaris:"That's my theory, at least. They're targeting their own people so they don't make enemies of anyone else, until they're actually ready to expand into someone else's territory. But speculation -
Keliaya@anncaris:- aside, the facts we have don't show an obvious connection between the Drenn activity and our missing ships. No Coalition ship or operation have been hit by the Drenn. A Starfleet ship has -
Keliaya@anncaris:- performed second contact and they've not been aggressive with us in every instance of contact since, as we saw in our own encounter with the Drenn cruiser."
Rianni@crystyl:"Holnir did show me a recording which suggests the Faraday was here. I don't suppose he knew anything more?"
Keliaya@anncaris:"He confirmed it was when the Faraday passed through here two months ago. A routine survey and contact mission. There's doesn't seem to be any correlation between their visit here and the Drenn -
Keliaya@anncaris:- attack, at least from what I can tell. And what Eva picked up from our conversation with the Drenn captain pretty much confirms that."
Rianni@crystyl:"So do we continue to sideline the Drenn situation for now? It's clearly a threat in the making but not what we're here for"
Keliaya@anncaris:"And that's the dilemma. The Drenn have Holnir's wife and children. Understandably, he wants the Coalition's assistance in getting them back."
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss: "That means he's invoking General Order 6."
Keliaya@anncaris:"That...depends on how we interpret General Order 6."
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss: "How is that up for debate, Commander? He's asking for our assistance."
Keliaya@anncaris:"General Order 6 specifies /emergency/ assistance from Starfleet. The attack on the colony has already passed, and from their actions, it's evident that they want their captives alive. Which means -
Keliaya@anncaris:- they'll most likely remain alive long enough for the Coalition to put together a dedicated operation to rescue them."
Rianni@crystyl:"There were Coalition assets in the region before we arrived. Could we rendezvous with them and let them take him and the dilemma back to the Coalition?"
Keliaya@anncaris:"We could, but that's the other part of the problem. I've already sent a report to the Coalition, but this colony and its Rider gang isn't affiliated with the Coalition. A rescue operation could -
Keliaya@anncaris:- cause serious political fallout. It could potentially put other Starfleet and Coalition ships out here in danger."
Rianni@crystyl:"Which is exactly why we probably shouldn't get ourselves involved. The Rider's can appeal to the Coalition directly so they can decide how to proceed"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss: "I can see the political issues, but it might be too late to rescue the captives then. They'll probably still be alive, yes, but if you're right and they're taking these people to -
Keliaya@anncaris - rebuild Stronghold, there wouldn't be any way for the Coalition to get them back short of declaring full-scale war."
Keliaya@anncaris:"That's...also true. We know where the Drenn cruiser responsible is right now. By the time the Coalition reaches a decision, who knows where it'll be."
Rianni@crystyl:"Winning a battle now doesn't necessarily secure victory in the war"
Keliaya@anncaris | Dr. Qrehl: "Yes, but do we really want to risk condemning these people to slavery to win a war that hasn't even started yet, and might never start?"
Keliaya@anncaris | Farhalla: "If we attack them now, it will significantly increase the chances of starting a war."
Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "Rescuing this group may be a victory to the immediate goal of getting our associates family, but would severely hamper future interactions with the Drenn - be it friendly or -
Rianni@crystyl:- otherwise. We already established that they are taken alive which means they are needed alive and so in no mortal danger. The Coalition could fully assess the situation and take multiple different-
Rianni@crystyl:- courses of action from diplomacy to espionage in order to resolve it without a full scale conflict. The only way we could possibly proceed without risking future operations would be to find some -
Rianni@crystyl:- way of negotiating with the Drenn"
Keliaya@anncaris looks to Rianni, "We could try negotiating. I don't know how successful it would be, but it's always worth attempting to resolve things peacefully. Unless you think doing that would undermine -
Keliaya@anncaris - the use of espionage to free the captives later, since they know the Coalition has an interest in doing that?"
Rianni@crystyl thinks a moment, "Well, it might not undermine it as such. But it would certainly make them aware that we know what they are doing and set a clear precedent that the Coalition is looking to -
Rianni@crystyl:- interfere one way or the other"
Keliaya@anncaris | Eva nods, "I didn't delve deep into the Drenn captain's mind, but from what I sensed of him...I don't think he'll be particularly easy to negotiate with."
Rianni@crystyl:"I don't have your abilities and I got the same impression"
Keliaya@anncaris leans forward, thinking, "He won't be easy to negotiate with, in the conventional sense of negotiation. Since you mentioned espionage, though..."
Keliaya@anncaris looks across, "Rylliss. The Rider gangs affiliated with the Coalition, have any of them been hit or reported any problems with the Drenn?"
Rianni@crystyl nods, "If we want to do anything ourselves, that is going to be the only way I suspect"
Keliaya@anncaris | Rylliss taps his PADD, "No Rider gangs who are part of the Coalition have been attacked by the Drenn. The Megaris provided the Drenn with all the Riders who are affiliated with us, though. -
Keliaya@anncaris - They know the ones here aren't, which is no doubt why they hit them."
Keliaya@anncaris:"They know the Riders here /weren't/, at the time of second contact with the Megaris. They're not a part of the Coalition so they don't have access to our latest records."
Rianni@crystyl:"You think we can convince them these Riders are affiliated?"
Keliaya@anncaris nods, "With a little bit of Mischa's negotiating tactics rather than Keelah's," she smiles
Keliaya@anncaris:"We have to try something. It doesn't feel right just walking away from all this and leaving it in the Coalition's hands. If it doesn't work, then at least we gave it a shot."
Rianni@crystyl:"If we can pull it off, it would certainly take care of the issue about what to do with the colonists since it would mean they can all return home!"
Keliaya@anncaris:"Exactly. Alright everyone, you're dismissed. Azevedo, get us underway back to the system where we found the Drenn cruiser."
Keliaya@anncaris | Azevedo stands with the others, "Aye Commander."
Keliaya@anncaris:"Emma. Stay behind for a few minutes."
Rianni@crystyl | Emma pauses and sits back down
Rianni@crystyl glances back but continues on her way
Keliaya@anncaris smiles to Rianni, "Don't worry, she's not in trouble or anything."
Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles and turns to Kelly as Rianni leaves, "So what's up Commander?"
Keliaya@anncaris looks to Emma once everyone else is gone, "You've worked with Starfleet Intelligence before, as I understand it? Not as a formal member, but they were the ones who helped keep your condition -
Keliaya@anncaris - hidden while serving in Starfleet."
Rianni@crystyl | Emma nods, "Yes, In the early years I worked with them more. Nothing like Commander Leveson-Scott or T'Lana of course, just helping out around the office!"
Keliaya@anncaris:"I thought as much. Did you pick up anything on forging documents while working with them? It doesn't have to be perfect, just convincing enough for the Drenn."