The crew of the Valley Forge finally get properly acquainted with the Guardians. Captain Vix picks up an unexpected lead on her own mission to discern the fate of the lost KDF expedition.
Trenick@annpc#5570 FX | The Valley Forge travels through deep space, following the Guardian ship towards the nearest Guardian Command Post. Trenick@annpc#5570 | In the meantime, the Guardian Medic Valtar has beamed over to the Valley Forge to give a briefing on the different Horde variants. Kazra, Lennie and a number of medical and biology personnel - Trenick@annpc#5570: - have gathered in one of the meeting rooms to learn what the Guardians have to offer. Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "We refer to all Horde thralls that have not yet been heavily altered from their species Unblooded. These are typically first, second and third generation thralls. Mutations can surface - Trenick@annpc#5570: - much earlier or much later, and depending on the level of hybridization available to the Horde at the moment. You're trying to liberate all the recent thralls on Terminu, if I remember right?" Lendaria@crystyll nods, "Well, th'Coalition's workin' on it wit' a priority on them what're th'last o'their kind" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar nods, "That's a good thing you're doing. We typically prioritize freeing thralls whose entire species have fallen under Horde domination as well." Lendaria@crystyll: "Wait, so y'all do th'same thing?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "We have, yes, but only on Unblooded thralls like the ones on Terminu. And we've never attempted such large numbers before. Usually if the entirety of a civilization is taken over and - Trenick@annpc#5570: - no refugees escape, we isolate some of their ships and free their crews so they can keep a population going." Lendaria@crystyll: "Well, sure. But don't tha' mean you'se folks've got good insights t'help them first learnin' how t'do this at Terminu?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Yes and no. Our method of preventing people from falling under Horde influence requires that they become a Guardian. Everyone we free are automatically inducted into our ranks, because - Trenick@annpc#5570: - that's the only way they can be prevented from falling under Horde influence again." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "We don't have the resources to free entire populations like Terminu, or to train them all at once." Lendaria@crystyll: "Still, could be worth comparin' notes. May have a few tips f'them at Terminu, ya think?" she looks to Kazra for a more medical opinion Trenick@annpc#5570 | Kazra nods, "Certainly. As long as your procedure isn't a secret like your defense against the Horde." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Only the part that involves joining the Guardians. The procedure itself is information we're perfectly willing to share." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "We can compare what we have, once we're finished with the Horde variants here. The Captain specifically instructed me to relay this information to you." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Kazra: "Sounds good to me." Lendaria@crystyll: "Every little helps!" she smiles, counting that as a win, "So ya were sayin'?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "So, all the thralls you're freeing now are Unblooded. Not much data to show, since Unblooded as a classification refers to any thralls that are genetically indistinguishable from their - Trenick@annpc#5570: - original species or healthy hybrids. Unblooded are usually found in a variety of roles- a jack-of-all-trades if you will. But if a species does have a significant natural advantage, they are - Trenick@annpc#5570: - sometimes used in the same way as specialized thralls." Lendaria@crystyll: "Straightforward so far" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar taps a datapad and the display on the console in the conference room shifts, "This is one of the two most common thrall varieties. We call them the Brute because they've been bred to - Trenick@annpc#5570: - sacrifice other traits for superior strength. In Horde ships and facilities, they do the heavy lifting, and in combat they're equipped with automatic, pulsewave or heavy weaponry, or just charge - Trenick@annpc#5570: - you head first." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Kazra looks over at the genetic data displayed on the display, "Like the one we had in our sickbay." Lendaria@crystyll: "Mia reported plenty examples o'them, or at least them in th'makin', down on Terminu" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "They make up the bulk of the specialized thralls, along with the variant we call the Engineers." He taps his datapad again and the display shifts to show different genetic data again. Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Engineers tend to be less mutated on the surface and are bred for their dexterity. They're found just about everywhere as well and operate machinery, but are deployed in combat as - Trenick@annpc#5570: - sharpshooters when more specialized variants aren't available. Speaking of more specialized variants..." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar continues as the display changes yet again, this time with an accompanying image. Trenick@annpc#5570 FX | https://pyxis.nymag.com/v1/imgs/e52/04d/e6830f166c141a1a40be6d566887921d38-gollum.rvertical.w1200.jpg Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Phantoms are the Horde's sharpshooters. They're small, nimble and highly perceptive. Like most other thralls, really easy to take down, if you can hit them. They're very weak - Trenick@annpc#5570: - physically, and if their connection to the Horde is disrupted they're practically harmless as they just charge you like an animal but don't hit particularly hard. Put a sniper rifle in their hands - Trenick@annpc#5570: - and with enough Horde nearby to use them tactically, and they're your worst nightmare. They're usually found supporting the Horde behind their other units, or lying in ambushes." Lendaria@crystyll: "Charming..." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar changes the display again: https://lotro-wiki.com/images/e/e5/Taugh%C3%A2sh_Skirmisher.jpg Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Skirmishers are essentially taller Phantoms, but their emphasized genetic traits are different enough to be considered another classification. They trade their small targets for - Trenick@annpc#5570: - a longer stride and a little more physical strength. The Horde uses them mostly for sneak attacks or ambushes as they're good at getting close before quickly closing the distance with a sprint." Lendaria@crystyll: "Lookin' like tha', I'd-a expect to smell 'em comin'" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar chuckles, "You can usually smell most Horde thralls coming. That's why they need the longer legs to close the distance quickly." Lendaria@crystyll chuckles, "Fair point" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar changes the image again: https://bodinsterba.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/winged_creature_comp4.jpg Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Flyers are fairly straightforward. Thralls made from winged species, typically used as scouts or aerial support. Name pretty much says it all." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "There's a few that are environmentally distinct. Aquatic, high gravity, you get the idea. They're less specialized due to the smaller number of thralls they can breed with, and only - Trenick@annpc#5570: - ever seen in environments where other thralls can't operate. Only one in there that needs much explaining, and that's the Crawler." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar taps his datapad and the screen displays genetic data again, "Crawlers specialize in scaling vertical surfaces, but they're not found in arboreal environments. We believe they're quite - Trenick@annpc#5570: - rare and the climbing abilities of Skirmishers are good enough for trees. Instead Crawlers are only seen in urban environments with tall structures. They're also quite good at squeezing into small - Trenick@annpc#5570: - space, so they're particularly effective in urban warfare and the Horde reserves them exclusively for the rare situations where that happens." Lendaria@crystyll: "Do they get these variants purely from th'origin species, or they got th'capacity t'breed 'em as needed in them farms too?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Most of them are bred in farms, or on ships as they go. The Crawlers are definitely hybrids but the majority of their traits come from one main origins species that evolved from a form - Trenick@annpc#5570: - of rodent. There are a few thrall variants that are essentially Unblooded, though, but most are bred and at least partially hybridized. And, just as you bring them up..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Hm?