When the Latenter intervenes to save what they believe to be refugees at the mercy of the approaching Darkness, Mischa is subject to an unexpected temporal experience...
T'Lana@anncaris | P'JEM SYSTEM
T'Lana@anncaris | STARDATE 390132.9
T'Lana@anncaris | The glows of three Ditean ships can be seen, though unlike the one taken out by the Venator in our own time, they are glowing bright yellow instead of red, a colour which is an exact match for -
T'Lana@anncaris - the star of the P'Jem system in the background
T'Lana@anncaris | Behind the Ditean ships are a number of other vessels. A few seem to be the Starfleet designs of the current era, including ships we have seen among the Survivors, as well as designs that we -
T'Lana@anncaris - haven't yet seen, but clearly fit the visual aesthetic of this incarnation of Starfleet
T'Lana@anncaris | Others are clearly freighters and transport designs from their long shapes and far less elegant design
T'Lana@anncaris | Others yet appear to have a Vulcan aesthetic, though they are no Vulcan class we are familiar with
T'Lana@anncaris | Apertures open from the front of all three glowing ships. The glow fades slightly, though still obscuring the view of the ship as all three disappear inside. The rest of the ships follow in -
T'Lana@anncaris - one by one until the entirety of the small fleet is gone, and the apertures close
T'Lana@anncaris | The camera pans over, past the M-class planet of P'Jem to the outer reaches of the system
T'Lana@anncaris | There is a flicker as we pass through the cloaking field and into the bridge of the Latenter, where the crew are at work on their consoles with Mischa in the command chair
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "All Ditean ships are gone."
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "The anomaly is continuing towards the system at a steady rate. At current speeds, it will reach the star in 22 hours and 15 minutes."
Mischa@crystyl:"Scanners clear on all fronts?"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "Affirmative. There are no ships or energy signatures remaining in the system. The planet has been entirely evacu...curious."
Mischa@crystyl looks over, "The planet has been avacurious?" she teases
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "No, the planet was reading devoid of sentient lifeforms only a few minutes ago when the Diteans departed. However, I appear to be picking up several lifeforms which were not present -
T'Lana@anncaris - before."
Mischa@crystyl:"Coincidental timing... who or what are we looking at?"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "They appear to be Vulcan lifesigns...and more are emerging on sensors as we speak."
Mischa@crystyl:"Presumably taking the opportunity to separate themselves from the Diteans. Are they all in one area?"
T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "Affirmative. They are concentrated in the monastery. However, I can find no means for them to depart the planet. There are no shuttles or ships remaining."
Mischa@crystyl sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose, "So these will be the steadfast monks who defy all logic by staying behind I suppose..."
T'Lana@anncaris raises a brow, "Vulcan monks are expected to show a greater degree of logic than this. I understand this is not our mission, but perhaps we may be able to convince them to evacuate and relocate -
T'Lana@anncaris - them to safety?"
Mischa@crystyl nods, "We can't in good conscience just leave them there. Are we able to open a channel to the monastery?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria taps her console, "I am attempting to hail them, but there is no response."
Mischa@crystyl:"I am not surprised" looks over to TL, "Well, guess we're doing this the hard way"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I will change to my field equipment and meet you in the transporter room."
Mischa@crystyl stands, "Victoria, you have the conn" and heads out
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa and T'Lana materialize on the inside of the P'Jem monastery. It is still daytime and some light streams in from the windows, but the place looks completely empty. There is not a soul to -
T'Lana@anncaris - be seen, and all the candles and braziers aren't lit
Mischa@crystyl takes out her tricorder and begins scanning, "Have you ever visited here before?"
T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Once, when I was quite young, but even in this timeline so far into the future, there are still elements which seem familiar to me. I suppose even now the Vulcans are a highly traditional -
T'Lana@anncaris - people."
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa's tricorder shows no sign of the lifesigns T'Bee mentioned
Mischa@crystyl nods, "I came here once too. One of my first shore leave getaways after starting a desk job at HQ. I had quite the fancy for archaeology back then, and given the mutual interest with the history of-
Mischa@crystyl - this place, I thought I would come and try to rediscover the old spy network buried beneath it" she chuckles
T'Lana@anncaris:"I can certainly understand your interest. I came here for more cultural reasons." She taps away at her tricorder, "Strange. The lifesigns no longer appear to be present."
Mischa@crystyl:"Could they have detected our incoming transport and resumed their hiding?"
T'Lana@anncaris:"That is a distinct possibility. While there is no spy network remaining in the rebuilt monastery, at least within our own universe, the most logical place for them to conceal themselves would -
T'Lana@anncaris:- still be within the undercroft."
Mischa@crystyl:"Then let's see if we can find our way down there"
T'Lana@anncaris:"If my memory serves, it should be this way."
T'Lana@anncaris leads the way through the eerily empty monastery until they reach a flight of stairs down
T'Lana@anncaris nods and begins making her way down, "Perhaps they have made additions to the undercroft again, though this time in the form of bunkers rather than a monitoring station."
Mischa@crystyl:"Perhaps. Though I challenge you to explain the logic of how a bunker will protect anyone from the Darkness"
T'Lana@anncaris:"I do not see any way it will, but there is a possibility that the bunker is not intended to protect them from the Darkness, but the Diteans."
Mischa@crystyl:"Which would make sense if they had an escape plan"
T'Lana@anncaris:"If the bunker complex is significant enough, they may have shuttles stored within. However, they would be launching them by now, with the Diteans gone and the Darkness approaching."
Mischa@crystyl:"And they are not doing that. I feel like there's something more to this, another piece to the puzzle that we can't see yet"
T'Lana@anncaris nods as they enter the undercroft. Without the sunlight, this place is completely dark, with the exception of some faint light from some consoles on the far end
Mischa@crystyl taps her visor to activate some night vision
T'Lana@anncaris:"These consoles are the most promising for bunker access, though the monks may have devised some more archaic triggers, and the consoles are simply for other technological functions within the -
T'Lana@anncaris:- monastery complex."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Let's see what we can find"
T'Lana@anncaris | As they make their way towards the console, a brazier is suddenly kindled behind them as flames roar up from it
Mischa@crystyl looks around, deactivating her night vision, "Better late than never..."
T'Lana@anncaris | Then, the fire begins moving in a strange fashion, which quickly becomes uncanny as it seems to form a bipedal body
T'Lana@anncaris draws a phaser as the body begins to step out of the fire and solidify...
Mischa@crystyl draws as well, "Did we take a wrong turn and end up in the Bajoran fire caves...? Just curious"
T'Lana@anncaris:"Captain. Behind us."
