Upon returning to the Heart of War, Captain Keelah receives new orders, including one from a meddlesome admiral she is all too familiar with...
NPC@annpc#557 FX | After a few days assisting the colony as best as they can, the VF prepares its second attempt to bring the Aethon to the Heart of War through a wormhole... NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Everything should be ready. We've done everything we can for the colony without getting additional supplies, and we made absolute sure the Aethon won't have a problem with the wormhole - NPC@annpc#557 - again." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Then let's back on track and get ourselves back to the front lines" NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "The Observer is ready to launch at your command." Keelah@crystyl:"Proceed" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "Oh, and we fixed the overloaded tractor emitter while we had a moment to rest here, too. But we shouldn't need it this time." Keelah@crystyl:"Excellent, but let us indeed make sure it will not be needed" NPC@annpc#557 | The Observer's ship launches from the VF's hangar and moves ahead of the three ships on the viewscreen NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "Rianni's crew did a good job of deactivating and purging the Architect's hidden protocol, but just to be safe I've had Suhani disconnect the hull emitters from the cloaking - NPC@annpc#557 - systems, like they did when conserving power on their journey. Even if there is any remnants of code- which there isn't, I had Mia double check, but assuming it was still there, it can't turn - NPC@annpc#557 - on something we've unplugged. We've taken every possible precaution after what happened last time." Keelah@crystyl:"Glad to hear it" NPC@annpc#557 | The wormhole generates, and the Observer's ship enters first NPC@annpc#557 | Fisher: "Ready to take us in, Captain." Keelah@crystyl:"Follow in standard formation" NPC@annpc#557 | Fisher nods and the VF follows in with the QanwI' and Aethon. The crew is alert, carefully monitoring their consoles and ready to act on a second's notice, and the bridge is much quieter than - NPC@annpc#557 - their past voyages through the Junayd wormholes... NPC@annpc#557 | Fortunately, the journey is nothing except quiet, and a few minutes later, they emerge into the Spherescape with the Aethon still in formation. The bridge crew breathes a sigh of relief, - NPC@annpc#557 - some audibly and others silently, though Keelah can easily tell that everyone is relaxing as they arrive safely Keelah@crystyl smiles a little herself, "Never thought I would be glad to see this view again so soon. Let us reconvene with the fleet core and get Aethon into a proper dock" NPC@annpc#557 | Fisher nods, "On it." NPC@annpc#557 | The VF maneuvers towards one of the Foundry facilities and other Coalitions ships soon come into view around it NPC@annpc#557 | TQ: "We're being hailed by the Guardians." Keelah@crystyl:"On screen" NPC@annpc#557 | Guardian-Commander Issandros appears on the viewscreen: "Captain! I hope your search went well?" Keelah@crystyl:"Not exactly according to plan, but yes we have completed our mission. How have things been here?" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros: "Quiet so far. A few small skirmishes, but nothing unexpected. The Architect definitely had his attention focused on the search and seemed to be on the defensive here the entire time. I - NPC@annpc#557 - notice you have another ship following you. Looked more like a sensor ghost at first, but now that you're coming closer, it's definitely a ship. New friends?" Keelah@crystyl:"New asset" she smiles, "That is the Aethon; formerly the Horde's most advanced stealth ship - according to the Architect's impetuous boasts. It has been liberated with the assistance of a species - Keelah@crystyl:- called the Kratt, and is now under our control" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros smiles, "An impressive asset, then. It'll be good to have on our side in one piece, to use on stealth operations and to figure out what kind of tech the Horde is using." Keelah@crystyl nods, "It is not a conventional cloaking system, so once we're settled back into things I'm sure everyone will be eager to get a good look at her" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros nods, "Let me know when you are ready. I will send people to study it so we may inform the Rangers of our findings. This information will surely benefit them- both in improving their - NPC@annpc#557:- stealth capabilities and countering the Horde's." Keelah@crystyl:"We hope so. There is more work for the Rangers, but I believe that request is being routed through Coalition command" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros: "Yes, the source of the anarchists. The Lupan Sisterhood just informed me not long before you arrived. The Rangers are diverting their closest vessel to investigate." Keelah@crystyl:"I am pleased they were able to assist. It was not easy for us to turn away from the Lupan there knowing what they may potentially face, but our mission here takes precedence" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros: "Can't argue with you here. We stop the Architect, we have a chance at ending the entire Horde. Anyways, I'll leave you to settle back in." Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you, I'm sure we'll be having a session to catch up with everyone shortly" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros nods and the comm ends NPC@annpc#557 | TQ: "Just like when we arrived at Vue-En...we have another hail lined up, this one from the Latenter." Keelah@crystyl:"The Latenter? Very well" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria appears on the viewscreen, "Captain Keelah. Welcome back." Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you, it has been too long. How are you faring?" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "We've been keeping an eye outside the Sphere, identifying Horde reinforcements to take out. There haven't been many recently, the Architect must be busy sending them elsewhere. Most - NPC@annpc#557:- likely deploying them with the shield ship you encountered. I trust Commanders Leveson-Scott and T'Lana are doing well?" Keelah@crystyl:"I would say they're keeping out of trouble, but you know your Commander" she smiles. "Truth is, I think they're beginning to climb the bulkheads here, eager to get back to you" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria smiles, "We'll be glad to have them back. If you can spare them, of course." Keelah@crystyl:"That is up to your Commander. I suspect as long as the threat remains in here, this is where she will choose to be. Do you require a direct channel to report with them?" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "Actually, it's you I'm looking for." Keelah@crystyl:"Oh? I never know if I should be flattered or cautious when someone from Intelligence says that... how can I help?" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria chuckles, "We're not requesting assistance, don't worry. A message came through from DSEC Command while you were gone. It had orders, but they were meant for you, so we haven't - NPC@annpc#557:- carried them out. I'll patch it through to you." Keelah@crystyl:"Thank you" NPC@annpc#557 | Victoria: "I'll keep you updated on any developments out here. Let me know if our Commanders want to come back." NPC@annpc#557 | TQ: "I have the message." Keelah@crystyl stands, "I'll review it first in my ready room. Please hold all other enquiries until I know the situation with Command" Keelah@crystyl sits down at her desk and gets comfortable before playing the message. NPC@annpc#557 | Admiral Enelya Torin appears on her console, dressed in her flag officer's uniform, "Captain Se'lai. We've received your report that you were able to locate and activate the Iconian gateway - NPC@annpc#557 - leading to Forged Earth. As you know, we've been equipping starship crews with your implants so they can come through and assist, but I understand with the current situation you're unable to - NPC@annpc#557:- activate the ship gateways. I've gotten you what support I'm able. I've had to file days of paperwork and call in a few favours, but MACO's assembled a company equipped with implants, ready to - NPC@annpc#557:- step through the gateway to help. It's not much in terms of numbers, but they're the best of the best, as you've no doubt learned from the team you have on board. That's the good news." Keelah@crystyl frowns a little, mind racing to wonder what could even count as bad news these days NPC@annpc#557 | Enelya continues after a brief pause, "The bad news is, they're sending through a trauma psychologist. I tried to convince them that it wouldn't be necessary, that your ship counsellors can - NPC@annpc#557:- handle anything that comes up. You know how your CMO can override you in terms of medical matters? Well Starfleet Medical just pulled the admiralty version of that on me. They say your ship - NPC@annpc#557:- wasn't expecting to come across a conflict like this when it first set out, and even your counselors came under the Architect's control and may need counseling themselves. So your orders are as - NPC@annpc#557:- follows: activate the Forged Earth gateway to let the MACO company and the counselor through. The MACOs will have their own commander with equivalent authority to a ship commander, but you're in - NPC@annpc#557:- charge of Starfleet operations in the Sphere now, so he's still going to report to you. You are to allow the counselor to evaluate your crew as they deem fit. They are operating with special - NPC@annpc#557 - dispensation from Medical, which means they supercede the authority of your ship counselors and CMO. Until the Surgeon General says otherwise, they're the highest authority on Starfleet - NPC@annpc#557:- medical matters out in your corner of the rim. Give Dr. Meel my apologies." Keelah@crystyl groans, "Thank you for that Mother... does she not see how illogical it is to force such an order? If we could simply open the gateway, we could rotate crew back home again and not need a new - Keelah@crystyl - medical authority. I do hope your logic is abandoning you in your advanced years..." NPC@annpc#557 | The message ends and Enelya's image disappears from the console Keelah@crystyl sighs, "So our new orders are basically to wipe out the Horde and win the war so we can use the gateway to Forged Earth. Well thank you for that Admiral..." shakes her head, standing and heading - Keelah@crystyl:- back out to the bridge NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly looks to Keelah as she returns to the bridge, "Everything alright?" Keelah@crystyl:"About as one expects for an orders update from Command" NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "We are still to stay here and aid the Coalition in the retaking of the Sphere, I hope?