Updated: Mar 18
Two small craft from the Valley Forge find themselves being a mining colony's only defense against relentless Lupan raiders.
View Act I
Keliaya@anncarise FX | The Valley Forge continues through the lawless territory they have found themselves in ever since leaving the Regulated Zone. The ship is alert for more raider attacks, but so far all have - Keliaya@anncarise - been quiet... Keelah@crystyll sits, quietly reviewing sensor data on her armrest. Seemingly spending more of her duty time on the bridge than the ready room since the business with Sin... Keliaya@anncarise | Lt. Gwi taps on the navigation console, "We're approaching a number of systems with M-class worlds. Have we decided if we'll check any of these out?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Only if they're not too out of the way, I think. We don't want to be in a region like this much longer than we have to." Keelah@crystyll looks up, "How many systems contain potential sites of interest? Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "Five from our long-range scans. Two aren't far off our course, one requires a little bit of travel and the others are on the edge of a different sector." Keelah@crystyll smiles lightly, "This is exactly why we have two full hangar bays. Mr. Gwi... plot a course central to all five systems. Low warp, to a fixed RV point on the other side" Keelah@crystyll: "We can send out survey teams in the Runabouts and larger shuttles. 3 day preliminary survey missions, to meet at the RV point afterwards. If any are worth further scrutiny, we can double back" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi smiles back, "On it, Captain." Keelah@crystyll: "Kelly, are all support craft in service at present?" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "The damages from our initial encounter with the Lupan have all been repaired." Keelah@crystyll moves around to Kelly's side, "Excellent. Given the volatile nature of this region, I'd like to pair each survey ship with a smaller shuttle carrying security forces. Perhaps give the MACO's a + Keelah@crystyll: + chance to stretch their legs a little. Delaware, Pennypack & Paper Mill can pair with Skye, Mysti & Artrin. T'Lia & T'Pia can pair with Surak & T'Pau" Keliaya@anncarise: "I was just about to ask if it's a good idea to send support craft out here, but these precautions will certainly help." Keelah@crystyll: "Each survey ship will be fully staffed, and the security details should bolster them sufficiently. If any encounter inhabited worlds, they will withdraw immediately and return to base. With us + Keelah@crystyll: + remaining in close proximity to all systems, we will be able to serve as emergency response as well" Keliaya@anncarise: "We'll keep our sensors and comms open in the meantime." Keelah@crystyll: nods and smiles, looking to Lennie as she returns to her seat, "Well Commander. You've got some survey teams to put together" Keelah@crystyll: "Silvestrie will coordinate with you on the security personnel" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie beams eagerly, "Aye Cap'n!" Ann Carter@anncarise | Delaware and Skye approach one of the systems of interest. Ann flies the larger runabout staffed with primarily science personnel, while Jenni pilots the shuttlecraft with - Ann Carter@anncarise - security and MACO personnel on board. Ann Carter@anncarise speaks over comms to everyone, "Alright, we're approachin' the system. Science teams are startin' preliminary scans now..." Jenni@crystyll: <C> Copy that Delaware. We'll hold position off your wing and keep a watch on long range sensors" Ann Carter@anncarise | All is quiet for a few minutes before the comm opens again. Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "We're seein' signs of tech on the fourth planet. Still too far out to see lifeforms though. Our instructions are to turn back on findin' somewhere inhabited, right?" Jenni@crystyll: <C> Affirmative. Signs of intelligent life and report straight back to base" Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Well the tech's definitely active, but science team wants to get closer to check for signs o' life to make sure." Jenni@crystyll: <C> Understood Delaware Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "We're just takin' her in a lil bit more..." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | Jenni's sensors suddenly pick up a signal indicating something dropping out of warp! Jenni@crystyll: <C> Delaware, we're tracking an inbound warp signature Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "I see it too...looks like it's usin' sensor maskin' tech. Now tha' we know where it dropped out though we can focus our sensors to get a closer look." Jenni@crystyll: <C> Alright, we'll follow your lead. Though I suggest we have a return course plotted ready to jump to warp if they are hostile" Jenni@crystyll: <C> This bus is not as combat ready as I would like... Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Runabout ain't bad, but it's no fighter. Got return course ready, sensors standin' by." Jenni@crystyll: <C> Same here. On your lead, Delaware Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Engagin' sen-" The comm is filled with static as several disruptor bolts suddenly fly towards the two Starfleet craft! Ann Carter@anncarise | Delaware goes evasive immediately, though a streak of fire grazes one of the nacelles. Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Okay they're hostile!" Jenni@crystyll: "Taking evasive action!" she hurriedly works the console, cursing the tactile interface Jenni@crystyll: <C> Bug out Delaware. Back to base Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Negative, warp coils are fried from that hit! We're gonna need a tow but it's not gonna be easy when bein' shot at!" Ann Carter@anncarise FX | Sensors register two small craft launching from the planet, but they're headed to the hostile ship and not the Starfleet craft... Jenni@crystyll: <C> Alright, stay behind us. We'll run interference and see if we can... 2 more contacts inbound from the surface. Are they... are they engaging the hostile?" Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Looks it but they're takin' heavy fire. These look jury-rigged to me, an' trust me I know scrap work. They ain't fighters..." Jenni@crystyll: <C> See if you can make contact with them. I'll see what this tub can do to support them Jenni@crystyll looks over her shoulder, "Better hang on to something back there, this is going to get bumpy..." Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "On it. We'll try to support too, we've lost warp function but we got our shields up now an' a runabout's tougher than ya'd think for its size..." Jenni@crystyll diverts power from intertial dampeners to tactical systems, so the shuttle gains a little manouverability too. Then turns to support the small craft against the hostile Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The enemy ship draws into range, a small vessel no larger than a Klingon bird of prey... Ann Carter@anncarise | https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/starcraft/images/a/ac/Liberator_LotV_Game1.JPG/revision/latest?cb=20191202005205 Ann Carter@anncarise | Delaware comes in behind the shuttle, firing its phaser at the enemy ship. Its shields flicker, but hold for the moment. Jenni@crystyll takes the shuttle on the offensive, trying to provide support to the unknown craft Ann Carter@anncarise | The unknown fighters join the attack... Ann Carter@anncarise | https://torcommunity.com/images/gsf/sr00b.jpg Ann Carter@anncarise | Blue beams emit from two bottom-mounted placements and impact the enemy ship. Its shields flicker again, weakening but clearly holding. Ann Carter@anncarise | The enemy focuses first on the larger Delaware, who with shields active can take a few disruptor shots but is still forced to break the attack and evade. Once the Delaware is off it, the raider - Ann Carter@anncarise: - sprays disruptor bolts in the direction of the smaller craft. The shields of one of the fighters buckle instantly and it explodes in a flash of light. Ann Carter@anncarise | Skye's shields take a hit as well, but are still stable for now. Jenni@crystyll recognizes the orbital interceptor style of the unknown friendlies and forms up with the remaining one for a counter attack Ann Carter@anncarise joins the counter attack with the runabout. As they open fire, the enemy's shields flicker more erratically and readouts indicate they are about to fail. Ann Carter@anncarise | The enemy raider returns fire on its three attackers, trying to force them to break off. Jenni@crystyll: <C> Focus fire on that weakened arc. Hopefully our new friends will see it too and follow suit Jenni@crystyll barrel rolls over the friendly to take a lead position for the strafing run at said shield Jenni@crystyll FX | Those in Jenni's shuttle might be feeling a little nauseated about now, with the intertial dampeners not fully powered... Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Good call! Delaware's on it too!" Ann Carter@anncarise | Skye fires the initial shot and the friendly fighter follows suit, its shot collapsing what's left of the shield. Delaware's phaser manages to penetrate the hull, tearing through several of - Jenni@crystyll curses a string of profanities as she tries to make the shuttle do things it just wasn't ever meant to do Ann Carter@anncarise: - the raider's decks and leaving a nasty hole in its side. It returns fire with all facing banks, but Jenni's shuttle is already stressed enough from its attack maneuvers to evade all of it in time... Jenni@crystyll curses again as they are shaken by an impact and sprayed by sparks and smoke from overloaded consoles Jenni@crystyll focuses on her flying though still, leaving the nauseated MACO's to run DC on the shuttle Ann Carter@anncarise | Delaware darts in between the raider and the shuttle, taking the remainder of the heavy fire with the more durable and larger craft. The last friendly fighter, without a runabout taking fire - Ann Carter@anncarise: - for it, disintegrates completely from the disruptor barrage. Ann Carter@anncarise | The runabout returns fire again, a sweeping phaser attack that leaves a blackened gash in the raider's already damaged side. The enemy ship turns away and promptly retreats to warp. Jenni@crystyll winces at the sight of the last friendly dropping and sighs Jenni@crystyll: <C> Delaware, you all in one piece over there? Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "We're good. How 'bout you?" Jenni@crystyll: <C> A few bumps and bruises, but we're still flying. Structural integrity suffered though, so we may not be fit to tractor you at warp Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "We're contactin' the ship on wha' happened...hang on, we're actually gettin' comms from the planet too." Jenni@crystyll: <C> Let's hope they had sensors on that and know we didn't destroy their interceptors... Ann Carter@anncarise | An alien visage appears on one of the shuttle's screens... Ann Carter@anncarise: FX | https://i.imgur.com/cWlHPHB.jpg Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Alien> "You stood against the raiders. Are you Watchers?" Jenni@crystyll quietly observes the dialogue, assuming Gwi will take lead on the contact and focusing instead on restoring shuttle systems Ann Carter@anncarise | Gwi replies on the Delaware: "No, we're part of the United Federation of Planets, specifically crew of the starship Valley Forge, here on an exploration mission." Ann Carter@anncarise |<C - Alien> "I'm afraid we don't have much to pay you with. These were our last defense craft. You can take what resources we have and go, if you like." Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Alien> "Better for folk like you to have it than the Lupan." Jenni@crystyll doubletakes back to the monitor, commenting off comms to the shuttle occupants, "Are they for real? They think we're mercenaries or something?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Delaan: "This region is occupied primarily by mercenaries." Ann Carter@anncarise | Nishaa: "And Lupan. According to the security briefings, at least." Jenni@crystyll: "Right... well hopefully Gwi will prove we're not that way inclined" she chuckles Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Gwi> "We're not after any payment. You can keep your resources. Was that ship Lupan?" Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Alien> "Yes. Their pack has been trying to raid us for many rotations now. We put together what defense craft we can but now they are all gone. And we cannot afford the Watchers." Jenni@crystyll: "Sounds like we got here just in time..." Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Alien> "The Lupan will be back, and it seems our fate is all but sealed. I would suggest you leave, outlanders, if you do not wish to share it." Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Gwi> "Actually...we can't. Our warp coil is damaged and our escort shuttle's in no condition to tractor us. But we can contact our ship, it'll be here to support as soon as it can." Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Alien> "We will not turn down aid if you offer it. But all we can give you is materials to repair your damage. We are but humble miners." Jenni@crystyll: "I'm sending an update to the Valley Forge now" she notes, while acknowledging the same to Delaware off comms Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Gwi> "As I said, we don't need a reward." Ann Carter@anncarise: <C - To Skye> "Thanks. Let us know wha' the Cap'n says." Jenni@crystyll: <C-To Delaware> "Base acknowledges contact. Advises we accept hospitality and put down for repairs. Valley Forge will route back to us in 3 days after the other teams return Ann Carter@anncarise relays the information to Gwi, who informs the locals. Ann Carter@anncarise | <C - Alien> "We will give you repairs. And hope the Lupan do not come back before your ship." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | Both shuttles get coordinates for landing. Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Alright, let's touch down an' see wha' the locals got to work with." Jenni@crystyll: <C> Coordinates received. Recommend you let us disembark first to secure the LZ Ann Carter@anncarise: <C - Gwi> "Sounds good. Let us know if we're clear and we'll see you on the surface." Jenni@crystyll clearly thinks more about team security than diplomatic first impressions as she plans to offload a shuttle full of MACO's at the first chance Jenni@crystyll: <C> Acknowledged. See you on the ground Delaware Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | The landing zone is amidst a small settlement comprising of relatively low buildings. At the centre of the town the shuttle sensors register a deep tunnel, likely a mine that the settlement - Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 - is based around. The region is rich in raw construction resources, though sensors cannot penetrate after a certain layer of the mine due to the mineral contents. Jenni@crystyll disembarks the shuttle, leaving the MACO's to secure the area while looking over the battle scars on the hull with a pained wince Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | A small group of the aliens, short and stout beings with greyish skin and metal coloured hair, make their way over to the shuttle. Some of them are armed with weaponry that look like TOS-era - Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: - rifles, though they are not pointed at the shuttle occupants and appear to be a precaution more than anything. Jenni@crystyll encourages the MACO's to stand easy as well, stepping forward to greet them and looking for the one she saw on comms Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | The one from the comms steps over to greet them, "I am Duchev Iz-Gelec, Mayor of this colony." Jenni@crystyll: "Flight lieutenant Jennifer Baelai of the Forged Earth Planetery Defense. Though... I should probably say the Federation here, shouldn't I..." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "By Federation you mean union of planets, yes? Yours is one of them, I assume?" Jenni@crystyll: "Sort of. The United Federation Planets is the organization that our mother vessel - the Valley Forge - represents. I am but an exchange officer representing my own people..." frowns at her poor + Jenni@crystyll: + attempt at this, "The other ship will landing momentarily and our mission CO will be able to explain better then, I'm sure" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "What is a mission CO?" Jenni@crystyll: "Oh, um... right. Well, we're out from our main starship on a survey mission. We're explorers, see. C-O is military shorthand for Commanding Officer" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Ahh, so CO is the person in charge. Was that the one I spoke to over the screen?" Jenni@crystyll: "Yes, Lieutenant Gwi is in charge of our mission team. Hopefully in a few days when our ship arrives, you will get to meet our Captain. She's the one in charge of all of it" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 nods, "Yes, hopefully we will still be here and the Lupan will not." Jenni@crystyll: "I assume they will regroup and try again. How long do you think we have until they launch another assault?" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "I don't know. They've always been using the same ship to attack, but it's too small for a pack. They must have a bigger ship somewhere, but they use the small one to whittle us down." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "They used to come every two rotations or so. Just show up, take out some defenses and run off when we start doing damage." Jenni@crystyll: "If they meet no resistance in orbit, I assume they will come to ground?" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Probably. Hard to say when they will come back because we never hit them as hard as you did so they need to fix up, but if they bring their big ship around we won't stand a chance." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Or maybe they'll choose to fix the small one and come back with that. So far it's been more like a game for them than an actual fight." Jenni@crystyll: "Then perhaps we can spend this time preparing your colony for defense while getting our craft back up to scratch" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "We had defensive gun placements here before," he points to a plume of smoke from a nearby hill, "But the Lupan picked them all off and we haven't been able to rebuild them in time." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Had to resort to converting transport shuttles to defense craft. Like the ones you saw." Jenni@crystyll: "Well we don't have much in the way of equipment, but we have some of our strongest fighters with us. Perhaps they can figure out a way to adapt our shuttle weapons into ground based AA artillery" Jenni@crystyll: "Either way, it's in our collective interests to help each other and find a way to survive if they get here before our ship" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 nods, "We do not have any fighters still alive, not professional ones at least. But our miners know some things about construction and tools." Jenni@crystyll: "Then I suggest we get to work" to turns and gives SGT Daz a nod to proceed Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 motions to some of the miners, who step over to convene with the MACOs on how best to set up the defenses. Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "For handheld weapons we barely have enough for our own. We only had a limited stock, the rest are repurposed mining lasers." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 glances over to the MACOs, "I assume you have your own armaments?" Jenni@crystyll nods, "Yes, our people are well armed and should be able to help yours make the most of what they have available" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Excellent. I have met Lupan before, we want to take them out at a distance. Once they are close, nothing short of a Toroki will be a match for them with their claws and jaws." Jenni@crystyll: "A... Toroki?" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "One of the many dangerous species in these parts. They used to be as much of a problem as the Lupan, long before my days." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Now, most of them work for the Colonial Fleet. Some work for the highest bidder, but there's less of them as raiders now." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Which is good. From the stories I hear, there are few things as terrifying as they are." Jenni@crystyll: "I'll keep it in mind... for now though, I'm really more of a pilot than a ground fighter so I should focus on what can be done for aerial support" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "But if you adapt your weapons for use as artillery, how will you be able to help in the air?" Jenni@crystyll smiles, "I've learned a few tricks over the years. Let's talk more about this colony of yours; what do you mine here? I noticed the geology seems to interfere with sensors quite a bit" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "We are miners, part of the Nvarta Corporation, but we are mostly self-sufficient. Nvarta has a private military, but a frontier colony like ours only had a small contingent." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "It will take a long time before one of their bigger ships get here, and even one of those might not be a match against a full Lupan pack." Jenni@crystyll: "And what of the raw material you work here?" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "We have aluminum, beryllium and magnesite, but our most profitable mineral is topaline." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "There is a sizable uranium deposit at the other side of the planet, but we have not tapped it yet. There's no topaline there, so it wasn't deemed a priority." Jenni@crystyll: "Topaline? I'm not familiar with that name. Magnesite could be the cause of the sensory interference though. If our science team concurs, that could make a useful advantage" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "It can also block sensors. I can give your science team what we have to work with. No use in saving it, we won't be able to sell it or extract more if the Lupan take the mine." Jenni@crystyll: "If it's native to the mine, it could be more useful in fortifying that position" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "That...that's a good idea. The mines are more defensible than the open area, and we know it better than the enemy." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "And I don't think they will try to collapse it, otherwise they don't get anything out of the raid." Jenni@crystyll: "Then we should make a priority of fully surveying your mine in order to work out the best tactical deployment there" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 FX | As they speak, the runabout approaches the colony and sets down beside the shuttle, now that they know the colony is friendly and safe to land in. Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 nods, "Yes. Of course. My miners will show you around and help you fortify." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | The occupants of the runabout step out, with Ann surveying the damage while Gwi steps over to Jenni and the Mayor. Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 spots Gwi and looks over, "Ah, this must be your 'mission CO' then." Jenni@crystyll smiles, "That's him. Over here, L-T" She waves him over Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | Gwi steps over with a welcoming smile, "Lieutenant Gwi. Pleasure to meet you..." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Duchev Iz-Gelec, Mayor of the colony." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "Thank you for assisting us. I was just discussing with your pilot here about how best to prepare our defenses should the Lupan return before your ship comes." Jenni@crystyll: "Yes, we have some possibilities to review with you; key points so far being cannibalizing shuttle weapons to mount AA artillery. Second is getting a full survey of the Magnesite mine as a fortified + Jenni@crystyll: + position" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | Ann steps over from the runabout, "Usin' the mine as a holdout, an' it can stop 'em from beamin' in. Smart." Jenni@crystyll: "Hopefully. There are other minerals in play here that I'm less familiar with. Lieutenant Gwi, perhaps your team will be able to better review our available assets?" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "If Ensign Carter says it's smart, it probably is. I'm no tactical expert, but my team can definitely assess the minerals and see what we can use them for." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | Ann: "I'll help with the AA artillery. Repurposin' things is wha' I do best." Jenni@crystyll: "If I can get a better look at the landscape, I may be able see some useful tricks that a disarmed shuttle can still make use of" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | Ann nods, "Ya can take whichever shuttle we ain't workin' on. We'll cannibalize weapons an' do repairs on 'em one at a time so there's always one ready in case the Lupan show up." Jenni@crystyll: "Good call" Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | Ann: "I'll get workin' on the shuttles." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "And we'll make our way over to the mines." Mayor Duchev@annpc#5570: "I will inform the mine's overseer of our plans. But with luck the Lupan will not return until your ship does, and we will not have to fight on the ground with them." --- Alien NPC@annpc#5570 FX | It has been over a day since the two shuttles arrived on the mining colony, which the current occupants named Volstak (which appears to be their name for the planet and sole settlement)... Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Having agreed to help the miners set up defenses while waiting for the VF to arrive, the crew survey what they have to work with and construction of the artillery made from shuttle weapons is - Alien NPC@annpc#5570 - already underway while key members of the team gather in one of the colony buildings to discuss the situation and provide one another with updates. Jenni@crystyll enters the building a little later than the rest, having first found somewhere suitable to land the shuttle ready for a fast deployment Jenni@crystyll: "Lieutenant" she greets Gwi as the officer in charge, "Hope I didn't keep you waiting" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi, Daz, Ann, Nishaa and Delaan are already gathered inside. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "Not to worry. Many of us have just got here too. So, what do we have to report?" Jenni@crystyll: "I think the aerial survey was fruitful. There's a lot of mountainous terrain that I can lead them on a merry chase through out there" Jenni@crystyll: "Otherwise, this place is pretty barren. A number of ancient ruins that may be of interest later on, but I don't see any tactical advantage to disturbing them at present" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Ann nods, "Might be somethin' to study once the Forge gets here. We're makin' good progress on the defenses, should be done by the end o' the planet's day. We ain't got any shieldin' for 'em, - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - but we're addin' some o' the sensor disruptin' materials to the construction. Should prevent any target lockin' and hopefully have them resort to less accurate manual aimin'." Jenni@crystyll: "Nice. What about the mine itself, did we have any luck fortifying a position there for the miners to take refuge?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa nods, "We've fortified the mine entrance and we're just working out further layers of defense now. The families of the miners are holed up deep inside, but most of the miners themselves - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - are going to do what they can to help fight." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "The materials in the mines are turning out to be quite useful, as the Ensign stated. But there was one discovery my team and I made..." Jenni@crystyll: "Sounds intriguing" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "There was a section of the mines we weren't allowed to go in," Nishaa nods at this, having likely gone to the same area and been turned back. "They say there was a collapse inside not - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - long before we arrived, and it's unstable and not safe to go inside." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Ann: "Maybe we can lure the Lupan in? Set a trap for 'em?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi shakes his head, "Except I don't think the miners are telling the truth." Jenni@crystyll: "You think they're hiding something?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi nods, "My species are empathic, we can sense the emotional state of other beings- those similar to us at least. The miners that turned us back were definitely hiding something." Jenni@crystyll: "It may of course be nothing of our concern..." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "Indeed. That's why I'm not sure we should pry about it. But at the same time, it could be something important." Jenni@crystyll | Daz chimes in: "Just give the word, boss. My squad can soon find our way in and see what they're hiding" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "I'm not sure it's a good idea to go in there. Normally I'd confront the Mayor about it, but we probably don't want to alienate them." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Ann: "Yeah...we kinda gave 'em our weapons, an' the Lupan are still out there somewhere." Jenni@crystyll: "Food for thought once the Lupan threat is dealt with then" Jenni@crystyll | Daz pouts Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "I'm sure you and your squad will have more than enough to do soon. Speaking of which, we need to go over plans on what to do if the Lupan show up." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | He looks to Jenni and Ann, "They'll be approaching with their ship or ships first, no doubt, so you'll be the first in line to greet them." Jenni@crystyll: "With it's weapons stripped, the second shuttle will be little use to meet them with in orbit" Jenni@crystyll: "But if we can draw them into low atmo, I can make it work for us" she looks to Ann, "What do you think, meet them with the Runabout and draw them down?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Ann nods, "Runabout's tougher than the shuttle. Delaware can take a few hits if they manage to land any on ya." Jenni@crystyll: "Sounds good. I'll bet good latinum that if they are chasing a fleeing ship as prey, they are more likely to follow it to ground. Then I can swing in with other shuttle and take them on a little tour" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Ann nods, "I'll lead 'em in, and you can do your thing." Jenni@crystyll: "Hopefully they will remain in limited numbers so that I can draw whatever's following you down. But we don't know what will turn up yet, you could have a full starship up there" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "What about the artillery we set up? It's repurposed from our shuttle weapons, so it won't do much against a pack carrier. Should we focus on taking out smaller ships that might follow - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - you down, or let Lieutenant Baelai deal with anything chasing the runabout?" Jenni@crystyll: "Hopefully anything that comes down, I can draw into the mountains. Bottom line, I'd fire that A-A at anything coming into range. The batteries won't give much power, but maybe enough to make them + Jenni@crystyll: + think twice about aerial assault and maybe force them to ground. Then Daz' team take charge" Jenni@crystyll | Daz grins, cracking his knuckles Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa: "We have a force field set up on the mine entrance. They won't be able to beam inside the mine with all the minerals there, but the force field won't last forever either." Jenni@crystyll | Daz, "You can force them into a bottleneck there. My squad will take up positions around the colony and assault them from all directions if they get close enough. That force field will be the last+ Jenni@crystyll: + line. If they breach that, it's all or nothing and we need everyone back in to surround them" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Delaan: "We will support you. The miners can lead the attackers into the bottleneck. They will think that is all there is if we do not reveal our presence on the ground to them immediately." Jenni@crystyll | Daz nods Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "Sounds like we have a plan, then. Let's hope the Valley Forge gets here and we don't need it, but it's good to be prepared. Let's continue setting up the defenses in the meantime." Jenni@crystyll nods and turns to Daz, "Sergeant, has your team deployed all available demo charges yet?" Jenni@crystyll | Daz shakes his head, "We were going to spread more out for triggered traps, why?" Jenni@crystyll grins, "If you could spare a few remote detonators, I'd like to rig a few traps of my own up in the mountains" Jenni@crystyll | Daz gives a knowing smirk and a nod of approval, "I'll see what we can muster for you" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "The more tricks we have, the better. We can't prepare for what the Lupan might bring, so it's always good to have more options for us to use." Jenni@crystyll: "My thoughts exactly. Well if there's nothing else, I should grab those charges and get back in the air" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Ann: "I'll finish helpin' set up these artillery, an' if we got time to spare, maybe see wha' we can do to toughen up the runabout." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "The locals set up an alarm system throughout the colony. Once their sensors pick up the Lupan, and they can't hide for long while making their approach, we'll all know about it." Jenni@crystyll: "Figures given how their interceptors arrived in such a timely manner before" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi nods, "I've talked with their sensor operators, they'll send a notification to you if you happen to be in the air when they get here." Jenni@crystyll: "Appreciate it" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "That's all for now. Good luck with the rest of the preparations." --- Ann Carter@anncarise FX | Almost another day had passed since the meeting. Jenni is in her shuttle when the alert comes through the comms about incoming Lupan. Ann Carter@anncarise | A few seconds later, comms from the Delaware come in as well, "This is Ensign Carter, we're takin' off to try an' draw their attention." Jenni@crystyll: <C> Acknowledged. Do we have a confirmed fix on their numbers? Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "A raider, this time supported by four fighters. Guess they brought a lil more after we hit 'em hard last time." Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "No sign o' a carrier yet." Jenni@crystyll: <C> "Those escorts will make things difficult. Even if you draw them all in with the raider, it's doubtful they will all peel off for me Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Could try to pick 'em off with the artillery. Or do ya think it's a better idea to focus tha' on the raider?" Jenni@crystyll: <C> "No, I want to keep them all away from the colony if I can. I have a plan that will take care of that raider if I can bait it to follow” Jenni@crystyll: <C> Just get their attention and come to my position. We'll take it from there Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "On it!" Ann Carter@anncarise | The runabout dashes out of the planet's atmosphere and towards the oncoming Lupan ships, which spots it immediately and begins opening fire. Ann Carter@anncarise | On her sensors, Jenni can see the Delaware going evasive and diving back down to the planets with the raider and its four escorts in pursuit. Jenni@crystyll: <C> I've got you on sensors Delaware, maintain your course... Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Maintainin' course. Heads up, they'll be closin' in soon." Jenni@crystyll FX | On Ann's sensors, the Skye would appear to be stationary Jenni@crystyll: <C> Just a little further... you should see the valley forming ahead, get as low as you can and prepare to break on my mark Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The Delaware descends down, the four fighters in close pursuit while the raider looms behind for fear of getting too close and crashing, instead firing the occasional shot at the runabout. Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Shields are holdin' at 20%. I see the valley..." Jenni@crystyll: <C> Alright, skirt it, but don't descend. Looks like the raider is playing it smart... Jenni@crystyll watches for the Delaware to pass her position Ann Carter@anncarise | Delaware skirts the valley and soon passes by the shuttle... Jenni@crystyll | Skye's engines fire at full throttle and it drops down from it's perch amidst a dense magnesite deposit atop one of the flanking mountains, dropping like a brick behind the raider Jenni@crystyll lurches the shuttle forwards, gunning right at the raider, "Remind me to apologize to the deck chief for this..." Jenni@crystyll | Skye continues full throttle and grazes as hard as Jenni can force it, against the raiders shields. Ploughing forwards over the front of the raider and through the middle of the smaller escorts Jenni@crystyll: <C> Alright Delaware, break off. Let's see if that got their attention... Ann Carter@anncarise | Delaware breaks off and the raider and three of its escorts does indeed follow after Jenni, though one fighter continues to follow the Delaware. Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Still got one on my tail but you got the rest!" Jenni@crystyll: <C> Delaware I'm seeing one bogey still on your 6. Let the AA's take it, and I'll see about making this schoolbus dance Jenni@crystyll | Skye ducks, weaves and barrel rolls evasively - and deliberately frustratingly for her pursuers - catching a few rock races with the shields as it doesn't quite corner as she wants Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Leadin' it into the AAs. Good luck, Skye." Jenni@crystyll grumbles, "God....dammit you've got a fat ass! Come on! This would be so much easier with Eon..." Ann Carter@anncarise | The raider and its three escorts pursue Skye, the smaller fighters following closer while the raider maintains its slightly higher altitude. Jenni@crystyll wouldn't have to go far through this chase before reaching her trap point. A finger on the proverbial trigger as she passes her visual marker Jenni@crystyll: "Just a little closer..." she throttle back a tad to tighten the gap Ann Carter@anncarise | The fighters don't pull away, instead taking the opportunity to try and hit Skye with their weapons now that the distance is closed... Jenni@crystyll | Skye is shaken and scarred by the more frequent hits Jenni@crystyll prays it proves worthwhile as she hits her trigger for the remote detonators, aiming more for the raider than the support craft Jenni@crystyll FX | A chain of violent explosions erupt along the flanking ridges of the mountains to their sides, sending huge boulders tumbling towards the pursuing ships Ann Carter@anncarise | The explosion is timed well-enough that the bulk of it hits the raider, damaging its shields and sending it sideways where it embeds into one of the mountainsides. Several boulders rain down - Ann Carter@anncarise: - on the vessel, its shields completely gone from the impact but its hull holding out against even the heaviest of rocks, though it probably won't be taking off again anytime soon. Jenni@crystyll: <C> Yeeeaaaah! Scratch one raider! Delaware, how's your dance partner? Ann Carter@anncarise | The fighters have less luck, with two of them completely crushed by the rocks. The third pulls up, losing most of its shields from the explosions but managing to remain intact as it narrowly - Ann Carter@anncarise - avoids destruction. Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "Good work Skye! AA guns got the one on us, I'm still readin' one more near your position though!" Jenni@crystyll: <C> Affirmative. Will try and draw it to the AA's as well. That raider is down, but not out. If they have power they may still be in transporter range, and may be a little annoyed too. Ground units, + Jenni@crystyll: + stand by Ann Carter@anncarise | The last enemy fighter hovers above the destruction for a second before getting its bearings and continuing its pursuit of the shuttle. Jenni@crystyll continues her awkward and evasive pursuit to lead the last fighter back towards the colony's AA turret Ann Carter@anncarise | The fighter closes in fast on Skye, managing to land one more hit and collapse the shuttle's shields, but it seems to be tunnel visioned in on Skye and unaware of the AA turret... Jenni@crystyll leads the last fighter right into the AA's sights, and they land a solid hit on it causing the fighter veer off uncontrolled Jenni@crystyll: <C> Woop, that's all of th- Jenni@crystyll is shaken bad as the veering fighter lands a lucky shot on one of Skye's nacelles before it smashes into the ground Jenni@crystyll: <C> Sonofa... Engine's are hit... venting plasma... I'm losing attitude control, going to have to aim her for the ground and pray. Sorry Delaware, you're on your own up here now Ann Carter@anncarise: <C> "We'll keep watch up here! Try an' land smooth as ya can!" Jenni@crystyll sets an auto descent and runs for the emergency transporter, swiping a sidearm on her way Alien NPC@annpc#5570 FX | Jenni materializes in the colony, the damaged shuttle streaking above before coming to a rough landing on the outskirts, just missing one of the furthest buildings out. Jenni@crystyll looks around trying to get her bearings and see who is around Jenni@crystyll winces a little as she sees the shuttle narrowly missing the building, an internal sigh of relief at the favourable luck there Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Many of the aliens are holding positions in cover around the colony. A few have proper weapons, but most are armed with converted mining lasers. One of the aliens, holding nothing but a - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - plasma torch mounted on a pole into a makeshift spear, rushes up to her, "Where did you come from?" Jenni@crystyll glances towards where the shuttle went down and points, "I /was/ in that. Have they moved against the colony yet? Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The miner points to a dead Lupan in one of the alleys nearby, "Just scouts. We got most of them. Your people are waiting for the main force. We get them into position, they attack." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Miner: "I can show you to where some of your people are hiding." Jenni@crystyll: "Alright, lead on" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The miner leads Jenni through the colony, skirting near the edges of the buildings where it's harder to be spotted. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Just as they nearly exit the central area of the colony, figures begin to materialize all around them. The miners armed with energy weapons open fire, taking out a few as they materialize. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The form of the Lupan are unmistakable as they appear in the colony, some of them returning fire while others opting for a four-limbed charge, zig-zagging and making them extremely difficult to hit. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The miner leading Jenni yelps as the firefight breaks around them, doing his best to get them through the fighting. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | As they skirt the edge of a building, the miner suddenly finds himself face to face with a tall, black-furred Lupan. He jumps back and tries to jab the large alien with the plasma torch pole, - Alien NPC@annpc#5570 - but the Lupan adeptly catches the shaft of the pole with one hand and steps forward, swiping his claws and knocking the miner aside before turning to Jenni. Jenni@crystyll skids to a halt behind him, reaching to grab his shoulder and pull him back but failing to catch him in time. Instead ducking backwards herself and loosing a flurry of phaser bolts Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Two of the bolts hit the Lupan and he drops to the ground. Jenni hears a noise from behind her however... Jenni@crystyll slooowly turns her head, suspecting she is already being loomed over Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | She's not being loomed over yet, but she sees a grey Lupan charging her on all fours. It barrels into her, knocking her down and the impact of the charge causes her to drop her pistol. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Lupan pins her down with one of its hands, opening its jaws and ready to bite down...when he is hit by something and simply collapses on top of her, still pinning her there. Jenni@crystyll breathes heavily with the realization that her luck has not quite run out for the day just yet and silently thanks whichever - presumed - MACO sniper just saved her Jenni@crystyll then proceeds to grumble and curse as she tries to push the heavy lump of a dead weight up without success Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | She suddenly feels the weight lessening as someone appears to be helping her lift it... Jenni@crystyll grunts and shoves with all her might pushing the Lupan's body to the side it's leaning away to Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The body is pushed away with help, and she finds security officer Delaan standing above her, offering her a hand. Jenni@crystyll smiles, grabbing the hand firmly and pulling herself, "Delaan! Your timing is impeccable. But oh, the miner!" she hastily looks around for her escort to check on him Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa had already made her way over to the miner escort, holding her rifle in one hand as she checks on him before shaking her head. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Delaan nods and leads Jenni into nearby cover, Nishaa following close behind and providing covering fire with her rifle. Jenni@crystyll retrieves her sidearm on the way, "What's the situation?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Delaan: "The miners are leading the attackers into the bottleneck. That is when we hit them." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | From what she can see of the main area of the colony, the miners are backing away towards the mines, leading the Lupan in... Jenni@crystyll: "Alright. Delaware is still airborne, but Skye is grounded. I'm at your disposal" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa: "We can use an extra phaser. When we get the signal on our combadges, take out as many Lupan as you can." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Lupan follow the miners, but pause as they step into the mine. Jenni@crystyll: "You don't have to tell me twice" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Delaan: "Why are they not following?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Several of the Lupan return fire, keeping the miners pinned inside the mine while the rest seem to congregate in a circle... Jenni@crystyll: "Are they... having a team meeting?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | A transporter beam can be seen in the centre of the circle, and the figure that materializes appears to be a Lupan with bright red fur. Upon closer inspection, its body is adorned with various - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - pieces of bone jewelry, and its proportions are very different and clearly female... Jenni@crystyll: "A pack alpha maybe?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa: "Maybe. Definitely looks like a meeting of some sort..." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Lupan female speaks, her voice audible across the colony centre and picked up by Jenni's translators... Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Lupan Female: "The game is over! The gods made us to be the greatest hunters the universe has seen! So tell me hunters, will you be bested by these little rats?!" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Lupan howl in unison, and the red female makes a gesture with her head. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Lupan Female: "The Alpha will not be pleased with your failures so far. I can soothe his rage, if you show me you are worthy of the name of Architect's Strongest!" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | A large Lupan male answers, "We will not fail you again, Priestess. We will crush these vermin!" Jenni@crystyll: "Architect’s Strongest...? Is that the pack name, or some other power they answer to...?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "Kill them all! And bring back the holy artifacts!" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Lupan howl once more before charging into the mines. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa: "No time to think about that now. Almost time to spring the ambush..." Jenni@crystyll: "On your mark" she nods Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | As the last Lupan head into the mine entrance, their combadges chirp... Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Delaan: "GO!" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa and Delaan spring from their positions along with the MACOs, all opening fire on the Lupan in the mine from various angles. Jenni@crystyll charges out, letting Delaan & Nishaa lead the way Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The two security personnel leads on to their assigned ambush point as the combined fire pins the Lupan inside the mine. Occasional streams of blue and orange inside indicates the miners are - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - fighting back on the other side, pinning the Lupan in between. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Several of the Lupan manage to charge out, zig-zagging to evade fire as they try to reach the MACOs and security... Jenni@crystyll focuses on the charging Lupan to protect the more skilled marksmen Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Her shots take out two of the charging Lupan, covering for the MACOs and Nishaa who have better aim and are taking out the Lupan inside. Delaan joins with taking out those who manage to escape. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Lupan are clearly panicked now, by the dialogue their translators are picking up... Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Lupan 1: "We are pinned in here!" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Lupan 2: "Teleporters don't work here! We have to make a rush for it!" Jenni@crystyll tries to find breaks in the covering fire to attempt a stun shot at the Priestess, figuring her to make a valuable captive Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Lupan 3: "No! Protect the Priestess!" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | She manages a stun shot into the priestess' back and she falls into the ground...before turning her head around and charging out on all fours... Jenni@crystyll stands up, a little taken aback, "Oh crap..." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Three other Lupan join her, seeming to act as meat shields for her. Jenni@crystyll fires relentlessly at the charging wall of fur in vain hope of avoid being trampled to death, or worse... Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa tries to hit her, but one of her Lupan escorts jumps in the priestess' way, taking the shot for her. Delaan takes out another, and a third goes down to Jenni's volley. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Delaan turns to shoot at the priestess after downing one of her Lupan escorts, but he is too late and a backhand from her sends even the large security officer flying away. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa manages to fire, but the priestess is fast, leaping out of the way before grabbing the barrel of her rifle and hurling it away. Jenni@crystyll would attempt another shot on a higher setting if she can get clear line of sight without risk of hitting Delaan Jenni@crystyll: * or Nishaa Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | She nearly has a clear shot...before the priestess grabs Nishaa's neck and hoists her up. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "Ahh...meddlers. That explains the fight you put up. But you are nothing but a mistake. A first attempt made in the image of the gods. We are their finest creation. We are perfection." Jenni@crystyll freezes with panic, "Stop! It's over, Priestess. Just... let her go..." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess snarls and turns around to Jenni, "Do you think your lives matter to me? We were made to be stronger, faster, better than you. We are the future. Your kind is obsolete." Jenni@crystyll: "I don't really care what you think of our lives. The question is, does your own life matter to you? Your ships are smoldering wrecks, your pack reduced to feed for the scavengers. Will you throw the+ Jenni@crystyll: + rest away or do the smart thing?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess growls and lets Nishaa go. She drops to the ground, coughing from the Lupan's hold on her neck. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "My life does not matter to me." She points at the mine entrance, "But the holy artifacts inside that mine do." Jenni@crystyll lowers her weapon slightly as a show of rewarded faith, "Holy artifacts... the ancient ruins on this planet, they are of your people?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess lets out a huff that seems like a mix between a snort and a chuckle, "No. They were likely of your kind, the first and misguided children of the gods. But the gods themselves left - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - something behind on this world. These things we value greatly." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Nishaa: "You could've just...asked for them." Jenni@crystyll: "Ok, I think I know the kind of thing you are talking about. We can still resolve this, I'm sure. But you have to give us a chance to; call your pack off and let us help you - and them - achieve your+ Jenni@crystyll: + goals. You may sneer at the miners, humanoids in general. But /we/ have bested you. /We/ have proven our strength, surely that deserves the respect owed to an Alpha" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess casts a sideways glance to Nishaa as she slowly gets off the ground, "That is not our way. The gods made us strong so we can take what we want." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | She turns her gaze back to Jenni, "But you are right. You are stronger than we anticipated, and we have suffered far too many losses already." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess raises her head and lets out a long howl and the Lupan begin standing down. The miners and MACOs warily hold fire as they observe, weapons still held at the ready. Jenni@crystyll taps her combadge <C> Cease fire, everyone... cease fire Jenni@crystyll: <C> Lieutenant Gwi, please join us at the mine entrance, and bring the Mayor Alien NPC@annpc#5570: <C - Gwi> "We're on our way." Jenni@crystyll maintains a wary grasp on her phaser and an unwavering eye on the Priestess while they wait Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess doesn't try anything and waits as well. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | A few moments later, Gwi, the Mayor and several other miners emerge from inside the mines, making their way past the remaining Lupan carefully. Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi steps over to Jenni and the Priestess, "This is their leader, then?" Jenni@crystyll turns to greet them, "Lieutenant. This is the Lupan Priestess, and she has presented some pertinent information" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi nods, "I'm Lieutenant Gwi of the Valley Forge. Are you here to negotiate?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess huffs, "Negotiate. There is one thing I want, and my people will not relent until we have it." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "And what is that?" Jenni@crystyll looks to the Priestess, "If you will allow it, I believe I understand enough of what you explained that I can translate the context into familiar words for my people" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess makes a gesture with her head, then adds, "Explain." Jenni@crystyll looks back to the others, "The Lupan are not here by accident. They have reason to believe that this mine holds a site of significant spiritual meaning to their people, possibly even holy relics as + Jenni@crystyll: + they are viewed. From what else has been said, I believe we may be talking about an unearthed Preserver site. The Preservers are revered by the Lupan, and it is the protection of this holy site + Jenni@crystyll: + which drives them now" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Mayor sighs and steps forward, "We found the ruins while mining for topaline. The Corporation told us not to speak of it but...I guess you know already." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Mayor: "One of my workers...activated something when they were searching for artifacts. Maybe that drew the Lupan here." Jenni@crystyll: "That stands to reason. The question is, how do we proceed from here?" she looks between the Mayor, Gwi & Priestess Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "You can keep your mine, but we will have the artifacts." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Mayor: "The Corporation will never let that happen! They were hoping to make a hefty profit from the artifacts, probably more than the mine will in a decade!" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess huffs, "Typical ignorance of lesser beings, selling off the artifacts of your makers." Jenni@crystyll: "And the Corporation would no doubt happily throw you to the wolves... um, figuratively speaking of course... in order to get that profit" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Mayor: "Yes! It's not my decision, it's the heads of the corporation that'll get all the profits, we'll probably just get a little bonus. But if we give the artifacts away..." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Mayor: "They'll cut ties with us. And we are self-sufficient, but we need the Corporation's private military to stop further raids. You won't always be here to help." Jenni@crystyll: "If you give them to the Lupan, you and your colony will survive. And no doubt find yourselves in their good graces for... seeing the wisdom in letting them have their artifacts" Jenni@crystyll looks to the priestess, "And perhaps you may find wisdom in not simply removing the artifacts, but utilizing them where they are. If they are as functional as they seem to be, it could be wise to + Jenni@crystyll: + keep them safe and undisturbed; that you can gain the maximum benefit of their unearthing" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Priestess thinks for a moment, then speaks, "Yes. You can work for the Sisterhood." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Mayor: "What if the Nvarta Corporation sends their soldiers to take the artifacts by force?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "We can protect you from the Corporation. You give us the site, and some of your materials." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Mayor: "Some of our materials?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "What you extract from your mine. We do not settle and mine. We take. If you do not wish us to take, you can give, and we will help protect. Is this not unlike your arrangement with - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - your Corporation?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | The Mayor nods, "I suppose. We'll be able to sell the rest of what we produce?" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "Yes. As long as you do not sell anything from the holy site." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "Sounds like a fair deal to me." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Mayor: "Yes. Better than continued raids. And the Corporation's soldiers never get here on time anyways." Jenni@crystyll: "Indeed. And I'm sure we can see our way to acting as neutral party if you need to more clearly define any further details of this arrangement" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi's combadge chirps and he taps it, "Lieutenant Gwi here." Alien NPC@annpc#5570: <C - Ann> "This is Delaware, the Valley Forge just warped into the system." Alien NPC@annpc#5570: <C - Gwi> "Thank you for the update. Let them know additional security support won't be necessary at the moment." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi looks to Jenni, "Speaking of neutral parties...I think the Captain's arrived to take over." Jenni@crystyll: "Medical and engineering support might be fruitful though, L-T" she notes, glancing around the colony-turned-battlegrounds Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi nods and taps his combadge again, "Let them know we need medical and engineering personnel. And tell the Captain the Lupan are here to negotiate and are not hostile." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "...anymore, at least." Jenni@crystyll looks up to the Priestess, "I know this approach is not your way, but I do believe this will work out for the best. for all concerned" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "We can use steady resources. And who better to mine it than these little...folks." Jenni@crystyll: "I'm assuming your ship will also need some repairs. You will get approached before long on this anyway, so I may as well get in first while we are talking and say that we are eager to learn more + Jenni@crystyll: + about the cultures and species we encounter. While your repairs are being attended, I know there are those among us who would welcome the opportunity to learn more of your kind from one such as + Jenni@crystyll: + yourself" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "It is not our way to share knowledge. But I suppose you have proven stronger than most of your kind. The Alpha will be coming with the pack ship to help with repairs. We will speak - Alien NPC@annpc#5570: - to you if you wish in the meantime." Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | As they talk, medical and engineering personnel from the VF begin beaming down around the colony. Jenni@crystyll smiles, glancing to Gwi, "I suspect my colleagues will be better suited to any such discussions. I am just a pilot after all, not a diplomat or scientist. I just wanted to get in there first and + Jenni@crystyll: + give you fair warning from a trusted mouth, that this topic would be broached" Alien NPC@annpc#5570 | Priestess: "We are people of action as well, not words." Jenni@crystyll: "As I understand from some of my colleagues who have met - and hunted with - Lupan from other packs" Jenni@crystyll 's combadge chirps and she taps on, "Baelai..." Jenni@crystyll: <C - Sully> BAELAI! What the hell have you done to my shuttle?! Jenni@crystyll gulps, murmuring, "Oh crap... eeexcuse me, I have to... run away now. Lieutenant, Mayor, Priestess" She dips her head to the new friends before promptly walking off to the opposite side of the colony
View Act II
Keliaya@anncarise | Shortly after the arrival of the initial medical and engineering response teams, Keelah, Kelly, Kazra and Silvestrie transport into the centre of the colony by the mine entrance. Keliaya@anncarise | Kazra looks around at the medical personnel rushing from wounded to wounded, "That's a lot of injuries. We'll need to set up a triage area." Keelah@crystyll looks around as well, "Do whatever you have to, Commander" Keliaya@anncarise | Most of the wounded or dead are miners and Lupan, though Delaan has also been knocked unconscious and a few of the MACOs have been taken wounded as well. Keliaya@anncarise nods, "I'll have my engineers find a suitable building, and set up any equipment you need." Keelah@crystyll takes particular notice of their own wounded and heads over to them, "Mr. Delaan, nothing serious I hope?" she asks, surveying his injuries Keliaya@anncarise | Delaan shakes his head, "Just a few knocks. These Lupan are strong." Keelah@crystyll: "Indeed, and the MACO's?" Keliaya@anncarise | Delaan: "They performed very well. One of them took a scratch from a Lupan claw and another was knocked out like I was, but nothing serious." Keliaya@anncarise | Nishaa examines one of the rifles dropped by a dead Lupan nearby. The weapon is clearly too big to be held by a human hand, "Luckily none of us were hit. Doesn't look like their disruptors have - Keelah@crystyll smiles, resting a hand on his shoulder, "You all did yourselves proud. Now get some well earned R&R and let the reinforcements take it from here" Keliaya@anncarise: - any stun setting." Keliaya@anncarise | Delaan smiles slightly, "Thank you, Captain." Keelah@crystyll moves to Nishaa, "I will keep that in mind. Anything else you can learn from studying this would be fruitful for future encounters" Keliaya@anncarise | Nishaa stands, setting the rifle aside, "There is one thing..." Keelah@crystyll: "Go on..." Keliaya@anncarise | Nishaa: "Their priestess, when she was talking, well...more gloating, it sounded like she thinks the Lupan were genetically engineered or something." Keliaya@anncarise | Nishaa: "It could just be beliefs with no basis in fact, but...thought you should know, Captain." Keelah@crystyll: "Thank you Nishaa, it has been my experience that even the most insignificant of details can often prove essential later on" Keliaya@anncarise | Nishaa nods, "The Priestess went inside the mine, along with the Mayor of the colony." Keelah@crystyll: "Is Lieutenant Gwi with them?" Keliaya@anncarise | Nishaa: "He's down there too, with the science team." Keelah@crystyll: "Alright, thank you" turns to Kelly & Co. "We should head down there and see what this is all about" Keliaya@anncarise nods and begins heading for the mine. Silvestrie leads the way, while Kazra stays behind with the other medical personnel to see to the wounded. Keliaya@anncarise | They walk past the entrance, where most of the wounded are, deeper into the currently empty mines. At first they see many places where barricades and other defenses were set up, including heavy - Keliaya@anncarise: - mining lasers converted into turrets. Deeper in however, the mines become empty and deserted. Keliaya@anncarise checks her tricorder, "I'm having trouble scanning through all the mineral contents in here." Keliaya@anncarise | Silvestrie shines a light on a barely visible Lupan paw print on some dust, with several other different footprints beside it, "They went this way." Keliaya@anncarise: "How deep did they go...?" Keelah@crystyll: "Very, apparently" Keliaya@anncarise | Following the prints, they come across a lift shaft, though the lift isn't on their level. Keliaya@anncarise: "I think they took this down." Keliaya@anncarise finds a console on the side of the shaft and taps it, "There's a timer for lift arrival. This is a very deep mine." Keelah@crystyll: "It's a miracle then even found a Preserver site so deep" Keliaya@anncarise: "The Preservers have been around for a long time. Some of their older stuff have probably been buried for a while, but this one must be particularly hard to locate given the mineral interference." Keelah@crystyll: "I am curious as to why this site is so deeply buried when there are ruins on the surface elsewhere on the planet. Assuming of course, that they are related" Keliaya@anncarise | They wait a whole few minutes before the lift arrives. Silvestrie steps on first before everyone else embarks. Keliaya@anncarise | The lift takes several more minutes to reach the bottom, and they proceed through another shaft before arriving in what is visibly a Preserver ruin. Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi and the science team are within, along with the Priestess, the Mayor and several miners and other Lupan. Keelah@crystyll takes it all in as she passes through the site towards the group, "Lieutenant" she greets Gwi Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi lowers his tricorder as he sees Keelah and Co. approaching, "Captain. Commander, Lieutenant." Keelah@crystyll: "Quite the find here, Lieutenant. What do you have to report?" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "Oh, the credit is all the miners' here, but it's definitely an amazing find. I'm no archaeologist, but what I can tell you is that one of the pieces here looks to be a starchart, or a - Keliaya@anncarise: - piece of one, anyways." Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, "Is that so? I understand the Lupan here have staked a claim to this site. Do we know yet if they are willing to share it's knowledge with us?" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "I doubt it. They're willing to answer questions, but it seems like they hold Preserver technology sacred." He motions to the other Lupan who stand at the edges of the ruin with their - Keliaya@anncarise: - heads bowed. "No one except their Priestess even touches anything here. I think letting us in is already a great honour for them." Keelah@crystyll: "Fair enough, I think it's about time I meet this Priestess then. Since you did such an exemplorary job in brokering the peace here between them and the miners, perhaps you could make the introductions" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi nods, "I can make the introductions, but the real star is Lieutenant Baelai. She was responsible for causing their raider to crash and ultimately talking down the Priestess." Keelah@crystyll: "Is that so?" looks around, "I am surprised then that she is not here basking in such a prestigious moment..." Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "Well, Chief Sullivan's not so pleased about some aspects of her performance today..." Keliaya@anncarise chuckles, "That will be the crash landed shuttle at the edge of the colony." Keelah@crystyll smiles a little, "So she is in hiding, no matter. I look forward to seeing all the details in the mission report later, for now though let us meet this Priestess" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi nods and leads the way over to the red-furred Lupan adorned in bone jewelry. Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "Captain, this is Priestess Rasihan. Priestess, this is the commanding officer of our ship the Valley Forge, Captain Keelah Se'Lai." Keliaya@anncarise | The Priestess turns and looks Keelah over, "Ah. I have heard of you from one of the other Sisters. You bested the Ozkurak Pack." Keelah@crystyll dips her head to the Priestess, "They left me no choice, but I have a feeling they will recover in time" Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "Yes, and though the Ozkurak Pack is not the strongest, they have allies, and Akinul does not take defeat well. He will come for you again." Keelah@crystyll: "I find it quite surprising that other packs would expend resources on such things, when yours seems to work to a much more purposeful goal" she looks around, "I am to understand that this place is + Keelah@crystyll: + held sacred by your people?" Keliaya@anncarise | The Priestess nods, "Yes. Some packs are more faithful than others. The Askalit Pack allowed me to take some of their hunters and ships for this task." Keelah@crystyll: "Which would indicate that you do not belong to any such pack. At least as we know them from our limited understanding of your people. I believe my officers have already expressed our own familiarity+ Keelah@crystyll: + with the species responsible for this site on which we now stand, I assume from this that you have some understanding of their role in evolving intelligent life in this galaxy?" Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "Yes. We have learned much from sites like this, though even in the Holy City we are still learning more." Keelah@crystyll: "The Holy City? Sounds intriguing. It sounds like your goal is the pursuit of knowledge in this matter. If so, that is something we have in common" Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "The Sisterhood is concerned first with the protection of holy artifacts and sites, but we study them as well. They have proven both enlightening and useful." Keelah@crystyll: "Undoubtedly. Given the importance of this place to you, I must express my gratitude at your accepting our presence here. I would also be remiss in my own commitment to the pursuit of knowledge if I + Keelah@crystyll: + did not ask how you would feel about sharing the knowledge of this place with us" Keliaya@anncarise | The Priestess thinks for a moment, "The Sisterhood would not approve of outsiders prodding around holy artifacts. But as you have played a role in helping us secure access to this site...I will - Keliaya@anncarise: - be willing to share what we learn here." Keelah@crystyll bows her head gratefully, "I would not ask this as a simple kindness. During our travels we have learned much of those we call the Preservers. Perhaps some of this knowledge would be of interest" Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "You understand that you are their children. That is less ignorant than many we have encountered." Keelah@crystyll: "We do. Our culture thrives on expanding it's understanding of the universe, including our origins within it" Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "And ours thrives upon strength and dominance. There are those who can match us, as your people have proven so far, but the gods did not grant us all our gifts for nothing." Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "We grow and improve and become stronger, and one day we will become the greatest of their creations." Keelah@crystyll: "Indeed. Would it surprise you to know that our culture includes a diverse variety of the Preservers children, including strong warriors like yourselves?" Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "But we are not their children, not like you. We were not created in their image. We were created to be better." Keelah@crystyll: "If you are not their Children... are you saying you have found your own origins to lie outside of their influence?" Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "They shaped us. The gods saw the folly of their ways. They saw their own failures and they saw these failures reflected in the forms of their Children. So they found us. We were - Keliaya@anncarise: - always strong, the apex predators on our world. They made us better, better than themselves and their children. We are their masterpiece, their final legacy." Keelah@crystyll: "Well, this is quite the fascinating revelation then. I thank you for indulging me on the topic, and hope we get to speak more before we depart. Whilst I understand and respect that you have your own+ Keelah@crystyll: + ways, and they are different from ours; it is still our way to invite new friends to share a meal with us. If it would please you, then you would be most welcome to join me on the Valley Forge + Keelah@crystyll: + while we are here. Otherwise, I shall keep you no longer and return to our studies" Keliaya@anncarise | Priestess: "My place is here with the holy site, but perhaps the Alpha will be willing to take you on your offer." Keelah@crystyll: "Then I hope we are here long enough to find out. Priestess" she dips her head in parting, returning to the science team Keliaya@anncarise and Silvestrie follows over as well. Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "The Lupan certainly have...interesting beliefs." Keelah@crystyll: "That they do. How much originates and fact, and how much in mythology is anybody's guess and not my place to surmise. They have their beliefs, we will respect them as we would any other. The + Keelah@crystyll: + Priestess has provided great insight into Lupan culture. Furthermore, she has agreed to allow your researchers to study this site. Though I suggest you take steps to ensure you don't disturb + Keelah@crystyll: + anything" she smiles a little Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi nods, "We'll make sure not to upset them. Which reminds me..." Keelah@crystyll: "Lieutenant?" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "It's very hard to tell when a Lupan is upset or not, which makes diplomatic interaction...difficult. I've noticed they do use body language and some expressions, but it might take a lot - Keliaya@anncarise: - more study to learn how to read them properly. My empathy just...outright doesn't work on them. It's like trying to read a Ferengi." Keelah@crystyll: "An excellent observation" she nods, "I do not honestly expect this inbound Alpha to be interested in dining with us, but nonethess I believe this is an opportunity worth capitalizing on" Keelah@crystyll: "I will have Lendaria report to assist your studies. She did well in adapting the verbal translation for Lupan, so hopefully some extended time in close proximity will afford her greater understanding Keelah@crystyll: ..." Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi nods, "Thank you, Captain. A xenobiologist will be much more suited to studying their mannerisms." Keelah@crystyll: "Is there any additional support that you feel would help down here?" Keliaya@anncarise: "If Professor Lycas is willing to come down here, he might be more suited to studying Preserver technology than anyone else on board." Keelah@crystyll nods, "I am certain he will welcome such a rare opportunity. And the starchart, do you have all you need for that?" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "I've scanned it thoroughly, I just need to start looking into it and deciphering it." Keelah@crystyll: "Consider this high priority. We won't be able to take it with us, so I want to be certain that we have all possible information captured from it before we depart" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi nods, "Got it, Captain." Keelah@crystyll: "As you were then, Lieutenant. If you need anything more, do not hesitate to ask" looking to the others, "We should probably check in with the Mayor" Keliaya@anncarise | Silvestrie nods, "I think that's him over there talking with the miners." He points out a slightly differently-dressed alien among a group. Keelah@crystyll smiles and gestures with an open palm, "Lead on then" Keliaya@anncarise | Silvestrie leads on to the Mayor, who spots them coming and breaks away from the crowd to address them, "Welcome, welcome. More of your people are always welcome!" Keliaya@anncarise | The stout little alien is even shorter than Keelah (for once). Keelah@crystyll savours the rare moment Keelah@crystyll smiles down at the Mayor, "It is always refreshing to receive such a warm welcome. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I trust that all is working out to your liking so far?" Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "Yes, very much so. Very busy too, providing all the materials to fix your craft and the Lupan's, but we have more than enough." Keelah@crystyll: "It is very gracious of you to assist in the repairs like this. I do not know how much you know of us, but we are far from home. And so far from our usual sources of raw material" Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "I've heard a little here and there while your people are here. You are out here to explore, yes?" Keelah@crystyll: "Correct. We are on an extended mission to explore far beyond our known territories towards the galactic rim. It is an arduous task, and so we welcome every opportunity to make new friends - and + Keelah@crystyll: + business acquiantances - along the way. I understand that recent events leave you without your previous corporate backing, perhaps we can reach a new business arrangements to further replenish our + Keelah@crystyll: + material stores while we are here..." Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "I was just going to ask! We will be happy to trade with anything we have to offer! We have plenty of raw materials here for construction, atmosphere generators and all sorts." Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "The ruins belong to the Lupan now as part of our deal with them, and I'm afraid we don't have much technology to trade, nothing you don't already have at least." Keelah@crystyll: "I have already reached an agreement with the Lupan regarding study of the ruins, so we will be in orbit for some time. It will also allow us to ensure a healthy start to this new arrangement you + Keelah@crystyll: + have with them. After all, I would have to leave here while they are still recuperating and to leave your colony undefended. So I hope to see their reinforcements arrive at least before we move on" Keelah@crystyll: "This should give us plenty of time to study, and to work with you. I know my staff are topside treating your wounded already, but I believe we can offer better long term medical basics, and perhaps + Keelah@crystyll: + the use of our engineering teams in repairing and upgrading your equipment, in exchange for mineral supplies. I could not seek to deprive you of anything beyond that" she smiles Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "Excellent! We've had to convert much of our equipment into makeshift defenses against the Lupan. Support with getting mining operations back underway would be very much appreciated." Keelah@crystyll looks to Kelly, "What do you think, Commander? Can we do much to restore functionality to the colony?" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Their tech doesn't looks to be too alien from our own. We should be able to help them with getting things running again." Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "We're also out of transport shuttles...we converted all of ours to keep back the Lupan." Keelah@crystyll: "I'm afraid there is little we can do to assit there. As you might imagine, our small craft are in limited supply as it is. If you have any remaining, we can prioritize repairs and restoration of + Keelah@crystyll: + them for you, else I fear the best chance there will be with the inbound Lupan forces" Keliaya@anncarise | The Mayor nods, "We only have in-atmospheric vehicles left, and most are undamaged. We can give you the resources to repair your craft, but we don't have means of producing more either. But - Keliaya@anncarise: - if the Lupan lend us anything, we'll have means of establishing our own trade without Corporation oversight and we can easily buy more." Keelah@crystyll: "I wish there was more we had to offer there, truly. But... we have contact with other friendly species in the region. I can at least have our attaches reach out and see if any of those are able to + Keelah@crystyll: + assist, perhaps they would even welcome new trade routes with you" Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "Yes, that would be useful. We will have to manage our own trade now without the Corporation. Establishing will be difficult, but without oversight we can make whatever deals we want on - Keliaya@anncarise: - our own terms. And with the Lupan interested in protecting this site, I don't think we'll have issues with protection either." Keelah@crystyll: "Agreed, from what I see here you have all done well out of this new arrangement. Though I can't pretend to know this corporation you were previously allied with, I get the distinct impression that + Keelah@crystyll: + you are better off independent of them" Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "Yes, I think so too. We were with them because we established the colony as part of them, but over time we became able to support ourselves without much of their help, and - Keliaya@anncarise: - the only thing they provided we didn't have was protection." Keelah@crystyll: "How do you believe your people with fare, living in close quarters with the Lupan after suffering their raiding for so long now?" Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "Well, I suppose we don't have much of a choice. But my people are more scared than angry. We know we can't beat the Lupan and I don't think anyone will try to get revenge." Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "Will there be nervousness, yes, I expect so. But the Lupan probably will keep to the ruins and their own spaces mostly rather than living among the miners and their families." Keelah@crystyll: "I know it is a difficult situation and bitterness is only to be expected" she smiles, "Have faith in your people, and be the leader they need you to be do during this transitional time" Keliaya@anncarise | The Mayor nods, "I'm sure if we can survive the Lupan raids, we can get through this." Keelah@crystyll: "You and your people have done yourselves proud, don't let them forget it. For now though, I know you are a busy man so will keep you no longer. Only to invite you to join us for a meal on the Valley+ Keelah@crystyll: + Forge. Our way of celebrating a fruitful new friendship such as that forged here today" Keliaya@anncarise | Mayor: "It will be my honour to join you. Your people have proven to be good friends." Keelah@crystyll: "And long may they continue to do so. Until later then" she smiles, again bowing her head lightly in parting as she turns to move away Keliaya@anncarise | The mayor bows his antennae in a farewell gesture. Keliaya@anncarise and Silvestrie follows Keelah once again as they walk off from the mayor. Keelah@crystyll: "All things considered, I would call this a successful day" Keliaya@anncarise | Silvestrie nods, "Lupan and the miners working together, that's a good step forward. It won't be easy for them, but I hope it works out." Keelah@crystyll: "Likewise. Similarly, I hope to continue our own positive step forwards with the Lupan from this" Keliaya@anncarise: "Despite the initial fighting, it seems like we've got the Lupan settled and talking now. A rough start, but more progress than I managed on the Tiah world." Keliaya@anncarise: "Not to mention all we've learned about their beliefs." Keelah@crystyll: "Don't sell your previous efforts short, Kelly. Those were different and challenging circumstances. In a sense, you were as much on the backfoot there as the miners were here. Yet you walked away in + Keelah@crystyll: + friendship with them" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Luckily we managed to avoid any confrontation entirely then. We didn't have security or MACO support back on that planet." Keliaya@anncarise: "Hopefully we'll be able to form more friendships with the Lupan over time, but it sounds like the pack we initially encountered might still be a problem." Keelah@crystyll: "Agreed. I believe this Sisterhood who the Priestess speaks for may be the closest thing we have to a unifying aspect" Keliaya@anncarise: "A central religious institution, maybe. But the packs still seem to make most of their own decisions, and judging by what she said, some might listen to the Sisterhood more than others." Keelah@crystyll: "I got that as well, but at least it's something and a means to reach some packs, if not all" Keliaya@anncarise: "And getting in their good graces will definitely help." Keelah@crystyll: "It certainly can't hurt. Well, I believe that is about time for me to be getting back to the ship" Keliaya@anncarise: "I'll coordinate with the engineers on the ground to help Kazra with her triage centre and start getting the mine started up again." Keelah@crystyll: "Thank you, Kelly. Try not to have too much fun tinkering with everything down here now" she smiles a little as she turns to head back to the lift Keliaya@anncarise chuckles, "We won't make any improvements we don't need to!"
AFTER ACTION REPORT STARFLEET SECURITY CLEARANCE LEVEL 2 | Confidential
LT Zaire Gwi
Sector V-013; Volstak System
MISSION PARAMETERSOUTCOME SUMMARYSurvey star system with potentially habitable planet. Mining colony discovered on surface of planet Volstak. Excursion team defended colony from Lupan raids and eventually managed to broker a peace with the Lupan, who were seeking to protect a Preserver ruin uncovered in the mines.
Study Preserver ruin as thoroughly as possible during the time we remain in orbit of Volstak.
Stellar cartography became aware of five systems with likely M Class worlds in the vicinity and I informed the Captain of the discovery during a bridge shift. As the systems are located throughout the sector, with a few being off our projected course, Captain Se'Lai dispatched our small craft in five teams of two, with each team possessing one craft carrying survey personnel and one with MACO and security for protection due to the dangers of the region.
Upon arriving at our destination, Runabout Delaware and Shuttlecraft Skye detected technological signatures coming from an L Class planet in the system. Our orders were to return to the rendezvous point and await the Valley Forge upon locating signs of civilization. As ranking officer of this group, I decided to approach a little more to collect data and confirm that there were indeed lifesigns on the surface and thus evidence of an active civilization. I did not intend on making any contact with the civilization, but circumstances forced our hand.
Sensors detected a warp signature and readings that indicated a vessel trying to hide using sensor masking. Before we could coordinate the sensors of the two shuttles to scan the unknown ship, it opened fire, damaging Delaware's warp nacelle and preventing us from returning to the Valley Forge as was our instruction. Delaware and Skye had no choice but to confront the hostile vessel and soon two small craft from the surface of the planet joined to assist us. The attacker was eventually driven back, though the small craft from the planet did not survive the engagement, and Skye's structural integrity made it dangerous to tractor Delaware away at warp.
At this point, we were contacted by the colonists on the planet, belonging to a previously unencountered species. They were a mining colony and were willing to provide resources and help with repairs. We landed and spoke to the mayor of the colony, learning that they worked for an organization called the Nvarta Corporation and that the attackers were Lupan raiders who are likely to return in the coming days. After updating the Valley Forge, which would come to support once the other shuttles have returned in three days, it was decided that we would assist the colonists in setting up defenses and a plan of action should the Lupan launch another raid before the Valley Forge arrives.
The plan was to repurpose our craft's weaponry into anti-air defenses and use the runabout and shuttle themselves as bait to lure the enemy into dangerous terrain, traps set in the mountain ranges and into range of the improvised turrets. The miners' families were to be sheltered in the mines, whose rich mineral contents blocked sensors and transporter locks, and our science team accompanied them as a last line of defense as we were primarily non-combatants. Should the Lupan arrive planetside, the miners would lure them into the mine entrance, at which point the MACOs and security personnel will strike from behind, pinning them into a narrow area where they are attacked from both sides.
While exploring the mine for the best setup of defenses, we encountered a region that we were forbidden to enter due to alleged collapses and tunnel instability, but my empathic senses detected that the miners were concealing something. I decided not to press them for information or otherwise investigate this, as we did not wish to alienate the colonists with our craft disarmed and the Lupan still likely waiting somewhere nearby.
Early into our third day on the planet, the Lupan returned and we enacted our defensive measures. Delaware, piloted by Ensign Carter, lured the Lupan to the smaller Skye, piloted by Lieutenant Baelai, who led the raider-sized vessel and three fighters into the explosive-rigged mountain. Two fighters were taken out and the explosion caused the raider to crash into the mountainside, though it remained intact and transported its crew to the colony. Two other fighters were lured into the anti-air turrets' fire by Delaware and Skye, but the damage taken by the shuttlecraft in the process caused it to crash land.
The Lupan sent an initial scouting force into the colony, followed by a much larger attack force led by a female we later learned was a spiritual leader named Priestess Rasihan. Though a number of miners were lost in the opening stages of the assault, the plan succeeded in driving the Lupan into a bottleneck where they were ultimately overpowered. Lieutenant Baelai managed to convince the Priestess to stand down and she revealed that her people were not here simply to take the mine's resources, but to protect a ruin left behind by the Preservers, whom they worship as gods. This ruin was located in the section of the mine they were concealing from us, on order of their parent corporation which desired to sell off the artifacts within.
After a brief negotiation, the mayor agreed to turn the ruins over to Lupan custody and provide a fraction of their extracted resources in exchange for the Lupan extending their protection to the entire planet and thus the colonists as well as the Preserver artifacts. Concerns were expressed in cutting ties with the Nvarta Corporation, but the Lupan assured that they will prevent any retaliatory action from the Corporation and the mayor seemed optimistic about conducting independent trade without corporate intervention. Due to our role in helping secure the ruins, the Priestess also granted us permission to study them under the condition that we do not disturb or take anything.