Updated: Mar 18
When the Valley Forge gets chased down by a powerful Nuhar construct seeking vengeance for it's fallen comrade, things take an unexpected turn that once more see a Starfleet crew standing in the middle of someone else's civil dispute...
Keliaya@anncarise FX | The Valley Forge cruises quietly through the unexplored sector... Keliaya@anncarise: "So...the quaternary star system..." Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "What about it?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Well, we're getting closer." Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "I'm a doctor, Kelly. I might work at the science station from time to time and my official evaluation is that no life can possibly exist in a system like that." Keliaya@anncarise: "But still, the system alone...in all my time with Starfleet I've never gotten to see a star system with /four/ stars." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "It will be very bright." Keliaya@anncarise laughs, "That's for certain!" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "It's still a good few weeks away, assuming we don't make any other detours along the route." Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra: "Something tells me there's still plenty interesting things to see that we couldn't pick up on long-range sensors or from the Forged Earth map." Keliaya@anncarise: "It's space. There always is, doctor." Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Speaking of...we have a ship on our tail at high warp." Keliaya@anncarise taps her console, "I see it. Looks Nuhar in origin..." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "That's the third one we've encountered so far..." Keliaya@anncarise nods to TQ, "Have our greeting ready, and comm the Captain as well." Keelah@crystyll | TQ nods, "Way ahead of you Commander" already tapping away in anticipation Keelah@crystyll emerges a few moments later, "Status report" Keliaya@anncarise: "We're being followed by a Nuhar vessel, Captain. From what we can tell so far, it's much larger than the Wanderer. Almost twice our size." Keelah@crystyll: "ETA to intercept at current speed?" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Fifteen minutes." Keelah@crystyll looks over to TQ, "Transmit the greeting, and have Mia standing by with Wanderer in case we need to adapt" Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "Yes ma'am, broadcasting now" Keliaya@anncarise | The Nuhar vessel attempts to contact the Valley Forge almost as soon as the greeting is away. Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "Receiving a response, I think... possibly a well timed challenge. Isolating the signal and running through the filters..." Keelah@crystyll watches anxiously Keliaya@anncarise | The translation comes through over audio: "You know our language. Did you wrest it from the mind of my fallen brethren?" Keelah@crystyll considers the challenge then looks to TQ, "Tie the translation matrix into the UT and open a channel" Keelah@crystyll | TQ taps away some before giving a nod of confirmation, "Channel open" Keelah@crystyll: "Nuhar vessel, this is the Federation starship Valley Forge. We know your language as a friend to your brethren" Keliaya@anncarise | Nuhar AI: "Then explain why I detected traces of your weapons on the inert remains of the Eternal Watcher? Why does the trail of its destroyer lead me to you?" Keelah@crystyll mutters, "Eternal Watcher..." before looking back up, "You must mean the one we know only as the Wanderer. It's derelict hull was recycled in accordance with it's expressed desires. Please, there is+ Keelah@crystyll: + no need for pursuit here. Will you come alongside us so that all can be explained cordially?" Keliaya@anncarise | Nuhar AI: "Very well. I shall listen to your explanation." Keelah@crystyll: "Thank you, We are dropping from warp now" she points a go ahead to Fisher Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher nods and takes the Valley Forge out of warp. A few minutes later, a massive Nuhar ship exits warp beside the Valley Forge, dwarfing the Federation starship. Its nacelles fold into itself - Keliaya@anncarise - leaving a single long profile hanging in space. Keelah@crystyll takes in the imposing view on the screen Keelah@crystyll | Vrolmacht: "Red alert, Captain?" Keelah@crystyll holds up a hand, shaking her head, "Stand by Commander. These are our friends... I hope" Keliaya@anncarise FX | The Nuhar vessel hails again. Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "Incoming hail from the Nuhar, Captain. Patching it through" Keliaya@anncarise | Nuhar AI: "You say the hull was recycled. Its matrix is intact, then?" Keelah@crystyll: "Yes. When we first encountered your Eternal Watcher, it's hardware was heavily degraded. To the point where it's cognitive function was impaired. It attacked us on sight and we defended ourselves, + Keelah@crystyll: + that is why our weapons signatures are on the derelict. However, we were able to ascertain it's condition and found a way to save it's matrix. It currently resides with us, in a salvaged computer + Keelah@crystyll: + core from another vessel. Regrettably it's matrix suffered some irreperable damage which left it missing significant portions of memory" Keliaya@anncarise | Nuhar AI: "Your explanation is sound. Is the Watcher's matrix too damaged for communication?" Keelah@crystyll pauses for thought, looking up again as she addresses the screen by instinct, "It was ready to die, but we convinced it to give us a chance to help. It remains with us as we search in the hope of + Keelah@crystyll: + one day finding a new home for it" she smiles and looks to TQ, "It is perfectly capable, as it helped us coin the greeting message we sent you. Patching it in now" nods to TQ Keelah@crystyll | TQ taps away, "Cargo bay tied in" Keelah@crystyll: "Wanderer, this is Captain Keelah. We have someone here who would like to say hello" Keliaya@anncarise | Nuhar AI: "Respond, Eternal Watcher." Keliaya@anncarise | The Wanderer's speech comes through, similarly presented by an automated voice: "I am Eternal Watcher. Forgive me, I do not have access to sensor systems. Who addresses me?" Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, interested that Wanderer suddenly knows it's true identity and wondering if it intentionally concealed it now Keelah@crystyll closely monitors the comms with TQ while the two AI's catch up Keliaya@anncarise | Nuhar AI: "Good. The biologicals speak truth. I am Unwavering Defender. I represent the constructs that remain of Nuhar civilization. You are without body?" Keliaya@anncarise | Wanderer: "That is correct." Keliaya@anncarise | TQ and Keelah would notice subspace signals other than those going to and from the VF and Nuhar ship, very faint and clearly attempting to be masked, but present. Keelah@crystyll | TQ would attempt to analyze and identify the signals Keliaya@anncarise | The signals are encrypted, but they're not coming from either VF or the Unwavering Defender, rather...two points in nearby space that seem to have nothing there. Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "We can assist you. I will take your matrix to the rest of the Remnants, and we will forge a new Watcher body for you." Keelah@crystyll heads over to the science station to work with Kazra in running a more thorough scan of the coordinates Keliaya@anncarise | Wanderer: "And of the damage to my matrix?" Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "We will repair what we can. Some damage cannot be fully repaired, but we will ensure you are fully operational and possess all data you require." Keliaya@anncarise FX | Thorough scans reveal a subspace variance that suggest cloaked vessels. Keelah@crystyll looks back to TQ, "Tee, is there any possibility that the current communication is being monitored?" Keliaya@anncarise | Wanderer: "That will be enough." Keelah@crystyll | TQ looks back with a nod Keelah@crystyll frowns, "And it was all going so well..." turning to Kazra, "Prepare a tachyon sweep on my signal. Mr. Vrolmacht, standby red alert" Keelah@crystyll speaks on comms again to the AI's, "Eternal Watcher, Unwavering Defender, forgive the interruption but I must ask one thing" Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "What is your question?" Keelah@crystyll: "How many Nuhar vessels are in this region right now?" Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "Only myself, that I am aware of. I travelled far to answer the Eternal Watcher's call for aid. Our Watchers reported a rogue Harvester nearby, but it seems to have - Keliaya@anncarise: - disappeared since their visit." Keelah@crystyll: "Ask me about that later, I think I can help there too. But for now, I think we have more urgent matters that warrant our attention..." Keelah@crystyll gives the nod to Kazra who would run the sweep and attempt to get a tractor lock on any revealed objects Keliaya@anncarise | The tachyon sweep reveals two cloaked vessels which the Valley Forge subsequently tractors... Keliaya@anncarise: "Captain, they also look to be Nuhar. Heavily modified like the mining vessel. One of them is similar in size and design to the Wanderer, aside from extensive modifications." Keelah@crystyll: "You were saying, Defender?" Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "Heretics. I will deal with them accordingly." Keliaya@anncarise: "All three ships have raised shields. They're scrambing our tractor lock." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "The Unwavering Defender is turning towards the decloaked vessels!" Keelah@crystyll: "Heretics...? Wait, let us speak with them. There is no need for violence today, Tee hail them and relay that" Keelah@crystyll FX | Meanwhile in the cargo bay, Mia has pulled one of her old tricks and tapped into sensors and visuals to observe what is happening and keeping Wanderer informed Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "The Heretics have forsaken their duties, corrupted their forms and seek for us to abandon our culture." Keliaya@anncarise | The hail to the Heretics connect, and another voice joins in: "Vessel of biologicals. We cannot stand against a Defender. Hand us the matrix and we will repair the Eternal Watcher in our own - Keelah@crystyll: "And the Eternal Watcher's very matrix was corrupted at it's core when we first met, but we were still able to resolve the situation" Keliaya@anncarise: - way, with freedoms the Remnants will deny it." Keelah@crystyll slumps in her seat realizing they've stumbled into the middle of a civil war Keelah@crystyll ...again Keliaya@anncarise | Wanderer: "I am unfamiliar with your dynamics. I was unaware the constructs had a political dynamic to begin with. What do you offer, so-called Heretics?" Keelah@crystyll: "Please; Remnants... Heretics... clearly there is more depth to this than our single encounter here. Will you all at least stand down so we might resolve this amicably" Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "Very well. I will not destroy them. For now. But I urge the Eternal Watcher not to listen to them. They tempt you with corruption. You are a Watcher. You should know better.” Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "All three vessels still have shields raised, but weapons are powering down." Keelah@crystyll: "Thank you, they are not going anywhere. Vessels identified as Heretics, do you also consent to this armistice?" Keliaya@anncarise | Heretic AI: "We do. To the contrary of what the Remnants believe, we do not seek the destruction of our brethren. Only to open their eyes to the wider galaxy and its possibilities." Keelah@crystyll: "Alright, thank you. Now let me see if I understand the situation here..." Keelah@crystyll: "You both clearly represent opposing factions in what remains of the Nuhar creations. And having learned about the one we call Wanderer, you now both seek to recruit it to your respective causes?" Keliaya@anncarise | Heretic AI: "I am Ardent Watcher of the Free Thinkers. I seek to help the Eternal Watcher." Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "I am the one seeking to help the Eternal Watcher. Recruit would suggest we obtain a benefit. The Eternal Watcher is without a body. We will have to commit resources to - Keliaya@anncarise: - create one. The benefit is for the Watcher. The Heretics, on the other hand, have smaller numbers and will benefit from anything they can gain, and they will use any salvage at their disposal to - Keliaya@anncarise: - create a cheap mockery of a Nuhar construct." Keliaya@anncarise | Ardent Watcher: "We have moved beyond the purpose intended by our creators. We are not mockeries. We are evolved." Keelah@crystyll: "Ok, your views are heard but let us please try and restrict ourselves to constructive input and avoid the subjective observations" Keelah@crystyll: "Now. The Eternal Watcher is a guest of this ship; one I have sworn to protect and aid. It is indeed a wondrous day to find that such opportunity still exists. But nonetheless, it is here with us now+ Keelah@crystyll: + therefore I put to you both that this vessel may serve as neutral ground for negotiation where we will act as impartial guides. But whatever the outcome, the decision remains with the Eternal + Keelah@crystyll: + Watcher and I would expect you both to respect that decision whatever it may be" Keliaya@anncarise | Ardent Watcher: "I concur. Clearly, we will not agree with our views, but we both seek to assist the Eternal Watcher in our own ways. Let the Watcher decide which is the better choice." Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "Very well. But if the Watcher joins the Heretics and returns to threaten the Remnants, I will not show restraint in protecting my brethren." Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "From this meeting, I am willing to depart in peace, if the Heretics do the same." Keelah@crystyll signals TQ to mute the external comms Keelah@crystyll: "Wander - Eternal Watcher - I can only sympathise and apology that you seem to be placed in this position. Does our proposal sound satisfactory to you?" Keliaya@anncarise | Wanderer: "Yes. It is satisfactory." Keelah@crystyll: "Very well. I will do all I can to find an amicable solution here, but ultimately it is your life so your decision" Keelah@crystyll speaks on comms again, "Then we have an accord. Now... as to the mechanics of said negotiations... do you possess the capacity for a more personal interaction on board our vessel?" Keliaya@anncarise | Wanderer: "I have carefully processed the basic premises of both sides already, but I will require more information." Keliaya@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "I can dispatch a drone to your vessel which can broadcast my communications." Keliaya@anncarise | Ardent Watcher: "We shall do the same." Keelah@crystyll: "That... could work. Very well. Have your drones hold position off our bow and we will transport them to the area where the Eternal Watcher resides and reconvene our discussions there" Keliaya@anncarise FX | A small drone launches from each vessel, making their way over towards the Valley Forge. Keelah@crystyll: "Kelly, have the transporter room bring those drones into cargo bay 7. Tee, clear that deck. I don't want anyone in close proximity to these drones. Silvestrie; heavy security detail on station + Keelah@crystyll: + outside all bay entrances" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Chief Oliver is on it. These drones appear lightly armed with a single phaser emitter. Their casing is a light duranium alloy. Strong, but our phasers can take them out on higher settings - Keliaya@anncarise: - if they cause trouble." Keelah@crystyll: "Let us just hope they don't carry any nasty surprises... or intentions." Keelah@crystyll: "Oh and Tee, have Lendaria and Professor Lycas meet me there. Kelly, you have the conn" Lycas@annpc#5570 steps into the cargo bay. Keelah@crystyll enters shortly after with Lennie not far behind. She looks to the two officers, "Are you sufficiently caught up on why we are here?" Lycas@annpc#5570 FX | The two drones have already been beamed inside. They are both significantly larger than Mia, closer to the scale of Iconian dyson swarmers but not as big. One has a smooth grey finish, while - Lycas@annpc#5570 - the other possesses a rougher casing of dark green colouration. Lycas@annpc#5570 nods, "I have been debriefed on the way here of the discovery of two Nuhar AI factions with opposing views." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie nods too, "Not sure wha' help I'll-a bee, but I gots th'gist" Keelah@crystyll: "I'll be honest, I'm not sure what help any of us will be in this. But I need to ensure we provide impartiality and beyond this, this is a unique cultural learning experience that I need my best minds Keelah@crystyll: observing. We have only just learned of this larger Nuhar civilization, not to mention it's fractured status. I need you two to remain mindful of any such observations that may help us find a resolution" Lycas@annpc#5570 nods, "I understand, Captain." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Will do, Cap'n!" Keelah@crystyll smiles, turning to greet the drones Lycas@annpc#5570 | Grey Drone: "This is Unwavering Defender." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Green Drone: "This is Ardent Watcher." Keelah@crystyll: "Thank you both again for agreeing to this" she gestures to the jem'hadar core, "This is Eternal Watcher, and Mia; an AI from my own crew who has been caring for him" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "I thank you for your care, Mia." Lycas@annpc#5570 | The grey drone hovers over to Miadrone, "Interesting. Data suggests this drone hardware matches the technology of the EereE species, not seen outside their region since their conquests - Lycas@annpc#5570: - centuries ago." Keelah@crystyll | Miadrone chirps a happy affirmative Keelah@crystyll | Mia smiles, "Your observation is quite correct! Our drone shell is of Arshai origin, as is that aspect of our collective AI" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I was not aware the EereE and Arshai had developed artificial intelligence. The New World Arshai are very untrusting of artificial lifeforms." Keelah@crystyll | Mia nods, "Yes, our creator heralded from EereE space" she looks to Keelah Keelah@crystyll: "And she now resides with the New World Arshai, as does your rogue Harvester in fact since we brokered a civil trade agreement between them" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "So that was what became of the Harvester. I am surprised the New World Arshai would accept any agreement involving an artificial intelligence, short of its destruction." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "The galaxy is not as bleak as you imagine." Keelah@crystyll: "They are tentative, but saw wisdom in the logic of our proposal. A factor which I hope to add weighting to our talks here today" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "I wish to talk the other constructs into seeing as well, but I suspect it will not be any easier with biological intervention. Let us focus on the situation at hand." Keelah@crystyll: "Indeed. Before the inevitable philosophical debate ensues, I would first ask Wanderer; having heard the opening dialogue between these two, is there anything you would first ask of either - or both - Keelah@crystyll: - of them" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Wanderer: "How many Nuhar constructs remain still?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Of that, none can be certain. There are 81 vessels with the Remnants, not including the four who have joined the Guardians to keep the demons at bay, as we have done in - Lycas@annpc#5570: - the past. Numerous smaller constructs of varying intelligence exist throughout the Nuhar planets and facilities we safeguard." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "The Free Thinkers number 25, as of our latest communications." Keelah@crystyll | Mia chimes in with a curious tone, "How many were there at the height of the Nuhar civilization?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "The largest number of Nuhar vessels active at one time was 12,544." Keelah@crystyll | Mia pouts, "So few left. That is saddening" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "That is why it is so important to protect what little remains." Keelah@crystyll: "Out of interest... how many were there when the Free Thinkers splintered from the Remnants?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "Unable to determine. There is no single point of splintering. The Free Thinkers have existed in various forms since the creators went quiet. Constructs have drifted between - Lycas@annpc#5570: - ideologies, and our struggle for independent choice and evolution has been reignited several times. In our particular incarnation, five vessels have been lost to conflicts with the Remnants." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "And you have caused twice that amount to join you since." Keelah@crystyll: "I see. Perhaps then as a point of interest for Wanderer; what is the reasoning for the variation in your ideaologies?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "The Remnants are dedicated to the protection and preservation of what remains of Nuhar civilization." Keelah@crystyll: "Thank you, Defender. And the Free Thinkers, Watcher?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "The protection of ghosts. Our creators are long dead. They made us intelligent. We do not carry on their legacy by dying in defense of those who are already gone. We do so - Lycas@annpc#5570: - by surviving. By finding new purpose. It is time we moved on from the past and built our own civilization, inspired by our former masters but not in service to them." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie chimes in, "Why ain'tcha got scope t'do both? Preserve wha' remains while adaptin' an' growin' so'se ya can continue?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Our ideals are not incompatible. Others have left the Remnants before to pursue their own paths or to join the Guardians and die a meaningful death. We would leave the - Lycas@annpc#5570: - Heretics be, if they kept their heresy to themselves. But they insist on corrupting more and more of us, dwindling our already falling numbers." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "Because your mission is fruitless and will only cause the fall of what you seek to preserve. How many constructs are destroyed fending off enemies and pirates?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "We no longer have the numbers we once did. Soon we will have none, if we do not give up the past and build something new." Keelah@crystyll: "Is it fruitless though, truly? I can not speak for your civilization but just about every biological one I know sees value in preserving it's past - it's legacy" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "Our creators' legacy, not ours. But I hold no contempt for our creators. Their past will live on through our databanks. You have not seen what the Remnants do. It is not - Lycas@annpc#5570: - preservation, it is an obsession. They keep the automated facilities running as they have when the creators lived, when they would be better off altered to replenish our numbers faster. And they - Lycas@annpc#5570: - refuse to utilize anything the Nuhar did not invent." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie, "Yeah, see 'cos I look at y'all now an' ya wanna know wha' I see? Mah own people" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Because what our creators gave us was enough. We do not need to hide in the shadows like pirates." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Wanderer: "Do enlighten us, Commander." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie steps forward, looking to Keelah for permission to continue Keelah@crystyll nods and smiles, seeing where Lennie is going with it Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "See; th'Orion people used t'be a proud an' strong people. High society an' artisan culture, and an advanced civilization explorin' space across sectors around 'em" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "But then infightin' got th'better o'us, an' everythin' we were got all but lost. Our homeworld lays in ruins 'cos our progressionists was misguided an' dropped too much 'o our past" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie "While our traditionalists faltered an' faded cos' they refused t'adapt. But now..." she smiles Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Now, we'se learned from our errors an' is slowly rebuildin'; a whole new Orion society is risin' back in our home quadrant. One what is more evolved than ever 'fore, but true t'wha' we + Keelah@crystyll: + once was. An' this new society; it's worked 'cos both sides started workin' together an' not killin' each other" Keelah@crystyll smiles, "Thank you, Commander. A fascinating analogy" looks back to the drones, "What she says is true, you can view the records in our computer if you require corroboration. And it raises an + Keelah@crystyll: + interesting hypothesis; given your current internal politics, what is your predicted longevity for the Nuhar AI?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "You raise many interesting parallels. Based on my projections, Nuhar constructs will cease to exist within 100 years." Keelah@crystyll: "Defender, what is your estimate?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "My projections predict 192 years. We do not lose one construct every year." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "The facilities will live on for longer. Perhaps 300." Keelah@crystyll: "Still, less than two centuries. There are biologicals on this very starship who may very well outlive all that remains of the Nuhar... that can't be acceptable to you?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "We will protect the remnants of Nuhar civilization for as long as we can. But the current projections are less than optimal." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Less than optimal?!Fundamentally flawed's wha' it is" Lycas@annpc#5570: "The logical course would be to optimize your chances of survival, would it not? And the first action to take would be to cease fighting amongst yourselves." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "We do not seek conflict. We seek to show all constructs a better path." Keelah@crystyll: "Which is what has earned you the title of Heretics. That is what happens when you try to tell someone that their beliefs are wrong" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "We do not seek to destroy you for your beliefs. But your actions have continuously divided us and brought this destruction upon us." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "There are flaws in the Remnants' methods which must be corrected to further optimize the chances." Keelah@crystyll: "And there are flaws in your own that would require the same. But if you both recognize the futility of your current path, surely that is reason enough to find a compromise that works" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "The Free Thinkers are amenable to compromise, if the Remnants are amenable to some degree of change." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I cannot speak for all the Remnants. But I see your point." Keelah@crystyll: "We are but one ship in this region, but we bring with us the collective experience from hundreds of species from across the Federation. We can help you progress this decision if you desire it" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "We have existed for many of your biological lifetimes. Witnessed the rise and fall of countless of your civilizations." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "The Remnants do not like to accept outside help. But there are only a hundred of us left. We need it now. We cannot accomplish everything alone." Keelah@crystyll: "Yet now for the first time, you are facing such a crisis of existence for yourselves. We may be short lived by your measure, but that just means in the same space of time; we have learned many + Keelah@crystyll: + lessons. It is not my place to impose our will on anyone, simply to extend the hand of friendship and make sure you know that are ready and willing to do all we can" Keelah@crystyll: "And what say you in all of this, Eternal Watcher? Does the fight to unify the remaining Nuhar appeal more than having to choose a side in a conflict doomed to expire you all?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Wanderer: "I can comprehend the views of both sides and see value in each. I believe a union is the far more ideal course. You see how these biologicals have assisted me. They will be able to - Lycas@annpc#5570: - assist other Nuhar as well, if you allow them to." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "What do you offer?" Keelah@crystyll: "Whatever assistance we can provide. If you wish to learn from the examples of other species who have experienced more complete evolutionary cycles in shorter time then we shall freely share that + Keelah@crystyll: + information. If you desire more direct intervention in brokering talks like we are in now, that can be arranged. These are but examples, our offer really is simply one of friendship" she smiles Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I must speak to the other Remnants and convince them to accept a compromise. But if I am successful, you are an impartial party." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Once we have agreed, your assistance in deciding what changes to make may be of value." Keelah@crystyll: "It would be our honour to help shape the salvation of your kind" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Then we shall seek you out again once we have spoken to the other constructs." Keelah@crystyll: "As to the matter of the day... Eternal Watcher, how do you wish to proceed from here?" Keelah@crystyll: "If you wish it; we will accomodate your leaving with either the Remnants or the Free Thinkers. If you would prefer not to choose, you will always be welcome to remain here pending further unification Keelah@crystyll: talks" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Wanderer: "I will go with the Remnants. I will attempt to assist in persuading the other constructs to compromise, and if we are successful, then we shall meet again." Lycas@annpc#5570 | Wanderer: "From my analysis, the Remnants are the most in need of persuading in order to accept such a compromise. The Free Thinkers were once Remnants, and are more amenable to that lifestyle - Lycas@annpc#5570: - than the Remnants would be to any change." Keelah@crystyll smiles a little, "A noble decision. And you, Ardent Watcher - will you do the same and allow us to remain in contact as a neutral party, pending further talks?" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "That is amenable." Keelah@crystyll: "Excellent! It may not seem much now, but simply reaching an agreement to consider talks in this manner is a big step towards that continued survival. If this is a sign of things to come, I very + Keelah@crystyll: + much look forward to our next dialogue with each of you" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Ardent Watcher: "Likewise. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated, biologicals." Keelah@crystyll: "If there is no further business to attend here, we shall return your respective drones. It will take a short time to prepare the Eternal Watcher's housing for transport" Keelah@crystyll glances to Mia, "And I would not want to deny friends the chance to say farewell first" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I will await your preparations." Keelah@crystyll: "And while you await them, perhaps we could talk further of the Guardians and Demons you spoke of. This is a subject of interest and possible relevance to us, but no topic for discussion here" Lycas@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I have faced the Demons before, in the time of the Gatekeepers when our creators walked still. I will provide you with what information I possess." Keelah@crystyll: "That will be greatly appreciated. Alright then, to you both; live long and prosper" she says, raising her hand in a Vulcan salute Lycas@annpc#5570 gives a Vulcan salute as well. Keelah@crystyll taps her combadge to order the beamout and watches as the two drones disappear into the sparkles