Mischa@crystyl looks around again, leaving TL to keep an eye on the fire being
T'Lana@anncaris | As Mischa turns, she notices the console flickering erratically and sparking. Jolts of electricity seem to course out from it, but not in the wild, uncontrolled fashion of a malfunction. They -
T'Lana@anncaris - too seem to form into a vaguely humanoid shape
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://pbs.twimg.com/tweet_video_thumb/FMBkVYCVgAA2igm.jpg
Mischa@crystyl:"First fire, now electricity? This was not on the tour during my last visit"
T'Lana@anncaris | The fire being solidifies into what is now distinguishable as a dark-skinned Romulan from the forehead ridges and pointed ears. More features become visible on the electrical being as well, -
T'Lana@anncaris - first a skeleton, then muscles, and finally a very familiar face...the face of a much older Kayleigh
T'Lana@anncaris | Romulan: "You should not be here. You are out of time. Out of place."
Mischa@crystyl:"Funny, I was just thinking the same of you two"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kayleigh takes a step forward, the glow fading from her body first, but sparks of electricity still linger in her eyes, "You are Starfleet, aren't you. Not one of the tattered remnants today. -
T'Lana@anncaris - One of the old guard."
Mischa@crystyl looks back to Kayleigh, "Never been referred to quite so romantically before, but yes. We are Starfleet - the Starfleet that once was - not the fragmented remains that exist here and now"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kayleigh nods, "Yes. I served in a time not unlike yours, I believe."
Mischa@crystyl:"I'm guessing you were a little less ethereal back then. So forgive the bluntness but, what are you exactly?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kayleigh: "We are what you call 'Ascended.' I always thought the term was rooted in more spirituality than logic, but calling ourselves 'Evolved' just sounds arrogant..."
Mischa@crystyl:"So you are psionics who have moved beyond physical existence?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Romulan: "That sums it up, yes."
Mischa@crystyl:"That certainly explains who and what you are. But the question remains then, why are you here? You are undoubtedly aware of the fate that is about to befall this world"
T'Lana@anncaris | Romulan: "That's exactly why we're here. All of us here have some connection to the monastery. For most, it's where we made the transformation into what we are now, or at least where we -
T'Lana@anncaris - trained and got the tools to do so. We've returned because we want to be here for the last moments of this world."
T'Lana@anncaris | Kayleigh: "The question is, why are /you/ here? You thought we needed saving, didn't you?"
Mischa@crystyl:"We were observing the evacuation and detecting lifesigns on the surface after the last of the Ditean fleet left. It would have been negligent to depart without investigating"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kayleigh nods, "Yes, that makes sense. These bodies are near-exact replicas of our physical forms, and they would show up as lifesigns to your sensors. We refrained from creating them until -
T'Lana@anncaris - after the Diteans departed, but we didn't realize you were in the system as well."
Mischa@crystyl:"We were both concealing ourselves from the Diteans"
T'Lana@anncaris | Kayleigh: "It would seem so. But what brings you to our time and our reality in the first place? An unfortunate anomaly?"
Mischa@crystyl:"In a manner of speaking. The Darkness is appearing in our time and reality now, and we have come here to investigate it. The tattered remnants you spoke of have also become known to us so we wanted-
Mischa@crystyl:- to learn more about them as well"
T'Lana@anncaris | Another figure steps through the wall and into the room. We recognize her as an older Mariel, though Mischa doesn't recognize her of course. She is dressed in Chlasi robes, unlike Kayleigh and -
T'Lana@anncaris - the Romulan, who is wearing Vulcan ones
T'Lana@anncaris | Mariel: "So, you've come to learn about the Darkness?"
Mischa@crystyl:"The tattered remnants of your Starfleet have been steering history in our reality to delay the Darkness' arrival. They succeeded, to a point, but now we need to find a way to stop it. And since it -
Mischa@crystyl:- is still rampant here, we must learn what we can of it"
T'Lana@anncaris | Mariel nods and smiles, "If you will allow me, I can help you understand. Not the scientific scans and analyses, that your ship is more than capable of doing, I'm sure. We can show you -
T'Lana@anncaris - the true nature of the Darkness."
Mischa@crystyl:"Being powerful enough to ascend, I was hoping you might have some unique insights into this matter. I would welcome any insights you have to offer"
T'Lana@anncaris | Mariel: "Then I will show you..." She waves her hand in front of Mischa, and Mischa suddenly finds her vision blurring away...
T'Lana@anncaris FX | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YLCa1CoQbQ&ab_channel=crysknife007
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa stirs awake on a bed in an unfamiliar room
Mischa@crystyl looks around trying to get her bearings and see if TL is also with her still
T'Lana@anncaris | There is no sign of T'Lana or the Ascended. She is no longer in her mission gear either and is wearing pajamas of some description. It seems as if she's been asleep in this bed for the whole -
T'Lana@anncaris - previous night. It does seem to be morning now, as she sees an analogue clock beside her
Mischa@crystyl glances to the clock first to make sure it's familiar and nothing extraordinary about it, proceeding to investigate the rest of the room
T'Lana@anncaris | It seems to be a lady's bedroom, with the lockers filled with clothes of Mischa's size. The drawers contain various cosmetics and tools for applying them. Much of the technology she is used to -
T'Lana@anncaris - is missing though, and what tech there is appears to be pre-warp, albeit high pre-warp tech. There is a touchscreen phone by her bedside and a computer terminal atop the desk. One of the desk -
T'Lana@anncaris - drawers seem to be locked shut, unlike the others that hold makeup and jewelry
Mischa@crystyl grabs the phone and moves to the terminal, setting it down while she investigates that first
T'Lana@anncaris | The terminal boots up with a screen reading: 8:36 | September 14, 2049 | Please approach for facial identification
Mischa@crystyl leans in, assuming that it is configured to recognize her at this point
T'Lana@anncaris | The screen flickers again to a screen with the text: 'Welcome, Lady Alicia Leveson'
T'Lana@anncaris | This screen quickly fades away to a computer desktop
Mischa@crystyl thinks a moment on the name, trying to remember if she recognizes it as an ancestor to this time period
Mischa@crystyl wishes she paid more attention to the family history now. Recognizing little more than the familiarity of the name itself, she proceeds to investigate the terminal
T'Lana@anncaris | She doesn't get far when an alarm klaxon suddenly sounds. The phone lights up with the notification of a message
Mischa@crystyl grabs the phone to see what it says
T'Lana@anncaris | The message is from one Doctor Muthoni, reading, "All personnel required in medical bay."
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa does remember seeing some lab coats when searching through the lockers...
Mischa@crystyl sighs softly, resigning herself to playing 'doctor' for now. She heads over and grabs a lab coat, heading outside to try and find her way
T'Lana@anncaris | She is a little lost at first, but her path is conveniently cut off by soldiers rushing wounded through on stretchers
Mischa@crystyl rushes along with them, tagging along with one group and checking on their patient, "What's the situation?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Soldier: "The enemy's pressing the attack again. Damn Eastern Coalition doesn't know when to give up. They've turned the whole region into a radioactive wasteland but they're /still/ at it."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Alright, let's get your man to the medical bay pronto"
T'Lana@anncaris | The soldiers continue to move and carry the wounded along. As they go, Mischa notes from the layout and signs that they are definitely in some kind of bunker. The soldiers standing guard -
T'Lana@anncaris - inside are wearing standard mid-21st century military gear, though all the ones rushing in with wounded have special sealed helmets, unlike the basic combat helmets worn by the troopers indoors
Mischa@crystyl looks around for where best to make herself useful
T'Lana@anncaris | Dr. Muthoni, played by the same actor as Commander Muthoni of the Yorktown with a different haircut and a scar on his face, steps up to Mischa, "Dr. Leveson. I know you're not a medical -
T'Lana@anncaris - doctor, but you've been looking after your father well, and we need every hand we can get."
Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "It's fine. The Eastern Coalition doesn't discriminate in who it hurts, I won't discriminate with who I help. Just point me where you need me"
T'Lana@anncaris | Dr. Muthoni points, "The west wing's overflowing and we don't have enough nurses there."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "Say no more" and heads in the pointed direction to assist
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa works away in the medical bay for a while. It is much lower tech than a Starfleet sickbay, but fortunately she is largely working as an extra hand for the nurses and not being asked to -
T'Lana@anncaris - do anything too complicated or make critical decisions. As she works, she hears a voice call out, "Alicia!"
Mischa@crystyl turns to the source of the voice
T'Lana@anncaris | The source of the voice is a soldier in a sealed helmet, who promptly removes the helmet and approaches her. His face looks a little familiar to her. "I thought I'd find you in here, sister. -
T'Lana@anncaris - Always eager to help out."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "And I am relieved to see you in one piece too"
T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa notices a nametag on his uniform reading 'Leveson' and her historical knowledge allows her to identify the rank insignia as an Army Captain
T'Lana@anncaris | Captain Leveson: "The American garrison took the brunt of the attack. They're down to less than a quarter of their fighting strength now. Most of the wounded we're dragging in are from their -
T'Lana@anncaris - lines, their medbay's even more full than ours."
Mischa@crystyl:"I am not surprised" she punches him lightly on the shoulder, "Thanks for letting me know you're alright too! You know how many wounded I've seen come through here wondering if your face was going -
Mischa@crystyl:- to be behind the helmet?"
T'Lana@anncaris | Captain Leveson: "I know, I know, you'd much rather be the one out there risking her life instead of the other way around. But you know how traditional father is about having ladies of the -
T'Lana@anncaris - family enlist. You're doing good work in here, looking after him and all the other wounded."
Mischa@crystyl:"I'm doing what I can, just like everyone else"
T'Lana@anncaris | Captain Leveson: "So are we all, sis," he gives a little sigh. "I have some news I think you won't like."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well you'd better lay it on me then"
T'Lana@anncaris | Captain Leveson: "We retaliated with a series of our own missiles last night. The Kazan Kremlin's been wiped off the map. Along with the rest of the city. They're the enemy, but I know the -
T'Lana@anncaris - archaeologist part of you always hates it when historical sites get caught in nuclear strikes. Thought you'd rather hear it from me than the Colonel."
Mischa@crystyl gives a faint smile, "I appreciate that. It is saddening to see so much history and culture wiped out just like that. But it is still better than the alternative"
T'Lana@anncaris | Captain Leveson nods, "We've already had two near-hits on Paris. Hopefully we can end this before we lose too much more."
Mischa@crystyl:"Always the dreamer I see"
T'Lana@anncaris | Captain Leveson smiles, "Hopes and dreams are what keeps us going."
Mischa@crystyl:"Very true brother. Well, I should return to the wounded"
T'Lana@anncaris | Captain Leveson: "I'll leave you to it."
NPC@annpc#557 | After working all day in the medbay, most of the wounded who can be saved are largely stable. As she takes a rest, one of the nurses approaches her
NPC@annpc#557 | Nurse: "Dr. Leveson?"
Mischa@crystyl looks up, "Yes?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Nurse: "Your father wants to see you. I think we have things in hand here. Why don't you attend to him?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Very well. Just call for me if things change at all then"
NPC@annpc#557 | The nurse smiles, "We'll be sure to do so. Thanks for your help here today."
Mischa@crystyl:"No problem" she smiles back, heading out
Mischa@crystyl not knowing any better, heads back to her quarters to see if she can figure out from there where this father person is
NPC@annpc#557 | Back in her own quarters, she access the computer again and is able to find some files pertaining to herself, or rather, the ancestor she seems to be inhabiting now. Alicia Leveson's father is -
NPC@annpc#557 - apparently Major General James Leveson. According to recent reports, General Leveson suffered radiation poisoning during the nuclear strikes on Milan. Apparently a strategic genius, he is -
NPC@annpc#557 - being kept alive for as long as possible with state-of-the-art life support while he continues to lead the war effort on the Eastern front
Mischa@crystyl checks for anything on his location
NPC@annpc#557 | He is being housed in the depths of the bunker in a restricted area requiring a keycard, retinal and hand scan. Mischa possesses Alicia's keycard and seeing as the facial scan of the computer -
NPC@annpc#557 - seems to recognize her, will most likely be able to get through the other two
Mischa@crystyl makes her way down there
NPC@annpc#557 | As Mischa makes her way deeper into the bunker, she finds more guards on duty. They wear helmets with MP on them, designating them as military police. They allow her to pass by, a few of them -
NPC@annpc#557 - addressing her as she walks past as 'Dr. Leveson' or 'Lady Alicia.'
NPC@annpc#557 | She soon comes upon a larger door, similarly guarded by two MPs. There is a panel beside this door with a screen on it, and one of the guards steps aside so she can use it
Mischa@crystyl steps up to the panel
NPC@annpc#557 | The panel states: 'Please present keycard.'
Mischa@crystyl does so
NPC@annpc#557 | The keycard disappears into a slot for a moment before reappearing. The text changes to 'Keycard recognized. Please provide handprint.' The imprint of a hand appears on the screen
Mischa@crystyl places her hand on the screen
NPC@annpc#557 | The text changes to 'Please look into the light.' A glowing red circle appears on the screen
Mischa@crystyl leans in to the light
NPC@annpc#557 | The circle spins as it processes the scan before the text reads, 'Authorization recognized' and the doors slide open to reveal another set of doors beyond in an airlock setup
Mischa@crystyl continues through
NPC@annpc#557 | The door seals shut behind her. Jets of steam emit out around her, and she immediately realizes this isn't an airlock, but a decontamination chamber
NPC@annpc#557 | After a few seconds, the steam shuts off and the door slides open to a dark room. At the end of the room is a medical contraption on which an emaciated old man is attached...
NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://i.ytimg.com/vi/dB0dy9FZqGY/maxresdefault.jpg
Mischa@crystyl approaches, "Hello father, and how are we doing today?" she asks almost idly, while checking the readouts on his life support
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson replies in a hoarse voice, "I am doing well, but I understand we have suffered quite an attack today."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "The Yanks got hit hard, we hit the East hard in return"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "That's good to hear. I can't believe they are still pressing the attack here. They must be getting desperate."
