Updated: Mar 18
A shuttlecraft from the Valley Forge visits the local trade hub known as Underworld, where anything can be acquired as long as the right contracts are signed.
Ann Carter@anncarise FX | VF's runabout Pennypack makes its way towards the local trade hub of Carr, more commonly known as Underworld. Ann Carter@anncarise: "We're approachin' the system in a minute, hope everybody's prepped." Rianni@crystyll sits at a side station on the runabout, fiddling with her freshly replicated rags, "Affirmative!" Rianni@crystyll Lennie - sat in the co-pilot seat - glances back with a smile before looking to Ann, "I'm-a thinkin' someone's eager t'impress. We get a plan t'approach then, or... we wingin' it?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Seein' how little we know...ain't much we can plan for I think." Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "Basically, don't get killed and don't get sold into slavery." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie turns a cold look to Silvestrie, "...good plan" she says with a curt nod Rianni@crystyll: "If we are posing as freelance traders, I assume we have something to trade?" Rianni@crystyll looks around, "We... /are/ posing as traders, right...?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "That's the idea. We have some spare components engineering's willing to part with, and a bit of latinum, but we're not even sure if they accept latinum as a currency." Rianni@crystyll checks the blade strappped to her belt with surprising comfort, "If not, we might have to think fast and alter our story to offer... services, instead" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Like mercs, ooor some other kinda service?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie: "Nu-uh, don't even go there! I ain't even pretendin' t'offer no 'other' services" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Me neither. I like the traders idea..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Could be traders comin' here for a first time. Everybody's goes somewhere for the first time an' has no idea how things work. If they don't accept latinum, I'll bet they've had to tell off their Ann Carter@anncarise: - fair share o' Ferengi." Rianni@crystyll: "Well the brief said about the rife slavery on this planet. /If/ the trader thing is a bust or comes under suspicion; I suggest a backup story of mercs specializing in recovery of escaped slaves + Rianni@crystyll: + mercs using the trader thing as cover" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Not a bad idea, I think," she looks to Lennie. Rianni@crystyll | Lennie holds a frown at the whole subject of slavery, but gives a reluctant nod, "S'better tha' playin' slaves... or worse" she looks back to Rianni who distractedly still plays with her blade, + Rianni@crystyll: + Kid's got a good head f'this stuff. Smart t'have a backup plan" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Tha' she does. Anyways, we're droppin' out o' warp now." Rianni@crystyll sheathes the blade and focuses on her sensors Ann Carter@anncarise FX | As the shuttle enters the system, sensors come alive with information. There are ships of all sorts, some recognizable as Ferengi, Orion and Cardassian, others completely alien and never - Ann Carter@anncarise: - before encountered by Starfleet. As expected, many signatures are similar to the Underworld courier's ship previously encountered by the Valley Forge. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Yup...this place's a hub all right..." Rianni@crystyll works systematically through the readings, taking passive scans most focused on registering all the unknown vessels, "Even just these cursory scans would give enough to keep Intel busy for a month!" Rianni@crystyll: "I think I have identified key markers for the Carrans, based on scan data from the first encounter..." Gives an impressed whistle, "That's a lot of firepower..." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The runabout cruises by a long ship that almost resembles a massive dagger. Energy weapon strips, torpedo tubes and an irregular amount of tractor emitters can be seen along it. Rianni@crystyll cranes her neck, peering out of the small side window to get a better look Ann Carter@anncarise: "I'm guessin' defensive warships...in a place as busy as this, somebody's gotta be keepin' the peace otherwise all these ships are gonna be shootin' one another rather than playin' nice." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | One of the Carran battleships hail the runabout. Rianni@crystyll | Lennie spots the incoming, "Righ' on cue. Time t'say hello then!" Ann Carter@anncarise FX | As the channel opens, no one talks to them. There is no audio or visual, simply a forwarded text file. Rianni@crystyll | Lennie looks at her screen, "Huh..." as she reads Ann Carter@anncarise | The file is titled 'Carr Visitor's Contract' and consists of a list of rules all visitors must abide by. At its conclusion, it states to reply with a confirmation to abide by these rules or - Ann Carter@anncarise: - turn and leave the system. The rules are fairly standard, no violence or thieving, etc. Two things stand out though: Ann Carter@anncarise | The request that all contracts signed on Carr will be enforced by the Carrans and must be honoured, and that no weapons above Class 1 is permitted to be active while on the surface. Rianni@crystyll | Lennie scans through, "Seems pretty much as expected" she turns to Silvestrie, "Y'happy t'sign up?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "Looks good to me. Though it seems by this weapon scale they provide, we're not going to be allowed phasers..." Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "Class 1 is weapon that can deal no more than damage to a single being. Even a standard issue hand phaser is much stronger than that." Rianni@crystyll: "Guess we'll just have to make do without shooting anyone then" she quips with an almost dark humour Rianni@crystyll | Lennie eyerolls and sends the confirmation response Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The Carran ship scans the runabout after the confirmation before leaving the team alone. Rianni@crystyll turns to Silvestrie, "So what exactly does this class 1 restriction constrain us to?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "Anything that constricts damage to a single target. No wide spread function or ability to damage walls or doors." Rianni@crystyll: "That... pretty much limits it to small melee weapons then, I think. Although technically even a short blade can damage walls or doors. Hmm..." she frowns, looking back to her screen in confusion Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "I think that would limit us to a phaser with only a low kill setting. Something even weaker than old phase pistols." Rianni@crystyll: "Oh. Well that's not so bad then!" Ann Carter@anncarise FX | As the runabout nears the planet, they can see an unusual amount of lights coming from its surface... Rianni@crystyll steps over behind Ann to get a better look as they approach Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "Wow...almost 80% of the planet's land mass is completely urbanized. There doesn't look to be any rural locations left at all. A few wilderness locations here and there, and then... - Ann Carter@anncarise: - just all city." Ann Carter@anncarise: "I see a pretty good LZ on top o' one of the buildin's there. Plenty o' other smaller craft there as well, so I'm guessin' it's for landin'." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie stares out as well, "They must'a completely stripped th'planet bare an' wiped out it's ecosystem. Whole place could be automated; atmospheric processors an' such" Rianni@crystyll: "Or a private parking lot. Or maybe a used craft showroom..." Rianni@crystyll muses idly, not even thinking that she might be planting seeds of doubt Ann Carter@anncarise: "Don't see any obvious way to contact 'em, so we might just have to approach an' see." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie chuckles, "I'm-a sure it'll be fine, Sweets" Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The runabout enters the planet's atmosphere, and as soon as they've descended beneath cloud cover they are met by a large number of air traffic, as busy as any Federation core world. Rianni@crystyll closely watches the flow of traffic, looking for any obvious public hubs with lots coming in and out Ann Carter@anncarise FX | There are many similar lots on rooftops with a significant amount of traffic landing and taking off. Ann Carter@anncarise FX | Planet skyline: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/swtor/images/d/de/CA_20100730_NarShaddaa04_full.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120124161846 Rianni@crystyll: "I don't see any discernible centre of activty. This just looks... chaotic" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Think the whole planet's a hub o' activity..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie muses, "Kinda like wha' I imagined th'homeworld t'look like 'fore Syndicate went an' trashed it..." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The runabout slowly lands on one of the rooftop platforms. Soon enough, sensors register a lifeform approaching them. Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "Time to say hi." Rianni@crystyll does a final pat-down check for all her gear, including a few non-offensive evasive tools and most importantly; the combadge secured to her undershirt in the usual spot, but under the vest top Ann Carter@anncarise taps a button and the runabout's entrance opens. A tall alien with almost skeletal features steps in. He resembles the courier encountered by the VF, but without the Orion green skin and is also - Ann Carter@anncarise: - much more slender. Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "I don't recognize your ship. Do you have a permit?" Rianni@crystyll turns to observe the new arrival, naturally letting the senior officers take the lead Rianni@crystyll | Lennie turns in her seat, eyeing the alien before standing and approaching, " 'fraid not, we'se-ahh... new t'these parts, heard this's th'place t'come f'real business" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "Well, you'll have to sign a one-time landing contract and pay the fee, then." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie pouts, "Aww... no negotiatin' then. Jus'... straight to th'contract, huh?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "That is the way things work around here. Perhaps some of the other offworlders will be more open to negotiations. I am merely a representative for the group who owns this building. I - Ann Carter@anncarise: - have no authority to alter their contracts and am thus in no position to negotiate." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie shrugs, "Le's have a look then" and hands the contract to Silvestrie for approval while probing further, "So, uh... y'all got a preferred form o' currency 'ere? Jus' wonderin' which account+ Rianni@crystyll: + t'bring, y'know" she grins Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "We only accept Carran Trade Credits here. This is the top of the world." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie frowns a little at this, "But wit' all th'offworld trade, y'all must have some exchange setup or somethin'... right?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "We do, but the upper level landing venues are typically for the most valued customers. As a result, Trade Credits only. It does save us a lot of administrative work converting it." Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "If you only have offworld currency, I know a few nearby landing sites that accept them. I may give you directions if you need." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie looks back to Silvestrie for support Rianni@crystyll meanwhile, turns back to her screen and taps away vigorously to see if she can call on her remembered skills to magic up some local currency Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie thinks for a moment, "Probably best to take the alternative sites. How far away are they?" Rianni@crystyll frowns disappointedly at her screen Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "The closest is run by an offworlder near the base of this building. It will be a quick descent." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Sounds reasonable then. Thanks for th'info" Ann Carter@anncarise | The Carran takes out a datapad-like device and taps on it before handing it over to Lennie, "These are the coordinates you will need. I hope you find your stay on Carr fruitful." Ann Carter@anncarise | He turns and exits the runabout. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Time to find a different place to land, then?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie dips her head in gratitude, "You an' me both, bud..." turning to Ann, "Seems so!" Ann Carter@anncarise begins to take off with the runabout again as she motions for the directions the Carran gave. Rianni@crystyll | Lennie passes them across as she returns to her seat Ann Carter@anncarise examines the map as she takes the runabout deeper into the urban landscape, down to the bottom where there are still quite a few neon lights, but notably dimmer... Ann Carter@anncarise | Soon, they find a smaller lot filled with much older craft than the one on the rooftop. Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "Well this is certainly not as nice, but it's something..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie: "More like wha' I expected 'o this place t'be honest" Ann Carter@anncarise FX | As the shuttle touches down, another lifeform approaches the shuttle, this one reading different from the Carran above. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Hopefully they'll be willin' to let us stay..