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | The screen changes again to display another image alongside biological data: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/09/6d/f0/096df069d986eef853317ce6c322cce9.jpg Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "We're into the very rare thralls now. As far as we can tell, these haven't been hybridized at all, likely to preserve their unique ability. Banshees are thralls of a species naturally - Trenick@annpc#5570: - capable of producing sounds of such frequency that they can be used to disorient. They're very rare, and typically not used alongside other thralls because they can be affected by the Banshee as - Trenick@annpc#5570: - well. Whenever we've encountered Banshees, they've always snuck in and used their sounds to disorient us right before an attack, typically a lightning raid by Skirmishers." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar switches the display again to another image accompanied by biological data: https://i.imgur.com/dKg47U7.jpg Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Behemoths are another very rare variety. They're bred with a clearly different intent from other thralls. While other thralls emphasize traits to the detriment of their own health, - Trenick@annpc#5570: - Behemoths emphasize the ability to take damage. Thick hides, sometimes scaled, multiple organ redundancies, Behemoths are almost exclusively found in the rare locations that the Horde deems worth - Trenick@annpc#5570: - giving special attention to protecting. That alone makes encounters with them few and far in between." Trenick@annpc#5570 | The display changes again, but before Valtar continues, Kazra speaks up, "Wait. Can you go back for a moment?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar taps his datapad and the screen switches back, "To the Behemoth?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Kazra stands, walking over, "Yes, this one." Trenick@annpc#5570 | The Guardian medic stands aside as Kazra takes out her own datapad and taps on it. Lendaria@crystyll watches curiously, "Watcha got Kaz?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Kazra shows Lennie a DNA pattern on her datapad before pointing to the screen, "That's Klingon DNA. Whatever that thing is, it's about one-eighth Klingon." Trenick@annpc#5570: "Could it be another case of parallel evolution? A Klingonoid species that's been taken over by the Horde?" Lendaria@crystyll 's eyes widen, "Klingon?! Tha' ain't good..." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Kazra: "It definitely looks like it has some Klingon origin, and it would certainly explain some of the organ redundancies." Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "What...exactly is a Klingon?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Ya seen our tactical chief? Big, ridged head, kinda grumpy lookin'?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "He was at the meeting when I first arrived on the ship with Captain Daian, wasn't he?" Lendaria@crystyll nods, "Would've been, yeah. Well, he's a Klingon" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Is he one of the allies you've amassed in this region?" Lendaria@crystyll shakes her head, "Nah, he's from our part o'space. Here" she taps the screen to show a galaxy map with relative positions marked out Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar steps over, looking at the map, "Really? I thought they were a civilization from around here, and the last of their kind." Lendaria@crystyll: "Not even close" she looks to Kazra, "Hey, weren't Cap'n Vix along wit' us because o'some ancient Klingon expedition out this way? Ya don't think...?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Kazra: "It's a possibility..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Either way, she needs t'know 'bout these brutes an' where they were thought t'come from. Might have answers to 'er own people there" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "I believe they're one of the species who we've freed, as we've never seen others like them and assumed they were the last of their kind. If we're talking about the same species, there - Trenick@annpc#5570: - should be a number of them among the Guardians." Lendaria@crystyll: "If they'se freed, I assume they'se also sorely lackin' in th'memory department?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar nods, "That's right. It's why we don't know what their people are called, and if it's the same as these Klingons you know." Lendaria@crystyll: "Well, maybe we can find some an' do a lil' comparative analysis? Could be good f'them t'learn some on their lost past too" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar nods, "I'll see if I can find any Guardians of that species. Anyways, there's one last thrall variant to get through." Lendaria@crystyll nods, "What ya got?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar switches the screen again to display more biological and genetic data, "The Psionics are thralls made from telepathic species. They've been bred to enhance that aspect, and combined with - Trenick@annpc#5570: - the Horde's capabilities, Psionics are able to unleash telekinetic attacks. They're few in number and the Horde use them sparingly, but when they are encountered, we always make them priority - Trenick@annpc#5570: - targets. They can cause a lot of trouble if they aren't dealt with quickly." Lendaria@crystyll: "Wha' kinda abilities are we talkin' ere?" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Yanking weapons out of your hands, throwing you across the room, that sort of thing. They can't affect things too far away from themselves and they need to recuperate if they use their - Trenick@annpc#5570: - powers too much. Their powers are more debilitating than lethal, but debilitating is usually all the other thralls need to finish you off." Lendaria@crystyll: "Telekenetics is one thing, s'long as they ain't gettin' in ya head an' makin' ya see stuff an' all" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Well all Horde can do that, but if you're fighting their thralls, it means you can resist their control. That's why even specialized Horde variants are quite uncommon. Most of the time - Trenick@annpc#5570: - the Horde don't need to fight. They just need to operate ships and get somewhere, and everyone there falls under their influence. You need to be immune or have a defense against their control to - Trenick@annpc#5570: - even be able to fight them, and the instances where they're forced to fight in a boarding action or planetside is even rarer. That's why the majority of thralls are Brutes or Engineers" Lendaria@crystyll: "Well it's a lot t'take in, but I know our guys'll really appreciate this info" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Chances are you won't have to deal with most of these variants. I certainly hope you never have to run into the rarer ones. But if you do, this information should help you be prepared - Trenick@annpc#5570: - to face them." Lendaria@crystyll: "An' considerin' our guys already faced a boardin' action wit'em, an' gone up against their fortified ground positions; they'll agree wit' tha'!" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "I'm primarily a doctor, but all Guardians are trained to fight, and the two key things to facing Horde thralls on the ground is to make sure you hit them and to have a close quarters - Trenick@annpc#5570: - weapon on hand. With the exception of the Behemoth, the thralls don't emphasize survivability, because there's not much you can do short of producing advanced and extremely expensive equipment to - Trenick@annpc#5570: - protect against modern weaponry. And since the Horde don't much care for their thralls, their solution is just to throw thralls at you. Each individual thrall is very easy to kill, but they try to - Trenick@annpc#5570: - overwhelm you with numbers, which is why you have to hit them, whether it's cutting them down with heavy fire or high accuracy." Lendaria@crystyll: "Makes sense" Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "That's also why you want to have melee weapons ready. Energy weapons are powerful and efficient, but a disruptor rifle's nothing but a glorified club when the enemy is right in front - Trenick@annpc#5570: - of you, and the Horde loves to swarm." Lendaria@crystyll: "So I heard, yeah..." she shudders at the thought Trenick@annpc#5570 | Valtar: "Anyways, any questions, or should I compare our thrall freeing methods with your doctors?" Lendaria@crystyll shakes her head, "I got nothin'" looking to the others Trenick@annpc#5570 | The others shake their head as well, and Valtar switches the console to display different data again as he begins to describe the Guardians' medical methods... FX | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjaejG-LDAQ&feature=emb_title --- Mana@anncarise FX | Two days after Valtar's visit to the Valley Forge, they approach the Guardian Command Post and Keelah is called onto the bridge... Keelah@crystyll steps out and strolls across to her seat, "ETA to the Command Post?" Mana@anncarise | Fisher: "Four minutes, Captain." Mana@anncarise | Kelly: "We have it on sensors now. Looks like a small deep space station. Fairly standard design." Keelah@crystyll: "Any updated instructions from our escort?" Mana@anncarise | TQ shakes her head, "Nothing yet." Keelah@crystyll: "Alright, continue on course until we hear otherwise for now" Mana@anncarise | A few minutes