NPC@annpc#557 | The medical readouts show everything within expected levels. He's not a regular healthy human, of course, but for his current state all the readings are normal for his condition
Mischa@crystyl:"No doubt. But that was your field, not mine. So I'll take your word for it"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "I hear you have been helping in the medbay in the wake of the attack?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Well, we can't all get away with lazing around in bed all day" she teases with a little smile
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "I am glad to see that your humour is still intact, daughter. The bunker could use some levity in these dark times."
Mischa@crystyl:"Like mother used to say; if you don't laugh, you'll only cry. So, why am I here?" she chooses her words in case this is something more involved with her displacement
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "Well, I could use some of your humour, for one. But there is something else, too."
Mischa@crystyl:"I had a feeling. So what can I do for you, father?"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "You know what my style of command is like. I prefer to be out among the men, rather than commanding from a faraway post. I suppose that's what put me in this situation to -
NPC@annpc#557 - begin with. Still...I believe seeing the morale of the troops is important for directing them effectively. Your brother is always eager to please, and that attitude goes for how he presents -
NPC@annpc#557 - his men, too. Tell me, from your observations and experiences, how are the troops feeling as of this latest push by our enemies?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Your men are resilient and steadfast. But resilience is not infinite. Their hearts are still willing, but the constant skirmishes are whittling down their resolve. In spite of themselves and their -
Mischa@crystyl:- own desire for peace, they are succumbing to an underlying sense of futility. As the ones on the front lines, they are seeing the world slowly being ground into dust"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "That is what I suspected. This war has gone on for far too long, and with many devastating consequences. Some of the new recruits coming in...they would never have known a -
NPC@annpc#557 - world without this conflict. I cannot say if they fare better or worse than old soldiers like me. Perhaps having known only war makes them less susceptible to despair. But they also have no -
NPC@annpc#557 - idea what they even fight for, anymore. To them, for king and country is something from the storybooks. Fighting is about survival, the very heart of their lives."
Mischa@crystyl:"I fear it may even be worse than that for them. If not now, then soon enough. It's not even about surviving after a while when they see their friends killed off every day. No, the fight simply -
Mischa@crystyl:- becomes a natural state of being then. No goal, no purpose, just the fight"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "And at that point, we become no more than animals."
Mischa@crystyl:"Assuming we are not already beyond the point of no return. I haven't started chewing on bones or chasing milk trucks down the street, so I think there's hope"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "Indeed. Well, thank you for your insights, Alicia." He manages a weak smile. "You should get some well-deserved rest, daughter. Otherwise they will be treating you in the -
NPC@annpc#557 - medbay as well."
Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, and I have no desire to be on the receiving end of the barbarism we call triage nowadays" she smiles, "I will try and stop by again soon. Until then, father" she turns to head out
NPC@annpc#557 | As Mischa steps back into Alicia's bunks, she notices an unfamiliar man casually lying back on the bed with hands folded behind his head. The first thing she notices is that the man is -
NPC@annpc#557 - unusually well-dressed for this environment, not wearing army fatigues like most of the bunker's population. As she enters, the man immediately jumps up, straightening his clothes
NPC@annpc#557 | Stranger: "Well, hello there, Captain."
Mischa@crystyl:"Um... hello. Strangely well dressed person...? Nice bow tie by the way"
NPC@annpc#557 | Stranger: "Thank you. I always like to look presentable. You know what they say about first impressions! Anyways, I don't believe we've met, yet. Thinking in linear time is still so strange, -
NPC@annpc#557 - even after all this time. And throw in the multiverse and the countless versions of you, and well...you can see how one might lose track."
Mischa@crystyl strolls over to sit down on the couch, "I must admit even I risk losing track sometimes. But dear sir, you have me at a disadvantage here. Since you clearly know who I am and where and when I come -
NPC@annpc#557 | Stranger: "Right. Of course," He leans forward and extends his hand to Mischa, "I'm Q. Pleased to meet you, Captain Leveson-Scott. Or Doctor Leveson, if you're getting into character."
Mischa@crystyl:"Of course you are..." she sighs, "So are you the same Q as usual wearing a different face or actually a different Q? Honestly, you think we're hard to keep track of?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Different Q. What can I say? We all have our quirks."
Mischa@crystyl:"You are not the only ones it would seem. So by your presence here I must assume that I am actually existing as my ancestor right now, and this is not simply a psionic vision. The question is why?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Yes...and no. As for why, well, you did ask Mari to show you the nature of the Darkness, didn't you?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Mari, is it? Well yes I did accept her offer to show me that. But I do not yet see the nature of this lesson with my being here and now, and I certainly did not expect to actually be temporally -
Mischa@crystyl:- displaced by the process"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Her time with my son might've rubbed off a little too much. She's fond of riddles and analogies these days. I'm sure someone as bright as you will figure out why you're here soon enough. -
NPC@annpc#557 - There is something rather familiar about this era compared to the one you left behind, isn't there?"
Mischa@crystyl:"You are suggesting that this period of Earth's history and the near total self annihilation my people brought upon themselves is metaphorically comparable to the Darkness"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Not quite, but there...are a few similarities there. Of course, the Darkness wasn't brought upon by yourselves, or any other mortal civilization. It's far from a perfect analogy."
Mischa@crystyl:"Clearly. And by the fact that you've seen fit to pop in, this 'Mari' and your son have obviously done something that does not sit right and now you need me to follow a desirable course to -
Mischa@crystyl:- restore balance and keep the Continuum happy. That about sum things up?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Actually, no, I rather approve of this analogy, imperfect as it may be. You're not just here to see the time period, there's a little more to it. I'm just here to enjoy the show. You see, -
NPC@annpc#557 - the Darkness is...you could say my area of expertise."
Mischa@crystyl:"Then you picked a lousy time to drop in on me. You know I was actually seriously considering performing a certain El-Aurian ritual in order to make contact"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "I see that as a good time to pop in, otherwise you'd have made that certain El-Aurian quite annoyed. And an annoyed El-Aurian is usually not a good thing. You should know, your James Kirk -
NPC@annpc#557 - was killed by one."
Mischa@crystyl:"Which is why I am grateful you spared me that dilemma. Still, you could have swung by a /bit/ earlier and saved us this whole little excursion"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Where would be the fun in that?"
Mischa@crystyl eyerolls, "And one does not need psionics to have anticipated that response. Just tell me this, be it through this little entertaining distraction, or once I am back on my ship, will you enlighten me -
Mischa@crystyl:- given you are - as you say - the expert on the Darkness?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "I can enlighten you on /some/ things. Others, it'll be better for you to figure out yourselves. Ask away, I'll answer what I can, and then we'll get on with the show."
Mischa@crystyl:"I suppose I should get the obvious out of the way first... is the Darkness one of the Continuum's machinations?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "No. It's a force beyond even our control."
