After returning to find Terminu decimated, all hope seems lost for the war effort. That is until an untimely arrival as the repercussions of their decision not to act come back to haunt them. While everyone else deals with faces from the future, Lendaria must deal with one from her past, and Emma finally gets to welcome Rianni home as she returns from her mission on the Terran vessel.
Keliaya@anncaris FX | The bridge of the Valley Forge is on red alert. The ship shakes as several Horde ships fly by the main viewscreen, opening fire. Return fire takes down one of the ships in a bright flash. Keliaya@anncaris | Vrolmacht: "Armour integrity at 70%!” Keliaya@anncaris | T'Quila: "The Colonial Fleet ships are safely away.” Keelah@crystyl:"Evasive action. Protect the weakened armour face and keep them at bay with PD barrage” Keliaya@anncaris | Fisher: "Aye Captain!” Keliaya@anncaris | Lennie: "Cap'n, there's still almost four million people on Vue-En…” Keliaya@anncaris:"It's now or never. We have to use the pulse on the Horde fleet while they're all here.” Keliaya@anncaris | T'Quila: "The QanwI'...it'll never survive the explosion, like the other Valley Forge.” Keelah@crystyl bites her clenched fist, "The needs of the many... fire the pulse” Keliaya@anncaris | Vrolmacht: "To take thousands of ships down with a single raptor- it is an honourable end any warrior will be proud of.” Keliaya@anncaris | The VF swoops around, revealing the full scale of the Horde fleet, moving like a single organic mass towards the planet, as if it were a colony of ants all swarming over a piece of food. Keliaya@anncaris | The ship shakes again as multiple beams, torpedoes, bolts and pulses emanate from the Horde fleet, the ship lighting up with PD shots and impacts. Keelah@crystyl:"Steady as she goes Mr. Fisher” Keliaya@anncaris | Vrolmacht: "Armour integrity dropping. 40%. 20%.” Keliaya@anncaris | Fisher: "We're almost in range…” Keliaya@anncaris | A few seconds later, VF moves into position, firing the pulse just as several beams strike the side of the ship, punching holes in the generated armour. Consoles explode across the bridge and - Keliaya@anncaris:- sparks fly from the ceiling as the Horde fleet stops and begins drifting. Keliaya@anncaris | Vrolmacht: "Armour is down! Hull breaches on Decks 4, 7 and 9!” Keliaya@anncaris | Lennie: "Pulse was successful!” Keelah@crystyl braces against the side of her chair, "Emergency bulkheads. Get DC teams on response to all sections” Keelah@crystyl:"Mr. Fisher, get us out of here” Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Dispatching DC teams now! Giving us all the power we have to engines as well!” Keliaya@anncaris | Fisher nods silently, focusing on his piloting as the VF pulls up and over the Horde fleet while Vue-En's sun goes supernova behind them. The blast begins catching up, frying Horde ships - Keliaya@anncaris:- behind them dramatically when the VF jumps to warp at the last minute, outrunning the massive wave of plasma. Keliaya@anncaris | Fisher: "We made it!” Keelah@crystyl slumps, drained and defeated, "We always do…” Keliaya@anncaris | T'Quila: "All those people on Vue-En…” Keliaya@anncaris | Lennie: "We did our best, Tee. The Coalition evacuated all tha' we can.” Keelah@crystyl stands wearily, "If any of you still hold any kind of spiritual belief, I suggest you pray for their souls... and ours..." as she trudges over to the turbolift Keliaya@anncaris FX | The console on Keelah's armrest sounds just as she gets up, with an incoming comm. Keelah@crystyl leans an arm on the headrest as she taps, "Bridge. Se'Lai” Keliaya@anncaris:<C - Kazra> "Keelah. I think you better get down here.” Keelah@crystyl sighs, "On my way..." tapping the comm panel and turning again to trudge out, even more defeatedly than before. Keelah@crystyl 's gaze drifts subconsciously over the spot of relatively clean wall where the ship's plaque hung, now dented and scorched on the floor at her feet as she passes by. Keliaya@anncaris | As Keelah enters sickbay, she is greeted by a despondent-looking Kazra Keelah@crystyl silently looks to her CM Keliaya@anncaris | Kazra looks further into sickbay just as silently, where Keelah sees T'Pia on a bed. However, it is not T'Pia as she is now, but the severely wounded T'Pia of the alternate future exactly as - Keliaya@anncaris:- Keelah had seen her, in the same bed at the same older age. Keelah@crystyl moves over, collapsing to her knees at the side of the bad where she tightly grasps TP's hand. Keliaya@anncaris | TP shifts and suddenly her eyes snap open, staring straight at Keelah. She speaks, but her voice isn't her own, echoing in Keelah's ears, "Do not worry, Keelah.” Keliaya@anncaris | Voice: "The mortal form is but a shell that can be shed. Our ascendance is at hand. Embrace it…” Keliaya@anncaris | She suddenly stirs awake... Keelah@crystyl sits bolt upright in her bed, looking around as the world comes into focus as she finds herself breathing heavily and covered in cold sweats. She draws the cover around herself and closes her eyes, + Keelah@crystyl focusing her mind meditatively to centre herself Keliaya@anncaris | Her quarters are dark and quiet, and no one disturbs her as she focuses. Keelah@crystyl sits quietly in meditation as she reconciles the overly vivid dream and it's reflection on her current state of mind for a few minutes Keliaya@anncaris | Minutes pass by, and she hears the door to the room slide open. Keelah@crystyl stands and heads out of her bedroom. Keliaya@anncaris | She finds TP outside, in the process of replicating something. She turns around quickly as Keelah steps out, "Sorry mum! Did I interrupt your meditation?” Keelah@crystyl doesn't respond, but walks straight over and pulls TP into a tight embrace Keliaya@anncaris | TP widens her eyes at the sudden hug before embracing back, "Um...is everything okay mum?” Keelah@crystyl pulls back after a moment, standing sharp and dusting herself down awkwardly, "It's... fine. I am simply glad to see you" she presents a motherly reassuring smile through her woes and cups a hand to + Keelah@crystyl + TP's cheek, "don't ever change. Not even a bit, my beautiful girl” Keliaya@anncaris | TP nods a little awkwardly before looking back up to Keelah, "Are you still meditating about the things that happened at Terminu?” Keelah@crystyl moves away a little, leaning back against the edge of a desk, "Yes. There is much about what transpired there which continues to weigh heavily on my conscience” Keliaya@anncaris | TP leans on the desk beside Keelah, "You've probably heard this a lot already, but...I think you made the right decision mum.” Keelah@crystyl nods, "I know. But I also know that the more extreme measures we justify to ourselves, the more easy they become to justify” Keliaya@anncaris | TP: "Hopefully you don't have to make many more decisions like this.” Keelah@crystyl:"I wish I could believe that Pia, but growing up among Humans I come to trust in their concept of a 'gut feeling'. And mine is telling me that this war - this fight for survival - is only just+ Keelah@crystyl:+ beginning…” Keelah@crystyl smiles suddenly, wrapping an arm around her daughter, "But enough of my somber woes. You may have some of my memories of being a Captain, but you don't need to add your own just yet” Keliaya@anncaris | TP smiles back, "Still, if there's anything I can do to help, just let me know!” Keelah@crystyl:"Just keep being you. That will be more than enough" she smiles again, kissing her on the head Keliaya@anncaris | TP nods again before saying, "Oh right, I was looking to see if you were sleeping. Kelly said we should be arriving at Waystation within the hour so I thought I would tell you if you were - Keliaya@anncaris:- still asleep. So you wouldn't have to get woken up roughly by the comms.” Keelah@crystyl chuckles, "Always looking out for me. Thank you sweetheart, I'll freshen up and head up to the bridge then” Keliaya@anncaris | TP smiles and steps back over to the replicator to replicate a drink for herself. Keelah@crystyl heads back to her bedroom to get changed before reporting for duty. --- Keelah@crystyl steps off the turbolift onto the bridge a while later. Keliaya@anncaris turns over to Keelah, "Captain. Pia summoned you here just as she said she would," she chuckles slightly. Keelah@crystyl smiles, "She makes a much more effective alarm clock than the computer” Keelah@crystyl joins Kelly at her station, "What is our current status?” Keliaya@anncaris:"We're about fifteen minutes out. Long-range sensors are picking up the majority of the Coalition waiting there already.” Keelah@crystyl turns back towards comms, "Any dialogue with them yet?” Keliaya@anncaris | TQ: "We've received greetings from a few of the ships, but no proper dialogue yet.” Keelah@crystyl strolls over and takes a relaxed seat in her chair, crossing one leg over as she leans back, "Good enough. As glad as they may be to see us, I am sure it is not as glad as we are to be seeing them” Keliaya@anncaris FX | The ship cruises towards the Waystation for a few more quiet minutes before TQ announces, "We're receiving a message from the Waystation itself, Captain.” Keelah@crystyl:"On screen” Keliaya@anncaris | TQ: "Actually...there's only audio.” Keelah@crystyl perks a brow, "Alright then... let's have it” Keliaya@anncaris | The message plays: "Vessel: Valley Forge. Arrival expected. Transportation coordinates sent. Meeting in 0.04 rotations.” Keliaya@anncaris | TQ: "And they've attached transporter coordinates to a location on the surface.” Keelah@crystyl smiles a little, "Nothing says 'welcome back' like a ruthlessly efficient Nuhar intelligence” Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "Maybe Mia can work on the Waystation's hospitality routine a little.” Keelah@crystyl smiles to herself, picturing the result of a Mia-esque Nuhar AI singing to approaching ships and obsessing over butterflies Keliaya@anncaris | Before long, the VF drops out of warp over Waystation. Numerous Coalition ships orbit around the planet and the VF flies closer to join them. Keliaya@anncaris | Fisher: "We're entering transporter range now, Captain.” Keelah@crystyl stands, "Very good. Vrolmacht, you have the bridge" --- Keliaya@anncaris FX | Keelah and a team from the VF beams down into a transporter room, where one of the Waystation's drones, smaller and non-combat capable unlike the standard Nuhar construct drones, hovers to - Keliaya@anncaris - greet them. Keelah@crystyl steps off the pad, looking to the drone Keliaya@anncaris | Drone: "Welcome to the Waystation, representatives of the Valley Forge. This unit will lead you to the meeting room.” Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you. Please, lead on” Keliaya@anncaris | The drone beeps and promptly turns, leading the way through the facility. Keliaya@anncaris | After traversing through a hallway, the group enters...not a meeting room as they expect, but a large, multi-tiered chamber within which people from all over the Coalition are assigned. There - Keliaya@anncaris - is a large outer ring at the same level as the hall they entered from, followed by layers of seating sloped downwards with four ramps dividing the seating into four sections. At the very - Keliaya@anncaris:- bottom is a presently empty circle. Keliaya@anncaris | The drone stops and turns to them, "The meeting will commence soon. Take your seats once the holoprojection is activated.” Keelah@crystyl heads to the nearest empty seats which presumably are those at the very bottom of the descent Keliaya@anncaris | As they make their way towards the seats, the large Rider Guardian-Commander Skormir steps over from the innermost circle, with two Guardian-Captains behind him. Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "So, you are the ones who destroyed the Terminu star and eliminated the Horde fleet?” Keelah@crystyl pauses midstep to look him up and down, "Yes, that is us” Keliaya@anncaris | The Guardian-Commander still towers over Keelah despite standing slightly lower on the ramp, "I am impressed. You are starting to think like a Guardian.” Keelah@crystyl dips her head, "I thank you for the complement, but in the end it was simply... the logical course of action” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "As are many of the things we Guardians do, given the context of the situation. But it is not always easy for outsiders such as you to see that sometimes, extraordinary measures are - Keliaya@anncaris:- what is necessary against an enemy as relentless as the Horde.” Keelah@crystyl:"Indeed” Keliaya@anncaris FX | A holoprojection of a three-dimensional sector map lights up in the centre of the room, turning the gazes of almost everyone in the room. Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "Ah, the meeting is about to begin.” Keliaya@anncaris | He nods to Keelah and heads off. Keelah@crystyl proceeds to take her seat after a parting nod in kind. Keliaya@anncaris | As they sit down, a holographic interface appears above each of their laps. It gives several options, most prominently to activate a speaker, to view the central holo's data closer on the - Keliaya@anncaris:- personal interface, and to download or upload data. Keliaya@anncaris | Around them, everyone else begins taking their seats. On one side, the seats fold into the floor and leave the cushions on top, allowing the Lupans to kneel atop them. In the front row of the - Keliaya@anncaris:- Lupan section, the five old females recognizable as the Elders are gathered, with several Sisters behind them and a number of male Alphas further up. Keliaya@anncaris | The Tel'darash Marshals and several select Commanders gather in another quarter, with the two Colonial Fleet Ship Commanders and Researcher's Guild representatives sharing the section. A third - Keliaya@anncaris:- section, where Skormir has gone off to sit, is filled entirely with Guardians, a diverse collection from various species, some of which Keelah has only just seen for the first time. Keliaya@anncaris | On the VF's side, the VF's senior staff, Lexi, and the usual representatives that gather for Coalition meetings from the VF are seated, along with four representatives from the Regulator ship. Keelah@crystyl takes in the surroundings, and more importantly the sight of those in attendance, and can't help but visualize the similarities to the UFP council chamber Keliaya@anncaris | In the centre of the room, holoprojections of the various avatars of Nuhar constructs begin appearing. The familiar Nuhar avatar of the Unwavering Defender speaks first, "We are all aware of - Keliaya@anncaris:- the purpose of this meeting. With the Horde fleet at Terminu destroyed, we must discuss the next course of action for this Coalition. First, let us hear from Keelah of the Valley Forge, for - Keliaya@anncaris:- without their success we would not be able to gather here. And I believe they have relevant information concerning the Horde that was obtained from Terminu.” Keelah@crystyl has a sudden flash of being thrown into a holosim of a Vulcan school as a child and asked to answer a million questions at once about a topic she hadn't studied for. Keelah@crystyl stands and activates the panel to speak, "Thank you Unwavering Defender" she looks about the room, "If any of you here are still in doubt as to the integrity of stories and rumours, let me say once+ Keelah@crystyl:+ and for all; it is true - we caused the Terminu star to supernova and wipe out that solar system in order to destroy the Horde fleet stationed there. But before anyone gets grand ideas of + Keelah@crystyl:+ defaulting to such extremes let me be clear that this was only even possible due to the culmination of many variables. Even then, we would not have made it out ourselves were it not for the QanwI',+ Keelah@crystyl:+ and above all... it was not an action without consequences..." she looks around again, "That said; we bring unconfirmed intelligence that this was not the main Horde fleet. We believe that a larger+ Keelah@crystyl:+ force is en route to Vue En right now; drawn through the world's natural camouflage by it's sheer volume of population. And we must /not/ let Vue En become another Terminu. In the words of one of Keelah@crystyl:+ Starfleet's most prolific leaders in both war and in peace; the line must be drawn /here/! This far... no further!” Keelah@crystyl casts a gaze across the room again to let her words sink in before calmly sitting back down Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir taps the panel and stands as well, "The Horde has always responded to defeat with a more powerful assault, and regardless of the accuracy of this information, another Horde fleet will - Keliaya@anncaris:- come in time. While we Guardians have not received word of this larger force, we lost contact with Commander Jarrtic's Chapter shortly before news of this fleet reached us from the Rangers. While - Keliaya@anncaris:- loss of contact is not unusual between Guardian Chapters, it is a distinct possibility that Jarrtic's Chapter has been wiped out and the region they are watching breached by this larger force.” Keelah@crystyl:"Commander. Can you show us the region in question?” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir nods and taps his interface. The holoprojection of the map updates and zooms out, highlighting a region not far beside the area Terminu was in. Keelah@crystyl looks up, checking against her intel from the future ship. Keliaya@anncaris | The intel from the future ship doesn't have an exact path for the second fleet, but a direct line through this region roughly corresponds with the angle they approached Colonial space from. It - Keliaya@anncaris:- would also pass through the region listed on the Nuhar's map as 'Felmoran Territory,' and according to the future ship intel a large number of Felmoran ships were counted among the Horde fleet. Keelah@crystyl nods, "This is consistent. If the timelines are accurate, our projections indicate this 'this' would be the optimum place for us to intercept the Horde fleet" she taps, making the central display + Keelah@crystyl:+ highlight the Felmoran Territory. If we can amass a suitable force here and enlist these Felmoran's to the cause... we may just be able to hold this fleet back” Keliaya@anncaris | Commander Rayya stands from among the Colonial Fleet/Researcher's Guild representatives, "Enlisting the Felmorans may be...difficult.” Keelah@crystyl:"Not too long ago, Captain; many would have said the same for us. But look around you now; Arshai, Guardian, Lupan, Nuhar, Regulators and more - all unified against the Horde in an unprecedented + Keelah@crystyl:+ alliance” Keliaya@anncaris | Rayya: "That is true. That is why Rayya said difficult, not impossible." Keliaya@anncaris | Ardent Watcher: "Captain Keelah has negotiated peace between the Free Thinkers and the Remnants. Perhaps she will be able to make allies of the Felmorans.” Keelah@crystyl:"We are ready and willing to do so, but would welcome any insight from our friends here who have prior knowledge of these Felmorans” Keliaya@anncaris | Commander Rayya gives a nod to an Arshai scientist beside her who stands and speaks, "The Felmorans are one of very few Children species capable of living longer than the a-Exoishai, or Lomren - Keliaya@anncaris:- as many here would say. Well, technically the a-Exoishai do not physically age, but the mental capacity of an a-Exoishai is limited and begins failing at around...five hundred or so stellar - Keliaya@anncaris:- cycles, thus forcing the being to submit to voluntary termination or devolve into a mindless-” Keliaya@anncaris | The scientist pauses as she gets a glance from Commander Rayya, "Right. Unlike the a-Exoishai, the Felmorans do age, but have extremely low metabolism, similar to an Arshai in cold weather but - Keliaya@anncaris:- much more extreme. As a result, the Irishai- that is the Arshai word for Felmorans, live for an extraordinarily long time, commonly around 700 cycles but there are reports of ones as old as 900 - Keliaya@anncaris:- cycles. The slow metabolism and cold habitat is why the Arshai distinguish the species with the name Irishai, meaning Ice People, similar to the term Ice Giants used by-” Keliaya@anncaris | The scientist stops rambling and sits down after another look from Commander Rayya. Keelah@crystyl:"We have heard them referred to as 'Ice Giants'" she nods, "What of the society itself? It's culture? Has anyone here had dealings with them in recent years, for better or worse?" Keliaya@anncaris | Rayya: "Not in recent cycles, but the Arshai warred with the Felmorans far before Rayya's time. This was the only war that the New World has not won. The Irishai are exceedingly traditional, - Keliaya@anncaris:- and the Irishai biology, primarily the long lifespan, is believed to be the reason for such slow cultural change. There are Irishai living today who remember when the species first invented the - Keliaya@anncaris:- warp drive. The Irishai civilization is still ruled by noble families, with kings and queens at the top.” Keelah@crystyl:"Kings and Queens - plural? So there is no central authority for the Territory?” Keliaya@anncaris | Rayya: "There is a High King or High Queen with a central fleet, but the Irishai have three colonies and the homeworld of Czostak. Each colony has a ruler, and Czostak has four.” Keliaya@anncaris | Rayya: "Each kingdom also has a fleet and often there are skirmishes between the kingdoms, though the High Ruler has done well preventing all-out war from erupting. The central fleet is not as - Keliaya@anncaris:- large as the Colonial fleet, but with all the kingdoms fighting as one, the Irishai field an impressive force.” Keelah@crystyl:"And with what we know of their biology, there can be no uncertainty for anyone here that we can not let this civilization be absorbed into the Horde” Keelah@crystyl:"Were they to progress as far as Vue En with Ice Giant thralls would be devastating” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "I have faced Felmorans before, both in single combat and in skirmishes. They are as large and strong as my own people, and made for challenging opponents even in the prime of my life.” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "They are not quite a Horde Behemoth, but certainly more dangerous and physically powerful than most other thralls.” Keelah@crystyl:"And with their population, the Horde would have significantly more of them than the Behemoths" she nods Keelah@crystyl:"Very well, we shall proceed to make contact and seek an alliance. If anyone has anything more to offer, it can be sent to the Valley Forge” Keliaya@anncaris | Lupan Elder: "Some of our packs have trade with them, and many have fought with them in the past. We can provide you more information, especially should this Coalition need to deal with them - Keliaya@anncaris:- as thralls. But we will certainly do well to prevent that from happening to begin with.” Keelah@crystyl nods over to the Elder in gratitude, "Every piece of information may be of use to us, thank you” Keliaya@anncaris | Solan: "It seems our path forward is clear. We will rally all our allies and attempt to stop the Horde before they can take Felmoran space.” Keelah@crystyl:"What is the situation here with those recovered from Terminu?” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "There is another possibility we must consider. It may be too late to outfit the Felmoran ships with defenses, but the number of ships kept by their kings and petty lords should be - Keliaya@anncaris:- sufficient to evacuate the population from Felmoran territory.” Keliaya@anncaris | Arshai Scientist: "All thralls have either been sedated or already freed from the Horde prior to transport to the Waystation, so the Horde will not know of this location. Recovery goes well; - Keliaya@anncaris:- the re-education programs based on clone nurturing programs are proving very effective at shaping the former thralls into functional people." Keelah@crystyl:"That sounds a little more positive. And how are our people doing in all of this? The Coalition fleet has been through great trials in a short time, after all. That must have an effect on people too” Keliaya@anncaris | Oska: "The Horde managed to launch an attack on the Mothership during the evacuation, but fortunately we were able to prevent them from causing too much damage. We are still undergoing repairs - Keliaya@anncaris:- here at the Waystation and have taken some casualties, but we were all ready for the risks when we came here to confront the Horde.” Keliaya@anncaris | Lupan Elder: "We have not fought a foe as numerous and dangerous as the Horde before, but the Lupan people are strong. We were made to be strong.” Keelah@crystyl:"If there is anything we can do to assist with your repairs, do let me know" she smiles before turning to the Elder, "It would seem your people are finding their true calling, your people's strength Keelah@crystyl:+ is undeniable as the backbone of the Coalitions defensive strategy” Keliaya@anncaris | Lupan Elder: "If the information provided by the Nuhar here are correct, then we were made for this fight. We will not fail you." Keelah@crystyl nods, not wanting to get drawn into another Lupan origin mythology debate, "Commander Skormir; has there been any update from the Ranger force we left holding the Iconian arms facility?" Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir nods, "They report that the area is still clear of Horde vessels, and the Horde does not seem to have replenished their numbers in the region after the formation of the recent fleet. - Keliaya@anncaris:- The Rangers are collecting the weapons being produced and salvaging as much of the base as they can.” Keliaya@anncaris | Lupan Elder: "There is one other thing the Coalition may be interested in…” Keelah@crystyl:"Whilst not the objective we hoped to find there, it is certainly a boon to our war strategy. We have already successfully repurposed some of their probes with great effect" she turns her attention + Keelah@crystyl:+ to the Elder” Keliaya@anncaris | Lupan Elder: "Several Lupan packs have spoken to us of sightings of the Ghost-Hunter and its crew- the vessel similar to your Star-Blade that assisted us before the Battle of the Holy City, - Keliaya@anncaris:- and disappeared during the fighting. Some firsthand encounters, others hearsay and rumours.” Keelah@crystyl:"This is certainly of interest, but if the reports are not immediately pertinent to the Coalition at large, might I suggest we discuss it outside of this meeting? We do not wish to tie up everyone + Keelah@crystyl:+ with trivial affairs after all” Keliaya@anncaris | Lupan Elder: "Of course. We will provide you with what we have alongside the information we possess on the Felmorans." --- Keliaya@anncaris FX | Following the conclusion of the meeting, most of the Coalition members have left their seats, some returning to their respective ships while others speak amongst each other on smaller - Keliaya@anncaris:- matters and details not worth bringing up in front of the entire Coalition. Keelah@crystyl makes a beeline for the Lupan Elder who spoke of the Terran starship, assuming nobody grabs her along the way. Keliaya@anncaris | The Lupan Elder is discussing something with a second Elder and a younger Sister, and the three turn to Keelah as she approaches. Keelah@crystyl approaches, waiting for a moment to interject without disrupting their conversation. Keliaya@anncaris | The three pause their conversation, and the Elder from earlier speaks, "I presume you are here for our information?” Keelah@crystyl:"I was hoping we could discuss your sightings of the 'Ghost Hunter' vessel in more detail. This a matter of personal interest for me” Keliaya@anncaris | Elder: "As I would imagine. The Ghost-Hunter served the Sisterhood well, but now that they have gone their own ways, they are of no concern to us. You may do with them as you please.” Keelah@crystyl:"You mentioned before that there have been further sightings of the vessel?” Keliaya@anncaris | The Elder motions to the younger Sister, who hands her an oversized PADD made for a Lupan hand. The Elder glances at the PADD briefly before extending it towards Keelah, "Yes. Here are all the - Keliaya@anncaris:- accounts we received of it. Not many are of the vessel itself, understandably due to its stealth capabilities, but there some direct sightings, and rumours of those wearing clothes matching the - Keliaya@anncaris:- description of their uniforms. We have analyzed this data and its validity and determined the sector they are operating in, and their most likely current or potential future destinations.” Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Thank you. I'm certain this information will prove most useful in tracking them down” Keliaya@anncaris | Elder: "I wish you luck. They are excellent hunters and no easy prey. We do not approve of some of their more devious ways, but they have earned the respect of many packs, just as you have.” Keelah@crystyl:"I have no interest in hunting them. They stay out of my way, and I leave them be. I simply want back something which they have in their possession. Something that belongs on my ship” Keliaya@anncaris | Elder: "I see. I may issue an edict for the packs not to challenge the Ghost-Hunter, if you do not wish to risk it coming to any harm before you can recover what you seek.” Keliaya@anncaris | Elder: "Though I suspect many will fail should they make an enemy of the Ghost-Hunter regardless.” Keelah@crystyl:"That would be most appreciated and, yes... she is a hunter of particular cunning” Keliaya@anncaris | Elder: "We will tell the packs to leave them alone for the time being. Not all will follow the edict, as the Sisterhood's reach is limited, but those who seek a fight with them will get more - Keliaya@anncaris:- than they bargained for.” Keelah@crystyl:"Are many of the more ferocious packs falling into line with you now, since the revelations of your origins to come about since we pulled the Architect from the Holy City?” Keliaya@anncaris | Elder: "It is a...complicated time. Some among the more devout packs were willing to accept our word as truth, but others still cling to the old ways. A number of packs we had less influence - Keliaya@anncaris:- over in the past were more accepting of the revelations and now work closely with us, while some continue to live without purpose nor guidance.” Keelah@crystyl:"Perhaps more will be drawn to your side simply by the prospect of hunting prey as formidable as the Horde, once it becomes a reality for them” Keliaya@anncaris | Elder: "We hope so. Some have already joined us, not out of faith but to fight the Horde, either for the stories they have heard of the Coalition, or because the recent advances had affected - Keliaya@anncaris:- their usual roaming areas. We will reach out to packs in other regions. Even if they would not join, perhaps they have more information on this second fleet you spoke of.” Keelah@crystyl:"There is no denying that you have your work cut out for you, but seeing how far you've come already in such a short time; I know that if anyone is capable of bringing the Lupan to unity again, it is+ Keelah@crystyl:+ yourselves" Keliaya@anncaris | Elder: "We have faith. It is what the Sisterhood was founded on, and though it has not always led us right, we will not let it shatter our faith in ourselves. Else, how can we give it to the - Keliaya@anncaris:- rest of the Lupan?” Keelah@crystyl:"Indeed" she smiles Keliaya@anncaris | The Elder makes...what seems like a smile from all Keelah has seen of the Lupan so far, though it hardly resembles what one would call a smile, before looking around, "I believe someone else - Keliaya@anncaris:- is seeking audience with one of us.” Keelah@crystyl dips her head, "I have already kept you far too long. Thank you again for the information" she raises the PADD - comically oversized in her hand. Keliaya@anncaris | The Elder dips her head in return as Commander Skormir and Captain Daian approach. Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "Captain Keelah. So, you will go ahead and seek an audience with the Felmorans?” Keelah@crystyl turns to Skormir with a nod, "That is the plan” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "I have spoken to Commander Rayya. As of three days ago, a Colonial Fleet patrol reported that the Felmoran worlds were still held by the Felmoran with no sign of any Horde presence - Keliaya@anncaris:- in the region. We still have time. However, the Horde is known to influence members of a civilization to throw them into chaos prior to the arrival of the main fleet. You have already seen this - Keliaya@anncaris:- with the Arshai.” Keelah@crystyl:"Indeed. We will have to try and earn sufficient trust with the Felmoran's for them to allow us to investigate” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "I understand your diplomatic skills are considered to be quite legendary among the Coalition, and your people did well from the accounts I have heard of the situation at the - Keliaya@anncaris:- New World. However, we Guardians have significant experience in dealing with Anarchists and convincing worlds of the threat posed by the Horde. I recommend that Captain Daian and her Guardians go - Keliaya@anncaris:- with you on this task. You have worked together in the past, and unlike with the Zihil, the Felmorans do not have a negative impression of our organization.” Keelah@crystyl smiles and nods, "We of course welcome any and all assistance. And I'm glad you raise the topic of the Anarchists - you know, we had a couple of run-in's of our own with them recently” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "I was informed by some of my Captains that the Anarchists were disrupting our guerilla strikes on the Horde fleet headed to Terminu. One of them reported that your vessel checked - Keliaya@anncaris:- in on them.” Keelah@crystyl:"Interestingly; we found that this particular anarchist group were all under Horde influence. When cleared of it, they had a very distinct change of heart” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "Most of them are refugees or members of civilizations to be taken who do not know they have fallen under the influence of the Horde. We free them where we can, but we are not always - Keliaya@anncaris:- given the option when battle erupts.” Keelah@crystyl:"Understandable. In this case, they were using a smaller vessel to play 'victim' and lure ships in under the claim of needing aid for their refugee fleet” Keelah@crystyl:"The fact that Horde influenced anarchists are at the point of posing as refugees to disrupt allies forces is... dangerous” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir nods, "And it is far from an isolated incident. We Guardians are used to acting with caution, and we have warned the other members of this Coalition. I hope they will - Keliaya@anncaris:- not take our words lightly and be wary of danger at every corner.” Keelah@crystyl:"Agreed. But the flipside of that is that people become to untrusting and end up denying aid to those genuinely in need” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "It is a problem we have also witnessed. Unfortunately, the Guardians do not have the numbers to check every group of refugees fleeing from the Horde, but we do our best to reveal and - Keliaya@anncaris:- free the Anarchists from influence.” Keelah@crystyl:"Well, it was a valuable lesson for us. I'm glad we were able to recover them” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir: "As are we. I am sure our experience with the Anarchists will be useful for further encounters. I and the other Guardians will remain with the bulk of the Coalition to prepare for the - Keliaya@anncaris:- battle ahead, while Captain Daian's vessel will follow you to Czostak.” Keelah@crystyl nods, "We will not dally here. Just a few hours to fully restore our power reserves, and we'll be ready to depart” Keliaya@anncaris | Daian nods, "We'll await you in orbit. Just let us know when you're ready and we'll be right behind you.” Keelah@crystyl nods, "We shall do so, now I'm sure I've you kept you long enough already. Thank you again, both” Keliaya@anncaris | Skormir turns and heads off, while Daian adds, "And you, Captain Keelah. Most of us Guardians are those who have nothing more to lose and seek to prevent others from what we have suffered at - Keliaya@anncaris:- the hands of the Horde. Not many are willing to do so much to stand against them with us, as you have.” Keelah@crystyl:"We simply seek to preserve that which we hold most dear. Conflict is not our way, but nobody on my crew could stand idly by and watch a threat like the Horde encroach on our homes and our families” Keliaya@anncaris | Daian: "If only others saw things that way, maybe the Horde would've already been stopped. Too many think it's not their problem, or to let their enemies fall to the Horde for the sake of - Keliaya@anncaris:- political grudges. We'll see how amenable the Felmorans will be.” Keelah@crystyl:"And pray fortune continues to favor us in this endeavour" she smiles. Keliaya@anncaris | Daian: "Indeed." She nods and smiles back before heading off as well. Keelah@crystyl turns to her party with a deep exhale, "I'd almost forgotten what it can be like at gatherings such as this” Keliaya@anncaris:"I think we all have. It's been a while, but we've done well with all these allies to support us against the Horde.” Keliaya@anncaris:"It'll take a little under a month to reach the edge of Felmoran territory at the optimal speed to travel such a distance. We have a long trip ahead, and I don't think there's anywhere as nice as - Keliaya@anncaris:- the Waystation along the way. I only need a few of my teams working to restore power; maybe we can give the rest some brief time off while we're here. The crew haven't had a proper break since we - Keliaya@anncaris:- were last here.” Keelah@crystyl:"Agreed. How long do you require to have the ship back her optimum?” Keliaya@anncaris:"At least one shift, but two would be better. We might be able to work faster with the Nuhar's help, but I was also hoping to ask the Nuhar to have a look at the new drones we received.” Keelah@crystyl:"Alright, two shifts. We'll aim to depart in 24 hours and enlist the Nuhar's assistance with the new drones” Keelah@crystyl:"Meanwhile, let's open the ship up to shore leave outside of critical preparation duties” Keliaya@anncaris nods, "24 hours'll definitely be enough. I'll get to work right away, Captain." Keelah@crystyl looks around, "Now, where are those Nuhar projections hiding…” Keliaya@anncaris heads off and a second later, the projection of an Iconian herald appears where she was standing before, towering over Keelah. Keliaya@anncaris | Projection: "We are still patched in and listening.” Keelah@crystyl looks up, attempting to mask her surprise at the sudden appearance, "Well now, that is... convenient” Keliaya@anncaris | Projection: "We are willing to assist you, though curious on this matter of 'new' drones.” Keelah@crystyl:"Perhaps it would be most efficient to explain if you join me on the Valley Forge” Keliaya@anncaris | Projection: "We will dispatch drones to communicate with you there." Keelah@crystyl:"Excellent, I will return and await your arrival then" --- Keliaya@anncaris FX | Soon after on the Valley Forge, Emma is called to the Engineering office... Emma Ralde@crystyl chimes the doorbell. Keliaya@anncaris calls out, "Come in!” Emma Ralde@crystyl steps in, "Commander, what can I do for you?” Keliaya@anncaris sets down a PADD and smiles, "Actually, this time I'm not calling upon your considerable experience and knowledge, if you can believe it. Feel free to sit down if you like.” Emma Ralde@crystyl takes up the offer and settles, "Not sure what else I have to offer..." she chuckles Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "I was hoping to offer you something. You've had a difficult time lately, with Rianni still out there and your past coming back to you on that Regulator ship.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Oh...?” Keliaya@anncaris:"We're not staying at the Waystation for long this time, but it was built for people coming and going from the Horde front to get some R&R, and you've been through more than most of late. And in - Keliaya@anncaris:- general, though from what we've heard of these Felmorans we're going to see, you might have competition there," she adds with another chuckle. Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Felmorans... that's the Ice Giants, right?” Keliaya@anncaris:"That's the ones. I keep forgetting you've been in this region longer than us, and probably know more of the locals.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Not so well as to be able to offer anything useful. Mostly just the usual spacefarers wild stories” Keliaya@anncaris:"Apparently they have very long lifespans. But I didn't call you here hoping to learn what you know about them- there's plenty in the Coalition who have that information.” Keliaya@anncaris:"I was thinking you should take some time off while we're here, relax on the Waystation a little.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I... well, I guess it couldn't hurt. Not like I can do that much to make a difference across the whole team anyway” Keliaya@anncaris smiles, "Your wealth of knowledge and experience is always great to have around, but restoring power levels is a fairly simple task. We want everyone at their best for what's to come, and you've - Keliaya@anncaris:- deserved a break. I wish we could give you more time, but unfortunately we're on a race to get to the Felmorans before the Horde do.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I get, don't worry. I'll be sure to get myself some fresh air” Keliaya@anncaris takes another PADD and slides it over to her, "Here's the information we obtained on the Waystation's many facilities on our last visit, if you want a guidebook. Not all of them are fitting for - Keliaya@anncaris:- every species, but there's a few that proved especially popular with the Orions last time.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Hopefully those are the more mature of my kin and not those who conform to the galactic stereotype that goes with green skin. I'm not sure I'm in the mood for that..." she chuckles Keliaya@anncaris laughs, "I don't think the Waystation provides these services anyways. They do have some very nice suites, but the facilities I've heard about from other Orions aren't that kind of facility.