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "Of course. They just want us to enable a gateway so they can send through reinforcements. So basically to end the conflict so we can do so without escalating the delicate balance here first" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "One of the ship gateways? We'd have to cut off the omega power to the control station, which means returning the Horde to their previous form before the Architect took control." Keelah@crystyl shakes her head, "The Admiral did not specify those, and they remain untested so it would be illogical to make such a request an order. No, we are looking - mostly... - MACO ground troops" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly nods, "Lycas should have the capacity to get a ground gateway open for them to come through without disrupting the Sphere's main power flows. Just tap a little power from the - NPC@annpc#557:- facility the gateway is located in, make up for the rest with some generators or power transfer from the ship, and we should be able to keep one of the smaller ones open for an hour or so." Keelah@crystyl:"Won't that draw attention again though? Last time we had activate a whole array of gateways just to keep the Horde guessing long enough before they stumbled upon the one we actually prioritized" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "We'd have to do the same again, or at least make the Horde think that the other gateways have been activated. Since the last time, Lycas has been working on a way to make the - NPC@annpc#557:- facilities send the signals of a gateway activating without actually activating the gateway. The Horde are probably going to investigate though, and I'm not sure if a few MACO teams are worth all - NPC@annpc#557:- the trouble. They're good, but if there was some way to get ships through, that would probably make the whole process more worthwhile." Keelah@crystyl:"It would. I don't like it either, but we have our orders" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly: "I'll tell Lycas to make his preparations, then. We should have Coalition ships on standby near the facilities, in case the Horde move in again like last time." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Let's get a plan drawn up and go from there" NPC@annpc#557 | Kelly taps her console, "I suggest we activate, or pretend to activate some of the same facilities we did last time, but add a few new ones. If we activate all the same ones, the Horde will - NPC@annpc#557 - figure out that there's something among those we want. If we mix it up, there's two conclusions they can draw- that one of the facilities we activated both times is actually what we want- the - NPC@annpc#557:- truth, or that we want something from one of the new facilities and are simply activating a few of the ones from last time out of convenience to confuse them. It's still possible for them to - NPC@annpc#557:- arrive at the truth, so we should activate more than one of the same facilities we used last time. That way they can't narrow it down if they happen to choose the right conclusion." Keelah@crystyl:"Sounds reasonable. We'll get something drawn up and then put a plan in motion, but first we need to get the rest of the fleet leaders here up to speed on our mission" NPC@annpc#557 | TQ nods, "I'll notify them, Captain." Keelah@crystyl stands again, "Thank you Tee, and hold the rest of the messages for now. I have something I must attend first" heading for the turbolift --- NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra is working away on her console in the sickbay office Keelah@crystyl makes her way into sickbay, looking around before finding her way to the office, "Doctor?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra turns as Keelah enters the office, "Keelah. What brings you down here today?" Keelah@crystyl gestures to seat office, requesting to join her, "One of 'those' conversations I'm afraid" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra nods, looking to Keelah with a hint of concern, "What happened?" Keelah@crystyl sits opposite Kazra, leaning back like she's taking the weight off her feet, "We received updated orders from the Admiral" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra: "Updated orders? What's there to update? They can't be calling us back, it'll take years to make it home. Once we defeat the Horde, we'll be able to open the ship gateways and make it - NPC@annpc#557 - to Federation space a lot faster that way." Keelah@crystyl shakes her head, "No, nothing like that. I should be grateful really as they have responded to my recommendation and now have an ever increasing force of protected crews ready to join us. But ahead- Keelah@crystyl - of sending ships, they want to send a MACO squad with it's own Commander through the gateway to assist" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra nods, "If activating the ground gateways last time was any indication, it's going to be a bit of work, but we do need any help we can get. They're not sending through a MACO General to - NPC@annpc#557 - supplant your command, are they? I'm not sure how exactly MACO command works but I'm pretty sure they don't have authority over our ship." Keelah@crystyl:"No, it would essentially be like having command over multiple vessels. He is akin to a starship command with command of his own crew, but will report to me as operations command. But that- Keelah@crystyl:- is not why I seek your counsel" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra: "What is it then, the gateway activation? I may have seen a lot of lifetimes, but I don't know much about Iconian technology." Keelah@crystyl smiles a little, "No actually. You know how you always take a certain sick pleasure in every opportunity you get to play that medical card in order to pull rank on me whenever I try and hide from - Keelah@crystyl:- an annual physical?