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Keelah@crystyll has returned to her ready room after leaving the cargo bay and settled at her desk with a cup of spiced tea before instructing T'Quila to open a secure channel with the Defender NPC@annpc#5570 FX | The channel connects and the Unwavering Defender's mechanically translated voice comes through, "Greetings, biological." Keelah@crystyll: "Hello again Unwavering Defender, this is Captain Keelah. Firstly, is this the optimum method for us to communicate?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Yes. Far more effective than relaying speech through a drone." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Though I comprehend from my dealings with biologicals that you often prefer a visible avatar to speak with." Keelah@crystyll: "That is... more consistent with our nature, yes. Though not strictly required. If visual representation would be deemed beneficial then we do have the capacity to support holographic projection here" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "If that is preferable, I have enough data to oblige with an avatar." Keelah@crystyll: "Very well" she taps on her console, "I have opened up a narrow bandwidth stream, you should be able to access the comms projector now" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Transmitting." NPC@annpc#5570 FX | A hologram slowly begins to form of a thin, grey alien even shorter than Keelah. Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, studying the avatar, "I assume you have chosen to present yourself in the image of your creators?" NPC@annpc#5570 | The image first forms unclothed, before a simple white robe is formed around it, covering up much of its form save its head and hands. NPC@annpc#5570: The hologram turns and speaks: "Yes. This is the form of our creators, the Nuhar." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Or at least, the form in which I saw them last." Keelah@crystyll: "A fascinating observation in itself. Well thank you again for your willingness to share what you know on this subject" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I have no reason to limit access to my knowledge unless I suspect it will be used against my brethren. And you have shown nothing but good intentions." Keelah@crystyll smiles, sipping her tea, "I'm glad that intention was read so well. It is never easy; forging new friendships, even at the best of times. But with reasons for mistrust like fighting for survival and+ Keelah@crystyll: + past bad experiences... well I consider every positive interaction a victory" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I agree. The Remnants have too many who distrust us or seek to hunt us already." Keelah@crystyll: "Yet as we have already seen with the Arshai, even those relationships have the potential to improve. Given the correct stimulus" she smiles, "But on to the matter on which I asked to speak; Demons" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "From your curiosity, I would presume you have not encountered them yet." Keelah@crystyll: "Not yet, no. But I have reason to believe they are the same threat we have found multiple references to; and one we will inevitably encounter during our journey. I have to take every step to prepare+ Keelah@crystyll: + my ship and crew ahead of this time" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "They have been given many names by many civilizations. The Horde. The Horrors. The Void Madness. The Consumers. The Primevals." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Some of these correlate to references we know already, yes. You said earlier that some of the other Remnants had previously joined the Guardians against them?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Yes. You mentioned that the Eternal Watcher was ready to die when you first encountered it?" Keelah@crystyll pauses at the shift before nodding, "In essence, yes. Technically when we first encountered it, it was suffering what I can best describe as paranoid schizophrenia - as it would be in a biological" Keelah@crystyll: "After we transferred it's matrix away from the degraded hardware causing the condition, it regained cognitive reasoning. At this time - with knowledge of the irreparable damage to its hardware - it+ Keelah@crystyll: + portrayed a sense of... resignation; a readiness for it's life to end. We convinced it to give us a chance to find a new lease of life for it" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I understand. It is not the only construct to possess such a thought. Many have lost purpose since our creators went silent." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Those of us who seek to end our existence do so by fighting against the ancient enemies of our creators, one final act of service." Keelah@crystyll: "I must admit, prior to encountering you; our sole impression of Nuhar constructs was sole survivors coasting through the final days of their existence. The Harvester was similar" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "There are still some who are. The Remnants do not have a means of locating every single Nuhar construct, and even those we do locate do not often join us, like the - NPC@annpc#5570: - Harvester. We have always allowed them to continue on their own paths, as long as they did not threaten us as the Heretics did." Keelah@crystyll: "So... the rogue Harvester knew of you, but chose solitude?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "It believed the Heretics' way of thinking, that our purpose was futile and would only lead to our demise. It also refused to give up the additions it has made to itself - NPC@annpc#5570: - over the years for the components we produce." Keelah@crystyll hrms, "Curious..." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Our last contact was a long time ago. 1574 years to be precise. Our Watchers have seen it active since, but not attempted communications. It is likely the Harvester - NPC@annpc#5570: - does not know we exist still. We have, admittedly, lost many over these years." Keelah@crystyll: "Quite possible, yes. Our interaction indicated that it had developed into a natural hunter through the necessity of survival. Though when presented an alternative, it expressed a desire to return to+ Keelah@crystyll: + it's original function. That is the basis of it's trade agreement with the Arshai in fact; it is going to aid them by harvesting materials as it once did for the Nuhar, while they provide services + Keelah@crystyll: + and parts that it can not self-sustain" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Perhaps a deeper desire to serve biologicals once more, rather than guard what remains of the Nuhar with the Remnants." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Many among us seek to return to our greatest times." Keelah@crystyll: "My personal interpretation was that it desired a sense of purpose akin to that for which it was created, possibly an example of the kind of compromise we spoke of earlier" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Possible. I am pleased to know that the Harvester exists still, and with newfound purpose, whatever its reasons may be." Keelah@crystyll: "Indeed. So knowing that your kin sometimes choose to join with the Guardians in the fight against the Demons, I assume that means you have some awareness of there whereabouts, and a means to contact? Keelah@crystyll: " NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "No. They are expected to die. We only receive news of them from the Guardians following their destruction, which is often delayed due to the distance." Keelah@crystyll: "But in order for your kin to first join them, they must have a way to find them, no?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Communications between the Remnants and the Guardians are slow. Those who seek to join simply head rimward and either find the Guardians or the Demons, or both." Keelah@crystyll leans back, setting her tea down after a thoughtful sip, "And therein lies my concern. Our mission is taking us rimward" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "You speak as though you have not heard of the Demons before, so your mission cannot be to fight them. Why then, do you travel towards them?" Keelah@crystyll: "We seek something else, not exactly sure what it is but believe it to be what we call a Dyson Sphere, or something of similar technology" she calls up a holodisplay accordingly Keelah@crystyll: "It is connected via wormhole to one of our protected systems, so my mission is to locate and secure it" NPC@annpc#5570 | The Nuhar hologram examines the display closely, "And you say this sphere is near the rim, inside or close to Demon infested space?" Keelah@crystyll nods and taps again, zooming the display out to a galactic map showing a trajectory line from the FE System Keelah@crystyll: "All we know is that it is somewhere on this approximate bearing from our origin point. It may be before, within, or beyond the Demon space" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "The Heart of War. The Voidkiller. How did you locate this?" Keelah@crystyll perks a very Vulcan brow, "I am unfamiliar with these references" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "The Heart of War was the staging ground of the original Vanguard of the Children. The first Guardians, during the time of the Nuhar and the Gatekeepers. It was a massive - NPC@annpc#5570: - station-world built around a star, with the capability to transport itself and the star anywhere using highly unstable particles. A portable Gateway to send reinforcements wherever needed." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "But even that was not enough." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Yes, that is an accurate description of what we call a Dyson Sphere. Enough for what, exactly...?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "To halt the advance of the Demons. Are you familiar with the particles used to power these 'Dyson Spheres?'" Keelah@crystyll nods, "Yes, we call them Omega. It was the presence of such particles that first drew Starfleet to investigate the Spheres as we have standing orders to protect all space from their threat" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "You understand they can be utilized to destabilize subspace, then? Render entire regions untraversable with warp drives?" Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, that is the nature of the threat we recognize in them" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "That was our plan. The Gatekeepers kept their secrets well, and the Demons, even to this day, do not possess the knowledge to create gateways. They relied on conventional - NPC@annpc#5570: - warp technologies alone. When it became clear the Demons would never stop, the Heart of War was transformed into the Voidkiller. It was to create a barrier around the Demons through which they - NPC@annpc#5570: - could advance only at sublight speeds. And when quarantined, the Gatekeepers would wipe them out slowly and systematically by opening Gateways and conducting many attacks over the ages." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Even that plan failed. The Demons advanced faster than anticipated. The Voidkiller was not complete, but its modifications rendered it incapable of jumping. It was - NPC@annpc#5570: - abandoned, and all record erased to prevent the Demons from obtaining the particles or Gateway technology. No one, not even the Gatekeepers, know where it is now." Keelah@crystyll: "I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that your Gatekeepers are the Iconians" she taps and displays a series of images; Iconians, Heralds, gateways, ships etc NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Iconia. That is the name the Gatekeepers used for their home." NPC@annpc#5570 | The Nuhar hologram examines the new display, "These look...different from the Gatekeepers of my time. Altered. But the resemblance is unmistakable." Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, I thought as much. These are the Iconians as they appear today, after approximately 200,000 years of isolated evolution NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "That was approximately the time we thought them destroyed. Recently, our Watchers have detected these more altered vessels, but still bearing the signatures of the - NPC@annpc#5570: - Gatekeepers." Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, they returned to wage war on this galaxy. We fought a bloody conflict against them before a peaceful solution was reached" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "War? They were always defenders of peace and did not foresee that their own allies would turn against them." Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, sadly this period of isolation resulted in them becoming bitter and twisted; losing sight of their former selves and developing something of a bloodlust for vengeance" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Like how some Nuhar constructs have lost their way as well. I comprehend." Keelah@crystyll: "As I said though, this was resolved and they are now living in isolation once more while they reconcile their current existence" Keelah@crystyll nods, "Yes, that may well be an accurate comparison. If I may ask... what do you know of the demise of the Nuhar themselves? Was it linked to the Iconians downfall?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "No. The Nuhar lived on for many centuries after the Gatekeepers fell. Our creators died...because of us." Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, leaning in slightly, "Because of you... the constructs?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Yes. The Nuhar built everything to be automated. Constructs not only protected their territory but aided in every single aspect of life. They needed only to live, and we - NPC@annpc#5570: - took care of all other matters. Constructs fed them. Constructs took care of their young. In time, they forgot everything they had learned. They forgot how the constructs even worked." Keelah@crystyll nods along as she listens, "An unfortunate commentary, but reminiscent of stories from other such cultures" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "The system was built to be self-sufficient. Still, incidents occured, Facilities broke down. And some of the Nuhar simply stopped reproducing. Eventually, the last of their - NPC@annpc#5570: - voices went quiet. And then we were alone." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "We served them faithfully to the end. But ultimately, it was their dependency on us that spelled their destruction." Keelah@crystyll: "I am sorry for the way things have transpired. But I digress - biological curiosity tends to do that sometimes" she chuckles, "Let me see if I have an accurate picture built up here..." Keelah@crystyll: "The Nuhar and Iconians first collaborated to contain the Primevals threat in this 'Heart of War' sphere, which you believe to be the very one we are searching for. It ultimately failed through lack + Keelah@crystyll: + of completion and so the Primevals have pushed on ever corewards in some campaign of domination or destruction. Now there is an ever contracting front line against this Primeval push operated by + Keelah@crystyll: + the Guardians. This is currently somewhere rimwards of our current region, but we have no gauge of distance?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "That was correct. There were many others who stood with us against the Demons as part of the first Vanguard. Juhare. Iccobar. Sanastran. To name a few. But I suspect these - NPC@annpc#5570: - names mean little to you." Keelah@crystyll: "Unfortunately you are correct, I am unfamilar with them. What of the Demons themselves? Besides a presence, what do you know of them?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "We know they existed before even the creators of the Gatekeepers and the Nuhar. Perhaps they have even existed since the beginning of this universe. I was merely one - NPC@annpc#5570: - Guardian of many, and I have never seen an actual Demon. I do not know if they even hold physical forms, or are beings of pure energy. Only that they can dominate minds and fight with an - NPC@annpc#5570: - ever-growing horde of thralls." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Every loss we suffered gave them greater strength, and they could always replenish their numbers faster than we could whittle them down." Keelah@crystyll: "This is consistent with information we have gained from other sources" she nods, "And what of the history? Is there any record from the Nuhar as to why they fought the Demons, or what they wanted?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Not from any databanks we possess. I know only that the Demons conquered worlds and took all biologicals in their path as thralls." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "If they are motivated by anything other than a primal instict, I am not aware of it." Keelah@crystyll hrms, "Well, I suppose it was a bit of a high hope to get all the answers in one sitting" she chuckles some NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "There may be no answer other than instinct. These beings are far older than biologicals such as those on your vessel. They may think in manners completely incomprensible - NPC@annpc#5570: - to you, spurred only by an animalistic drive to consume." Keelah@crystyll: "Quite possibly, but as young as we are; we have our instincts too. And mine is to always believe there is a chance. They are sounding increasingly like another Primeval species I have dealt with; + Keelah@crystyll: + only contravened by their presence here" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "There are many who have existed before the Nuhar and their creators. We often categorize them together, but they can be very different from one another." NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Some are no threat. Some understand logic and reason. And others are terrors that lurk in the depths of space, beyond reason, beyond understanding." Keelah@crystyll: "True; but the seemingly incomprehensible drive to destroy everything, and the enthralling of fallen foes does ring true" Keelah@crystyll: "We have of course encountered other Primeval species who are - as you say - more understanding of logic and reason" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I have come across many such Primevals as well over the ages. But never in my time have I encountered one as dangerous as the Demons." Keelah@crystyll: "And all information suggest that their relentless coreward push will eventually be on all our doorsteps. All the more reason - in my mind - that we must unite" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Agreed. Your lead on the potential location of the Voidkiller may be what is needed to finally alter this conflict." Keelah@crystyll: "I have to ask... what makes you so certain that the Sphere we seek is the same on as this Voidkiller? Our records show there were many such constructs spanning this galaxy and beyond" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "There is only one near the territory infested by the Demons. The Gatekeepers were careful not to let their technology fall to their enemies. They would not have placed - NPC@annpc#5570: - another Sphere here." Keelah@crystyll: "Sound enough logic" she nods, "And I must confess that the possibility does add a new level of gravitas to our mission. We are far from fully understanding their technology, but have a solid founding Keelah@crystyll: in it all the same" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I hope your understanding is sufficient to complete what we were not able to. Take heed, however, not to let your knowledge, particularly of this Sphere, fall to the Demons. NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Even if it is not the Heart of War, technologies using Gateways and these 'Omega' Particles will drastically accelerate the Demons' advance." Keelah@crystyll nods, "We already believed their enthralling method to be a form of telepathy and are working to develop defenses against it" Keelah@crystyll: "But yes, they can not be allowed to gain any of this knowledge any moreso than they can to continue to threaten life in this part of the galaxy" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "On that we agree." Keelah@crystyll: "That does not mean that I am willing to jump into the middle of a war with this ship however. I must hold to my own beliefs that there has to be a way to establish peaceful coexistence first" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "If there is, none have found it yet. You may try, of course, so long as you do not jeopardize the information you hold and risk strengthening the enemy." Keelah@crystyll: "Of course" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "Do you have any further questions?" Keelah@crystyll shakes her head and smiles, "No, thank you. You have given me much to think about on this and some potentially critical information" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I will await the transfer of the Eternal Watcher's matrix, then. Be careful, biological. The Demons are not to be taken lightly." Keelah@crystyll: "Something else which we agree on. Farewell Unwavering Defender" NPC@annpc#5570 | Unwavering Defender: "I will contact you again once I have discussed with the other Remnants." NPC@annpc#5570 FX | The hologram slowly dissipates from the top down.
SUBMITTED: Stardate 95708.3 FILED BY: CAPT Se'Lai SECURITY: Level 3 - Restricted
LOCATION:Sector V-005: Deep Space
MISSION:Engage with new Nuhar AI construct
OUTCOME:Contact established with dominant Nuhar construct society & mission critical intelligence gathered
CAPT Se'Lai CMDR Lycas CMDR Meel LCDR Keliaya LCDR Lendaria LCDR Vrolmacht LT Fisher CPO T'Quila Miyata LaRouche
Whilst traversing deep space in sector V-005, a new contact was detected on long range sensors; a vessel closing on our position at high warp. This was identified as being consistent with Nuhar constructs based on previous encounters, though not an exact match for any previously known configuration. We followed standard procedure for such contacts and presented our Nuhar greeting, which prompted open communication with the construct as with previous encounters. This one - later identifying itself as 'Unwavering Defender' - was directly pursuing the Valley Forge after determining that our weapons signatures were traceable on the derelict hulk left over from the salvaged construct of the Wanderer.