Mischa@crystyl smirks a little, "Well now, I didn't honestly expect it was of your creation. But I did not expect that little confession too"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "If I wanted to present myself to you as a god, I would've introduced myself as the Lord of Death. The Grim Reaper. The Gaunt Man, the Herald of End Times, the Horseman of the Apocalypse. -
NPC@annpc#557 - If you really were Alicia Leveson, I might've chosen one of those names, but that time is past us. Now that we're on a little more equal footing, with the psionic awakening and all, you're -
NPC@annpc#557 - mature enough to understand that we're not god. We're not omnipotent. We're just a little further down the road than you are."
Mischa@crystyl:"And with many of the Children hot on your heels at that. Alright, another question; can it be stopped?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "No. Well, technically yes, but it would be bad. Very, very bad."
Mischa@crystyl considers, "Alright... so it is a force of nature - a part of the universal balance that is required to sustain the whole. Let me rephrase then, is it possible to prevent it from destroying our -
Mischa@crystyl - galaxy?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "We already have. For a time. You've learned by now that the Darkness only enters when we drop the barrier, haven't you?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Of course, but it still seems to be a matter of delaying the inevitable. The question remains, how to prevent it from reaching the point it has in this universe. I mean... the one that this Mari of-
Mischa@crystyl:- yours zapped me into the past from... I'm not even going to get into the quantum complications of this being the past of which universe"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "That, you'll have to figure out on your own. But I can tell you this is the past of both universes. The split hasn't happened by this point, the Survivors have yet to interfere in your -
NPC@annpc#557 - history. Maybe doesn't quite make up for the lack of the other answer, but hey, it's something."
Mischa@crystyl:"But there is evidence in our own recorded history of encounters with Starfleet from a future beyond even the Survivors timeline. Therefore there must be a path forwards that leads to salvation from-
NPC@annpc#557 | Q smiles, "All excellent guesses. Very logical. Are you sure you're not part Vulcan? No wonder you and Lana have a thing. That's already happened, right?"
Mischa@crystyl sighs, "Yes, that has already happened. Should I be worried about how much you seem to know about me? I'm starting to get the feeling it isn't just my current mission that you're paying such close -
Mischa@crystyl:- attention to..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "We may not be entirely omniscient, but we do still know a lot."
Mischa@crystyl:"Including specifics on the personal relationships of a single Human from a single timeline in a single universe...?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Don't get any grandiose thoughts there, now. You might have quite the storied history in multiple realities, but it's not /your/ personal relationships we're keeping an eye on."
Mischa@crystyl:"And I'm glad to hear it. Just be mindful of what you look in on..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "What do you think I am, one of the barbarians from this time? It's not your relationship we're interested in. It's the specific nature of the one you're in a relationship /with/."
Mischa@crystyl leans in, eyes narrowing, "You're watching T'Lana? Why?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Haven't you noticed by now? With the multiversal floodgates opening, you've been meeting and hearing about counterparts of yourselves left and right. You might not have met another you, -
NPC@annpc#557 - but you heard about it. And I'm not even going to mention that Tierno. But you haven't heard of a counterpart for T'Lana, have you?"
Mischa@crystyl:"True, but there are many associates I have never encountered a counterpart for. And don't get me started on Tierno. One day when this Darkness thing is all over, you're going to have to tell me -
Mischa@crystyl:- what the hell the universe's deal is with that girl!" she chuckles, "But... you're suggesting that T'Lana is unique across the multiverse..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Not quite. There are other versions of her, but they only exist in alternate realities that branched off /after/ her birth. She's not entirely unique, but the circumstances of her -
NPC@annpc#557 - creation, that's an outlier from the timestream, an event which can only occur in the very specific circumstances of your timeline up to that point. Strictly speaking, most of the Survivors -
NPC@annpc#557 - active in your universe are more divergent entities, but the divergence failed to create something as...unexpected as your friend."
Mischa@crystyl:"Besides her lacking the usual Vulcan telepathic capability, what is it that makes her so important to you?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q smiles, "Oh, the lack of telepathy is just a surface condition. But, that's a discussion for another time."
Mischa@crystyl:"Fine. One more question before you run off; is your interest in T'Lana tied to the situation with the Darkness?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Of course, she's working with you to try and stop it, isn't she? But if you're wondering if she has some secret hidden power to drive them away, I'm afraid it's not going to be so easy."
Mischa@crystyl:"I never thought that would be the case. I am just curious why someone specifically interested in the Darkness also shows such an interest in T'Lana"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Don't worry, I'm not about to steal her from you and make her my personal pet or anything. As for why I'm interested...that's something I don't expect you'll understand yet, even if I -
NPC@annpc#557 - tried to explain it to you. Let's just say she has more in common with some of my friends than she does her people on Vulcan."
Mischa@crystyl 's eyes narrow on Q, "...fine. I have no desire to get into a fruitless debate with a Q anyway. Right now there are more pressing issues, chief of which is getting back"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q: "Don't worry, you'll be back, as soon as you've seen what Mari brought you here to witness. And no, it's not experiencing an atomic blast firsthand, if you're wondering. Your ancestor has -
NPC@annpc#557 - to be alive for you to exist."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Well that's oddly reassuring. I don't suppose you'd care to point me in the right direction at least?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Q smiles back, "I'm sure you'll figure it out. You're Starfleet after all." He snaps his fingers and disappears away in a classic Q flash
Mischa@crystyl eyerolls at the enigmatic departure, scratching her shoulder, "I know, I don't trust him either"
NPC@annpc#557 | The rest of the night passes without incident, and after getting some sleep, Mischa wakes the next morning, still in Alicia's quarters in the bunker and not back in the future
Mischa@crystyl sighs, quietly hoping this isn't going to be one of those lifetime-in-an-instant things, getting up and checking her schedule for the day
NPC@annpc#557 | As she checks her schedule, the doorbell to the room buzzes, a much less pleasant sound than the chimes of Starfleet doorbells
Mischa@crystyl heads over and opens it
NPC@annpc#557 | She finds Captain Leveson on the other side dressed in his combat armour, but with his helmet off and held under one arm
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson: "Morning, Alicia."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, looking him up and down, "Morning. If you're here for inspection I'm afraid my combat armour is in the wash" she smiles, heading inside to sit down
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson chuckles as he steps inside, "Don't worry, I'm not here to inspect anything. I just wanted to stop by," he gestures to the desk, specifically the locked drawer Mischa found the -
NPC@annpc#557 - previous day. "Still keeping that pistol I gave you locked up?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson smiles, "Mother and father aren't going to come and search your room, you know. I hope you're checking it regularly, just in case. We are in a warzone after all, never know -
NPC@annpc#557 - when you might need it."
Mischa@crystyl:"I maintain it just like you showed me. But locked up is exactly where that thing belongs"
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson nods, "Well, speaking of father, he's sending us out on a counterattack. The Eastern Coalition forces are still regrouping after we fended off their push yesterday. We're going -
NPC@annpc#557 - to try and finish things now, hit them before they can hit us again."
Mischa@crystyl:"So... just another day at the office then, yes?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson: "Well, we hope if we can rout their army again, they'll be too disorganized and scattered to rally again. From here on, it'll just be picking off remnants. If we play things -
NPC@annpc#557 - right, we might have the region reclaimed in a month or so. Not that there is much /to/ reclaim at this point, but with the pressure off here, we might be able to reinforce other areas, or -
NPC@annpc#557 - push further east."
