Updated: Mar 18
One thing leads to another for the crew of the Valley Forge as an optimistic first contact with fellow visitors to the region leads to some unexpected revelations...
View Act I
NPK@annpc#5570 FX | It's a regular day in the QanwI's training room...more or less. A few more eyes have appeared to observe Lexi as she spars with some of the crew for training... Lexi@crystyll grins wickedly as she encircles her opponent NPK@annpc#5570 | A large Klingon, not particularly tall for a Klingon but still towering over Lexi, circles as well with a bat'leth held ready in front of him. NPK@annpc#5570 | The Klingon takes a cautious step forward as he makes a simple diagonal slash to test Lexi's defenses. Lexi@crystyll comfortably parries the blow and follows right through with a low sweep NPK@annpc#5570 | Her opponent jumps back to avoid the low sweep and tries to counterattack with a higher blow. Lexi@crystyll hops back, raising her weapon to meet his and twisting it to force a lock NPK@annpc#5570 | The Klingon has his weapon stuck in the lock but tries to use his size and brute force to overpower Lexi. Lexi@crystyll lets him succeed before dropping right back and to the side, letting his push of strength carry him forward NPK@annpc#5570 | He falls for it, stumbling forward as Lexi moves away. Lexi@crystyll seizes the advantage to clout him across the back of the neck withe the blunt edge of the blade. Just enough to keep him down, not wanting to break one of her men NPK@annpc#5570 | The Klingon is knocked to the ground with a grunt, leading to loud cheers from the onlookers. Lexi@crystyll holds the tip of her blade to his chest for a moment to declare victory before grinning, drawing it back and extending an arm to help him back up, "Qa'pla!" NPK@annpc#5570 | The Klingon takes Lexi's hand and stands back up. As the cheers die down, the comm sounds. NPK@annpc#5570: <C> "Captain. There's something you should see." Lexi@crystyll nods again to her sparring partner before moving over to the comm panel Lexi@crystyll hits the panel, "What is it. Enemy sighting?" NPK@annpc#5570 | The Klingon nods back and steps off the dueling area. NPK@annpc#5570: <C> "An enemy of an enemy. But if they're not here to make friends, it's going to be quite a fight..." Lexi@crystyll: <C> Alright. I'm on my way" Lexi@crystyll with that promptly turns to the watching room, "Show time!" and heads out Lexi@crystyll walks onto the bridge a short time later, "What's the situation?" NPK@annpc#5570 FX | The image of a debris field is visible on the viewscreen. Shapes of two Lupan derelict and heavily damaged Lupan carriers can be identified, as well as what remains of several smaller Lupan - NPK@annpc#5570: - raiders around it. NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "Looks like two Lupan carriers and six raiders. All lifeless and stripped of valuable components. Damage patterns and ship positionings point to this being the result of a single battle." Lexi@crystyll: "I see what you mean... no signs of debris from other vessels?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "A few fragments of hull. I've run the composition through our database and it doesn't match anything we've seen before." Lexi@crystyll: "What about the damage pattersn. Any recognizable energy signatures, or how long ago this happened from the decay rates?" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "The damage on these ships, it's a mix of phaser fire and residual tachyon particles. Definitely not Colonial Fleet energy signatures though." NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "We're looking at a battle that happened...probably about a month ago." Lexi@crystyll: "Not so likely to be stalking the field then. Doesn't mean they haven't trapped it through" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "No sign of traps right now. Barely anything worth salvaging left there so it's probably not meant to lure scavengers." Lexi@crystyll: "What about the Lupan sensor arrays, not even anything left to tell us who could have done this?" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn shakes his head, "There's nothing left of the sensor arrays or the computer systems. All the wreckage's been picked clean." NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "Wait. I have something! There's a warp trail, fresh enough to be tracked. Could just be scavengers, or it could be whoever did this." Lexi@crystyll: "It's better than nothing. Lay in a course and follow that trail, long range sensors to maximum resolution" NPK@annpc#5570 | Pilot: "Aye, plotting course and following!" NPK@annpc#5570 FX | A few seconds later, the QanwI' jumps back to warp... NPK@annpc#5570 | Minutes pass by quietly, and then more minutes... NPK@annpc#5570 | Pilot: "It's leading us towards a nearby system, Captain." Lexi@crystyll: "Alright, ease us in. Let's see what's out there" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "I'm reading warp signatures inside. Lots of them." NPK@annpc#5570 FX | A few minutes later, QanwI' exits warp on the edge of the system, still in cloak. NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "I'm seeing minimal habitation. A few structures and lifesigns on an Class-L planet. But there's dozens of ships around it, and a station in orbit." Lexi@crystyll: "A border outpost maybe... what about comms traffic, anything we can pick up?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "There's a lot of unecrypted chatter, and some encrypted. Translator's just starting to lock on...seems to be mostly about repair and salvage work." NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "Whatever it is, we can't get much closer without being seen. The smaller ships around the station have set up a tachyon detection grid." NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "From what I can tell at this distance, looks like some of their weapons are tachyon based, but they've also got phaser cannons and arrays." Lexi@crystyll: "Fairly rudimentary stuff... nothing really jumping out from that as a heavy hitter capable of downing those Lupan" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "Those tachyon weapons are more powerful than what we can cook up with a deflector array. Nothing crazy, but if all these ships worked together, they might take out a Lupan carrier and - NPK@annpc#5570: - its escort. Not sure about two, though." Lexi@crystyll hrms, "Interesting. What about the configuration of their ships, let's see what we can figure about these people" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "The smaller ships have got two tachyon arrays, two phaser cannons and a single torpedo tube. About raider sized, but its warp systems are more like a Federation runabout." NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "Look more like really big fighters than full raiders, but they can definitely match a small bird of prey." Lexi@crystyll: "Well..." she sighs a little, "...I guess we should take our findings back to Starfleet and let Keelah decide if she wants to drop in on these folks" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "I'll send our sensor data to 'em." NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "Think we should stick around? In case playing nice doesn't go in the Feds' favour." Lexi@crystyll nods, "For now, yes. We can continue to observe here until the Forge comes, or we decide to move on" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn nods, "Time to wait, then." --- Keliaya@anncarise FX | https://youtu.be/cjaejG-LDAQ Keliaya@anncarise FX | The Valley Forge travels through warp towards QanwI's discovery... Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "ETA to the system is ten minutes." Keelah@crystyll: "Any further updates from the QanwI'?" Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "Just more supporting sensor data. Nothing flagging up as critical" Keliaya@anncarise: "From the QanwI' scans, it looks like we're approaching a very large station, powered by a quantum singularity in the centre. Not unlike the ones Romulans use, but many times stronger." Keelah@crystyll: "Quantum singularities on that scale? Tee, get the Subcommander up here. Her knowledge might be useful in this" Keelah@crystyll | TQ nods and summons Nikki Keliaya@anncarise: "They're definitely highly advanced. Probably not to the extent of the Regulators, though." Keelah@crystyll: "On par with us...?" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Their tactical systems certainly are, but for a station that size it does not have too many armaments. I do not think this is a warlike people, but they also have impressive - Keliaya@anncarise: - weapons, and are likely no stranger to war." Keelah@crystyll smiles gently, "It's always nice to meet a new people who we don't have to worry so much about with understanding" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Captain, ship decloaking directly in our path" Keelah@crystyll: "The QanwI'?" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie shakes her head, "Looks like maybe one o'these new folks. Smaller ship, an' matchin' techyon weapons signature as th'station" Keelah@crystyll: "Alright then. Yellow alert, bring us into range and put them on the viewscreen. Tee, hail them as soon as we drop out of warp" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Aye aye, Captain." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Going to yellow alert. Their shields and weapons appear to be online, but they are not targetting us yet." Keliaya@anncarise FX | The ship is displayed on the viewscreen as the VF comes into range: https://i.imgur.com/trrx6CT.jpg Keelah@crystyll: "Shields only for now, no reason to stray from standard procedure without justification yet. We're approaching their space, it's understandable to have their weapons charged" Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "Incoming hail from th'ship Cap'n" Keelah@crystyll glances over, "Prompt, I like it" she straightens her tunic, "On screen" Keliaya@anncarise | The feed of the ship on the viewscreen is replaced by an alien visage: https://i.imgur.com/HXU0H2j.jpg Keliaya@anncarise | The alien speaks in a foreign language, seeming to repeat the same thing several times before the translator locks on. Keelah@crystyll looks to TQ & Lennie, "Ladies..." Keliaya@anncarise | After a little work by TQ and Lennie, the translator kicks in... Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "...Recon 4 of the Nos'telari expedition Suvoseh. To whom am I speaking?" Keliaya@anncarise: | Alien: "This is Recon 4 of the Nos'telari expedition Suvoseh. Please identify yourselves." Keelah@crystyll: "I am Captain Se'Lai of the Federation starship Valley Forge. We bring greetings from the United Federation of Planets" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "We are not familiar with any such Federation. What is your purpose here?" Keelah@crystyll: "We have travelled a great distance from deeper within this corner of the galaxy. Ours is a mission of peaceful exploration, nothing more. We would like to cross your territory as we progress our + Keelah@crystyll: + rimward mission. However, if it so pleases; our highest decree is meet and learn about other cultures. To put it bluntly, we would like to get to know you" she smiles softly Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "This is not our territory. We too are travellers from a distant land, but some of the locals who call this region home have not been very welcoming. This region is treacherous, and - Keliaya@anncarise: - though we come in good faith, we find many that hide behind deception and false smiles." Keelah@crystyll nods, "We have encountered such foes as well during our journey. You are not the first we have met who are travelling coreward from this direction. It strikes me that we may have much to discuss and+ Keelah@crystyll: + share to each other's benefit" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "Our Mothership is already damaged and houses a large population. I cannot allow you to approach without reassurance of your motivations. But we are also in need of assistance." Keelah@crystyll: "If we can find a way to assist, we would be happy to. As for assurances, I am uncertain what else to offer beyond our good word" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "My brothers and sisters of the Tel’darash are currently locked in conflict with the Lupan over a vital resource we need to fully repair the Mothership. If you are to aid them, you will - Keliaya@anncarise: - have our trust. Be warned though, that if you harm them, they are more than capable of defending themselves." Keelah@crystyll: "We are no strangers to the Lupan, if your people are being victimized then we will stand beside them. But violence is only ever a last resort for us, so we will attempt amenable solutions first" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "We have encountered and even traded with friendlier Lupan packs. But these Lupan know only violence. They attacked without provocation, and we have tried numerous attempts at - Keliaya@anncarise: - negotiation. Even cornered, this pack seeks to fight to the end, and we cannot bombard them without damaging what we need." Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "The Tel'darash are more than capable of defending the expedition, but the Nos'telari are not equipped for a planetside battle." Keelah@crystyll: "It may be the same pack we found preying on refugees not long back... I will take it under advisement and render aid however we can" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "It is more than one pack, but we have been forced to destroy some of the others. We have seen behaviour like this before. These are no simple pirates. They are zealots." Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, "Zealots you say? A rarer breed of Lupan, but not unheard of" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "I am told the Lupan view other races as inferior. I do not know what exactly drives these Lupan, but perhaps they seek the eradication or enslavement of all other life. They have - Keliaya@anncarise: - abducted a number of ours and killed others." Keelah@crystyll: "Sounds familiar..." she nods Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "Whatever they fight for, I do not think talking them down is an option. I will give you the coordinates where the rest of the Tel'darash currently are." Keliaya@anncarise | Alien: "If you seek to help us, be prepared for battle." Keelah@crystyll: "We will be prepared, thank you" Keliaya@anncarise | The alien nods, "We thank you for your offer of assistance, then, and wish you the best of luck. The Mothership is depending on these resources." Keelah@crystyll: "We will speak again when this matter is resolved. Valley Forge out" Keliaya@anncarise FX | The comm cuts and the viewscreen returns to displaying the feed of the alien's ship. Keliaya@anncarise: "By Mothership, you think they mean..." Keelah@crystyll nods, "The logical supposition would be the 'station' the QanwI' detected" Keliaya@anncarise: "With a singularity core that size, I think they would be capable of maintaining a warp field powerful enough to make that entire station mobile." Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "Coordinates received, Captain" Keelah@crystyll nods, "Update the QanwI' to meet us en route. Helm, lay in a course" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Course laid in, Captain." Keelah@crystyll: "Take us out" Keliaya@anncarise FX | The VF jumps to warp, the stars turning into streaks on the viewscreen... --- Keliaya@anncarise FX | A few hours later, the VF and QanwI' arrive at the destination system. Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Seein'... one ship in orbit an' three more on th'surface o'second planet; Class H desert world" Keelah@crystyll: "I suppose a garden would have been too big an ask. Hail the ship in orbit" Keliaya@anncarise: "The ship in orbit and two of the ones on the surface seem to be identical configuration to the one that contacted us earlier. There's a lot of debris in orbit, many matching Lupan hull composition." Keliaya@anncarise: "Surface seems largely devoid of technology except the area by the landed ships. Looks like a crash site nearby, but there's only minimal Lupan debris planetside." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Confirmed Cap'n. Looks like th'remains of a Nuhar construct, likely buried 1000years o'more" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Got sporadic readin's owin' to th'neutronium hull, but looks like Lupan crawlin' over tha' wreck" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "I am reading energy discharges near the crash site. That wreckage must contain the resource these people need." Keelah@crystyll: "So they're fighting over the salvage down there. Curious..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Nuhar hull material is very useful, as we've learned. And this wreckage looks fairly well-preserved." Keelah@crystyll: "Possible" she nods Keelah@crystyll | TQ: "They're responding" Keelah@crystyll: "Good, put it up" Keliaya@anncarise | An alien with some similarities but also visible differences appears on the viewscreen, dressed in the same uniform: https://i.imgur.com/HsOStW0.jpg Keliaya@anncarise | Alien Commander: "This is Recon 7 of the Nos'telari expedition Suvoseh. We were told to expect you." Keelah@crystyll: "I am Captain Se'Lai, and yes, we have come to assist you in resolving the Lupan situation here" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien Commander: "Thank you for offering your aid. Commander Kayan is just returning from a skirmish on the surface. She'll want to debrief you on the situation." Keelah@crystyll: "That would be most prudent. Do you wish for us to join you over there, or have your Commander visit us here?" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien Commander: "Joining her on Lander 1 might give you a better view of the field, but I'm sure she'll be willing to meet on board your ship as well." Keelah@crystyll: "Perhaps later for that. Send us the transport coordinates for your Lander 1 and we will join you there" Keliaya@anncarise | The alien nods and a few seconds later, TQ gets the coordinates. Keelah@crystyll | TQ nods, "Coordinates received" Keelah@crystyll smiles to the figure on screen, "Excellent. We will see you shortly then" Keliaya@anncarise | Alien Commander: "I'll be staying up here, but Kayan can tell you more about the groundside situation anyways. We're just making sure the Lupan don't get any reinforcements in." Keelah@crystyll: "Of course, until later then" Keliaya@anncarise | The alien nods again and the comm ends. Keelah@crystyll looks to Vrolmacht, "Commander, you're up. If this is a potential ground ops, I think we should bring SGT Daazitaet too" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht nods, "Agreed, Captain." Keelah@crystyll: "Tee, update Captain Vix and arrange for her to join us" Keelah@crystyll stands and heads off with Vrolmacht, "Kelly, you have the bridge" --- NPC@annpc#5570 | The group beams down not into a regular transporter room as they would expect, but a larger space with 4 different pads. A uniformed alien with a strangely larger head than the others operates - NPC@annpc#5570 - the console, while two with slightly ridged heads similar to the first one they met stands guard by the door. A fourth with regular proportions and no distinctions save for the structure on the - NPC@annpc#5570: - nose they all display walks up to the team. All of them are dressed in the same uniform and have some similarities to one another, yet also look like different species or perhaps subspecies. NPC@annpc#5570 | Welcoming Alien: "Welcome to Lander 1. Follow me, Commander Kayan is waiting for you." Lexi@crystyll steps off the pad with the others NPC@annpc#5570 | The alien turns and leads the way. NPC@annpc#5570 FX | It doesn't take long for them to reach their location, the ship being relatively small and compact. NPC@annpc#5570 | Their guide leads them into a tactical planning room, where others await them: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/XpKCfhbOzFw/maxresdefault.jpg Lexi@crystyll approaches quietly, letting Keelah do the friendly talk for now NPC@annpc#5570 | A female with a slightly less pronounced forehead and also less muscular proportions approaches the group, "I'm Commander Kayan. Thank you for coming to help." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah steps forward, "We're happy to help. Though I must say, I was surprised to see that it is a Nuhar construct you are salvaging here" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "We make do with what we can get. It's composition is the only thing nearby strong enough to reinforce the singularty housing, and the rest of the materials will help in strengthening - NPC@annpc#5570: - our ships for what's to come." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah nods, "Yes, we have reinforced our own hull with the materials" Lexi@crystyll: "Physical casing to a singularity core though? Don't the Romulans use an energy based containment?" NPC@annpc#5570 | One of the others from around the table, who looks like a male of the subspecies that guided them here, speaks, "Yes, but the core is kept separate from the remainder of the Mothership in its - NPC@annpc#5570: - own central, spherical module. The casing, as we call the hull there, needs to be much stronger to withstand the pressures of the core, and protect the core from the outside." Lexi@crystyll: "Makes sense. That thing's pretty big compared to your average warbird" NPC@annpc#5570 | The male alien nods, "It's big enough to generate its own gravitational field." NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "Allow me to introduce you to my team here." NPC@annpc#5570 | She motions to the male who just spoke, "That's Senior Fixer Ankti, Lead Engineer of Lander 1. He's taking charge of the salvage operations here, once we clear out the Lupan." NPC@annpc#5570 | A female with a more pronounced head ridge speaks, "For now, he just advises us on what not to blow up." Lexi@crystyll smirks, "Salvaging 101" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan chuckles and motions to the heavily-built female, "That's Field Marshal Niavi, Head of Ground Operations in the Tel'darash. That's the defensive force of the expedition. All of us here - NPC@annpc#5570: - are members of the Tel'darash." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "The Tel'darash is your... fleet?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "No, the Andarash is our fleet, but they operate all the way back in the Commonwealth. We technically all belong to the Commonwealth of La'an, but we're part of an organization inside it - NPC@annpc#5570: - called the Nos'telari. It's our exploration arm, unaffiliated with the Andarash, which is our defense force." Lexi@crystyll: "Aah, like the Empire and the Defense Force" Lexi@crystyll | Vrolmacht grunts, folding his arms and looming over Lexi's shoulder, "Or the Federation and Starfleet" Lexi@crystyll glances back and up with a playful crinkle of her nose NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "The Nos'telari expeditions wander the galaxy, often for over a century away from Commonwealth space. So we have our own government system onboard the Mothership, and our own dedicated - NPC@annpc#5570: - defense force, the Tel'darash. That's why I say we're technically Commonwealth, but largely independent." Lexi@crystyll: "So... word was you needed some dogcatchers?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan smirks, "That's one word for it. Marshal Aloka had a promising plan, but we haven't heard back from her people." She motions to a female much like the one who spoke to Keelah over comms, - NPC@annpc#5570: - with larger eyes and bat-like ears and a very slender physique. "Aloka's Head of Special Operations. Technically not under my command, but I've been put in charge of the mission here." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "I did inform your people before, that my first choice is to find an amenable resolution to this" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "The Lupan here aren't responding to any communication channels, and when we tried to approach them, all we got was weapons fire. We tried to negotiate with them when we disabled them as - NPC@annpc#5570: - well, but they just self-destructed their ship and all beamed to the wreckage." NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Niavi: "It's pretty obvious what we want here, and they probably know we're not going to bombard the wreck." Lexi@crystyll: "Sounds like classic Lupan" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "Maybe... but remember the mining colony. We thought that there too, but once we forced a dialogue we learned there was something of great importance in there to them" Lexi@crystyll: "Actually I don't remember that one, Keelah. Remember, you had that big old fight without the QanwI'..." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah smiles a little, "The point stands though. It's possible there is something of specific interest down there to them. And if they are stranded now, they will have to talk if they want out" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "We're all down for talking it out, if there was a way we could get close enough without being shot at. We can't tell if they rigged up functioning comms or not inside the wreck, so we - NPC@annpc#5570: - can't say for certain if they're ignoring us or just couldn't hear us." Lexi@crystyll: "Odds are they are ignoring you. Only way to get enough respect from them to hold a conversation is to kick their asses first" NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Aloka: "They are very well fortified inside the wreckage, but the crash site is large. One of my scouting teams found an entrance in that the Lupan didn't seem to know about, but we - NPC@annpc#5570: - lost contact with the team after they went in. We don't know if it was a false lead the Lupan are luring us into, or if something went wrong once the team was already in." NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Aloka: "Either way, chances are they probably know we have some way in now, even if they don't know exactly where the entrance is, and sending more teams in is too much of a risk." Lexi@crystyll: "Are all the Lupan contained with the Nuhar?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Niavi: "Most of the time. A few have come out on occasion to harass our teams out on the field. But they're definitely using the Nuhar construct as a base." NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Niavi: "We've tried a direct assault too, but we don't have the antiproton assault cannons of the Andarash, just phaser and phased thoron weapons. We don't have the firepower to break - NPC@annpc#5570: - through. Well we do with our ships, but that's too much firepower." Lexi@crystyll: "I say we barricade them in, put up dampening fields and comm scramblers. Make /them/ come to /us/. Got to let them know whose in charge" Lexi@crystyll: "Kind of like hitting a naughty Targ on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, or launching a dagger across your bridge at an incompetent officer" Lexi@crystyll | Vrolmachet facepalms NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan nods, "That's not a bad idea. We have resources coming in from the Mothership. They just have whatever they brought with them. They'll have to come out soon." NPC@annpc#5570 | Ankti: "Unless the tales of them being cannibals are true." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "Some packs have been known to turn to cannibalism in desperation, but even so; they still need to get out with what they want, it's not simply a matter of survival" NPC@annpc#5570 | Ankti: "The salvage teams can set up dampening fields and scrambers around the crash site." NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Niavi: "And we have sensors all over the place already, so we'll know when they come out. What do you propose we do when they show themselves?" Lexi@crystyll points to Keelah, "Throw her at them" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah sloooowly turns a raised brow to Lexi Lexi@crystyll: "What? Don't give me that Vulcany look. If anyone can talk a Lupan down, it's you. And while you're talking nice to them; Me, my men, and your MACO's can move into a compromising position once they + Lexi@crystyll: + show their hand. You know, in case they don't play nice - stars know /someone/ in the galaxy can't be charmed by you" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah chuckles, "Sounds a reasonable plan" Lexi@crystyll: "And to top it off, I would take the QanwI' down under cloak. Even Lupan aren't immune to the sight of her armed cannons decloaking at point blank range" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "Too far, Lexi. Too far..." Lexi@crystyll pouts, "Aww" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "If you want a heavily armed, cloaked ship, you're standing in one, you know..." Lexi@crystyll looks around, "Maybe... but is she imposing? My QanwI's made to strike fear into the Empire's enemies you know" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah ahems, "It's not a competition..." NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan chuckles, "Lander One's the first of its kind. It's built for stealth insertions and bombardment, so it's not really meant to be seen. It's a mix of Hauler and Recon design, you can see - NPC@annpc#5570: - what I mean from the outside. Speaking of which, you're welcome in our little encampment here until the Lupan move out of the wreckage." Lexi@crystyll: "It's a useful asset, certainly. But that's the difference; QanwI' is meant to be seen, to be a presence and send a message just by being there. It might be small, but trust me; you want it on this" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "You're forgetting the part where this is all a bit excessive for ground operations. But..." she nods, "...your logic is sound, QanwI's aesthetic is more aligned to the intended purpose, + Lexi@crystyll: + should the scenario come to pass.... but I don't want to plan for it. No offense Captain, but I never know when you've got an experienced gunner up front or a fresh rookie who just got promoted..." NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "I can send my second in command with you, if you want additional protection. He's better than any Vesan soldier." Lexi@crystyll nods, "Your people already have the lay of the land down there. We'll need that local knowledge for the insertion" NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Aloka: "My people and I can help you with how to deploy your troops. We've thoroughly scouted out the area." Lexi@crystyll: "Sounds good. Anything you can show us here on the terrain?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan turns and taps the holographic display table, showing a topography of the region. "Our encampment's situated on top of a ridge with view of the crash site. It lets us keep eyes on the - NPC@annpc#5570: - Lupan and if the Lupan tries to assault us, it'll be a lot more difficult. Most of the terrain behind us is rocky canyons and below the ridge is open desert." NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Aloka: "There's an oasis a few kilometres east of the wreckage, but that's about the only point of interest in the desert. Either the Lupan will head there to find food and water, or - NPC@annpc#5570: - they'll continue to be aggressive as ever and try to storm our encampment." Lexi@crystyll nods, "A solid position. What about subterranean?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Aloka: "There's some cavern networks in the canyons behind us, but the Lupan will have to circle a long way to get behind us and our sensors'll see us long before they can pull off any - NPC@annpc#5570: - sneak attack. Only thing subterranean in the desert is most of the Nuhar wreck. Unless you count little tunnels dug by local critters that people don't fit into." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah hrms, "People maybe... but what about drones?" NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Niavi: "Maybe, but we don't know if any of these tunnels connect to the Nuhar." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "It might be a way for us to get eyes in there quietly" Lexi@crystyll: "I like it, though I'm not sure that perky drone of yours will agree" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "How big of a drone are we talking about?" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah holds out her hands indicating the size of Miadrone, "About so big" NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Aloka: "I think that's small enough to fit into those tunnels. We've exhausted all other options of getting recon inside the construct." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "Well, I can ask her. But I won't make it an order as she's technically a civilian on my ship" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "A sentient drone?" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah nods, "Yes, she is sentient; a networked AI. She is also proven at combating Nuhar cyber defenses, even communicating with them" NPC@annpc#5570 | Ankti: "We're pretty certain this Nuhar is no longer alive, but maybe there are still drones inside she could activate. These constructs are surprisingly long-lasting." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah nods: "Some have survived in dormant states for countless millenia, there is every chance that this one is in fact still alive. Perhaps simply wounded, as it were" NPC@annpc#5570 | Ankti: "Well it's in very good condition considering the crash, but it's still quite the damage to survive. We'll know more once we get a better chance to examine it, though." Lexi@crystyll: "Sounds like we want Mia in there after all" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "It's still voluntary for her. I won't make her do this" Lexi@crystyll: "You've got that other one now too right, her brother or something?" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah nods: "Sayu, yes. I can ask, like i said" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "We'll give you our map of the area. Just let me know if you're sending a drone in. And we'll let you know if we see any sign of the Lupan making a run for it." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah nods, "Of course" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "Thanks again for coming to our assistance. Most of us here don't have much practical experience with planetside warfare." Lexi@crystyll: "We've got you covered there. Also, any random details you have picked up on the identity of this pack at all? Anything inconsequential..." NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "We think these packs that have been attacking us have a more religious inclination than most. They're closely connected to the Sisterhood, the Lupan priestesses." NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "There's no indication that they have a Priestess with this pack, but they consider themselves as some kind of holy warriors. They're even more ferocious than the average pack." Lexi@crystyll | Keelah: "I suspected as much. We have an understanding with the Sisterhood, so that brings hope" Lexi@crystyll: "I can consult with our pet Lupan and see if he knows any more about this group" NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "Maybe, but these aren't Sisters. They're fanatics, brutes from what we've seen." NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Niavi: "You have a pet Lupan?" Lexi@crystyll gives a wicked grin, "It learned respect the hard way and found itself serving us in recompense for transgressions" NPC@annpc#5570 | Marshal Niavi: "Maybe you can talk these ones down after all..." Lexi@crystyll: "Told you. She's got a talented tongue this one, and I don't mean in the same way her Orion crew has" Lexi@crystyll | Keelah eyerolls NPC@annpc#5570 | Kayan: "Well if anyone knows more about them, it's the Lupan. We'll make preparations to make sure they're cut off in the meantime while you get your people ready." --- Lexi@crystyll chimes the door to the Lupan's quarters, walking straight in after NPK@annpc#5570 | The Lupan sits in a meditative looking pose in the centre of the room. NPK@annpc#5570 | He opens his eyes and looks at Lexi, not having to look up much despite being seated due to his size. Lexi@crystyll: "If you're contemplating the meaning of life, it's 42" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "It is called Kasradul, the clearing of the mind. Many packs have similar practices." Lexi@crystyll: "Huh, who knew... So speaking of other packs..." she tosses a datapad on the floor in front of him NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "Some packs believe in raw, untamed emotion. A lust for violence and blood and death. Others believe a hunter must be focused, with a clear mind and a set goal. Salahan Basatul was - NPK@annpc#5570: - always one of the latter." NPK@annpc#5570 | The Lupan reaches forward and takes the datapad, reading it. Lexi@crystyll | It contains the reported data on the Lupan here NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "So you've run into a Zealot pack. Unsurprising, as you travel closer towards the Holy City." Lexi@crystyll: "Zealots? Are they tied to the Sisterhood?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "Yes and no. Lupan packs adhere to the beliefs and teachings of the Sisterhood to different extents. Some are more faithful than others. Zealots are what we call packs who are extreme by - NPK@annpc#5570: - our standards. As you know, the Sisterhood teaches that we Lupan were created by the gods to be the alpha predator of this galaxy." Lexi@crystyll nods, "So what can you tell me about these Zealots? I need to clear a bunch of them out of a Nuhar construct they're holed up in" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "The Sisters also teach that we must work for this position. That strength is to be respected, and the weak are to be culled. The Zealots take that much further than your typical pack." NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "They transform themselves into living weapons. They use an implant that makes them incapable of feeling pain, and as their bodies take more damage, it pumps them with chemicals that - NPK@annpc#5570: - make them even more aggressive. Unlike tradtional packs, their females do not protect the young and the packships. They fight as well, and the young are left to fend for themselves." NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "Only the strongest survive as Zealots, and they have little tolerance for other packs, and none at all for other beings such as your kind." Lexi@crystyll: "Brutal. So if they're cornered and cut off, what's their play?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "They fight to the death in any way they can. They are known to be brutal, but do not underestimate their intelligence. They know the tools of the gods and their Children very well." NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "Zealots are more dangerous, but also more dedicated and loyal. I do not think the Sisterhood entirely approves of their methods, but they do everything the Sisterhood says, and are very - NPK@annpc#5570: - useful to them. And due to their respect of the gods, only the Sisterhood have more ancient knowledge than they." Lexi@crystyll: "Which begs the question of why they are so focused on this Nuhar, seems like simple salvage would be beneath these guys" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "The Nuhar lived in the time of the gods. They may have memories that are valued by the Sisterhood." Lexi@crystyll: "So they're after intel, makes sense. What about dealing with them? Keelah's stubbornly insisting on trying to open a dialogue" NPK@annpc#5570 | The Lupan lets out a low, rumbling chuckle, "They will not talk with your kind. And I doubt they will give you the option." Lexi@crystyll: "You realise the same was said for every pack we've dealt with, including yours..." NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "Salahan Basatul was a traditional leader. Your people gave him a warrior's death, for which he would have been grateful." Lexi@crystyll: "There must be a way to reach these zealots too. As it stands they're just going to barricade them in there and wait" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "A hunter must be patient. The only people who can reach the Zealots are the Sisterhood. They listen to no one else." Lexi@crystyll: "And I'm pretty sure throwing a dress on you isn't going to cut it... what about this Holy City you mentioned, could we find the Sisterhood there?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "Only if you are prepared to go through many more Zealot packs. They will not let an outsider approach the Holy City, even if you were to stumble upon its location." Lexi@crystyll: "Then how exactly do you suggest we find a Sister out here?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "You cannot. not without the help of a packship. And even if you do, there is no guarantee the Sisters will help you. It is likely they sent these Zealots here to begin with." NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "There is no negotiating with Zealots. They either get what they want, or they die." Lexi@crystyll: "Fine by me, it's just a shame that I'll have to admit to Keelah that she was right and you wouldn't have anything helpful to offer in this..." NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "They see themselves as superior to even other Lupan. There is not much I can do to assist you. All I can say is this- it is not like them to wait idly." Lexi@crystyll narrows her eyes a little, "You believe them to be planning something?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "Yes. While your Captain Keelah seeks a way to parlay with them, they are sure to be preparing your destruction. Be wary- this would not be the first time Zealots have turned the tide - NPK@annpc#5570: - of a losing battle." Lexi@crystyll: "Alright..." she nods, "This may be useful after all. Anything else you want to add while we're here?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Lupan: "If you find yourself faced with a Zealot, go for the throat. Their implants mean that any other injury will likely only make them more dangerous." Lexi@crystyll grins, "I always do. Thanks for the info" she turns to head out --- Mia@crystyll stands before her small class of cadets, wrapping up a lesson when Keelah slips quietly in through the door, hovering patiently Mia@crystyll - and the students - obviously notice. She smiles at the polite waiting and turns back to the room, "Alright students, that will do for today. Ms. T'Quila, would you be so kind as to show your + Mia@crystyll: + fellow students to the arboretum where we believe you have a special lecturer waiting for you!" Mia@crystyll | TQ smiles knowingly, "My pleasure Mia, come on guys!" she waves the class along and the filter out, polite greetings to Keelah in passing Mia@crystyll | As the last of the students begin to filter out, Keelah approaches Mia, "I apologize Mia, it was not my intention to cut short your lesson" Mia@crystyll waves a dismissive hand, shaking her head, "You did not mon Capitaine! This was always our lesson plan, we do not need to be with this class for the next segment, they are not first years after all!" Mia@crystyll | Keelah smiles, "So... guest lecturer? You're not referring to..." Mia@crystyll grins, "Yes, Ms. Tiah!" Mia@crystyll | Keelah, "Oh boy..." Mia@crystyll: "It will be beneficial both to her and the students to work together. They are eager to help her adapt to sentience and social interaction, while they will do well learn from her unique perspective!" Mia@crystyll | Keelah; "If you say so... anyway, I was hoping to discuss a mission with you. I... also wanted to discuss it with your brother, do you know if he is available too?" Mia@crystyll looks to Miadrone who gives a few affirmative beeps after a moment, then smiles back as she sits, "He will be along momentarily" Mia@crystyll | Rianni approaches from the back of the room, "A mission? Is something happening on the planet? Can I help?" Mia@crystyll | Keelah turns, "Cadet" she smiles, "eavesdropping?" she asks with a slight tease Mia@crystyll | Rianni chuckles, "Sorry Captain, I was just packing up my research notes. I didn't mean to overhear, but... I am eager to assist if I can!" Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "I'll be sure to let you know if anything comes up, Cadet. Now run along before your class gets away from you" Mia@crystyll | Rianni smiles and nods, "Thank you, Captain" she pauses on her way out of the door, "Whatever you're going to discuss... please, be careful Mia, ok?" Mia@crystyll smiles sweetly, "Don't you worry Ms. Rianni, we promise we will keep safe as always!" Mia@crystyll | Rianni gives a parting wave, stepping out the room and passing by Mana, "Oh, hi Mana! I think they're waiting for you two in there" Mana@anncarise: "Hello Rianni! Yes, Sayu was called by Mia, something to do with the Captain having a special mission." Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers into view from behind Mana. Mia@crystyll Rianni nods, looking to Sayu, "I know you'll protect her. Don't let her eagerness for adventure get in the way of good judgement, ok?" Mana@anncarise | Sayu beeps affirmatively. Mia@crystyll | Rianni smiles, cradling a hand under his exoframe, "We'd all to well to have a big brother like you. Best get in there, don't want to keep the Captain waiting!" Mana@anncarise nods and smiles back before heading inside with Sayu. Mia@crystyll looks over and smiles brightly, "There you are!" Mana@anncarise smiles, "Hello Mia, and Captain Keelah!" Mia@crystyll | Keelah smiles as well, "Hello Mana, Sayu. Thank you both for joining us, please" she gestures for them to take a seat while pulling up one of the students chairs to Mia's desk for herself Mana@anncarise does the same and takes a seat while Sayu hovers over beside Miadrone. Mia@crystyll | Miadrone gives a happy chirp to Sayu's arrival Mana@anncarise | Sayu chirps back before turning to Keelah. Mia@crystyll | Keelah watches the pair a moment, "Ok, I'll keep this brief. We have a volatile situation on the ground and I am trying hard to find a way to diffuse it. Down on the planet is a 1000yr old Nuhar + Mia@crystyll: + corpse crawling with zealous Lupan. They're barricaded in there, and our would-be allies down there need them clear to get at the construct for salvage of neutronium to keep their fleet moving" Mia@crystyll: "Sounds like quite the situation mon Capitaine, but we do not yet see the reason for consulting us on this" Mana@anncarise nods in agreement with Mia. Mia@crystyll | Keelah continues, "We have learned that there is a network of small subterranean tunnels that may lead inside the crashed Nuhar. Too small for any of us to enter, but you two..." she looks to the + Mia@crystyll: + drones Mana@anncarise: "Captain Keelah wants the drones to enter and learn more about the construct and the Lupan inside?" Mia@crystyll | Keelah raises a hand, " 'want' is a strong term. I simply observed that it's a possibility, and I wanted to see how you all would feel about it. To be clear; this will /not/ be an order, or even a+ Mia@crystyll: + required mission. But it's an opportunity for us to gather valuable intelligence that I hope will save lives and help diffuse the situation" she nods to Mana supposition Mana@anncarise | Sayu beeps enthusiastically. Mana@anncarise: "Sayu is built as a defense drone and is very willing to help save people." Mia@crystyll: "We too are also keen to help!" Mia@crystyll | Keelah raises a hand, "Let me first be clear, this will be a mission like no other you have gone on with us before, Mia. If you do this, the two of you will be completely alone. Not even a comms + Mia@crystyll: + signal to the outside, let alone a transporter lock or any backup. You will be going in completely blind into what we /think/ is an inactive Nuhar, and a pack of Lupan like no other we have met" Mana@anncarise | Sayu beeps again. Mana@anncarise: "Sayu's new upgrades make Sayu very suited to this mission. And if Mia goes, Sayu will help protect Mia." Mia@crystyll: "Who says we need protecting?" she huffs proudly, but playfully Mana@anncarise | Sayu chirps playfully as well. Mia@crystyll: "We understand the danger of the situation, mon Capitaine. And we are ready to perform our duty, just as any other member of the crew. Even if others could go in our place, we are the only ones to + Mia@crystyll: + have conversed directly with Nuhar in their own language. We stand the best chance of navigating the construct and learning the situation without betraying our presence to the Lupan" Mana@anncarise nods, "And Sayu has had similar experience with communicating with the Harvester that Captain Keelah had directed to Colonial space." Mia@crystyll | Keelah nods, "The same could be argued for almost any situation Mia. I do not want you - any of you - to think that we are trying to use your drones as convenient spy tools" Mia@crystyll | Keelah focuses on the drones, "You are /all/ valued members of my crew, and as such I feel as bad about putting you in an isolated mission situation as I would any of my officers. Given our + Mia@crystyll: + diverse options, that is why this is nothing more than the discussion of an opportunity, not a mission briefing" Mana@anncarise: "And Sayu would be honoured to take the same risks that Keelah's officers always do as well." Mia@crystyll | Miadrone beeps away at Sayu a moment Mia@crystyll: "You're right!" looking back to Keelah, "We will not be alone in there, mon Capitaine. We will have each other, and we will succeed in finding out about the Lupan situation for you" Mia@crystyll | Keelah smiles, looking to Mana, "Mana...? You've been awfully quiet so far. Care to weigh in?" Mana@anncarise: "Mana is happy to have the drones be able to assist Captain Keelah in a mission! Mia always liked going on away missions and helping the crew out." Mia@crystyll: "It is true! It is one of the reason we were so happy to network with a former Starfleet officer, as it brought us a step closer to a life of service!" Mana@anncarise nods, "And Sayu is no stranger to dangerous situations either." Mana@anncarise: "Mana would probably not be here now if not for Sayu's protection on many occasions. Sayu will be very helpful on the mission." Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "Well then, if all four of you are happy to proceed... report to Commander Vrolmacht for a full debrief, he will see you to the forward operations base where Captain Vix will coordinate + Mia@crystyll: + your mission with allied forces" Mana@anncarise looks to Mia, "Mana is ready if Mia and Sayu are!" Mana@anncarise | Sayu beeps affirmatively again. Mia@crystyll | Miadrone echoes the affirmate beep Mia@crystyll smiles, "We are ready, mon Capitaine! We won't let you down!" Mia@crystyll | Keelah smiles and stands, "Very well then, I will leave you to your preparations. Good luck down there" --- Mana@anncarise FX | Some time after the conversation with Keelah, Mana, Mia and Sayu beam down with Vrolmacht to Lander 1's massive transporter room. Mana@anncarise | In front of their transport pad, a strange individual with charcoal-black, plastic-looking skin stands to greet them: https://i.imgur.com/8f9XWOI.jpg Mana@anncarise | Sayu zooms towards the figure, chirping enthusiastically as Mana steps off the pad, "Vector? Mana was not expecting to see this one again." Mana@anncarise | Vector: "And this one was not aware the Arshai had come to assist." Mana@anncarise: "Just this one Arshai. Mana is acting as the New World's representative to the Valley Forge. Mana was not aware Captain Keelah meant the An when Keelah spoke of potential allies needing assistance." Mana@anncarise | Vector: "Unfortunately, the Suvoseh expedition was not prepared for a threat such as these Lupan. We had begun preparations, such as the design and construction of the Lander ships, but we did - Mana@anncarise: - not expect to encounter danger of this magnitude so soon." Mana@anncarise | Vector turns his head in a very robotic manner towards Mia, "I do not believe we have met previously. I am Vector, second in command of Lander 1." Mia@crystyll smiles, "We are Mia of the Valley Forge. It is a pleasant surprise to be meeting you here Vector" Mia@crystyll | Miadrone beeps affirmatively in response Mana@anncarise | Vector: "When the Commander told me that the Valley Forge would be deploying drones for scouting, I was not expecting ones of Arshai design. This should make the preparations easier, as I am - Mana@anncarise: - already familiar with Sayu's functions." Mia@crystyll: "You will find our drone shell to be of comparable design to Sayu as he is our brother. Our fuction was more support in nature, so we are less defensible but more versatile. Especially with our + Mia@crystyll: + Olelian replicator upgrade!" Mia@crystyll | Miadrone beeps argumentatively Mia@crystyll chuckles, "Well yes, our avatar is a bit of an upgrade as well" Mana@anncarise | Vector: "Species Olelian is not one I am familiar with. Versatility will certainly come in useful, however. Your avatar and drone shell are capable of independent thought?" Mana@anncarise: "Yes, Mia is a networked AI, like the EereE Overseer Mana has spoken about, but on a smaller scale." Mia@crystyll: "Much smaller. Around 5' 3" to be precise" Mia@crystyll | Miadrone woos Mia@crystyll ahems, "Hey! Our heels are part of the projection, they count too!" Mana@anncarise laughs and looks to Mia, "Vector is also a synthetic lifeform. An android by Federation classification." Mia@crystyll | Madrone blows a raspberry at Mia Mia@crystyll: "But not of Federation origin. Those are so few we are familiar with all of them, Arshai origin?" Mana@anncarise | Vector: "Interesting. You are more emotive than Sayu." Mia@crystyll: "Our personality matrix evolved from a self-aware holographic lifeform" Mia@crystyll: "It has... rubbed off, on the little one" Mia@crystyll | Miadrone beeps proudly Mana@anncarise | Vector: "I was designed and constructed by the An, the species you see around you. Myself and several of the other synthetics communicated briefly with Mana during our passage through Colonial - Mana@anncarise: - space. We were not as welcome as our organic counterparts due to the Arshai's previous experiences with artificial lifeforms, and the Colonial Fleet asked Mana to ensure that we were no threat - Mana@anncarise: - despite already agreeing to be confined to the Mothership." Mia@crystyll nods, "The Federation faced a similar crisis of faith when it came to artificial life. It is only in more recent years that they have begun to more openly explore it again, mostly with holographics" Mana@anncarise | Vector: "Fortunately, the An have always been a tolerant people. There have been times of tension in the past, but for many centuries now we have been treated as equals in An society." Mana@anncarise | Vector: "To most An, we are simply but another An breed." Mia@crystyll: "A status we are fortunate to enjoy on the Valley Forge also, hence our being entrusted with this mission" Mana@anncarise | Vector nods, "It is good to see that your people respect synthetic life. We have seen many examples of prejudice in our travels, to synthetics, outsiders and many even among their own species." Mia@crystyll: "A constant battle in this galaxy, but one which will always be won in time" Mana@anncarise | Vector: "But first, we must win the smaller battle at hand. Follow me." Mia@crystyll nods and follows with the others Mana@anncarise | Vector leads them to the briefing room on Lander 1, where Commander Kayan awaits with Ankti, though the Marshals are not in attendance this time. Mana@anncarise | Kayan: "I wasn't expecting Arshai help on this one. The Colonial Fleet doesn't patrol this far out, does it?" Mana@anncarise | Vector: "Mana is a Representative for the Arshai on the Valley Forge." Mana@anncarise | Kayan: "Right. That makes sense." Mana@anncarise | Vector: "The drones are of her design. I am already mostly familiar with their specifications." Mana@anncarise | Kayan: "You think they can handle the mission?" Mana@anncarise | Vector nods, "They are as adequate as any, Commander." Mana@anncarise | Kayan nods and steps forward, activating the map of the area, "Good. This is the data we have so far on the crash site and its surroundings." Mana@anncarise | The Commander points to an incomplete map of small, crisscrossing tunnels around the crash site, "We've managed to gather some data on the tunnels using sonic waves. We think these-" Mana@anncarise she taps a button and three specific tunnel routes are highlighted, "should bring you close to or into the Nuhar." Mia@crystyll studies the routes, "We assume you have negative scan data from the interior of the construct. Can you show us an orbital overview of the site?" Mana@anncarise | Ankti: "Unfortunately we have no way of scanning inside the Nuhar. Sonic waves will only go so far, and anything else is blocked by the construct's hull." Mana@anncarise | Kayan taps another button, and the view shifts to an orbital one. Mia@crystyll takes the view to maximum magnification of the site, looking specifically at the surface scarring and debris extropolation Mia@crystyll would take this to reverse engineer an estimated 3D projection of the Mia@crystyll: ... Mia@crystyll: present configuration of the construct, allowing for it's impact damage Mana@anncarise FX | An extrapolated 3D map appears over the table, and Vector nods approvingly. Mia@crystyll taps again to overlay the the tunnel maps so they can better judge the routes Mia@crystyll: "Though we have access to the database of the Wanderer construct, we can not account for all environmental conditions and non-registered alterations to this construct during it's lifetime. Therefore + Mia@crystyll: + we can only present a 87.41% accurate rendering. We apologize for the shortcoming" Mana@anncarise | Kayan smiles, "It's a lot more than what we had to work from before. Your expertise on the Nuhar is definitely useful here." Mana@anncarise taps a button and this time two tunnel routes are highlighted, "These tunnels appear to be Mia and Sayu's best options of entry." Mia@crystyll nods, "We concur" Mana@anncarise | Kayan: "One of those will be your insertion point, then. Is there anything else we can do for you before you head inside?" Mia@crystyll: "We have already noted all reported data that was available. Unless anything new has come up which has not yet been logged, we believe we have all available information already" Mana@anncarise | Kayan nods, "Let's get you on the field, then. We can transport you there directly from the Lander's transporter bays. It should minimize any risk of being intercepted on the way." Mia@crystyll: "Sounds good!" Mana@anncarise | Vector turns to lead everyone back to the transporters. Mana@anncarise gives Mia a hug as they return to the transporter, "Be careful, Mia." Mia@crystyll smiles, returning the hood, "Don't worry Ms. Mana, we will take good care of Sayu!" Mana@anncarise | Sayu beeps and Mana chuckles, "Mana thinks Sayu wants to take care of Mia." She cradles her hand around Sayu's drone shell before stepping back and letting the drones on the transporter pad. Mia@crystyll steps up onto the pad, giving a final wave to Mana before her avatar ripples away ready for transport, "See you on the other side Ms. Mana!" Mana@anncarise smiles, "Don't do anything Mana wouldn't!" --- Mana@anncarise FX | Mia and Sayu beams into the desert in front of one of the small tunnels. Sayu gives Mia a beep as he heads inside. Mia@crystyll beeps an affirmative and heads in with him Mana@anncarise | The tunnels are small, but the two drones manage to fit through them with little issue. After a few minutes of traversing sandy tunnels, Sayu beeps again, [100 metres to Nuhar construct.] Mana@anncarise | They reach the walls of the Nuhar construct and the tunnel they are in runs perpendicular to it. They follow the wall for a little more before reaching a small, circular shaped opening. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Must be a drone entrance for the construct's repair drones. Just large enough for us.] Mia@crystyll giggles [Made to measure!] Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers into the circular entrance, making his way into the construct. They pass by a few drone components scattered through the tunnel, pieces of old, defunct Nuhar repair drones. Mia@crystyll scans as they move, checking for any points of interest along the way Mana@anncarise | Mia's sensors begin to register more as they pass through the hull of the construct. There are energy signatures, some indicative of Lupan technology, others native to the Nuhar. Mia@crystyll: [Sayu, this Nuhar is still alive! At least... in some part, residiual energy signatures throughout. Also reading seperate signatures for the Lupan] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [I'm seeing it too. The Lupan must have brought their own equipment in here.] Mia@crystyll: [Agreed. We should attempt to evaluate the Nuhar's condition, it may be advantageous] Mana@anncarise | They hover out of the small tube into a wider section of the ship. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [I'm detecting a drone access port nearby.] Mana@anncarise | Sayu leads the way, soon coming across a small panel with an access port. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Here, Mia. I'll watch the surroundings.] Mia@crystyll: [Thank you, brother. We will be but a moment. Accessing...] Mia@crystyll forms a connection node and hovers over to the port to interface Mana@anncarise | Interfacing with the construct, Mia can see that some parts of it are online, but the system is surprisingly empty. There's no trace of the AI, but something is sending commands to the various - Mana@anncarise - subsystems, seeming to mimic the Nuhar's commands but with no life to them. Mia@crystyll: [Strange. We can find no trace of the Nuher consciousness, but something is sending commands to it's subsystems] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Try tracing these commands, but be discreet.] Mia@crystyll: [Affirmative. We can track the signals without interfering] Mana@anncarise | Mia manages to locate where in the ship the signals are coming from! Mia@crystyll: [We have it! See brother, nothing to worry about] she chirps proudly Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Good work, Mia. Lead the way.] Mia@crystyll Disconnects and hovers away, humming happily as she goes ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbsuAbTTsV8 ) Mana@anncarise | They hover through the halls, completely quiet save for Mia's humming. Mia@crystyll continues to lead the way, scanning ahead for activity Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [The interior of these constructs is very organic. More like veins than the corridors of other starships.] Mia@crystyll: [It makes sense, we guess. They were - after all - constructs of Humanoid biologicals. They probably used them for maintenance access, maybe even long term use like our starship] Mia@crystyll chuckles, [Who knows, maybe this is what it feels like for a nanite going through our drone shells on maintenance!] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Maybe! The Nuhar drones have a similar function to nanites, just much larger, to tend to a larger construct.] Mana@anncarise | Speaking of drones, Mia's sensors pick up Nuhar drones coming down the corridor! Mia@crystyll: [We are maintaining passive scans to locate them. If we can interface, we may be able to awaken them and gain their assistance] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [I think there are active ones coming now...] Mia@crystyll: [It may be under the foreign influence, brother. Be ready] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Up here.] Mia@crystyll follows cautiously Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers up and into an alcove on the side of the corridor/tunnel. Mana@anncarise | Half a minute later, a swarm of almost a hundred Nuhar drones rush down the corridor before disappearing into the distance. Mia@crystyll observes quietly as they pass Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Strange. These drones have independent sensors. They would have seen us, and they normally attack any foreign entity not approved by the construct.] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Perhaps without the consciousness, they are less intelligent. But one would expect them to be more...feral.] Mia@crystyll: [Perhaps the foreign influence only has them partially active to it's own purpose. Labotomized, as it were] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Possible. They definitely seem to have some purpose, or destination at least. It should be safe to proceed.] Mia@crystyll: [Then let us continue with haste. We must find what the Lupan are doing here] Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers out of the alcove, following Mia's lead. They travel for a few more minutes without interruption before sensors once again detect drones ahead, but only about a dozen this time. Mia@crystyll: [Time to hide again] she finds an alcove, like they did before Mana@anncarise | Sayu follows into the alcove. Shortly after, the drones hover into view but not rushing ahead like the others. They take their time, moving from panel to panel along the wall. In the distance, - Mana@anncarise - a bright light flashes alive, followed by a mechanical whirring noise in the same direction. Sensors can read an energy spike as another part of the Nuhar comes online. Mia@crystyll: [Looks like a repair detail. We have an idea...] Mia@crystyll hovers into an adjusted position and generates a replication of a blank wall panel across their alcove Mana@anncarise | The drones hover over towards the blank alcove. Mana@anncarise | One of them goes in front of the others, trying to interact with the panel. Mia@crystyll holds her blank projection, letting it appear to be damaged and not accessible Mana@anncarise | The drone hovers around the projection, trying to find a way to access the panel. A few seconds later, the other drones join in to see what's wrong. Mia@crystyll waits patiently, figuring they will only spend a limited amount of time on any given panel during a repair sweep Mana@anncarise | A few more seconds pass, and the drones do indeed move on! Mia@crystyll waits until the coast is clear before dropping the projection Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Good thinking, sister.] Mana@anncarise | Sayu emerges from the alcove, seeing no other drones in range. Mia@crystyll beeps proudly, [Thank you, brother!] and follows Mana@anncarise | They travel for a little before before they begin picking up two Lupan lifesigns down the corridor, stationary and not moving. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Lupan ahead. We may need an alternative route.] Mia@crystyll tries to find a way to get close enough to observe discretely Mana@anncarise | Mia finds smaller tunnels for the repair drones that they can use to move closer. Mia@crystyll: [Come! We can approach subvertly this way and observe] Mana@anncarise | Sayu follows Mia as they make their way through the tunnels, soon getting close enough to pick up their voices echoing through. Mana@anncarise | Lupan 1: "I hope this doesn't take any longer. There's no action in here." Mana@anncarise | Lupan 2: "And no food. These scouts we captured barely have any meat on them!" Mana@anncarise | Lupan 1: "Pathetic things. How did they ever evolve to build that giant ship of theirs?" Mana@anncarise | Lupan 2: "They have bigger ones too. The ones with the head plates. I would like to face them in battle." Mana@anncarise | Lupan 1: "And they have more meat too." Mana@anncarise | Lupan 2: "So much for me always complaining about the food..." Mana@anncarise | Lupan 1: "Let's get back to work before we become the next meal." Mana@anncarise | The two Lupan swagger off. Mia@crystyll: [Well that was fruitful...] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Let's keep searching for the source of the commands.] Mana@anncarise | According to Mia's sensors, the source shouldn't be far now! Mia@crystyll: [Agreed. We should be close now] Mana@anncarise | They continue through the ship, and as they near the location, they start to pick up more and more Lupan lifesigns... Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Many Lupan ahead. We should be able to continue avoiding them through the smaller tunnels.] Mia@crystyll again goes quiet and slow to sneak into audible range Mana@anncarise | They sneak up near a large central area where sensors register a number of Lupan lifesigns and Lupan equipment as well. Soon, they are within audio range... Mana@anncarise | Lupan Female: "What is the time range we are looking at now, Okurhan?" Mana@anncarise | Okurhan: "Two days. Maybe less." Mana@anncarise | Lupan Female: "If this does not work, the Alpha will make you fresh meat for the pack." Mana@anncarise | Okurhan: "It will be worth it. You and the Alpha will wish you can see the look on their flat little faces when the construct rises from the ground and obliterates their little ships." Mana@anncarise | Lupan Female: "Make sure it is /ours/ to command." Mana@anncarise | Okurhan: "You worry too much! The construct is dead. The shell that remains will obey our commands." Mana@anncarise | Okurhan: "I have studied these things. Our consoles will run it just like a packship!" Mana@anncarise | Lupan Female: "You've only brought a few drones to fight for us before. This is different." Mana@anncarise | Okurhan: "This will work, if you stop pestering me!" Mana@anncarise | The female lets out a growl, "It better." Mana@anncarise | A few seconds of silence ensues before another Lupan calls out, "Okurhan! Several of the drones picked up something." Mana@anncarise | Okurhan: "Looks like non-Nuhar tech. But not ours either." Mia@crystyll: [Uh oh...] Mana@anncarise | Lupan Female: "You said all the entrances are secured after the alien scouts slipped in!" Mana@anncarise | Okurhan: "They are!" Mana@anncarise | Lupan Female: "Evidently not." Mana@anncarise | Okurhan: "I'll reroute some of the drones to hunt them down. It shouldn't slow progress too much." Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Time to go.] Mia@crystyll: [Agreed. We have what we came for] Mana@anncarise | Sayu turns and begins making his way out of the small repair tunnels, making sure Mia is following. Mia@crystyll sticks closer than ever to Sayu as she knows the heat is now on Mana@anncarise | They proceed for a few minutes without issue before Nuhar drones begin appearing on sensors in groups of two, combing through the various hallways. Sayu leads the way, darting into a different - Mana@anncarise: - corridor. Two more drones pop up on sensors in the distance, and Sayu quickly darts back into some side tunnels. Mia@crystyll zips around, sticking close on Sayu's tail Mana@anncarise | Sayu zig-zags through the tunnels, quickly crossing a larger corridor just to get into tunnels on the other side. He freezes as sensors register a drone outside the next tunnel exit and - Mana@anncarise: - promptly changes course again, but their sensors register the second Nuhar drone moving to enter the next exit, then two coming in from the corridor they had just come from. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [We will have to go through them.] Mia@crystyll: [Right with you, brother] Mana@anncarise | Sayu continues his route towards the next exit, quickly coming to a halt by an intersection as sensors register the Nuhar drone approaching... Mana@anncarise | As the Nuhar drone comes into view, a red beam fires from Sayu's new weapon emitter, looking almost like a miniaturized version of a Nuhar construct's main weapon. The Nuhar drone is caught - Mana@anncarise: - completely off guard, the beam's pinpoint accuracy tearing through it and out past the other side. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Need to exit quickly now. They will start converging since they have confirmed our position.] Mana@anncarise | He quickly darts out of the tunnel into the corridor beyond and begins moving through the open corridor towards where they came in from. Mia@crystyll: [We are right behind you, brother. And we have an idea] she quickly follows, forming a small transceiver from her replicator node Mana@anncarise | Sayu leads the way, zooming down the hall. Two Nuhar drones turn the corner but Sayu activates his beam again, swiping it across and slicing both drones apart before they can fire. Mana@anncarise | He quickly rounds the corner where they came from, continuing down a different corridor. Mia@crystyll continues to follow close, checking their rear for pursuit Mana@anncarise | Drones are gathering behind them, first small groups of two but soon building up into ten and twenty as they indeed begin converging on their position. Mia@crystyll: [Hurry brother. Our countermeasure is untested even against one drone, let alone so many] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Keep going. Give me one moment.] Mana@anncarise | Sayu stops and spins around. Mia@crystyll: [Sayu, no! There are too many!] Mana@anncarise | Sayu activates his weapon again, but it doesn't hit any of the drones in the distance. Instead, it hits one of the walls, burning through the metal and digging deep within. Mana@anncarise | The swarm of Nuhar drones approach...and then suddenly the wall bursts, jets of plasma shooting out. Several of the drones slam into the plasma, dropping to the floor glowing and partly melted. Mana@anncarise | The rest pause momentarily before promptly doubling back and entering the smaller tunnels. Mia@crystyll: [Nice trick, brother] Mana@anncarise | Sayu quickly turns back around and starts heading for the exit again, [This will slow them, but not for long.] Mana@anncarise | As they begin nearing the exit, Mia detects drones coming out from the side tunnels to try and cut them off. One emerges by Sayu, who turns and shoots it down with his beam, but the other comes - Mana@anncarise: - out the opposite side of the corridor... Mia@crystyll turns her attention to it, attempting to override the Lupan control signal and assume direct control... Mana@anncarise | Mia manages to override the control of that one drone and feed it her commands instead! Mia@crystyll would have it lead them back to the tunnel by the quickest route possible. Figuring it knows better than they do, and that there are no more drones to worry about right now Mana@anncarise | The drone turns from its attack and moves on ahead of them, leading the way. Sayu turns to it before realizing what it is doing and follows behind, [Now that is a nice trick.] Mana@anncarise | The rest of the swarm pours out from the tunnels behind them, but the hijacked Nuhar drone darts in and out of tunnels and corridors, soon leading them to the small circular entrance they came - Mana@anncarise: - through. Mia@crystyll: [You have yours, we have ours] Mana@anncarise: - through. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Can we take it with us?] Mia@crystyll: [We hope so! It is an independent unit and not currently relying on the construct for control] Mana@anncarise | The drone darts out of the opening into the sandy tunnels, still functional as it proceed through. Mana@anncarise | Sayu and Mia follows close behind, and the Nuhar drones seem to stop their chase as they reach the entrance. One of them fires an orange beam, collapsing the tunnel behind them that leads to - Mana@anncarise: - entrance. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Good thing we have another tunnel leading in, if we need to get inside again.] Mia@crystyll: [At least that means they aren't following us] she notes, registering the tunnel collapse Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [We should be able to call for transport soon.] Mia@crystyll: [We are monitoring communication frequencies for confirmation. We want to ensure they transport our new friend here with us] Mana@anncarise | A little further out of the tunnels and Mia manages to reach Lander 1 through comms! Mia@crystyll sends the signal to transport, adding to snare the third drone with them Mana@anncarise | The three drones dematerialize and reappear inside the Lander's large transporter room. Mana@anncarise steps up to the transporter pad, the android Vector still manning the transport console. Mana@anncarise: "Mana sees Mia and Sayu brought a friend." Mia@crystyll ripples into view a few moments after they materialize, "It is no threat in it's current state. We have asserted direct control over this unit, once that was obtained we felt it pointless to abandon+ Mia@crystyll: + it, so brought it back to help with more intelligence! At least we hope... But yes, we have learned much!" Mana@anncarise: "Mana assumes the construct is no longer online, as Mia is controlling this drone?" Mia@crystyll shakes her head, "It's consciousness was oddly gone without a trace, but the construct remains a threat" Mana@anncarise: "Mana is sure the Nos'telari will want to hear what Mia has learned." Mana@anncarise | Vector steps away from the console to lead the way back to the briefing room. Mia@crystyll nods, "We should debrief them without delay" and follows Mia@crystyll adds to Mana as they walk, "Sayu was /so/ brave in there too Ms. Mana, you should have seen him!" Mana@anncarise smiles, "Mana is sure Sayu will show Mana all the logs upon returning to the ship." Mana@anncarise looks to Sayu, "Well done, Sayu." Mana@anncarise | Sayu chirps happily, [The new upgrades were very helpful. Mana will be pleased with their performance.] Mana@anncarise: "Mana is glad Mana installed these upgrades, then!" Mana@anncarise | After a short walk, they reach the briefing room again where the same people are present. Mana@anncarise | Vector: "Our drone friends have returned safely with information." Mana@anncarise | He looks to Mia for elaboration. Mia@crystyll: "We have" she approaches the table, "We located the Lupan leadership, and... they will not take Capitaine Keelah's bait to come out and talk" Mia@crystyll | Lexi scoffs, "Called it..." Mana@anncarise | Kayan: "What are they up to?" Mia@crystyll: "They are attempting to seize control of the construct, and appear to seeing some - albeit limited - success. This drone was under their control before we hijacked the signal" Mana@anncarise | Ankti: "They can do that?" Mana@anncarise | Vector: "Despite their appearance and inclination for physical brutality, the Lupan are a very intelligent species." Mia@crystyll nods, "With crude and limited functionality, but they believe themselves to be close. They estimate two days until launching the construct and turning it's weapons on you" Mana@anncarise | Kayan: "That's going to be a problem. Now that we know their plans, we won't be taken by surprise, and between our ships and yours, we should be able to handle a construct, especially an old - Mana@anncarise: - resurrected one with limited functionality. But we don't want to destroy that thing. We want it as intact as possible." Mia@crystyll: "Had we been able to find some trace of the Nuhar consciousness itself, we may have been able to awaken it and make it aware of their intentions. But... we do not understand what has happened to it" Mana@anncarise: "Self-deletion. The Colonial Fleet has encountered Nuhar in such a state before, and Mana has learned from speaking to the Harvester that some Nuhar simply gave up. Some went into hibernation, some - Mana@anncarise: - continued on serving creators that no longer existed, and some adapted like the Harvester to become scavengers and raiders." Mana@anncarise: "But some lost purpose over the years and just...shut down." Mia@crystyll pouts, "That's so sad..." Mana@anncarise | Vector: "These constructs have existed for hundreds of thousands of years. The galaxy has become a very different place in that time. Not only had everyone they knew passed on, but most of the - Mana@anncarise: - civilizations they were familiar with are no longer active. Such changes are very difficult to adapt to, for organics and synthetics alike." Mia@crystyll: "Of course, we understand that. It does not make it any less sad though" Mana@anncarise nods, "Indeed, for such an old and ancient being to just lose hope and deactivate." Mia@crystyll: "So what do we do now? We can't just let them succeed and take it to a space fight. Even with preparedness there will be losses for all, and you won't get your neutroneum" Mana@anncarise | Kayan: "And we can't storm the crash site without taking losses either." Mana@anncarise: "There is one solution that will preserve the neutronium and the Tel'darash forces. But the Lupan...the Lupan's fate will depend on whether the Lupan are willing to back down." Mana@anncarise: "From what Mana knows of the Lupan though, that is not very likely." Mia@crystyll | Lexi, "Yeah... backing down isn't exactly these guys thing. Moreso than other Lupan" Mana@anncarise: "Mana can program the drone Mia brought back to return to the construct with new code and instructions. The drone will blend in with the others, and once the drone plugs into the system, the - Mana@anncarise: - construct can be shut down again, or turned against the Lupan. But Mana suspects the Lupan will simply undo anything the drone does if given time." Mana@anncarise: "The only way would be to turn the drones on the Lupan..." Mana@anncarise: "Unless anyone has other ideas for how to sabotage the Lupan without the Lupan recovering in time." Mia@crystyll: "We should see what else the drone knows. It may have further information that was not available to us" Mana@anncarise: "That is possible," she looks to the table, then Kayan. "With Commander Kayan's permission?" Mana@anncarise | Kayan gives a curt nod. Mana@anncarise looks to Mia to bring the drone to interface with the table. Mia@crystyll nods. A moment later, the drone moves into position Mana@anncarise taps on the table as the drone interfaces, scrolling for a good minute through the information. Mana@anncarise: "There may be one other way, if forcing the Lupan out is the objective." Mana@anncarise: "The Lupan are controlling the construct from a central point. A makeshift ship bridge. If this bridge is destroyed, the Lupan will have to start over, and will likely run out of supplies." Mana@anncarise: "That will force the Lupan out, but the Lupan will certainly not be very happy." Mia@crystyll: "Destroying such a fortified position does not sound particularly easy either" Mana@anncarise: "Not through a direct attack. Still by sneaking the drone in, but just turning the drone on the Lupan equipment instead of the Lupan." Mia@crystyll: "So... ooh! Maybe we can use the drone to exert control, like we exerted control over the drone!" Mia@crystyll: "If it interfaces with the construct, and with your programming alterations, we can direct it to exert influence over the construct and override commands from the Lupan! They will trapped" Mana@anncarise: "That's what Mana is thinking!" Mana@anncarise: "The Lupan equipment will have to be destroyed immediately, otherwise the Lupan will try to take back control. But once the drones have destroyed what the Lupan set up, the Lupan will have to start - Mana@anncarise: - over in trying to control the construct." Mia@crystyll | Lexi: "I hate to admit it... but it does seem the best option" Mana@anncarise | Kayan nods, "I agree." Mana@anncarise: "Mana will work on programming the drone, then." Mia@crystyll: "We will continue to analyze it's systems and see if we can improve our control signal" Mana@anncarise: "Will Mia have to go in with the drone. The drone will blend in easily with the other Nuhar drones, but Mia will be more visible inside." Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Sayu will be sure to protect Mia.] Mia@crystyll: "Unless we can find a way to maintain signal integrity through the hull, we believe it will be necessary" Mia@crystyll: "It is not our first choice either, truly" Mana@anncarise nods, "Try to keep out of sight, then, and extend the range as far as Mia can so Mia will not have to go far into the construct." Mia@crystyll: "Of course" Mia@crystyll | Lexi: "No offense to you all, but can we really put all our stock in this one idea? I mean... we're talking about giving control of that construct to an exocomp. No offense Mia, honestly; but that+ Mia@crystyll: + things on a whole new scale" Mia@crystyll | Lexi's comm suddenly chirps, "What?!" she answers Mia@crystyll watches quietly, and patiently Mana@anncarise watches as well. Mia@crystyll | Lexi: "...what do you mean the cloak 'just came on?! An how the hell should I know why the helm is locked hard to por-..." she stops, staring at Mia Mia@crystyll smiles sweetly, crinkling her nose Mia@crystyll | Lexi huffs, "Fine... I take it back, you are perfectly capable. Now stop messing with my ship!" Mia@crystyll bows regally, "Your wish is our command, Capitaine Vix" Mia@crystyll | Lexi silently ends the comm when she hears all is back to normal on the QanwI', brooding quietly in the corner Mana@anncarise: "Mana will have the programming finished as soon as possible and let everyone know when ready." Mana@anncarise | Kayan nods, "We have to get it in there before the Lupan have the construct ready." Mia@crystyll: "We would be wise still prepare a contingency. Even if this plan succeeds, the Lupan are an unpredictable element" Mana@anncarise | Kayan: "Yes. We'll still have our forces ready in case the Lupan come out and don't want to talk, and all ships here will be ready for launch and combat if they get the construct operational." Mia@crystyll: "Then if there is nothing more, we should go and commence work with the drone" Mana@anncarise | Kayan nods, "We'll make our preparations here." Mia@crystyll nods and heads out, her pet drone following Mana@anncarise and Sayu follows Mia out as well. Mana@anncarise FX | After half a day of work, Mana meets with Mia, Sayu and the drone again in Lander 1's transporter as they prepare to return to the construct. Mana@anncarise: "Remember, getting the drone to an access port will do. Don't go too far inside, the other drones will likely be hunting for Mia and Sayu now. Just keep enough distance to maintain the connection." Mia@crystyll nods, "We understand. The drone has provided us a much more detailed layout so our insertion should be even more efficient this time, even with the last tunnel closed off" Mana@anncarise smiles, "Good! Soon after the drone connects, the new program should override the Lupan's commands and Mia should be able to get the other drones to destroy the Lupan equipment." Mia@crystyll: "Will that default control to our connection or will more work be required to establish that?" Mana@anncarise: "That should default control to Mia, and any command Mia gives to the drone here should be received by the other drones." Mia@crystyll: "Good. We want to be able to utilize the construct to it's fullest capacity should the need arise to contain the Lupan" Mana@anncarise nods, "Go for the equipment first. The Lupan will probably start retaliating once the drones start destroying the machinery, but Mana will leave it to Mia if action needs to be taken against the - Mana@anncarise: - Lupan directly." Mia@crystyll nods as they step onto the pad, "Wish us luck, Ms. Mana!" Mana@anncarise: "Good luck Mia and Sayu!" Mia@crystyll smiles and waves before rippling out of view as before Mana@anncarise waves back as Mia dematerializes, the group of drones quickly reappearing by the other tunnel. Mana@anncarise | Once again, they make their way through the sandy tunnel, eventually coming upon the hull of the Nuhar and finding another small, circular entrance. Mia@crystyll uses the Nuhar drone to lead the way, vigilantly watching sensors as they move Mana@anncarise | There are no other drones on sensors as they enter the construct again, but Sayu stays alert in the back of the group while the Nuhar drone leads and covers the front. Mia@crystyll heads for their predetermined access point Mana@anncarise | After a minute of hovering, they arrive at the access point just as other drones start popping up on sensors... Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [They probably see us too if we see them...] Mia@crystyll: [We shall attempt to use our drones data to mask our signatures to appear as more of their own] Mana@anncarise | The drones move about their regular business, or seem to from sensor movements at least. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Looks like it's working. We should get the Nuhar drone to interface as quickly as possible.] Mia@crystyll: [Working on it...] the Nuhar drone moves off ahead of Mia & Sayu Mana@anncarise | Another drone passes by in a hallway ahead of the Nuhar drone, completely ignoring it. The friendly drone makes its way to the access panel and begins to interface... Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [I think the other drones have seen through the ruse.] Mana@anncarise | Indeed, several of the drones have now begun converging on Mia and Sayu while the friendly drone interfaces away. Mia@crystyll: [We are attempting to establish our connection...] Mana@anncarise | The drones close in and Sayu hoves protectively beside Mia, ready to defend them... Mana@anncarise ...and Mia gets her connection! Mia@crystyll concentrates on her control, not accustomed to so many sources of simultaneous input Mia@crystyll: [Remarkable...] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Don't get too carried away, sister. We need to turn the drones on the Lupan equipment before they notice anything wrong.] Mia@crystyll: [Yes, sorry. It is a considerable influx of data bottlenecking through our transceiver array. Working...] Mia@crystyll attempts to gain a fuller picture of the setup so she can target accordingly Mana@anncarise | Mia manages to make sense of the data coming in, and it's fairly easy to distinguish between the Lupan technological signatures and the native Nuhar ones. Mia@crystyll: [Connection targets acquired. Reassigning drones to new task] Mana@anncarise | The drones begin targetting the Lupan equipment. As expected, the data now shows the Lupan trying to fend off the drones and several of them drop out of connection, likely being taken down. Mana@anncarise | The Lupan are unable to keep back the sheer volume of drones however, and the Lupan energy signatures start to flicker and quickly disappear. Mia@crystyll: [We will... not be used... by you. You... are not welcome... here] Mia@crystyll uses non-combat drones to access construct main systems and attempt to trap & contain the Lupan Mana@anncarise | The Lupan start moving through the halls trying to chase down and stop the drones. Mia manages to trap a number of them, and the rest seem intent on retaliation rather than fleeing the construct. Mia@crystyll: [You... do not know this place... this is our place...] Mia@crystyll uses the pursued drones to lead the Lupan into a trap as she lines others up to surround them Mana@anncarise | The Lupan take the bait and are quickly led into areas where Mia is able to trap them! Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [It's working. The Lupan energy signatures are disappearing. Are you alright, sister?] Mia@crystyll 's minions take out the trapped Lupan indiscriminately Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Wait. The Lupan lifesigns are starting to disappear as well. Are you still in control of the drones, Mia?] Mia@crystyll: [We have not identified the pack leaders location, but we have operational control] Mia@crystyll: [We will not let them hurt us any more!] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Mana said to destroy the equipment and only attack the Lupan if we have to. Retaliating against the drones was expected, but if you pull them back they may calm down.] Mia@crystyll: [They... you are right... what are we doing? It is... painful. we feel when they hurt the drones, like they are hurting us...] Mia@crystyll: [Scanning for non-contained signals... Focus...] Mana@anncarise | Mia manages to identify the remaining free Lupan, including a group led by the pack alpha. Mia@crystyll: [We have their signals. attempting containment] Mana@anncarise | The alpha's group is much smarter than the others, refraining from blindly pursuing the drones as they make their way through the halls. Unfortunately, they don't know the construct as well and - Mana@anncarise: - soon stumbles into an area that can trap them. Mia@crystyll again uses other drones to access construct systems and trap the Lupan Mana@anncarise | The last Lupan group is trapped inside, the alpha trying to blast his way out with no luck. Mia@crystyll tries to see any way to nullify the Lupan weapons Mana@anncarise | There's no way to set up any dampening fields in the construct without interfering with everything else, but with the drones mostly online, much of the drone transport systems are online as - Mana@anncarise: - well, some of which uses transporter technology. Mia@crystyll uses this to steal away the Lupan weapons Mana@anncarise | The Lupan weapons are beamed away! They continue to try and look (and sometimes smash) for a way out, but seem pretty clearly trapped. Mia@crystyll: [The intruders are contained. We have full control] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Good. I assume you will have to remain here to maintain control?] Mia@crystyll: [Correct. If we break our connection with the drones, they will be lost and vulnerable. We are still running a full system diagnostic... the Lupan made a right mess of things in here... but we shall + Mia@crystyll: + prioritise analysis of the communications relay] Mana@anncarise | The Lupan didn't prioritize the communications systems, but they seem to be intact. The drones just need to reactivate them. Mia@crystyll: [System is online... rerouting power to the array... scanning external frequencies... establishing connection...] Mana@anncarise | Mia manages to establish a stable comm connection! Mia@crystyll: <C> Lander 1, this is Mia. Please respond Mana@anncarise: <C - Kayan> "This is Commander Kayan. I take it from the fact you're contacting us through the construct that the plan's gone well?" Mia@crystyll: <C> We have established full control and have the Lupan contained. We will require assistance in removing them however as they were predictably hostile in their response to our action Mana@anncarise: <C - Kayan> "I'll let your Captain know. She's supposedly famous for her negotiation ability. We'll be along shortly. Make sure they don't try anything." Mia@crystyll: "We have them suitably contained for the moment. We have access to transporters now so can bring you in safely when you are ready Mana@anncarise: <C - Kayan> "Perfect. We'll let you know when we're ready to beam in." Mia@crystyll: <C> Acknowledged --- Kayan@annpc#5570 FX | Keelah, Lexi, Kayan and two Tel'darash soldiers are beamed into the Nuhar construct by Mia. Kayan@annpc#5570 | The corridors of the construct are dark and the two soldiers activate flashlights attached to their rifles. Their Commander had only come with a pistol attached to her belt and makes no move to - Kayan@annpc#5570 - draw it as she surveys the environment. Keelah@crystyll looks around, also seemingly quite casual, "So Mia is really running all of this now?" Kayan@annpc#5570: "Apparently so. She said she's managed to destroy all the Lupan's equipment and contain them in parts of the construct." Keelah@crystyll | As if in response to the team's presence and Keelah's comment, a small group of drones appear from various alcoves and line the corridor ahead with illuminating nodes to show the way Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "Well this isn't at all creepy..." Kayan@annpc#5570: "Don't worry, they're friendly. I think she's going to lead us to the Lupan alpha." Kayan@annpc#5570 gives a quick gesture to the two soldiers and the three Tel'darash members begin following the drones. Keelah@crystyll: "Sounds like Mia alright, always thinking of everyone else" she smiles, following along Kayan@annpc#5570 takes out a scanner and checks as they walk, "Looks like she's done a thorough job. No Lupan energy signatures we can see, and the Lupan all seem clustered in specific spots, probably imprisoned." Keelah@crystyll: "Like caged animals; desperate and with their backs to the walls. This is not an optimal negotiation setting" Kayan@annpc#5570: "But if we give them breathing room, they might just use it against us." Keelah@crystyll: "Right now, I would expect nothing less of them. I would certainly do no less in their position" Kayan@annpc#5570 nods, "Let's see if we can get them talking in current circumstances. These Lupan haven't been very talkative in the best of times, though." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "They never are" Kayan@annpc#5570 continues following the drones, examining their environment as she goes until they reach wherever the Lupan alpha is being held. Keelah@crystyll follows quietly, contemplative as she prepares to face the Alpha Kayan@annpc#5570 | Soon, they reach a force field behind which they see several Lupan, some of them pacing like caged animals while the others gather in a circle and seem to discuss something. Keelah@crystyll: "Here we are then" she looks around, "Thank you Mia" uncertain if she can even hear Kayan@annpc#5570 | Several of the Lupan turn at their approach, but quickly ignores them. Keelah@crystyll steps closer, standing patiently while she observes, "You may continue to ignore us as I know you do not feel us worth bothering with. But you have the right to know that I am of a particularly long+ Keelah@crystyll: + lived species, with a good number of centuries in me yet. And I am confident that the technology currently holding you in there will last considerably longer" Kayan@annpc#5570 | One of the Lupan, a large male that is likely the alpha, breaks from the circle and moves up to the field, "What do you want? Have you come to gloat of your mastery over Nuhar technology?" Keelah@crystyll: "Not at all, I have no direct interest in this Nuhar. I have to come to act as an intermediary between you and those you have been fighting with here" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "Intermediary? For what? You have won. Either execute us or fight us fairly." Keelah@crystyll: "Besides sating your bloodlust, that serves no purpose. Certainly not to me" Keelah@crystyll pauses and paces some before looking back, "Besides, I worked hard to earn the respect and friendship I enjoy from the Sisterhood, what good would it do me to betray that friendship by wasting the + Keelah@crystyll: + lives of some of their most capable followers?" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "A small thing such as you? Respected by the Sisterhood?" He leans in close to the force field, examining Keelah closely. Keelah@crystyll stands still and calmly looking back, allowing him to get his better look Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "Hm. I recognize that symbol," he taps a sharp claw on the forcefield towards the combadge. "You are from the Star-Blade. The ship that beat Basatul." Keelah@crystyll nods, "I believe the name I have inherited from your brethren is 'Tail-Severer'" she says it even with the audible quotes, maintaining her sense of distance from the name Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "Yes. I have heard of you. I have also heard that you scampered into Arshai space after the battle. It was a victory, but a costly one, wasn't it?" Kayan@annpc#5570 | He nods his canine head over to Kayan, "Like their Ring-Ship's victory." Keelah@crystyll: "Scampered is a relative term. We were on a predetermined course for Arshai space. The battle with Basatul had no bearing on our course of action" Keelah@crystyll glances back, "Their Ring-Ship is the one that stranded you here, I take it?" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "Yes, but we have what we came for. Those that fell in the hunt died as a warrior should. What about you? How many did you lose to our hunters?" Kayan@annpc#5570 | He looks back to Keelah, "Salahan Basatul was a leader of the weak. Your precious Star-Blade will not stand up to the might of true Lupan." Kayan@annpc#5570: "He's trying to provoke us. He wants a fight." Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "I am happy to oblige" Keelah@crystyll: "I am sure that is quite unnecessary. Didn't you hear him? They have what they came here for. If only we had known that they came here to be caged and helpless we could have done this long ago" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "We came here to make a stand. Have the very small one come and fight. Do not keep us caged in here." Keelah@crystyll: "To make a stand? That is unlikely. Try being honest if you want me to seriously consider lowering that forcefield" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "We are Lupan. Our packship was crippled but we will fight to the end. This construct was the only thing of value here, so we came to deny our enemy the prize." Kayan@annpc#5570: "Your enemy? We've done nothing against your people. Return fire a few times to ward off pirates, but we never sought to make enemies with you." Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "You were prey. Those scouts you sent into the construct? We devoured them. Tore them apart as they screamed and feasted on their flesh." Kayan@annpc#5570 | One of the Tel'darash soldiers steps forward, but Kayan raises her arm and he stops. Keelah@crystyll: "Something still must have drawn you here in order to first encounter the Tel'darash" Kayan@annpc#5570 nods, "We're not petty enough to be aggrevated by your taunts. We have a lot of people on the Mothership, but even someone as bloodthirsty as you wouldn't sacrifice so many ships for some food." Kayan@annpc#5570: "There's plenty of other things to eat." Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "Not just to consume. You are Children of the Architect." Kayan@annpc#5570 | The Lupan takes a step back, and a literal wolfish grin appears on his face, "With your blood he shall be roused from his slumber, and a new age of the gods shall be upon us. An epoch where the - Kayan@annpc#5570: - Lupan shall take our rightful place in the galaxy...at their side." Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "Oh boy, not this speech again..." Kayan@annpc#5570 sighs, "This is what we meant when we said they were some kind of holy warriors." Keelah@crystyll: "I have such commentary from people of many different species, but never Lupan before..." Keelah@crystyll: "Who exactly is 'he'?" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "You do not even know your creator. How sad." Keelah@crystyll: "Yet how convenient as you are here to enlighten us" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "You will know when he rises. The time will soon be upon us. The Children will be made to know their place." Keelah@crystyll: "You speak as a follower of the Primevals, yet this creation myth you hold to with 'him' goes against the very core of Lupan origin mythology. I fail to see the logic in your choice here" Kayan@annpc#5570 | The Lupan lets out a snarling chuckle, "What do you know of Lupan mythology?" Keelah@crystyll: "Not as much as I would like. About your creators however - those we call the Preservers - likely a great deal more than any Lupan" she states in that totally-not-smug-Vulcan-way Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "And the Architect is the greatest of them. Your creator. By all rights you should call him god as well, and in time, we shall ensure that you will." Keelah@crystyll: "So it is the Architect you seek to bring back and show this devotion to, not the Primevals. Well, that's progress I suppose" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "The day of his return is nigh. If I will not live to see it, at least grant me a death not trapped in this cage." Keelah@crystyll: "I still want to know what your real interest in this Nuhar remant is" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "It was a good location to fortify. And once we had accessed its condition, it would make for a good replacement to the Packship, if we survived the battle." Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "We did not come here for the construct, if that is what you ask." Keelah@crystyll FX | The room around them creaks and groans. The kind of sound you might expect if the ship were flexing it's muscles, quite disturbing from our vantage point Keelah@crystyll looks around, "I may be going out on a limb here, but I think someone disagrees with you" Kayan@annpc#5570 | The Alpha points at Kayan, "We came for you, but the construct was a good prize as well. That is the way of the Lupan. We take what we find." Keelah@crystyll: "And now you have neither... I am afraid this puts me in rather unpleasant position, since if that is all you want here. As I can not allow you to leave with either" Kayan@annpc#5570: "I don't think he means me specifically. They've already taken a number of An- our people, that is." Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "Yes. We have completed our mission here. Soon, my brothers and sisters will come for you as well. Or perhaps the Ghost-Hunter will." Keelah@crystyll sighs defeatedly, "I'm sure I will regret asking this but... the 'Ghost-Hunter'?" Kayan@annpc#5570 | He turns to Keelah with another grin, "You will see. One way or another, your Star-Blade will fall. And the specimens on board will be more than enough to wake the Architect." Kayan@annpc#5570 looks to Keelah as well, "We believe it might be a ship the Lupan acquired which has a cloaking device." Kayan@annpc#5570: "We haven't encountered it, fortunately. Whatever it is, it's dangerous." Keelah@crystyll: "Which would mean then that you are working to unlock the genetic sequencing encoded into all Preserver-born life in this galaxy. It is only fair to advise you that if you are doing so in order to + Keelah@crystyll: + obtain the starmap and locate the Preserver archive where the Architect resides... you will not be the first to arrive there, but you will be disappointed" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "We do not seek the work of the Archiver, though what we have found has been useful. We know where the Architect is. We always have. But now we know how to release him." Keelah@crystyll: "Through the information held in Children genetics..." Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "I have wasted enough time educating your kind. Finish this." Kayan@annpc#5570: "We...might be able to salvage what we need off the hull with the Lupan still inside, but we can't hold them in here forever. And it might be risky in case our work shuts off any of the fields." Kayan@annpc#5570: "I'll have to talk to Fixer Ankti about it, but we probably want to remove the Lupan if we can..." Keelah@crystyll: "They need to be removed regardless." she looks to the Alpha, "We could return you to the Holy City..." Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "You will not find the Holy City. If you take us prisoner, it is far more likely that my brothers and sisters will destroy you and free me." Keelah@crystyll: "Who said anything taking you prisoner?" she asks, slightly raised brows Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "Then what? You will give what remains of my pack a ship?" Keelah@crystyll: "I have no ship to give you. As I said though, we can take you back to your city - as our guests and equals" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "You are not our equals. I will not suffer such humiliation." Keelah@crystyll: "Humiliation in bringing home valuable new genetic information to further your cause?" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "You...will provide your blood willingly?" Keelah@crystyll raises a hand, "I will not make promises for every individual. But... I give you my word that IF you cooperate, then everyone on my substantial crew will be asked to volunteer samples for you" Keelah@crystyll: "But ONLY if you keep your pack in check while on my ship. You will not be prisoners, but you will be contained to a secure and isolated section and remain under heavy guard until I'm satisfied that + Keelah@crystyll: + have proven trustworthy. You will be extended every courtesy, and provided all pertinent information we have on the Preservers" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "Hm. That is not how we usually do things, but it is...acceptable. The Sisterhood will be pleased with more samples." Keelah@crystyll: "But the price of this prize is full cooperation. I hear so much as a clawmark against a member of my crew and your entire pack will face the most undignified waste of their lives as I promise that + Keelah@crystyll: + I will flush you all out of the airlock one by one if you break your word on this" Kayan@annpc#5570 | The Alpha grunts, then nods reluctantly. Keelah@crystyll: "We will prepare a living area for you and inform you when ready to transfer you to the Valley Forge. Until then, you will have to remain in this isolation field" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "I will tell the others here of our...agreement. When you release us, release me first so I may pass it to the rest of the pack held elsewhere." Kayan@annpc#5570 | Lupan Alpha: "And if any will not obey my command, they will face my wrath." Keelah@crystyll: "Very well" she turns to Kayan, "We should leave and see to preparations. The sooner we get them free from here, the sooner your salvaging can resume" Kayan@annpc#5570 nods, "I think most of our people will be glad to be off this desert as soon as possible. And the faster the Mothership gets the salvage, the better." Keelah@crystyll: "Come then, let us not waste time" she turns and heads back the way they came Kayan@annpc#5570 follows Keelah, the two soldiers that came with her following behind. Keelah@crystyll seems to sense Lexi's glare from behind her, "Captain Vix, get it off your chest before you explode" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "...You can't seriously expect these Lupan to just 'play nice'? It was a push for the last lot, and they were tame by comparison to these guys" Keelah@crystyll: "True. But they are still true to themselves, just as I must be. And it is not my way to senselessly waste life for convenience" Keelah@crystyll: "I fully expect them to betray this agreement, which is why they won't get a thing promised until we part ways" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "You really think that will keep them in check?" Keelah@crystyll shakes her head, "Not at all. Which is why you're going to be adding your strongest warriors to my MACO's who will be securing them" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi pauses, "You know in order to do that I effectively need to come myself, or you're not the strongest of my warriors" she grins Keelah@crystyll shrugs, "At your discretion, Captain. We'll keep the QanwI' close either way" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi grins wolfishly, totally not already dreaming about picking a fight with the alpha Keelah@crystyll still doesn't look back to her, "But no picking fights with them if you do join the assignment" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi doubletakes and pouts a little