pass and the VF drops out of warp. A magnified image of the station shows up on the viewscreen. Mana@anncarise FX | https://i.imgur.com/Mg6yqIi.jpg Mana@anncarise | Kelly: "The station looks like it's been heavily refitted. There's a mixture of technologies that couldn't have all been part of the same original design." Keelah@crystyll: "Anything noteworthy or familiar in that lot?" Mana@anncarise | Kelly: "There's some Nuhar tech, but it's certainly not of Nuhar design. Hull is a fairly standard armoured duranium alloy, no sign of the neutronium alloy that Nuhar hulls primarily use." Keelah@crystyll: "That's no surprise I guess. Seems just about everyone in this part of the galaxy has been picking through those scraps" Mana@anncarise | Kelly nods, "They do have some of the more advanced technology found in this region. Looks like there's some Rider tech readings as well, but not much." Keelah@crystyll quips, "As long as there's nothing more that sets off a long buried Starfleet protocol, I'll take that as an early win" Mana@anncarise | Kelly: "Nothing that our sensors can detect, at least. It's heavily armed for its size, but other than that it's not particularly noteworthy." Mana@anncarise | TQ: "Captain, we're receiving clearance to beam over to the station." Keelah@crystyll: "Very well. Mr. Fisher, standard orbit. Time to go and meet our new friends" she stands Mana@anncarise | Fisher: "Aye aye, Captain." --- Mana@anncarise FX | Keelah beams into a transporter room on the station. Captain Daian steps into view off the pad next to her. She is still dressed in her armour with the hilt and pistol on her, though she has - Mana@anncarise - left the rifle behind. Keelah@crystyll steps down as well, "Captain" Mana@anncarise | Daian: "Captain. Come with me." Mana@anncarise | Daian turns to lead the way out of the transporter room. Mana@anncarise | They exit the transporter room, moving through hallways. They pass by a number of other Guardians of various species, only a few wearing armour like Daian's, with the majority dressed in - Mana@anncarise: - uniform-like clothing or the lighter armour variant. A few drones swoop by as well, going about their business. Mana@anncarise | Daian: "Your people were interested in a specific species we have among our ranks, I'm told. One that they believe might be the same as one of your officers?" Keelah@crystyll: "Yes, so I gather from the debrief with my science staff. Those recovered from the 'brute' thralls as I recall" Mana@anncarise | Daian: "They would have been Unblooded when we recovered them. I found two Guardians of that species serving on one of the ships under Skormir's command here. You can ask him about meeting them." Keelah@crystyll: "Excellent. I shall endeavour to do so once our introductory business is concluded" Mana@anncarise | Daian: "A fair word of warning though. Skormir and I don't always see eye to eye. He can be much more harsh in his decisions." Keelah@crystyll: "I'd expect nothing less from a commander of Klingons" she smiles a little Mana@anncarise | Daian: "If they are indeed the same people, you have a Klingon under your command too, don't you? You still seem fairly idealistic." Keelah@crystyll: "It's a fine line" she admits. "While many Klingons are capable of adapting into a command structure such as ours, those tend to be individuals. For a larger group their natural tendencies would be + Keelah@crystyll: + prone to surface which would lead to difficulties in a command not of the same ilk" Mana@anncarise | They step into a lift, which Daian sends going up. Mana@anncarise | Daian: "And what tendancies would those be?" Keelah@crystyll: "Those attributed to the btute thralls..." she chuckles Mana@anncarise | Daian chuckles, "I suppose that's why they've fit in quite well with us. The Guardians always have an enemy to vent our aggressions on when we need to." Mana@anncarise | Daian steps out of the lift on a different level, continuing to lead the way. Mana@anncarise | After some more walking, they enter what seem to be the ops room of the station. Several of the Guardians acknowledge Daian with nods as she passes by, which she returns. She skirts around the - Mana@anncarise: - edge of the room to a door and taps a panel beside it. A few seconds later, it slides open. Mana@anncarise | Daian steps inside what appears to be a ready room of sorts. The decor of the room is very martial, with mounted weaponry of all sorts, from some form of heavy minigun to blades and spears. The - Mana@anncarise: - owner of this office sits behind a desk, an imposing figure even while seated. A member of the Rider species, this one is missing part of his right horn, which has been fitted with a metallic - Mana@anncarise: - replacement. The entire right side of his face is heavily scarred and appears to have been burned at some point, though the eye was left intact. The lower half of his visage is obscured by a - Mana@anncarise: - triangular breathing mask over his nose, mouth and around his jaw. Mana@anncarise | Daian: "Commander Skormir." Mana@anncarise | Skormir speaks, an echo ringing in his voice due to the mask, "Captain Daian." He turns his scarred face to Keelah, "And this must be the one who helped us with the Zihil." Keelah@crystyll dips her head, "Captain Keelah Se'Lai of the Valley Forge" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "Thank you, Captain Keelah. I am also told you have united the Nuhar and even rallied the Lupan to fight against the Horde?" Keelah@crystyll: "It is true that we assisted the Nuhar in finding their purpose and unity. As for the Lupan, they are hardly a united front" Keelah@crystyll: "Though at least those in charge of the former Holy City are on side, and working to align the rest of their kin in time" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "It still sounds almost too good to be true. We have had little luck recruiting Lupan to our side, and the few who are willing to fight with us are exiles and mercenaries." Keelah@crystyll: "The Coalition also includes the Arshai, An and Regulators. And a recently recovered Progenitor, or Creator as some call them" Keelah@crystyll: "I think the difference is; we have not strictly brought them into line with ourselves. but rather, we have simply helped them see their own reality and demonstrated how it aligns with ours" Keelah@crystyll: "Not unlike our time with the Zihil actually, in that regard" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "I attempted to do much the same, when I was younger. I failed to even unite my own people against the dangers of the Horde. Perhaps you are a better orator than I ever was." Mana@anncarise | He motions to chairs in front of his desk, "Come. Sit, Captain." Keelah@crystyll smiles, nestling into an empty seat, "Or perhaps people simply weren't as ready to hear the truth of the matter at that time" Mana@anncarise | Daian steps up, taking a seat as well. Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "Perhaps. This Coalition of yours, they will be willing to continue fighting the Horde, even after the situation on Terminu is resolved?" Keelah@crystyll: "For the most part I believe it is fair to say that they recognize the imminent threat" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "Excellent. We can always use more allies. You are attempting to reclaim the entire population of Terminu now, are you not?" Keelah@crystyll: "Nobody involved in the project has any dellusions about succesfully recovering everyone. However, they are working to recover as many as they can, while they can. With priority being given to those + Keelah@crystyll: + who represent the last of their species" Mana@anncarise | Skormir nods, "Focus your efforts on saving all those you can. There is no point asking you to deploy anywhere else. The Horde will be coming to you soon." Keelah@crystyll: "Which is why we must proceed with all haste to progress our own mission before that happens" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "And your mission is?" Keelah@crystyll: "To locate and utilize a known means to stop the Horde's march once and for all" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "You may have a solution to stop the Horde? Permanently?" He glances towards Daian. Mana@anncarise | Daian: "We've checked them for Horde influence, if that's what you're thinking. They're not Horde spies." Keelah@crystyll: "We have developed our own countermeasure to protect against that" she assures Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "Forgive me if I am skeptical. We have fought the Horde for many generations without any way to permanently halt them." Keelah@crystyll nods, "I understand. If I may ask; what do you know of the Horde's origin?" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "Not much. We believe the Progenitors may have been involved in their creation, perhaps a mistake or accident. Our researchers may be able to tell you more." Keelah@crystyll: "You are correct. We have learned much of this recently from the Progenitor on board my ship. What we also learned some time ago is that the Iconians and Nuhar began development on a final solution" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "And this solution is...?" Keelah@crystyll: "...vague. Much of the Nuhar's knowledge has been lost to time, unfortunately. What we do know is that a facility was constructed to contain the Horde. A prison of sorts, if you like" Keelah@crystyll: "And the reason we first set out on our journey into this region of space was to follow a signal to this very facility" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "Interesting. This facility, it is of Iconian and Nuhar make?" Keelah@crystyll: "Yes. From what we have seen of it, we would liken it to other Iconian facilities in our region of space" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "I will advise the Rangers to keep an eye out for it. While I have no authority over the Rangers, we tend to investigate Iconian or Nuhar ruins when provided the opportunity as they - Mana@anncarise: - frequently have useful technology. Perhaps the Rangers already know something of this facility you seek." Keelah@crystyll: "It is worth exploring the possibility" she nods, "I can have my people provide estimates of the scope of this facility for your Rangers to work from if it would help" Mana@anncarise | Skormir nods, "The more the information, the better for the Rangers." Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "In the meantime, the Rangers should be harrying the amassing Horde forces. When they do depart towards here, we will do what we can to delay them here." Keelah@crystyll: "Do you believe they will still head for Zihil now that the tournament is done and the Children are leaving there?" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "They may send scouts to investigate, but I do not believe they will pay it much attention without Children presently gathered there. Their primary objective is likely to be Terminu to - Mana@anncarise: - drive you away so that they may put the thralls they have captured there to use." Keelah@crystyll: "Then we truly are on a ticking clock..." Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "The Horde have a habit of striking back when one of their fleets are defeated, and they have more reason to do so if there are thralls separated from the majority of their forces. We - Mana@anncarise: - will do what we can do assist you, but I do not believe conventional tactics will be able to stop the armada they are sending. We can only hope to delay them." Keelah@crystyll: "Have you ever faced an armada on this scale before with them?" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "Not by matching their numbers. Even if we could gather the numbers to face them head on, it would not be a wise move. The losses would be great on both sides, but the Horde - Mana@anncarise: - recuperates far faster than we do. There have been instances where we have destroyed large Horde armadas, but only over the span of years, slowly whittling down their numbers and denying them new - Mana@anncarise: - thralls by evacuating civilizations in their path and purging fallen worlds." Keelah@crystyll: "Sounds like we will need some new and unconventional tactics to protect the Coalition from this armada then" Mana@anncarise | Skormir nods, "It has been some time since we have dealt with such a large advance by the Horde on this front, but all Guardians are well-versed in our tactics and historical battles." Mana@anncarise | He looks to Daian, "Since you have worked with Captain Keelah already, I will send you to the Coalition to teach them of the tactics they will need." Mana@anncarise | Daian nods, "We'll head there as soon as our resupply is complete." Mana@anncarise | Skormir looks back to Keelah, "The rest of our forces here will do what we can to delay the Horde from Terminu. We will join you at Terminu when they draw close." Keelah@crystyll: "And we will continue to explore alternative options for dealing with them" she nods Mana@anncarise | Skormir nods, "Good. Captain Daian will go ahead first and our other ships will arrive when there is nothing more we can do to the Horde before they reach Terminu." Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "Is there anything else you have come to discuss?" Keelah@crystyll: "There was one other point of interest which came up during our journey here" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "What might that be?" Keelah@crystyll: "We learned that some of your Guardians - those recovered from a specified class of thrall - may in fact be remnants from a species local to our region of space" Mana@anncarise | Daian passes a chip to Skormir, who slides it into his computer, "How exactly did they come to be Horde thralls?" Keelah@crystyll: "We know of an expedetion these people sent out to this area many centuries ago. If the theory proves correct, the most logical conclusion would be that these brutes are what remains of that + Keelah@crystyll: + expedition, or possibly their descendents. Either way, we would like to investigate the possible link and if true, explore the option of sharing their lost culture with these people" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "The ones in the Guardians are all scattered among our ranks. It will be difficult to gather them. The closest pair is on Captain Dorogan's vessel. You may begin with them if you wish." Keelah@crystyll: "It should be enough at least to determine if they are indeed descendents or not" Mana@anncarise | Skormir: "And if they are, they will be better at finding others of their species than Guardian-Commanders. Guardians often keep in touch with our own species for the purposes of procreation, - Mana@anncarise: - especially those we believe to be the last of their kind." Keelah@crystyll: "Understandable. Well I won't take any more of your time for now" she stands, "If we learn anything significant regarding these individuals, I will let you know" Mana@anncarise | Skormir nods, "I hope we will have a beneficial alliance going forward, Captain Keelah." Keelah@crystyll: "I am confident of it" she smiles, bowing her head again before turning to leave Mana@anncarise | Daian stands and steps out as well. --- NPK@annpc#5570 FX | After getting the whereabouts of nearby Klingon Guardians, Lexi and the QanwI' has set out to the location where the ship they are serving on had been dispatched to... NPK@annpc#5570 | Pilot: "Coming up on the coordinates now." Lexi@crystyll: "Sensors" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "No ships on sensors, but I can see warp trails going in and out." Lexi@crystyll: "So we do it the hard way... begin tracking the trail decay. Let's see what's been going on out there" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "Aye, tracking warp trail decay now. Looks like we got two ships coming in at roughly the same time. Only one trail leading out, about four hours ago." NPK@annpc#5570 | Pilot: "Dropping out of warp on the coordinates now." Lexi@crystyll: "So the other is still here..." Lexi@crystyll: "Engage cloak" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "Engaging cloak, Captain." Lexi@crystyll: "They aren't the only ones who can play cat and mouse" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "I'm seeing some debris, but not even close enough to be an entire ship. Definitely weapons signatures though." Lexi@crystyll: "Do the Guardians use cloaks to our knowledge?" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "The Rangers do, but the ship we're looking for isn't a Ranger ship." Lexi@crystyll: "So it's entirely possible that whoever is hiding out there are the ones who attacked our target ship" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "Aye. Warp trail seems to start from the debris, so whoever's fled must be the damaged one." Lexi@crystyll: "How long until the trail decays beyond our capacity to follow?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "A couple of hours, assuming nothing disrupts the trail further down the route." NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "Well. That's unusual." Lexi@crystyll: "Then that's how long we've got-" she looks over, "What is?" NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "We have data of the ship we're looking for. This warp trail leading away from the battle matches theirs. But the debris composition doesn't match their hull or any auxiliary craft - NPK@annpc#5570: - they've got on board. And the weapons signatures on the debris matches the tech the Guardian ship is using." NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "Maybe both ships went to warp, but the fleeing one's masked their trail to try and throw off the Guardians?" Lexi@crystyll: "So the prey is wounded! NPK@annpc#5570 | K'Sarn: "Seems so! Should we follow?" Lexi@crystyll: "Alright, if we find the Guardinas we find more answers. Follow their warp trail and if needs be we will help them with their hunt" NPK@annpc#5570 | Pilot: "Aye aye, Captain." NPK@annpc#5570 FX | The QanwI' jumps back to warp again. NPK@annpc#5570 | A few hours pass at warp as they follow the trail, until the merc manning the science station announces, "We have two ships on sensors!" Lexi@crystyll: "Bring us into range, stay under cloak for now" NPK@annpc#5570 | Pilot: "Bringing us into range now." NPK@annpc#5570 | Merc: "IDing them now. One of 'em's definitely the Guardian ship. The other one's disabled and being towed." Lexi@crystyll: "Alright, hail the Guardians. Time to introduce ourselves" NPK@annpc#5570 FX | The image of an alien appears on the viewscreen: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/1a/c2/95/1ac295656cadfb57d36f78aa81f39653.jpg NPK@annpc#5570 | Alien: "This is Guardian-Captain Dorogan. Identify yourselves." Lexi@crystyll: "Captain Vix of the QanwI'. We were sent by your people to find you. Have you been told of this already?