Updated: Mar 18
The Valley Forge discovers a primitive civilization which may be influenced by a mysterious alien presence.
Keliaya@anncarise FX | After a large Carran courier vessel arrives and tows the Nuhar mining AI into Underspace towards the New World, the Valley Forge resumes her course, passing into the next unexplored sector. Keliaya@anncarise | An astrological survey conducted three days ago has detected a Class-M planet with a high possibility of life and the Valley Forge currently cruises towards it... Keliaya@anncarise: "Still no sign of any ships, stations or other technological constructs on sensors so far." Keelah@crystyll | TQ taps away monitoring for any comms signals Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "ETA one minute. I'm dropping us of warp now, we'll cover the remaining distance at high impulse." Keliaya@anncarise FX | Warp streaks fade from the viewscreen to reveal an Earth-like planet in the distance, orbited by two moons. Keliaya@anncarise | Comms are silent. No signals of any sort, subspace or more archaic forms such as radio. Keelah@crystyll | TQ glances up to the screen briefly, "It's beautiful. Quiet, but beautiful. No comms traffic at all out there" Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "We were right! This planet is teeming with life." Keliaya@anncarise takes a look at the screen as well before turning back to her console, "Still no energy signatures of any sort, but I am seeing structures." Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "Forward me the readings, I'll see if I can identify who's responsible in the vicinity." Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "A pre-warp civilization then?" Keliaya@anncarise nods and taps her console, "Looks like it, Tee." Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "I see them. Bipedal, carbon-based lifesigns." Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "Can we see?" she seems oddly excited to be exploring new lifeforms, a fact Silvestrie picks up on Keelah@crystyll | Silvestrie chuckles, "Looks like someone's sister has been rubbing off on her!" Keliaya@anncarise chuckles as well, "I'll try to magnify the image." Keelah@crystyll | TQ pokes a playful tongue at Silvestrie before looking back to the magnified image on screen Keliaya@anncarise | The image shows a quiet, medieval-looking city. Keliaya@anncarise FX | https://www.gamersnexus.net/media/k2/items/cache/8305fb8f2ea5b7f85aaac2dc3f7e75b1_XL.jpg Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "Looks pre-industrial, not just pre-warp." Keelah@crystyll | Silvestrie studies the image and looks to Tee, "Come on then miss anthropologist, what you can tell us?" Keelah@crystyll | TQ considers the image, actually taking the challenge seriously it seems Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "Well... from the looks of that big place on the hill, I'd guess a heirarchal society. Possibly regal, but the segregation suggests leadership is above the average citizen" Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "And see that large raised building set in the middle by the river? The way everything else fans out from it; could be a religious centre of sorts. Common among civilizations at this stage+ Keelah@crystyll: + of development" Keelah@crystyll | Silvestrie looks again and quietly gives an impressed nod as Keelah enters from her ready room Keliaya@anncarise: "That's a really good analysis, Tee!" Keelah@crystyll: "Sounds like somebody has been doing her homework" she adds with a smile as she enters unannounced, "What do we have then?" Keliaya@anncarise: "A pre-warp civilization on a particularly lush and beautiful world. No sign of any advanced technology." Keelah@crystyll: "Marvellous" she smiles, "Any signs of outside activity elsewhere in the system?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Nothing so far." Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "This can't be right..." Keliaya@anncarise glances to Kazra, "What is it?" Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "All the lifesigns on this planet are carbon-based, but I just picked up something silicon-based." Keelah@crystyll: "Silicon based? Any way that could be indigenous?" Keliaya@anncarise steps over to observe as well. Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "Highly unlikely. Life doesn't usually evolve based on a different element when everything else is based on another element." Keliaya@anncarise steps back to her own console, "Our sensors are fine, that's definitely flagging as a silicon...oh." Keliaya@anncarise: "Captain...you should see this." Keelah@crystyll: "Kelly?" she heads over to see what she has Keliaya@anncarise FX | Two flashing lines pop up amongst the in-depth scan of the silicon lifeform: QUANTUM FLUCTUATIONS DETECTED. ACUTE CHRONITON RADIATION. Keelah@crystyll scowls at the readings, "Verify those readings. Helm, set us for a full orbital survey grid" Keelah@crystyll hustles over to her chair and hits the intercom before she even gets sat down Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "On it, Captain." Keelah@crystyll: <C> Bridge to Lendaria. Lennie, I need all sensor palettes cleared immediately. Kelly is forwarding you some readings; find the source" she looks back to Kelly with a nod to proceed Keliaya@anncarise taps her console quickly, "Readings sent." Keelah@crystyll: <C-Lennie> "Got 'em Cap'n. Will comm ya soon as we got anythin'" Keelah@crystyll folds her arms across the back of her chair and rests her chin on them, staring at the screen, "Why can't people just leave undeveloped cultures alone..." Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "I can't get a match on the silicon-lifeform in the database. We've never seen anything like it, and I mean nothing. This is...unique." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie appears from the turbolift a short while later, quickly tapping on a console to pull her findings through as she looks to an expectant Keelah Keelah@crystyll: "What have you got?" she asks, coming up behind Lennie Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "I am able to make much more sense of the readings on the native bipeds though. They have little distinguishing features aside from varying shades of skin from yellow to green. I believe - ________________ Keliaya@anncarise: - Vulcanoids and Orions should be able to blend in quite easily, and any other species will only need slight cosmetic alterations to fit in." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie shows an overlaid map on the console screen, "Readin' source is definitely tha' silicon based lifeform. Seems it's somewhere in this plateau region" she points Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "These look like native structures, pretty minor, but they'se there. Along wit' a number o' th'locals" Keelah@crystyll: "Nothing else we can do to get a better picture of the situation here?" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie pauses and half looks back to Keelah, shaking her head Keelah@crystyll sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose, "Well we can't take the risk that this lifeform is impacting natural evolution here. Alright..." she looks back to Kazra, "Vulcanoids and Orions you say?" Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra nods, "I should be able to give a little cosmetic touch-up to any bipedal species to blend in, as long as we don't send Essex or something. But Vulcanoids and Orions won't need any makeup." Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "Well, apart from covering up the ears." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Stand by then, and call up some replicator patterns to match local attire" Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "Yes Captain." Keelah@crystyll looks back to Lennie, "Report for the away team" turning around, "You too, Tee. If Vulcans and Orions are a good fit, you should be perfect!" Keelah@crystyll Lennie and Tee both grin and share a glance, eager to do a mission together it seems. they convene and head to the turbolift Keliaya@anncarise | Silvestrie: "This is going to be a longer day than I thought..." Keelah@crystyll: "You and me both Malcolm, you and me both..." Keelah@crystyll continues addressing Silvestrie, "Have a security detail report to Lendaria in the transporter room" Keelah@crystyll | Silvestrie nods, "Yes ma'am" Keelah@crystyll: "Oh, and... extend an invitation to our Romulan observer. This seems like a fitting opportunity for her to get some mission time too" Keelah@crystyll nestles into her chair, easing back, "Now... we wait. Continue the orbital survey, no knowing what we might turn up still" NPC@annpc#5570: FX | The away team beams down just outside a cluster of wood and stone structures in a mountain range. NPC@annpc#5570: | A number of natives are in the distance, though none noticed their sudden entrance. Nikki@crystyll: looks around, "Oddly charming place" NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa looks to TQ, "We should try to catch some of their idle chatter, make sure our translators catches enough of their language." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie eyes the Romulan, "Ya... have done missions like this 'fore, right...?" Nikki@crystyll: looks Lennie up and down, "You need not fear Commander. I am here to follow, not to challenge your authority" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ nods to Nishaa, "We need to get close enough without drawing attention" NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "I think we should be fine, we look close enough to the locals. Still getting used to this green look myself..." she chuckles slightly. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ smirks a little, "It suits you. Everything looks better with a little more of a healthy green, right?" Nikki@crystyll: perks a brow at TQ, who just chuckles in response NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa smirks and looks to Lennie, "We're ready when you are, Commander." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie shakes her head with a chuckle, "Alright ladies, le's move out" and promptly heads off NPC@annpc#5570: FX | As the team passes through the central courtyard, they would walk by a trio of locals wearing plate armour, looking similar to the appearance of classic knights. They speak amongst themselves, - NPC@annpc#5570: - and their speech is incomphrensible at first. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie pays close attention to the local dialect, hoping to at least pick up inflection and dialect if not actual translation NPC@annpc#5570: | The language is not too difficult to grasp and similar to a few other bipedal races' speech, so she manages to work out a translation! NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa decides to sit on a bench, whispering for others to look casual as well. Nikki@crystyll: joins as the group gather around casually. TQ sits next to Nishaa, subtly testing their translators success NPC@annpc#5570: | The translators work and the dialogue of the armoured figures now make sense! NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 1: "Jen-Shar is at risk. We must at least warn them." Nikki@crystyll: pays particular attention to the conversation of the armoured knights above the general crowd NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 2: "The mandate of our Order is to protect the Prophet, not be involved in the petty squabbles of kings and warlords." NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 1: "The mandate of our Order is to /serve/ the Prophet. Why would the Prophet tell me this if we weren't meant to intervene?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 3: "It doesn't matter. The Knight-Commander is our direct superior and he has forbid us from having any part of this affair." NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 1: "The Commander isn't the Prophet!" NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 2: "And you are? What makes you think you understand its words better than the Knight-Commander, or the Priests?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 3: "Listen to him. The Prophet is beyond any of us. All we can do is follow our orders." NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 1: "You're right. I'm sorry. I should know my place better than this." NPC@annpc#5570: | Knight 3: "You are forgiven, brother. Just do not let the Commander hear such disobedience. I suspect he will not be as understanding." NPC@annpc#5570: | The knights exchange a few words of parting the translators still seem to have trouble with before the group breaks apart. NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "I think our translation works well enough." Nikki@crystyll: "I concur. And with interesting dissent in ranks it would seem" NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "Sounds like this is some kind of religious order too. Guess it makes sense for them to have a more isolated stronghold in a place like this." Nikki@crystyll: "The way they spoke though suggested live teachings as opposed to historical. Either this prophet figure is a skilled manipulator, or they are taking these orders from someone who is" Nikki@crystyll: | Lendaria, "I ain't sure I like's th'implications there. 'Specially given wha' I think is beyond them doors" she indicates the reading from a subtle scan on her tricorder NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "We are here looking for alien interference after all. I wouldn't be surprised if whoever is interfering is good at manipulating people." NPC@annpc#5570: | She checks Lennie's reading and nods, "That building's our destination, then." Nikki@crystyll: | Lendaria nods, "Le's not waste our time then" NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa stands and the team begins to move over to the stairs. NPC@annpc#5570: | A number of others ascend and descend the stairs around them, not enough to crowd the massive staircase but enough to have a constant presence of people. NPC@annpc#5570: | The team enters through a set of grand, elaborately decorated doors into a massive cathedral beyond. NPC@annpc#5570: FX | https://i.pinimg.com/originals/23/12/c3/2312c38e4719be842a0d2d8a2bf6c1c5.jpg NPC@annpc#5570: | As they make their way in, a robed alien female approaches them. NPC@annpc#5570: | Alien: "Welcome to the Sanctuary of the Prophet, pilgrims. This way, please." NPC@annpc#5570: | Several more armoured knights guard the cathedral, but all helmeted and completely silent here as opposed to the trio chatting in the courtyard. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie gives a brief glance to the group, but plays along and follows NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa shrugs and follows along quietly as well. NPC@annpc#5570: | The alien leads them through the grand halls of the cathedral and they walk below elaborate murals, masterpiece paintings and colourful stained glass. Most of the scenes depicted make no sense to - NPC@annpc#5570: - the away team without proper cultural context, as expected. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ would attempt to obtain subtle visual scans of everything with her tricorder if she felt able to do so without arousing suspicion NPC@annpc#5570: | TQ is able to collect the visual scans seemingly without being noticed. NPC@annpc#5570: | Alien: "I am Priestess Agrava, and I will be your guide here. Most who make the pilgrimage here are familiar with the history of the Sanctuary, but it is our tradition to ask and provide - NPC@annpc#5570: - description if desired, or allow silent contemplation if such is your wish." Nikki@crystyll: | Lendaria smiles, "Familiar as we may be, we have only heard loose tales. We have travelled far to visit your Sanctuary today, so would still relish the opportunity to hear it's history as told by + Nikki@crystyll: + one of the Sanctuary's own Priestesses" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava smiles, "Of course. There are three layers of this Sanctuary. Currently we are in the topmost layer, where the Order of the Listeners is based. This was constructed over three hundred - NPC@annpc#5570: - years ago under High Priestess Salatan I." NPC@annpc#5570: | The Priestess leads them down a winding staircase and through a smaller wooden corridor, beyond which their surrounds begin to gradually change, soon becoming a stone-dominant architecture. The - NPC@annpc#5570: - chill in the air would also suggest that they are now either underground or deep in the mountain's caverns. NPC@annpc#5570: FX | https://i.pinimg.com/originals/75/a8/bc/75a8bc41eb35b68936b38a56c31aa4ca.jpg NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "This is the second layer, constructed by the ancient Baklen Empire which ruled this continent generations ago. They had their own Order, and much of our information on how to commune with - NPC@annpc#5570: - the Prophet came from studying the knowledge they left behind." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "So, it's true then? The Prophet really predates the Baklen Empire? I had been told of course, I just... well it is hard to fathom sometimes, you know?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "The Prophet predates our entire people, and it will exist long after we are gone. It is not a concept that is easy to grasp." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ nods thoughtfully with a glance to Lennie hoping she did ok and is rewarded with a warm smile and nod NPC@annpc#5570: | The Priestess turns a corner into a room lined with stone slabs on the side, each with a straw pillow on it. In the centre is a well. NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "That is why pilgrims are required to undergo the Trial. The Prophet is beyond us, beyond our understand, beyond our world and any grasp over it we may think we have." NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "Those who are not ready will be driven to madness. The Trial ensures any who commune with the Prophet are prepared, and the ones who are not will be forbidden from entering the final - NPC@annpc#5570: - level. It is for your own good, not because we wish to bar any from a chance at speaking with the Ancient One. Are you ready?" Nikki@crystyll: "I might have missed that teaching. What... exactly does this trial involve now?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "It is different for everyone, and we cannot predict how it will be for you. But be assured that there are no ill effects. If you fail, you will be turned back, but you may return to your - NPC@annpc#5570: - life and if you believe you are truly ready, you may make the pilgrimage again." NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "If you are prepared, choose a resting place and we may begin. Nikki@crystyll: | Lendaria: "A reasonable precaution. I am ready" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "This is the second layer, constructed by the ancient Baklen Empire which ruled this continent generations ago. They had their own Order, and much of our information on how to commune with - NPC@annpc#5570: - the Prophet came from studying the knowledge they left behind." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "So, it's true then? The Prophet really predates the Baklen Empire? I had been told of course, I just... well it is hard to fathom sometimes, you know?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "The Prophet predates our entire people, and it will exist long after we are gone. It is not a concept that is easy to grasp." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ nods thoughtfully with a glance to Lennie hoping she did ok and is rewarded with a warm smile and nod NPC@annpc#5570: | The Priestess turns a corner into a room lined with stone slabs on the side, each with a straw pillow on it. In the centre is a well. NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "That is why pilgrims are required to undergo the Trial. The Prophet is beyond us, beyond our understand, beyond our world and any grasp over it we may think we have." NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "Those who are not ready will be driven to madness. The Trial ensures any who commune with the Prophet are prepared, and the ones who are not will be forbidden from entering the final - NPC@annpc#5570: - level. It is for your own good, not because we wish to bar any from a chance at speaking with the Ancient One. Are you ready?" Nikki@crystyll: "I might have missed that teaching. What... exactly does this trial involve now?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "It is different for everyone, and we cannot predict how it will be for you. But be assured that there are no ill effects. If you fail, you will be turned back, but you may return to your - NPC@annpc#5570: - life and if you believe you are truly ready, you may make the pilgrimage again." NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "If you are prepared, choose a resting place and we may begin.” Nikki@crystyll: | Lendaria: "A reasonable precaution. I am ready" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava draws a bucket of a strange shimmering liquid from the well and dips a vial inside. She hands the vial to Lennie, "You will wish to be seated or lying down. The only incidents we have ever - NPC@annpc#5570: - had with the Trial involved overeager pilgrims falling unconscious and hitting their heads on the stone." NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava fills more vials and begins handing them to the rest of the away team. Nikki@crystyll: | Lendaria nods, taking the vial in hand and settling on one of the straw covered slabs Nikki@crystyll: & TQ both follow suit NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa follows suit as well. NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "Drink all of it. A single sip will not have the desired effect." Nikki@crystyll: | Lendaria: "Alright ladies, this is what we came here for. Bottoms up" she takes a deep breath and gulps it down, as do the others NPC@annpc#5570: | The world blurs around them and they gradually fade into unconsciousness... NPC@annpc#5570: | Lennie awakes in the seat of a shuttlecraft. She finds Istar standing beside her. NPC@annpc#5570: | Istar: "Wake up, Lennie! Don't wanna be half-asleep for your big day!" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie doubletakes groggily, "...Istar? Wha'...?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Istar: "We're arriving! Look!" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie looks around, focusing on the view ahead of the shuttle NPC@annpc#5570: | She points out of the shuttle window, where a Morakos-class cruiser can be seen in a drydock above Narris II. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie frowns with confusion, "Wha' is this? Where'd e'eryone go anyway. I were on this planet an'..." she frowns, rubbing her head NPC@annpc#5570: | The impressive ship grows ever larger and larger, its true scale being apparent as the shuttle flies just by its hull and turns into one of its hangar bays. NPC@annpc#5570: | Istar: "Weird dreams? I get them too." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie, still a little dazed as she watches the approach, "Dreams... right. So... ya said somethin' on a big day?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Istar: "You didn't forget what day it was...did you? Oh I see, you're playing with me!" NPC@annpc#5570: | Istar laughs, "Come on, they're all waiting on us now!" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie chuckles, totally not fake, "Right! Right... can't blame a gal f'tryin' right? Well... lead on then. I guess..." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie still has no idea what's going on but seems focused enough to try and play along for now NPC@annpc#5570: | The shuttle doors open to a large hangar filled with OSN officers. Istar leads the way and they step out of the shuttle. The OSN personnel give her a round of applause. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie is a little thrown by the greeting, whispering to Istar, "I, uh... don't recall gettin' off a shuttle bein' /tha'/ worthy o'celebration..." NPC@annpc#5570: | As they walk, Ann breaks out of the crowd, now wearing an OSN uniform, and gives Lennie a big hug, "Congratulations vijra!" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie can't help but smile and embrace Ann, "Oh! Um, thanks! I think... Sweets wha' is all this? An'..." she holds her back to look her up and down, "Look at ya!" NPC@annpc#5570: | Ann smiles, "Likin' the uniform? It was always real form-fittin'! Don't know if I can handle bigger shoulders, but I'm sure they're gonna look great on you!" NPC@annpc#5570: | She and Istar both drag Lennie along into a turbolift which begins going up. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "On me...?" she asks idly of noone in particular while glancing down herself NPC@annpc#5570: | She would notice that she too is in an OSN uniform! NPC@annpc#5570: | Istar: "Elts get bigger shoulders in case you forgot!" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie doesn't seem surprised by this appearance now and looks back to Istar, "Elt... me?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Istar: "What did ya think this was all about?" NPC@annpc#5570: FX | The lift doors open and Istar and Ann let go of Lennie, walking out more formally now. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie doesn't directly respond, taking the opening doors as a diversion instead NPC@annpc#5570: | Istar motions for Lennie to follow. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie follows NPC@annpc#5570: | She walks out into the unmistakable Morakos-class bridge. The holotable is active, projecting all the Tabadis of the Circle in their seats around the table save for one. NPC@annpc#5570: | A figure rises from the command chair. Before she even turns around, Lennie would instantly her as Mysti. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie goes wide eyed, "...momma...?" in a humble whimper NPC@annpc#5570: | Mysti turns and smiles at Lennie, "Congratulations, daughter." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie approaches Mysti with a tear in her eye, fighting the quivering bottom lip and the urge to wrap her arms around Mysti's shoulders to never let go, "Momma..." she repeats through an emotional+ Nikki@crystyll: + smile NPC@annpc#5570: | Mysti steps up to Lennie. Two Morls hand her two long shoulderpads and she begins to remove Lennie's current ones and replace them with the new ones, smiling all the while. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie just watches, awestruck and unable to take her eyes from Mysti NPC@annpc#5570: | Mysti: "There have been a few Circle members who objected, but you deserve this, not just because you are my daughter. You've worked hard for us, for our family and for the Orion people." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "All I ever wanted was to make you proud, momma" NPC@annpc#5570: | As she finishes strapping on the shoulderpads, she motions to the command chair, "And you have. Take the chair, and our family will be complete. Swear that you will put any former allegiances - NPC@annpc#5570: - and obligations to Starfleet aside, and we can all be together again." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie finally tears her eyes away from Mysti to look at the command chair, and back, "I..." she frowns, "No, this ain't right! I have to wake up now. Momma, I love you but you're gone. If this + Nikki@crystyll: + were real, you'd know there was never the need to question my loyalty" NPC@annpc#5570: | Mysti: "We have to make sure. Starfleet has been calling for you and your vijra back for weeks now." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie persists and shakes her head, "No, Starfleet ain't like that. They wouldn't push a recall like that. That's enough now, I have to wake up!" NPC@annpc#5570: | The voice of Emeria emanates from the console, "The Federation is finished. Earth has fallen to the Horde. Join us. The Orion people are the future. We will lead the galaxy into a new epoch, - NPC@annpc#5570: - an era where the Children, not the Primevals rule the galaxy. This is what you were meant for, Lendaria. What your mother always wanted for you." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie turns to the Circle holo's confused, "Federation... gone? What Horde, what is this?! The OSN I remember used to embody the empathy the Federation is renowned for - wanted to /be/ a part of + Nikki@crystyll: + it! This ain't right. Who are these Children and Primevals you speak of - you're not making any sense. I have to wake up!" NPC@annpc#5570: | The Morakos bridge fades from her vision, and Lennie finds herself on the surface of Narris II at the OSN headquarters, except everything is on fire. At first, it seems to be night, but Lennie - NPC@annpc#5570: - quickly realizes that the sky is totally obscured by smoke and the silhouettes of a thousand ships blocking the light of the sun. Beams of various colours emit from them and then everything fades... NPC@annpc#5570: ------------------------------------ NPC@annpc#5570: | Nikki wakes up in a grandiose bedroom filled with Romulan decor. Nikki@crystyll: blinks awake, looking around. She takes in her lush surroundings and slowly sits up NPC@annpc#5570: | All is completely quiet. NPC@annpc#5570: | Her surroundings are filled with various pieces of decor, all Romulan in origin and quite a few very valuable. Nikki@crystyll: looks more at the details of the room, seemingly content to observe from her plush snuggly vantage point for the moment Nikki@crystyll: would look particularly for personal effects, anything to indicate ownership of place or even where the place was NPC@annpc#5570: | The effects would suggest whoever owned this place was of an exceptionally high position. There is also a curtain on one side of the room, currently closed. Nikki@crystyll: climbs out of bed and heads over to open the curtain, figuring a window beyond might yield more NPC@annpc#5570: | The curtains open to a view of the old Romulan homeworld which Nikki is no doubt familiar with through pictures and holos... NPC@annpc#5570: FX | https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/memoryalpha/images/e/e4/Romulus_administrative_district%2C_2368.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120403031624&path-prefix=en Nikki@crystyll: "Rihan...?" NPC@annpc#5570: | As she gazes out the window, a doorbell rings. Nikki@crystyll: instinctively tenses, but approaches and cautiously opens it NPC@annpc#5570: | An elderly Romulan male is at the other side of the door. He immediately bows his head as he sees her, "Forgive me for interrupting, Empress, but the Senate is assembled and waiting for you." Nikki@crystyll: "Em...?" she holds her tongue and looks around again, she turns back to him, "Me... The Senate. They are waiting for... me?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Romulan: "Yes. You are needed at this meeting, but take your time, of course. They are willing to wait, I am merely notifying you that they are ready." Nikki@crystyll: "What is this meeting about? I... I do not wish to arrive unprepared" NPC@annpc#5570: | Romulan "A response to the Federation's unexpected change of heart. Or perhaps more specifically, /the/ response." Nikki@crystyll: "Change of heart? Right, yes. Well, thank you...?" she leaves it hanging to draw out a name" NPC@annpc#5570: | Romulan: "Julianos. Proconsul Julianos." Nikki@crystyll: "Julianos. Thank you" she dips her head, hoping he will take that as a cue to leave before she closes the door NPC@annpc#5570: | She hears footsteps as the Proconsul walks off. Nikki@crystyll: turns and leans back against the door, looking around for a mirror NPC@annpc#5570: | She manages to find a round portable mirror. NPC@annpc#5570: | Her reflection in the mirror is still herself, though she is wearing a much fancier sleeping gown as opposed to her clothes on the away team. Nikki@crystyll: crosses the room and picks it up to view herself, "Well I'm still me..." she turns and looks out the window again, "Then what is this... what am I seeing? A dream, a fantasy, an alternate timeline, + Nikki@crystyll: what...?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Nothing answers her. Nikki@crystyll: didn't honestly expect an answer, though it would have been nice. Seeing no alternative she plays along for now and searches for a wardrobe and finds something suitable to wear NPC@annpc#5570: | Her wardrobe has some veeeery fancy clothes. She could swear she's seen one of them worn by Empress Sela in a holo sometime. Nikki@crystyll: would also relish in this first real experience of at least a perceived Romulan existence, savouring the sights, smells, textures of everything in this world NPC@annpc#5570: | There are a few classic Romulan snacks lying around in her elaborate bedchambers. Nikki@crystyll: would settle on something a little less flashy than the Sela outfit, still suitably regal but more crisp and elegant by her tastes. She would enjoy the snacks while fixing her hair to suit NPC@annpc#5570: | Once she finishes, she actually begins to look the part of a Romulan Empress, though still wearing her own face. Nikki@crystyll: looks in the mirror one last time before leaving, "Whatever I'm here for, until I can find a way out I'd best play along. If half of what I heard about the Senate of the old world is true, they will + Nikki@crystyll: + likely have me killed off if they even suspect anything is wrong" Nikki@crystyll: takes a deep breath and turns to the door, "Alright Romulus, show your Empress your very best... and hope she remembers it well when she wakes up..." NPC@annpc#5570: | The door leads out to a hallway, which in turn leads to a lift with seemingly one destination option. All of it looks very familiar to her, despite her never having been on Rihan. Nikki@crystyll: follows the seemingly one way route before her NPC@annpc#5570: | It leads her into a private shuttlebay where three Romulan shuttles are parked, one with its door open. Nikki@crystyll: looks around, ever suspicious of the unfamiliar. But continues towards the beckoning shuttle NPC@annpc#5570: | A female Romulan greets her once she enters the shuttle, "Jolan'tru, Empress Nikee. I have the Senate building set as our destination and we are ready to depart on your word." Nikki@crystyll: does her best to appear 'Empressy' and takes a seat, "I am ready" she confirms curtly NPC@annpc#5570: | The shuttle takes off into the sky of Romulus. As the environment passes by, Nikki soon begins to notice that everything she is seeing is recognizable to her. Most she remembers from pictures and - NPC@annpc#5570: - holorecreations, but she can swear there were a few buildings from New Romulus or other Romulan worlds slotted in between or in the distance as well. The sounds seem to likewise be a combination - NPC@annpc#5570: - of familiar ones across multiple experiences. Everything is recognizable to her, despite her knowing she has definitely never been here before. Nikki@crystyll: gazes out the window, "So beautiful..." NPC@annpc#5570: | As a few birds fly by, she could swear they were from her own home and not Romulus... Nikki@crystyll: would definitely recognize game from her home colony and conclude that this is a fabrication drawing from her subconcious memory NPC@annpc#5570: | The shuttle touches down in a hangar at the Senate building and the door opens for her. Nikki@crystyll: rises and heads for the door, pausing before she leaves and looking back to the pilot, "A smooth flight, thank you. Jolan'tru" NPC@annpc#5570: | The pilot nods formally, "Jolan'tru, Empress." Nikki@crystyll: disembarks and looks around the hangar, almost hoping at this point that the way forward will be as clear as the journey so far NPC@annpc#5570: FX | Nikki manages to find her way through the Senate building just as easily and finds herself in what is unmistakably a Senate meeting chamber. NPC@annpc#5570: FX | https://live.staticflickr.com/5497/10326763376_59c57fb124_b.jpg NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 1: "Ah, Empress Nikee. You're here." Nikki@crystyll: considers the Senator, pausing for a calculated response whilst discretely surveying the room to try and figure where she should head NPC@annpc#5570: | Nikee spots a large fancy chair that appears to be reserved for someone important, likely the Empress. Nikki@crystyll: "You expected me to be elsewhere? We have matters to attend, do we not" she moves for the chair, savouring the moment of taking it NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 2: "Yes, indeed we do. As we all know, the Federation has unexpectedly changed their stance. It would be fine if they merely pulled out their forces, but it seems they are actively - NPC@annpc#5570: - now attempting to prevent us from pursuing the Primevals." NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 3: "Not much of a surprise. They were always misguided with their moral high ground." NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 4: "Or perhaps they are being influenced by the enemy." NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 3: "If they were sabotaged, they would have turned against us /during/ the war, not after. No, this is them being their usual childish selves." NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 1: "Regardless, they must be dealt with." NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 5: "Fortunately, the Klingons and Cardassians are still on side. We have the bulk of the Alliance behind us. The Federation will be crushed and the Romulan Empire will finally take their - NPC@annpc#5570: - place, as it should have during the first war with Earth." NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 6: "Nay, not their place. /Our/ rightful place in this galaxy as the superior people." Nikki@crystyll: "Why?" she finally chimes in, casting a narrow gaze around the room. Her tone cool and calculated as she baits the first to respond NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 1: "Even if not for our own people, the Federation must be dealt with. They are too soft. No one is safe while Primevals still live!" NPC@annpc#5570: | Proconsul Julianos from earlier speaks: "All we need is your order to begin, Empress Nikee. Or do you wish to go over the plan of attack first?" Nikki@crystyll: smiles a little, like remembering a joke privately and shakes her head, "No, I want to know why..." she stands and encircles the room, still gauging the Senator's as she does NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 4 narrows her eyes, "You are questioning the right of the Romulan peoples to seize this opportunity and elevate our position in the galaxy?" Nikki@crystyll: "You see, I feel like I woke up this morning in an alternate reality..." she speaks idly, like recounting a fun memory almost. But most Romulans would sense the venemous undertone Nikki@crystyll: zeroes in on Senator 4, "Do you truly dare to even think such a thing, Senator?" she laughs again, "No, you see I am confused here..." Nikki@crystyll: "So perhaps you can clarify for me. I thought we were Romulans..." NPC@annpc#5570: | Julianos: "This is ridiculous. You have been our Empress for seven years now. You've led all the Children through the war with the Primevals. Now you will lead us to victory once again." Nikki@crystyll: "No Proconsul, what is ridiculous is the notion of us chasing a fight like a bunch of rabid Klingons!" she hisses, slamming a fist on Senator 4's armrest where she had been stalking Nikki@crystyll: moves to the centre and looks around, speaking with broad sweeping arm gestures, "So tell me Senators, are we a bunch of rabid Klingons now, or are we Romulan?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Senator 4 shrinks back into her chair while Proconsul Julianos rises, "What will you have us do, wait for them to return and begin a renewed attack? We need to finish this fight, for the Romulans - NPC@annpc#5570: - and for all the Children!" Nikki@crystyll: "When you spoke of the Federation before you spoke of an ally on the retreat, not our enemy. We defend Romulan lives from the enemy, and we fight with our intellect!" she taps her temple Nikki@crystyll: "Bloodthirsty Klingons are the ones who would throw their warriors lives away pursuing a weakened former ally. If I am to commit Romulan lives to anything, it must have purpose beyond spite!" NPC@annpc#5570: | The Senate chamber fades around her, only to be replaced by a familiar sight- her hunting lodge on Abraxas IX. However, Nikee's childhood home is now up in flames, and all the trees around her - Nikki@crystyll: spins around, confused by the sudden shift but quickly recognizing the lodge. A sense of panic washes over her at the sight NPC@annpc#5570: - ablaze. Smoke fills the air and beings emerge from it of all species and shapes, some charging mindlessly and others opening fire with weapons. NPC@annpc#5570: | There is a blinding flash, and that view too fades before her eyes... NPC@annpc#5570: ------------------------------- NPC@annpc#5570: | TQ wakes in the room she falls unconscious in. But something is different. The first thing she would notice is that the entire team is wearing their uniforms instead of local gear. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ sits up groggily, looking around and giving a confused frown at the sight before checking herself as well NPC@annpc#5570: | She is in a uniform, but not her usual one. Instead of the gold shoulders, she has a gold stripe and the pips of a Lieutenant Commander. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "What the...?" she looks around again, to see if any of the others are awake NPC@annpc#5570: | The others slowly wake up, but she would notice that Lennie and Nikki are nowhere to be seen, instead replaced by Lieutenant Trenick and MACO Sergeant Daazitaet. NPC@annpc#5570: | Neither are wearing makeup to blend in to the local environment, and neither is Nishaa. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ hustles over to Trenick, "Lieutenant... Lieutenant can you hear me, are you ok?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Trenick nods, "I'm fine, Commander." NPC@annpc#5570: | Daz: "Well that was weird. But ready to go on with the mission when you are, ma'am." He looks straight at TQ as he says this, and she would realize everyone else on the mission is below LCDR in rank Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "Comman-...?" shakes her head, "Nevermind. What happened, where are the others - Lennie and Nikki? And what are you two even doing here?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Trenick: "Commander Lendaria and Subcommander t'Rllaillieu? They're still back on this ship. The Captain put you in charge of this mission." NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "It's fine if you need a minute, that was a little disorientating for all of us. But lead on when you're ready." NPC@annpc#5570: | Their Priestess guide also appears to no longer be present. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ frowns, "I... no. Me? But they were here?" she gets up, looking around. More attentive of her surroundings now NPC@annpc#5570: | Her surroundings appear to be the same as what they were previously. NPC@annpc#5570: | Trenick meanwhile has opened his tricorder and begun scanning, "The lifeform we're looking for is just a little further into the complex. Shouldn't be far now." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "Has anyone seen the Priestess? Maybe she can explain..." NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "No idea where she went. But our objective still stands. We have to find that lifeform." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ nods after a dazed moment, "Right. Yes, well then... let's, uh... press on" she almost comically makes a shooing motion with her hands NPC@annpc#5570: | The team springs to action and begins moving out, with Daz taking the front with a phaser rifle at the ready and Nishaa as the rearguard, also wielding a rifle. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ just sort of tags along, still trying to make sense of things Nikki@crystyll: | TQ "So... everyone's alright after what you experienced back there? Anyone have any thoughts on what they experienced...?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Daz: "Knocked me out and gave me weird visions. Let's not do that again." NPC@annpc#5570: | As she does, her enhanced sense of smell thanks to her Vulcan physiology detects a combustible substance ahead, and Daz is walking right into it... Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "Weird visions? Wha-..." she sniffs, "Daz hold up!" NPC@annpc#5570: | Daz stops and rolls backwards just as a jet of flame shoots out from a nearby opening in the wall. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ rushes to grab Daz' shoulder, "You alright?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Daz: "Phew, that was a close one! Good catch, Commander. This is why the Captain trusts you with missions like this." He flashes her a smile. NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "Think it's safe to move on?" Nikki@crystyll: TQ | Resists a weary groan at this strange reality while helping Daz to his feet, "I'll take point" she nods to Nishaa, "Hopefully I'll be able to sense anymore things like that" she turns to Daz, Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "And no arguments" NPC@annpc#5570: | Daz opens his mouth to argue but simply says, "Yes ma'am." NPC@annpc#5570: | TQ cannot smell any more fuel and it should be safe to go on. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ cautiously leads the way NPC@annpc#5570: | They manage to make it through several more stone hallways of the same monotonous style without incident. Soon, they come across a dark chamber with a faint glow in the centre... Nikki@crystyll: | TQ pauses as they approach, looking to Trenick, "Got any readings on this?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Trenick scans and examines the readings before his free hand darts for a phaser pistol on his hip, "That's it!" NPC@annpc#5570: | Flashlights snap on from both Nishaa and Daz's rifles as the fan out, weapons raised. NPC@annpc#5570: | Daz: "I have eyes on target!" NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "Ready to fire on your mark, Commander!" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ raises her hands, "Woah, woah easy guys. Nobody's firing here, we're here to meet this lifeform not kill it, right! ...right?" NPC@annpc#5570: | The illumination of the flashlights reveal what is at the centre of the room to be a Horta. It begins crawling away slowly, leaving burn marks in the rock behind it spelling 'NO KILL I' NPC@annpc#5570: | Trenick: "The Captain's order were clear. We need to take it out." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ shakes her head, "What?! Don't be rediculuous, I've known the Captain for years, she would /never/ order us to kill a newly encountered lifeform!" NPC@annpc#5570: | Trenick: "Check with the Captain yourself. Comms should work in here." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ scowls, "Now just... lower those rifles already will you! You're making /me/ nervous, let alone that poor thing..." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ taps her combadge, "Away team to Valley Forge" NPC@annpc#5570: | Daz: "We're not letting that thing out of our sight. Make your call quick before it gets away, Commander." NPC@annpc#5570: | <C - Keelah> "Valley Forge here. Is something wrong, Tee?" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ "Captain, thank the Goddess! There appears to be some confusion down here about our orders. I fear my team has been compromised by a trial we had to endure NPC@annpc#5570: <C - Keelah> "Compromised? How? Is the lifeform preventing them from carrying out their mission?" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ "What? No! It's a defenseless Horta. They've got this dellusion about being sent here to kill it" NPC@annpc#5570: | <C - Keelah> "It's only defenseless because it wants you to think it is, Commander. Don't let it fool you. That thing is a threat to all modern life in the galaxy." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "...Captain? What is this, some sort... of..." she goes wide-eyed, "...trial" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "Nevermind Captain, thank you for the confirmation" she taps off her combadge before Keelah can respond and looks to her away team NPC@annpc#5570: | <C - Keelah> "You've seen the chroniton readings. This is a Primeval. It's power is beyond your-" NPC@annpc#5570: | Daz looks around, "Ma'am? What's our order?" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "Now listen carefully guys, I know what you believe to be the situation here. But I'm telling you; you are wrong. We are /not/ here to kill this thing, understood?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Trenick: "Are you sure? This creature is dangerous. We don't know what it's fully capable of yet, but the chroniton readings suggest temporal manipulation, and you don't need me to tell you how - NPC@annpc#5570: - risky messing with time is." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "no Lieutenant, I don't. And remember how the Captain put me in charge for a reason" NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa: "You /are/ in charge, Commander, but the Captain gave explicit orders. If you disobey them, you might not be in charge for much longer." NPC@annpc#5570: | Trenick nods, "She has a good point. The Captain made you, Tee. She recommended you for the Academy, put you where you are. Are you sure you want to let her down like this? You'll lose everything - NPC@annpc#5570: - you worked for. Your position, your rank, your friendship with her." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ shakes her head, "Don't you guys get it? I'm not betraying her faith here, I'm reinforcing it! She put me in charge of this mission because she knew I could not be compromised by the trial!" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ steps over to where the Horta scorched the ground, "Just look here! It's frightenened - of us. US." shakes her head, "If we're a Starfleet who goes around terrorizing innocent lifeforms now then+ Nikki@crystyll: + frankly I dont' want any part of it. Now lower your weapons before this goes too far!" NPC@annpc#5570: | The chamber fades around her to be replaced by a lifeless desert environment. In front of Tee is a wreckage, which to her horror is still recognizable from the silhouette as the Valley Forge. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ looks around in a panic, "What, where am I now? Oh Goddess what happened..." NPC@annpc#5570: | Above her, the sky is darkened by the billowing smoke from the crashed ship. Suddenly, the terrain around her begins to shake violently and something bursts out from the ground, but Tee doesn't - NPC@annpc#5570: - get a close look at what it is, as the shockwave knocks her off her feet and slams her hard onto the cracked earth, causing everything to fade to black... NPC@annpc#5570: ----------------------------------- NPC@annpc#5570: | The away team wakes on their stone slabs. The composition of the team is the same as before now and they are all in the proper attire. Nikki@crystyll: | TQ sits bolt upright with a gasp, quickly settling as she sees her surroundings NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava smiles at them from the entrance of the room: "Impressive. Normally at least a few pilgrims in a group fail the Trial. You must have highly disciplined minds." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie hustles over to TQ, "Tee... Tee can you hear me, are you ok?" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ doubletakes at Lennie with a sense of dejavu, sort of... and hugs her tight, "Thank the Goddess..." NPC@annpc#5570: | Nishaa rubs her eyes lightly, though careful not to disrupt the green makeup on herself. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie holds TQ a moment before looking to her with a smile, "Hear that? It's over, you did good" Nikki@crystyll: | Nikki meanwhile seems to quietly contemplate her vision NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "Come. You are ready to proceed into the final layer and see the Prophet." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie approaches Agrava, "So... these trials are always such personal experiences?" she asks as they follow NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava nods, "That is why they differ for every individual. It tests one's ability to accept the Prophet's way of seeing the universe as what it is, perspectives." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie nods thoughtfully Nikki@crystyll: | TQ would be acutely aware of their surroundings and if even slightly similar to those in her vision, extra mindful of dwemer flame traps NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "Those who fail are the ones who fail to let go of what they see, whether that be power, happiness, or a lost loved one, despite all else shown. Such people often become obsessed and - NPC@annpc#5570: - dangerous over what the Prophet tells them." NPC@annpc#5570: | Fortunately, there are no dwemer traps in the real passageways they go through. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "A most fascinating experience indeed" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "There is one other purpose to the Trial. The potion you drank is derived from secretions collected from the Prophet. It forms a bond between your mind and the Prophet as long as it is - NPC@annpc#5570: - still remaining in your body. That is why the majority of what you see in the Trials is formed from your own recollections, but some of the Prophet's mind also seeps into yours." NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "The precise amount I presented allows enough of a connection to be formed to communicate with the Prophet. That is the only way to hear it." Nikki@crystyll: | Nikki gives a sickly gulp at this revelation, not keen on the idea of some silicon thing's secretion working it's way through her body and mind now NPC@annpc#5570: | The surroundings around them slowly begin to fade from neatly carved rock to a rougher cave-system style layout. NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "This is the deepest layer of the Sanctuary, the natural caverns within which the Prophet was found." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "Is there anything else we should know before meeting the Prophet?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava: "I have told you all you need." NPC@annpc#5570: | The Priestess stops at the mouth into a larger section of cave. Two Knights stand guard at this entrance, and they step aside with a nod from Agrava, allowing the away team to enter. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie turns to Agrava, "Then thank you for guiding us on this journey" she dips her head lightly NPC@annpc#5570: | Agrava dips her head in return: "I hope you find the enlightenment you seek." NPC@annpc#5570: | She steps back, waiting by the entrance. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie gives a look to the rest of the team and proceeds cautiously forwards NPC@annpc#5570: | At the centre of the large cavern is a massive thing connected to the rock around it through long, tentacle-like supports. There is no movement from it at all, not even the soft heaving of breath; - NPC@annpc#5570: - it is as still as the stone, as if it were some unsettling, Lovecraftian sculpture. NPC@annpc#5570: | There is no sign of eyes, nose, mouth, head, anything one would expect to see in a lifeform. It appears more like a single giant cell. Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie slowly approaches, studying the lifeform with an acute fascination, "...Prophet?" she eventually hesitates NPC@annpc#5570: | A voice emanates, not around them but seemingly within their heads, "You do not need to address me by such names. You do not believe what the locals do. Soon, or perhaps on your people's next - NPC@annpc#5570: - visit, you will tell me of your culture and your Goddess. I am not a god. I began when this world was in its infancy, and I shall end when its sun expands and consumes me in a fiery cataclysm." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "So you'se native t'this world then? Don't believe I ever encountered an instance o' both silicon an' carbon based life evolvin' together" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "As a seedling I flew across the vastness of space, from where I know not. As of now, it has been 4 billion, 400 million, 36 thousand, one hundred and twenty one of your years since I - NPC@annpc#5570: - first gained awareness. In 8 billion, 240 million, 63 thousand four hundred and forty eight years, I will die." NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "My consciousness exists between then, afloat in the vast channel of waterworks you know as time." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie silently 'wows', "That's a heightened sense of awareness ya got there. I assume there's some serious telepathic power at work in tha', like our visions an' how we'se communicatin' now?" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "Then again, I guess I'd-a hope t'be pretty self aware if I were 4 billion years old too..." NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "The Children that have been seeded on this world discovered how to commune with me. This connection is what made these visions possible." NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "I do not possess the power to touch your mind naturally." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "Th'Chroniton readin's... we'se detected 'em an' feared someone were interferin' wit' ya, um... Children" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "They are not my Children. They were seeded by the First, the lonely wanderers who altered life in the galaxy to their image. I existed before even they evolved." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie nods, "Th'Preservers, yeah. We know's 'em" Nikki@crystyll: "What about this use of the term Children? I saw that in my vision as well as the term Primeval. What was all that about exactly?" Nikki@crystyll: | TQ looks to Nikki, "You did? I remember those terms as well, like they were at odds or something" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "Yes. That is what you called them. You are their Children, born from their genetic imprints. They called us the Primevals, beings who existed in the universe long before them." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie looks to the pair, "You'se all got tha' too?" and back to the Prophet, "Why did ya show us all visions of th'Children an' Primevals bein' at war or whatever? An' why'd ya show me mah home + Nikki@crystyll: + burnin come t'think of it?" Nikki@crystyll: & TQ both look to Lennie, clearly relating to the description of her vision as well NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "I do not move through the universe as you do. You can move through the dimension you know as space. On your legs, through your warp drives. As you can observe, I do not move as you do." NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "Within space, I am still, unable to avoid my fate in 4 billion years though I knew it was certain the moment I gained awareness. Instead, I move through what you call time." NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "I learned the concepts of past, present and future from the First and their Children, To me, it is all one plane, through which I can freely travel." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie considers this, "Fascinatin'..." and refocuses, "But yeah, wha's wit' th'consistent themes to our visions then? Seems a lil' too much t'be coincidental" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "Time is not a linear line, as many of the Children believe. It flows and diverges like a river, sometimes from an obstruction in the terrain, others times by those who interact with it." NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "When your consciousness connected most strongly with mine, you were able to briefly glimpse the world as I do. What you saw that was similar is a combination of your past, present and - NPC@annpc#5570: - future. For you, your past is already set for the reality within which you live. Your decisions in your present can yet affect the outcomes of your future, and what you witnessed may or may not - NPC@annpc#5570: - come to pass." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ: "Not sure I like the idea of everything in flames coming to pass..." Nikki@crystyll: "It was a rather harrowing experience" she notes in agreement NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "Once, there were only Primevals in the galaxy. Many have since faded as the Children grew in number and power. But at the edges of this realm, where the Children are fewer, beings such - NPC@annpc#5570: - as myself lurk still. You move towards danger. Towards Primevals that have threatened the Children ever since you were born." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "So these visions of our worlds in flames... they'se a warnin'. Seems consistent wit' everythin' we seem t'learn out 'ere..." NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "You will either put an end to these ancient beings...or unleash its full horror upon all the Children." Nikki@crystyll: | TQ looks to Lennie, "You never do things by halves do you..." she jokes nervously NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "I have seen countless variations of each such future. Which is yours depends on your choices." Nikki@crystyll: "It is Stafleet's nature to proceed ever forwards, headlong into the risk. These warnings will not dissuade this crew from their mission" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie nods to Nikki, "She's right, if it ain't us could just as well be someone else less prepared t'face it. So if there's a risk out there, we'se gotta find it an' face it" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "So if there's anythin' ya can tell us tha' might help us make th'right decisions along th'way... well, it'd be appreciated" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "I do not seek to dissuade you. What I gave was a gift, a glimpse into what may come. I have already told you what I am to tell you- what will occur should you fail." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie nods and smiles, "Figured as much but were worth a try. Look, we never came 'ere t'try an' use ya for our own ends or nothin' like this anyway, but ya gave us this nonetheless. Is there + Nikki@crystyll: + anythin' we can offer ya in exchange? Ya mentioned more learnin'...?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "Cut away a part of my physical form to seed on another world. I do not learn as you do, and I do not seek knowledge as you do. The moment I was aware, I was already aware of all I will - NPC@annpc#5570: - learn throughout my existence. I know when I will die, and when I must reproduce. You take a part of me away with you on this visit, and you will find someone who knows how to nurture it." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie seems a little taken aback, "I, err... really? Jus' like tha'. Ya wantin' us t'just... cut ya up?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "I have told the locals who guard me not to interfere. You will call your vessel and transport down a weapon which you will utilize to chip a part of me. To me, it is already done." NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "Do not worry, you will not be harming me. My kind is not like the Children." Nikki@crystyll: "It is not an unreasonable request really. As it says, it does not exist as we do; the physical form does not hold the same meaning" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie considers carefully, "Well... I ain't against it, sure. But gotta clear it wit' th'Cap'n first, an' she'll need certain reassurances. Like ya capacity f'interaction through this... 'sample'" Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "An' she won't just set ya down anywhere, no way she'd risk inadvertently alterin' th'natural evolution of another species elsewhere, not even one tha' ain't started yet" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "I am and always shall be here. The part of me you take will not be aware until it is made so. Once it is awakened, it will not be me, but another being with a new beginning and a new - NPC@annpc#5570: - ending. Like the Children's concept of offspring. As for where this offspring is to be seeded, the priviledge to decide is yours. As it will not be me, I am unable to provide any information on it." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "But ya seen tha' we'll encounter someone capable o'... nurturin' ya offspring?" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "No, only that you will take it. You are not the first to do so. At least one should be able to mature and continue on another world." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie: "Fair enough. Then I should contact th'ship an' get th'Cap'n's decision" NPC@annpc#5570: | Prophet: "Explain that it is a method of reproduction comparable to that of the Children, and necessary for the continued existence of my kind." Nikki@crystyll: | Lennie smiles, "Don'tcha worry, she'll get th'full picture"
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T'Quila@crystyll sits in one of the mess halls on board with Lennie & Nikki (& Nishaa?), all settled back in after their away mission and bonding over the experience T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie: "So wha'bout you'se guys, any eye-openin' epiphanies from ya visions?" T'Quila@crystyll | Nikki: "You know that they were simply fabrications, yes Commander? They bare no semblence to this reality or any potential future, despite how... appealing it may have been" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie smirks, "So it was somethin' ya wanted, least on some level right!" Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa: "I think that was the point. See if we could get past the temptation." T'Quila@crystyll nods to Nishaa, "I agree. It would not have been such a poignant test had it not baited us with something our hearts desired, realistic or not" T'Quila@crystyll | Nikki: "Yes, well, if you will all excuse me. I would prefer to be alone right now as I contemplate this experience" she gets up, "Jolan'tru ladies" and heads off T'Quila@crystyll | Nikki in fact gets out of earshot and hits her comm to call Lycas then heads off T'Quila@crystyll smiles with a sip of her drink as she watches the Romulan depart, "What about you Nishaa, in all the excitement of meeting the Prophet I never got to asking about your experience?" Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa: "Well, it was...I didn't even know what was going on until about halfway through. Apparently I was some kind of war hero, wearing this armour that isn't the MACO gear. Pretty sure it's - Keliaya@anncarise: - something I saw from a holodeck program. There was a war between the Federation and these Primevals and they said I was instrumental in saving everyone and all." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods, "A very similar premise t'what I saw, only th'Federation had fallen in mah vision" T'Quila@crystyll: "Really?" Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa: "They said we were on the brink of falling in mine, and then I came in and almost single-handedly turned the tide." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Yeah, not fully mind but they was all but wiped out apparently. I were servin' in th'OSN an' we was at a promotion ceremony where I were being given mah own Command o'a ship like + T'Quila@crystyll: + Momma's..." she trails off, refraining from mentioning who was presenting her the promotion T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie: "But there were again this obsession around us leadin' th'Children against th'Primevals" T'Quila@crystyll: "I don't remember any mention of all out war from mine. But there was definitely strong prejudice, so maybe an earlier setting before this theoretical war?" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie considers Tee, "Maybe. Wha' exactly happened in ya's?" Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa: "The Subcommander has a good point too. These are just visions, who's to say there's any consistency between them?" T'Quila@crystyll: "True, but didn't the Prophet also say that this was delivered as a warning?" Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa: "I think it's a bit of both. The last part I saw was definitely a warning." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Yep, though th'exact visions ain't possible to come to pass exactly as we saw's 'em. This destructive future could be a possibility" T'Quila@crystyll gulps and shivers a little at the thought T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie sees TQ's reaction and places a hand on hers, "Hey, it's alright lil'sis. What'dya see?" Keliaya@anncarise steps into the mess hall and replicates a drink for herself. T'Quila@crystyll: "The vision itself was sort of like yours I think. Though I don't recall any reference to ongoing war, just an established fear-based prejudice towards the Primevals" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods, encouraging her to continue Keliaya@anncarise chats briefly with a passing crewman as she holds her drink in hand. T'Quila@crystyll: "It started on the away mission. Like, my vision was us waking up after having our visions - /very/ disorientating" T'Quila@crystyll: "Only..." she shifts a little, "It wasn't the same away team. LT Trenick and Daz were there, but you-" she looks to Lennie "and Nikki weren't" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie: "It's not unreasonable to imagine Trenick leading such a mission" she notes, based on the stated names T'Quila@crystyll chuckles, shaking her head, "True perhaps, but he wasn't in charge of the mission... I was" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie smiles, "You always did fancy the idea of being a career officer, didn't ya!" T'Quila@crystyll smiles, "It was... satisfying, yes. I was your rank and faced with a moral dilemma when we reached the Prophet chamber. It wasn't the Prophet we actually saw, but a Horta. It asked us not to kill it+ T'Quila@crystyll: + but the Captain came on comms and reinforced a kill on sight order. I had to stand my ground and defend the principles I knew to be right" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods with understanding at the dilemma, "What happened then? I know it ain't tha' part wha' got ya spooked..." T'Quila@crystyll twists her lip a little, sipping her drink, "When that faded I saw the world on fire; the sky blotted out by the silhoutte of countless ships fighting in orbit. And... before me was the Valley Forge+ T'Quila@crystyll: + crashed and burning..." she shudders again, "Something started to happen like a ground quake, I think I saw something erupt from beneath the surface but that's when I awoke" Keliaya@anncarise | Nishaa: "I saw something like that too, except it was on the colony where I grew up, and there was no Valley Forge." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie wraps an arm around Tee's shoulder to offer reassurance, "It was just a metaphorical warnin', don't be dwellin' on it now. But if it does bother ya, maybe ya should go see Yoona" T'Quila@crystyll nods and smiles, "I'll be alright" she looks to Nishaa, "You said you saw your home colony in the end warning?" Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa nods, "With everything all destroyed, and I didn't have the powered armour from the previous part of the vision, not even a weapon. There were ships everywhere, enough to block out the sun - Keliaya@anncarise: - and they were bombarding the whole planet." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie looks between the two, "Tha's just like I saw, only it were on Narris at th'OSN HQ" T'Quila@crystyll looks between the pair, starting to make the connection, "You both saw the places you consider to be home then...?" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie looks to Nishaa and back with nod Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa gives a nod as well. T'Quila@crystyll smiles, looking about the room as it registers with her, "...home" Keliaya@anncarise heads over towards TQ's table with her drink as the crewman departs, "Hey. Not interrupting anything, am I?" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie chuckles, giving TQ's shoulder a squeeze before letting go as she see's she's better now and looks around, "Oh, hey Kelly. Please, join us!" T'Quila@crystyll smiles as well, "Hello Kelly" Keliaya@anncarise smiles back and takes a seat, "I just saw most of the away team was gathered here." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Nikki was 'ere too, ya just missed her actually. We was just reflectin' on th'experience, ya caught mah report on it yet?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Some of your physicists grabbed me for a discussion on temporal mechanics, so I haven't had the time to read it yet, but I've heard a few details." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie chuckles, "Figures this'd get 'em all fired up on th'topic" T'Quila@crystyll: "That reminds me, I must look up LT Trenick and ask him his thoughts on the dangers of messing with time..." she muses idly Keliaya@anncarise: "Trenick? He's a biology specialist, not a physicist, right?" T'Quila@crystyll shrugs, "I know. But it... well, after my vision I just feel like he's one to talk to about it I guess" she chuckles Keliaya@anncarise: "I did hear something about visions too..." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Yeah, s'this trial we had t'undergo which'd allow us an audience wit' these folks' Prophet. Which o'course turned out t'be th'very lifeform we was there t'find. Involved drinkin' + T'Quila@crystyll: + this liquid an' havin' a kind o' psychotropic vision" Keliaya@anncarise: "That sounds...disturbing. Was it a shared vision, or did you all see something different?" T'Quila@crystyll shakes her head, "We all had our own unique experience" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie adds: "Though there were definitely consistent elements" Keliaya@anncarise: "What's the purpose of this trial?" T'Quila@crystyll: "In the local species' context, it ensures a suitably strong body and mind - worthy of communing with the Prophet" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie: "An' th'stuff we drank were actually a secretion from th'Prophet what enhanced our telepathic connection wit'it, actually allowin' th'communication" Keliaya@anncarise: "As if strange hallucinogenic visions weren't disturbing enough..." T'Quila@crystyll nods, "It was disconcerting, but Kazra gave us all a clean bill of health afterwards and confirmed that the secretion would flush from our systems naturally with no cause for concern" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie grins, "An' given' th'opportunity it gave us, I ain't complainin'!" Keliaya@anncarise sips her drink, "The opportunity?" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods eagerly, "T'speak wit' such a unique lifeform!" Keliaya@anncarise: "Oh yes! The idea of a lifeform that was stationary in space but travelled through time instead...I've seen some strange things but that's a possibility I've never even considered." T'Quila@crystyll: "I still can't wrap my head around it fully..." she pouts T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie smiles, "It's a challengin' concept f'anyone to grasp, Tee. Even th'most seasoned Daystrom researchers'd have a hard time wit'this one!" Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa chuckles, "You and me both, Tee." Keliaya@anncarise: "I wonder how such a being ever came to, well, be. Or given its unique connection with time, was it just always there?" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie: "A question for th'ages, no doubt! We know it came from somewhere, and when this happened. But as for th'true species origin..." she shrugs Keliaya@anncarise nods, "As far as we know, it might be the last of its kind, or we might run into more like it still." T'Quila@crystyll smiles, "Oh it's not the last! We are actually helping it procreate!" Keliaya@anncarise: "Oh?" T'Quila@crystyll: "It asked us for assistance in this. So locked away in a biolab now is a small 'cutting' taken from it that we are going to try and find a new home for!" Keliaya@anncarise: "Cutting, like how plants can grow from a bit that's cut off? That's fascinating..." T'Quila@crystyll laughs, "Not entirely accurate I know, but it's the best analogy I can think of for it!" Keliaya@anncarise chuckles, "Makes sense to me, but I'm no xenobiologist!" Keliaya@anncarise: "What about its impact on the natives? It can't exactly move, so I don't suppose it has much of another option..." T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie nods: "I did consider this - thought maybe if we can move a bit o' it, we can move th'whole thing. But... well it's been there a lot longer than they have. So by our rules, if anyone were + T'Quila@crystyll: + t'be moved, it should be th'developin' society. I talked it over with th'Cap'n an' she agress tha' in this case we can classify it as a naturally evolved symbiotic evolution" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "That's an interesting thought. Technically it was native long before the bipedal species ever existed." T'Quila@crystyll nods, "Yes, an unusual setup here!" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie: "Tha's why we determined is best t'leave things be now, by rights th'Prophet /is/ part o'th'natural evolution here" Keliaya@anncarise: "I suppose so! The unique temporal properties of this lifeform though, did any of that affect you communicating with it?" Keliaya@anncarise: "You did have to establish a sort of telepathic link, didn't you?" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie shakes her head, "It were facilitated by th'secretion in our systems, with tha' gone; ain't no way t'commune wit'it. Th'visions were supposedly a brief glimpse into th'way it sees things too T'Quila@crystyll: " Keliaya@anncarise: "What were those like, out of curiosity?" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie smiles thoughtfully, "Thought provokin'..." she stands, "Not t'be rude ladies, but I'm-a really cravin' mah vijra's company about now. Catch y'all later?" Keliaya@anncarise grins, "Enjoy yourself!" T'Quila@crystyll | Lennie smiles, giving a small wave to the group, "See ya'all!" T'Quila@crystyll waves back, "Thanks Lennie, say hi to Ann for me!" Keliaya@anncarise: | Nishaa stands as well, "I should get ready for my next duty shift. It's been nice catching up with you all about the mission." T'Quila@crystyll: "You too Nishaa, have fun!" Keliaya@anncarise | Nishaa smiles and stands to head out. T'Quila@crystyll looks to Kelly, "I guess we're all still coming to terms with our experiences on this one..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Was it very...discomforting?" T'Quila@crystyll: "For the most part, no. The common element we all seemed to share at the of our..." she smiles softly, "Home, burning. That was harrowing just as the others have said, but I understand the context + T'Quila@crystyll: + now. What I found more troubling was having to face such a skewed reality. It was like... well, you know the stories about the 'mirror universe' right?" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "I've heard of it, yes." T'Quila@crystyll: "Well it kind of felt like that. Or at least how I imagine that to be" Keliaya@anncarise: "I know what you mean. I've seen an alternate reality before, things feel strangely familiar, but not right at the same time." T'Quila@crystyll nods, "Yes exactly! I don't know if the others had such a strong sense of that as their visions were generally much more different to our reality" T'Quila@crystyll: "But mine... well, I started the vision by waking up in the exact room we were already in, and on the same mission. So you can see the mirror reference!" Keliaya@anncarise: "That must've been confusing..." T'Quila@crystyll: "Yes, I was in constant doubt as to what was reality at first - that, or what I remembered from before waking in the vision" Keliaya@anncarise: "But you realized it was all a hallucination eventually, or not until you woke up?" T'Quila@crystyll chuckles, "Oh I soon realized when we hit the decision point!" Keliaya@anncarise: "The decision point?" T'Quila@crystyll: "Yes, basically my vision was the portion of our mission yet to come. Only when we found the lifeform it wasn't the Prophet, but a Horta" T'Quila@crystyll: "This Horta retreated from us and the team all drew weapons like they were there to hunt and kill it. I had to challenge the established authority and, well, go against the Captain's orders in favour+ T'Quila@crystyll: + of my own moral standing. I knew as soon as I spoke to Captain Keelah on comms and she tried to convince me to kill this thing on sight; I /knew/ it was false and had to be a test" Keliaya@anncarise: "Sounds like an Academy test, to see if an officer is capable of living by the moral standards of Starfleet and not just following orders." T'Quila@crystyll hrms, "You know, you could be right on that. See... there's one other thing about this vision I haven't mentioned yet..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Oh? What's that?" T'Quila@crystyll: "The away team in the vision wasn't led by Lennie. It was led by, well... me. I was the officer in charge" Keliaya@anncarise: "You wanted to be an officer, right?" T'Quila@crystyll nods, "It's something I've always drawn to, just never... capable of, because of my difficulty in living with who I am" T'Quila@crystyll: "It's why I have always followed the Captain so closely since meeting her, as she was the first to show me first hand that it was possible" Keliaya@anncarise smiles, "I still think you can do it if you really wanted to." Keliaya@anncarise: "But I believe those hallucinations might've been drawing on your own desires. I'm not sure why it would put you as an officer in an alternate reality, though..." T'Quila@crystyll: "Well this whole experience has certainly forced a spotlight on it. But I'm enlisted, not a fresh faced graduate. There isn't much precedent for such a move, and is it really such a difference?" T'Quila@crystyll: "As for the why, I think it was part of the designed temptation to conform. When I argued with my away team about what to do with the Horta, they all emphasized how I'd be 'betraying' the Captain + T'Quila@crystyll: + after she 'made' me, and such comments" T'Quila@crystyll: "And even though I knew at that point it was a falsehood, I still got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach at the notion" Keliaya@anncarise: "I can see why it's a trial..." Keliaya@anncarise: "You did good by passing it though, and I think it proves you definitely can make the cut. I'm not even so sure I'd pass that thing's test if I was with the away team." T'Quila@crystyll smiles, "I'm sure you would have Kelly, you're one of the finest officers I know!" Keliaya@anncarise: "That particular test, probably, but since you said the experience was unique, I imagine it would've been something deeper for me..." T'Quila@crystyll nods thoughtfully, "I think Lennie had a particularly hard time of it" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Given her past, I can definitely see why..." Keliaya@anncarise: "It's also why I suspect I probably wouldn't have done so well either." T'Quila@crystyll nods again, leaning in to speak hushed, "She saw her mother, alive and well" Keliaya@anncarise nods solemnly, "I can only guess at what it might show me, and I'm fairly sure I wouldn't handle ti very well." Keliaya@anncarise: "But anyways, back to your previous question! As for whether there's really so much of a difference between officers and enlisted..." Keliaya@anncarise: "I suppose aside from the difference in authority and responsibility, not much. As you and Nishaa proved, you were every bit as morally upstanding as officers are expected to be." T'Quila@crystyll: "I do enjoy being so connected with the crew..." she concedes before adding, "But I do often feel like I could contribute a lot more than I currently do. And part of me doesn't want to reach a ripe + T'Quila@crystyll: + old age full of regret..