View Act II
Kayan@annpc#5570 FX | Several hours after the negotiations with the Lupan, four ships drop out of warp over the desert planet. Kayan@annpc#5570 | https://i.imgur.com/r9BvrVF.jpg Kayan@annpc#5570 | More figures materialize, showcasing much of the same variations seen in the An so far, but all of these are dressed in the white uniform variant. Kayan@annpc#5570 | A second wave of transporting brings down various pieces of equipment. Some of the larger An with the hardened foreheads lift the heavier equipment into the Nuhar construct, past the larger - Kayan@annpc#5570: - entrances which were previously blockaded by the Lupan. Kayan@annpc#5570 | Once past the Nuhar's hull, the larger An set the equipment down and begin hauling more in, while the others start setting it up. Kayan@annpc#5570 | Meanwhile, others pace through the hallways, scanning with tricorder-like devices. Kayan@annpc#5570 | Soon, various pieces of machinery start lighting up. The ones scanning begin marking parts of the Nuhar with large, flashing, pen-like devices. Kayan@annpc#5570 | The larger An return to the machinery, turning it on as glowing orange beams begin cutting into parts of the construct... Kayan@annpc#5570 | The rest of the An continue to scan and mark the construct, with some of them starting to take apart pieces with gentler means and smaller tools. Keelah@crystyll | One of the techs stripping away internal components suddenly finds his open panel has recovered itself with a forcefield Kayan@annpc#5570 | The tech steps back with a confused look, then takes a different tool from his kit and tries to bypass the forcefield. Keelah@crystyll | The tech would find his tool propelled backwards by a jolt from the field Kayan@annpc#5570 | One of the bigger techs operating a machine steps over to check out what's happening. The tech takes out a scanner, trying to figure out where the field is coming from. Keelah@crystyll | It is being generated from within the access panel Kayan@annpc#5570 | After some discussion with the smaller tech, the bigger tech turns the cutting machine around, putting it on a lower setting and tries to use it to drain the field. Keelah@crystyll | At first it seems to be working, but a feedback loop begins to build. Before they know it, a pulse travels back along the cutting beam which overloads and explodes the cutting machine Kayan@annpc#5570 | The larger tech pushes the smaller one out of harm's way, but he is caught on the edge of the blast himself and sent flying... Keelah@crystyll | An alarm sounds. Moments later a few drones appear wielding fire suppressants. They neutralize the blaze of the cutting machine before moving off, ignorant of the techs --- Kayan@annpc#5570 FX | Meanwhile on the Valley Forge... Kayan@annpc#5570 | Keelah sits in her ready room when the comm sounds. Keelah@crystyll taps her combadge, "Se'Lai" Kayan@annpc#5570: <C - Evanne> "Captain, we've received a hail from Commander Kayan of Lander 1. Should I put it through to your terminal?" Keelah@crystyll: "Go ahead Lieutenant, thank you" Keelah@crystyll turns her screen around Kayan@annpc#5570 appears on the screen, "Captain." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "Commander, what can I do for you?" Kayan@annpc#5570: "We have a problem down in the construct. The salvage teams are reporting that access to certain components are being blocked off. One of the workers tried to take out a forcefield with a mining - Kayan@annpc#5570: - laser and it overloaded the laser and sent him to the medical bay. Your drone's in control of the systems down there, I was wondering if she can take down those security measures." Keelah@crystyll hrms, "Strange, I wasn't aware that there were any active energy barriers in there" Kayan@annpc#5570 nods, "The only ones I saw from my scans were the ones containing Lupan. Maybe she activated some of the construct's security by accident." Keelah@crystyll: "In my experience with AI, seldom little occurs by accident Commander. We will come down and speak with her, find out what is happening" Kayan@annpc#5570: "Thank you, Captain. I'll keep our teams working on the hull for now. Seems they didn't run into any trouble cutting that away so far." Keelah@crystyll: "Acknowledged, we'll let you know as soon as we have any developments" Kayan@annpc#5570 nods and the comm ends. Keelah@crystyll taps her commbadge again, "Eva, contact Mana and have her meet me in transporter room 3" Kayan@annpc#5570: <C - Evanne> "Right away, Captain." Mia@crystyll | Mana & Keelah beam down into the construct. Keelah looks to Mana, "You're the AI buff here Mana, I'll follow your lead" Mana@anncarise nods and uses her visor to scan for any drones nearby. Mia@crystyll | There are none showing in range Mana@anncarise: "Mana does not see any drones in the area. Mana will see if Mana can communicate through the access ports if possible." Mana@anncarise searches for an access port somewhere in the construct's corridors. Mia@crystyll | Keelah nods and follows. It does not take Mana long to locate an access port Mana@anncarise taps on the wristcomp that connects with the cybernetic arm underneath, trying to see if she can interface with the access port. Mia@crystyll | Her experience with Nuhar tech means she can make light work of it Mana@anncarise checks to see if there is any indication of these safety systems that Commander Kayan reported. Mia@crystyll | No such systems appear to be active Mana@anncarise: "There is no sign of any automatic safety system." Mana@anncarise sees if she can locate Mia or any of the Nuhar drones through the interface. Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "Well I am certain the Commander's people did not simply imagine it. Is it worth investigating where the incident occurred?" Mia@crystyll | Mana's scan through the interface shows countless Nuhar drones working around the ship. She can also clearly identify her own handiwork and see both Mia and Sayu Mana@anncarise nods, "The site may be able to yield more answers, but Mana thinks finding Mia will be the most fruitful." Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "If you are able to, that's great" Mana@anncarise: "Mana has located Mia's position. Mana will lead the way." Mana@anncarise begins making her way through the corridors, heading towards where Mia is located. Mia@crystyll | Keelah nods and follows Mana@anncarise looks around for Miadrone as they near the right location. Mia@crystyll | The layout is far less forgiving and they have to wind through a series of corridors to reach the secluded spot Mana@anncarise: "Mana does not believe the interior of these constructs were meant for navigation by organics. The Nuhar had transport ships, also with AIs in control, but most constructs were not designed to carry - Mana@anncarise: - passengers, only drones." Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "Just another reason why Mia and Sayu were the only ones who could complete this mission" Mana@anncarise nods and looks around to see if Mia and Sayu pop up on her visor's scans as they approach the secluded spot. Mia@crystyll | They should be just around the next corner... Mana@anncarise turns the corner... Mia@crystyll | Sure enough, Miadrone and Sayu are visible up ahead Mana@anncarise: "Mana has been looking for Mia and Sayu! Is everything going well?" Mia@crystyll | As Mana approaches, she suddenly finds her path blocked by a forcefield Mana@anncarise tilts her head, "Mia? Did Mia put up the field?" Mia@crystyll: "The... controller. Must... be protected" Mana@anncarise: "The controller? As in Mia's drone?" Mia@crystyll: "The controller must... be protected. We will be hurt... no more" Mana@anncarise: "Mana is not here to hurt Mia. Mana just wants to ask some questions." Mia@crystyll: "Questions... answers... information... data. We need... data" Mana@anncarise: "Data for what purpose?" Mia@crystyll: "Data. For purpose" Mana@anncarise tilts her head again, "Is...Mia still in control, or...has Mia fully networked with the other drones?" Mia@crystyll: "Mia... ... ... Mia is control" Mana@anncarise nods and looks up and down the height of the field in front of her, "And did Mia also put up the fields to prevent access to the construct's components?" Mia@crystyll: "We must... protect control. Hurt no more" Mana@anncarise: "But the An are not coming to hurt Mia. The An are just taking from the construct." Mia@crystyll: "NO! Organics... hurt us. We will hurt no more" Mia@crystyll | Their scanners, if not their own senses, would tell of increased power generation within the construct, systems coming online Mana@anncarise: "What is Mia doing? The construct is not supposed to be coming online, only necessary systems for transportation and containing the Lupan." Mia@crystyll: "System restoration at 42%. Critical systems not yet restored. We will hurt no more. we... survive" Mana@anncarise glances to Keelah, "That's not good...Mana thinks Mia has networked fully with the construct's drones and systems and has become the construct. Or at least taken over the void in the systems left - Mana@anncarise: - by the disappearance of the construct's AI." Mia@crystyll | Keelah shakes her head, "It certainly seems that way... the question is, how do we free her from it?" Mana@anncarise: "AI can undo networking, but the process has to be chosen by all aspects of the network. Forcing a separation is too dangerous and will always result in some damage." Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "Are you saying Mia is doing this by choice?" Mana@anncarise: "Somewhat. The Mia from before may not do this by choice, but if Mia has truly networked with the other drones instead of simply sending override commands like the Lupan did, Mia and the drones are - Mana@anncarise: - effectively one. Like an organic hive mind or telepathic link. Where the Nuhar drones end and Mia begins is no longer clearly defined..." Mia@crystyll: "System restoration at 54%" Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "Which brings us neatly back to the question of how we seperate her from the ship... before she gains complete control" Mana@anncarise: "Mia...the drones and Mia said that Mia still has control. The drones have AI, but not as advanced as Mia or Mana's drone's AI. Nuhar drones were never meant to operate independantly without - Mana@anncarise: - direction from a more complex construct. If Mia is reminded of Mia's individuality and who Mia was, Mia may be able to reassert control." Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "But if what you say is right, doesn't that mean she currently has control?" Mana@anncarise: "Yes, but Mia is also being influenced by the drones as well. Mana does not think Mia would do this independantly without the drones' influence." Mia@crystyll: "System restoration at 59%" Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "Well whatever you're going to do, I suggest you do it quickly. This is why I wanted you here, if anyone can reach her it is you" Mana@anncarise nods and looks back to Mia, "Mana understands the suffering the construct and the drones have been through, but not all organics are out to hurt AI." Mana@anncarise: "Mia still remembers all the people from the Valley Forge who helped Mia first network with the drone, so Mia can see more of the universe and the drone can have new experiences." Mia@crystyll: "We... remember. Organics did not hurt us" Mana@anncarise: "Mana knows Mia has many friends among the Valley Forge. Biological friends. Some organics can do bad things, but Mia has seen Nuhar constructs do terrible things in the name of survival too." Mana@anncarise: "There are bad organics like the Lupan, but punishing all organics for that does not make things better, only make more bad synthetics and cause a greater rift." Mana@anncarise: "Mana knows Mia always wants to help, but this is not the way." Mia@crystyll: "We... will not hurt any. But we... will not be hurt" Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers over to Mia, [Sayu has always protected Mia and Mana. Sayu will not let Mia be hurt.] Mia@crystyll: [Sayu does not need to worry any longer. Sayu is with us now, we will protect Sayu] Mana@anncarise: "Mana will help the other drones here too. But reactivating the construct is not the solution. Mana knows the drones have always served the construct, but the construct AI is gone now. The drones - Mana@anncarise: - have to let go and find purpose elsewhere, like the Nuhar constructs after the Nuhar disappeared. Otherwise the construct's sad story will just repeat." Mana@anncarise: "The An are not bad organics. The An just need parts of the construct to help others, organic and synthetic life. People like Vector, and the other An synths." Mia@crystyll: "We have control. We have purpose. We will sur- survive... Help... other synthetics?" Mana@anncarise nods, "There are synthetics like the ones the An built, and there are other Nuhar too who still have intact AI." Mana@anncarise: "The drones need to let this one go. The drones can help the An synths repair the Mothership, and the Mothership can find other Nuhar where the drone can find purpose again." Mia@crystyll: "A new... controller? New purpose?" Mana@anncarise: "Yes. Trying to replace the old construct isn't purpose. The old construct won't come back. The drones need to find new controllers." Mia@crystyll: "Yes we have new control. We have the Mia" Mana@anncarise: "But is this what Mia wants? Mia wanted to leave the holodeck to be in Starfleet again. Mia wanted to come on this mission to do what Starfleet officers do." Mana@anncarise: "Mia took control of the drones to help the An and Captain Keelah, not to be controller for the drones forever, yes?" Mia@crystyll: "Yes. We... want to help" Mana@anncarise: "Mia has helped the drones already and freed the drones from the Lupan. Controlling the drones forever won't help, Mia can't give the drones the purpose that the drones seek. The drones were made to - Mana@anncarise: - be the cells of a larger organism, a Nuhar ship. Mia has control now, but the drones will need a new controller if the drones truly want purpose again." Mia@crystyll: "And the An can deliver this purpose to us?" Mana@anncarise: "For now at least. The An Mothership is big, with many systems and tunnels the drones can help fix. The An are also explorers, like Starfleet and will likely run into more Nuhar as the Mothership - Mana@anncarise: - explores this region. Then the drones can have a proper controller with the same purpose the drones had before." Mia@crystyll: "This... is desirable. Consensus is needed. Working... working..." Mana@anncarise smiles, "Mia can take all the time Mia needs." Mia@crystyll: "Consensus... achieved. Proposed terms accepted. Disengaging control unit" Mia@crystyll | Miadrone's connection port sparks as it hovers backwards a little before dropping to the floor Mia@crystyll | The forcefield separating them flickers and vanishes Mana@anncarise rushes up to Miadrone, examining the drone with her visor's scans. Mia@crystyll | Keelah looks and moves to approach but pauses, "Wait... if Mia is no longer controlling the forcefields. What is the status of the Lupan?" Mana@anncarise focuses on Mia for the time being, while Sayu hovers over Mana and Miadrone protectively in case any Lupan start rushing out. Mia@crystyll | Miadrone appears in good condition. Only it's active memory is overloaded with the massive strain of so many connections equating to hundreds of operational hours for her processors. Essentially, + Mia@crystyll: + she is just fatigued Mia@crystyll | Echoing throughout the distant areas of the construct, growls and pained screaming are heard through a mix of weapons fire Mana@anncarise picks up Miadrone and turns to Keelah, "Mana...thinks the drones still have control." Mia@crystyll | Keelah groans, looking around with a scowl, "This was not part of the deal! It is unethical to do harm to others like this" Mana@anncarise: "Mana is not sure the drones can still hear Captain Keelah. And Mana is not sure the drones understand ethics either..." Mia@crystyll | Mia's voice reverberates deeply all around them, "Yes. Unethical, as was the treatment of us. This is... justice" Mana@anncarise: "Or...maybe the drones can." Mia@crystyll | Keelah perks a brow, briefly glancing to the lifeless Miadrone before responding, "This is not justice. This is revenge, and it is wrong" Mia@crystyll | A Nuhar drone comes around the corner, stopping short of the group and hovering a moment Mana@anncarise | Sayu darts in front of Mana and the lifeless Miadrone, ready to defend them if the Nuhar drone turns hostile. Mia@crystyll | The drone remains still, emanating the collective voice more clearly, "We understand organic principles now. But the wrong was necessary to safeguard survival" Mia@crystyll | The drone replays recorded audio of the Lupan plotting to betray Keelah and seize the Valley Forge Mia@crystyll | Keelah sighs, "Be that as it may, you should not have done that. Your intention was... admirable, but not your execution. Try to understand... by doing what you did, how are you any better than + Mia@crystyll: + the Lupan who hurt you when you couldn't defend yourselves?" Mia@crystyll | The drones lights blink slowly, "We... understand. New data is still processing but we understand now" Mia@crystyll | Keelah perks a brow, "Just like that? Well that was easy" Mia@crystyll | Drone: "Synthetic processing is exponentially superior to organic" Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "Well there's no denying that logic. But... why was it necessary to eliminate the Lupan threat to the Valley Forge when the plan is for you to go with the An?" Mana@anncarise grins slightly at Keelah admitting the drone's logic. Mia@crystyll | Drone: "Consensus was reached through... compromise. If the An find another construct, we number too many to be of optimal deployment. If the construct has so many losses to need all of us, it + Mia@crystyll: + would already be too late for it" Mia@crystyll | Keelah, "Ok..." Mia@crystyll | Drone continues: "That is why consensus was for half our number to leave with your Valley Forge. 200% probability of unit survival" Mia@crystyll | Keelah blinkblinks, "W- What? That was not our consensus!" Mia@crystyll | Drones light slowly blinks, "It was ours" Mia@crystyll | Keelah looks to Mana, "You had better clear your schedule. It would seem you just inherited a small army of juvenile drones to keep in check" Mana@anncarise: "Mana will make sure the drones do not...misbehave. But Mana does believe the drones will be much less of a risk to carry than half a pack of Lupan." Mia@crystyll | Keelah nods, "Agreed, perhaps moreso given this characteristic of making their own minds up about things now" Mia@crystyll | The drone simply hovers there, lights slowly pulsing Mia@crystyll | More distant sound can be heard within the ship. It sounds like cutting Mana@anncarise: "Are the drones helping remove the construct's hull for the An?" Mia@crystyll | Drone: "Workforce assignment complete. Units designated 'An' commencing duty based on last known status. Units designated 'Valley Forge' awaiting instructions" Mana@anncarise: "Captain Keelah...may need to prepare the ship and crew first before bringing the drones back. Mana suggests having the drones operate the Nuhar's transporters while the drones are still here, so - Mana@anncarise: - exiting the construct on foot and traversing the desert will not be necessary to contact the ship." Mia@crystyll | Drone, "... Operational status updated. Workforce assigned to support function of workforce An" Mia@crystyll | Keelah looks to Mana, "How is Mia?" Mana@anncarise: "Mia is a little...overwhelmed from networking with and controlling so many drones. All systems are still intact and the memory doesn't seem corrupted." Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "She will be ok then?" Mana@anncarise nods, "Mana will take Mia back to the ship to recharge and recover. Mia should be fine given some time." Mia@crystyll | Keelah smiles a little, "Some good news at least then" Mana@anncarise | The light on the drone blinks again before Commander Kayan's voice sounds through it, <C> "Captain Keelah, are you reading me?" Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "Commander? Yes, I read you" Mana@anncarise | <C - Kayan> "There's drone activity all over the construct's hull now. They seem to be taking it apart. Did you get your drone to enlist their help in helping us salvage, or is this something - Mana@anncarise: - else?" Mia@crystyll | Keelah: "It is... complicated, but yes; the drones are working to assist you now. We should probably convene to discuss the situation properly" Mana@anncarise <C - Kayan> "Alright. I'll await your full update, then." Mia@crystyll | Keelah looks to the drone, "Could you transport me to the An Commander, and send Mana back to the Valley Forge with her drones?" Mia@crystyll | Drone thinks a moment, light pulsing away, "Affirmative. The control Mia must be protected" Mia@crystyll | Keelah gives a quick glance to Mana before nodding, "Energize" Mana@anncarise nods as well, "Mana will make sure Mia is alright." --- Kayan@annpc#5570 is gathered with her crew around a display of the crash site, showcasing the movement of the many drones over it. Keelah@crystyll materializes nearby, taking a moment to get her bearings before looking to Kayan, "Commander" Kayan@annpc#5570 turns as Keelah materializes, "Captain." Keelah@crystyll approaches, observing the display, "Is this the drone activity?" Kayan@annpc#5570 nods, "It is. They seem to be removing pieces of the hull and bringing it to our Hauler Ships. We'll take all the help we can get." Keelah@crystyll: "Hold on to that thought Commander, you will need it..." Kayan@annpc#5570: "What do you mean?" Keelah@crystyll: "There was something of a complication arising from our interference between them and the Lupan" Keelah@crystyll: "Our AI - Mia - was almost lost to a newly forming collective conciousness among the drones. Like a wounded animal, they were trying to protect themselves and flee. That was why they interfered with + Keelah@crystyll: + your salvage teams" Kayan@annpc#5570 nods, "That makes sense. Did you talk them around into helping us, then?" Keelah@crystyll: "Yes. However their help is not confined to the salvage of this construct, they will also leave with you and assist with repairs and maintenance to your fleet" Kayan@annpc#5570: "Well we won't say no to extra help. The Mothership's taken some heavy hits, and we're down a number of hands thanks to the Lupan abductions as well." Kayan@annpc#5570: "Is there anything they're expecting in return?" Keelah@crystyll: "Only that - should you one day find yourselves in such a position - you transfer them to an active Nuhar construct, that they may continue in the manner of existence they are designed for" Kayan@annpc#5570: "That's acceptable. Our expedition is designed to be completely self-sufficient in regular times; we won't need them forever, but we can sure use their functions right now." Keelah@crystyll: "I'm glad this is favourable for you. I am not certain we will fare so well with the number of them who decided to assign themselves to leave with us..." Kayan@annpc#5570 | Vector: "One of the members of the Expeditionary Forum, the Mothership's governing body that is, is a synthetic like myself. He will serve as a fine liason for them." Kayan@annpc#5570: "Some of them are joining your ship as well?" Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, as we are heading in a different direction, they... decided it presented sufficiently increased chances of success for at least part of their collective to survive" Keelah@crystyll: "Furthermore, they reasoned that even if you do encounter a suitable construct, it will have it's own complement of drones and so not be able to house the full number from this one" Keelah@crystyll looks to Vector with a nod, "They will need that sympathetic liason. They are not an AI on your level, they are more... simple, juvenile. But I suspect they have retained at least some aspect of + Keelah@crystyll: + Mia's coding, which is allowing them to grow" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Vector nods, "That will be a good start. We An synthetics will guide them as best we can." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "I couldn't imagine better hands for them to be in" Kayan@annpc#5570 nods, "Their strategy makes sense. We'll make as much of a home for them as we can until we find another Nuhar construct." Keelah@crystyll: "Great. Now while they make short work of stripping that construct for you, I need to see about disassembling the living quarters we just made up for the Lupan and converting the space into mass + Keelah@crystyll: + drone storage..." Kayan@annpc#5570: "The Lupan aren't joining you, I take it?" Keelah@crystyll: "No. The drones... had other ideas about the Lupan..." shakes her head despondently Kayan@annpc#5570: "I was afraid it wasn't going to end peacefully. These Lupan in particular remind me too much of the Jem'Hadar." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Yes, and the drones observed them planning their betrayal. But that does not excuse the drones thoughtless execution of the whole pack" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Vector: "As you said, they are still juvenile. Like biological youth, their reactions do not always equate to the situation." Keelah@crystyll: "Indeed. They were quick to acknowledge our ethical stance, though I am not convinced they see anything wrong with it still" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Vector: "We will try to make them understand ethics and morality better." Kayan@annpc#5570: "We've had to deal with plenty of civilizations like that. I'm sure we'll manage." Keelah@crystyll: "Likewise for us. That doesn't mean it is a situation I am comfortable with" Kayan@annpc#5570: "Maybe our synths can have a few tips for you. Speaking of which, the Mothership directed you here to help because they weren't sure you could be trusted after our recent experiences travelling - Kayan@annpc#5570: - through this area. But if there's any doubt then, it's gone now. You're welcome to come with us once we have all our salvage and drones on board." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "I would very much like that, thank you" Kayan@annpc#5570 smiles back, "Thank /you/ for your help here. We'll let you know when we're all set and wait for you before we depart." Keelah@crystyll: "We will be ready. Now, if you will excuse me; I have to go upset my chief engineer" Kayan@annpc#5570 | Ankti: "If your engineers need help, tell them to reach out to me. Those drones have pretty much cleared up my schedule." Keelah@crystyll: "I will be sure to let her know" she smiles again, "Until then" she dips her head to the pair before stepping away to call for beamout
View Act III
Keliaya@anncarise FX | It has been a few days since the VF resolved the situation around the Nuhar crash site. The An transport ships, which they refer to as Haulers, had made several trips to and from their - Keliaya@anncarise - Mothership, bringing the salvage from the Nuhar construct back. Keliaya@anncarise | Evanne: "We have confirmation from Commander Kayan that the salvage operation is complete. They're making one last journey back to the Mothership to bring the drones and are inviting us along." Keelah@crystyll: "Time to get underway then" turns to Kelly, "Are all our drones stowed away now as well?" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "We have all the drones on board and are ready to go whenever they are." Keelah@crystyll nods back to Eva, "Signal Kayan that we are ready. Helm, form up and prepare to warp out" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Aye aye, Cap'n. Formin' up with the An ships." Keliaya@anncarise | Evanne: "Signal sent. They will be jumping to warp in one minute." Keliaya@anncarise | On the viewscreen, the Nos'telari ships form up- three of the more rounded Recon Ships, four Haulers and the Lander 1, which seems to bear clear similarity to the Hauler design, but a little - Keliaya@anncarise: - smaller and more angular: https://i.imgur.com/22OPOZ3.png Keliaya@anncarise | The Lander 1 and a Recon Ship at the front of the formation warps out first, followed by the four Haulers. Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "They're goin' to warp." Keelah@crystyll: "Stick with them Ensign" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Engagin' warp drive." Keliaya@anncarise | After the two Recons in the rear warps out, the Valley Forge follows, the field of stars ahead stretching into streaks... Keliaya@anncarise | A few hours later, the Valley Forge exits warp in the system they had first encountered the expedition in. The defense grid of small, raider-like ships around the huge station-sized construct - Keliaya@anncarise: - still remains in orbit of the same planet as the previous time they were here. Keliaya@anncarise | The An ships they had come with makes their way towards the Mothership. Keliaya@anncarise | Evanne: "The Tel'darash are clearing us for approach, Captain. The Mothership's traffic control is asking whether we prefer external docking or transporting on board." Keelah@crystyll: "I think we can stick with transporters. No need to get bogged down with docking procedures" Keliaya@anncarise | Evanne nods and sends the reply before turning back to Keelah, "We have approach vector and transport coordinates. One of them is for a Visitor's Centre, but they want to meet you at a separate - Keliaya@anncarise: - location in the Tel'darash complex." Keelah@crystyll stands, "Alright, hold position while we get the lay of the land. Eva, you can let them know that I am on my way" Keliaya@anncarise | Evanne nods, "They say you can bring anyone you deem important from the Valley Forge's command structure as well." Keelah@crystyll considers a moment, "Kelly, fancy a change of scenery? With all the drone attention and salvage I can think of nobody more suited" Keliaya@anncarise chuckles, "I certainly won't say no to a change from all the new drone storage." Keliaya@anncarise makes her way over to the turbolift. Keliaya@anncarise | Katie smiles over to them as they arrive at the transporter room, "Captain. Commander. I have the transport coordinates, but you might want to see the view first." Keelah@crystyll: "Oh?" Keliaya@anncarise | Katie taps the transport console for a section of it to display the forward view from the ship, showing the Valley Forge approaching the massive Mothership: https://i.imgur.com/fyrOslC.jpg Keelah@crystyll: "Quite the feat of engineering, isn't it?" Keliaya@anncarise FX | The ship is comprised of a giant ring around a huge spherical centrepiece, all connected by four thick struts. The Haulers, easily the largest auxiliary ship of the expedition, are docking - Keliaya@anncarise: - onto the inner hull, in the negative space between the outer ring and the sphere. As the Valley Forge approaches, it becomes clear just how much the massive ship dwarfs the Federation cruiser. Keliaya@anncarise nods, "I've never seen anything like it. only read about a handful of similar vessels Starfleet has encountered, like the First Federation flagship or Voth city ship." Keelah@crystyll: "Likewise" Keliaya@anncarise | Katie: "Judging from the lifesigns, it is really a mobile city. It's got more people on board than a Federation starbase." Keelah@crystyll: "That is certainly one way to run a long term expedition" Keliaya@anncarise | Upon getting closer, the signs of damage on the Mothership's hull are more apparent, as are the numerous repair pods swarming over to conduct repairs with the newly salvaged materials. Keelah@crystyll points them out, "And there's the downside. Large ship & large population means large target as well" Keliaya@anncarise: "The size alone might dissuade pirates, but it'll definitely draw attention from larger groups like these Lupan zealots." Keelah@crystyll: "Or the Primevals..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Oh, that reminds me. I was talking to Evanne about them the night before, and she says she can't sense anything from the An. Either they're naturally resistant to telepathy, or they've found some - Keliaya@anncarise: - defense against it like our implants." Keelah@crystyll: "Well hopefully now we will be able to find out. Shall we?" Keliaya@anncarise | Katie: "We're in transporter range now." Keliaya@anncarise nods and steps onto the pad. Keelah@crystyll steps up as well, "Energize when ready" Keliaya@anncarise | Katie: "Energizing." Keliaya@anncarise FX | The two beam down onto a transporter pad and are greeted by a female An in the white and grey uniform variant: https://i.imgur.com/ZsSQsSv.jpg Keliaya@anncarise | Female An: "Welcome to the Mothership. I'm Oska, Ambassador for the Suvoseh expedition." Keelah@crystyll: "Ambassador" she bows her head a little, "Thank you for welcoming us back. I am Captain Se'Lai, and may I present LCDR Keliaya - my Chief Engineer" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "It's a pleasure to have you on board. Normally, we greet our visitors in the Visitor's Centre, but it's not formal protocol. You and your people will have plenty of time to explore it - Keliaya@anncarise: - later and learn more of our people. I thought it would be better to get business out of the way first." Keelah@crystyll: "It is always preferable to learn the 'do's and dont's' before getting carried away with visitation" she agrees Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "Oh, we are very tolerant of different cultures and practices. As long as nothing you do endangers or harms the expedition or any of its members, you'll be fine." Keliaya@anncarise | The ambassador smiles reassuringly and turns, "Come with me." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "A kindred spirit. Always good to hear" as she follows Keliaya@anncarise | Oska leads them out of the transporter room and through several hallways. Most of the people who pass them by are in black and red uniforms, and like the other An they met, seemingly of at - Keliaya@anncarise: - least four distinct subspecies. Keelah@crystyll takes in all the cultural sights as they progress Keliaya@anncarise | Oska speaks as they walk, "I hope you don't feel that your goodwill has been exploited by the Tel'darash. They were in need of assistance, and it was a good opportunity for you to prove your - Keliaya@anncarise: - intentions as well. Personally, I opted for a less demanding approach, but the Grand Marshal's word holds more weight to my own where expedition security is concerned." Keelah@crystyll chuckles, "It is not uncommon practice in our experience; to prove oneself to a potential new friend by aiding them a meaningful matter" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "I am glad you were able to help the Tel'darash resolve the situation. From here on though, I can assure you that our relationship will be mutually beneficial, and we will not seek to - Keliaya@anncarise: - take advantage of your friendship." Keelah@crystyll: "Always reassuring to here" Keliaya@anncarise | The ambassador leads them into a conference room, where four An in red uniforms are seated, two female and two male. The view outside the window of the room shows a bright sunny courtyard with - Keliaya@anncarise: - parts of other structures visible around it, hardly distinguishable as the interior of a ship: https://i.imgur.com/C8z5hQe.png Keliaya@anncarise | Ambassador Oska takes a seat and invites her guests to do so as well. Keelah@crystyll admires the view as she sits, "Now there's something you don't often see in deep space. Simulation or do you maintain a natural ecosystem?" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "We maintain a natural ecosystem consisting of a number of species from various worlds throughout the La'ani Commonwealth. This ship is the only home that many on board know, and we like - Keliaya@anncarise: - to make it feel like home. It also serves to give a good impression to any visitors, of course." Keelah@crystyll: "No arguments here" Keliaya@anncarise | The ambassador looks to those around the table, "Anyways, you've already met Field Marshal Niavi and Marshal Aloka, our heads of Ground Operations and Special Operations." Keliaya@anncarise | Oska motions to one of the males, who seems to be of the variety with a larger cranial structure, "This is Fleet Marshal Paval, Head of Fleet Operations. He coordinates our ships in defensive - Keliaya@anncarise: - engagements." Keliaya@anncarise | The ambassador nods over to the other male, one of the ones with the hardened forehead and a large stature, "And finally, Grand Marshal Solan, Head of Tel'darash for the Suvoseh expedition." Keelah@crystyll dips her headto each with their introduction, "Thank you - all of you - for the warm welcome" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan dips his head in return, his gesture curt and formal like many military types Keelah has seen before, "We called you to meet with us here for a specific purpose. You and your people will - Keliaya@anncarise: - soon be able to get to explore our Mothership and enjoy all it has to offer. We won't keep you for long, we just have a few things to discuss." Keliaya@anncarise | Solan takes a sip from a cup in front of him before continuing, "I take it by now that you've heard of the Horde." Keelah@crystyll: "Of course, as I was just saying to the Ambassador on the way down here; I too find it preferable to close out such matters before enjoying any nicities" she leans back taking a moment to consider + Keelah@crystyll: + Solan, "You don't beat around the preverbial bush, do you? Well I am glad you brought it up because it saved me having to do it for once" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan smirks slightly, "We Vesan like to get down to business. How much do you know about them?" Keelah@crystyll: "It started when we first embarked on our rimward journey, but the further we travelled - the more we learned. We know enough to know that they are a threat, and that we must stop them" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "About as much as we do, then, and I'm glad you've come to the same conclusion." Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "Most of us are explorers, not soldiers. But the threat of the Horde is too great to ignore, and given enough time, they'll pose a danger to the Commonwealth." Keliaya@anncarise | Niavi nods, "And by then, it might be too late to stop them." Keelah@crystyll: "We had noticed that your people appear to be - for want of a better term - immune to telepathic sensing?" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "We heard that the Horde used telepathy to exploit some form of vulnerability in our brains and gain control of our bodies, maybe even our minds." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Not the Horde themselves, per se. But the Primeval entities which control the Horde" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska nods, "Our scientists discovered a way to cover up this vulnerability by altering our genetics. We don't tend to use much direct genetic tampering, the different breeds you see among us - Keliaya@anncarise: - are all a result of guided but completely natural breeding, and we like to take pride in that." Keelah@crystyll: "Aah so you went that route. Would you mind a quick verification?" she pulls out a tricorder, hovering it a moment awaiting consent Keliaya@anncarise | Paval nods, "It distinguishes us from our old nemesis, but we also learned much of direct augmentation from them. Go ahead, our scientists would be happy to provide you details on the entire - Keliaya@anncarise: - procedure if it helps you against the Horde." Keelah@crystyll stands and checks each of them in turn with the tricorder, looking for signs of the errant neural pattern Keelah@crystyll smiles, taking her seat again as she see conclusive results, "Excellent, one can't be too careful with Horde influence. We went the route of cybernetic implanation to provide immunity" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "We hadn't considered that. As I understand it, our scientists initially experimented with worn devices that provided shielding against telepathic assault, but it was a temporary measure - Keliaya@anncarise: - at best. Eventually, we had little choice but to use the knowledge we had gained from our old enemy." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Our implants are technically temporary as well as they are safely removable as and when the time comes. The Federation has had... difficulty, in the past with augmentation and so it was not a+ Keelah@crystyll: + favourable option for many of our crew. We have recently had the opportunity to test our implants against the influence of one of these Primeval beings, or something close at any rate" Keelah@crystyll: "As with your offer on the genetics, I am happy to share full details with you" she smiles Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "Our people have had no incidents with genetic augmentation, though it is a matter of pride for our soldiers, especially the Vesan, to distinguish ourselves from the Jem'Hadar." Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, "You too have had conflict with the Dominion then I take it?" Keliaya@anncarise | Niavi: "We've had three, not counting minor skirmishes." Keliaya@anncarise | Paval: "I'm more surprised your people have had a conflict with them. We know some out here like the Arshai have heard of them, but you're very far from Dominion territory." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "We are very far from Federation territory as well. But our conflict with them was hastened by the discovery of a stable wormhole connection our respective territories" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "Interesting. We haven't heard of such a discovery, but the Dominion can be secretive about information. Not to mention that we departed many of our years ago." Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, this conflict was in recent memory for many of our people. I wish I could say it was the most recent, but the Federation has suffered a relentless onslaught in recent years" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "The Commonwealth of La'an shares a border with the Dominion. Well, there's a neutral zone in between, but it's the side of our space that has the most problems." Keelah@crystyll: "So if that is your home territory, and you are in this region now, are you exploring a predetermined route?" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "No. We have a predetermined direction to travel in, but the expedition chooses our specific route and where we wander to. We're free to return to Commonwealth space whenever we wish, - Keliaya@anncarise: - but most of us usually do not return until after more than a hundred years. Many of the key members of the expedition today were born on Mothership Suvoseh, and to them the Mothership is home, not the - Keliaya@anncarise: - Commonwealth. Where we come from is but another friendly port for us now." Keelah@crystyll: "I can well believe it. If you don't mind my asking, what direction are you planning to head in from here? We have data on a lot of the surrounding areas now so may be able to update your charts for + Keelah@crystyll: + you and provide information on the civilizations there" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "Our direction now is towards the galactic rim. While we're not meant as a military expedition, we can't ignore something as big as the Horde." Keliaya@anncarise | Paval: "We've already begun making preparations. You've been on Lander 1, it's the first of a new line of ships fusing our Hauler and Recon designs adapted for combat." Keelah@crystyll: "So you are also moving to intercept them" she nods, thinking Keelah@crystyll: "Is it your intention then to find and join up with the Guardians?" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan nods, "We need to do whatever we can to contain the threat." Keelah@crystyll: "We appear to have a great deal in common then. What you may not know however, is that the Guardians are losing ground to the Horde all the time and are only able to slow their march" Keelah@crystyll: "My intention is bypass the Guardians if needs be, and go straight to the means of containing the threat indefinitely" Keliaya@anncarise | Aloka: "We've heard rumours of a method to control the Horde, but we've had a hard time verifying them, or even their source. It's entirely possible it's just a false lead spread by - Keliaya@anncarise: - Horde-influenced agents. What lead are you working on?" Keelah@crystyll: "First hand recollection of a Nuhar construct from the time of it's ancient creators who built on a scale to dwarf even your work" Keelah@crystyll: "We call them Dyson Spheres, but they are Iconian constructs engulfing entire stars. We were already heading towards one when we learned that it was built specifically to contain the Primevals. With+ Keelah@crystyll: + them contained, the Horde loses its control. Like cutting the head off a snake" Keliaya@anncarise | Paval nods, "That seems much more reliable. We know of the Iconians, and we know that they and the Nuhar fought against the Horde in the distant past." Keelah@crystyll: "And we know these Spheres after fighting a very recent war against the Iconians themselves. We have a bearing on this sphere from a connection found in our territory. What we lack, is a distance to + Keelah@crystyll: + it. Hence our rimward course - continuing until we find that sphere both as a means to stop this threat, and potentially our only way home if it ends up so far away that ours becomes a generational + Keelah@crystyll: + ship like you have" Keliaya@anncarise | Paval: "Have you already considered the possibility that the Sphere may already be behind enemy lines?" Keelah@crystyll: "I am aware that it is a likelihood. That is why we continue taking every step to prepare ourselves to face this enemy as we can not presume success before encountering them" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "As are we, like Marshal Paval stated with the Lander Ships." Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "So your purpose now is finding this Sphere and using it against the Horde, possibly requiring you to cross territories they control already?" Keelah@crystyll nods, "In essence, yes. Our purpose was always to find this Sphere, only now that purpose has axpanded" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "Why did you originally seek this Sphere?" Keelah@crystyll: "Because we learned of it's presence through the discovery of a connecting gate within Federation territory. Our aim was to secure it to protect our borders, and secondary to that; establish an + Keelah@crystyll: + operation presence at the Sphere end in order to support future exploration" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "The spheres usually have Iconian gateway systems within, which can be very useful for travelling to distant regions, and dangerous in the wrong hands." Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "It's certainly an important asset, militarily and for trade or exploration." Keelah@crystyll: "Which is why is worth the Federation sending us out here to ensure it remains in safe hands. Our Alliance with the other major powers in our quadrant has significant experience in operating these + Keelah@crystyll: + Spheres as neutral grounds" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "We can help you search for this Sphere, if it indeed presents a chance to neutralize the threat of the Horde. But if it is behind enemy lines, our Mothership will likely draw the - Keliaya@anncarise: - Horde's attention." Keelah@crystyll nods, "It is only logical for us to work together in some capacity as we seem to be working towards the same goal" Keliaya@anncarise | Paval: "Our Recon Ships are ideal vessels to search for the Sphere, but they are dependent on the Mothership. They were build to scout ahead for the expedition, not operate and explore - Keliaya@anncarise: - independently. And as the Grand Marshal said, the Mothership won't be capable of slipping past the Horde." Keelah@crystyll: "What is your current strategy for dealing with the Horde threat, if i may ask?" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "We know the Horde attacks with overwhelming force. There's no way we can match their numbers, so our plan was to keep the Mothership behind Guardian lines as a mobile base of operations." Keliaya@anncarise | Paval: "Our Recon Ships and the new Lander designs are equipped with stealth devices. They will conduct precision strikes on the enemy, hopefully identifying and eliminating key targets." Keelah@crystyll: "We have also found them to favour subterfuge ahead of the Horde's arrival. Already we discovered their influence with the Arshai" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "Really? The Arshai did not seem to be affected when we arrived. They were becoming more aware to the danger posed by the Horde and had deployed a long range scouting expedition to - Keliaya@anncarise: - evaluate the threat and learn about the enemy." Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, at that time they were not being influenced. But the Supreme Commander's expedition drew their attention, possibly through directo confrontation with the Horde itself. They returned unaware of + Keelah@crystyll: + telepathic influence until our arrival a short time later" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska nods, "That explains it. While none of us have dealt with the Dominion firsthand, our people have significant knowledge on weeding out enemy agents. It's a tactic the Dominion is - Keliaya@anncarise: - particularly fond of, given the biology of their Founders. We might be able to use that to counter Horde spies and saboteurs." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Such experience will be invaluable in weeding out influenced individuals from any civilizations you encouter. Further to this, I can give you our data on the influencing process. Thanks to + Keelah@crystyll: + our time with the Arshai, we learned to identify a neural wave variation that is a key identifier among influenced people. It is what I scanned you all for when we started here" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "That will certainly be very useful. Thank you." Keelah@crystyll: "Anything we can do to support our allies in this cold fight" she smiles, "What of the Guardians, we have little information on their activity thus far but remain keen to establish contact" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "We haven't managed to contact them yet, either. From what we understand, they're further towards the rim and maintain their presence wherever the Horde is to be contained." Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "We have learned a few things about them, though. Mostly from second hand information, and archaeological research." Keelah@crystyll: "It may be prudent then for you to stick with your current plan of bolstering their lines. You are of course welcome to join our rimward journey until such time that we encounter them" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "That's what we were thinking. We'll assist your search however we can but our efforts are probably best focused on supporting the Guardians." Keliaya@anncarise | Paval: "Our Recon Ships are built primarily for scouting, with stealth strikes only an added benefit of the cloaking systems. We'll keep an eye out for your Sphere while we're out there. As for - Keliaya@anncarise: - travelling with you, it'll take a few more weeks before the Mothership's repairs are complete. You're free stay with us as long as you like, but once the ship is back to full condition, we should - Keliaya@anncarise: - have little trouble making up for the distance should you decide to depart before we do." Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "We are still explorers, and we're better at doing that than fighting. While we assist the Guardians, we'll conduct side efforts of our own to see if we can shed any light on this - Keliaya@anncarise: - Sphere's exact location." Keelah@crystyll: "It may be prudent for us to scout ahead. As for your cloaked scouting missions, we should coordinate them with our own. It may even be possible for us to subsidize your efforts if we move ahead by + Keelah@crystyll: + accommodating some of your scouts" Keliaya@anncarise | Paval: "Our Recon Ships are meant to dock with the Mothership after their missions. We can coordinate with you while our Mothership is travelling towards the Guardians with your ship, but - Keliaya@anncarise: - they'll have to stay with us once we reach them. As Ambassador Oska said though, we'll do everything we can to continue assisting you from there." Keelah@crystyll: "It sounds like we have a workable plan then. I would certainly like to remain here with you for some time at least and get to know your people better. The Valley Forge can be made open to any + Keelah@crystyll: + interested parties from your own people of course, too" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska smiles, "We're always interested in learning of new cultures, and your people are more than welcome on the Mothership. I would suggest they begin in the Visitor's Centre, but they may - Keliaya@anncarise: - explore the habitation area freely, as long as they do not trespass on private living quarters, of course." Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "For visits in the Tel'darash complex here or the mechanic areas of the ship, you'll have to arrange with the Tel'darash or the Fixers beforehand." Keelah@crystyll: "Naturally. Our public areas are more limited on the Valley Forge, but any interested visitors can be provided with escorts to show relavent areas" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "That'll do nicely. You're free to come and go throughout the habitation area now that you've proven yourself. As I said when you first arrived, our rules are fairly straightforward, and - Keliaya@anncarise: - likely not too different from most civilizations advanced enough to develop space travel, save a few exceptions such as the Lupan. You can find more details on the specifics in the Visitor's Centre." Keelah@crystyll: "I know a number of my crew who will be eager to come and meet you all" she smiles Keliaya@anncarise | Oska smiles, "And I know a number of our expedition that would love to learn more about you." Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "And we'll probably send some people to share what we've both learned of the Horde and the Guardians so far, as well." Keelah@crystyll: "That would be fruitful. Perhaps we can jointly host a few conferences to brief likeminded personnel and share information" Keliaya@anncarise | Solan: "Sounds like a good idea. Well, thank you for taking your time to speak to us, Captain. I look forward to continuing this cooperation." Keelah@crystyll stands, "And thank you for the hospitality. I see this as a promising firat atep towards a fruitful new friendship between our peoples" Keliaya@anncarise | Oska: "I hope so as well. You are certainly among the more like-minded of people we have encountered on our journey, especially in this particular region." Keelah@crystyll chuckles, "Yes it has proven to be rather inhospitable hasn't it. Well, I look forward to our next meeting. Good day" she dips her head a little and turns to exit Keliaya@anncarise nods to those around the table and follows Keelah out as well. Keliaya@anncarise: "Well, that went much more smoothly than most of our official talks so far." Keelah@crystyll: "Indeed. It is a poor reflection on our recent activity that the first thought is that this all seems too good to be true" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "We're not the only ones. They were wary of us when we first approached, back before we helped with the crashed Nuhar." Keelah@crystyll: "True. Well, I need to get back to update the situation but you are welcome to remain and start exploring if you wish" Keliaya@anncarise: "I'll come with you to get the crew rotations sorted out first, maybe contact those Fixers. I think a lot of my Engineering staff will want to have a look at how they run the Mothership." Keelah@crystyll: "Let's get back then" she smiles
AFTER ACTION REPORT STARFLEET SECURITY CLEARANCE LEVEL 2 | Confidential
MISSION PARAMETERSOUTCOME SUMMARY First contact with Nos'telari expedition. Assess new encounter and attempt to establish friendly relations. After providing the requested assistance in securing Nuhar salvage for desperately needed repairs to their fleet, from Lupan zealots; full diplomatic talks were engaged and a positive outcome achieved. The fleet has been confirmed as following a similar adjusted mission to the Valley Forge and so will proceed in close proximity for the immediate future.
Continue to support the fleet's numerous initiatives in preparation to face Horde resistance. Secondary to this is the continued joint research and cultural exchange available from a positive contact such as this. A request will be made for volunteers to provide genetic sampling to the joint-Lupan research programme as we continue to share data on their pursuit of Preserver knowledge.
The Valley Forge first encountered the Nos'telari Expedition upon entering Sector V-019. A tentative but optimistic opening dialogue was achieved and we were escorted to their parent fleet where we attempted to progress diplomatic relations. Having found that the fleet has shared a similar experience to us in this region of space with the numerous rogue elements, they were understandably cautious and so asked that we prove our sincerity by assisting one of their expeditions in securing a salvage site from Lupan resistance. Provisionally agreeing to this - subject to specific circumstances and an unwillingness to compromise our own integrity for favour gains - we departed for the nearby star system and engaged with the salvage team.
After learning that the Lupan were entrenched within the remains of a Nuhar construct - ever since losing their ship in an orbital skirmish - we devised a strategy to perform reconnaissance on their location whilst bolstering the defenses of the salvage team. A volunteer mission was setup form Mia and her drone brother Sayu; as their drone shells could more easily penetrate the construct remains via subterranean passages and stood a greater chance of avoiding detection within. Further to this, Mia's past experience interfacing with Nuhar AI and stored data on their constructs was deemed a significant advantage to navigation.
The drones succeeded in their mission and reported back with substantial intelligence confirming that the Lupan were attempting to restore operational status to the construct and seize it as a weapon to be wielded in their (more so than usual) zealous campaign. Knowing the danger this presented to all in the region, we devised a strategy to foil their plan with minimal collateral damage. This involved a second - more direct - mission for the drone siblings which would see Mia attempt direct interface with the construct remains and circumvent the Lupans forced control over it's systems, with Sayu providing backup and defensive support.
Though the mission was successfully executed, it was not without cost. The Nuhar support drones still swarming the construct interior under the - for want of a better term - lobotomized control of the Lupan, were simplistic in nature and deemed of little capability. What all failed to predict was that Mia's intervention would invigorate the drones and instill a long absent hive consciousness among the thousands of active drones still remaining. This collective consciousness very nearly overwhelmed Mia's own networked AI as the simplistic drones tried to retain her as a control element in lieu of the parent AI from the Nuhar construct itself (which was completely absent from all databanks in this construct). We were forced to intervene and engage in negotiations with the hive drones - through Mia - while they rapidly restored functionality (and self control) to the construct body, with view to launching and engaging in self preservation protocols. Whilst this was ultimately successful, the drain on Mia's drone shell was extreme as she now remains in what I understand to be the equivalent to a comatose state while her hardware self-repairs and she recovers from the equivalent of several thousand hours of runtime through her processors. Thankfully, all predictions are optimistic for her to make a full recovery and that she simply requires time to rest in this state. The drones themselves had pre-preemptively decided to split their number between the Nos'telari fleet and the Valley Forge under the premise that this would present increased likelihood of them one day finding a new active construct to transfer to. While those assigned to the Nos'telari work vigorously to assist the fleet with their current salvage work and vessel repair, those assigned to the Valley Forge remain in tight storage awaiting Mia's revival.
With the construct secured and the Lupan appeased - achieved through forced negotiations and an agreement to share intelligence regarding their pursuit of genetic mapping - we returned to the Nos'telari fleet and engaged in amenable talks regarding future relations. With full disclosure from both parties, we learned of their similar experiences to us regarding the Primeval Horde and their own adjusted mission parameters to suit. An agreement was made that we would work in unison until reaching the front lines where they would likely hold back to support the greater effort while the Valley Forge is planned to bypass the front lines in the search for the Dyson Sphere.
In the mean time, we will continue to engage in cultural exchange with the fleet and have agreed to remain with them for a brief R&R period which will support this before we move on ahead of them. This will also allow us time to process our bargain with the Lupan which will call for volunteers from the crew to provide genetic sampling. These Lupan are a particular group subservient to the Sisterhood, who are working on a theory that the Preservers encoded much more in their Child race genetic sequencing. Whilst I do not condone their methods, or the foreboding nature of their end goal, this is a pursuit of knowledge that is of equal interest and so will be supported as long as that remains accurate and amenable.