Updated: Mar 18
A test of resolve and commitment to the Prime Directive like none have imagined awaits the crew as days turn to weeks, turn to months in what increasingly appears to be their new home for life...
View Act IV - 6 Months
Mia@crystyll | Previously on TTV: Mia@crystyll: Mia@crystyll looks around, "Why is it so dark in here? Computer; raise illumination 75%" Mia@crystyll: Mia@crystyll | ...nothing happens Mia@crystyll: Mia@crystyll 's eyes narrow, shifting to the edge of her bed, "Computer, respond" Mia@crystyll: Mia@crystyll | still nothing... Mia@crystyll: Mia@crystyll | Miadrone emits a nervous sounding 'wooo...' Mia@crystyll: Miadrone: [Sayu? Brother, where are you? We need you!] Mia@crystyll: Miadrone: [What do you mean you can not locate them? What happened to everybody?] Mia@crystyll: Sayu: [Insufficient data to reach a conclusion. I've been using most of my time and processing to keep the ship mostly online. I am not specialized for support like you are.] Mia@crystyll: Miadrone scans around the lifeless room briefly: [Is everyone truly gone...?] Mia@crystyll | And now the conclusion... Mia@crystyll: ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjaejG-LDAQ&feature=emb_logo ) Mia@crystyll | After securing core systems in engineering, Mia & Sayu head to the bridge in the hopes that Mia's familiarity with the ship will allow them to investigate the crew's disappearance more thoroughly.. Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers over to the security console, extending an appendage and connecting onto it to try and discern what happened. Mia@crystyll starts by checking for log entries at the comms console Mia@crystyll | Miadrone: [Brother, you were right! It really has been nearly 6 months! We will adjust our internal chronometers to resync] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [How could the crew just disappear for 6 months? I am seeing no data on what could have occured to them. They just vanished.] Mia@crystyll | Miadrone: "We are at an equal loss. There is no record of anything untoward in the logs. What about navigation, where are we?" Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers over to the helm, connecting with the console to check. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Sayu is unsure. This data is irregular. Sayu detects only one star and a planet.] Mia@crystyll | Miadrone [Clarify: one star?] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Yes. Sayu does not know how this is possible. The ship's scanners should be powerful enough to detect many more.] Mia@crystyll | Miadrone: [Can Sayu activate the main viewscreen from there?] Mana@anncarise | Sayu tries to activate the viewscreen for Mia. Mia@crystyll looks to the main screen, which remains pitch black Mia@crystyll | Miadrone [Is... is it working?] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Yes. The stars are simply not there. Sayu is at a loss for explanation.] Mia@crystyll hrms, "Brother, we do not like this. Not one bit. What about that planet Sayu saw, are the crew there?" Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers over to the science console, connecting to get a scan. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Unknown. There is a strange energy barrier around the planet. Sensors are unable to penetrate.] Mia@crystyll hrms again, "From our observations of Capitaine Keelah, we believe that would be taken as sufficient data to surmise a possible connection. With no alternatives available, we must believe that the + Mia@crystyll + crew are down there" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Transporters can definitely not obtain a lock through that barrier. And I am unsure if objects will manage to pass through. Does Mia have any ideas on how to help the crew?] Mia@crystyll paces and thinks, "Let us surmise what data we currently have..." Mia@crystyll: "6 months ago the ship entered this strange void. Then they all suddenly disappeared without a trace" Mia@crystyll: "The stations are still logged in, and saw the remains of meals in the mess hall. Escape pods are present and there is no evidence of activity in the logs. So they did not leave by conventional means" Mia@crystyll: "Or likely, by choice" Mia@crystyll: "We are still in this void. Alone with a planet surrounded by a sensor blocking energy barrier. Did we miss anything?" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [That covers everything, sister. Now we just need to decide what to do.] Mia@crystyll: "Oh! The stations are still logged in, but of course! Try the science station again, and compare readings to the time when the crew disappeared. Maybe that will reveal a difference we are not seeing!" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Good idea. Attempting now.] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [There were still no stars on sensors during the crew's disappearance. The position can be accounted for by the drifting. But the planet did not have the barrier then.] Mia@crystyll looks over, "Really?! That must be it then! Skim the logs, see if you can pinpoint the exact moment the barrier appeared" Mia@crystyll: "We can estimate the time the crew vanished from the cut in ship activity. We predict a direct correlation between the two measures" Mana@anncarise | Sayu checks to see when the barrier appeared. Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [You are right, sister! They are very close.] Mia@crystyll smiles, "We are satisfied that this is evidence to prove our crew's most likely location is that planet. Now the question remains how to penetrate that barrier. Or how to even get in range..." Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Good question indeed. Perhaps launching a solid object at it can discern whether we can pass through. Sayu is unsure whether disrupting the barrier would endanger the crew, though.] Mia@crystyll: "An option, but we must first exercise full control over the ship in order to manouver and use fire control. We are uncertain how to achieve this with just us two" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [What about the Nuhar drones?] Mia@crystyll | Beams, "Brother, you are a genius!" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Just make sure you don't lose control this time, Mia.] Mia@crystyll: "We can enlist their assistance to serve as crew, some adaptation may be needed for interfaces and..." she looks to Sayu Mia@crystyll: "No. We will not network with them this time if we can avoid it. They retain self awareness now, so we will attempt to restrain them to biological communication methods" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Sayu will help if possible. These drones were very juvenile in terms of awareness last time.] Mia@crystyll: "Which is exactly why we will need your assistance brother. We are confident that between us, we can coordinate them" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [I will do my best to teach these drones and keep them from going too far.] Mia@crystyll: "Our plan is reliant on their continued recognition of us as their controller. If this is so, we should be able to effectively coordinate them via ship communication channels from here" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Does Mia want Sayu to monitor the drones or coordinate from here?] Mia@crystyll: "Sayu should remain here for the moment to monitor systems. We will coordinate with the drones and return once they are deployed" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Sayu will do so. Good luck, sister.] Mia@crystyll | Miadrone chirps happily: [And to you brother. We will maintain constant communications" Mia@crystyll heads off to the turbolift Mia@crystyll | Leaves Sayu to his devices for quite some time while she coordinates the drones. Eventually, possibly days later... she returns to the bridge Mana@anncarise | Sayu spins around instantly as Mia returns, though one of his appendages is still connected to the engineering station. Mia@crystyll approaches, "We hope we have not left you with too much to do brother!" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Mia does not have to worry. Sayu has been keeping the ship online for a while now. How did you do with the drones?] Mia@crystyll beams proudly, turning and gesturing to the turbolift as a handful of drones sweep out and move to various stations around the bridge Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Well done, sister! Are you alright this time?] Mia@crystyll: "Have have reached an understanding and the drones are now coordinating all key systems" Mia@crystyll | One of the drones hover over to them [Sayu need not worry. The controller remains disconnected from the hive, this unit serves as controller relay] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [That is good. They have been dispatched to other parts of the ship to maintain systems as well?] Mia@crystyll: "That they have, brother. With the Relay's assistance we are able to coordinate the crew from here. These bridge drones are in the process of establishing system links with their remote divisions, so+ Mia@crystyll: + Sayu should be free from current duties now" Mana@anncarise | Sayu disconnects from the console and turns fully to Mia, [Excellent. Now we just have to decide what to do with the planet.] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Do the Nuhar have any ideas?] Mia@crystyll: "First things first, we must exert control over the ship and move into range of the planet" she turns to the Relay, "Is engineering ready?" Mia@crystyll | Relay: [Affirmative] Mia@crystyll: "Then bring the core up to full power and prepare to engage the impulse reactors. We will first attempt Sayu's idea to penetrate the barrier with a probe" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [I hope this will not cause more trouble than what we learn is worth.] Mia@crystyll | Relay [Acknowledged. Relaying orders] Mia@crystyll: "We won't know until we try, brother" Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers closer to the viewscreen, observing. Mia@crystyll | The ship hums back to life, the thrum of the warpcore reverberating through the deckplates once more. Her nacelles glow bright as she realigns a trajectory before moving towards the planet Mia@crystyll smiles as the planet swings into view on the otherwise black viewscreen Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [That is a good start!] Mia@crystyll: "Excellent work crew! Now take us into range of the planet. Not orbital, just enough for a simple probe" Mia@crystyll | The ship moves into range and fires a probe towards the planet. It arcs towards the atmosphere before bouncing clean off the barrier and disintegrating Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Now we know we can't pass the barrier. Any signs of change on sensors?] Mia@crystyll | Relay [Negative] Mia@crystyll: "We need a new plan..." Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Perhaps something larger will penetrate, but we cannot just try with the ship or shuttle. Perhaps firing on it will take the barrier down, but that is also very risky.] Mia@crystyll nods, "An aggressive move has too many unknown variables" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [What about attempting to hail and trying to contact whoever might be responsible for this? They certainly know we are here if they removed the crew.] Mia@crystyll moves to the comms panel, "We shall attempt to do so" Mia@crystyll | A few minutes of trying yield no results Mia@crystyll: "There is no indication of communications. We can not even tell if our signal is being received or not" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [We could try sending a light signal directed at the planet. The barrier may block it as well, but it is unlikely to provoke any response if the probe did not.] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [If it is not blocked though, the crew may be able to see it.] Mia@crystyll: "But they would have no means to respond, or interpret that the light source is us" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Indeed. We could investigate the absence of stars, which could yield information on what is happening here, but that will take time.] Mia@crystyll | Relay: [Captains. The hive has been studying the information and a proposal is ready for your approval before it is executed] Mia@crystyll: "Woah! Easy now, Relay. Remember what we talked about. No jumping the gun with your own ideas. Let's... hear what you have" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [I am out of ideas and a proposal would be useful.] Mia@crystyll | Relay: "We have reviewed sensor data from the biologicals records and the barrier we are attempting to penetrate came into existence 6 months, 1 week, 6 days, 15 hours-" Mia@crystyll raises a hand, "6 months ago. Yes, we know" Mia@crystyll | Relay pauses, analysing the cutoff, [The barrier was not there before that timeframe. Therefore to breach the barrier, Valley Forge needs to do so before that timeframe] Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [So we need to return to 6 months ago? That is very dangerous to attempt.] Mia@crystyll | The viewscreen begins to flash a stream of archive data, calculations, Starfleet records etc Mia@crystyll | Relay: "Valley Forge specifications surpass minimum requirements for gravitational transwarp. Calculations have been inputted and await your order to execute] Mana@anncarise | Sayu turns to Mia, [It is the only other solution that may yield results, aside from attacking the barrier.] Mia@crystyll ponders, "It is high risk, brother. But... the risk is only to us, not the rest of the crew. We see no viable alternative. Brother, do you consent?" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [I agree.] Mia@crystyll nods, turning to Relay, "Execute flight sequence" Mia@crystyll stands in the middle of the bridge, watching the flight proceed Mana@anncarise | Sayu turns to observe the flight as well, [I hope this works, sister...] Mia@crystyll | The planet veers off to the side on the view as they turn towards the nearby star and begin to accelerate Mia@crystyll | Miadrone wooo's nervously, [As do we brother. Capitaine Keelah will not be happy if we break her new ship. Or lose it in history...] Mia@crystyll | The ship begins to rumble as it accelerates towards the star Mia@crystyll | The usual hive of chatter and coordination that would accompany such a move on the bridge normally is silent. The drones simply exectuing their calculated adjustments in silent harmony Mana@anncarise | Sayu hovers in position, watching intently but quietly. Mia@crystyll | The ship streaks around the star in a ball of fire, accelerating away with a flash of high warp before suddenly dropping to sublight in view of the planet once more Mia@crystyll: "So far so good. Relay, have the drones cool engineering systems off" Mia@crystyll | Relay [Affirmative] Mia@crystyll: "Did... it work? Have we travelled back?" Mia@crystyll | Relay [...insufficient data. Valley Forge chronometers rely on stellar positioning for accurate measure and none is available] Mia@crystyll frowns, "What about the planet barrier. Is it still in place?" Mia@crystyll | Relay: "The barrier is not present" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [We should get inside as soon as possible.] Mia@crystyll: "Agreed. Relay; have the crew prepare to break atmosphere" Mia@crystyll | Relay [Order acknowledge] Mia@crystyll looks to Sayu, "We do not know how far ahead of the crew we are. We may need to find a place to land and... wait" Mana@anncarise | Sayu: [Agreed. Perhaps we can cycle through hailing channels if they do arrive.] Mia@crystyll: "We will do everything we can. Fear not brother, it may take some time. But we will find our crew and bring them home!" Mia@crystyll declares triumphantly as the ship veers in towards the planet --- Keelah@crystyll | After a couple of days making preparations, the group move out through the portal and into the jungle temple Keelah@crystyll | They have several days of hiking to reach the mountains indicated by Atuander Keelah@crystyll | It's a hard climb through treacherous terrain, but each step brings them closer to their fated battle with the great dragon... Keelah@crystyll | Their hard work soon brings them to a pass high in the mountains. The air is thin up here and they can see they are now high above the clouds Keelah@crystyll | The sun is setting over the distant mountain range and there is an unusual serenity in the air Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 steps up to the edge, observing the clouds, "Well. This is pretty." Keelah@crystyll | Looks out over the horizon as she pauses to rest her legs, "I don't like this. Quiet is one thing, but this..." she pauses to listen to the silence, "...this is too quiet" Keelah@crystyll: ( https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.enjin.com/161311/Belyia/AdobeStock_95262204-1024x495.jpg ) Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "I agree. This does not feel like a dragon's lair..." Keelah@crystyll: "Doesn't it? I am curious what you believe a 'dragon lair' should feel like" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Seeing what one drone did to the Citadel, I would have expected more fires and devastation." Keelah@crystyll chuckles, "Remind me to one day teach you about an old Human expression my husband is fond of" Keelah@crystyll: "It revolves around defecating on one's doorstep..." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "That...sounds like a very odd expression." Keelah@crystyll shrugs, "Humans. You know what they're like" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 chuckles, "Good point. So...how do we proceed from here?" Keelah@crystyll shakes her head, "I am uncertain. The directions only pointed vaguely to this mountain region. Logically, we should continue to search the area" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "But if we find this dragon...what if we accidentally provoke it? Spreading out to search would be the most efficient, but if the construct does decide to act against us, we may have - Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: - difficulties regrouping." Keelah@crystyll | A unholy sound groans suddenly from beneath the clouds... Keelah@crystyll 's gaze slowly turns downwards, "Splitting up... may not be a concern now..." Keelah@crystyll slowly draws her quarterstaff, not really thinking to do any good against a Construct with it. But it's an instinct still Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "If it is a Construct, we need a plan. I don't think Lennie's lightning will be of much help..." Keelah@crystyll: "I hate to say it, but I would really like to have Mia here right now to communicate with it. Take cover, there's no reason to believe it is reacting to our presence so we do reconnaissance only" Keelah@crystyll ducks behind a nearby boulder to watch Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 follows and ducks behind the boulder as well. Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "We could piece together what we know of the Nuhar language to try and communicate...but I don't know how we would get the message to it." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "We don't have comms equipment, and I doubt it's going to notice us shouting." Keelah@crystyll | The unholy sound grows louder, closer, and the clouds beneath them start to push up as a huge bulk begins to rise... Keelah@crystyll | The apparent head leans up towards them, while one wing seems to reach up ahead of the other... Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I really hope it's not coming for us..." Keelah@crystyll | As the form rises, they get a sense of it's sheer scale from the cloud dispersal. It seems stretch almost a kilometer away from them, and it's wingspan almost as wide Keelah@crystyll | The clouds continue to part to reveal a distinctly artificial surface. Grey metal gleams in the low sunlight...? Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 peeks her head out from the side of the boulder a little to get a bit of a closer look... Keelah@crystyll | The groaning becomes less distorted by mountainous echoing, and grows in intensity to a more familiar sound of an impulse drive whining up to power Keelah@crystyll | The first wing peeks out of the clouds. Not a wing, a nacelle... followed by the head, a saucer section. It seems too good to be true, an image almost forgotten after so much time... Keelah@crystyll: ( https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.enjin.com/161311/Belyia/ValleyClouds.jpg ) Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "That's not a construct..." Keelah@crystyll stands, gawking up in disbelief, "H- how...?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I have no idea. Maybe the ship was brought here with us, but...who's flying it now?" Keelah@crystyll | The group find themselves staring face to face with the front of the saucer. The glowing red nostrils of the dragon, the dull glow of the forward torpedo launchers, as the ship rises before them; + Keelah@crystyll: + so close they can feel the updraft blowing in their faces Keelah@crystyll: "It's really our girl isn't it..." Keelah@crystyll | The group then feel the long familiar sensation of the tingling of a transporter beam and find themselves disappearing into the twinkling light... Keelah@crystyll & Co. materialize on the transporter pad to be greeted by the sight of a less than pristine ship that they remember. Not aged or in disrepair, but seemingly heavily modified with open wall panels + Keelah@crystyll + all over, conduits running in a chaotic mess everywhere, and... a Nuhar drone hovering silently with an appendage plugged into the transporter console... Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 jumps back at the sight of the drone before stopping and realizing it is not attacking them. Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 glances to the drone, then Keelah, "Was...this where the drones were coming from?" Keelah@crystyll: "I... don't know..." Keelah@crystyll | The door hisses open and Mia comes bounding in, "Mon Capitaine!" she launches herself at Keelah with a big hug Keelah@crystyll braces against the sudden Mia attack, "Mia?! What the Seven Hells is going on? How...? What...? Where do I even start?!" Keelah@crystyll | Mia: "We did it! We finally found you! Come, come! We must clear the pad bring everyone else up from your party! We... only have this one pad functioning..." Keelah@crystyll steps clear, a cautious gaze hovering on the drone Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 laughs at Keelah's reaction and the general relief of being back before stepping off. Keelah@crystyll | Mia smiles, "Do not worry about the drones, mon Capitaine! They are our crew!" Keelah@crystyll: "Y-... your crew? /your/ crew?!" she perks a brow, briefly wondering if she's been mutinied by AI Keelah@crystyll | Mia giggles, taking Keelah's hand to lead them out, "We needed a crew to bring the ship back to find you! Come, come! Oh, and mind your step. We have had to do... a little work to achieve this" Keelah@crystyll smiles a little, just relieved to be home, gesturing, "After you... Captain" Keelah@crystyll | Mia leads them out, though Lennie & Kazra remain to assist the remaining groups as they beam up Keelah@crystyll | Mia: "Do you require refreshment? We know protocol is debrief in a conference room, but we just want to celebrate you all coming home! You..." she looks them up and down, "actually seem rather + Keelah@crystyll: + well adjusted..." Keelah@crystyll: "Mia, it's been more than 6 months since we were last here. That's a long time to survive when going native" Keelah@crystyll | Mia nods, "We can believe that! Especially among the savages who seem to populate this world1" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "We had to go native, otherwise we would never have been able to fit in." Keelah@crystyll: "Savages? That has not been our experience..." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Maybe Mia has just been running into the barbarians and lizard-men..." Keelah@crystyll | Mia pauses and turns back to them, "Oh? We had to use the drones to search for you as ship systems barely remained sufficient for emergency operation and when Sayu tried to explore, he was + Keelah@crystyll: + immediately disabled. We realized that technology as we know it does not function here, probably because of that energy barrier around the planet. But the Nuhar were able to safely return Sayu and + Keelah@crystyll: + we realized that their technology was immune to the barriers effects. So we used them to search for you! But the locals kept attacking them on sight, so the drones... well, we could not risk direct+ Keelah@crystyll: + control again so they fell on their natural instincts to defend themselves" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "That explains why there were drone attacks on the locals..." Keelah@crystyll nods, "I believe I am beginning to so... come, refreshments sounds preferable to formality right now" Keelah@crystyll: "Do we have replicators? If not... fresh supplies?" Keelah@crystyll | Mia: "Long life consumables remain. Short life perishables have sadly expired. Replicators have not been prioritized yet due to the limitations of operation in this environment" Keelah@crystyll smiles, "That's fine, I wasn't that hungry anyway. I think I know what we need..." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 grins at Keelah, "Something that can't expire?" Keelah@crystyll: "If anything, gets better with age. You know, like Vulcans" she smiles back, popping back up behind the bar with a couple of bottles of Orion wine as the most common spirit on board these days Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 chuckles and takes a seat on a nearby stool, "Very true." Keelah@crystyll: "What about the rest of the crew, Mia? We only had a small group scouting the mountain range" Keelah@crystyll | Mia looks away briefly while Miadrone communicates with Sayu and Relay, "We are unable to track them by conventional means. But our hope is that with your return we can increase operational + Keelah@crystyll: + capacity and restore sensor resolution so that we can use biosignatures to identify them" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "We could go back out there and get everyone in the Guild back first. That should be enough to bring the ship back up to full operational capacity." Keelah@crystyll: "I take it that means - along with all of your 'modifications' that you have been adapting the ship to function on AP energy like the Nuhar drones?" Keelah@crystyll | Mia nods, "It was the only way to restore power once we entered the atmosphere. We barely managed to keep the core active long enough to land when we first approached. The drones have been + Keelah@crystyll: + gradually converting systems in order to bring the ship back online" Keelah@crystyll: "Impressive" she smiles, raising her glass Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods and smiles, "Thank you, Mia." Keelah@crystyll: "As for the others, I have a theory..." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Oh?" Keelah@crystyll: "The wisps. We can report back and explain to them that their dragon problem is resolved. Perhaps then they will lift this barrier and permit us to leave" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "What if they can detect that we're still in atmosphere? We may have to persuade them to let us take the ship out." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 smiles, "But I think if anyone can do that, you can." Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, we will explain to them that we have the situation in hand, but they need to release the barrier so that the dragon can leave" Keelah@crystyll: "When they do, we should be able to quickly ID and recover the crew" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "We should probably get the ones we can back to the ship in the meantime. It should make restoring everything go quicker." Keelah@crystyll: "I believe Kazra and Lennie have that in hand with the, err... drone down there" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Speaking of drones..." she looks to Mia, "You should probably stop sending them across the planet now that we're here." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "It's disrupting the locals, and we blend in much better for when we need to go back." Keelah@crystyll | Mia nods, briefly glancing away again, "It is done. Though one is not answering the recall, this may be a problem..." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I think we know what happened to that one..." Keelah@crystyll: "Yeah... it's kind of in pieces back at our guild HQ" Keelah@crystyll | Mia: :O Keelah@crystyll: "I'm sorry Mia, but it seemed to be on a rampage after coming through a portal to Aindong city" Keelah@crystyll | Mia smiles, "It is ok, they knew it was a risky assignment. We tried to encourage them to flee if provoked, but if sufficiently threatened they would pursue and neutralize a threat to safeguard + Keelah@crystyll: + the hive" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I imagine the local Elves may have very well provoked the fight as they did not know what it was...but we had no idea it was one of yours either." Keelah@crystyll nods, "We have much to catch each other up on, clearly. But for now let me simply say; thank you Mia" she smiles raising her glass in a toast Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods and raises her glass as well, "We would definitely not have made it back if not for you maintaining the ship, and sending out the drones." --- Crystyl@crystyll | After being reuinted with the Valley Forge, Keelah successfully explained the situation to the Wisps. At least enough to enable them to drop the barrier from around the planet, take the ship out + Crystyl@crystyll + and recover their crew. With an understanding restored, the crew are given an extended transition period to wrap up their planetside lives without raising suspicion and adjust back to normal Crystyl@crystyll | Senior staff have been encouraged to use this time to converse with the wisps in an attempt to better understand everything here, and perhaps to help them understand their own experiences Crystyl@crystyll | Kelly and Emma have found themselves convening at the Aendong Temple at the same time, so have opted to visit the wisps together Crystyl@crystyll | Stepping through the portal, the pair find themselves once again in the dark-blue nothingness Crystyl@crystyll | The wisps gradully congregate and swarm around them before one seems to settle in front of the pair, forming into an apparition of Eva Crystyl@crystyll: "Hello Keliaya. Hello Emma Ralde" Keliaya@anncarise: "I was warned you would do that..." Crystyl@crystyll tilts her head slightly, then back, "That we.. that I would appear as a familiar face?" Crystyl@crystyll | The wisps have clearly improved their conversational skills since the first encounter Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Yes. Is there any reason behind the faces you choose, or just someone we all recognize?" Crystyl@crystyll: "Our desire is not offend. We must take such a form in order to converse like this, we wish only to present ourselves as a suitably familiar face so we find one associated with a feeling of comfort" Crystyl@crystyll: "If this face is not desirable we can use another..." Crystyl@crystyll morphs into Rianni, "Would this face be preferable?" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma goes wide eyed at the transition, "N-... NO!" Keliaya@anncarise laughs at Emma's reaction, "I think Evanne is fine. It would make Emma more comfortable, I think..." Crystyl@crystyll morphs back, "As you wish. We understand that you have many questions. It is only to be expected when you come from outside the universe. You helped us in removing the dragon, we are... happy, to + Crystyl@crystyll: + accomodate" Keliaya@anncarise: "How exactly did you bring us here in the first place? Is it connected to the abilities everyone here has?" Crystyl@crystyll: "You came here because we willed it. This is the centre of the universe and the only place for you to come, we could put you nowhere else" Crystyl@crystyll: "Your abilities are your own" Keliaya@anncarise: "Have you always been here? Do you remember ever being anywhere outside of...your universe?" Crystyl@crystyll: "We have been in the universe as long as the universe has been. It is as much a part of us as we are of it" Keliaya@anncarise: "Do you know how this universe came to be, then?" Crystyl@crystyll: "We... do not. The myth of creation is not ours to question" Keliaya@anncarise: "So you've always been here, as long as you're aware, and have no memories of anything outside?" Crystyl@crystyll: "That is correct" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "You... do get that what you call the universe is just one small region, and there's a whole infinite universe beyond that, right...?" Crystyl@crystyll tilts her head as she looks to Emma, "The universe is everything" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma nods, "Yes, exactly!" Crystyl@crystyll continues: "everything is in the universe. You are anomalies. You come from beyond the universe" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma - you guessed it! - facepalms Keliaya@anncarise: "I don't think it's going to understand our definitions..." Keliaya@anncarise looks back to the Eva apparition, "So...the others said you were responsible for creating the life here?" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma sighs, "It was worth a try. I suppose it would no easier for something beyond our comprehension of the universe to stand before us and tell us it was all just one small corner of something + Crystyl@crystyll: + infinitely bigger and beyond our comprehension" Crystyl@crystyll: "Create is... inaccurate. We care for life in the universe. We nurture, it grows" Keliaya@anncarise: "So you're like a...gardener? What about our technology, our equipment that don't work here? Was that just to prevent us from using it, or a byproduct of...this place?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Or an intentional choice by you to direct the development of life here?" Crystyl@crystyll: "For life to flourish, it can not be impeded. We sustain life, we listen to our children. If your... tek-no-lodge-ey flourished, we would no longer hear our children. They would fall silent to us, as+ Crystyl@crystyll: + we would to them. They would fail to grow. They would wither and die" Keliaya@anncarise: "But...isn't preventing them from developing and using certain tools impeding them?" Crystyl@crystyll: "We do not hinder or prevent. We protect and nurture. Your tek-no-lodge-ey would make this impossible, so it can not be" Keliaya@anncarise: "What about it is so bad?" Crystyl@crystyll: "It's presence prevents us from hearing our children, and our children from hearing us" Crystyl@crystyll waves her hand an image forms between them again Crystyl@crystyll | The image shows the planet in all it's glory. Then it shows a VF shaped shadow passing over it. The shadow moves and blocks the view of certain areas Crystyl@crystyll: "This is why the dragon was a threat to us and our children. Wherever it nested, our children fell silent. For life to flourish, tek-no-lodge-ey can not be" Keliaya@anncarise: "So...something about it blocks your ability to monitor and commune with them." Crystyl@crystyll: "Yes" she waves her hand and the image fades away Keliaya@anncarise: "Has there been other...dragons in the past? You said we're not the first visitors, right?" Crystyl@crystyll: "Others have come. Dragons have attacked in the past, we intervened. This one did not attack. This one nested, but it's children attacked" Keliaya@anncarise: "How did you intervene?" Crystyl@crystyll: "We removed those we could feel within the dragon" Keliaya@anncarise: "But their remains are still buried somewhere?" Crystyl@crystyll shakes her head, "We removed. We did not place" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Do you ever intervene outside of these...dragon attacks?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Or do you normally guide the people in a more subtle way?" Crystyl@crystyll: "We guide our children to guide themselves. Children must learn from their mistakes, we allow them to" Keliaya@anncarise: "So you don't normally intervene if there's a war or famine or anything. Just larger threats, like dragons." Crystyl@crystyll: "We secure the universe from anomalies. We provide wisdom to the child races when it is sought" Keliaya@anncarise: "What about the pillars with the wisps then? Is that how you provide your wisdom?" Crystyl@crystyll smiles, "Those who walk the path of enlightenment learn more about themselves from the journey" Keliaya@anncarise smiles back, "That makes sense. And the portals? Seeing as we come through one to speak to you, I assume you're responsible for them as well?" Crystyl@crystyll: "They are a part of us, yes. Once one has walked the path of enlightenment and proven to themselves they are prepared to understand, they may seek our guidance directly" Crystyl@crystyll: "We were... pleased, when the first of yours completed that journey. We could not communicate our needs without this" Keliaya@anncarise: "Have any of the locals here done it yet?" Crystyl@crystyll nods, "The Temple priests have made the journey in the past. It has been a long time, but we felt more taking the first steps on the journey again" Keliaya@anncarise: "Well, hopefully more will find you in time. Maybe what we've done will even inspire some to try," Keliaya@anncarise: "I...hope that's not too much interference for you?" Crystyl@crystyll smiles, "That is our hope as well. An unpredicted benefit to your presence" Crystyl@crystyll frowns, "That... should not have occurred from anomaly intervention..." Keliaya@anncarise: "We've been doing our best not to interfere with the locals too much. But I think this positive impact shouldn't be too bad." Crystyl@crystyll: "We concur. But we do not understand" Crystyl@crystyll: "You are anomalies from beyond the universe. Your presence should be negative disruption, but it is positive. Please explain" Keliaya@anncarise: "Not everything anomalous is necessarily bad. It's natural not to like change. We grow...used to everything as they are around us." Crystyl@crystyll: "Yours is a chaotic existence. No order or balance. We do not understand how a lifeform can evolve to self awareness in such an environment" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "Life... isn't an equation, you can't perfectly balance it like a sheet of numbers. It's how life grows and evolves, um, 'out there'. You know?" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Exactly! We go wrong a million times. Our ancestors evolve into species that go extinct, until we get it right." Crystyl@crystyll tilts her head, "We... do not know. But we comprehend the analogy" Keliaya@anncarise: "That might be why your priests stopped making the journey. Everything stagnated. Everything remained the same, so they had no reason to better themselves, to seek your enlightenment." Keliaya@anncarise: "When we came along, the...dragonling attacks gave them something to work towards. To protect against. And our attempts to leave this place showed them what they could also achieve." Crystyl@crystyll: "The children continue to grow on their own. We do not need to maintain influence, we only wish to see them grow and flourish" Keliaya@anncarise: "It might sound counter-intuitive, but you need failure to succeed. You still let your children have their own conflicts, their own wars and struggles." Crystyl@crystyll: "Yes, we let them grow and make mistakes and learn from them. This is life, this is evolution" Crystyl@crystyll: "They are the centre of the universe. The everything. The universe is theirs and theirs alone" Keliaya@anncarise: "They might be the only life in your universe, but you can't always keep them the same either. They have to change, or need to change, in order to better themselves. Which will lead them to find you." Crystyl@crystyll forms another image. This one shows a simple bacterial lifeform Crystyl@crystyll: "The children grow with our nourishment. This is as it has always been. This is how it always shall be..." Crystyl@crystyll | The image show evolutionary steps of a lifeform eventually developing to a Vulcanoid form Crystyl@crystyll: "Our universe is rich in life, and it continues to develop. As it does, we nurture it. We care for it, and it grows" Crystyl@crystyll | Another similar evolutationary image plays out for humanoids, then halflings, lizards, small mammals etc. Keliaya@anncarise: "What about you? Do they have any effect on you, or have you always been the same?" Crystyl@crystyll: "We are as we have always been and always shall be" Crystyl@crystyll: "We take nothing from the children, only give as they ask. Our... pleasure, is in seeing them grow" Keliaya@anncarise: "But if you intervened with the dragons in the past...why leave this one to us? It nested, but surely you could still remove it if you wanted to." Crystyl@crystyll: "We could. But we wished it no ill will, as it showed none towards us" Crystyl@crystyll: "We still removed your people, as we had those of previous dragons. But your dragon... persisted" Crystyl@crystyll: "Your dragons children were silent to us, they persisted and brought chaos" Keliaya@anncarise: "If...another dragon comes along, and shows you no ill will, I would not suggest removing everyone from it. The dragon's children only acted this way because we were removed." Keliaya@anncarise: "Could you bring them directly to you? Instead of among your children, as you did with us." Crystyl@crystyll: "Your Captain T'Keel Se'Lai said this also. She promised to... 'place beak-ons' to scare other dragons away" Crystyl@crystyll shakes her head, "None can comprehend this existence without walking the path" Keliaya@anncarise: "So the wisps from the pillars are...necessary to come here?" Crystyl@crystyll nods, "Yes. To be a part of this place, this place must be a part of you" Crystyl@crystyll: "Only the one you call Tiah was able to touch us without this as she is like us. But not of us" Keliaya@anncarise: "What happens when we leave this place? Would it still...be a part of us?" Crystyl@crystyll: "As long as you exist within the universe, it will be a part of you as you are of it. If you return to the beyond, you will no longer be a part of the universe" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "at least that means I won't have to live with Rianni running around as a shadow all the damned time..." Keliaya@anncarise chuckles, "She's really enjoying that, isn't she?" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma shudders and mumbles, "Bloody tickle attacks..." Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "To be fair, I'd be enjoying it too. But I've had enough of my natural existence being altered, so I'm ready to get back to normal" Keliaya@anncarise: "So the wisps we...absorbed, would they return to you?" Crystyl@crystyll smiles, "We are always here. We only touch those who seek enlightenment to help them discover themselves" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "Are you saying Rianni's naturally capable of pulling that shadowy stealth crap without your influence?!" Keliaya@anncarise laughs, "I think she just means Rianni's naturally capable of being sneaky." Crystyl@crystyll: "We neither give nor take. A stronger connection with life in the universe broadens ones understanding and empowers them" Crystyl@crystyll: "What you call enhancement or ability, we see as future potential in you. Our touch is simply to show you the way to find it" Keliaya@anncarise: "So she means with enough practice...Rianni can do that." Keliaya@anncarise grins at Emma. Crystyl@crystyll | Emma grumbles, "Great... But... I've never known a Human do anything like that" Crystyl@crystyll: "The potential is within all of you to grow. You need only seek enlightenment to find the way" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "I think we've learned a lot here. Most of us don't appreciate being transported away against our will, but...it has been an interesting experience." Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "For those who survived..." Crystyl@crystyll: "We regret that some of your children withered. But this is a necessity of life" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma mutters, "You have no idea..." Keliaya@anncarise nods solemnly. Keliaya@anncarise: "I assume there's nothing you can do about that?" Crystyl@crystyll: "What is done can not be undone. This is the nature of existence" Keliaya@anncarise: "I thought so...well, it was worth asking." Keliaya@anncarise: "I was told there was temporal displacement when Mana came through one of our portals. Was that intentional, or?" Crystyl@crystyll: "Tem...pore... al..." she thinks, "We had to delay the Tiah. You were not yet ready, none were enlightened enough to follow" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "So that's why you did it. Another one of your rare interventions?" Crystyl@crystyll: "The Tiah presented further complications" Keliaya@anncarise: "She is a very different and interesting being." Crystyl@crystyll: "She is like us, but she is not us. This... divides us" Keliaya@anncarise: "What do you mean?" Crystyl@crystyll: "Some are curious, like the children, and wish to understand more" Crystyl@crystyll: "Some are fearful of one like us from outside the universe" Crystyl@crystyll: "We are... uncertain. We are not... accustomed, to uncertainty. We are divided" Keliaya@anncarise: "You have individual opinions, that's why you use we! So each wisp has some degree of independence, but you function as a joined mind?" Crystyl@crystyll: "We are connected. But we are individuals, as you would define" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "We're trying to learn more about Tiah as well. How exactly is she like you?" Crystyl@crystyll: "She is... connected, as we are" Keliaya@anncarise: "Connected, as in to the world?" Crystyl@crystyll: "To everything. To life" Keliaya@anncarise: "That...explains how she can feel life. Or the lack of it." Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "It does? You and I have different perspectives on explanation" she chuckles, "But... it certainly does broaden our understanding of her" Keliaya@anncarise chuckles, "Okay, not 'explain' exactly. I suspect that's as explained as it can be for now though, and it...makes sense." Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "That it does" Keliaya@anncarise looks to Emma, "Is there anything else you want to ask it...them?" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma thinks a moment and shakes her head, "I'm sure I'm still walkiing away with more questions than answers, but I don't think more questions will help at this stage" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "I think there's only so much it's capable of explaining in our terms." Keliaya@anncarise smiles at the Eva apparition, "Well, thank you for indulging our curiosity." Crystyl@crystyll: "You are perceptive anomalies. We welcome your interactions" Crystyl@crystyll fades back to the single wisp and hovers a second, closing to Kelly and hovering in front of her before rejoining the swarm Keliaya@anncarise: "Was that..." she shakes her head, "Probably just me seeing things..." Crystyl@crystyll | Emma turns to Kelly, "Hm?" Keliaya@anncarise: "I could've sworn that was the same wisp from one of the pillars, but they all look alike..." Crystyl@crystyll | Emma smiles, "Well, that might explain why it chose to make itself familiar to you when it appeared. Could well be the same!" Keliaya@anncarise: "It's certainly possible! Anyways, we should get going." Crystyl@crystyll | Emma nods, "It's a lot to digest. I... kind of get the feeling that the wisp told us a lot more than we realize, even though it feels more like the opposite" Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "A little reflection time sounds good about now" Keliaya@anncarise: "Me too. We just...can't understand it yet." Crystyl@crystyll | Emma: "That's my theory. Or at least... hope, I guess. I don't know. Anyways, come on, let's get back" Keliaya@anncarise gives the wisp swarm a dip of her head as she turns to head back out the portal.
View Act V - Epilogue
Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 FX | It has only been a few hours since the Valley Forge departed the strange area where the world they were trapped on for the last six months was situated. With the ship back on course, many of - Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: - the senior staff who oversaw the departure have rotated off the bridge to get some much needed rest, while a different shift takes over for the time being. Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | All is silent as they finally traverse the star-filled expanse again, when... Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "Keela- uh, Captain. Something's decloaking beside us." Keelah@crystyll looks over, "On screen. Standby shields" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 FX | A familiar but long unseen shape appears on the screen: https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.enjin.com/161311/dossier%20stuff/lexiship.jpg Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "It's the QanwI'!" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "We're getting a massage...umm, message...hail! From them. The QanwI'." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "Open channel" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, tapping her console. It takes a few seconds longer than usual, but Lexi's image soon appears on the viewscreen. Keelah@crystyll 's smile brightens, "Captain Vix. I never imagined you being such a sight for sore eyes" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "Likewise Captain, you almost had me worried there for a moment. Where have you been hiding?" Keelah@crystyll: "It's... a long story. Do you mean to say you have been out here looking for us this whole time?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 leans on her console in the meantime, looking a little distracted. Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "Well we only returned from patrol about a week ago, and gave you a little grace to be late for the RV - knowing what you're like to stick your noses into every little anomaly you see" Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, "Indeed... but still, I find it uncharacteristic for you to have searched all this time, and not enter the region where we were" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "You mean that creepy-ass void? Well, we wanted to rule out all other possibilities first and that took a few days. We also back tracked to the Nuhar planet we found in case you went there" Keelah@crystyll: "Nuhar... planet?" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi smirks: "Long story" Keelah@crystyll: "No doubt. But I still fail to quantify that taking so long in the search" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 doubles over a little more heavily on her console in the background, leading to a concerned expression from Gwi, who steps up to her. Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | Gwi: "Are you alright, Eva?" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi frowns, "What's to add up? A day's grace on the RV, a return trip to the Nuhar planet and back - there's another 4 days. A day searching here, and there's your week" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 only seems to just notice Gwi as he speaks, "Oh. Yes! Yes. I'm fine." Keelah@crystyll: "Week?" Keelah@crystyll: "Captain Vix... how long do you believe we were out of contact?" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi: "Let's see, accounting for the initial drop time... carry the one... yeah, 2 weeks" Keelah@crystyll: "2 weeks?! Captain Vix, we have been preoccupied for more than 6 months in there" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi goes wide eyed then bursts out laughing, "HA! Good one, and they say Vulcan's don't have a sense of humour!" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | Gwi looks over curiously at Lexi's time count before replying quietly to Eva, "You're sure? I can get you to sickbay if-" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 shakes her head, giving a small smile, "Thank you, but I'm okay." Keelah@crystyll stares stoicly at the screen, glancing to the situation building to her left, "Captain Vix, stand by..." Keelah@crystyll: "Lieutenant, what is the problem there?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Sorry. It's, umm...I need a moment. Sorry Captain." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | Thorkildsen steps over from the engineering console, "I can manage basic comm functions for a few minutes." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 gives him a slight smile and looks over to Keelah apologetically, "With your permission..." Keelah@crystyll joins them, "Please do. Mr. Gwi, please see the Lieutenant to sickbay" Keelah@crystyll rests a hand on Eva's shoulder, smiling gently, "You come first, remember" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | Gwi nods and leads Eva into the turbolift. Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Just take me to quarters. Please. This...wouldn't be appropriate in sickbay." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | The door closes behind the two, leaving Thorkildsen to give Keelah a confused glance. Keelah@crystyll looks to Erik briefly before returning to her seat and looking to the viewscreen once more Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 | Erik: "Eva didn't mute the channel. You're still good to go." Keelah@crystyll | Lexi leans in a little, "You're not joking around are you..." Keelah@crystyll shakes her head, "I am afraid not Captain. Clearly we have much to catch up on, including your discovery. Perhaps it would be prudent for us to debrief in person" Keelah@crystyll | Lexi nods: "Can do" and turns to bark orders in Klingon at her crew, "I will be over shortly, Captain" before the comm cuts --- vanne Dra@annpc#5570 | A short while later, the doorbell to TQ's quarters rings... T'Quila@crystyll opens the door, "Oh, hey Eva- hey... you ok?