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan: "Captain Vix, yes. I was told to expect a visit from you. You have come about Ildrynin and Tarnech." Lexi@crystyll: "That is correct. But you were not at the anticipated coordinates, it appears you have been keeping yourselves occupied" NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan: "Yes, we had some Anarchists to deal with. The Horde have not moved out yet, and we had time to take care of them first." Lexi@crystyll: "Fair enough, if there's no chance of interruption then we can arrange to meet at your convenience" NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan nods, "We will need to take the Anarchist ship a little further away from Horde influence, but you are welcome to come over first. Your ship can continue to follow." Lexi@crystyll: "That is amenable. We will form up on your wing and beam over shortly then" NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan: "I'll see you on board then, Captain Vix." Lexi@crystyll gives a curt nod before the comm closes Lexi@crystyll: "You heard the man. Bring us alongside and decloak. But stay alert..." NPK@annpc#5570 | Lexi beams in to a transporter room. Captain Dorogan awaits her just off the pad, "Welcome, Captain Vix." Lexi@crystyll steps off the pad, "Thank you for having us. I imagine this to be a difficult situation for your people. What have they been told to this point?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan: "I've informed them that someone is coming who may have information on their heritage." The Captain turns and begins to lead the way, continuing to speak as he does. Lexi@crystyll nods and follows, "Wise not to overfeed their imaginations until we know for certain" NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan: "It was...at least three or four generations since we freed their ancestors from the Horde. All they have known is the Guardians, and they have grown up to believe that they are the - NPK@annpc#5570: - last of their people." Lexi@crystyll: "Then hopefully we will have good news for them" Lexi@crystyll: "As to their heritage, you seem very well informed" NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan: "They are part of my crew. Some Captains do not like to know those under their command. It makes it easier when they are killed in action. But I think we fight better if we know one - NPK@annpc#5570: - another. Understand our strengths and weaknesses, and have something to fight for other than pure hatred for the Enemy." Lexi@crystyll: "Agreed. Though I may know my crew, I can not claim to know their history quite so far back. But then I suppose it is more pertinent with such cases as these two" NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan: "It happens more often among the Guardians, though more of us know our heritage than not. But after all these years, much has been lost to the passage of time." NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan leads Lexi to a room and taps a panel on the door. It slides open and he steps inside to reveal relatively simple quarters occupied by a pair that looks visibly Klingon. NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan: "This is the one I spoke to you about," He motions to the female Klingon, "Captain Vix, this is Ildrynin," then the male, "and Tarnech." Lexi@crystyll offers the pair a formal Klingon salute, "It is an honour to meet you both" Lexi@crystyll: Qapla'! Lexi@crystyll performs a traditional Klingon salute. NPK@annpc#5570 | The pair stand up as well, offering a different gesture in return. NPK@annpc#5570 | Dorogan nods and steps out, "I will leave you to it." NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin speaks first, stepping forward and looking Lexi over, "I was expecting someone that looked...like us." Lexi@crystyll: "I command a ship of the Klingon Empire, many of my crew are Klingons. But do not let the spots fool you, I share their warriors heart" Lexi@crystyll: "Also, until meeting the pair of you we had no way to be certain if our belief about your heritage was accurate or not. Nor did we know your own reactions" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "This Klingon Empire...that is where our ancestors are from?" Lexi@crystyll steps forward, "Yes, your features are distinct and bold. Even after so many generations" she smiles, "A sign of a strong heritage and bloodline" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "Our ancestors were retrained by the Renlore, but they encourage us to procreate among ourselves, so that we may preserve our heritage." Lexi@crystyll: "Yes, I understand that the Guardians believed you to be the last of your kind as they were not familiar with Klingons" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "Our ancestors were saved from one of our vessels that had fallen under the control of the Horde. There were several more vessels, but it was too difficult to free everyone. There - NPK@annpc#5570: - were almost four hundred on our vessel, and it was enough to get a population going. Before now, we have never seen others like us, not outside of the Horde, at least." NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "And the ones in the Horde are...twisted beyond recognition. Combined with other species and mutated into monsters." Lexi@crystyll: "Yes, the Empire reigns ina region of space far from here. But you should be pleased to know that you are /far/ from the last of your kind. To the contrary, the Klingon Empire is one of the largest + Lexi@crystyll: + and most dominant forces in the quadrant and has been for countless centuries" Lexi@crystyll: "As for those still a part of the Horde, we have seen" she nods, "It was only through one of our medics recognizing genetic markers at the briefing that they saw them to be of Klingon origin" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "Indeed. We wish they could all have been freed, but the Guardians only have so many resources. It is a relief to hear that our people at least lives on, and lives well." NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "This Empire...we can from there?" Lexi@crystyll: "Very much so. If you so desire, we can teach you of your lost heritage. Even let you see a Klingon starship and meet it's crew if you wish. It is even likely that my crew does not just include your + Lexi@crystyll: + kin, but even distant family members" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "But if this Empire is so large and powerful, would our population not be massive? How is it that distant family members would come to be on your crew?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "Unless...they came here to find us?" Lexi@crystyll: "In a sense. We believe your ancestors were part of an expedition sent out to this region of space by the Empire" Lexi@crystyll: "That expedition was largely fronted by the House of Dronurr. The House which I serve" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech nods, "Yes, that would explain how our ancestors came to be under the control of the Horde..." NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "So you came all this way for us?" Lexi@crystyll: "The vessel we accompanied came out here for a science project. As allies of the Empire, we wanted to a presence as well in this new territory" Lexi@crystyll: "The fact that it is a vessel of House Dronurr was a matter of personal interest for us to learn the fate of that expedition" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "Then it would seem we have your answers." NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "Wait, I may have something." He motions Lexi over as he heads to a console in the room. Lexi@crystyll follows curiously, and quietly. Eager to see what is being offered up NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech taps for a few moments, before the hologram of a familiar shape appears over the console... NPK@annpc#5570 FX | https://static2.srcdn.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Star-Trek-Discovery-Season-2-Klingon-Cruiser.jpg NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "Is this one of your Empire's ships?" Lexi@crystyll smiles, "Now there's a profile I haven't seen in many a year. This is your vessel?" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech nods, "That is the one our ancestors were recovered from, yes. It was heavily damaged in the battle where the Guardians captured it, with most of its systems including the computer core - NPK@annpc#5570: - beyond repair. That is why we never had any information of our heritage. The ship itself is long gone, but our records still hold that image." Lexi@crystyll: "It's not much, but we may be able to match it's profile to vessels from the expedition. May I?" she gestures to the console NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech nods and steps aside. Lexi@crystyll steps up, pulling out a tricorder and uploading the image before barking into her comm in Klingon NPK@annpc#5570 | The two Guardian Klingons stand behind her, waiting eagerly. Lexi@crystyll takes another comm shortly after with more barking in Klingon before turning to the pair with a beaming smile, "Good news" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "You have an identification for it?" Lexi@crystyll: "This profile is a confident match for the IKS Ya'Vang under Captain Klothos" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech smiles, "It is good to know where we come from at last. I will pass this information to the others the first chance I get." Lexi@crystyll: "Do you have any records on where the Guardians recovered you? It is possible that there are further clues to the expeditions fate there still" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech nods, tapping the console again, "We do, but it is deeper into Horde territory." Lexi@crystyll: "Our mission will likely take us that way. If we come into range of the location, we can investigate further" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "We believe the Horde planned to use our genetics to improve their thralls from the beginning and were taking our ancestors to breeding farms when the Rangers intercepted them." NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech steps away again to let Lexi get a closer view on the map he pulled up. Lexi@crystyll: "Aah, so it's likely the expedition was in fact elsewhere when the Horde intercepted them. Still, it is all part of the history and may still be fruitful" she notes, reviewing the map NPK@annpc#5570 | The map shows the location where the Ya'Vang was disabled. It is a little further towards the galactic rim, and at least a few weeks of travel away at cruising speed. Lexi@crystyll: "This may very well be along our future course. Thank you" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "Thank /you/, for letting us know of our heritage at last. We would very much like to see your ship and your crew, and learn more about our people's culture." Lexi@crystyll: "I am pleased to hear that. You will find no prouder people than the Klingons, and to reconnect with lost family will be a glorious victory worthy of celebration" Lexi@crystyll: "We will remain and teach you who you are for as long as we can" Lexi@crystyll: "In the mean time, it may not be much but..." she reaches into a pouch on her belt and pulls out a worn Klingon insignia that she sets on the console before them NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech reaches forward, taking the insignia and examining it curiously, "What is this?" Lexi@crystyll turns, brandishing her left arm where she wears a modern version Lexi@crystyll: "It is the symbol of the Empire. An icon recognized across all 4 quadrants of the galaxy; one respected by allies, and feared by enemies" Lexi@crystyll: "What's more; this-" she points to it in his hand, "-belonged to /your/ ancestors. We recovered it from a trader on our way out here" Lexi@crystyll smiles thoughtfully, "It is a piece of your past. It belongs to you" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech turns it over, looking at it closely before giving Lexi a nod, "Thank you. There were some among us who have relics passed down the generations- a dagger, a sash, an old pistol, mostly - NPK@annpc#5570: - what was recovered from our ancestors before they were recovered. I never had such a piece of our past until now." Lexi@crystyll: "If your compatriots wish it when you reach out to them, we can bring meaning and understanding to said relics" Lexi@crystyll: "The sash for example, would have been worn by a leader of warriors. A proud hero, brandishing his accomplishments. We may be able to identify elements from what remains" Lexi@crystyll: "As for the dagger" she smiles, pulling her own from her hip, "Depending on what kind it is, it could be a very significant and personal ceremonial weapon. Again with elements we can trace to a House" Lexi@crystyll points out the various insignia and markings on her own in demonstration NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech nods, "That will be most appreciated. We have preserved the ones we still have as well as we can. Hopefully, they can still be identified." Lexi@crystyll: "We will do all we can for those of you who have been lost to us" Lexi@crystyll: "For what it's worth; we can set you along the path to become true warriors as only Klingons can, should the calling burn in your blood as it does for so many of your kin" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "We would love to learn all that we can of our kin, but I do not know of many of us would fit in with the Empire. We are warriors still, though we have no doubt received different - NPK@annpc#5570: - training than that of our own people. We have all felt this calling you speak of, but out here there is another calling that joins with it. Those of us here are Guardians, and our battle is - NPK@annpc#5570: - against the Horde." NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "Ildrynin is right. We would like to learn more of our people, but we cannot forsake our duty. Perhaps when we have Children, we will send them with you to their own people. But we are - NPK@annpc#5570: - Guardians. So long as the Horde continues to threaten the Children, we will remain here to stand against them." Lexi@crystyll: "I understand, of course. As Klingons you will be driven by honour in all things; honour to the commitment you have made to the Guardians /should/ take precedence" Lexi@crystyll: "But yes, we can teach you of your ways and perhaps you will be able to teach your own children. The important thing is that you are no longer alone" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin smiles, "And that is good to know. Ever since we were born, we have thought that we were the last of our people." Lexi@crystyll: "And as I said before, that is cause for celebration! A fine introduction to Klingon culture would be how they celebrate. You - and your associates from the crew here - are welcome to join us on the + Lexi@crystyll: + QanwI' where we shall toast this occassion" NPK@annpc#5570 | Tarnech: "We will be there, of that you can be certain!" Lexi@crystyll grins, "Excellent! I shall look forward to seeing you then. For now, we all have our duties calling and I've taken you long enough" NPK@annpc#5570 | Ildrynin: "We look forward to it as well. Thank you again, Captain Vix. We will see you on the QanwI'." --- The Architect@anncarise | While Lexi is off searching for the Guardian Klingons, Keelah is working quietly in her ready room when the doorbell sounds. Keelah@crystyll: "Come in" she calls out, looking up as the door slides open The Architect@anncarise steps inside, inclining his head towards Keelah in greeting, "Captain." Keelah@crystyll leans back in her seat, "Architect. What can I do for you?" she asks with a kind smile, gesturing an invitation for him to sit with her The Architect@anncarise takes a seat, "I've begun looking over the Guardians' data and theories, but I have not come to any conclusion yet. I came to present- and discuss, something else." Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, crossing her legs and folding her arms as she looks back, "You certainly know how to pique a captain's interest. What exactly is on your mind?" The Architect@anncarise: "These allies you have gathered- they are powerful, and for the moment, united by a single cause. But I fear what may occur when their goals no longer align." Keelah@crystyll sagenods, "It is a common pattern in the history of the Federation and similar organizations" The Architect@anncarise nods, "The Children do not often play well with one another. A common enemy will unite most peoples, but it is a union easily broken. These people gathered above Terminu, just like many among the - The Architect@anncarise: - ranks of the Guardians, would not otherwise work together. But the Guardians do not falter, because they have nothing left to lose." Keelah@crystyll: "And yet in terms of when this is all over, they will likely be the first to falter" The Architect@anncarise: "Yes. They will cease to have a purpose entirely. Yet I fear your Coalition may falter before this is over." The Architect@anncarise takes out a datapad and slides it across to Keelah. Keelah@crystyll takes it with a curious glance, "Not a welcome prospect..." The Architect@anncarise | The datapad displays biological and genetic information that doesn't make much sense to Keelah without context. The Architect@anncarise leans forward, "Before I began looking at the Guardians' research, I was examining that of your allies." Keelah@crystyll looks back with a curious gaze, clearly intrigued by what he has to say The Architect@anncarise: "This defense the An have come up with, though not perfect, is not the work of a countermeasure developed quickly after learning of the Horde threat. Even if I had my old team of bioengineers, it - The Architect@anncarise: - would a lifetime, perhaps more, to refine the genetic alterations to this degree. The An, however, claim not to practice direct genetic augmentation." The Architect@anncarise: "I find it...unlikely that they have told you the entire truth