Mischa@crystyl:"If you say so, all sounds the same to me still; they hit us, we hit them, they hit us back, we hit them back..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson nods and sighs, "Father thinks there's a chance we can turn the tide, and I hope he's right. The alternative would be us withdrawing, and yes, there's not much to fight for -
NPC@annpc#557 - here anymore, but if we pull back, they're just going to push further. And then we either give more ground, or we fight back, and if we fight back hard enough, they might just go scorched -
NPC@annpc#557 - earth again. No, we have to hold the line here. It's not the radioactive wasteland we're fighting for- it's stopping the rest of the continent from getting turned into the same."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "I get it, yeah. But that doesn't mean I like it"
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson: "And neither do I. I hope there was some other way, I really do. But for now, all we can do is our duties here."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Indeed"
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson smiles, "Well, time to get the men ready to move. I'll see you soon, sister."
Mischa@crystyl:"See you later brother"
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson waves and heads back out
NPC@annpc#557 | Several hours later, Mischa sits at her desk, attending a virtual conference with several other archaeologists. Keen eyed audiences will notify that one of the names on the group call is -
NPC@annpc#557 - marked as Dr. Bishop, though unlike Muthoni, she is not played by the same person as Sam
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Bishop: "I can't believe you would suggest that we loot the Cairo Museum, Samash. This isn't the colonial age."
NPC@annpc#557 | Samash: "Not loot, /safeguard/. We all know it's only a matter of time before Cairo falls. We cannot hold the line there, and there's no saying what the enemy will do to all the precious -
NPC@annpc#557 - artifacts. We don't even know which enemy will be getting control of the city, but I can't see it ending well in any case."
NPC@annpc#557 | Archaeologist 3: "That's assuming someone doesn't just bomb it off the map completely. I have to agree with Samash here. We've got to get everything we can out of Cairo, ASAP."
Mischa@crystyl:"And assuming we do, where exactly do we deem to be safe to store the artifacts now?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Archaeologist 4: "Exactly. America's fractured, London's in a worse condition than it was at the end of the last world war, Berlin's gone and Paris' been targeted multiple times over. We don't -
NPC@annpc#557 - have anywhere safe anymore. The whole damn world's on fire."
NPC@annpc#557 | Samash: "Central America hasn't been hit."
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Bishop: "And who's going to pay the Cartels to protect the artifacts? My family and the Levesons combined wouldn't have that kind of money even if we sold our estates. And good luck -
NPC@annpc#557 - convincing the king's treasury to send money to crime lords. That's assuming they don't just take the money /and/ the artifacts all for themselves. No, I'd sooner trust the Coalition with them."
NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa's phone suddenly starts to ring
Mischa@crystyl mutes the conference and picks it up
NPC@annpc#557 <C - Muthoni> "Dr. Leveson?"
NPC@annpc#557 <C - Muthoni> "You better come down to the medbay."
Mischa@crystyl:"I'm on my way"
Mischa@crystyl grabs her labcoat and heads out
NPC@annpc#557 | As Mischa enters the medbay, Dr. Muthoni immediately approaches her
Mischa@crystyl:"What's the situation?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Muthoni: "It's your brother, Alicia."
Mischa@crystyl looks around, "Where is he, did something happen?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Muthoni nods, leading her further into the bay where Mischa quickly spots a wounded Captain Leveson being treated by another doctor
Mischa@crystyl:"What is his condition?"
NPC@annpc#557 | The other doctor responds, "He's been hit multiple times. We're looking at-"
NPC@annpc#557 | She is interrupted as Captain Leveson raises his arm towards Mischa, "Alicia. The enemy...they...they're..." He coughs
Mischa@crystyl steps over, taking his hand, "Save your strength brother"
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson: "They're sick, Alicia. Like...like father. Saw them...Lin...translated the reports. They've been...abandoned..."
Mischa@crystyl:"Abandoned? What do you mean?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Captain Leveson: "Left...for dead. Radiation's worse...east...worse than we thought. They can't...get home. The enemy...already pulled back. These aren't..." he coughs again, "not the enemy. -
NPC@annpc#557 - Not trying to drive...drive us back. Just want in...the bun...bunkers...don't know how...except to fi-"
NPC@annpc#557 | Doctor 2: "He's going into cardiac arrest!"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Muthoni: "Get me the defib!"
Mischa@crystyl staps back to give them room
NPC@annpc#557 | One of the nurses passes Dr. Muthoni the defibrillator, which he promptly starts to use. After a few tries, he lowers his head and sets the device aside, turning to Mischa
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Muthoni: "I'm sorry, Alicia."
Mischa@crystyl hangs her head, "Excuse me. I need to inform our father" and heads out, hoping to avoid feigning familial grief more than necessary
NPC@annpc#557 | As she heads out of the medbay, she sees more wounded being brought in by soldiers, just like the day before. Maybe the counterattack did some damage to the enemy, but it's certainly cost them -
NPC@annpc#557 - as well
Mischa@crystyl wonders what exactly happened, but is distracted by Alicia's brothers dying words
NPC@annpc#557 | After getting through the security checks again, Mischa enters General Leveson's chamber once again
Mischa@crystyl steps over, "Father"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "Daughter. I was not expecting you here so soon."
Mischa@crystyl:"Then I assume news has not yet reached you"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "News of our counterattack, I presume?"
Mischa@crystyl:"News of it's failure. News of..." she sighs, "your son - my dear brother..."
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "Did...something happen to him?"
Mischa@crystyl:"He is dead, father"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "This...this was the perfect time to strike. Everything was right, we could have finished off the enemy right here! All we had to do was take the opportunity! It was supposed -
NPC@annpc#557 - to be his chance to seize the glory! How could this have happened? A...lucky hit by the enemy?"
Mischa@crystyl:"I do not know the specifics, but he was heavily wounded. They called me to the medbay as soon as he arrived, but we lost him shortly after I arrived"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "No, this cannot be. We must strike again! We must end this fight, here and now! The attack must have been a success overall, it must have been. This is our chance, our chance -
NPC@annpc#557 - to wipe out the enemy and push forward!"
NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa notes the medical readings by the general spiking up
Mischa@crystyl:"Father please calm yourself. It is this approach which has led us down this path, but there might be another way"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "What...do you mean?"
Mischa@crystyl:"He took great pains to share his insights with me. Your son used his dying words not to speak of vengeance or regret, but of hope. It was important enough to him to share what he learned that he -
Mischa@crystyl:- literally gave his life to deliver his message"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "Message? What did he say?"
Mischa@crystyl:"He said the enemy is not our real enemy. That they aren't trying to drive us back and that they just want into the bunkers because they are suffering the same sickness as you are"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "Of course they would be affected by radiation on the surface. That does not mean they are not the enemy. The Eastern Coalition is relentless. They will throw their lives away -
NPC@annpc#557 - through radioactive wasteland if it meant dislodging us from our defensive position."