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 looks a little messy, with her hair and uniform more askew than usual. She gives a little sheepish smile, "I'm alright. I was hoping to talk to you about something...if I'm not interrupting, of course." T'Quila@crystyll reaches for Eva's hand, smiling gently, "Of course not! Come on, let's get you sat down and we can talk all you want" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 smiles back and takes a seat, "Thank you, Tee." T'Quila@crystyll: "So what's on your mind?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "So you and Tiah have a telepathic connection, right?" T'Quila@crystyll: "I'm not sure how comparable it is to typical bonds of that nature. But yes, we share... something, since she bonded to me" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, pausing a second before speaking, "When we were down on that planet, Kelly and I got...a little carried away." T'Quila@crystyll chuckles slightly, "You're not the first, and I doubt you'd be the last" tilting her head some, "Eva, what's this all about?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Well, we may have...accidentally formed a bond in the time we spent together. It was alright, pretty nice, actually, when we were talking about potentially having to settle down and everything." T'Quila@crystyll: "Oh boy..." she stands, retrieving a bottle of wine and two glasses she returns with, pouring them out and handing one to Eva, "But... it's not now?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 shakes her head, "You know her previous partner was a Betazoid, and we've always been careful not to form a bond in the past. More careful than she usually is with not getting too attached." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Ever since we got back to the ship, she's been avoiding me, outside of professional interaction. Which is fine, but..." she takes a sip of the wine. T'Quila@crystyll sips a little, letting Eva continue at her own pace Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I think she was hoping for the bond to dissipate when we left, but it didn't, because my telepathic abilities were just enhanced by those wisps, not granted by them. And now she's trying to - Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: - distract herself from the implications of such a bond. Which is also fine...if we weren't linked." T'Quila@crystyll: "Ah..." she cottons on Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 takes another sip, "You can imagine how distracting that would be..." T'Quila@crystyll: "I can guess..." she sighs, "I wish I had an easy answer for you, Eva..." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I have been thinking...we have these implants, and if we change the settings on either my implant or Kelly's it could disrupt the link when our neural signals use different coding. The thing is, - Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: - these implants were built to stop outside influence. I have no idea how it would affect a link in progress." T'Quila@crystyll: "Also, tweaking it might well leave you susceptible to that very outside influence it's there to protect from" T'Quila@crystyll: "Besides, that won't really be fixing the problem now, will it" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "No, it won't. It'll just be working around it." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "You know Kelly too, though. What do you think about all this?" T'Quila@crystyll: "I think..." she smiles a little, "...I think it's a beautiful thing you two have! I think you both deserve a little happiness, and just because we got back to normality is no reason to give up on + T'Quila@crystyll: + that! I know it's especially scary for Kelly, which is all the more reason you need to have this converation with her" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "I'm not sure I want to break the bond either, but she really doesn't want it. On the surface level, at least." T'Quila@crystyll: "You have the bond, so you know what lies beneath the surface" T'Quila@crystyll: "And you know Kelly. You know that the surface is just a defense mechanism" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "But how do I get past the surface? Without being too intrusive with my bond." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 chuckles, "You think the telepath would know this better." T'Quila@crystyll: "Honestly? Just talk to her. It won't be easy, and she'd be naturally reluctant. You don't have to push her for anything though, just make sure she knows that you are there for her and you have all + T'Quila@crystyll: + the time in the world to find your comfortable place with each other" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "What about this bond in the meantime, though? I don't want to just ask her not to be with anyone. And she's a senior officer, so her shifts and off-duty hours aren't always predictable." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "So trying to match our shifts might not always work out." T'Quila@crystyll: "Well, I'd still be dubious about fiddling with your implant. But maybe... what about discipline techniques?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "As in, telepathic discipline techniques? Trying to shut the shared feelings out?" T'Quila@crystyll: "I don't know about shutting them out, but keeping them in check. Like our emotional suppression" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Vulcan techniques, you mean? That can work." T'Quila@crystyll: "They might not help Kelly with the effects of the bond so much, for a naturally more disciplined mind like yours they should at least take the edge off" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 chuckles, "Kelly has her own way of dealing with it. I just hope these methods can keep me from getting too distracted while she's dealing with it." T'Quila@crystyll smiles, "I would happy to work with you on it, but you know I'm also not the most skilled on board with such things" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 smiles back, "Well, I don't know Vulcan techniques anywhere near as well as either of my parents do, so I'll take all the help I can get." T'Quila@crystyll: "I will need some time to prepare, but if you don't mind coming back here in a few hours I should be suitably prepared to guide you as best I can" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "Take your time! How are you settling back in, by the way?" T'Quila@crystyll: "Honestly, I'm relieved to be back. We don't need to keep hiding Tiah from her adoring fans up here at least!" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 laughs, "Very true! Did Tiah like it there, though? She's always complaining about the lack of life here." T'Quila@crystyll slumps a little, "She was much more... natural there. I feel bad for her being away from a place where she felt so at home again" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Did she complain about having to leave?" T'Quila@crystyll: "Oh never! She calls this home and seems happy enough here. But I know she misses that place too, stars we all do in some way I bet..." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "I'm very glad to be back, but we've spent so long there that a part of me misses it too." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 chuckles, "And I don't just mean being with Kelly on that planet." T'Quila@crystyll: "I'm not surprised! We only experienced a fraction of the time there that you did and I share the sentiment" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Speaking of time...I heard something about not as much time as we think having passed while I was on the bridge. I didn't catch all of it, but have you heard it yet?" T'Quila@crystyll shakes her head, "No, what's this now then?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "We made contact with the QanwI', and Captain Vix said something about only having a few weeks passed." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I'm not entirely sure, I had to leave the bridge halfway..." T'Quila@crystyll: "A few weeks, huh? Well I guess if that's true, then if nothing else we can rest easy knowing that folks back home probably haven't had cause to give up on us yet and we should still be on track for + T'Quila@crystyll: + our mission!" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I hope so too! Apparently it wasn't even long enough for the QanwI' to decide to enter the region and search for us." T'Quila@crystyll: "Yeah... or Captain Vix was masterminding a plot to take on the mission herself and earn a big spotty statue in the Great Hall!" she laughs Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 laughs, "Maybe! Anyways, I'll see you in a few hours when you're ready?" T'Quila@crystyll: "Sure thing" she smiles, "Just try and get some rest in the mean time, yeah?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 smiles back, "I will. Kelly's too worn out to distract me again so I should be fine." T'Quila@crystyll: "I'll see you soon then Eva" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 finishes her glass and stands, "Thank you again, Tee. I'll see you in a bit!" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 sets the glass on a nearby table and gives a wave as she heads out. Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 returns a few hours later dressed in her off-duty clothes, ringing the doorbell again. T'Quila@crystyll: "Come in" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 steps inside, "Everything set, Tee?" T'Quila@crystyll sits, kneeling on the floor in a now darkened room. A small meditation lamp burning softly in front of her T'Quila@crystyll gestures for Eva to join her, "We are ready" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 lowers herself onto the floor on the other side of the lamp. T'Quila@crystyll: "Did you manage to get some rest?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 smiles and nods, "I did. I hope this isn't too much work for you?" T'Quila@crystyll: "I may be a little out of practice, but that does not mean it is not a good thing for me to work on sometimes still" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Very true. These techniques are very useful, even if you don't live a traditional Vulcan lifestyle." T'Quila@crystyll: "That they are. If you are ready, let us begin" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "I'm ready." T'Quila@crystyll nods, closing her eyes and drawing a deep breath, "First, focus yourself on this moment. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 imitates TQ, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes, paying close attention to the rhythm of her own breathing. T'Quila@crystyll: "Concentrate on the sensations. Do not simply allow them to happen, but comprehend the complexity of each breath. The air rushing to your lungs, the blood coursing your veins with each breath. Hear + T'Quila@crystyll: + melody of life that is you" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods slowly, keeping her eyes closed as she follows TQ's instructions. T'Quila@crystyll: "Good. Allow your mind to embrace this rhythm, become one with it" T'Quila@crystyll: "When you feel prepared, reach beyond the self. Feel the same rhythm in the world around you" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 continues concentrating on the breathing for a few more seconds before beginning to reach out. T'Quila@crystyll observes Eva for a good long while as she meditates, "Good... now, describe the rhythym" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "It's very slow, calm, relaxed. The hum of the ship. The faint buzz of the computers and replicators." T'Quila@crystyll nods, "Good. Continue to probe deeper, let yourself feel beyond the senses; the tremors of your pulse and mine, the shockwaves through the air from our exhaling. Try to feel the chaos in the serenity Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "I feel it. The breathing. The occasional crewmember traversing the nearby halls, disrupting the quiet calm of the machines at work." T'Quila@crystyll sits down. T'Quila@crystyll: "Good. Keep focusing on that hidden chaos. Search for it, reach out and locate it everywhere in and around you" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods again, "The irregularities in heartbeat. The occasional small movements, tiny twitches of muscles. I can feel it all." T'Quila@crystyll: "Now, take that chaos and bring it to order. Visualize it in your mind, sweep it aside from the serenity it hides under. Control it, contain it. Own it" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 focuses intently but silently as she continues to follow TQ's instruction, visualizing the chaos being separated and swept away. T'Quila@crystyll allows her considerable time to focus on this, waiting until she sees the serenity in Eva Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 slowly seems more relaxed as her posture untenses and her expression shifts from one of focus to one of calm. T'Quila@crystyll: "That's it. You have absolute control over the chaos around you. It can not hide from you, masked by the serenity" T'Quila@crystyll: "When the chaos is no longer hidden, it is no longer a threat. With control it is tamed to become one with the serenity, just as you are now one with your emotions" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods again, with a slow grace, her face still serene. T'Quila@crystyll: "Emotions are chaos, the chaos is your emotion. The chaos is yours to control. The chaos is serene" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I understand." T'Quila@crystyll: "Open your eyes" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 opens her eyes, looking ahead at TQ. T'Quila@crystyll looks back, smiling gently, "How do you feel?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 smiles back, "Calm. In control. Like everything within and around me is stable." T'Quila@crystyll: "That is good. It won't last forever, and I can't imagine it making any difference to your empathic senses. But with luck, meditating like this every day should help you exercise control over your + T'Quila@crystyll: + own emotions. And by extensions, the bond you share with Kelly" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 smiles again, "I think this will help a lot. Thank you, Tee." T'Quila@crystyll: "You're my friend Eva, I will always do anything I can to help you" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "And you're a good friend. We're all lucky to have you here." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I think I might finally get what Tiah means about the ship being dead, too." T'Quila@crystyll: "Oh?" she asks curiously, retrieving the lamp to blow out it's flame Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I don't normally sit and try to feel the world around me. When I was on the planet, my senses were enhanced and I can sense life everywhere. Not just in the cities, but around me, in the form of - Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: - insects, critters. In the soil, the air, the water. Here, when I reach out, it's empty by comparison." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "We have a full crew, but it still can't compare to the liveliness of a planet. Most of the ship is just machine." T'Quila@crystyll: "That... actually makes sense. You know, the wisps maintained that our experienced abilities down there were simply our natural potential" T'Quila@crystyll: "That being so, maybe it is actually possible for you to regain that degree of connection with time and training" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "I can see how mine might be. I'm...not so sure about Lennie shooting lightning bolts, though." T'Quila@crystyll: "Is it really such a stretch from what we know of the mind and body already?" T'Quila@crystyll: "We know that a powerful telepath can conjur just about any mental image, influence life around them. Who's to say one couldn't conjur such specific illusions and their impact on the environment?" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "That is true. And there are beings that can channel energy through their bodies for various purposes." T'Quila@crystyll: "Let alone entities like the Q who evolved beyond the physical form" T'Quila@crystyll: "In theory, we are all capable of reaching near limitless potential. Maybe not within individual lifetimes, but within our genetics and evolution maybe" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Like what the Chlasi believe, about ascension." T'Quila@crystyll sits down. T'Quila@crystyll: "Exactly, yes! Chlasi, Ocampa, both prime examples of that kind of growth" T'Quila@crystyll: "Just because it is not inherent to Orions, does not mean it is not impossible. Unlikely, but not impossible. Just like Humans, I am certain Orions have the capacity for telepathy in their genes, and+ T'Quila@crystyll: + this can manifest randomly in individuals. Not to say I expect to see Lennie running around throwing fireballs across the ship any time soon!" she laughs Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 laughs, "Now that would be a sight! I think your explanation makes sense. That's why some of our abilities, like mine, were just an enhancement of our natural talents." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "But for some they haven't evolved to the point of displaying those abilities yet, but could very well do so in the future." T'Quila@crystyll: "And I like to think that we are capable of least retaining some of what we learned about ourselves during that time" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 nods, "I think so too. We might not have all the abilities, but it's like what you're teaching me now. The discipline to harness and control these abilities can be used to improve other parts of - Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: - life, even if they're not quite as spectacular as throwing fireballs." T'Quila@crystyll: "There are some schools which teach that everything comes back to the same quintessential ability. In other words, if you can perform the simple meditation, you can also throw fireballs" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 chuckles, "Controlling this bond will be enough for me. Though I suppose I won't say no to fireballs." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "Speaking of which, I still have to find and speak to Kelly sometime..." T'Quila@crystyll: "Of course. I'm glad to see you seeming better" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I've yet to put it to use when she goes and has her fun, but I'm sure this will help." Evanne Dra@annpc#5570: "I'm not sure you'd want to be around for the actual trial, though. I don't mind you seeing if I do lose control, but you probably don't want to see me like that," she laughs. T'Quila@crystyll: "Just keep up with regular meditation and I'm sure it will help" she smiles Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 smiles back and nods, "You've been a great help, Tee. Let me know if you ever need anything too, okay?" T'Quila@crystyll: "Of course Eva" Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 stands, "I'll see you around. And let you know how things work out!" T'Quila@crystyll: "Looking forward to it!" she smiles, giving her a wave while packing the meditation gear away Evanne Dra@annpc#5570 waves back and heads out the room again.
AFTER ACTION REPORT STARFLEET SECURITY CLEARANCE LEVEL 3 | Restricted
Belyian Abyss, Sector V-020
MISSION PARAMETERSOUTCOME SUMMARY Investigate anomalous region of 'dark space'. Crew successfully removed from planet Belyia without discernible cultural contamination. Significant research data collated from long term cultural exposure to unique multi-species environment.
Warning buoys to be deployed around the perimeter of the 'Nether' - approximately 1/2 sector across. Extensive recovery & support period required for all crew to readjust, long term medical study to monitor lasting effects from environmental exposure will also be required. In light of her recent exemplary conduct, both here and in recent missions, Mia LaRouche is hereby granted a field commission to the rank of Lieutenant.
It began when the Valley Forge unknowingly entered an anomalous region of 'dark space'. There was no prior indication of anything untoward on sensors, and the first signs came from visual only testimony from crew members seeing the stars 'appear to go out'. A cautious investigation ensued which determined the likelihood a fixed border to the anomaly. Using a navigational probe at 0.1LY off our bow to maintain relative positioning without stellar cartography reference points, we proceeded at low speed until coming into range of what appeared to be a class-M planet within range of a single solar body. Before any further action could be taken, the entire crew found themselves suddenly transported away from the ship (by testimony; not consistent with the sensation of transporter technology, but more like an instant transference akin to the reported experience of personnel to have interacted with members of the Q Continuum in this manner).