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie smiles to Ann as she spins around once more to greet the arrival Ann Carter@anncarise FX | This time, the door opens to an old female alien with greying hair, distinguished by ridges on the forehead. Ann Carter@anncarise | Alien: "Welcome, welcome! I'll say your ship's a lil shinier than most of my clientele. Let me guess...first time visitors?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie chuckles, "Tha' obvious, huh?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Alien: "Yeah...first timers often get redirected down here. Well, what'd you have to pay with?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie: "Latinum work for ya?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Alien: "Latinum works! It'll be nine strips." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie smiles wide at the positive response, "I trust that'll f'nine strips, we can also get some assurance tha' our shiny ship'll be kept nice an' shiny, while we'se get kindly pointed t'wards + Rianni@crystyll: + some favoured local... amenities?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Alien: "Sure," she hands Lennie a datapad which contains the contract. Rianni@crystyll | Lennie obliges with a thumbprint, "Excellent!" Ann Carter@anncarise FX | It's a fairly simple contract and doesn't seem to have any tricks to it, though it does say the nine slips is just for one planetary cycle of Carr and not permanent. Ann Carter@anncarise | Alien: "As for local amenities, on the surface levels like this, you're more likely to find the cheaper stuff. Salvage, mass produced products, that kind of stuff." Ann Carter@anncarise | She takes the datapad back, "Higher you go, more high-standard the traders tend to get. The fancy contracts are all signed on the top floors, and a good few of them are completely blocked off - Ann Carter@anncarise: - unless you're part of the deal." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie nods, "So success 'ere's literally movin' /up/ in th'world!" she grins, clearly proud of her pun Ann Carter@anncarise | The alien laughs, "That's the idea! Oh and if anyone hasn't warned you yet, /always/ honour your contracts. Carrans got drones and cameras around. They'll know if you break any contracts." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Yeah, we heard. Wha'bout local info, good cantinas or anythin'?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Alien: "Everything comes with a price and a contract on Carr. Plenty of bars and cantinas, but no one's going to dare spill information if they get too drunk. If they do accidentally say - Ann Carter@anncarise: - anything they shouldn't, chances are they're going to be dragged off before they can finish. You want information like where to buy things, you can ask around anywhere." Ann Carter@anncarise | Alien: "You want actual /information/, that's usually going to cost you something." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie: "Fair's fair" she nods, "Well I think tha's got us covered f'now, thanks" Ann Carter@anncarise | Alien: "Happy to be of service!" she steps out the runabout and gestures for the team to exit as well. Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The team steps into the bottom level of Carr and make their way out of the landing site. Ann Carter@anncarise FX | Small drones swoop through the pedestrian areas of the streets occasionally, while larger vehicles tend to stay further above ground level save for landing. Rianni@crystyll looks around, letting the Observer's senses take in all the details, threats, exits etc Ann Carter@anncarise FX | There are many different doorways and alleys that could serve as quick ways to get across the city. No visible threats can be seen, while many of the aliens on the lower levels are shady - Ann Carter@anncarise: - they are limited by Carr's weapon restrictions and also seem more interested in making shady deals than anything violent. Rianni@crystyll: "So I guess it's time to explore?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Guessin' so!" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie grins and nods, "Everyone remember where's we parked!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "I know the way, don't ya worry!" Ann Carter@anncarise FX | As the team moves down the road, they see two figures in white armour and helmets that completely contrast the darker aesthetic of the levels. Their armour is clean and very corporate looking. Rianni@crystyll takes note of the anomaly, "Carran security maybe?" Ann Carter@anncarise | They stand in front of an open doorway into a building, with a hovercar of the same aesthetic on the road. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Either tha' or some high-end merc group. Tha' getup suggests someone big's fundin' 'em." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | A few seconds later, two more armoured figures drag what seems to be a stunned Nausicaan out of the building. They haul him roughly into the back of their vehicle. Rianni@crystyll nods, "And the uniformity suggests organization, likely corporate given the setting" Ann Carter@anncarise | One of the figures addresses the onlookers: "Contract Enforcement business. Move along." Ann Carter@anncarise | They all hop into the vehicle and lifts off towards the upper levels. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Guess that was some kinda security." Rianni@crystyll: "Seems so" Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie takes out a tricorder and taps, "That building seems to have anti-transport measures in place. Must be why they had to come down in vehicles." Ann Carter@anncarise | He waves the device around a little, "Not all buildings have them. Must be special sites or something." Rianni@crystyll: "I wonder what sort of place would need such measures" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Or maybe just special folks who are well off enough to afford these kinda things." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Powerful people get paranoid." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The team pass by a stall which displays all sorts of interesting trinkets, many of which look salvaged. An old piece of tech bearing a High Orion emblem would be particularly striking to - Ann Carter@anncarise: - Lennie, while Rianni might recognize one of the devices to have an Azedi origin. Rianni@crystyll follows Lennie to investigate the trinket stall Rianni@crystyll | Lennie studies the tech, trying to discern what it is/was Rianni@crystyll just sort of... stares at the Azedi device Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The High Orion piece appears to be a very very old communicator, now completely non-functional. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful objects on display as well, from a Cardassian - Ann Carter@anncarise: - mark denoting a member of the First Order to canister of ketracel white. Ann Carter@anncarise points out one of the pieces, "Hey, ain't tha' the same emblem from the Klingon raptor? The QanwI'." Ann Carter@anncarise | The door to the stall opens and a Reptilian alien with scaly skin steps out. Rianni@crystyll idly browses the wares, looking to what Ann found and she nods, "It... is! That's the House emblem though..