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Well, I'll be sure to check them out then" she holds the PADD up with a determined smile as she stands, "If there was nothing further...?” Keliaya@anncaris nods, "That's all. And do enjoy your fresh air, Ensign," she adds with a smile. Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I'm sure I will, thank you Commander" she nods and turns, making her way back out. --- Keelah@crystyl returns to the ship and makes her way to the hangar where the drones are now residing. NPC@annpc#557 | The Iconian Herald hologram of the Enduring Watcher appears in front of her as she enters, "Captain Keelah. The Courageous Responder is awaiting permission to transport a drone on board.” Keelah@crystyl smiles lightly, more ready for the enigmatic holo appearance this time, "Granted" NPC@annpc#557 | A few seconds later, a modified Nuhar drone transports into the hangar and turns to examine the room. Keelah@crystyl:"My thanks to you both for lending us your expertise here. We find ourselves wading deeply in unknown territory here…” NPC@annpc#557 | Drone: "I am Courageous Responder. There has not been an active Foundry AI for many centuries now, but I have repurposed my Responder databanks to serve as the closest thing we possess. It was - NPC@annpc#557:- decided that I was the most fitting construct to examine these new drones by both the Remnants and the Free Thinkers.” Keelah@crystyl:"Of course. Well, they are all waiting here. The smaller drones are - we believe - not dissimilar to those we are already familiar with, like your current avatar and Relay who resides here with us” Keelah@crystyl looks over towards the vast bay door and the line of larger units parked there, "These however, are something entirely new and unknown to us" NPC@annpc#557 | The drone hovers over, circling around the smaller ones, "You are correct. They are of standard design, and the modifications are far from unprecedented. Many of us, including myself, have - NPC@annpc#557:- taken to altering our drones to be better suited for particular tasks and situations.” Keelah@crystyl:"We understand that these particular drones have been refined specifically to service this vessel as they would a parent construct ordinarily” NPC@annpc#557 | Drone: "Analyzing. Yes, I can see how their modifications would complement this vessel. How has this come to be? Were they created by a dying construct to aid you?” Keelah@crystyl:"In truth, we are not entirely certain on their origin. Only how they came to reside with us” NPC@annpc#557 | Drone: "Interesting." It hovers over to the larger ones. "And these?” Keelah@crystyl:"The same regarding origin. Though we believe them to be more of an amalgamation between our technology and yours, or at least in terms of purpose. They appear comparable to our Eon interceptor+ Keelah@crystyl:+ craft" she gestures to it over on one side, "and we believe these units are intended to operate similarly - and as a squadron with Eon.” NPC@annpc#557 | The Enduring Watcher's projection turns to the larger drones as well, "I may have slumbered long, but while modifications are common, I believe there has been no new designs since the fading - NPC@annpc#557:- of our Creators, only modifications.” Keelah@crystyl:"And your belief remains true, my friend. There has not been any new design... yet.” NPC@annpc#557 | Courageous Responder: "There has been one, though it has been accounted for, and can be argued to be a radical modification rather than a truly new design," the drone turns back to Keelah. "But we - NPC@annpc#557:- have only encountered your civilization recently. How is it that we have already produced this hybrid design?” Keelah@crystyl:"We haven't. But we will, or we did... um..." rubs her brow, "That is to say... we would have. I think…” Keelah@crystyl grumbles, "I hate temporal tenses…” NPC@annpc#557 | Enduring Watcher: "Temporal tenses?” Keelah@crystyl:"These drones are from an alternate future. One which has now been rewritten. They are - for all intents and purposes - evidence of a past future. One which is no longer guaranteed to occur again” NPC@annpc#557 | Courageous Responder: "Interesting. That would explain how the amalgamation came to be. My database only contains a rudimentary understanding of temporal mechanics, but that is not relevant. - NPC@annpc#557:- The drones are already here, and continue to exist despite the alteration. Thus, they now exist and are part of our universe.” Keelah@crystyl:"True. For all intents and purposes, this makes their origin an enigma. They are indeed a part of our present time period now, which is why I requested your aid in understanding them” NPC@annpc#557 } Courageous Responder: "This does present potential for how the constructs could evolve in this universe, however. I would like to examine and understand them as much as you.” Keelah@crystyl:"We welcome your assistance. I trust the source who delivered them to us, but knowing so little about your kind I am reluctant to throw them into any kind of active service without better + Keelah@crystyl:+ understanding them first” NPC@annpc#557 | Courageous Responder: "I am likely the most qualified among existing constructs to understand such intricacies. I will begin an in-depth analysis and notify you of all findings.” Keelah@crystyl:"I will be most interested in your findings. Though I appreciate it may slow you down, I would like Mia and Relay to work with you” NPC@annpc#557 | Courageous Responder: "Having the assistance of another drone will only be beneficial. Is this Mia a part of your crew?” Keelah@crystyl:"Oh, I forget not everyone is familiar with her - she does get around" she chuckles. "Mia is an evolved AI from our crew and the one who first learned how to communicate with the Nuhar” Keelah@crystyl:"She also has prior experience of serving as controller for a collection of Nuhar drones, so she will likely be involved in any long term implementations here” NPC@annpc#557 | Courageous Responder: "That one. I have heard of her, though I have not had the chance to meet with her yet. Her knowledge of both Nuhar constructs and your technology will prove helpful. We - NPC@annpc#557:- are not as familiar with your creations as one of your own.” Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Excellent. Then it should be a fruitful partnership” NPC@annpc#557 | Courageous Responder: "I expect so. I look forward to learning more of these drones. Thank you for the opportunity, Captain Keelah.” Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you - both of you - for your continued support. Now, if you will excuse me I must see to my crew” NPC@annpc#557 | The drone turns back to the larger drones, circling around and beginning its scans. --- NPC@annpc#557 | Emma beams down to a fancy resort. Near to the entrance, there is a club where a number of other Orions seem to be gathered, some from the VF and others from the Colonial Fleet ships, along - NPC@annpc#557 - with a few members of other species and even an unsuited Regulator. Emma Ralde@crystyl looks around with a slight defeated sigh, "It does look pretty neat I guess…” Emma Ralde@crystyl wanders inside and finds her way over to the bar. NPC@annpc#557 | The bar appears to be completely automated, and an interface appears on the counter for Emma to choose from as she approaches. Emma Ralde@crystyl browses the most popular beverages ordered. NPC@annpc#557 | Though many of the drinks are completely alien to her, she finds that someone has added recipes for a few familiar ones, including Orion wine and several New World drinks which appear pretty popular. Emma Ralde@crystyl takes the chance for a welcome variety and orders a common Arshai drink she used to enjoy on the New World. Emma Ralde@crystyl has surprisingly had her fill of Orion beverages since rejoining a Starfleet vessel. Go figure... NPC@annpc#557 | The drink materializes directly on the counter as Emma selects it. Emma Ralde@crystyl takes it and has a sip as she turns slightly to lean on the counter and take in the sights. Much as doesn't want to admit it, it does feel nice to be in a lively mixed crowd again. NPC@annpc#557 | A Orion dressed in a Colonial Fleet uniform, though without the distinct wristcomp worn by Colonial Fleet personnel, steps up beside the counter, "Hello. Emma, right?" Emma Ralde@crystyl looks the sudden Orion up and down briefly, "Hey... You're not from the ship. New World, Colonial Fleet right?” NPC@annpc#557 | The Orion smiles and nods, "I'm Shira. We've met briefly on the New World. Didn't think I'd see you here. You're not with us...which means the ship you mentioned must be the Starfleet one?” Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles and nods, "Yeah, I found my way back to Starfleet after they turned up there” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "That would explain it. It's good to have more representation in Starfleet. What made you come to the New World to begin with, though?” Emma Ralde@crystyl chuckles, "That's... kind of a long story” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "I can imagine. Starfleet's a pretty comfortable place, isn't it? People don't usually leave unless they're retiring or something.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yeah, I did all that. This's my, um... third stint back with them? Or was it the fourth…” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira widens her eyes, "Third or fourth? I thought when you said back, this would be your second... Emma Ralde@crystyl smirks, "Yeah, don't let my looks fool you. I got more years than the whole Tabadi's Circle” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "Really? That...would certainly be a long story, yes.” Emma Ralde@crystyl sips, "Told you! But yeah, Starfleet's comfortable and all. Great for a while, but every so often it got a little too comfortable, you know? First time I left I ran with the OSN for a while. Second + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ time, I came out here with the Orion resettlement to Vue En. Huh, guess that makes this my third Starfleet tour then!” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "Still a lot more than I thought! I know we age well compared to most people, but three tours? You hardly look old enough for once!” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"It's my own special charm" she smiles. NPC@annpc#557 | Shira smiles back, "Must be quite special. I wish I could age as well as you.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Trust me, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Anyway, Shira was it? How's things in the Colonial Fleet now?” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "Well, it's...we've all been slightly on edge since the Supreme Commander returned with her news of the Horde. Not in a chaotic way, though, not exactly. Everyone knows a big battle is - NPC@annpc#557:- coming. We're doing our best to prepare for it, but it's a tense time.” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "You guys were at Terminu I take it?” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira nods back, "We were, but it was just two ships- two Colonial Fleet ships at least, and two of those Researcher ships. The bulk of the fleet is still making preparations back at Vue-En.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yeah, things are pretty messed up now ain't they. But we got this!” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "I hope so. I hear your ship destroyed the entire system and stopped the fleet. I wasn't even sure the entire Colonial Fleet could stop that many Horde ships.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"There were fortunate circumstances that made it possible. It's not like the ship has some super weapon that can just be fired at will to make a star go supernova” Emma Ralde@crystyl chuckle-snorts as she sips, "Like some... 'star destroyer' or something” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira chuckles, "Something like that is probably possible, you know. It just wouldn't be very practical. Normally people don't want to completely destroy the things they're fighting over, not - NPC@annpc#557:- to mention that the cost of building a super weapon like that probably isn't worth the uses you'll get out of it anyways. You could probably build a fleet large enough to take star systems - NPC@annpc#557:- conventionally with the resources you'd spend, /and/ get some resources back from what you conquered instead of turning it to space dust.” NPC@annpc#557 | As Shira speaks, Emma notices someone familiar entering the club, who looks suspiciously like a certain Tabadi... Emma Ralde@crystyl squints a little as her gaze drifts to the newcomer. NPC@annpc#557 | Shira notices Emma's gaze and looks in the same direction briefly, then back to Emma, "See someone you know?” Emma Ralde@crystyl shakes her head idly, "I thought... but no, that's impossible…” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira looks over again, "What's impossible?” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods over towards the arrival, "Ever seen her around before?” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira looks closely for a moment before nodding, "I believe she's an infiltration specialist on the other Colonial Fleet ship that came with us. The Swiftjaw. If I'm thinking of the right - NPC@annpc#557:- Orion. I don't know her personally, but I've seen her around.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Seriously? I mean, that brand's pretty unmistakable and all. But... seriously?” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira gives Emma a confused look, having not seen the real Mysti before, "What do you mean?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"You really don't know your history, do you? Tabadi Mysti - the face of freedom - Matriarch of the freed people!” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "I've heard of her, but...are you sure? What would she be doing here?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"There's a reason that brand is so recognizable. Many of our sisters in the OSN see it as a mark of freedom against oppression; a symbol of the turning tide against the Syndicate and our return + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ the days of being able to hold our heads high again. But... I heard she was martyred…” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "Even if that was wrong, shouldn't she be with the OSN? I mean, the New World did make nice with them recently, but I would've heard if any Tabadis came here. The whole Orion District - NPC@annpc#557:- would've talked about it!” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yeah, and word would've reached us on the ship too. This needs investigating! You coming?” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira nods, "Let's go check it out.” Emma Ralde@crystyl heads over. NPC@annpc#557 | Shira follows Emma over as well to where Mysti and Raven are seated. Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Mysti?" she ventures almost more as a statement than a question Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti turns, looking Emma up and down, "Something I can do for you?” NPC@annpc#557 | Raven looks up curiously as Mysti's name is called as well, while Shira studies Mysti closely. NPC@annpc#557 | Shira comments quietly to Emma, "Well, she responds to the name…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"But... how? Last I heard you were commanding the OSN's flagship. Oh yeah, and you died fighting the Syndicate on the old homeworld!” Emma Ralde@crystyl doesn't beat around the bush it seems. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti seems a little taken aback at first by the brash comment but quickly forms a knowing smile, "You know your way around current events, ...?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Emma” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "Emma, right. And who's your quiet friend?" NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "Shira. If the rumours are true, and you're with us now…" Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "I have always been a faithful servant of the Colonial Fleet" NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "So you definitely didn't take your death to come here or anything," she looks to Raven, then to Mysti and then Emma, "And the Ravens are one of the clone models we have…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Because you're not that same Mysti..." she finally twigs, "I've only ever encountered clones of the mass bred combat variants. I wasn't aware the Supreme Commander had taken to bringing back dead + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ Tabadi's…” Emma Ralde@crystyl turns briefly to Raven, "No offense of course. Infiltrator Ravens are among the most formidable I know, feisty too. But you get the point” NPC@annpc#557 | Raven smiles and nods, "Thank you. And most clones like myself are not based on a single template, but carefully designed. With a few exceptions, like the Supreme Commander's daughter.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Right!" she looks back to Mysti, "So let me guess... you were bred for some covert ops thing against the OSN, but then the Supreme Commander made peace with them so you had to find a new purpose?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti shrugs, "That may be more accurate for Mysti-1. I'm Mysti-2, and I've never even been near the OSN” Emma Ralde@crystyl pinches the bridge of her nose, "Goddess... what a mess…” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "I had no idea either…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"You still don't...." she sighs. NPC@annpc#557 | Shira turns to Emma, "What do you mean?” Emma Ralde@crystyl mockingly, "'Go down to the Waystation', 'get some R&R', 'it'll be relaxing'... pfft!" Emma Ralde@crystyl leans in, pointing at Mysti's branded cheek, "This! You remember what this is, right?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti goes a little cross-eyed as she watches the accusing finger pointing at her branded cheek, albeit slightly amused by the odd behaving little Orion in front of her NPC@annpc#557 | Raven: "I...don't think she does. She had the same education program as most infiltrators, I believe.” Emma Ralde@crystyl turns back to Shira, "This brand that is the symbol of freedom to so many.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Do you know it's origin - any of you?” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "It was...originally a slave marking, wasn't it?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yes, a brand of ownership by a Syndicate cell. The one brought down the original Mysti in the first of the uprisings.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"A brand that I have seen but once before; on the face of Mysti's daughter…” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "She has a daughter?” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "Yes, a daughter who is a science officer in Starfleet, aboard our very ship!” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti shrugs, going back to her drink, "Well she's not my daughter, so I really don't see what any of this h-” Emma Ralde@crystyl cuts her off, leaning in and grabbing her chin tightly to force her gaze, "A daughter who could just as easily walk in here any moment and see the face of her dead mother sat here sipping wine + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ without a care in the world! Maybe /that/ would be a bigger concern to you!” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "That...would definitely be problematic." She looks back to Mysti, "Maybe it would be best for you to stay on the ship for now.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti grunts and scowls at the rough handling, batting Emma's hand away, "What do you want from me?! It's not like I chose this face!” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti turns to Shira, "So what? You expect me to just hide away and not enjoy the same privileges my comrades do just because I share a face with someone?” Emma Ralde@crystyl sighs, relaxing some and pulling back, "No... I don't know. But we can't just ignore this…” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "A fair point, actually." She turns to Emma, unsure of what to do. "Should we...tell her about it? Or just try to keep Mysti's daughter away from here?” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "It doesn't feel right, keeping this from her. But we all have a lot on our minds already.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"No... that'd only make her suspicious. I think she at least has to know that this Mysti exists, if only to be prepared for such an encounter” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "And you know her daughter, right? As you're on the same ship.” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "She is a good friend, yes” NPC@annpc#557 | Shira: "It might be best for you to tell her this, then. Sorry if this puts a wrench in your R&R plans…” Emma Ralde@crystyl looks to Mysti, "If we tell her and she asks to see you…” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti eyerolls, "I'm not about to start playing mother to a lost pup” Emma Ralde@crystyl scowls, muttering, "You are definitely /not/ the Tabadi I remember…” Emma Ralde@crystyl speaks up, "But if she does, would you please consent?