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Enlisted are very important to the functioning of Starfleet. Yes, you alone might not make as much of a difference as an officer would, but if there were no enlisted, no ship would ever fly. I know - Keliaya@anncarise: - plenty of retired enlisted personnel who's had a good career and are proud of their service." Keliaya@anncarise: "That said, if your dream was always for officer instead of enlisted, you should at least give it a try." T'Quila@crystyll: "Yeah, I know. Just look at Crystyl; she has more impact wherever she goes than some career officers!" T'Quila@crystyll smiles, "Thanks Kelly. It may not be the Science Academy, but maybe... maybe if I can do it, I can find an equally strong way to contribute!" Keliaya@anncarise smiles back, "I'm sure you can do it. I've seen plenty of officers less qualified than you, but they've still made it." Keliaya@anncarise: "Don't let stricter expectations scare you away, and certainly don't let your heritage either. As you said, people like Captain Keelah and Lennie are doing well as officers." T'Quila@crystyll chuckles, "Who knows, maybe by the time we return to Federation space I'll be able to ilicit a proud response from my mother by showing up in an officer's uniform!" Keliaya@anncarise chuckles as well, "Maybe so! If you ever need any help, just let me know." Keliaya@anncarise smiles, "I wouldn't pretend to be an exceptionally good officer, but my experience could be useful, especially if you try for the Academy." T'Quila@crystyll: "Kelly don't sell yourself short! Just the fact that you are here - serving on this ship - is testament alone to your skill and ability. The fact that you're the one the Captain relinquished her + T'Quila@crystyll: + beloved engine room to... well that's something extra special!" Keliaya@anncarise smiles, "Thanks. I've had a lot of training and experience with engineering and technology. But there's things I struggle with too. I suppose that's the same for everyone though, officers and - Keliaya@anncarise: - enlisted. So you certainly don't have to worry about your personal problems disqualifying you." T'Quila@crystyll: "I guess I always felt more comfortable in the thought that Starfleet would be more accepting of me for who I am" T'Quila@crystyll: "It was always more just that nagging sense of self doubt resulting from a lifetime of being made to feel substandard..." Keliaya@anncarise nods, "I know what you mean. I didn't grow up under your circumstances, but after everything that's happened to me, I often wonder if thing are about to go terribly wrong all of a sudden." Keliaya@anncarise: "I suppose I'm more worried about the universe being out to make my life miserable rather than any mistake I make on my part, but we all worry about something." T'Quila@crystyll gives a sad smile, taking Kelly's hand for a supporting squeeze, "Kelly..." she shakes her head, "I can't pretend to understand all you've endured. But I'm preeetty sure the universe isn't + T'Quila@crystyll: + conspiring against you. I know you don't share my beliefs, but I take comfort in the thought that the Goddess' hand is guiding me towards a greater purpose. That the hardships endured are all about+ T'Quila@crystyll: + making me the person I am now, and will be to come; about giving me the needed growth as a person in order to achieve my potential" Keliaya@anncarise smiles, "That's a nice way to think of things." Keliaya@anncarise: "And speaking of hardship and growth, the Academy is as much for teaching as it is for testing whether people are fit to be officers. Even those who don't make the cut in the end normally walk away - Keliaya@anncarise: - having learned something. I think giving the officer path a try can really benefit you." T'Quila@crystyll: "I think... I think maybe I'm ready to commit to it" she nods with a smile, "I will speak to the Captain about how to proceed, since it's no simple matter of taking leave from duty to attend an + T'Quila@crystyll: + uplift course at the Academy" Keliaya@anncarise: "I'm sure if anyone can come up with something, it's the Captain." T'Quila@crystyll: "Hopefully there is some established precedent. But worst case, we should be coming up on a comms window again soon so we will be able to consult with Command" T'Quila@crystyll: "Thanks for the talk, Kelly. It helps being able to put these things in perspective" she smiles, "I just hope the others are equally successful in reconciling our experiences; Nikki seemed quieter + T'Quila@crystyll: + than usual earlier..." her gaze drifts towards the door where Nikki left T'Quila@crystyll: ----------------------------------- Nikki@crystyll FX | Lycas' commbadge chirps Lycas@annpc#5570 taps his combadge, "This is Professor Lycas." Nikki@crystyll: <C> Professor, it's Nikki. I hope I am not disturbing you? Lycas@annpc#5570: <C> I am not presently engaged in any urgent task. Is there something you need, Nikki? Nikki@crystyll: <C> Yes, I require your... company. Would you please join me in the lounge where we last spoke Lycas@annpc#5570: <C> Of course. I will be there momentarily. Nikki@crystyll can be found on the raised level of the forward lounge, looking over the people below as she was the first time they spoke. She is nursing a glass of kalifal Lycas@annpc#5570 steps up to the raised platform, "Jolan'tru, Subcommander." Nikki@crystyll Jolan'tru Professor, thank you for coming. I took the liberty of preempting your arrival" she gestures to a vacant table beside her where a cup of Spiced Tea awaits Lycas@annpc#5570 nods, "Thank you," he moves over to the table. Nikki@crystyll sets her glass on the table as she sits Lycas@annpc#5570 takes a sip of his tea as he sits down as well, "I hope you are continuing to settle in well here, Nikki?" Nikki@crystyll: "As well as anticipated. My social integration with the crew remains minimal, which is well I felt drawn to call on you today. There are few here I feel... comfortable, being open with" Lycas@annpc#5570: "I presume from the sudden nature of your call that this is not simply a desire for more socialization?" Nikki@crystyll: "You presume correctly, Professor. Tell me, has news reached you yet of our recent away mission to the planet's surface below?" Lycas@annpc#5570: "Some, yes. I've heard of the discovery of a particularly fascinating lifeform that does not obey the laws of spacetime as we do. However, as it is entirely biological in nature, I will only be able - Lycas@annpc#5570: - to contribute minimally to its study." Nikki@crystyll: "And are you aware then of our... personal experiences from the mission?" Lycas@annpc#5570: "I do not believe so. There was something about induced visions in the report, but I have not yet examined any of the attached materials yet." Nikki@crystyll nods, "I apologize if I appear to sound cryptic or elusive, I am just uncertain still of the flow of such information on board a Starfleet vessel" Nikki@crystyll: "It is correct though; we all received induced visions as part of a 'trial', offsetting personal desire and temptation against moral standing" Lycas@annpc#5570: "I don't think any of this information is classified, so you should be free to share it." Lycas@annpc#5570 sips his tea, "Does this vision you experienced trouble you?" Nikki@crystyll looks down to her drink, retrieving it but not sipping. Just holding it, "Trouble may be a strong term, but it weighs on me" she finally affirms Lycas@annpc#5570 nods, "It is not easy to see outside one's own senses. A mind meld, for example, can often have lingering effects." Nikki@crystyll: "I imagine so, though it is not something I have ever experienced personally, so can not say for certain" Nikki@crystyll: "The purpose of the vision is not what weighs on me however, more the context in which it was presented" Lycas@annpc#5570: "And what was that, if I may ask?" Nikki@crystyll finally sips her drink, "You will recall the revelation about my heritage which resulted from our last conversation here" Lycas@annpc#5570 nods, taking another sip of his tea, "I do, yes." Nikki@crystyll: "Well it would seem that has played more heavily on my subconcious mind than I realized, for this vision was... I suppose best described as that of an alternate reality" Lycas@annpc#5570: "An alternate reality as in a fantasy created from your own mind, or were you given a glimpse into an actual parallel plane of existence?" Nikki@crystyll: "Of that, I am uncertain..." she shakes her head, "No, it can not have been a true alternate reality. But it was presented a potential one constructed from a combination of my own knowledge and that + Nikki@crystyll: + of the entity which gave us these visions" Lycas@annpc#5570: "And what was this fabricated reality you were presented with?" Nikki@crystyll sips again before looking back, "Professor... i saw the homeworld in all it's glory. Hobus never happened" Lycas@annpc#5570: "Ahh. I can see why that is a heavy sight for you." Nikki@crystyll nods, "I know it was not entirely accurate as I recognized features taken from my own memory of New Romulus. But it..." she smiles, "...it was wonderous to behold" Nikki@crystyll shakes her head briskly, "But as weighty as that experience was, what remains with me is that I... /I/ was Empress of the Romulan Empire" Lycas@annpc#5570: "And that must be why you asked of the revelation from the last time we spoke." Nikki@crystyll: "Yes, it is also why I did not feel comfortable discussing this with anyone else on board. As you are the only other person who knows of this connection" Lycas@annpc#5570 nods, "I see. Is it the potential of what could have been that weighs on you, or something else?" Nikki@crystyll: "I'm not even sure... I guess I find myself questioning my own conviction, wondering if I am truly so shallow as a typical Romulan stereotype as to aspire to such things" Nikki@crystyll: "But also... well, what if it's possible this is representative of some alternate reality? One where my family retained power and as such, Romulus still stands today. What if out there, somewhere, + Nikki@crystyll: + there is a version of me making it happen. And then if so, does that somehow degrade my existence?" Lycas@annpc#5570: "According to quantum and temporal theories, there are infinite realities, one for every possible occurance that could be different. In one reality, my ancestors could been part of the exodus from - Lycas@annpc#5570: - Vulcan and /I/ could be Emperor of Romulus. And in another, we may both be dead. It is important to remember that these people are not us. They may bear our names and wear our faces, but they - Lycas@annpc#5570: - live in entirely different circumstances from us. They were shaped by different experiences, and ergo they are different people." Nikki@crystyll nods her understanding as she listens and sips her drink, "You're right, of course. I guess it is just something which I have not previously had cause to consider" Lycas@annpc#5570: "It is normal to wish for more influence, more control over the universe. You can crave what another version of you possesses, as many in the Empire today no doubt crave the position of Empress Sela." Lycas@annpc#5570: "But it is important to remember that they are not you." Nikki@crystyll: "But it not something I have ever felt I could truly say I craved, my heart has always been to see strength return to my people" Lycas@annpc#5570: "And to that you contribute still, as a member of the Republic navy." Nikki@crystyll: "I am not old enough to really remember the old Star Empire, so why would I harbor feelings of desire towards the station? Has my view shifted since learning of my heritage, is that even possible?" Lycas@annpc#5570: "It is, and that is the reason many worlds abolished the idea of monarchies. The allure of trying to reclaim what your ancestors once possessed is a strong one." Lycas@annpc#5570: "Much of the Gorn people are driven by it still today." Nikki@crystyll: "Then why do I feel shallow for even entertaining the concept that my ideals can be so easily swayed...?" she asks, almost with a pout Lycas@annpc#5570: "Temptation is a normal thing. It is something Vulcans must learn to confront all our lives. Having your ideals tested is not weakness. It is by overcoming these tests through which you become a - Lycas@annpc#5570: - better person." Lycas@annpc#5570: "Just as important as distinguishing yourself from other versions of reality is distinguishing yourself from your ancestors. Yes, you carry some genetic similarities, but that does not make you them." Lycas@annpc#5570: "You are your own individual, shaped by your own unique experiences, in this time and this reality. Your path is yours alone to forge, not determined by what your ancestors were or what any other - Lycas@annpc#5570: - version of you may be." Nikki@crystyll chuckles, "So I don't need to worry that I'll return to Romulan space when this is over, with a newfound desire to overthrow D'Tan take leadership of the Republic by a skewed perception of birthright Nikki@crystyll: " Lycas@annpc#5570 sips his tea, "I certainly hope not." Lycas@annpc#5570: "Power is always tempting, but that is not who you are." Nikki@crystyll smiles, "Thanks Professor. It is... reassuring to hear that" Lycas@annpc#5570 nods, "I am pleased I may be of assistance." Nikki@crystyll: "I hope the others who experienced this are able to find closure in equal measure. None of their experiences sounded particularly inviting" Lycas@annpc#5570: "If I understood the report correctly, these experiences are meant to test you, not relax you as a holodeck simulation would." Nikki@crystyll smiles, "Yes quite. That would be rather counter intuitive to the process wouldn't it" Lycas@annpc#5570: "It is by moving through tests like these that makes us all better. Hopefully, the others will have learned something valuable from it as well." Nikki@crystyll: "Here's hoping" she smiles thoughtfully, raising her glass Nikki@crystyll: --------------------------- NPC@annpc#5570 sits in the hydroponics room, enjoying a light meal. Crystyl@crystyll enters, looking around and settling her gaze on Nishaa. She approaches Crystyl@crystyll: "Hey Nishaa" she greets with a warm smile NPC@annpc#5570 looks up and smiles, "Oh, hey Crystyl. I didn't know you came here too." Crystyl@crystyll gives a thoughtful glance around, touching the leaves of a nearby plant, "Not as often as I should. I'm not intruding am i?" she indicates the meal NPC@annpc#5570 shakes her head, "No, not at all! Feel free to join me." Crystyl@crystyll pulls up a nearby seat and enjoys a quiet moment of the surroundings, "So do you often come here then?" NPC@annpc#5570: "I often visit to check on my plants. Technically, it's all our plants, but there's a few whose seeds I brought from my homeworld." Crystyl@crystyll: "There are? How wonderful!" She looks around, "But that's not what you're doing here today is it...?" NPC@annpc#5570: "Only partially. That being we found on the away mission somewhat reminded me of a plant, and I was reminded of my home too." Crystyl@crystyll: "Yes, I saw you were assigned to another ground team escort. Quite the interesting mission from what I've heard; bronze-age civilizations, chroniton readings and silicon life all in one place!" Crystyl@crystyll: "But you say this being reminded you of a plant? Like, a specific one from your homeworld or just a 'plant' in general?" NPC@annpc#5570: "Not to mention strange hallucinations...it's certainly one of the most eventful ones I've been on." NPC@annpc#5570: "It reminded me of a plant in general from the way it can be grown from a part cut off from itself. But these visions also made me think of my home." Crystyl@crystyll slowly nods, "Hence the visit here to reconnect through your plants here" Crystyl@crystyll: "Must have been quite deep experience to drive your thoughts back home like that..." she ventures NPC@annpc#5570 nods, "They were some thought provoking hallucinations, and from what I gathered