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie holds the old communicator up to the reptilian, "Y'know this ain't even workin', right?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "Not the point. These keepsakes. From offworld, across space. To display. Not to use." Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "It's my cut of salvage. Want useful things, I can show you to our yard." Ann Carter@anncarise glances to Rianni, "Maybe they salvaged it from another ship o' the same House." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie, "...uh-huh. Ya deal in tech? We might have more t'offer than credits if tha's ya thing. Course, if I'm-a talkin' to th'wrong guy, just lemme know..." Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "I am willing to buy." Rianni@crystyll continues to talk quietly with Ann while Lennie negotiates, "But that's Lexi's House, she told me about it. There are no other ships anymore, and I can't believe salvage from their last battle near + Rianni@crystyll: + Qo'nos would end up all the way out here..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie grins wolfishly, "So am I, but ya say ya good stuff's at this... yard? Maybe I need t'be doin' mah business there... Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "If you want tech. I don't have license to sell tech. Just keepsakes. But some still work, so they fall under my license." Ann Carter@anncarise nods, "Yeah...wha' brings somethin' like this into this scavenger's hands..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie hrms, "How's about a trade then. Since I'm-a more sellin' than buyin' tech. I'll give ya a fair stock o' stem bolts, not just plain either but them fancy self sealin' ones. In return, + Rianni@crystyll: + we take a look at ya yard inventory, an' I take this" she smiles, waving the communicator Rianni@crystyll: "This too" she chimes in, sliding the Klingon piece into view Ann Carter@anncarise | The Reptilian nods, "Fair deal. I will accept stem bolts as payment." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Any idea ya can tell us where ya got this piece from?" she motions to the Klingon one. Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "No." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Price not high enough, or ain't got the right license?" Rianni@crystyll: "Not even your inventory source? I'm a collector of keepsakes, see. And it always puts me in the mood for spending if I can get my hands on something with a history that I can tell a story about!" Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "No. We have agreement. Scryer get salvage locations. You want location, you buy from Eye." Rianni@crystyll & Lennie both pick up on the Scryer reference Rianni@crystyll | Lennie leans in a little, "An' where might we find this Eye, should we decided to indulge mah young colleagues... interest?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "Sign contract first. Then I tell you where to find Eye." He takes out a datapad and sets it on the stall table. Ann Carter@anncarise | He modifies the contract quickly for the items sold before turning it to the away team for them to press. Rianni@crystyll | Lennie casts a critical eye over his contract before giving a thumbprint Ann Carter@anncarise | The Reptilian nods, satisfied, before pulling out another datapad with a map on which he marks the Eye's location. Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "Be careful. Scryer types, very dangerous." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie gives a curt nod as she pockets her trinket, "Noted, pleasure doin' business wit'ya" Ann Carter@anncarise | Reptilian: "Pleasure too. Come back sometime and tell friends about me, yes?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie smiles, "You'se bet!" Ann Carter@anncarise checks out the map, "Looks like it's just a few streets down." Ann Carter@anncarise: "One o' those big buildings though. Probably to be expected." Rianni@crystyll stows away her Klingon trinket safely in her belt pack as she looks to Lennie while they move out of earshot, "The Scryer has a presence here? That puts a significantly different slant on things" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie nods, a slightly surprised look at the cadet, "Ya know 'em? Sure ya only a Cadet, how much ya get around?" she asks with a smirk Rianni@crystyll giggles a little, "I don't exactly, but the other me encountered one of their agents - probably an Eye. They were the only ones who ever seemed to figure out her true identity but seemed content not+ Rianni@crystyll: + to intervene" Ann Carter@anncarise: "They figured it out? Wonder just how much tha' group knows..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Yeah, probably not unlike mah encounter wit'em when they was snoopin' around th'OSN" Rianni@crystyll looks to Ann, "She never even knew how they got onto her, but after that she made a point of learning all she could about them in preparation" Ann Carter@anncarise: "We actually wanna buy the info on where the salvage is from, or we more interested in learnin' bout them?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie: "Command'll always be interested in gettin' intel on a potential threat, not t'mention our allies like th'Arshai an' OSN. But..." she smiles to Rianni, "Lil' lady wants t'know where her + Rianni@crystyll: + trinket came from, so le's start wit' that!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Good plan! Could use the purchase to get in an' find out more." Ann Carter@anncarise: "C'mon, this way then." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The team strolls through more dark streets, mostly an uneventful walk save for another glimpse at the Contract Enforcement, this time two of them transporting in and examining a vendor's stock Ann Carter@anncarise FX | As they near the building, they notice that the square in front of it is very empty compared to the others they have passed by. Several shady figures talk in whispers, but there are no open - Ann Carter@anncarise - storefronts here and very few people passing by. Rianni@crystyll looks around, "Well this isn't at all suspicious..." Ann Carter@anncarise | The building's doors slide open to a very curious sight- two Elachi exiting and making their way down the steps in their slow, alien stride with a long device roughly the size of a - Ann Carter@anncarise - torpedo casing between them. They pay no one else any heed as they move onto the street and disappear around a corner. Rianni@crystyll | Lennie: "...huh" Rianni@crystyll: "Yep. Totally not suspicious" Ann Carter@anncarise: "We still wanna go in?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie: "Gotta figure they'se already know we here lookin' around. Will be more suspicious if we jus' walk away" Rianni@crystyll nods, "Besides, this is exactly the kind of strategic element we came here to find, right?