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti sighs, "I'll consider it” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Thank you" she drops a comm on the table before turning to leave, "Expect to hear from me" Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti looks back to Raven after they leave, "Guess I need to do some research on my template and this daughter…” NPC@annpc#557 | Raven nods, "That was...unexpected. I'll ask the Commander to provide you with all we have." Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti nods, her gaze drifting back towards Emma as she sips, "And on this 'Emma' person. She seemed familiar with the template, I want to know how exactly" --- Emma Ralde@crystyl FX | Some time after the encounter at the Waystation, and a little soul searching, Emma heads over to Lennie & Ann's quarters. Chiming the door as she arrives. Ann Carter@anncaris calls out, "C'mon in!" Emma Ralde@crystyl enters, looking around, "Hi Ann. No Lennie?” Ann Carter@anncaris sets down a PADD and stands, "Oh, hey Emma! Ya lookin' for Lennie? Computer probably directed ya in here, right?” Emma Ralde@crystyl rubs the back of her neck, "Yeah, I need to speak to her. But honestly, her not being here yet isn't a bad thing either…” Ann Carter@anncaris:"She juuust stepped out to grab somethin' from the lab. Probably took the lift just before yours! Wha's this about? Doesn't look like you got good news…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I'm not rightly sure what news it is. But... you've known the Commander a lot longer than I have, I... could use your advise” Ann Carter@anncaris motions to the couch as she steps back over, "Tha' doesn't sound ominous at all…” Emma Ralde@crystyl takes a seat, "I don't think it's all that bad. But it's... sensitive, and I'm hoping your insight might help me get a handle on things before she gets back” Ann Carter@anncaris nods, "So...wha' is it?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I assume you know who her mother is? Ann Carter@anncaris:"Yeah. I met her before, too. This got somethin' to do with the OSN?” Emma Ralde@crystyl shakes her head, "No, it's about her mother... Lennie lost her some years back, right?” Ann Carter@anncaris nods, "Back when the Scryer folks kidnapped her an' Kelly an' gave 'em over to the Syndicate. She helped us rescue 'em, but stayed behind an' we couldn't beam her out in time.” Emma Ralde@crystyl blinkblinks, "Wait... she died saving Lennie from a kidnapping?!" lets out a weary sigh, "Goddess... that does not help” Ann Carter@anncaris narrows her eyes, "Wha'd ya mean? Did you learn somethin' new 'bout her?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I just shared a drink with her down on the Waystation…” Ann Carter@anncaris:"You mean she's still alive? How?” Emma Ralde@crystyl shakes her head, "Not exactly. This was one of the Arshai's Orion clones. Apparently based on the late Tabadi.” Ann Carter@anncaris:"They made clones o' her? Why'd they do tha'? How'd they even manage it?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I don't know. But if I had to guess, I'd say the Supreme Commander sourced her DNA somehow and intended to use them for subterfuge back when she was at odds with the OSN” Ann Carter@anncaris nods, "I suppose tha' makes sense. Though...I guess they treat their clones as people an' not tools, so they might've made 'em for somethin' else but won't get rid o' 'em if their original - Ann Carter@anncaris:- purpose's gone. Still, tha's gonna be weird, havin' a clone o' her mother around…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yeah, the whole time I was there I was terrified that she'd walk in and see her!” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"But... well, you see why I'm uncertain what to do. I don't want to cause her any hurt by giving this news but also don't want to leave her to find out by chance” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"What do I do...?” Ann Carter@anncaris:"These Colonial ships are gonna be workin' with us, an' she might not run into her at the Waystation, but she might find out somewhere else. I think we gotta tell her.” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "I thought so too, hence coming here. But it was bad enough just knowing she was gone, let alone how it happened.” Ann Carter@anncaris:"Yeah...but still better for her to find out from us than runnin' into the clone herself.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I guess you're right. I just hope-...” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie steps in, carrying an armful of PADD's, "Hey Sweets, sorry tha' took longer th- oh, hi Emma!" Emma Ralde@crystyl waves, "Hi Lennie” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie smiles, dumping the PADD's on the table and shuffling them back into order, "Don't let me interrupt y'all!” Ann Carter@anncaris:"Hey vijra. So. umm...Emma was actually lookin' for ya…” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie turns fully to them, "Oh? 'Sup?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Why don't you come and join us?" she suggests, trying to present a not-suspcious smile. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie: "Um... ok..." she cautiously approaches and sits, keeping her eyes on Emma, "Wha's this all 'bout?” Ann Carter@anncaris:"So, well..." she glances to Emma, "Ya want me to tell her, or?” Emma Ralde@crystyl glances to Ann with a slight nod. Ann Carter@anncaris:"Uhh I'll just..." she sighs slightly, "I'll just go ahead an' say it. Apparently the Colonial Fleet's got a clone o' your mother around.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie doubletakes, "They- wha? Colonial Fleet? Clones? ...wha?” Ann Carter@anncaris:"Yeah...Emma says she just ran into a clone o' her.” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "It's true. I came across her down on the Waystation. She was with the Colonial Fleet Orions, and explained it - as best she could at least” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie slumps back in the chair, staring into nothing in front of her, "Momma...?” Ann Carter@anncaris looks to Emma again, "Does she actually have her memories too, or?” Emma Ralde@crystyl shakes her head, "Not that she let on at least. But nothing would surprise me - she was with a Raven, and they are top infiltrators” Emma Ralde@crystyl looks to Lennie then back to Ann with a concerned expression, "I... maybe I should leave you guys to it…” Ann Carter@anncaris:"You were the one tha' actually met her..." she looks to Lennie a little concerned as well. "Do...ya wanna be alone, or?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie looks up in a daze, "Hm?" catching on she turns to Emma with a slight smile, "Hey, no. Don't worry! Please... ya don't gotta go. I... appreciate ya comin' an' tellin' me, is jus'... a lil' + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ much t'absorb, y'know.” Emma Ralde@crystyl sagenods, "I understand. For what it's worth, I'm sorry to lay this on you. I just... didn't want you to find out by chance like I did” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie nods and smiles, "I'd much rather get a shock from family than by chance” Ann Carter@anncaris smiles back, "Thought we'd better tell ya, just in case ya run into her. Plus, doesn't feel right keepin' somethin' this important from ya anyways.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie, "This clone really looked like momma?” Emma Ralde@crystyl gives a faint smile and nods, "Very much so. Of course, I don't know exactly how she looked later on - with the OSN and all - but it was unmistakable” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie tilts her head a little, "Ya knew momma then?” Ann Carter@anncaris looks to Emma curiously as well. Emma Ralde@crystyl gives a warmer smile this time, "We met once" she nods, "She must have been more your age then; back when the first inklings of fighting back against the Syndicate's oppression first started up.” Ann Carter@anncaris:"Tha's a long time ago. Ya didn't know her as an OSN Tabadi, though?” Emma Ralde@crystyl shakes her head, "No, I'm almost ashamed to admit it; but after seeing Syndicate domination for so long I did not put enough stock in the OSN's reformation. Sure, I helped them out - planted the + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ seeds of ideas and all. But once they got running on their own, I left them to it and came out to Vue En to help our people there.” Ann Carter@anncaris nods, "An' tha's how ya ended up here…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Exactly!” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie smiles thoughtfully, "That must've been somethin'. I'm-a kinda jealous in a way; ya knew momma in her prime, somethin' I never did…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"It was a big time for all of us." she smiles, "I don't know if this is something you want to hear or not; but you're a lot like her now” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie gives a teary smile, "I'se been told…” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie, "Maybe now's not th'time, Emma. But... maybe, some time ya could tell me 'bout momma then. It'd be nice t'know.” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "Any time. But for now... are you going to be ok with this news?” Ann Carter@anncaris wraps an arm around Lennie gently, "An' do ya wanna meet this clone, or...make sure you two never meet?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie nods confidently, dabbing her eyes, "Yeah, o'course! I mean, it's not like this clone /is/ momma or anythin'. Jus' lookin' like her is all. It... might be good t'meet her, even if just + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ t'get th'awkwardness outta th'way. I don't know…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"You are exactly right; she is a different person with the same face. I think that if you chose to pursue that, she would be willing. I can contact her if you wish it, or leave you guys the comm" Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie shakes her head, "Nah, you keep it! S'bad enough t'be even considerin' this meet. I ain't goin' down tha' road o'organizin' it too!” Ann Carter@anncaris:"Should probably get it set up now though, while we're all here at the Waystation." Emma Ralde@crystyl chuckles, standing, "Alright. Well you just let me know if need me, for anything. Ok?" Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie stands as well, hugging Emma, "Thank'ya Ruri" Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles uncomfortably at the familial term but nods as she steps away and heads out, "We're here for you Lennie. Ann" she waves as she heads out. Ann Carter@anncaris stands and waves back to Emma. --- NPC@annpc#557 | Raven steps into the bunk room, looking around for Mysti. Lorri@crystyl is sat at a workstation to one side. NPC@annpc#557 | Raven steps over to Mysti, giving her a nod of greetings, "Mysti. I spoke to Commander Rayya about your...encounter at the Waystation. She's getting all the information she can on your - NPC@annpc#557 - template and her daughter now.” Lorri@crystyl glances back over her shoulder, "She's not the only one" she points to the screen where she has some basic info on Lennie Lorri@crystyl:"One good thing about Starfleet; they are so open and forthcoming with their public records" she grins cheekily. NPC@annpc#557 | Raven smirks, "Good work. I guess the Ravens that worked against Starfleet had it easy…” Lorri@crystyl:"Certainly a lot easier than getting info from someone like the Regulators. Check it out Rae-" she points again to the screen, "-she really does have my mark too!” NPC@annpc#557 | Raven leans in, "Interesting. This was a slave brand, wasn't it? I wonder if she was a slave as well, or adopted it to honour her mother?” Lorri@crystyl:"Good question. All I got here is a service record, not much on the personal side” NPC@annpc#557 | Raven: "Maybe the Commander will be able to dig up more.” Lorri@crystyl leans back, "Well, at least that young girl at the bar wasn't totally crazy. I guess there's that.” NPC@annpc#557 | Raven chuckles, "There's that. Well- “ NPC@annpc#557 | Mysti's wristcomp flashes with a message. Lorri@crystyl raises it to view NPC@annpc#557 | INSTRUCTION: Proceed to Commander's office. NPC@annpc#557 | Raven checks her own, "Looks like the Commander just wants you.” Lorri@crystyl:"It would seem the Commander works fast. At least I hope that's what this is about.” Lorri@crystyl stands, "Wish me luck then, I guess!" she chuckles, heading out. NPC@annpc#557 | Raven: "Good luck!" Lorri@crystyl chimes the ready room door on arrival. NPC@annpc#557 | The door slides open automatically as she chimes. Inside stands Commander Rayya, but not facing Mysti and awaiting her as usual when called for a mission. Instead, she stands facing a - NPC@annpc#557 - low quality holoprojection, which despite the slightly off colouration and occasional flickering, is identifiable immediately as Supreme Commander Vora. She stops whatever she was in the - NPC@annpc#557:- middle of saying as her gaze sets on Mysti, "Looks like she's here now. Come in.” Lorri@crystyl steps in, waiting formally at a polite distance, "Commander. Supreme Commander? I did not intend to intrude, do you wish me to return at another time?” NPC@annpc#557 | Rayya: "Not at all. The Supreme Commander was waiting for this one to arrive.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora nods, "Mysti-Two, right?” Lorri@crystyl steps over to join them properly, "Yes, Supreme Commander. That is me” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Commander Rayya tells me you encountered someone who recognized your template on the Waystation?” Lorri@crystyl nods, "Yes, an Orion girl from the Starfleet ship. She claimed to be an acquiantance of the template's daughter who is also - apparently - on this ship” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "She's right. You weren't supposed to be anywhere near that ship.” NPC@annpc#557 | Rayya: "Rayya humbly apologizes for this-” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora holds up a hand, "I'm still looking into how in the void this happened, but you're not at fault here, Commander.” Lorri@crystyl looks between the two, "I hope I have not caused trouble for anyone in this…” NPC@annpc#557 | Rayya nods and remains silent while Vora turns her attention back to Mysti, "It's not your fault either. We kept information on a need-to-know basis for the Mysti models in case information - NPC@annpc#557:- got leaked. Unfortunately, this meant most of the fleet wasn't aware of our plans for your deployment either. Someone must have assigned you to the Swiftjaw as an infiltrator during one of the - NPC@annpc#557:- times when I was away, someone who probably also didn't know who your template was. I assume you don't, either?” Lorri@crystyl:"In no specific detail. I was not imprinted with memory, but have been acutely aware that I was born from a specific template. As opposed to those seen more frequently about the fleet like the Ravens” Lorri@crystyl:"And I understand the need for withholding information, particularly when it comes to such a - relatively - high profile template. I must confess, Supreme Commander, I am surprised still to see this + Lorri@crystyl:+ matter warranting your personal attention. Is there something more to this situation that I am not currently aware of, but should be?” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Only that I may have ordered a hit or two on the Tabadi's daughter back when we were still at conflict with the OSN, so our relationship is...uneasy at best. If we don't handle this well, - NPC@annpc#557:- it could affect our alliance with the OSN, or with Starfleet.” Lorri@crystyl nods, "I understand, Supreme Commander. It is fair to presume she has already been informed of the encounter. How do you wish us to proceed?" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Commander Rayya informs me that Raven was asking for information on the Tabadi and her daughter for you?” Lorri@crystyl nods, "Standard operating procedures for any operation; gather intelligence on targets. This may not be a fleet operation, but I still felt inclined to prepare as best as I can should I be called to+ Lorri@crystyl:+ face this daughter” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora smiles, "I like the way you think. You're not planning to actually try and be as close to the original Mysti as you can, I hope?” Lorri@crystyl shakes her head, "I have a full time job here, Supreme Commander. I have no interest in inheriting a daughter” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Good. I'm sending the Swiftjaw everything we have on the two. Study the information closely, but be yourself when you speak to her.” Lorri@crystyl dips her head, "Of course. Do you have any specific objectives for me to attain from any interactions with the daughter?” Lorri@crystyl:"Besides... not adopting her, or letting her adopt me.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora chuckles, "If she wants to meet with you, choose a place with a projector and active comms. I'll stand by- if she starts asking questions about your model and its purpose, it might be - NPC@annpc#557:- better if she hears it from me. Other than that, well...speak of your template with respect, but don't try to be her. Make it clear to her that you're someone different, but not someone who - NPC@annpc#557:- disrespects the memory of the original. Almost like a daughter of the Tabadi yourself.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Which in some ways, I suppose you are, since my own daughter is an exact clone of me.” Lorri@crystyl hrms, "I had not thought about it like that... thank you, Supreme Commander I will keep that in mind” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Do you know she wasn't raised by her mother? Lendaria, that is.” Lorri@crystyl shakes her head, "So far I have only gained access to her public service record with Starfleet.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "She was raised by Starfleet officers on the ship that rescued her. That's how she came to be in Starfleet in the first place. She didn't even find out she was the Tabadi's daughter - NPC@annpc#557:- until fairly recently. In that way, you have something in common.” Lorri@crystyl:"Rescued? Sounds like quite the story. Are you able to provide more detailed access to aid in this research? On either target.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I've got some more information in the files I'm sending you. We bought a significant amount of information from the Scryer Network on them back during the conflict. If you search up the - NPC@annpc#557:- names of the others involved like Lieutenant Commander Denton, her adoptive mother, there might be more on that story in the Starfleet files as well.” Lorri@crystyl:"I shall endeavour to do so. And if she calls for a meeting, I will designate a suitable location on the Waystation to accommodate your intervention” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Good. And one more thing- who was the one that recognized you?” Lorri@crystyl shakes her head, "I'm not sure. She was a young girl, very Starfleet but also too familiar with the Colonial Fleet to not have been involved there. Called herself Emma.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Emma. Emma...the name does sound familiar. What makes you think she was familiar with us?” Lorri@crystyl:"She recognized the Raven I was with; understood Raven's nature as a clone infiltrator. But it's more than that, I can't put my finger on it but she... feels like the Orions do from Vue En.” Lorri@crystyl:"If I found Lendaria's service file, I'm sure I can find hers as well if she is a point of interest. There can't be that many Orions called Emma serving on that ship.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Indeed. I'll see what we have in our files and send anything I find to the Swiftjaw.” Lorri@crystyl:"Perhaps she is former Colonial but signed up with Starfleet when they first arrived at the colony? I know a number of resident Orions did so at the time. But I again find myself surprised if she was+ Lorri@crystyl:+ of high enough profile to be in your recollections. Goddess, she doesn't even look old enough to have served sufficient time to have gained such a position” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora nods, "To have been a former Colonial and in Starfleet, and recognizing Mysti on top of that. She could've seen holos of the original Mysti with Starfleet, but she likely wouldn't be - NPC@annpc#557:- familiar enough with her from a few holos to recognize you. Which would suggest she's stayed near Orion territories before. That's a lot of travel for a young Orion.” Lorri@crystyl:"It sounds almost like she's a potential security risk. Something more than she seems to be - an enemy infiltrator perhaps?” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "It's possible. I'll have her looked into closely. Thank you for bringing her to my attention, even if it wasn't entirely intentional," she chuckles slightly. Lorri@crystyl smiles, "Sometimes the best leaps in intelligence come not from what we seek, but what do not yet know we seek” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Wise words. Well, now that we know what we seek, it should be easier. I'll leave you to reading up on the Tabadi and her daughter. I have my own Orion to look into now.” Lorri@crystyl:"Of course, thank you for the assistance and words of advice Supreme Commander" she dips her head once more in parting. NPC@annpc#557 | Vora dips her head in return before the hologram flickers out. --- Ann Carter@anncaris | Lennie, Ann and Emma beam down to another of the structures on the Waystation, making their way through glass halls providing pictureque views as they ultimately enter a fancy room surrounded - Ann Carter@anncaris - by glass walls looking out to a great canyon beyond. As the doors slide open, Mysti-2 can be seen waiting inside... Emma Ralde@crystyl hangs back, taking lead from Lennie. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie looks to the figure, slowly approaching and looking her up and down. Even circling around her with her silent and forced scientific assessment. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti watches her, content to indulge at this point. Ann Carter@anncaris hangs back as well, looking to Lennie with slight concern as she observes the clone. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie completes her circling and settles in front of Mysti, "So…” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti, "So.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie, "Goddess, y'even sound like her…” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "But I am not her.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie nods, stepping back a little, "I... I know. I apologize, this ain't somethin' ya signed up for I know, an' I do appreciate ya comin' ere.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "Though to what end, I am not yet certain. What did you hope to gain from this meeting?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie sighs, "I dunno... I guess, I just had t'see for mahself, y'know?” Ann Carter@anncaris steps forward slightly, "Y'alright, Lennie?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti nods, "I can imagine" looking to Ann, "And who is your pink skinned friend?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie turns with a smile, welcoming Ann to her side with an open arm, "Mah vijra!” Ann Carter@anncaris smiles and steps over, giving Mysti a nod, "Ya really are an exact clone. I don't know the original as well as Lennie, but ya look exactly the same…” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti chuckles, "Wouldn't be much of a clone if I didn't” Ann Carter@anncaris chuckles, "I guess not. Still, odd to see ya lookin' exactly like her. Must be even odder for Lennie..." she glances beside her to Lennie. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie does seem a little out of sorts as she nods. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "I don't know if it helps at all, but in a sense that is as real to me as yours is to you; she was also my mother.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"A long lost sibling could be more... comfortable to come to terms with. As a concept at least" she offers, stepping a little close.” Ann Carter@anncaris:"Though, y'already got a long lost sibling…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"You do?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie turns to Emma with a smile, "T'Quila!” Ann Carter@anncaris turns to Emma as well, "Tee's got the same father as Lennie, but she's not related to Mysti.” Emma Ralde@crystyl doubletakes, "No way! Is there /anyone/ you're not linked to somehow?!" she teases. Ann Carter@anncaris chuckles, "Pretty sure you aren't her sister…” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Even I'm having doubts at this point..." shakes her head, still catching up with all the family affairs. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie smiles and looks back to Mysti, "Tha' maybe so. But... ya could be right. I still ain't sure wha' I even expected t'get outta this. Answers maybe?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "What answers?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie: "Y'know like... why ya even exist wit' momma's face, do you just got her face, or her memory too? Whatcha know 'bout her?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "Well, I do not possess her memories; that was never my purpose. I really don't know much at all about her.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie: "But don't all you clones get made for a reason? An' they must've given ya momma's face for a damned good one!” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie's emotions clearly bubbling up more at this point. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti raises a hand, "I... know you want - need - these answers, but that is not my place. Fortunately, I have someone else here who may be better positioned for that.” Emma Ralde@crystyl looks around, confused. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie also looks around, "Um... ya do?" Ann Carter@anncaris FX | A hologram begins to form from the feet up, revealing a Colonial Fleet uniform, and then the familiar face of Supreme Commander Vora. The projection is fairly low quality, being largely - Ann Carter@anncaris:- transparent, with colours shifted off slightly and flickering near-constantly, "I can answer that for you." Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie's face turns increasingly sour as the projection comes into view, "You…” Emma Ralde@crystyl looks from the holo to Lennie, surprised enough to see the Supreme Commander involved in such a personal affair, then moreso to see Lennie's reaction to her. Ann Carter@anncaris | Vora: "Who else do you think has the authorization to commission exact clones?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie hisses back, "And turn up here to gloat? To rub mah nose in it wit' more torment o'mah family even after momma's gone?!” Emma Ralde@crystyl winces at Lennie's tone Ann Carter@anncaris | Vora: "Torment was never the intention. I think you of all people would agree that Tabadi Mysti died at a very unfortunate time. There was so much more she could have done. I would bring your - Ann Carter@anncaris:- mother back if I could, but sadly that is beyond my power. However, I could bring the legendary liberator of the Orion people back.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"So that is why you made the Mysti's? To replace the Commander's mother as a sort of... figurehead?” Ann Carter@anncaris | Vora: "Figurehead implies I seek to lead through her. I created the Mystis for psychological warfare. A ghost story, if you will. Someone to continue inspiring slaves to fight back, and to - Ann Carter@anncaris:- strike fear and chaos into what remains of the Syndicate. The models were never meant to make contact with the OSN, or you, Commander Lendaria.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie spits back, "Lies!” Emma Ralde@crystyl reaches for her, "Commander…” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie tugs her arm away from Emma, stomping a step closer to Vora's holo, "If tha' were true, then ya'd only have looked t'make 'em /after/ momma died. But ya already had her DNA else ya could + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ never have done it! Even now, when we'se all meant t'be friends and makin' good on this mess o'yours. Even now, y'can't just be honest, can ya?” Ann Carter@anncaris | Vora: "It's true, I obtained her DNA before she died. The plan then was to use it to steal the Thana Vaneri. I /did/ steal the Thana, briefly. My objective was never to kill and replace - Ann Carter@anncaris:- Tabadi Mysti, or kidnap and replace her. I'm not the Dominion.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie thrusts outwards with a hand in frustration, "I'se-a knew it!" turning away in a huff. Ann Carter@anncaris | Vora: "I was in conflict with the OSN, yes, but that was because Emeria betrayed me, and I had no idea she kept the rest of the Circle in the dark about it. But if I wanted to get rid of - Ann Carter@anncaris:- anyone on the Circle, I would have done it. I had a Raven collect Mysti's DNA, for the sole purpose of a plan to quickly gain control of the Thana. If I wanted Mysti dead, I would not be making - Ann Carter@anncaris:- clones now to continue her legend. I know you don't approve of my methods, and you probably never will. But I assure you, I made the Mystis to torment the Syndicate and only them.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I can certainly think of worse objectives..." she half mutters Ann Carter@anncaris | Vora: "Just think about it. What would I get out of alienating you or the OSN now?” Emma Ralde@crystyl recoils from a death stare from Lennie. Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie huffs and grumble. Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Commander, maybe... this a lot to digest, would you perhaps like to get some fresh air?” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Lennie slumps and sighs, "Yeah..." glancing over her shoulder to Vora's holo, "It's gettin' a bit stuffy in 'ere..." and heads straight out. Ann Carter@anncaris quickly follows Lennie out. Emma Ralde@crystyl turns, watching, then looks back to Mysti and Vora, "Well... I guess we should call this a brief recess?" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora looks over to Emma, "Actually, I wanted to talk to you as well.” Emma Ralde@crystyl turns, "Me? You sure? I'm really not close to this at all, just happened to be the one who recognized her brand is all" she defends, pointing to Mysti. NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "And that's what interests me." The projection steps closer to Emma, "I can barely find any records of you, but you were certainly on the New World, as Mysti-Two correctly guessed.” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "Of course, that's how I came to be here in the first place.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "You might have seen holos of her, but to recognize her as you did suggests you also stayed in Orion territories. Possibly grew up there. And now, I'm no expert on Starfleet, but I - NPC@annpc#557:- believe you're wearing an officer's uniform. Normally, specialists who sign up without going through the Academy would have a different uniform, wouldn't they?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Enlisted personnel, yes. However, I was granted a field commission based on my prior academy training. As a young girl I signed up there, but found I did not get on with the restrictive lifestyle at Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ the time. So I washed out and joined my brethren heading out to the excitement of the New World. It was a long colony voyage, and well... people talk, tell stories - you know what we're like.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"More than a fair share of those settlers talked of the 'matriarch of freedom', 'liberator of the people'. Some even bore her brand as homage. One does not easily forget that, especially when I ended+ Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ up serving alongside her daughter who also wears the brand, so it was naturally recognizeable” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora examines Emma more closely, "And you came to the New World, stayed for a while, and then joined back with Starfleet? You have so much experience for one who seems so young.” Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles proudly, "The same could be said for many of my generation who have found their way to your shared home with the Arshai. And yes, after all that I signed back on with Starfleet as many of my+ Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ brothers and sisters did. I may not have chosen a life in the Colonial Fleet, but when the Starfleet ship came and news spread not only of this threat to our new home, but a beacon of hope for our + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ people back in the homeland; I had to explore the possibilities" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora smiles, "You tell a good story, Emma. If that's even your name. Maybe some of it is true. Maybe all of it is true. But you're probably omitting a detail or two, aren't you? See, my - NPC@annpc#557:- records have you arriving almost a cycle ago. A /Vue-En/ cycle, which means two or three decades in most galactic dates." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"...huh, go figure” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "You certainly aren't half-Arshai like me. So...who or what exactly are you?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Like I said, I'm Emma. Emma Ralde. No half-anything, just a plain and simple Orion girl who - apparently - has a habit of drawing unwarranted attention.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I grew up with many full Orions. Watched plenty grow up. Orions might look good at older ages than a lot of others, but if you came from Starfleet Academy to Vue-En twenty or so years - NPC@annpc#557:- ago, you're probably forty years old, or more. Orions your age don't look /this/ young." Emma Ralde@crystyl gives a little nonchalant shrug, "Maybe I discovered the fountain of youth. Maybe I'm a clone, or an android, or one of any number of seemingly miraculous things which fill this galaxy..." she takes+ Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ a step closer, focused on Vora's expression, "The bigger enigma here is why exactly you are so fixated on this…” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Because you're the one who brought the existance of Mysti-Two to Commander Lendaria's attention. Maybe you're good friends with her, and thought she deserved to know. Or maybe you're - NPC@annpc#557:- doing it to cause a rift between allies in the Coalition, or the New World and the OSN." She raises a hand to prevent Emma from replying after a brief pause, "Yes, I know I'm the one who made the - NPC@annpc#557:- clones. If anything happens, it's on me and I'm willing to bear the consequence of it. But that doesn't change the fact that you might be stirring things up on purpose, and you've lived on Vue-En - NPC@annpc#557:- for around twenty years. Which makes you a potential threat to the planet I'm responsible for protecting.” Emma Ralde@crystyl 's eyes grow impatiently narrow the more she listens to, "I /love/ my people, Supreme Commander, and I take exception to any accusation to the contrary.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I'm not accusing you of anything yet. I'm just laying out a very real possibility I have to consider. I've made the New World a safe haven for misfits and outcasts of all kinds. You - NPC@annpc#557:- could very easily be benevolent, but I need to make sure. I don't care if you're a Changeling or a demi-god or whatever else lies in wait in the void. I don't even care if you're an android.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "But I need to know that you haven't compromised Vue-En.” Emma Ralde@crystyl folds her arms, considering Vora thoughtfully for a long moment, "Emeria was right about you; a ruthlessness met only by your righteousness and love for your people” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "So you know Emeria as well. Do you know the whole Tabadi's Circle?” Emma Ralde@crystyl shrugs, "Some of the newer faces are less known to me, but in essence yes; I know them, and I knew them before they formed the Circle.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "So you're definitely over forty years old. That's a start. You came to us twenty or so years ago. The Federation hadn't lifted their ban on synthetics yet, but there were plenty of - NPC@annpc#557:- other places for an android to go without hiding in yet another place where they weren't welcome, so that can't be it.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Are you going to keep me guessing?” Emma Ralde@crystyl smirks, "It is rather entertaining, I'll admit. But... if it will put you out of your torment…” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I'll ask you again then...who exactly /are/ you?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I did not lie to you before; my name is - and always has been - Emma Ralde, and I am a pure and simple Orion. But I am indeed more than forty years old, by a couple of centuries. Maybe longer, it's + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ kind of hard to track after a while..." NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "And you're not a clone? You've always been the same Emma Ralde?” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "Correct. Please don't ask me for a scientific explanation because if I had that, I'd have had a way to restore my mortal condition a long time ago.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Whatever the science behind it; I am what I am, and cannot change that. So, I periodically move from one life to another. Generally following and helping my people where I can, that is why I first + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ came to Vue En; I had tried to help the OSN get back to that which I remembered, but at the time I lacked confidence in them. The prospects of the New World Colony shared with the Arshai felt like + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ a better chance to help remind my kin of who they used to be... of who they really are.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora smiles, "That's better. An unusual story, but we have many of those on Vue-En. Does Keelah know about who you are?” Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "She knows everything.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Then you wouldn't mind if I confirmed this with her? Not that I don't trust your word, but it's always good to cross-check your information when you can.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I can call her right now if it will make you feel better.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora nods, "It saves me having to contact her myself later.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Very well" she taps her combadge, "Ralde to Valley Forge.” Emma Ralde@crystyl <C-TQ> Hi Emma, what's up? Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C> Tee, please patch me through to the Captain on a secure channel Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C-TQ> O...kay. Stand by... Emma Ralde@crystyl holds a confident and... more mature gaze on Vora as she waits a moment NPC@annpc#557 | Vora crosses her arms and waits patiently. Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C-Keelah> Ensign. Is everything alright down there? Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C> Captain, my apologies for the interruption, but I am here with the Supreme Commander. Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C-Keelah> Vora? Emma Ralde@crystyl gestures an open palm, inviting Vora to ask her question. NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Captain Keelah. I hope I am not disturbing anything?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C-Keelah> Not at all, Vora. It is always a welcome surprise to hear from you, though I was not aware of your presence at the Waystation; I would have expected to see you at the Coalition debrief. NPC@annpc#557 | Vora chuckles, "I'm actually connected to you through two layers of comms. I'm not physically at the Waystation, just calling in through the impressive Nuhar communications systems, which has -” NPC@annpc#557:- the range to pick up signals from our nearest Colonial relay. Anyways, your Ensign here has told me a most interesting story. Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C-Keelah> Has she now... Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C> Apologies Captain, but it would appear that my time spent living on Vue En has caught up with m NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "She claims to have lived for over a century, or perhaps even centuries. Is this true?" Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C-Keelah> It is true, Vora. Emma was the unfortunate victim of an unstable experiment failure in the early 23rd century. Whatever happened back then, caused a fundamental change in her biology which+ Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ prevents her cells from completing a natural cycle; in essence instead of ageing as each cell in her body completes its cycle, it resets. A crude explanation, I know. But even now we know little + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ of the technology which caused this to happen to her. Since that time, she has been under the protection of Starfleet Intelligence, who have entrusted this knowledge to me. And now I to you. NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I should've figured. Your Starfleet's the only other people in the galaxy who runs experiments as crazy as the Doshaie's. Don't worry Captain, I know how to keep a secret.