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra smiles back, "I wouldn't have to do that if you don't come up with excuses to avoid it every time." Keelah@crystyl:"Well, I'm afraid to say that now it's your turn to be on the receiving end; yours and the counsellors" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra narrows her eyes, "What do you mean?" Keelah@crystyl:"The Surgeon General has decided to pull the same stunt and pull rank over the Admiral. With the MACOs, they are sending through a specialist trauma psychologist to independently analyze everyone on- Keelah@crystyl:- the crew, carrying the authority of the Surgeon General over all other chain of command until further notice, which will likely come at their own discretion" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra: "What? Why? I know we've been through a lot, but Voyager pulled though seven years in the Delta Quadrant with nothing but a cranky EMH and a way too jovial Talaxian. We Starfleet crew - NPC@annpc#557 - can handle ourselves in deep space. I'd definitely send us a doctor if all we had was the EMH, but we have full medical and counselling staff." Keelah@crystyl raises her hands in defense, "I know, and so does the Admiral! The stated reason is that for all the capability of our staff, it is not the mission people signed up for. We never came out here to - Keelah@crystyl:- be the point of the spear in a galactic war. We have all suffered at the hands of our enemies, including at least one period of being held under influence. So this new arrival is - I suppose - to - Keelah@crystyl:- support you and the girls with independent and unattached verification of our condition. That said, you know as well as I do who is behind all of this. And what her motives truly are" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra nods, "Your mother..." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Exactly. So if nothing else, we have equal right to feel personally attacked in this. I have not received a dossier for the new officer, so can't offer any details yet. Only my apologies" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra: "I don't like this, but it's not your fault. You can't be held responsible for her actions." Keelah@crystyl:"As you said, we are Starfleet officers. As such, we will conduct ourselves with the utmost professionalism and do all we can to welcome this new arrival and aid them in their mission. We can only - Keelah@crystyl:- hope that is enough" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra nods, "They said specifically a trauma psychologist?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "Yes" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra: "Well, at least that means your mother isn't coming herself. Last I checked she wasn't a psychologist. And just because she's behind this doesn't mean whoever Medical sends will be as... NPC@annpc#557 - meddlesome. Or I hope not." Keelah@crystyl:"As do I. I'll leave you discuss it with your staff, I have not yet raised it with the other senior staff either as I wanted to speak to you personally on the matter first" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra smiles, "Thank you, Keelah. You should let them know before this officer arrives, I have a feeling the senior staff'll all be examined." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Yes, we'll be holding a briefing shortly to go over our plans to bring the reinforcements in. Not to mention putting plans in motion to move on the Architect and get Eva back" NPC@annpc#557 | Kazra nods back, "I'll see you there, then." Keelah@crystyl stands and leaves her to it --- Keelah@crystyl arrives in the conference room, fashionably late as always Keelah@crystyl:"Apologies for keeping you all, but thank you all for gathering so promptly" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Well, that search of yours seems to be the focus of the Horde's efforts lately, so we all want to hear how it went. Feels like the Architect was more focused on finding that artifact - NPC@annpc#557 - than the Sphere in the past few weeks." Keelah@crystyl:"I can well believe it from the forces we encountered" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I hope the data we dug up on that Shield Ship was helpful?" Keelah@crystyl smiles and nods, "Absolutely it was. It enabled us to take it out, which earned us mutual respect from the Kratt who in turn aided the final leg of our search by showing us to Ha-at" NPC@annpc#557 | Admiral Celestina: "Ha-what?" Keelah@crystyl chuckles a little, "Sorry Admiral. Ha-at is a Kratt world where the Olympian Hades went to rest, and where our search ultimately led us" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros nods, "And that's where you found the thunderbolt?" Keelah@crystyl:"Yes" she nods, "It is also where the Architect found it and ambushed us with a team carried aboard that stealth ship you have no doubt now seen" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayd: "So that's where the ship comes from. Good job taking it intact. That stealth technology makes our sensor masking look like a basic camouflage coating." Keelah@crystyl:"The Architect boasted to my officers that it was the most advanced stealth ship in the Horde's possession. Assuming for even a moment that he can be taken at his word for anything, boasting and - Keelah@crystyl:- lording it over Children is certainly a likely reason to. Between liberating that and destroying the fleet shield - thanks to Vora's intelligence - we have deprived the enemy of two key strategic - Keelah@crystyl:- assets, and gained one for ourselves" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora nods, "Indeed. An excellent advantage to have." NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros: "What about the thunderbolt itself?