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie nods, looking to Silvestrie for input Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie nods, "Let's head in. We've come this far after all." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie clasps a green hand on Rianni's shoulder, steering the young girl front and centre as they start walking, "Well lil' miss, it's ya trinket tha' brought us here, so in ya go!" Rianni@crystyll seems unphased by Lennie's refocusing her to the apparent lead as they approach Ann Carter@anncarise FX | They walk into what seem to be a relatively normal entrance to a building, complete with a reception desk and everything. The receptionist is a female alien with what seems at first glance - Ann Carter@anncarise - to be dreadlocks but upon closer inspection, seem to move around like tendrils. Ann Carter@anncarise | Receptionist: "Welcome. What can we help you with?" Rianni@crystyll approaches the desk without a second thought, "Hello" she smiles politely, "I was directed here to find the source of a keepsake purchased in the nearby market. I understand one of your + Rianni@crystyll: + ...representatives may have information on the origin of the salvage" she smiles again, "It is an item of historical curiosity you see" Ann Carter@anncarise | Receptionist: "Salvage, you say? You'll want to be on the sixteenth floor then." Rianni@crystyll: "Thank you" she offers another polite smile, hesitantly pointing in the direction she guesses is the way to proceed Ann Carter@anncarise | The receptionist nods, then her tendrils shift suddenly as her screen flashes and her console emits a chime. She looks down, blinks, and looks again before glancing back up to Rianni. Ann Carter@anncarise | Receptionist: "Nevermind...you're summoned to the top floor." Rianni@crystyll tilts her head to one side with an innocent blink, "I assume that is not salvage?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Receptionist: "No, that's centre of operations for the region. Your business there is your own, I've just been instructed to tell you to head there." Rianni@crystyll: "Very well, thank you the for information" she smiles softly and calmly, proceeding in the indicated direction Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The team enters a very impressive lobby with a number of lifts all around it. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Well this isn't gettin' stranger an' stranger." Rianni@crystyll stagewhispers to Lennie casually as they walk, "This was a mistake. These people know my face and probably think I'm the other me..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Seems so. Maybe ya can use tha', jus' keep it natural and hold tha' impressive cluros" she smiles Ann Carter@anncarise FX | They enter a lift, where a generic sci-fi style announcer voice asks their destination. Rianni@crystyll: "Top floor; regional operations" Ann Carter@anncarise | The lift door closes and it begins ascending... Rianni@crystyll relaxes in the lift, idly looking around and admiring the stylings while discretely checking for surveillance Ann Carter@anncarise FX | There is surveillance. They don't try the slightest to hide that fact. Everything in the lift is recorded in both 2D and 3D, and there's almost guaranteed to be audio recording too. Rianni@crystyll | Lift Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuIPMbjO7h8 Rianni@crystyll hums along idly with the oddly catchy elevator music as they ascend Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The doors swing open to a hallway. An alien guard with a spike-covered head stands outside and points them in the right direction. Rianni@crystyll gives only the slightest of curt nods in acknowledgement and doesn't even break the relaxed pace as she turns in the pointed direction Ann Carter@anncarise FX | At the end of the hall, two more guards of the same species stand watch. They glance at the team warily but allows them inside. Rianni@crystyll proceeds as with the first one, continuing as directed while doing her best to take in all the details, though growing increasingly conscious that she is /not/ the Observer and equally conscious + Rianni@crystyll: + that she is less capable Ann Carter@anncarise FX | They enter what seem to be a massive operations centre, easily comparable to that of large Starfleet stations. In the centre on an elevated platform, a figure oversees the whole area in an - Ann Carter@anncarise - authoritative chair. Ann Carter@anncarise | The chair swirls around and the figure reveals himself to be a very neatly dressed Carran. Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "Welcome, Starfleet. I've been expecting you." Rianni@crystyll: "I would be disappointed if you weren't. The question is why; I highly doubt you called me up here to talk about some old market trinkets" Rianni@crystyll: "And yes I said me and not us. I saw your receptionists reaction specifically to my face" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie hovers protectively over Rianni's shoulder, but doesn't impose as she trusts the young girls ability Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "I know who you are, yes. But my interest is not in you alone. My first reason for calling you here is to prevent any misunderstandings. An...apology, you can say." Rianni@crystyll: "Preemptively apologizing? This must be bad..." Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "That depends on your perspective. I understand that the organization I represent has done a very poor job of representing itself with your Federation recently." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie speaks up, "Tha's puttin' it mildly. So wha's the second reason?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "Tell me, what do you know of the Scryer Network?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie holds a hand on Rianni's shoulder as she steps to her side, "Enough t'know y'all can't be trusted" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "Now, that is what I mean by my organization having soured their representation. Some of us are honest brokers, who understand the value of neutrality and free trade." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie: "An' tha's exactly why ya can't be trusted. Neutrality's jus' an excuse t'feign allegience to ya allies while sellin'em out t'their enemies, ain't it" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "I suppose that is a fair criticism. But I did not bring you here to criticize our work." Rianni@crystyll feels Lennie growing tense with the topic and rests a hand over Lennie's still on her shoulder Rianni@crystyll: "Presumably you did so because you have a proposition, and something to gain from altering our perspective of your organization, given the context of how you have steered the conversation thus far" Ann Carter@anncarise | He steps down from the elevated platform slowly, "I have seen your approach towards this region of space. All I want to know is one thing." Ann Carter@anncarise | The Carran stops in front of the group, "What is your mission?" Rianni@crystyll looks back up to Lennie Rianni@crystyll | Lennie scoffs, "We are Starfleet. If ya even a fraction o' the information brokers y'all claim t'be, then ya already know our mission is exploration" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "I know that much. I have also heard whispers of...something else. I wish to hear it from you." Rianni@crystyll: "Why?