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C-Keelah> Your discretion is appreciated Vora. Regardless of any past differences, I believe that you respect personal boundaries, and recognize their place outside of diplomatic affairs. NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "She's not the only resident- or former resident, as it may be, of Vue-En who has a story that shouldn't be shared. It's safe with me.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:<C> Thank you Captain, we shall not take any more of your time. Ralde out. Emma Ralde@crystyl looks back to Vora, "I trust that satisfies your reservations.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora nods, "Sorry for putting you on the spot. I had to make sure.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I understand. Trust me, it's not the first time I've been through this conversation, and I'm sure it won't be the last.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I can imagine. So what, you're effectively immortal?” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"In the sense I do not age, yes. In the sense that I can not die, no. I can suffer injuries - fatal as well - just the same as anyone.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Still, I bet it makes a lot of people envious.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yeah... folks always things it's enviable at first. But this is no blessing, it's a damned curse.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Living forever without ever aging has its downsides, doesn't it? Probably won't stop some people from trying to attain it, though." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Of course not, and maybe some methods are more amenable. But this... condition... you heard the Captain; it affects my whole biology, everything down to my hormones. So while I may gain experience + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ of years, the maturity that goes with it does not follow. I have no biological cycle, so I can never bear children. Not that I would want to seeing how any relationship I let myself fall into is + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ doomed to repeat the same pattern of watching my loved ones grow old and die in suffering" shakes her head, "This is why I invested in my people, because it is the only way I can nurture and love + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ as is our way" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora smiles, "And we are glad to have one with your knowledge and experience helping us. I don't know exactly what role you played in the rebuilding of the OSN and the Orion community on - NPC@annpc#557 - Vue-En, but whatever it is, thank you. You are welcome on Vue-En anytime, and if you do wish to have biological offspring at any point for any reason, we may be able to create one for you - NPC@annpc#557:- using our methods. You won't carry it biologically, but the Arshai of the New World have stopped doing that for many generations and are getting on perfectly fine.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"A kind offer, Supreme Commander. And perhaps one day I'll feel inclined to take you up on it” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I understand why you wouldn't want to, but if you ever change your mind in the years or centuries to come, you know where to go." Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti chimes in, "And they called me- my template, I mean - the matriarch of our people" she looks to Emma, "This was you, wasn't it?" showing something on her wristcomp. Emma Ralde@crystyl looks to Mysti. Emma Ralde@crystyl:"At this stage, I'd guess... probably, yes. What exactly have I done now...?” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora turns to observe the wristcomp as well/ Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "I did not think much of it at first - we all know how... flamboyant and prone to exaggeration Orions can be, after all.” Emma Ralde@crystyl | Mysti: "But when I was researching the template, there was a lot of talk from the founding of the OSN period of an unnamed influencer; 'Herald of the Goddess', 'Goddess Incarnate', 'Mother of the + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ New Age'. All typical Orionesque references, but only now with this new context..." she looks again to Emma, "These are all you. Aren't they?” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora looks back to Emma again, "You have been around, haven't you…” Emma Ralde@crystyl chuckles and nods, "I've certainly been called worse. But yes, it is more than likely that they called me such things at the time.” Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Or to be more accurate, they wanted their future history to read with the kind of divine providence that the High Orion literature of the past would.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I don't have authority to speak for the Orions elsewhere, but on behalf of the Orion tribe of Vue-En, we appreciate what you've done.” NPC@annpc#557 | Vora thumbs back at Mysti, "I was trying to do something similar with her, you see. Hence the clones- to spread the stories. And don't worry, I'm not about to start cloning you.” Emma Ralde@crystyl chuckles, "Good to know. And, I guess that's a little more of your own Orion flare shining through the Arshai markings. Anyway, there's really nothing special to any of this; I'm just another + Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ idealist. One who remembers the time now romanticized, but still just an idealist. Only difference is, I last long enough to offer so many whispers of optimism that the law of averages comes good+ Emma Ralde@crystyl:+ on occassion!" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora smirks, "Well, just keep doing what you've been doing then, Emma."
View Bonus - Rianni's Return
Rianni@crystyl FX | With the QanwI' cruising back to it's rendezvous with the Valley Forge, the crew have a few days of blowing off steam onboard the ship. On her way either to/from a training session, Avita spots+ Rianni@crystyl + A familiar and unmistakable small human in the corrido B'Atar@anncaris | Avita follows at some distance first as she observes the small human before picking up her pace and stepping up behind Rianni, "I did not know you were on board." Rianni@crystyl spins around, thrusting her arm across the throat of her would-be attacker aiming to pin her sideways towards the wall, almost like an involuntary or impulsive reactio B'Atar@anncaris:rolls 61 (1-100 B'Atar@anncaris | Avita's incredible reflexes are dulled by her surprise. She moves at the last moment and avoids being pinned, but Rianni's arm still hits her, sending her backwards into the wall. She rebounds - B'Atar@anncaris:- quickly and reacts just as instictively, pushing herself off the wall and towards Rianni to tackle her Rianni@crystyl goes wide eyed as she realises her error and quickly steps back, raising her hands, "Avita! I'm so sorry, I didn't mean... B'Atar@anncaris | Avita stops mid-charge and turns to Rianni, still in a ready posture, "There is no need to apologize. You reacted swiftly and impressively." She gives a slight tilt of her head, "Were you - B'Atar@anncaris:- expecting to be attacked on this vessel?" Rianni@crystyl slumps in shame, "No, sorry. It's just... well I guess I'm having a hard time getting used to being somewhere that I don't expect everyone around me to put a dagger in my back at the first chance" B'Atar@anncaris | Avita relaxes her stance, stepping closer and giving Rianni a pat on the shoulder, "It is a feeling I am all too familiar with. I assume you returned from your first infiltration mission? Rianni@crystyl:"Yes... and sort of no" she still flinches a little at the hand on her shoulde B'Atar@anncaris | Avita tilts her head, "You were not infiltrating the Terran ship? Rianni@crystyl:"I was, until I got caught. But no, I mean... it was sort of not my first infiltration mission B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "You speak of memories from your clone, or have you been on an infiltration mission prior to this as yourself?" Rianni@crystyl nods, "The Junayd clone B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "The memories of the clone give you knowledge, even experience. But it is always different when you are out on the field yourself. When your life is at risk and the success of the - B'Atar@anncaris:- mission depends on you. Rianni@crystyl:"Yeah, you're not wrong there... B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "It is only natural to be on your guard after such a mission. And when you have done as many missions as I have, you are always on your guard. Rianni@crystyl:"Have you ever had any dealings with the Terrans? B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "No. I have only had dealings with Starfleet, though from my understanding, the Terrans are completely different. Rianni@crystyl:"Very much so. They're like... Tal Shiar agents with a bloodlust to rival the fiercest Klingon warrior and as cunning and manipulative as an Orion B'Atar@anncaris | Avita nods, "They sound like a dangerous foe indeed. Your survival must be a testament to your skill. Rianni@crystyl:"That, and I think their Captain took a liking to me B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "Due to your work, or factors outside of your control? Rianni@crystyl:"Well I'm pretty sure it wasn't my work. I mean, I did an ok job I think. But as far as my infiltration goes, she caught me out so it didn't go that well! B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "It is only your first mission, after all. I am sure you will get better in time. That is, assuming Starfleet sends you on more such missions. You do not work with their intelligence - B'Atar@anncaris:- branch, do you? Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "I've seen them around a little, but never really had much to do with them B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "Perhaps you should. You certainly have the skills for it, though unlike myself, you have an option for how to apply those skills. Rianni@crystyl tilts her head, "What makes you say that? Your options surely aren't so limited are they?" B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "I was raised by Letheans, remember? My biological family, whoever they were, abandoned me as a infant due to my genetic condition. I was trained to be an assassin from childhood. I do - B'Atar@anncaris:- not despise my work, at least not to the point of wishing to abandon my lifetime of training, unlike that Lupan exile Azatul who visited us not long ago. But I never was given a choice in what I - B'Atar@anncaris:- would become. Rianni@crystyl:"That is who you are, not what you are. You still have choice over your path B'Atar@anncaris | Avita nods, "That is why I chose to leave House V'Ku and the Network and join the QanwI' here. At the time, I sought only a place where I could hide from the Network, but now I have heard that - B'Atar@anncaris:- the Scryer is gone. And that this voyage has become something...more. Rianni@crystyl:"Oh?" she smiles, "Sounds like a story. How about a bloodwine? B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "A bloodwine is always good to tell stories over." She turns and begins leading the way. Rianni@crystyl follows, a little more at ease with familiar company it seems B'Atar@anncaris | Avita speaks as she walks, "Do you believe in destiny? The presence of a higher force guiding our action, whether it be a will for the universe to achieve an ideal state, or the guidance of - B'Atar@anncaris:- some higher beings? Rianni@crystyl:"Not in such a spiritual sense. I do believe in a universal balance; all things in equilibrium as is the nature of existence B'Atar@anncaris | Avita chuckles slightly, "Few Klingons today believe it in such a spiritual sense either. Our legends say we killed our gods, after all. As did the Letheans." Rianni@crystyl looks to Avita in consideration, "Huh... did not know that" B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "Not all Letheans even remember the old stories. I was raised by the Order of Hunters, one of the oldest Lethean orders of assassins. Rianni@crystyl:"You say that like thewy have many such Orders..." B'Atar@anncaris | Avita grabs two mugs of bloodwine, handing one to Rianni, "Many of them do not refer to themselves as Orders anymore. Have you ever wondered why so many Letheans outside of the homeworld - B'Atar@anncaris - follow the Trade? How a species became so well-known for being assassins? Rianni@crystyl:"Guess I never really thought about it. Just saw it as one of those racial stereotypes like Nausicaan mercs, or Orion slave traders B'Atar@anncaris | Avita takes a seat, lifting her helmet slightly to take a sip of the bloodwine, "In some ways, it is similar. Letheans have skills which are good for killing, and most Letheans who venture far - B'Atar@anncaris:- from the homeworld take on such jobs. But it was not always this way. Most species with members capable of powerful telepathy tend either towards self-destruction or development of a peaceful - B'Atar@anncaris:- society, like the Betazoids, the Ullians or the Vulcans. Of course, the Letheans are not /all/ assassins. That would simply be ridiculous. But how often do you find a Betazoid or a Vulcan assassin? Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "Vulcan assassins... now that would be something B'Atar@anncaris | Avita chuckles, "There are Vulcans who are good at killing, but they do not do it for payment, and they are most certainly not common. The reason so many Letheans follow the Trade today are - B'Atar@anncaris:- not widely known, even to many Letheans who were simply raised into the life as I was. Many centuries ago, the Ionite Nebula was inhabited by powerful Primeval beings, and the Lethean people were - B'Atar@anncaris:- their slaves. Over time, some Letheans began to develop stronger and stronger mental abilities. Some believe it was directly caused by the presence of the Primevals who had similar abilities - B'Atar@anncaris:- themselves, while others think it was simply natural evolution in response to the Primevals' control. Those with greater psionic ability had a better chance of surviving to reproduce. Rianni@crystyl:"Makes sense I suppose" she nods, slurping her bloodwine, "So what's all this about this voyage becoming something... 'more'? B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "Whatever the case, in time, the Letheans eventually rose to overthrow their oppressors, and many were born with great telepathic gifts. They formed the first Orders of Hunter, - B'Atar@anncaris:- leaving the nebula and hunting down Primevals wherever they could be found, as their psionic strength was uniquely suited to such tasks. What was a crusade at first soon became a Trade, - B'Atar@anncaris:- as the Orders needed to pay for starships, their fuel and their maintenance. They began to rely on the rewards others would give them for slaying Primevals, eventually demanding payment as they - B'Atar@anncaris:- were simply much better at fighting Primevals than many other species. It did not take long before they started being hired to kill non-Primevals, Children as they are known in these parts. B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "As useful as psionic strength was for countering Primeval powers, it was just as effective at subduing and even directly killing Children species. And that was how Letheans became what - B'Atar@anncaris:- they are known for today. As for how that relates to this voyage, I did not know the Horde was out here. I came seeking a place away from the Network, and it has brought me straight to an enemy - B'Atar@anncaris:- not unlike those which the Order that raised and trained me was originally founded to confront. Rianni@crystyl nods, "I get it! So it's like you've happened upon a means to get in touch with that lost past of the family you know B'Atar@anncaris | Avita nods back, "Precisely. The time when the Letheans were known as god-slayers are long past. Now, they are simply slayers. Though I was trained specifically to assassinate individuals, - B'Atar@anncaris:- both my families, the Lethean one and the Klingon one, share the vanquishing of gods in common. That is why even with the Scryer and House V'Ku gone, I remain here. This is a fight I must see - B'Atar@anncaris:- to the end. Rianni@crystyl:"And... do you believe that destiny has led you down this path? B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "Perhaps. Coincidences do happen, and it was not as if I was trained to fight something exactly like the Horde. But in many ways, V'Ku had always been spiritual, even after losing his - B'Atar@anncaris:- way. I have never been particularly spiritual myself, but I suppose he opened my mind to...possibilities. Rianni@crystyl:"So... you think destiny has guided me to the time spent on that Terran ship?" B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "I do not know the details of your mission, but I assume for you to infiltrate, there was a version of you from that universe on that ship you could replace? Rianni@crystyl nods, "We were prisoners there and seized an opportunity to overpower her and have me take her place. Of course, that was shortly before a truce was agreed and they got returned to the Valley Forge Rianni@crystyl:"Then on; my mission was to survive and try to understand them, and find a way home B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "That ship was not the Valley Forge of that universe. Yet it happened to have you from that universe serving on board. And you, who happened to have memories from a clone that was used - B'Atar@anncaris:- on an infiltration mission which involved replacing someone who looked identical, was one of the ones taken prisoner and given an opportunity to replace your Terran self. B'Atar@anncaris | Avita smiles slightly as she lifts her helmet again to take another drink, "It sounds like everything aligned perfectly, doesn't it? Rianni@crystyl:"I guess when you sum it up like that, it does sound rather extraordinary B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "Why you have been put in such a place is not something I can say. Perhaps the universe wants you to develop and use your infiltration abilities. Perhaps there was something on your - B'Atar@anncaris:- mission that needed to be accomplished. Or perhaps it simply was an extraordinary coincidence. Rianni@crystyl:"Well I don't know about anything being achieved to make a difference in the grand scheme of the universe Rianni@crystyl:"But before I joined the Valley Forge, I seriously considered a similar field commission from the Kassandra. A commission that the other me chose first, as something happened to the Valley Forge of Rianni@crystyl:+ that universe B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "Perhaps it was to give you a taste of another life, then? Rianni@crystyl:"Though to what end, I can't begin to imagine... B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "I am afraid I may not be the best for interpreting the universe's intentions. I am an assassin, a woman of actions. You will want a priestess for truly insightful words. Rianni@crystyl:"I'm still not entirely sure what I want... though not expecting everyone to plunge a dagger into me would be a good start B'Atar@anncaris | Avita nods, "It is always good to watch your back, but it can become...difficult to trust once you are used to watching your back too often. It took me time, but I was able to adjust to life - B'Atar@anncaris:- in House V'Ku, as I had a family before with the Order of Hunters, and came to accept House V'Ku as another family. I am sure you will adjust in time, as you have your family back on the - B'Atar@anncaris:- Valley Forge. Rianni@crystyl smiles, thinking on that, "Yeah, it will be nice to see them again B'Atar@anncaris | Avita smiles back as she lifts her helmet to drink again, "I am sure they will help you not to expect everyone to plunge a dagger into your back. After all, Starfleet is known for its kindness - B'Atar@anncaris:- and camaraderie, is it not? Rianni@crystyl:"True enough. Well, whatever the case; it will be good to see home again. Qapl'a!" she raises her tankard B'Atar@anncaris | Avita: "I am sure it will." She raises her tankard as well, "Qapl'a!" --- Rianni@crystyl | After arriving back on the VF and debriefing with the Captain, Rianni is shoehorned by Mia towards the officers mess for an acknowledged welcome hom Rianni@crystyl walks in, with Mia pulling her along by the hand, to see a modest gathering of the cast Rianni@crystyl | Though no big surprise shout or any such thing, the warm buzz of the crowd and the sea of smiling faces all waving and raising glasses overwhelms Rianni as she tears up, smiling uncontrollabl Rianni@crystyl | Emma closes in first, greeting her with a big hug and putting a glass of wine in Rianni's hand after whispering an intimate welcome in her ea Rianni@crystyl & Emma draw in to a nearby grou Keliaya@anncaris lets Emma have her moment first, sipping from a glass slowly. She smiles at the pair as they draw close, "It's good to have you back, Rianni. We were missing your presence on the bridge. Rianni@crystyl:"And I hear I missed the biggest tactical deployment of the mission! Just my luck... Keliaya@anncaris:"We did run into quite a few tactically...interesting situations while you were gone. But I'm sure there'll be plenty to come," she smiles Keliaya@anncaris:"The Horde situation is far from over, and we all value your input for tactical matters. Rianni@crystyl:"Yeah but, come on... blowing up a sun? That's so crazy the Klingon's are still singing about it on the QanwI'!" she laugh Keliaya@anncaris:"Actually...you /were/ involved in that one. Rianni@crystyl:"Oh right, this whole future ship thing right? Honestly, I thought the Captain was pulling my leg with that part! Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "No, that was very real, as difficult as some parts were to believe. She told you all about it, I assume? Rianni@crystyl:"Oh, I doubt very much she told me everything. But she covered the basics Keliaya@anncaris:"I think the part about you being Captain is one of the /less/ unusual things about the future ship, really. Proceeding to Command from tactical is fairly natural, and you do want to have a command - Keliaya@anncaris:- of your own someday, don't you? Rianni@crystyl smiles and nods, "It's always been my dream! What... was she like, I mean me... her! Keliaya@anncaris smiles back, "Well, this shows that you can definitely achieve it! She was...different from you though. A lot more...grim as a result of the future she lived in. But there were things about her - Keliaya@anncaris:- that definitely resembles you. And she was a good captain, one that's had to make difficult decisions and do the best with what she has, but she still upheld Starfleet values as best as she could - Keliaya@anncaris:- even in those times. Rianni@crystyl flushes, "You make her sound so heroic... Keliaya@anncaris:"She really was. She sacrificed everything so we could have a second chance, after all. And some of these things we're already starting to see in you. After all, not everyone's willing to take the - Keliaya@anncaris:- risk of infiltrating a Terran ship. Rianni@crystyl:"It was hardly a planned mission, and not like anyone else among us there had a duplicate serving on that ship!" she chuckle Keliaya@anncaris chuckles, "It was still a risk you willingly took to help everyone else at your own expense, though. Not unlike what the other you did. Keliaya@anncaris:"Maybe not /quite/ as grand in scale, but the thought was there! Rianni@crystyl:"Well as long as it's not providence that I'm one day destined to make a noble sacrifice of a ship and her crew. That is not exactly the legacy I planned to leave... Keliaya@anncaris:"Now that the other you has changed everything, hopefully that won't be the case," she smiles. "Without the desperate circumstances of the future she lived in, I'm sure you'll be even better of a - Keliaya@anncaris:- Captain. If she can do such a good job with what she's been given, that's a good sign for you! Rianni@crystyl:"Thank you, Commander. I'll certainly try! Keliaya@anncaris:"I'm sure you can do it, Rianni." She looks to Emma, "Oh, we didn't have a chance to talk after the Waystation. I heard about what happened, I was really hoping you could get some downtime, and - Keliaya@anncaris:- it turns out I sent you head first into something else. Hopefully things are going better now that Rianni's back, though. Rianni@crystyl | Emma beams happily, squeezing a hug around Rianni's waist, "Definitely, Commander! As for the Waystation, as much as I got drawn into things it's Lendaria I feel sorry for Keliaya@anncaris nods, "Hopefully, she'll be alright now that we're away from the Colonial Fleet ships for the time being. And if you want some time with Rianni, feel free to take some proper time off. Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles, "Sounds good to me! Rianni@crystyl | Keelah enters in time to hear that, "Hopefully you're not planning too much time off, Ensign Rianni@crystyl & Emma both turn to greet he Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Of course, if you have something you require me for Captain, I'm always happy to help Keliaya@anncaris looks over and chuckles, "I think they've both earned some. But we'll probably need their skills and experience soon, with everything that's happening. Keliaya@anncaris:"Just want to make sure they're at their best when we do. Rianni@crystyl | Keelah smiles, placing a hand on Emma's shoulder, "Not so much you this time, Ensign. But rather the young lady of the hour here. After all, she's going to be very busy from now on Rianni@crystyl:"I... am? Keliaya@anncaris looks between the two curiously, "You have plans for her, I assume? Rianni@crystyl | Keelah nods, looking her up and down, "What's more, you appear to be incorrectly attired Rianni@crystyl looks down herself confused, and back to Keelah, "Captain...? Rianni@crystyl | Keelah smiles, "Aah but of course, we haven't actually discussed it yet have we. Well Rianni; as you may know, there have been some changes while you were away and Commander Vromlacht stepped up Rianni@crystyl:+ to assume the role of my first officer. Whilst still my CTO, it is not practical for me to have him actively covering that station all the time as well, else how will he become effective within his Rianni@crystyl:+ new role? Rianni@crystyl nods tentatively, "Very... logical, Captain Keliaya@anncaris nods and smiles as she catches Keelah's meaning, "And the Cadet has proven herself to be very capable at the station in the past... Rianni@crystyl | Keelah: "But therein lies a problem; as I could hardly station an active cadet to an assigned bridge role now, could I... Rianni@crystyl:"Captain...? Rianni@crystyl | Keelah pulls out a small box, "Rianni, in your few short years with Starfleet you have accumulated more experience and wisdom than many of those who would seek to train you. I do not believe there Rianni@crystyl:+ is anything further for you to gain from completing the remainder of your final year as a cadet. Henceforth-" she adjusts the pips on Rianni's collar, "- I name you acting Ensign. To be formalized Rianni@crystyl:+ upon completion of your final exams, and assign you as tactical officer to the bridge of this ship Keliaya@anncaris:"Congratulations, Ensign. Rianni@crystyl watches in awe as Keelah steps back with a proud smile. She idly reaches up and traces a finger across the new pip, "Captain, I..." she shakes her head and smiles, "Thank you Keliaya@anncaris adds with a smirk, "Making your first steps to Captainhood already. Rianni@crystyl | Keelah takes a glass and raises it, "To you, Ensign Tierno Rianni@crystyl can't help but flush with pride at that as she raises her glass in respons Keliaya@anncaris raises her glass as well, "To Ensign Tierno." --- Rianni@crystyl | Following the little welcome home gathering - turned - promotion toast, Rianni finally makes her way back to her quarters while Emma goes to check on Lennie Rianni@crystyl smiles at the familiarity of home, from her own decor - as opposed to that of MU Rianni - to Emma's fragrance and scattergun approach to wardrobe management Rianni@crystyl idly picks up a silky skirt of Emma's, hanging off the corner of the desk, and carries it through to the bedroom where she is met by the sight of a fresh new uniform laid out neatly on the bed Rianni@crystyl smirks a little at the realization that Emma was in on it the whole time as she inspects it before getting changed and returning to the main room Rianni@crystyl uncertain of how long she has to herself; sits down at the desk and pulls her console around to start revisiting her journal with tales of her grand adventure and exciting reunion Rianni@crystyl is a little surprised - and confused - to see that she has an open log entry already, always so stringent with her record keeping... Rianni@crystyl briefly considers the likely scenario that's a cheeky message from Emma planted to make her smile upon her return, and plays the message with anticipation Rianni@crystyl FX | It is however not Emma's face to grace the screen, but that of future Rianni; aged beyond her years by a life of warfare and impossible morality, and wearing a thread-bare Captain's uniform Rianni@crystyl leans back, taking it in and a little shellshocked by the sight. She thought it was bad enough seeing her doppelganger from another universe, but this was something else... Rianni@crystyl hesitates to review the log, but surmises that her future self would not have left it here without good reason and so decides it's best to follow the wishes of a senior officer. Even if that + Rianni@crystyl + officer is herself... still, she hits the button to replay the log entry Rianni@crystyl Log | The older woman first forms a soft smile, with some effort it seems, "Hello Rianni. If you are watching this, then we have - thankfully - still made it back from the Terran vessel without + Rianni@crystyl + incident. I assume by now that you have had your debrief with Keelah and she has likely already told you about our presence here. If this is not the case, then for the love of all you hold dear; + Rianni@crystyl:+ stop playing this message and go see her!" she pauses for breath, and to allow Rianni a chance to pause Rianni@crystyl continues watching Rianni@crystyl Log | "Now; I have no doubt that you will hold regrets about not being present for our encounter, but... this is probably for the best. If our mission succeeds - and it must have, if you are back + Rianni@crystyl:+ and reviewing this log - then you have a bright new future ahead of you, and do not need to be tainted by echoes of the one I come from. But still..." she looks away, troubled Rianni@crystyl Log | turning back after a moment of final hesitation, "I could not leave things to chance and risk you falling foul of events as I did. I know this is 'against the rules'- pfft! Some things are + Rianni@crystyl:+ more important!" she leans into the image, just as young Rianni often does when reinforcing a point in her journals, "Rianni, this is about Emma. What I am about to tell you will not be easy to + Rianni@crystyl:+ hear, but you must - for your own good! I am going to tell you how I lost her when I was not much older than you are now. My hope is that with knowledge of these events, you can act where I failed + Rianni@crystyl:+ to, and keep her alive. But you can NOT risk sharing this with anyone, for to do so may jeopardize too much beyond our comprehension - and yes, I do still play by the rules when I can. Take that + Rianni@crystyl:+ surprised look off your face!" Rianni@crystyl doubletakes and sits back & up, paying attention like the recording actually saw her and instructed her Rianni@crystyl Log | "Where was I... oh yes, Emma! Now there is every chance that the changes we put into effect will already prevent this coming to pass, but in case that does not turn out to be so; you must take+ Rianni@crystyl:+ heed of my warning here - because I promise you this Ensign; you will never... /never/ get over it if we let it happen again. Oh, um... right, so about that; if you haven't already been to your + Rianni@crystyl:+ welcome home party, well... 'spoilers'" she chuckles, "Sorry if I let the Caitian out of the bag. Just... try to look surprised still when Keelah pulls those pips out for you. But now, Emma; pay + Rianni@crystyl:+ close attention, act as you must to keep history from repeating itself, and never speak to anyone of this. Now pay attention..." Rianni@crystyl FX | Rianni does not know how long she was sat there in a daze before the door opened and Emma enters, with Ann & Lennie in tow Rianni@crystyl | Emma looks around and spots her, "There you are! We're going to watch Mia sing, you game?" she asks with a welcoming hug before pulling back and looking at Riann Rianni@crystyl | Emma, "Hey... you ok? You look pale, even by pinkskin standards!" she teases with a smil Rianni@crystyl shakes out of her daze, "Oh! Hey you" she smiles, hugging Emma back belatedly, "And I'm fine, I promise! Maybe it's just the new colours making a higher contrast... Ann Carter@anncaris looks over, "Yeah...musta not been an easy time on tha' Terran ship. I can only imagine what ya went through. Ann Carter@anncaris smiles, "New colours look good on ya though! Rianni@crystyl waves over Emma's shoulder, "Hi both! and thank you! Rianni@crystyl gets to her feet, tugging the still slightly stiff tunic straight, "It will take some getting used to, still... Ann Carter@anncaris:"Congratulations on the promotion! An' yeah, it definitely took me some gettin' used to!" she chuckles Rianni@crystyl | Lennie smiles: "It certainly does suit ya, Ensign. Contrats! Rianni@crystyl smiles sheepishly, "Thank you both! So, Mia night at the lounge? Sounds good, let's go! Ann Carter@anncaris smiles back, "C'mon! Rianni@crystyl | Emma watches Rianni shuffle past her, almost like she's in a rush to move away from the desk suddenly, "You're not in the middle of anything here then? Rianni@crystyl smiles innocently, "Nah, just catching up on things is all" and leans back, smoothly tapping the final command to lockdown the log once and for all before following the others out Rianni@crystyl FX | The lounge is already filling up for the ever popular 'Mia Night', but the group easily manages to find a tabl Ann Carter@anncaris sits down, looking to Rianni as she does, "Good to be back, right? Betcha missed these nights. Rianni@crystyl:"Among other things" she casts a smile to Emma, giving her hand a light squeez Rianni@crystyl | Lennie looks around the table, "Well damn, now we'se gotta get one o'you'se three promoted or folks'll think I'm-a groomin' ere wit' Ensigns! Ann Carter@anncaris laughs, "If any o' us get promoted, it should definitely be Emma. She's got the experience, an' she's been an LT before too! Ann Carter@anncaris:"An' much more. Though, not sure if the Cap'n'll promote ya so soon after comin' on board. Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "She actually pushed me to sign on at a higher rank when she learned about my history Ann Carter@anncaris:"Oh, really? An' ya requested to start at Ensign again? Rianni@crystyl | Emma nods, "It was quite a few years since I last served in Starfleet, so I didn't want to step back into anything I was unprepared for. This way, I got to get reacquianted with all that's changed Rianni@crystyl | Lennie smirks, "Th'perks o'tha' lifespan o'yours! Ann Carter@anncaris:"Yeah! Wha' was the highest rank ya ever held? Rianni@crystyl | Emma, "Commander" she sips her drink, thinking nothing of i Ann Carter@anncaris:"Wow, tha's pretty good. Though ya must have more experience than any Cap'n in the fleet even," she chuckles Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles, glancing and noticing Rianni's distracted look, "And I'm not the only one here at the rate /somebody's/ going" she chuckles, nudging Rianni's ar Rianni@crystyl flushes and smiles, "I think I've got a way to go before catching up to the likes of the Captain! Ann Carter@anncaris chuckles, "An' I thought I had gotten quite a bit of experience as a cadet. An' a version o' ya's already caught up with the Cap'n... Rianni@crystyl:"Well in that sense, a version of all us has - or, um... will have... had... caught up with her Rianni@crystyl rubs her temple, the pain of temporal tense Ann Carter@anncaris laughs, "I guess tha's true. So, how're ya adjustin' to comin' back? Does tha' alternate Starfleet ship look anythin' like ours? Ann Carter@anncaris:"It sure did a pretty decent job on the outside, at least... Rianni@crystyl:"It was... darker. But generally; yes, the decor was very comparable. Given of course that it is based on a different class of vessel, so it's not /exactly/ the same as here Ann Carter@anncaris:"Ya been on our version of the Kassandra, right? Does it look closer to tha'? Rianni@crystyl:"hmm... yeah, I'd say so! Well, if you populated it with Klingons at least!" she chuckle Ann Carter@anncaris chuckles, "Is tha' what they were like? I was thinkin' more Romulans, with the way they tricked us an' all. Rianni@crystyl:"In their ways, yes. But between the darker lighting and the red underlighting... and their penchant for blades and wall mounted trophies Ann Carter@anncaris:"Wow. Must be almost like Nimbus, but with all the cultures in one race. Rianni@crystyl:"Pretty much!" she chuckle Ann Carter@anncaris:"Tha' sounds like a real difficult place to live... Rianni@crystyl:"I honestly can't figure how they have survived this time without socially self-destructing Ann Carter@anncaris:"I guess most civilizations have at one point or another, haven't they? Like Earth an' Vulcan's atomic wars. Most just became better from it, but some like Orions are still bouncin' back socially. Ann Carter@anncaris:"Maybe the humans o' tha' universe just need more time to adjust. Or they won't learn their lesson and self-destruct totally at some point. Rianni@crystyl | Lennie: "Anyways, wha's important is tha' ya back where ya belong now! Rianni@crystyl smiles, "I'm glad to be back too! Rianni@crystyl:"Even if it does seem like I missed all the fun... I'm just sorry I couldn't be here to help you guys when it all got dyer... Ann Carter@anncaris smiles, "Don't worry 'bout it, Rianni. Ya been a great help on this journey so far, the Cap'n wouldn't have promoted ya otherwise! Ann Carter@anncaris:"Besides, it's not like ya came back to find us sittin' comfortably in the dyson sphere with the Horde all dead. Still plenty o' work to come, I imagine. Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Thanks Ann. And it's not like I feel useless or anything, I just couldn't forgive myself if anything had've happened to any of you Rianni@crystyl | Emma takes Rianni's hand, "Hey now, we can't start thinking like that! Things are as they are, just be glad of it!" she chirp Rianni@crystyl gives a faint smile, "Yeah, I know... Ann Carter@anncaris:"An' we were all real worried for you too, alone on tha' ship. We're all glad ya made it back alright! Rianni@crystyl smiles warmly, "Thanks Ann! So come on, what else have I missed while I was away? Can't just be blowing up stars and Orion escapades on the Waystation now! Ann Carter@anncaris:"Well, there were a few other things tha' happened. Some pirates got on the ship, but we were all knocked out for that 'cept a few o' us, but Mia can probably tell you all about it when she's - Ann Carter@anncaris:- not singin'! Emma an' Kelly also went over to the Regulator ship tha's helpin' us now, but I think they're not supposed to talk 'bout it... Ann Carter@anncaris smirks, "Maybe Emma can tell ya in private, if tha' doesn't break the rules /tooo/ much! Rianni@crystyl looks to Emma curiousl Rianni@crystyl | Emma shrugs, "Well they probably don't want me talking about their ship, but I can fill you in on my personal experience there Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "Sounds interesting. I look forward to hearing all about it! What else did I miss?" she looks around the tabl Ann Carter@anncaris:"We also met up with the Guardians, visited an arena world tha' happened to be one o' those sentient planets..." she glances to Lennie, "Ya can probably fill Rianni in aaall 'bout tha'! Ann Carter@anncaris:"An' we went to look for info at an Iconian ruin with those special Ranger Guardians, too. Lennie was there as well! Rianni@crystyl:"Wow, it's been a busy few weeks for you all! Ann Carter@anncaris:"Yeah, it definitely has! Oh, there's tha' run-in with the Anarchists too, an' we met another ship from those USDF fellas! Rianni@crystyl:"Feels like it'll take me this whole trip now just to catch up on things! Ann Carter@anncaris laughs, "An' at this rate we'll all have new things to catch up on by the time we've explained it to ya!" Rianni@crystyl:"So I'm a little curious... did any of you meet the other me while she was here? Ann Carter@anncaris shakes her head, "I saw one o' them, but she wasn't the other you. Actually might've seen some others, but they wear the same uniforms so I mighta not recognized 'em. Ann Carter@anncaris looks to Lennie, "Lennie was at the meetin's so she definitely met ya...uh, her. Rianni@crystyl | Lennie: "The Cap'n laid down a clear rule t'minimize any duplicates o'folks bein' able t'meet. But yeah, I met old you'se" she smile Rianni@crystyl:"I can't even imagine what that must have been like; to see our ship - our crew - from such a distant future. Everything so different, but still very much the same Ann Carter@anncaris:"Cap'n made sure we didn't meet our duplicates either, if they were on tha' ship. Still, definitely quite a sight, seein' the ship but different. Rianni@crystyl:"I heard they had made quite a few remarkable upgrades! Ann Carter@anncaris:"Yeah! Apparently they even got Borg regeneration. I saw the ship almost grow back like it's healin' from out o' a window. Rianni@crystyl shakes her head in disbelief, "That's unbelievable...! Ann Carter@anncaris:"I know, right! Had to check I wasn't seein' things at first. Rianni@crystyl:"Well, I look forward to learning all about it. But for now, I think I'll settle for a night in my own bed Ann Carter@anncaris nods, "Ya deserve it, Rianni. An' we'll be sure to fill ya in on every detail when you're rested up!” Rianni@crystyl & Emma stand, "Thanks for the drinks you guys!" waving cheerily as they head off Ann Carter@anncaris smiles and waves back, "Goodnight ya two!"