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "Of course. We previously reported back that we had encountered Ketkolep and entered an arrangement with him to aid us. As we learned prior to our mission; even Ar-Rhys himself was reported - Keelah@crystyl:- to have struggled to wield it's full power, and any Children who tried to were instantly killed for their efforts. Hence our arrangement with Ketkolep, who wished to see his creation destroyed" NPC@annpc#557 | Lupan Elder: "So the thunderbolt has been destroyed, then? A shame we cannot use its power against the Horde, but at least now, it cannot fall into the hands of the Architect." Keelah@crystyl:"True, but it has not been outright destroyed" she taps her intercom and signals the security npc outside to bring in the thunderbolt relic NPC@annpc#557 | The security npc steps inside with the inert thunderbolt in his hands NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros: "How are you able to carry it?" NPC@annpc#557 | Unwavering Defender: "This Ketkolep must have drained it of its energy." Keelah@crystyl:"This is what remains of the true thunderbolt. Ketkolep did not destroy it, rather... reforged it. Knowing it's significance to so many, he preserved its original form for posterity. Thank you" she- Keelah@crystyl:- nods to the npc in dismissal before continuing, "It was indeed drained of energy, some of which Ketkolep needed to reabsorb back into himself in order to prolong his own life after expending - Keelah@crystyl:- energy to join and assist us. But he did not use all of the thunderbolt's power for that" NPC@annpc#557 | Celestina: "Does some power still remain in there, then? Or was it transferred to something- or someone else?" Keelah@crystyl:"It was reforged into a tool which /can/ be wielded by Children. Or rather, one specifically. Ensign Sin - the powerful young telepath from this crew - was the one who broke through Hades' - Keelah@crystyl:- telekinetic barrier, as well as being the one to wake Ketkolep from his hibernation. So a tool was created to bolster her capacity to defeat the Architect. Others can technically wield it, but the- Keelah@crystyl:- purpose was designed to complement her own abilities" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros nods, "Do you think she can match the Architect now with this artifact?" Keelah@crystyl:"She certainly does, and I do believe she is capable of it given the right supporting circumstances. Hades' also gave us the means to contain the Architect" she taps her panel, showing a holo of the- Keelah@crystyl:- katric arc, "This is a similar device to one used by my own ancestors. It contains the katra - the soul or spirit - of a person. In this case, it is capable of containing the Architect - Keelah@crystyl:- indefinitely and with much greater security against accidental release than the Progenitors prison" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayd: "But we need some way to get him in there. I don't imagine he'll willingly lock himself away once Sin drives him out of his current body." Keelah@crystyl:"We still have a lot to figure out in the details, but there is denying that this search has rewarded us with some means that will be critical to that final solution. That is why we need the collective - Keelah@crystyl:- input of everyone here" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Well I'm no expert on telepathy, but we're going to have some of those coming in soon. The last batch of reinforcements are preparing to leave Vue-En, and among them are the forces the - NPC@annpc#557 - Trinity Alliance sent, including several of their Chlasi esoterics. If someone's got a way to get the Architect inside that box, it's them. And it'll be good timing too, because once they're - NPC@annpc#557 - here we'll be ready to make our full assault on the Architect's position at the centre of the Sphere." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Excellent new. And on the subject of reinforcements, we have additional elite ground forces ready to join us from Starfleet. Command has instructed us to open the gateway to Forged Earth to- Keelah@crystyl:- allow them through" NPC@annpc#557 | Celestina: "That's one of the ones you opened last time?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "That's right, yes" NPC@annpc#557 | Celestina: "Well, I was hoping for more of a fleet from your Star/fleet/, but elite ground reinforcements will do. Do you need us to ward off the - NPC@annpc#557 - Horde from investigating again?" Keelah@crystyl:"It would be helpful. As for fleet reinforcements, they are also standing by but we need to seize control and activate the larger gateways to bring them in" NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros: "We'll take all we can get right now. I'll have Guardians ships ready to intercept the Horde." NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Last time they backed off soon as I showed up with more forces. Hopefully with our strengthened presence, they won't even try. At least not by brute force. I suggest setting up a - NPC@annpc#557 - detection grid around each facility. If the Architect's going to investigate again, he's more likely to use stealth than a direct advance." Keelah@crystyl:"Sounds reasonable. What about other objectives? If we draw the Horde to these facilities it could open windows of opportunity elsewhere" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "Depends on if they're going to sneak people in to investigate with a limited number of cloaked