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "Because I want you to turn back." Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "There is a delicate order in the universe. You have been told the current Scryer started the organization in the wake of the Dominion conflict, have you not?" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie evades the question, "Why so keen f'us to turn back?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "Your presence will disturb the balance. You united the Decen after a history of infighting. But the Decen are nothing in the wider frame that is our galaxy." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie frowns a bit at what she sees as short sightedness, "Today maybe. but one day they'se could be a key a player an' ally" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "They may never live to see that day. By continuing down your current path, you will start an irrevocable chain of events, light a fire that you are ill-prepared to put out." Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "I am not like the current Scryer and his inner circle. I will not attempt to stop you with force. But I fear for my people." Rianni@crystyll: "If you know something and feel as you say, then it is surely in your best interests to share this knowledge so that we may make an informed decision" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "I cannot. It is something even I do not possess solid information on. The logs of my predecessors were cryptic. None dared venture that way in person." Rianni@crystyll: "Then work with us. Show us these logs and in return, we can share with you what we figure out from them. You speak of balance of preservation like a Deferi, but this course seems like a simple fear + Rianni@crystyll: + of the unknown. And facing that fear is our speciality, together we are stronger in facing it" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie leans to Ann whispering, "Has... she been gettin' at the Cap'n's pep talks?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "I think so..." Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "There /are/ people facing it. I have heard of generations of noble guardians, laying down their lives to keep an ancient evil at bay. You are not guardians. As you said, you are - Ann Carter@anncarise: - explorers. You are far more experienced in dealing with the Network. That is my proposal." Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "The Scryer has lost his way. There is a corruption in the Network. Return to Cardassian space. Deal with the threat you understand." Rianni@crystyll: "Call it what you like, doesn't change the fact. And it doesn't change the fact that Starfleet won't be a pawn in it. The Scryer Network will be dealt with accordingly, with or without your input. + Rianni@crystyll: + just as our mission will proceed... with or without your input" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "I see I cannot dissuade you, then. Very well. Show me this trinket of yours." Rianni@crystyll steps forward, retrieving the cloth wrapped Klingon piece from her belt pack and presenting it forwards Ann Carter@anncarise | The Carran takes it and looks it over, "House Dronurr. They are mostly gone now. You need not concern yourself with them. As for where exactly this piece is from..." Ann Carter@anncarise | He steps down to the layer underneath the elevated platform, placing the piece on a console which seems to analyze it. Rianni@crystyll follows curiously Rianni@crystyll also realizing in that moment that he apparently isn't aware that the QanwI' travels with them Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "It seems to be part of a ship that was destroyed in the sector to the galactic south of here. Separate from the wreckage of the other Dronurr vessels." Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "That must be how simple scavengers got their hands on it." Rianni@crystyll frowns a little, "...'other' Dronurr vessels... /south/ of here?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "A Klingon expeditionary fleet from long ago, when the House was at its prime. No one ever heard back from them. Now you see why I advise you not to proceed." Rianni@crystyll: "Yes, because the answer to what happened to them eludes you. And since knowledge is your power, something eluding you must also be terrifying" Rianni@crystyll steps up with an open palm expectantly waiting the return of her trinket, "Why not work with us to turn that elusive question into valuable knowledge? You know we are proceeding anyway, right? So + Rianni@crystyll: + where's the harm in arming us with your limited information on the region? At worst, we never return like those Klingons. At best; you gain knowledge of that fearful unknown. Valuable knowledge" Ann Carter@anncarise | The Carran hands the trinket back to Rianni, "Very well. But on the condition you sign a contract binding you to share what you learn beyond our sight with the Network." Ann Carter@anncarise | He retrieves a datapad and taps on it before holding it out to Rianni. Rianni@crystyll: "I won't even pass this to my superiors to sign unless it states specifically with regards to what" Ann Carter@anncarise | The Carran smiles, "You understand the Carran way. All the more reason to have you on side." Rianni@crystyll smiles a little, "I'm... a quick study. So you want specific answers, tighten this accordingly. Please" she smiles, handing back the datapad Ann Carter@anncarise | He taps the datapad a few more times before handing it over again, "There. You will pass down any information you know of what happened to expeditions into the region, and of any threats to Carr- Ann Carter@anncarise: - or the Network. Anything else; maps, anomalies, civilizations, resources, you may trade to us as part of separate deals, and we will compensate you accordingly." Rianni@crystyll: "Sounds reasonable" she smiles, taking the datapad and turning it over to Lennie & Silvestrie for a final say Ann Carter@anncarise | Silvestrie: "Reasonable to me too. We should probably run it by the Captain too, though." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie nods, looking to their host, "Ya understand we gotta defer this, right? I assume th'contract can be returned an' fulfilled remotely?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "It can, as long as it is returned through a channel visible to the Carran Contract Enforcement." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie smiles, "An' I'm-a sure ya got tha' already noted in this 'ere datapad for us too" Ann Carter@anncarise | The Carran smiles, "Indeed I do." Rianni@crystyll: smiles sincerely to the Carran as she stows the trinket away again, "Thank you" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "Now, I have a sector of information trade to manage, if you will excuse me." Ann Carter@anncarise | He nods and heads back to the top of his platform. Rianni@crystyll watches him leave, turning back to the others proper with a proud grin, "We should probably do the same..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Think tha' went pretty well, all things considered..." Rianni@crystyll | Lennie ruffles Rianni's hair as they walk and talk, "Ya did good lil' miss!" Rianni@crystyll giggles at the praise, "Just... doing what I was here to do!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Cap'n made a good call bringin' ya along, then!" Rianni@crystyll | Lennie chuckles, "Well credit to the Cap'n indeed on tha' call" Rianni@crystyll unfolds the trinket again to look it over, "It is pretty scary though, isn't it. Something out there has really got these people spooked. And apparently the ancestors of Lexi's House fell to... + Rianni@crystyll: + whatever is out there. She needs to see this" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Yeah...somethin' tells me there's some truth to tha' Eye's attempts to scare us away an' work for his goals instead." Rianni@crystyll: "Whatever it is, I will be very interested to see this cryptic information he has" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Hopefully it'll still be o' some use." Rianni@crystyll shuffles sheepishly, "That is, I would like to offer my assistance with it. If permitted" looking to the senior officers having almost forgotten herself Rianni@crystyll | Lennie chuckles, resting a hand on her shoulder again, "I'm-a pretty sure ya earned tha' much!" Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The team returns to the lift and begins making their way down and back to the landing zone...
SUBMITTED: Stardate 96533 FILED BY: LCDR Lendaria SECURITY: Level 3 - Restricted
LOCATION:Carr | Medan Sector
MISSION:Preliminary excursion to the planet Carr & assessment of trade potential within the colloquially named 'Underworld' trade hub.
OUTCOME:Code of conduct established for general trading. Scryer Network presence identified and utilized to source intelligence on presently unexplored sectors.
LCDR Lendaria LT Silvestrie ENS Carter CDT2 Tierno
Per the mission brief to keep the Valley Forge at a discrete distance from Carr during this initial scouting mission; our away team disembarked on board the Runabout Pennypack at 0600 ship time. Though our approach to the planet was blind in terms of preparation, this was seemingly predicted and common practice - as anticipated - and upon entering the system we were promptly contacted by - what was determined to be - a Carran defense vessel. The contact held no dialogue, but simply presented a contract which was required in order to gain consent to approach the planet. With the knowledge of Underworld contracts we were primed with at the brief, courtesy of our Decen allies from the Satri family who apparently deal here regularly; we were well prepared for this and LT Silvestrie & myself made short work of dissecting the contract and determining it as being safe to sign. As an aside here; it is worth noting that the strong orbital presence of Carran battlecruisers seemed (according to CDT Tierno's assessment of their deployment) to be very much a maintained show of force, speculated to serve as reinforcement to visitors that they will enforce their contracts relentlessly; as stated in the approach contract we were required to commit to. The cadet also recorded passive sensor scans of multiple vessels of previously unrecorded origin for future library referencing, as well as a number of more familiar vessels such as Ferengi & Cardassian.
Having secured our approach to the planet, ENS Carter took us down to the surface where we merged with an excessive volume of air traiffic (Observations made here that almost the entire surface of the planet appeared to be heavily urbanized). After making a visual interpretation of the flow, we identified a number of rooftop landing pads and made for one which had sufficient space for the runabout to land on. A Carran boarded to welcome us and proceeded to explain that these 'parking lots' were commonplace and available to all - for the right price. Unfortunately - although willing to sell us a one time pass in lieu of a full landing permit - he advised that they only accepted local currency at these top levels, and redirected us to a different lot at the base of the same tower which was operated by an offworlder who would accept non-Carran currencies such as latinum. After maneuvering the Runabout through the increasingly restricted space at the lower levels, we arrived at the offworlder's parking lot where we were again greeted by the attendant - a female of unknown race to us - with whom we were able to quickly make an arrangement to secure our landing spot along with some basic guidance as to local amenities.
This attendant also provided us with some basic understanding of Carran culture insofar that there was almost a direct correlation between the literal city level being traded on, and the lucrativeness of the contracts and trades being conducted. From this landing zone, it was a short walk for our team to reach a bustling street market which we began to explore and observe. I alone witnessed more unfamiliar species than I could count during this brief excursion; testament to both the diversity of Underworld, and the extent of their subspace corridor trade network. Among the activity, we came across a stall of curiosities - many of which were unfamiliar - but with our attention being drawn by familiar items on display as well (items such as a an old High Orion communicator - non functional - dating back to the original OSN, and a broken fragment which bore a Klingon House emblem).
The Klingon artifact was of particular note as CDT Tierno recognized it as being the same emblem adorning the hull of the QanwI' - that of the collapsed House Dronurr to which Captain Vix belongs. This obscure rarity piqued interest sufficiently for us to engage in trade negotiations with the reptilian vendor. I was able to preserve our more valuable currency by negotiating a direct trade for a crate of our self-sealing stem bolts out of the allotted trade provisions for the mission. This secured us both personal curiosities as well as a full inventory for the vendors main yard where they held all their functional and higher value salvage. It also secured us direction towards a potential source of information as to the origin of the salvage from whence the Klingon artifact came; a line which we pursued with raised priority after learning from the vendor that this source was an Eye of the Scryer Network.