AFTER ACTION REPORT STARFLEET SECURITY CLEARANCE LEVEL 3 | Restricted
MISSION PARAMETERSOUTCOME SUMMARY Rejoin Coalition forces at Terminu. Debrief on Iconian facility scouting. Strategize for next campaign. Terminu found to be under Horde control, Coalition forces retreated to the Nuhar Waystation. RV with Coalition was disrupted by temporal incursion carried out by Starfleet remnants of circa 2453. Future vessel brought new mandate to redirect us back to Terminu and take extreme actions to neutralize enemy forces there. Once reconvened with the Coalition forces at the Waystation, the debrief proceeded as planned and a new mission was accepted to recruit the Felmorans to the Coalition and protect them from being absorbed into the Horde.
More of an acknowledgement than a recommendation; but a debrief with TI will have to be scheduled upon our return to Federation space to review details of this recent encounter. Upon review of current intelligence it has been determined that the Valley Forge shall proceed to Felmoran space in order to recruit them to the Coalition and prepare them for what we believe to be a large Horde fleet due to arrive imminently in that region of space. The primary goal may have to be for evacuation.
Having successfully returned from her infiltration mission on board the rogue Terran vessel, Cadet Tierno is to be commended for this unprecedented action in the face of a potential enemy. I am promoting her to acting Ensign with immediate effect, foregoing the formality of the final months of her academy programme - the new rank formalized upon completion of her final examinations still. She will assume CMDR Vrolmacht's bridge position as TO, while the Commander remains CTO & 1st Officer.
Returning to Terminu, I had the QanwI' scout the system under cloak before taking the Valley Forge into range. It was found to be completely overrun by Horde forces who were working ruthlessly to recoup their (minimal) losses through salvage of the battle wreckage and aggressive mining of the planet. Seeing no viable alternative to pursue, we set out to rejoin the Coalition fleet at the Waystation, though we did not make it far before being waylaid by the temporal anomaly formation.
A vessel arrived through the anomaly which was readily identifiable as the Valley Forge, though - modifications not withstanding - it was in bad shape. Sensors noted a near total power deficiency in her systems, and significant combat damage - most notable of which being the forward saucer sections, approximately 1 - through - 5 on decks 3 to 12, being completely wiped out. Almost immediately upon their arrival, we received a hail from their Captain (who was not a future version of myself); who warned us of imminently arriving Tholian aggressors through the anomaly who would not distinguish between them and us as enemies. With no choice being left but to defend ourselves, we returned fire as the Tholians - as predicted - appeared and attacked both Valley Forge's. Once the immediate danger had passed, I had the Captain of the other ship report to me for an explanation and so we could verify their story & identity.
CMO Kazra Meel confirmed the Captain's identity as Rianni Tierno and quantum scans confirmed her time dilation as consistent with the presented story. Though distinctly apprehensive about the situation, I permitted Captain Tierno to provide her debrief. From her testimony; that version of the Valley Forge came back from the year 2453, in a version of our future where the Horde had run rampant across the galaxy. By that time; all major galactic powers had either succumbed or - like Starfleet - been reduced to a handful of refugee vessels acting within local ordnance only, as they had lost any form of centralized authority. They had taken extreme measures (namely; betraying their Tholian allies to steal the equipment used to open the temporal anomaly) in order to return to our present point in time and space and dissuade us - dissuade me - from our current course of action. In short; they had determined that the latest possible turning point in the Horde's advance was the fall of Vue En - which in their history occurred approximately six months from now in our present timeline. This was due to the convergence of two significant Horde fleets which came together as a sufficiently powerful force to overwhelm the Coalition and take Vue En. From there - and with the fallen Coalition & Colonial Arshai numbers - the Horde grew exponentially and numbered in the millions by the time it arrived at the Federation core. CAPT Tierno argued that this joining of Horde fleets was the decisive factor, and so reasoned that complete destruction of the forces at Terminu was the most viable means to prevent Vue En from falling. Further argument was presented to support the theory that preventing the fall of Vue En would ultimately lead to the highest number of favourable timelines taking course.
The proposal presented to achieve this was to utilize the volatile ordnance we recently confiscated from the Anarchists; specifically the trilithium warhead and Kemocite shipment. Tierno's plan was to lace the warhead with the Kemocite and use it to accelerate the Terminu star into a supernova that would encompass the entire system and the Horde fleet within. Her plan meant utilizing our previously applied technique of applying a pulse from the main deflector which is on the same frequency as our telepathic inhibitors. This would neutralize surrounding Horde vessels and leave them vulnerable to the supernova. Despite the reckless nature of the plan (in my opinion at the time), it also had a number of shortcomings; first was the sensitive timing required between the neutralization and the torpedo launch - which was resolved by the caveat that the future vessel would remain in close proximity to the star and launch the torpedo. Second was the range of our deflector pulse - limited far beyond the capacity to encompass the entire Horde fleet in orbit of Terminu - this was addressed through a proposal to apply their techniques to our existing technology to make it possible. This came in the form of linking the deflector assembly to our internal shield grid (boarding transport scattering), as this provided a large number of emitters positioned throughout the inner hull of the ship.
Satisfied that the proposed upgrade included no technological upgrades that would put us in breach of the (not yet existent) Temporal Accords, or our own Prime Directive, I agreed to allow the upgrades to proceed while we considered the proposed action. This came with the caveat that no personnel from the future vessel - who had a present day counterpart on my ship - would be permitted to board. With the upgrades underway, we continued to assess the plan (and our belief in the truth of the presented situation). Sensing my reluctance to accept the presented facts and testimony thus far, Captain Tierno took the liberty of abducting me over to her Valley Forge in order to present further evidence. Whilst I do not condone the method, I do acknowledge that I left her no alternative as I would not likely have accepted an open invitation.
Whilst there and bearing witness to the devastation a few decades of hard combat had done to my ship, I was taken to one of the science labs which had been converted to what Tierno referred to as a 'temporal observatory'. She explained that it was an evolution of Krenim technology (and from what I can tell in my research since then, it may represent an earlier incarnation of that used by Temporal Agents during the NX-01's early years, judging by the descriptions recorded by CAPT Archer). The observatory was staffed by a Krenim Starfleet officer and a liberated Borg (heavy assault drone, I believe), in the company of a Starfleet Admiral formerly known to be a SFI Command Officer (which leads me to surmise that in this future timeline, the Valley Forge was under the direction of SFI or at least what remained of it. If nothing else, one can deduce that SFI morality and methods were being applied, which is consistent with what we know of their story). After witnessing the temporal observatory in action - though I will admit I can not even begin to comprehend the science behind such a system - and reviewing the data behind their calculations, I was forced to agree with their conclusion and subsequent course of action. To that end I formally signed off on their plan, and we set course for Terminu.
Sidenote; once it was determined that the other Valley Forge would be most likely sacrificed to complete this mission (possibly the only viable outcome in the grand scheme of things, but still one we would have preferred to avoid if possible), a large volume of resources were transferred over from that ship. This largely included stockpiles of munitions and resources, tools & equipment that were no different to those we possess now (despite my initial reservations about her thought processes, CAPT Tierno had proven here that she remained conscious of her actions on the timeline and refrained from transferring anything that would conceivably be tied to future knowledge). Additionally however, she also transferred over a large number of Nuhar drones (like Relay) who had been working to supplement her diminished crew in maintenance of the ship. The drones were pre-programmed to reset their memory cores upon completion of our mission at Terminu. Finally, a squadron of new Nuhar constructs was also transferred to us. These were of an unknown configuration to us; in comparable size and configuration to the Eon support craft. It was explained that they were the evolution of decades of cooperation with the Nuhar and served as a supplementary fighter squadron. She acknowledged that their presence on our ship was 'questionable' against the temporal interference rules, but argued the case based on there being no new technology applied to them and their being Nuhar, not Starfleet.
With Tierno's Valley Forge in position close to the star, we warped into the system and moved to an assault vector on the planet. Predictably; the Horde showed minimal response to our presence initially as we made for an orbit on the less populated dark side of the planet. We projected an orbital path which would allow us to draw the Horde vessels into a tighter formation around us as the smaller groups pursued once we engaged them aggressively. By the time we concluded our orbit and approached our firing position, the Valley Forge was sustaining heavy bombardment from the Horde fleet. Fortunately, our timing was executed with precision and as the other ship launched the warhead, we successfully triggered our disruptive pulse. As predicted, this had an extreme impact on our power reserves and we in danger of not escaping the blast radius in time. Our fallback plan of having the QanwI' on standby for just such an eventuality was actioned and it warped in to tow us out. Even with that added momentum, CMDR Keliaya had to draw power from everything including life support and even grav-plating in order to push our impulse reactors hard enough to sustain the tractor lock at low warp.
I will admit that the margin of safety by which we escaped was far less than I feel comfortable with. I can only be satisfied that we countered this danger with sufficient contingency planning. With the Valley Forge essentially adrift in deep space beyond the impact range of the nova, the QanwI' maintained a patrol to ensure no Horde forces escaped - verified through the monitoring of warp trails. Whilst executing (minor) repairs and restoring power reserves, Coalition forces arrived having detected the supernova. We debriefed the investigating team and insisted - a little stubbornly perhaps - that we would hold position and restore power before rejoining them at the Waystation; rather than be towed back in a powerless state. Whilst I will admit that pride was a factor, I believe that maintaining the image of strength for the Valley Forge is essential to the continued solidity of the Coalition, given our... and my - role as a linchpin. This delay also gave us time to reconcile with the events which had played out, including the loss of our future versions.
After presenting minimal details to the Coalition debrief at the Waystation (a gathering which I must note at this point felt more than ever like standing before the Federation Council; noted as a commentary on the unity of our allied forces), being careful not to reveal any temporally sensitive facts; I agreed that the Valley Forge would head for Felmoran territory as this was predicted to be the next likely target for the Horde fleet our future selves spoke of as coming at Vue En in concert with the one we destroyed at Terminu.
A brief period of R&R was permitted for my crew; more deserving than ever given all they have weathered since we last saw the Coalition fleet. This provided time for us to repair & resupply, whilst also allowing me to engage the present Nuhar constructs in assessment of our new squadron. As a note for the record only at this point; it came to our attention during this period that LCDR Lendaria's mother - the late Tabadi Mysti of the OSN - had previously been cloned by the Colonial Fleet's Supreme Commander as part of a subterfuge campaign during their times of conflict with one another. This clone (or at least one of them) was discovered by chance on the Waystation by a member of the crew, who - rightfully - reported this to Lendaria, who proceeded to seek her out. This encounter - less fortunately - led to the Supreme Commander learning about ENS Ralde's classified nature, a fact which I was begrudgingly forced to acknowledge and now must entrust to the Supreme Commander's good judgement.
Supplemental: whilst recovering at the Waystation we also learned from the Lupan of the ISS Kassandra's recent movements, and dispatched the QanwI' to recover CDT Tierno and return her Terran counterpart. Fortunately the exchange went smoothly and all of the Rianni Tierno's - past, present, future & parallel - are all back where they should be, or at least as close as we can get them... I don't know what it is with that girl, but the universe would appear to have an obsession with duplicating her by any means possible - in the eyes of those so inclined to such beliefs. Whilst I of course do not subscribe to such spiritual views, I can not deny that I have seen more version of her than any other person I can think of. I am proud at least to say that - even her parallel counterpart - they are all versions of the Cadet which I can be proud of. Which brings to me a closing consideration; for all she has endured, and for all we rely on her she is still 'just' a cadet. This thought has led me to a review of her file, and her experiences since almost the day she joined the academy programme have been extraordinary. In barely 4 years of service she has faced more complexity and adversity than many career officers would expect to by retirement. To that end I have determined there is nothing more to be gained or proven by the completion of her final months of training and so promote her to acting Ensign with immediate effect. Her rank will be formalized upon the completion of her exams still, and in the mean time she is posted as Tactical Officer to the bridge of the Valley Forge.