From here, information is limited as we found ourselves scattered around the entire planet. Belyia - as we came to know this world - is overall of an approximate Iron Age stage of development, although there are distinct areas where this is drastically exceeded such as basic combustion (steam) and fine mechanics (clockwork). This variety is somewhat attributed to the different stages of development of the multiple sentient species occupying this world, where we now believe each species' evolution to have triggered at a slightly different point in their history. The most distinct variation however, was an overwhelming presence of what was colloquially acknowledged as 'magic'. This was later discovered to be an inherent environmental condition resultant from the presence of a non-corporeal life form known only as 'The Wisps', whom we believe to be native to this dark space - or 'Nether' as they call it. Offset to the presence of this magic - existing in various concentrations in all life on the planet - was an absolute non-functional state of all technology. This was later understood to be something of a natural condition from the Wisps presence, though with sufficient power to offset it, technology was sustainable in the correct format - though this did not help for the stranded crew left with nothing more than their communicators for the most part.
Given how widespread the crew were, and limited in our capacity to locate or communicate with one another; emergency protocols were followed by all and we went to ground. It took some weeks - initially of happenstance, with a little luck, basic long distance communication, and a touch of beneficial abilities being put to use - but we were eventually able to congregate the majority of the crew in Aiendong City. Here, my senior staff and I worked to the best of our abilities within the local community to earn currency and provide bed & board for the crew. During the first few months of planetfall, life was difficult for everyone. Though as time went by, we were able to secure sufficient resources to provide a relatively comfortable existence for our people. This also led to our group being locally recognized as a mercenary group of renown, later recognized as an elite guild among the local population. Whilst this was arguably more direct cultural interaction than would be preferred, it was necessary to accommodate our efforts both in searching for missing crew and attempting to resolve our situation. Ultimately, the hugely diverse species index of this world worked to our advantage and all of the crew were recognized and/or acknowledged as being half-breed of local species if not pureblooded.
After some months of adjusting to life on Belyia, we made a key discovery in the activation of a portal within a local temple. This can be most easily likened to an Iconian gateway, though only a planetary scale in scope. This led us to a non-physical plane where we were able to interact directly with the Wisps, who confirmed their responsibility for placing us here. Comprehension was difficult for both groups, as language was forced and basic fundamentals were of vastly differing universal laws. All said and done, the Wisps appeared at the least to be sincere and essentially wanted assistance. The time from us arriving to having this conversation was accounted for by the necessity for us to have 'walked the path of enlightenment', which involved interacting with magical pillars scattered around the world (a process which inherently improved ones heightened physical and/or mental abilities through a brief direct physical interaction with a single Wisp). The Wisps stated that something they called a 'Dragon' was threatening the planet, and had come from beyond the dark space Nether region to do so. It pulled us in to protect them as they were blind to it's presence, but knew it had come from this beyond region, as we had done. During our time to date on Belyia, we had heard rumours of dragon attacks but seen no evidence to theorize from. However, under the premise that removing this threat would allow us to leave Belyia we agreed to at least investigate.
Using the temple portals, we began to systematically scout the planet for signs of said dragon - eventually making positive contact when one of the teams encountered one of what had been referred to as 'Dragon Spawn'. Our team promptly identified this as a Nuhar drone, as had been interacted with extensively during our previous mission. The drone attacked and forced them back through the portal to Aiendong City, alongside local refugees from that region. Sadly, those refugees belonged to a warrior race who were sworn enemies of the City's people and a conflict broke out. Though quickly resolved by our people on scene, it led to a kneejerk reaction by the local government who ordered our immediate incarceration. We were not imprisoned long before the drone followed them through the portal and began to attack the Citadel. Thanks to some quick thinking by CDT Tierno - who used her enhanced stealth abilities to evade capture initially - we were soon freed from the dungeon and able to help defend the city. I took the opportunity to enlist the refugee warriors in this defense, and using a combination of our enhanced abilities we were able to disable the drone (and remove all evidence of it's advanced technology before the indigenous could discover it).
This action led to a decree from the Citadel Council that our 'guild' would be tasked with seeking out the parent dragon and killing it to defend the realm. Of course, this provided ample opportunity to exercise our pre-existing mission parameters from the Wisps and so I led a team through the same portal to track what we assumed would be a Nuhar construct. Upon arrival at the designated region - a vast mountain pass between two political states, and bordering a dead region previously ravaged by war - we encountered the 'dragon's lair'. However it transpired not to be a Nuhar construct, but the Valley Forge. We did not know at the time how this was possible, let alone who could be operating it, and we feared the worse. We were almost immediately transported aboard however to find that LT LaRouche was in control of the ship, using our liberated Nuhar drones as an adhoc crew.
Once back on board and up to speed with the situation there, it was a relatively simple matter of expanding on the work done to restore sufficient system capacity that we could break orbit. A dialogue with the Wisps convinced them of the need to temporarily remove the barrier so the dragon could be exorcised from their realm. With an understanding found, we had the accommodation to remain nearby for some further time while our crew were located and recovered. This also allowed us to ensure no lasting effects remained from our time on the planet and that all ties could be safely cut with the local population without raising suspicion. Given that a significant number of the crew had taken to operating small agricultural homes during our time on Belyia, we were able to effectively replenish our fresh produce supplies before departing also. Finally, this period also afforded us the opportunity to further commune with the Wisps - a task which I left open to all crew members to pursue individually as many had personal questions best answered in that forum.
Upon eventually departing the Nether, we were reunited with the QanwI' - much to our surprise - at which time Captain Vix informed us that we had only been gone for approximately two weeks, not the 6+ months experienced by our crew. Whilst we have no definitive explanation for this discrepancy right now, our best estimate is that the Nether is a form of subspace intersection. Whilst both space and subspace effectively occupy the same physical dimensions, this theory also accommodates extrapolation to temporal dilation. With the QanwI's assistance, a series of warning buoys were deployed around the perimeter of the Nether designating it an absolute no-fly zone as per the Federation Charter.
Extrapolated from the testimony of LT LaRouche
Mia was still in a comatose state following her exhaustive interaction in controlling the Nuhar drones previously. When she awoke from this state, she found the ship to be deserted and running on minimal power, save for her brother drone - Sayu. Sayu had also seemingly not been removed, and worked within his limited capacity to sustain ship's systems. This was why everything was powered down, including life support and environmental as they were not needed. With Mia restored to functional capacity, the pair were able to bring systems back online and attempt to assess their situation. Mia learned that it had been more than 6 months since the crew disappeared, at this time. They found the ship to still be adrift within the Nether, and first aimed to restore flight control. The pair determined their best course of action at this point was an attempt to utilize the Nuhar drones. Mia was successful in this whilst avoiding the same direct networking she had to use previously, instead with the drones communicating through a limited designated drone referred to as 'Relay'. Working with the drones, they detected a barrier of unknown type surrounding the planet and surmized from sensor records that it appeared almost the exact same time as the crew disappeared. This led to a logical deduction of a connection and determining the need to bypass it and find the crew on the planet. After exploring all other viable options, Mia opted to execute a plan proposed by the Nuhar drones - who had accessed Starfleet archives in order to effectively operate the ship, and in doing so learned everything on file about starship operations. This plan was to execute a solar slingshot maneuver to propel the ship into a brief transwarp state and effectively propel the ship backwards in local time to a point before the barrier appeared. This was executed with mechanical precision, and they proceeded to enter the atmosphere before the barrier activated or the original Valley Forge came into the void and sensor range of detecting them. Upon entering the atmosphere they suffered near total power failure, though had sufficient reserve built up to execute a landing. From here, they worked initially to diagnose the power failure with the drones while Sayu exited via airlock with a small contingent of drones to begin the search. Almost immediately, the drones returned with an unpowered Sayu advising that as soon as they left the confines of the ship, he lost power and dropped to the floor. It was a simple matter to restore Sayu's power, and they quickly surmised that it was an unseen environmental factor inhibiting them and the ship, rather than a failure to be diagnosed and repaired. Having seen the Nuhar still able to function normally, a plan was executed to modify ship systems to run on the same Anti-Proton power configuration as the drones. Meanwhile the drones would independently execute the search for the crew. Modification took considerable time, and was limited in capacity. The drone search yielded no discernible results either given their remote landing location. The drones encountered what they reported as hostile tribal lifeforms who attacked them on sight. With the drones lacking direct control of a superior AI like Mia's, they reacted on survival instinct as they have been witnessed to do before, and so sought to eliminate any and all threats to them and their controller. The ship had managed a few successful test launches, but never enough to sustain consistent flight. By the time our crew on the ground had located them, they had minimal power restored to the converted reactors as well as short range sensors and a single transporter bay - enough to recover our party as a start.