of their civilization." Keelah@crystyll: "Honestly, I take that as a given with every new civilization we encounter" Keelah@crystyll: "Everyone has proverbial skeletons in the closet" The Architect@anncarise nods, "And you are already more than aware with what secrets the Regulators keep. They are not what I am most concerned about, though I thought it best to inform you of my findings." Keelah@crystyll glances to the datapad once more, "What exactly... are your findings?" The Architect@anncarise: "Scientifically, only that the An know more about genetic engineering than they admit. But my greatest concern is not with our allies keeping secrets from us, but those whose motivations we are - The Architect@anncarise: - certain of. The Nuhar fight for the preservation of their kind- as do all the others, of course. However, the Horde are not the direct threat to them." The Architect@anncarise: "They face imminent extinction, and are here only for the prospect of finding the technology to replenish their numbers. When they have that, they may decide it is no longer in their interest to - The Architect@anncarise: - serve the Children, especially their 'Free Thinkers,' who have long abandoned their original purposes." Keelah@crystyll: "Perhaps..." she concedes, "But this is pure supposition. It is natural to be cautious about any change, but change itself is not always something to be feared" Keelah@crystyll: "I have personally worked more with the Nuhar than anyone. They have tested my capacity for negotiation to it's limit and beyond, but I have to believe they are capable of growth" Keelah@crystyll: "The key point with the Nuhar is that they are not serving the Children. They are serving themselves, as all of the Children in this are. They will follow their own path when it is done just as the + Keelah@crystyll: + others will" The Architect@anncarise nods, "Indeed. They should find their own way in the universe. I only hope that they do not abandon us too early." The Architect@anncarise chuckles, "Or perhaps I am getting old, and less amenable to change. And to think that once my ideas were too new and too radical." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "You know better than anyone the dangers of change, it is only to be expected" Keelah@crystyll: "But you also know the dangers of being too fearful or adverse to change" The Architect@anncarise: "And speaking of change...working alongside Children is still very new to the Lupan, or the Lupan of recent generations, at least. Even one who does not know how to read their expressions can tell - The Architect@anncarise: - that many have difficulty accepting this new alliance. They fight with us only because the Sisterhood tells them to." Keelah@crystyll: "Indeed. Of all those working together, they are the last I expected to see playing nice. They are also the first I would anticipate betrayal from" Keelah@crystyll sighs gently, "But, there was a time not too long again when we said the same of the Klingons" Keelah@crystyll chuckles, gesturing to the door, "And now I have one as my trusted right hand. On top of that, we fly with a Klingon vessel on our wing" The Architect@anncarise: "But all this has happened after many years of fluctuating relationships with the Klingons, from I recall what I read of your history. It will remain to be seen whether the Lupan are ready to be - The Architect@anncarise: - proper allies immediately, or if this alliance will be a short-lived one." Keelah@crystyll: "Of course. I highly doubt even I will live to see the day where the Lupan and Starfleet are so close as to have them serving on our ships, for example. But that does not mean it will not occur" The Architect@anncarise: "I certainly hope it will. I only fear for how amenable they will be in the current alliance." The Architect@anncarise: "As for the Arshai...they fight for their survival just like the Nuhar, but their home is directly in the path of the Horde advance. I see no reason for them to waiver, so long as we prevent the - The Architect@anncarise: - Horde from reaching their home." Keelah@crystyll: "Difficult alliances built in circumstances like this are fragile at best. We can easily lose ourselves in second guessing our allies. But I would advise caution, because many a promising friendship + Keelah@crystyll: + has fallen apart not because of the one suspected of eventual betrayal. But because of the suspicions of the one expected to be betrayed" Keelah@crystyll: "If we want any hope of a friendly future with any of these people, we must give them the chance to make it happen" The Architect@anncarise nods, "A good point, Captain. It is always difficult to avoid leaning too far to one side. See betrayal everywhere and you will be the one to incite it. But trust too unconditionally, and you - The Architect@anncarise: - will find yourself trusting the wrong people." Keelah@crystyll: "It is indeed a fine balance" she smiles, a little amused, "Is that it? Do you fear we are too trusting in our allies and view that as a flaw in one considered the linchpin of this alliance?" The Architect@anncarise: "Not a flaw, necessarily, for without your trust I doubt the alliance would have formed in the first place. Many other Children would not have hesitated to destroy the Sisterhood after the Horde - The Architect@anncarise: - weakened them, or sought to exploit the Nuhar and their technology instead of seeking their friendship." Keelah@crystyll: "I understand. Many find difficulty in accepting our ways, particularly in light of the Federations significant galactic standing" Keelah@crystyll: "And in truth, not all Starfleet Captains would have done as I have out here. There are those who likely would have sought to do those things" The Architect@anncarise nods, "You are certainly different from many of the Children. More mature. We are fortunate it is you who has come here, and not one of the other Captains you speak of. I only bring these - The Architect@anncarise: - concerns to you because I do not believe many of our allies hold the wisdom you do. Without proper attention, they may abandon this fight, or worse, turn on us completely." Keelah@crystyll smiles and nods, "And you are right to do so. Too many would be fearful of doing so simply because of these" she pings the pips on her collar Keelah@crystyll: "I wish I could be more confident in the future of this coalition. I can't deny a certain... personal pride riding on it, even though I know it is not logical. But with all I have put of myself into + Keelah@crystyll: + making this work, I can't deny the idea that seeing a measure of success going forward would be a special memory for me" The Architect@anncarise: "And I hope it does succeed. That is why I come to you, to ensure you are ready should any challenges arise, for I see that dangers to this coalition may come from within as well as -" The Architect@anncarise FX | Keelah's terminal sounds. Keelah@crystyll gives a slight nervous smile at the timing of the interruption, rueing the prospect that his words jinxed themselves. She taps the comm, "Se'Lai" The Architect@anncarise | TQ: "Captain, we have a hail from the station. It's Commander Skormir." Keelah@crystyll: <C> Thank you Tee. I'll take it in here The Architect@anncarise stands, "I will leave you to it, Captain." Keelah@crystyll: "Thank you. I do enjoy these little conversations, so please feel free to drop in anytime" The Architect@anncarise nods and smiles, "Of course. I will come by when I have more to share or discuss." The Architect@anncarise starts heading out, while Commander Skormir's scarred visage appears on the console, "Captain. I have just gotten in contact with the Rangers." Keelah@crystyll: "So soon? I hope this means we have good news?" The Architect@anncarise | Skormir: "I am afraid it is not so, as they were the ones who contacted me. There may be some hopeful news, however." Keelah@crystyll: "Ok. What do we know?" The Architect@anncarise | Skormir: "The Horde have begun to move out. This force numbers two thousand vessels, and from their current heading, they are coming for Terminu." Keelah@crystyll: "Stars..." The Architect@anncarise | Skormir: "I have also notified the Rangers about this facility you seek. While they do not know its location, they know of a ruin belonging to the Iconian civilization which they had never been - The Architect@anncarise: - able to fully explore. From what they have seen, parts of the ruins are well-preserved, and may yield information useful to your search." Keelah@crystyll: "That is indeed a valuable lead. We should make haste for this ruin at once, but we can't just turn our back on our allies here" The Architect@anncarise | Skormir: "The Rangers are already sending a vessel to investigate the ruins further, but their archaeological capability is limited, as is their expertise on such technologies. However, if you - The Architect@anncarise: - head for the ruins now, you will not make it to Terminu in time before the Horde arrive." Keelah@crystyll: "We will convene an emergency summit of the coalition leadership to determine our course of action" The Architect@anncarise | Skormir nods, "My Guardians will delay the Horde as long as we can, and join your allies at Terminu as planned. Whether you decide to return to Terminu or investigate the ruins, I will leave - The Architect@anncarise: - you to decide." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Thank you for the information. Now excuse me, I must pull everyone together" The Architect@anncarise | Skormir: "Of course." The comm cuts. Keelah@crystyll heaves a weary sigh before tapping the panel again Keelah@crystyll: "Tee, send a priority notice to coalition flags; the Horde is moving. Request immediate attendance for an emergency summit" The Architect@anncarise | TQ: "On it, Captain." --- The Architect@anncarise | In the conference room, allied representatives gather. Many of them, including the An, Nuhar and Lupan call in, with the signals being much lower resolution than usual due to the distance. Keelah@crystyll looks around, "Thank you all for joining on such short notice. We will keep this as brief as we can" The Architect@anncarise | Lupan Alpha: "Is this about the Horde moving out? We have all received the message." Keelah@crystyll: "In short; the Rangers have informed us that the Horde fleet has grown to over 2000 strong, and it is now on the move. Heading for Terminu..." The Architect@anncarise | Solan: "Two thousand? They must really want Terminu..." Keelah@crystyll: "We have also been told that the Rangers have detail about an Iconian facility" Keelah@crystyll: "while we do not believe it to be the one we seek as the means to contain the Horde, there is the possibility that it contains vital information to lead us to it" The Architect@anncarise | Vulture: "We should pursue all possible leads, in case it can end this conflict quicker. Even the Regulators will have to field a significant force to stop a fleet of that size." Keelah@crystyll: "To coin an old Human phrae my husband was fond of 'it is all hands on deck'. This will take everything at our disposal and even then it may not be enough" The Architect@anncarise | Solan nods, "I agree. There's no way we can hold off this fleet, so we'll have to speed up the efforts on Terminu, free all we can." The Architect@anncarise | Mana: "The New World support vessels have recently arrived at Terminu and predict that all endangered thralls should be recovered in nine rotations. But the full population of Terminu will not - The Architect@anncarise: - be freed by the time the Horde arrives." Keelah@crystyll: "Indeed. Captain Vix has a contract with the Guild which may allow her to bring in additional freelance support. Though I am uncertain how quickly they will arrive, or it what numbers" The Architect@anncarise | Vulture: "They'll only be able to send ships with crews that have the implant, and we've only just begun allowing usage of that. Even if they have the ships, they will have limited crews able - The Architect@anncarise: - to assist." Keelah@crystyll: "A fair point. Still, they are an asset available to us, so keep them in mind even if just to reinforce Vue En at this point" The Architect@anncarise | Vulture: "The disabled Guild ships above Terminu. We can see how many of those we can repair. We might be able to ferry survivors with them." Keelah@crystyll sighs, "I won't lie to you, I do not feel good about the prospect of resuming our mission while the rest of you rally to hold the Horde at Terminu..." The Architect@anncarise | Paval: "With numbers like theirs, I don't think there will be much of a defense. It's more of an evacuation." The Architect@anncarise | Solan: "How did your meeting with the Guardian Commander of these parts go? They have experience with evacuating worlds and delaying the Horde." Keelah@crystyll: "The Guardians and Rangers are rallying to support. It may be feasible that they can recover more who we can not" Keelah@crystyll: "So I recommend focusing on those priority recoveries, as the Guardians method binds the recovered individuals to the Guardians ranks" The Architect@anncarise | Mana nods, "Mana will advise the New World vessels to work as quickly as possible." The Architect@anncarise | Paval: "We'll start ferrying the recovered people away as well. We don't want them at Terminu when the Horde shows up, and the Mothership is large, but it can't carry all of them." Keelah@crystyll looks around, "Then we have a consensus? The Valley Forge will make haste for the Iconian facility while we rally a defensive line to Terminu?" The Architect@anncarise | Unwavering Defender: "The Nuhar are in consensus with this plan. As for a place to ferry the recovered people, the Waystation may serve as a temporary refuge." The Architect@anncarise | Paval nods, "Good idea. It's close to Terminu; we might have to move them again if the Horde get closer, but it's a feasible distance for now." Keelah@crystyll: "Thank you, Unwavering Defender. That is a gracious accommodation" The Architect@anncarise | Solan: "Find your facility. We'll handle things here. Your ship is formidable, but against a force of two thousand, having two extra ships to support won't make that much of a difference." Keelah@crystyll: "Very well" her gaze drifts to the Lupan, "You've been very quiet so far. Anything you want to add?" The Architect@anncarise | Lupan Alpha: "Some of our Sisters may know Iconian technology, but it is better for our ships to stay here and hold the line. We will not get to you soon anyways." Keelah@crystyll: "If you have expertise that you feel may be of a benefit, those Sisters could join us perhaps?" The Architect@anncarise | Lupan Alpha: "The Sisters will decide. If they will come, it will take time." Keelah@crystyll: "Understood. If there is nothing further then, we shall reconvene with the QanwI' and make haste to this facility" The Architect@anncarise | Solan nods, "Good luck, Captain." Keelah@crystyll: "And to all of you my friends" she gives a final nod and closes the comm
View Log Entry
Stardate 97736.4; We have been escorting Starfleet to a rendezvous at the Guardian's regional outpost while those from the ship who first tried to turn us away from the Zihil tournament briefed a joint squad on the enemy. I have to admit, seeing the Guardians intel on the Horde and their variants now, I am both impressed and dismayed at the same time. Impressed at the level of intelligence gathering, and detailed tactical distinctions between the Horde variants. Dismayed that despite having this level of intelligence for so many generations, the Guardians have not managed to destroy their enemy yet.
But I digress. We were still busy celebrating my victory at the Tournament of Unrivaled Blood (the closest to a Klingon translation there is, and nobody can prove otherwise so it's my word only that it really has such a glorious title!). *Ahem...* We were still celebrating when I was contacted by Keelah; apparently their briefing with the Guardians had revealed some surprising information and they needed us to investigate a particular breed of Horde thrall which had the potential to be evolved from Klingons. Naturally I jumped at the chance, knowing the Empire's limited exposure to this region of space and suspecting that - should there be any real association - it might stem from the lost expedition of Dronurr.
We were directed to a nearby scout ship where two recovered thralls were in service to the Guardians; thralls who were said to have been of this particular breed. Diverting immediately, we found the vessel and accompanied them on their regular mission while I boarded and met with their two people. Immediately it was obvious that they were of Klingon heritage, but equally obvious that they had no knowledge of this at all. I spoke with the pair at length and was able to gain access to their extremely fragmented historical records which correlated to their personal history. It confirmed that both served on the IKS Ya'Vang under Captain Klothos; a vessel which would have sat as a cornerstone of the expeditionary fleet. Subsequently this also confirmed my long running suspicion that the fleet - which left Klingon space around two centuries ago now - ultimately fell in glorious battle against the Horde. I am forwarding these findings back to the KDF (safe in the knowledge that I am well out of their reach for reprise against the standing falsehoods levelled against House Dronurr), so that the descendants of those crews may now celebrate the honorable life - and death - of their ancestors.
As for the Klingon Guardians; I believe they are too far removed from their culture to effectively reintegrate. However they are eager to share this missing link to their past with their fellow Klingons among the Guardians, and they share my hope that - in time - some, or perhaps their following generations, will take heed of their ancestry and rejoin their people. I should probably clarify here that with no local knowledge of the Klingon species, until our intervention they were believed to be descendants of a long extinct species. Until such time that we can afford the luxury of indulging them further, I have left them with complete library data on the Klingon Empire, species, and as much as I can ascertain about their own Houses & histories. This educational material will be shared among the other Klingon Guardians as part of the shared knowledge process. Though it is not the result we had hoped for, it is at least closing the book on the final chapter of that expedition - and what a chapter it was!