ships, or if they'll divert a significant portion of their ships away. I'll have my attack - NPC@annpc#557 - ships ready in case there's an opportunity. Seizing the moment for a quick raid's a tactic I'm very familiar with," she grins Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Exactly. And it is possible that revealing somewhere else as an apparent true objective may create the illusion that all of our gateway activations are mere diversions in support of that" NPC@annpc#557 | Celestina nods, "If we can convince the Horde that we're drawing them away purely for the sake of launching a counterattack, that'd be best." Keelah@crystyl:"Then we will position ourselves to make such a move, and create every advantage we can from the situation" NPC@annpc#557 | Unwavering Defender: "I suggest that the Valley Forge not be the vessel present at the facility where your reinforcements are coming through. Doing so will further confuse the Horde of our - NPC@annpc#557 - motives." NPC@annpc#557 | Celestina: "We can pick up your people and meet up with you later to send them over. Our ships are large, more than big enough to hold however many come through, and there's no Iconian - NPC@annpc#557:- gates or facilities near Lodzki space. The Horde will not suspect that we're picking up reinforcements coming through a gateway. Just send one of yours over to me, so your people know we're on - NPC@annpc#557:- side when they come through. I know we 'ice giants' can look imposing to many outsiders," she grins Keelah@crystyl smiles, "I would hope these MACO's aren't so easily intimidated, but I get your point. We will accommodate by either withholding the Valley Forge or using it one of the false decoy locations" NPC@annpc#557 | Celestina smiles back, "I also hope they won't mind the cold as much, but they won't be staying long- we'll get them to you at the earliest opportunity, without making it clear what we're up to.â€ Keelah@crystyl:"Alright, we seem to have a plan forwards for the time being and cause to reconvene once Vora's reinforcements arrive next. Unless there is anything else to sort out here, or further elaboration needed - Keelah@crystyl:- on any aspect of our recent mission?" NPC@annpc#557 | The others share glances with one another, some remaining silent while others shake their heads NPC@annpc#557 | Issandros: "Looks like we all know what to do from here." NPC@annpc#557 | Celestina: "We'll make sure your people come through safely." Keelah@crystyl:"Then please do not me keep you all from your busy lives any longer, thank you again" she smiles, standing to leave herself. --- NPC@annpc#557 | Several hours later, Lycas, Mia and a few other Engineering and Science personnel work on reactivating the gateway to Forged Earth. Tall armed Lodzki soldiers in Cidrian colours stand by the - NPC@annpc#557 - entrances, guarding the facility NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas: "Have you completed the final diagnostics, Mia?" Mia@crystyl:"We have Professor!" NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas: "Thank you. How are the power levels, Chief?" NPC@annpc#557 | Lao: "All generators are online and at full capacity. Combined with the facility's power it should be enough to keep the gateway going for an hour." Mia@crystyl:"Then we should be ready to activate, non?" NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas nods, looking back to Mia, "Inform the Captain that we are ready to proceed. I will activate the gateway on her order simultaneously with the decoys." Mia@crystyl sends the message and nods a few moments later, "We have permission to proceed!" NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas nods back, stepping over to a nearby Iconian console and tapping on it. The gateway arches slowly rise of the ground, thudding as they stop in their fully extended state Mia@crystyl stands by and watches NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas taps again and the gateway flickers several times before displaying the Forged Earth gateway chamber on the other side, with a number of armed and armoured MACOs standing nearby. Four of - NPC@annpc#557 - them begin moving towards the gate and soon pass through. They take a look around before one of them signals back at the gateway NPC@annpc#557 | Three more MACOs step through, one of them taking off his helmet to reveal the characteristic ridges, white hair and moustache of an Efrosian NPC@annpc#557 | Efrosian: "Who's in command here?" NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas looks to Mia, "I hold the highest Starfleet rank, but you have a more senior administrative position on the ship." Mia@crystyl:"But we are officially a civilian, Professor. Are you quite certain?" NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas: "You have the memories of a Starfleet officer. Besides, the Captain often chooses you to introduce new arrivals to the Valley Forge. You are the most logical option for this task." Mia@crystyl beams, stepping over to Efrosian, "Very well! Allo, we are Mia and welcome to the Heart of War. We act as Capitaine Keelah's voice" NPC@annpc#557 | Efrosian: "An apt name for this Sphere, it seems. I'm Lieutenant Colonel Malix Ra-Zhoreii, commanding officer of MACO 4th Company Andromeda. A pleasure to meet you, Mia." Mia@crystyl:"We have limited time to maintain power to this gateway. We recommend expediting the transfer of your personnel. An allied vessel awaits to receive you all" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods to one of the MACOs beside him, who begins directing the rest of the company in through the gateway NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "The Valley Forge is preoccupied elsewhere, I take it?" Mia@crystyl:"It is serving as a decoy to buy us time to complete your transfer. It is a high priority target for enemy forces, so mon Capitaine deemed it unwise to send it to our true objective" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods, "I see. A smart decision. I don't suppose there's enough guest quarters on the Valley Forge for my entire company, but the idea is to set up a MACO forward camp in one of the - NPC@annpc#557 - Sphere's facilities and operate out of there, anyways. I'll sort out the details once I meet up with your Captain." Mia@crystyl:"How many people do you have to transfer?" she asks, watching the fresh meat pour through the gateway in the background NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "Eighty-one. Eighty-two, if you include the Counselor." NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas nods, "The gateway should be open for sufficient time." Mia@crystyl:"There should also be sufficient accomodations within the Valley Forge. At least as a rotational rear command so that your squad are not permanently sat in the forward camp!" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods, "Sounds like a good plan to me. I'll work out a rotational schedule after I've settled the specifics with Captain Keelah." NPC@annpc#557 | Two MACOs come through the gateway in the background, along with an officer not in armour, but in a blue-striped uniform Mia@crystyl tilts her head, noting the difference before looking back to Malix, "We surmise that this is the new transfer from medical, and not a member of your squad" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods, "That's correct. She's coming through with us, but she'll be staying on the Valley Forge." NPC@annpc#557 | The officer, who appears to be a member of the Haliian species, steps up to Mia and Malix, "Lieutenant Commander Jatila Kivar, Starfleet Medical." Mia@crystyl smiles, "Allo Ms. Jatila Kivar! We are Mia, representative of Capitaine Keelah for the welcoming committee!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "I've heard about you. You're the...Isomorphic lifeform, aren't you?" Mia@crystyl beams even wider at the recognition, "That is correct! You have clearly been studying!" looks her up and down, "And is this the current attire favoured back in the Federation core now? And we- Mia@crystyl -had such high hopes for a romantic revival of our era!" she giggles NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "I don't think we've had uniforms this colourful for over half a century now. But who knows, maybe someday." Mia@crystyl:"We continue to live in hope!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila looks around, "We'll be boarding the Valley Forge after all the MACOs are through, I assume?" Mia@crystyl:"Not immediately, non. The Valley Forge is serving as decoy alongside allied vessels at other locations in order to divert the Hordes attention from us here" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Ahh, that makes sense. We're waiting here until they come back, then?" Mia@crystyl points out the ice giants guarding them, "These are the Lodzki, their ship is waiting to transport us back to the command hub" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila peers over to the giant guards, "So these are the Lodzki...I hear they can live up to a thousand years. One of the many interesting species you've made friends with out here." Mia@crystyl:"Yes, we have met many interesting peoples out here! And many that you will soon meet once you board the Valley Forge no doubt" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "I look forward to it. I've read all your database entries and reports in preparation for coming out here- well, all the ones I had access to, anyways." Mia@crystyl tilts her head curiously, "Command did not provide a full brief for you?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Oh they did, but there were a few reports and details that were classified. Mostly things revolving around the Regulators, which I doubt I'd understand even if I had access," she - NPC@annpc#557 - glances around at the Iconian chamber, "Advanced alien technologies aren't my area of expertise." Mia@crystyl:"Ahh, yes that does make a certain sense. Our agreement with the Regulators is akin to old fashioned inter-business proprietary information use" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "They're an interesting people- they seem to have a very heavy-handed militant approach to things, a sense of duty that rivals if not surpasses our own officers, but their titles - NPC@annpc#557 - translate curiously to business titles in most languages. It may be a linguistic quirk rather than a cultural one. Still, their culture seems quite interesting." Mia@crystyl:"They are all very interesting! Oh, you should have seen the Lodzki's worlds; such beautiful and intricate architecture they have!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You had to talk them into evacuating their homes, didn't you?" Mia@crystyl:"Well, we did not personally do so. But that was one of our missions, oui!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "It could not have been easy for them. I hope they will be able to return there soon enough, and perhaps I'll get the chance to visit then as well," she smiles Mia@crystyl smiles, "That is our hope too!