Mischa@crystyl:"No father, that's not what he was saying. Don't you see? They don't want to fight any more than we do. They just want the protection we have here. You said yourself that this can't continue, so -
Mischa@crystyl:- surely it's worth exploring the possibility isn't it? Even if he didn't get it all right, don't we owe it to him to at least look into what he said?"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "They killed your brother, and you want to invite them into our bunker?! If they are weak and dying from radiation, then this is our chance to finish them off! There is only -
NPC@annpc#557 - one way this war ends, and it's-" He starts to break into a fit of coughs as the medical readouts light up with alarms
Mischa@crystyl:"Father please, you must calm yourself. And I am not saying we should just accept this as gospel and invite them in. I'm just saying it's got to be worth looking into, to find out what your son gave-
Mischa@crystyl:- his life to relay back to us"
NPC@annpc#557 | General Leveson: "We wipe them out! That is...my...or...der..."
NPC@annpc#557 | The door slide open and a nurse rushes in to check on the alarms
NPC@annpc#557 | The general seems to go unresponsive as the nurse taps away frantically at the various devices, "Dr. Muthoni, I need you down here!"
Mischa@crystyl sighs, working to help the nurse, "We need to bring his levels back down. Sedate him if you have to"
NPC@annpc#557 | The nurse nods, moving over to press something on his life support device to sedate him
NPC@annpc#557 | A few moments later, Dr. Muthoni rushes into the room, "He didn't take the news of your brother well, did he?"
Mischa@crystyl:"That's putting it mildly..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Muthoni pats her on the shoulder, "I'll look after him. You've been through enough for one day already, Alicia."
Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you. I think I need to be alone right now, but let me know if there's any change in his condition"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Muthoni nods, "You'll be the first to know."
NPC@annpc#557 | Some time later, Mischa is summoned to an office in the bunker...
Mischa@crystyl finds her way there and rings the door
NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa sees the door marked as 'Colonel MacNeil.' As she presses the doorbell, the same buzz from her own quarters can be heard, followed by a voice with a slight Scottish accent saying, "Come -
NPC@annpc#557 - on in."
Mischa@crystyl steps in, "Colonel, I understand you wanted to see me"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil, a man in his mid-40s dressed in an officer's uniform, is seated behind the desk, "That's right. I heard about your brother, and Dr. Muthoni informs me that your father's -
NPC@annpc#557 - slipped into a coma, with no telling when or if he'll ever awake. Two family members in one day, I'm sorry, lass."
Mischa@crystyl:"I appreciate the sentiment"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "Have a seat, Doctor. Can I get you anything?"
Mischa@crystyl sits, "I am fine, thank you though"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil nods, "If you need anything, just let us know, alright?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil takes a sip of coffee, "Now...you're probably wondering why I called you here."
Mischa@crystyl:"I assumed at least it wasn't simply to offer sympathies"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "I do want to offer sympathies, of course, but you're right, there's a little more to it. With your father in a coma, command here falls to me, now. As I understand it, you -
NPC@annpc#557 - were the last person to be with him while he was still conscious. Did he...happen to say anything on any plans he may have had in mind following our latest counterattack?"
Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "He was distraught over news of my brother and not thinking straight"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "So he didn't have any solid plan formulated for how we move forward from here?"
Mischa@crystyl:"No, he was overly emotional and distressed"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "What about yourself? I know you're not military, but you have your father's mind, and your study of history and historical conflicts make you no less of a tactician. Any -
NPC@annpc#557 - thoughts on how we can proceed from here? We've been stuck in a deadlock for so long now, I'm looking for ideas anywhere I can find 'em to break this bloody stalemate."
Mischa@crystyl:"Then perhaps you will be interested in what my brother had to say"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "Is that so? And what did he have to say?"
Mischa@crystyl:"He used his dying words to tell me that he'd seen the enemy up close, and that they aren't the enemy we think them to be. He said they were all sick like our father, and just wanted into the -
Mischa@crystyl:- bunkers for protection - not to drive us out. He said something about them being abandoned and it sounded like he - or someone - had intercepted some intel to this effect. It was clearly a lot -
Mischa@crystyl:- more than personal opinion, and whatever he learned out there was strong enough to sway his belief about this whole situation and use his dying breath to relay that"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "They want in our bunkers for protection? You're sure this isn't some kind of trick or something?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Of course I'm not sure. But I believe in my brother, and he believed whatever he learned out there. So I have to believe there is at least something to all of this"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil considers and nods, "It's risky, that's for sure. But if there's a chance that we can end this without more good men like your brother dying...I owe it to him to at least see -
NPC@annpc#557 - if that's possible."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "As do I. If there's any way I can help..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "If we send soldiers to approach them, they'll probably think it's another attack. But I can't risk sending you out there, not after everything that's happened to your family -
NPC@annpc#557 - already..."
Mischa@crystyl:"Is there some way we can contact them, setup something more mutual?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "Maybe. We don't have any negotiators though, unless you think you're up to the task?"
Mischa@crystyl:"I said I'd do what i can, and I meant it"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "We'll send you out there with an armed escort, no doubt the Coalition'll send troops of their own. They won't trust us any more than we do then. But as much as I trust our -
NPC@annpc#557 - officers, they're still soldiers and they've been fighting this enemy for years. I don't think asking them to negotiate is going to end well."
Mischa@crystyl:"I understand. Still, it might help the situation if we can pre-empt our arrival somehow"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "I'm open to suggestions. I can't say setting up peace talks is something I've done before."
Mischa@crystyl:"Well assuming we can't just pick up the phone and call them, we need to get a message to them some other way. A drone would be a sensible choice, but they would likely just shoot it down on sight" -
Mischa@crystyl:- she thinks, "This might be a long shot, but... during the last great war in the mid 20th century they would send long distance messages with small hand written notes tied to the legs of pigeons. -
Mischa@crystyl:- I don't suppose we've got any of them sitting around though..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "Not around the bunker, but I believe I heard something from Dr. Amala about research into the effects of radiation on the wildlife, and there are birds alive out there."
Mischa@crystyl:"Then I will go and speak with Dr. Amala and see if we can pursue the option. I'm no diplomat but I've handled my share of negotiations. I mean, through my historical studies of course. So I can -
Mischa@crystyl:- draft a simple invitation to discuss an armistice on neutral ground"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil nods, "Sounds like a good plan to me. I'll let you get to work and hold off on any further offensives for now."
Mischa@crystyl stands, "Thank you Colonel. We'll do what we can to honour my brothers memory"
NPC@annpc#557 | After a little research, Mischa learns that the 'Lin' referred to by Captain Leveson is one Lieutenant John Lin, an officer who speaks several of the Eastern Coalition languages
NPC@annpc#557 | Locating his quarters in the bunker is quite simple from there, and Mischa proceeds over to it...