Upon signing our trade contract, we were provided with a nearby location to track down the Eye with the salvage information. We opted to follow CDT Tierno's curiosity trail as a rouse to gain insight into this operation, with any additional observation being considered a bonus. This was deemed as being preferable, given the fair assumption that they would already be aware of our inquiries and be expecting us, coupled with the fact that we were a small unprepared team. To this end, I encouraged the Cadet to take the lead, holding a protective position at her side, as we entered the uncharacteristically quite Carran building. Once inside what can best be described as an up market corporate building, we were greeted by a receptionist (another female of unknown species). After explaining the query to her, CDT Tierno was directed towards a set location within the building. However, before departing we observed an unusual reaction from the receptionist at what was presumably an updated instruction delivered via her console. This prompted her to redirect us to the top floor of the building which she advised was the regional operations centre.
We proceeded as instructed, and CDT Tierno expressed concern that the Scryer Network may believe she is the Junayd Observer who previously took her place, as the Observer had been previously known to the Scryer Network. Upon arrival at the designated floor, we were greeted by who appeared to be the head of this regional operation - a Carran - who was prompt in asserting his awareness that we were Starfleet representatives. This Carran (presumably the Eye, though unconfirmed) proceeded in an attempt to dissuade us from continuing our rimward exploration mission; feigning concern over some mysterious threat eluded to in logs left by his predecessor and a lot of local superstition. He delivered what was clearly a well rehearsed dialogue in which he attempted to persuade us that our presence in the uncharted regions would have dire and unpredictable repercussions throughout the quadrant. Instead he insisted that our attention was better deserved back within Federation space to combat the Scryer Network as a whole.
Having already gained insights into CDT Tierno's ability to engage on multiple levels (one of the reasons I know she was assigned to our mission here; a test of sorts for her ability to call upon her inherited memory from the Junayd Observer), I allowed her to continue leading the dialogue as long as she both felt comfortable doing so, and did not appear to falter. To the girls credit; she saw right through the Carran's words and even called him out on it; accusing him of a blatant power play to capitalize on the current imbalance within the larger Scryer Network to his own ends, and to do so by feigning allegiance with Starfleet in an attempt to manipulate us into acting as his pawns. I reinforced her argument stating that Starfleet would - under no circumstances - be drawn into this sordid affair between Scryer cells, to which the Carran seemed accepting enough, begrudgingly. His negative demeanor in the wake of our refusal to play his political game led to a slightly more abrasive stance where he denied the Cadet's request to share his knowledge with us regarding the unknown regions. Instead he shifted focus to her Klingon artifact which he confirmed as coming from a centuries-old salvage location rimward from Carr. Further testament to the Cadet's ability - and future potential - came as she seamlessly moved this redirection back in our favour and was able to convince the Carran to share his information with us, after using the newfound shared interest in the Klingon artifact to establish a closer rapport with him.
I would note here that she was noticeably emboldened by her success, to the point where she was confident and decisive in out-rightly rejecting his initial contract offer which would have committed the Valley Forge to sharing all sensor data collected during our entire mission. This was promptly rectified to a more specific set of criteria which we were all in agreement with (and was also an act which appeared to earn her a great deal of respect from the Carran Eye as it displayed a keen understanding of the intricacies of Carran contracts and by extension; their culture), however I note this record here more as a point of observation on the Cadet. While her actions were true, and completely without fault; her youth and inexperience may lead to overconfidence developing from such high successes. This is a factor of her continuous training that may be best addressed and steered accordingly from a Command officer.
Having witnessed Carran Contract Reinforcement Officers at work, we should make every effort to honour our contract with this Eye; following CDT Tierno's impressive negotiations, our only commitment is in sharing any knowledge gained specifically of the lost Klingon fleet from whence her artifact came. I have included here the supplied information from the Eye, which CDT Tierno has requested permission to assist in the assessment of; a request I fully endorse given the part she played in securing the information. On the subject of the Cadet; her conduct during this mission was exemplary - diplomatic and negotiation skills demonstrated that would be deemed commendable in any officer - and so I would formally request a mark of commendation be added to her personnel record to this effect.
Regarding Carran trade; extreme caution must be vigilantly maintained in any dealings. However, as long as this rule is followed, I believe further small trade deals can be delivered through this trade hub. I recommend forwarding the attached VendorInventory.lst to LCDR Keliaya for full assessment as to the suitability and/or desirability of the vendor's current inventory. I believe that as recently returning customers, we would be in a stronger position than normal to obtain favorable trade deals there.
As to the Klingon artifact; I have tasked CDT Tierno with delivering this to Captain Vix of the QanwI'. Though I have no doubt that a full debrief with the Captain will be required owing to our arrangement with the Carran Eye; this was the Cadet's find and the catalyst for the missions primary success and so I believe she should be the one to present this to the KDF Captain. As further reinforcement to this; despite our arrangement to share further findings on the subject, I see no reason to classify this particular element as ship business at the present. This may change as we learn more, but presently this is a purely personal affair for Captain Vix and I have instructed the Cadet to conduct herself in this accordingly.