from the rest of the team, they had similar experiences but tailored to their own desires." Crystyl@crystyll: "Desires eh? Nothing lewd I hope" she teases with a friendly chuckle NPC@annpc#5570 laughs, "No, nothing like that! Not for me, at least. I can't speak for the others..." NPC@annpc#5570 takes a bite of her food, "I was a big hero in mine and apparently single-handedly turned the tide in a war the Federation almost lost." NPC@annpc#5570: "Which is ridiculous, I know, but I think it was trying to be more symbolic than realistic." Crystyl@crystyll smiles thoughtfully, "A big ware hero, eh?" NPC@annpc#5570: "I'm pretty sure it's drawing from a couple of holoprograms I've played. It wasn't the hero part that stuck with me, though." Crystyl@crystyll: "Oh?" NPC@annpc#5570: "Most of the Federation's biggest heroes, the people everyone knows and looks up to, like Kirk, Spock, Picard, Sisko they're all from the Federation core." Crystyl@crystyll: "So for you, it was more about gaining prestige as someone from a colony?" NPC@annpc#5570 nods, "Exactly! When I was a war hero in that vision, people were actually interested in my life, where I grew up. And I could speak about the struggles of Outer Colonies, and everyone listened." NPC@annpc#5570: "Don't get me wrong, I don't think the Federation ignores us or anything." Crystyl@crystyll: "But it's easy for them not to see what isn't right under their noses" NPC@annpc#5570 nods again, "And a lot of the important people in Starfleet are still from the core worlds, or inner colonies." Crystyl@crystyll: "As perhaps, are those who idolize them. Have you ever considered the locality of those looking up to the heroes as much as those raised on a pedestal themselves?" NPC@annpc#5570: "Well, there's plenty in the outer colonies who look up to them too, but Sisko is definitely more popular out there than the others." NPC@annpc#5570: "He was on the front lines fighting back the Dominion and trying to outmaneuver the Cardassians after all." Crystyl@crystyll: "Yes well, given the whole Emissary of the Prophets thing I think that one can be forgiven" she chuckles NPC@annpc#5570 chuckles, "And that!" Crystyl@crystyll: "But you know... it's not always about those key figures. You know I've had first hand experience of hero worship like that?" NPC@annpc#5570: "Really?" Crystyl@crystyll nods, "Not as the worshipped hero, of course. But as the one raising others in such a manner, yes" NPC@annpc#5570: "Was it one of the Starfleet legends?" Crystyl@crystyll chuckles, "You might say that, I at least considered them to be such. Right up to the day when they raced across a whole sector to rescue me from a demon world..." NPC@annpc#5570: "Waaait..." NPC@annpc#5570 looks to Crystyl, "You're being serious?" Crystyl@crystyll grins, "Yes, I speak of no ordinary starship or crew, but the Valley Forge itself.. /the/ Valley Forge!" she thrusts her arms in the air for dramatic effect NPC@annpc#5570 chuckles, "Wow...we've been around but I had no idea we were that famous!" Crystyl@crystyll: "And that's my point! To you, you were just doing what you're here to do all this time. But to those of us plodding around the region on humdrum escorts and surveys; you became an inspiration" Crystyl@crystyll smiles fondly, "I still remember eagerly gathering with deck crew of the Jasmine every few weeks when a News Service bulletin was due to reach us, and eagerly learning about your latest escapade" Crystyl@crystyll: "Over the last few years, this ship - her crew - have done a hell of a lot, and while it may not make galaxy wide Federation core news, to those of us with local context... you were out there doing + Crystyl@crystyll: + we all dreamed of joining Starfleet to do. Many of the gang used to liken this ship to the Enterprise and speak it's name with the same reverence even!" NPC@annpc#5570: "That's news to me! Well, I'm glad people are hearing our escapades." Crystyl@crystyll: "So you see Nishaa, you don't have to be a big war hero to make a difference... because you're already doing it. Right now, there are officers and enlisted alike out there all waiting with baited + Crystyl@crystyll: + breath to learn more of our adventure - especially now - and all of them eager to follow our example" NPC@annpc#5570 smiles, "One of the reasons I joined up was to give outer colonies some representation. I never expected to be a war hero or anything, but it's good to hear that - NPC@annpc#5570: - we're making a difference here on the Valley Forge." Crystyl@crystyll smiles, getting to her feet, "You truly are, so keep that in mind. You are already an inspiration; you don't need to be anything more. Just be yourself" NPC@annpc#5570: "I will! Thanks Crystyl!" Crystyl@crystyll chuckles, resting a hand on Nishaa's shoulder, "And enjoy your food, hero" she gives a playful wink and heads off NPC@annpc#5570 smirks as she watches Crystyl head off.
SUBMITTED: Stardate 96648 FILED BY: LCDR Lendaria SECURITY: Level 2 - Confidential
LOCATION:Sector V-004: Prophet's Watch
MISSION:Investigate anomalous chroniton and quantum flux readings in proximity to pre-warp civilization
OUTCOME:Silicon-based lifeform identified and presence legitimized. Assistance rendered in lifeform 'Prophet's' procreation-equivalent
CAPT Se'Lai CMDR Meel SCDR t'Rllaillieu LCDR Lendaria LT Fisher LT Silvestrie CPO T'Quila PO Sethi
Following up on the results of the latest astronomical survey which highlighted a Class M planet in a nearby un-designated star system, we discovered the presence of a pre-warp civilization developing on the planet (estimated bronze-age level of development). Additionally to this, sensors picked up anomalous chroniton readings and quantum flux which warranted further investigation. Scans confirmed that the source was a silicon-based lifeform located in close proximity to the carbon-based indigenous civilization and so I was ordered to take a discrete observation team down the planet's surface to investigate. The team was built around consistent physicality with both Orion and Vulcanoid species for optimal blending with minimal artificial effort, though this was provided for our security escort as required.
After arriving on the surface, we made short work of analyzing the local language with the universal translators and moved swiftly towards the pinpointed location which appeared to be set into a mountain plateau at the heart of temple-like structure. Inside we were greeted by a local Priestess who took us to be pilgrims there to visit with the 'Prophet'; an assumption we were all too happy to accommodate. She was most informative about their culture and guided us through the temple to a trial chamber, explaining that all who seek an audience with the Prophet must undergo this trial; emphasizing that it was as much about ensuring a strong enough mental and physical state as it was a symbolic act of readiness. We later learned that the hallucination-inducing liquid we had to drink as part of this trial was in fact a secretion from the Prophet's physical form in this universe, one which served as a catalyst to accommodate direct communication as well as ensuring a suitably strong mind.
Whilst each member of the away team experienced completely different visions during this trial, there were consistent elements worth noting. Above all was the common theme of being presented with a challenge to morality and preconceptions, this was dressed around personal desire and temptation. Further to this was a common undertone regarding a galaxy-spanning conflict between 'Children' and 'Primevals'. My own vision also made reference to a 'Horde' which I believe is a consistent reference used by others with regards to an unknown threat in the region of space ahead. Each of our visions also concluded with a harrowing warning of a dark future presented through a vision of our perception of home aflame.
Following our success in the trials, we were escorted to the final chamber where the Prophet was housed and left to our communion. The Prophet lifeform itself appeared as a lifeless mass suspended in the centre of a cavern, however - owing to the secretion now within our systems - we received telepathic communication from the lifeform. It promptly established an understanding of presence, even indicating at times that we were not the first advanced civilization it had encountered in such a manner. Through our extended dialogue here we learned that it was not technically indigenous to this world, but had in fact arrived here naturally some 4 billion, 400 million, 36 thousand, one hundred and twenty one years previous. We learned that this lifeform does not primarily exist in space, but in time; establishing it as a truly unique form of life. Though difficult to comprehend, even for myself as a SME in the subject, I believe I understand the base premise of it's existence. Where our plane of existence - and that of all interconnecting dimensions - is space, we know through modern science that this is directly connected to a tangent plane - time. This connection is what supports concepts such as temporal mechanics and even warp travel at their basest level. Whereas other non-carbon based lifeforms on record have existed in some limited capacity within our plane of existence, this one simply exists in the other of which we have no equatable perception. As I understand it's existence, it gained awareness at the moment of it's arrival on this planet and in that same instant became fully aware of everything in the spacial plane that interconnected with it's physical presence - with no accounting for linear time. This means that since it's moment of awakening, it was also perfectly aware of it's eventual death and every event which would occur within reach of it's physical form during that period and across any of the interconnected multiverses.
The lifeform - referred to by the local name of 'The Prophet' for consistency still - also elaborated on it's perception of what we consider to be multiverses, or alternate realities, explaining how it sees all of them in their infinite possibility. This is partially how it was able to present the content of our visions - coupled with information from our own subconscious thoughts. It suggested that this perception is also connected to the common warning it presented in our respective visions; that we are on the precipice of a decision moment that will drastically alter the fate of the galaxy as we know it. The context in this comes from it's definition of life in our galactic plane being divided into two categories; 'Children' being those seeded by the species we know as the Preservers, ergo almost all carbon-based bipedal lifeforms on record - and 'Primevals' being essentially all other ancient lifeforms like the Prophet, Crystalline Entity, Delta Quadrant Caretaker as examples. Prophet implied that the region ahead of us is home to another Primeval which harbors a strong resentment towards the Children and seeks their total destruction. It stated that we will encounter at some point in the future, and will ultimately either destroy it or be destroyed by it. The harrowing warning of a future where our homes were aflame was to reinforce this outcome.
Beyond further analytical dialogue, the Prophet requested our assistance in what can best be likened to it's equivalent to procreation. It requested that we cut off a sample of it's physical form and take it with us on our journey; to seed on a new planet of our choosing. This was naturally not agreed to prior to consultation with the Captain, and reinforcing that no action would be taken with any implication of adverse effect on any naturally evolving life. Given the Prophet's knowledge that it is approximately 4 billion years into a fixed 12 billion year lifetime (for the physical presence we encountered here) I believe it was content with our not rushing within our limited lifetimes. The Prophet also affirmed that the 'cutting' would not be self aware until seeded, and once it did gain awareness it would be a completely new lifeform independent of the Prophet much like an offspring. This reinforcement leads me to hypothesize that such an arrangement is how the Prophet first came to be on this world 4 billion years ago; through the mutual aid of another spacefaring civilization of that time, though this is pure theory and the Prophet lacks the knowledge to clarify or disregard.
Despite reassurances that the cutting is dormant, I suggest it be held in containment indefinitely and with only passive analysis being conducted for record updates. Given that the Prophet's presence on this planet far outdates that of the developing society, I see no reason to interfere and consider this to be a naturally evolved symbiotic existence. Beyond this abnormality, the indigenous people seem to be developing naturally and healthily and so standard isolation should serve perfectly well in the long term here. The planet has been named 'Prophet's Watch' by the survey team, as testament to the unique presence we encountered here.
With regards to my away team, although we have all been given the all clear from medical as to the secretion in our systems; I would recommend that all members of the team are assigned to at least one cursory counselling session to balance the experiences of their respective visions, given the deep personal insight this may have presented to individuals. Further to this, I would make a note of commendation for CPO T'Quila insofar that her initial assessment of the visual survey carried out of the settlement was highly intuitive and reflective of her continued learning. Post debrief discussion about our personal experiences during this mission also leads me to recommend that PO Sethi be considered for MACO supplementary training.
The Prophet's warnings and talk of this Primeval species which lays ahead and poses such a significant threat is altogether far more concerning. Were it an isolated experience I would be inclined to disregard the implied gravitas, however given the consistency with an increasing number of accountings from independent sources including the Carran Scryer and more recently encountered refugees where we learned about an unseen telepathic enemy acting against them; I suggest that the Intelligence department begins to compile a full threat assessment and be given priority to all future potential intelligence on the subject. If there is even a chance that this warning is accurate, we need to start considering defenses and countermeasures now.