Mischa@crystyl approaches and rings the door
NPC@annpc#557 | The door slides open and a man appears at the door, dressed in a tank top with military fatigue pants
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin: "Dr. Leveson. I'm sorry about your brother."
Mischa@crystyl gives a feint appreciative smile, "Thank you Lieutenant, or would you prefer John in this setting?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin smiles back, "I'm good with either. So, what can I do for you, Doctor?"
Mischa@crystyl:"I understand you were out with my brother today. If it's not too much of an intrusion, might I come in and discuss what happened with you?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin nods, "Of course. Come on in." He steps aside to let her enter
Mischa@crystyl steps inside, letting the door close, "Thank you. What I want to discuss is best in private, I think"
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin: "I'm afraid my platoon wasn't with him when your brother was hit. We only heard that he was wounded when we were pulling back, so there's not much I can tell you about how it happened. -
NPC@annpc#557 - Well, nothing more than anyone else in the company, at least."
Mischa@crystyl:"Of course. However that is not what I wanted to talk to you about. As you said, I can hear that from anyone should I wish to. Though frankly I can do without the grizzly details. No, what I find -
Mischa@crystyl:- far more intriguing is that he took great pains with his final breaths to try and tell me about something he learned about the enemy. Something that came from you"
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin: "You're talking about the reports we found on the Coalition officers, aren't you?"
Mischa@crystyl:"That sounds likely. Now please understand, my father took a turn for the worse upon hearing about my brother and Colonel MacNeil has assumed command. I am now working under his direct orders to -
Mischa@crystyl:- explore the possibilities of an armistice, based on my brother's dying words. So please Lieutenant, anything you can tell me about said reports could distinctly help me in this"
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin nods, "So that's why you're here. Well, we didn't have time to download the reports and bring it back, but I was able to have a read before they started pushing back against us. From what -
NPC@annpc#557 - I saw, the Eastern Coalition have given up on the men here. You remember when they nuked the area, we shot a good few of them down before they got to their targets?"
Mischa@crystyl nods, "How could I forget..."
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin: "Well those nukes detonated behind the enemy and it totally cut off their retreat. Their superiors ordered them to keep attacking, and they did at first, until they realized their -
NPC@annpc#557 - people had already given up on them and were essentially just sending them to die. They tried to call for extractions but it was denied, and they quickly figured out that staging an extraction -
NPC@annpc#557 - op through the wasteland they created was probably deemed not worth the effort. So they were just being thrown at us to keep us busy."
Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you John, that provides me some invaluable context. It might not be talks to end the global conflict, but if we can resolve things on this front then I'll take that as a step in the right -
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin smiles and nods, "There's more- these recent attacks they've been conducting, it's not because of their orders. They've cut contact with their superiors already, some tried to retreat on -
NPC@annpc#557 - foot but either died or were forced to turn back from the rad poisoning. And the rest of their ranks are slowly getting more and more irradiated, too. Their officers here in the field ordered -
NPC@annpc#557 - the recent offensives of their own volition, out of desperation to try and break into our bunkers, for shelter from the radiation and medical supplies."
Mischa@crystyl nods, "That makes sense. Do we have any sense of their numbers?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin: "One of the reports said they were almost down to two thousand, and I'm pretty sure that's before our recent engagements. So it's even less now. I'd say probably under two thousand, maybe -
NPC@annpc#557 - even below one thousand at this point."
Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you. Well if there's nothing more, I should leave you in peace"
NPC@annpc#557 | Lin nods, "That's about everything I remember from the reports. I hope it's of help to you."
Mischa@crystyl:"Very much so, I now have enough understanding of the situation to be able to frame this invitation properly. And I couldn't have got to that without your aid. So again, thank you" she smiles, -
Mischa@crystyl:- turning to head out
NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa enters the medbay to search for Dr. Amala and is greeted by Muthoni again
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Muthoni: "Alicia. Is there something I can do for you?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Dr. Muthoni, you do get around don't you?" she smiles, "Actually I was looking for Dr. Amala"
NPC@annpc#557 | Muthoni: "She's working in the west wing, there," he points her out to Mischa
Mischa@crystyl:"Thank you" she heads straight over
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala taps away on a computer as Mischa approaches
Mischa@crystyl:"Excuse me, Dr. Amala?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala looks up with a smile, "Dr. Leveson. Can I help you?"
Mischa@crystyl:"I do hope so. I am interested in your research into wildlife survivability out there - it is my understanding that you have some specimens?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala nods, "That's right. It's the side research I've been working on, outside of my duties here in the medbay."
Mischa@crystyl:"This might sound a bit odd but... do you happen to have any pigeons?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala: "Why pigeons specifically?"
Mischa@crystyl:"Well, I need to send an important message across the wasteland. And if I recall correctly from my historical studies, pigeons were used in the last great global conflict of the 20th century to -
Mischa@crystyl:- deliver messages without attracting attention"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala: "Well, I don't have any pigeons, but I do have a pair of crows. Pretty much domesticated, they can follow instructions and always come back here, so you might be able to use them to -
NPC@annpc#557 - send a message and get a reply. Crows are everywhere out there too, they're managing pretty well thanks to all the fighting, so they won't attract any attention."
Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Perfect! And I'm pretty sure they were once used to deliver messages too, but we're talking back in medieval times here and even the old family estate doesn't have anything that dates -
Mischa@crystyl:- /that/ far back" she chuckles, "So, would you be willing to help me get these crows into service?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala: "Of course. I assume you're going to do the old tie paper around their leg trick, and not have one carry a data stick?"
Mischa@crystyl nods, "That was the plan, yes"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala smiles, "Just get me the message and where you want it delivered, and I'll send one of the crows out, then."
Mischa@crystyl:"About that. I can prepare the message discreetly, but the destination is classified. I must ask that you not share any knowledge of this for now as we are embarking on a potentially volatile -
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala: "I understand. I can teach you how to work with the ravens, if you like."
Mischa@crystyl:"If that is your preference over having to maintain discretion, of course"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala: "I can keep a secret too, don't worry. It'll take longer to teach you, so it depends on how urgent this message is."
Mischa@crystyl:"The longer we delay, the longer this conflict will continue and the more lives will be lost"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala nods, "Then I'll send the crows out for you. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone a word. We've all had the loose lips sink ships talk. Or bury bunkers might be more apt in our case."
Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Very true. And don't worry, this is nothing nefarious. I am working with Colonel MacNeil on a special project, since he has taken command in my father's absence. Please prepare the crows-
Mischa@crystyl:- and I will return shortly with the message cylinder"
NPC@annpc#557 | Dr. Amala nods, "A classified project. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me, Alicia."
NPC@annpc#557 | The day after Mischa sends the crow out, she receives a notification on her phone to proceed to the Colonel's office again
Mischa@crystyl arrives and rings the door
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil: "Come on in."
Mischa@crystyl approaches, "Colonel, I understand you wanted to see me?"
NPC@annpc#557 | Colonel MacNeil nods, "Dr. Amala just informed me that we've received a reply for the message you sent."