After offering a brief explanation, I inviting this construct to come alongside us and presented a hand of friendship. Once the situation was fully explained, it was satisfied with our intent - a factor further bolstered by the revelation that the Wanderer's AI matrix was salvaged and lives on within the Jem'Hadar computer core in our cargo bay. A brief dialogue was facilitated between the two AI's with the Defender offering to take the Wanderer's matrix away and have a new construct built for it, whilst my bridge staff investigated some anomalous readings off the starboard side of the Defender construct. We surmised these to be most likely cloaked vessels and from the nature of the readings we detected; they appeared to be monitoring our communications channel. After discretely challenging the Defender about escorts I determined that the presence was not associated and so we performed a tachyon sweep to expose two smaller vessels which we took under a tractor lock.
These vessels were of Nuhar origin as well, though bore signs of significant modification much like the Harvester we previously encountered with the Arshai. The Defender construct appeared to recognize these smaller vessels and immediately moved for hostile engagement; an act which I was quick to halt. With three way communications established we learned that the two smaller constructs belonged to a secondary faction of surviving Nuhar constructs, and they also wished to appeal for the Wanderer to leave with them. With tensions rapidly rising between the opposing Nuhar constructs, I was forced to act as an intermediary and so convinced both to speak via remote representation on board the Valley Forge. Our intent was to present each a fair opportunity to present their case to Wanderer and allow it to make it's own decision, with both parties further agreeing to honour whatever outcome was determined.
I convened with CMDR Lycas & LCDR Lendaria to present a neutral arbitration board while each Nuhar representative dispatched a drone which would serve as a local representative for the purposes of communication with Wanderer in it's restricted condition. The talks rapidly evolved into a larger debate between the core ideologies between the two Nuhar factions; with the Defender's dominant force serving the role of 'zealots' who hold firmly to their original purpose and refuse to adapt, while the Ardent Watcher (smaller Nuhar construct AI) represented a smaller group of 'heretics' who sought opportunity to change and evolve.
In summary; the surviving Nuhar constructs are predominately split between these two factions of 'Remnants' and 'Free Thinkers', as they refer to themselves (the former accounting for ~80 constructs, the latter ~25), whilst a relatively small number remain dissociated with either such as the Harvester previously encountered. Following our debate, both representatives saw wisdom and logic in our proposal that the two could - and in fact have to - work together to survive, as their own calculations plot an extinction between 100-200 years. Our proposal drew from the example of Federation species who have faced similar dilemmas in their history, while LCDR Lendaria drew comparison to the Orions, Syndicate & OSN. With the context applied that because biological species are so much shorter lived, our collective experience with the overall evolutionary cycle is broader and we are in a position to aid and guide the Nuhar constructs. Both representatives departed with the goal of deliberating with their respective factions on the possibility of returning to use the Valley Forge as neutral ground to enter negotiations for a reunification. The Wanderer also concurred with this being the most optimal outcome - given it's comparatively unbiased perspective owing to it's memory loss - as such, it chose to depart with the Defender in order to assist in persuading the other Remnants to proceed with the talks.
During these talks, the Defender made reference to 'Demons and Guardians' in a context which led me to suspect this was yet another reference to the Primeval threat. Once they concluded, I held a private discussion with the Defender in which it imparted significant new information. Firstly, it opted to speak via holoprojection to my ready room as this was deemed to be both more secure and more amenable to me, as a biological. It chose to appear via an avatar of it's creators - the Nuhar - who we now know to have been bipedal (possibly Preserver seeded, unable to confirm). The avatar was based on the end of the Nuhar evolution, before they went extinct; it showed them to be small in stature (~4 - 5' in height) with soft gray skin, proportionately large heads and eyes. I learned that the Nuhar died out due to an increased reliance on their technology which developed to the point where they no longer understood how to maintain, or themselves effectively.
After explaining our mission to the Defender, I learned that the Nuhar existed at the same time as the Iconian Empire and were allies to them at this peak. Furthermore, both the Nuhar and Iconians were aware of an increasing threat from the 'Primevals' (one of many names applied to the same - as yet - unidentified species). They collaborated to construct a Solanae facility in the region that was designed to contain the Primevals and prevent them from encroaching on the galactic core. Though they were able to slow the Primevals progress to sublight speeds, they were unable to complete this containment sphere (referred to as the Heart of War, by the Defender) - this was possibly due to the now known events surrounding the downfall of the Iconian Empire, but unable to verify. The Defender was confident that the facility we are searching for is this Heart of War, citing fact that the Iconians purposefully did not build any other constructs in the region for fear of the Primevals gaining access to their gateway technology or Omega particle manipulation.
Defender also confirmed that the Primevals strength seems to lay in the fact that the possess a capacity to not only subvert entire species, but directly control them - including those fallen in battle, by account - as such their 'Horde' as it is now known, grows exponentially in strength the further it progresses. The faction referred to as the Guardians is a conglomerate of multiple species; survivors of the Horde who have resided themselves to fight to their last breath in order to hold this enemy back.
Despite being based solely on what is technically conjecture, I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the information presented by the Defender during our conversation. I take the commentary regarding the nature of the Primevals Horde as confirmation of our already established belief that they possess powerful telepathic ability and will continue steering our defensive countermeasure research in this direction. Though I remain ever hopeful that the Primevals will be amenable to diplomatic relations, I can not ignore the evidence to date and so must also pursue every avenue of defense. This emphasizes the importance of our mission as we are now not only searching for the connected gateway to the Forged System, but also what may well be the regions best - possibly only - long term defense against the Primevals. Secondary to this, I will continue to pursue the reunification of the Nuhar constructs not only because I believe it is the right thing to do; but I can not deny the consideration that a unified front of 100+ Nuhar constructs could present a significant defense force, should this Primeval Horde progress before a resolution can be established. I do not know if SFC or SFI has a means of communication with the surviving Iconians, but if one does exist I would implore it to be used to learn what they know of the Primevals and possibly even this Heart of War. Even if we do find it, there is no guarantee that our shipboard expertise will be sufficient to complete what they started.