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You have a Lodzki on your crew, don't you? The one you took in after the whole murder case incident." Mia@crystyl:"Indeed we do! Many of the species we have encountered have ended up supplementing the Valley Forge crew" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I look forward to meeting them and learning about their cultures firsthand. I may not be an anthropologist by career, but I took quite a few anthropology classes when I was in the - NPC@annpc#557 - Academy and I've always enjoyed learning more about other cultures anyways. Besides, a Starfleet Counselor is basically half an anthropologist with how many different species we have to - NPC@annpc#557 - understand in order to work with them effectively." Mia@crystyl:"So you are here to assess the crew, a trauma specialist?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Not every single member of the crew of course, I can't do that on my own," she chuckles. "The officers in senior decision-making positions, my fellow counselors, and anyone else - NPC@annpc#557 - who might need my help." Mia@crystyl:"We are curious why you were sent here now. Has something happened to shake Command's faith in the extensive counselling team already on board?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I think it's mainly how that Architect got inside all your heads. Well, not yours specifically, but most of the other organic crewmembers. As for why now specifically, well, you've - NPC@annpc#557 - only managed to find and successfully activate this gateway to Forged Earth recently. They probably would've sent me as soon as they received your report on what happened with the Architect, - NPC@annpc#557 - but we're not so lucky to have access to your wormhole ship and her Observer pilot back home." Mia@crystyl:"That is true, so have you undertaken many assignments in such circumstances?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Not this far from Federation space, but I've worked in a lot of high stress wartime scenarios, including evaluating senior and command officers." Mia@crystyl:"What about family crews?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I've worked with some of those, though my work was mostly focused on the officers and enlisted personnel. But I've worked with family members as well, at least in the direct aftermath - NPC@annpc#557 - of trauma." Mia@crystyl chuckles, "Actually when we say family in this context, we refer to a crew that has come together to become a family of their own!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Oh! Well, I've known a few crews who have gotten fairly close to each over over their shared experiences, but I don't often work with long-range exploratory vessels like yours who - NPC@annpc#557 - have lived with one another for so long. At least, none currently operating in a long-range capacity. Most of the crews and officers I work with are either in the middle of a conflict - NPC@annpc#557 - situation or just came out of one." Mia@crystyl nods, "Then we ask that you keep mind of this fact as it may have more of an impact on your duties than expected" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods back, "Thank you for your advice, Mia. I'll be sure to keep it in mind." NPC@annpc#557 | Malix returns to the two after speaking with one of his officers, "Everyone's through and accounted for. We're ready to get underway." Mia@crystyl nods, "Very good. You hear that Professor? We can shut it down and evacuate now!" NPC@annpc#557 | Lycas nods, tapping the console once again and the gateway deactivates, then begins to retract NPC@annpc#557 | One of the Lodzki officers takes note and steps over as well, "Shall I signal the dreadnought to begin transporting?" Mia@crystyl:"Yes please, we should leave this facility before we draw attention" NPC@annpc#557 | The Lodzki officer nods and taps a communicator. Soon, the new arrivals and gateway activation team begin slowly beaming out... --- NPC@annpc#557 | Meanwhile on the Valley Forge... NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "Horde ships are beginning their advance towards several facilities once again." NPC@annpc#557 | TQ: "We are receiving a hail from Vora's baseship." Keelah@crystyl:"On screen" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora appears on the viewscreen, "As predicted, the Horde are moving ships to investigate. Looks like they're being more careful this time in their advance, but moving ships away from their - NPC@annpc#557 - defensive lines inevitably leads to some weaker points. I've found one that's optimal for a strike. I'm sending you the plan now." Keelah@crystyl:"Alright, sounds like a worthwhile action then. Do you want us to move in, or have it covered with your battlegroup?" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora: "I think the Horde'll be more likely to think the strike was our true intention if Valley Forge moves in at the centre of the attack force. I'll direct my ships to form up around you." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Very well. We'll make our way over now" NPC@annpc#557 | Vora nods, "Bring QanwI' along too, this is exactly what most Klingon raiders and raptors are made for. This isn't your classic Starfleet op. Get in there weapons blazing, do as much damage as - NPC@annpc#557 - you can. The Horde'll probably respond as soon as they're hit, so be ready to pull out when things get too hot. We're not going to hold anything- the point is to make the enemy hurt, nothing - NPC@annpc#557 - else." Keelah@crystyl:"Very well, we will do as you suggest" NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "Colonial Fleet and Toroki ships are forming up now. The QanwI' and Kayeri Vaj are also joining the battlegroup." Keelah@crystyl:"Relay the battleplan to the rest of the group and take us in" NPC@annpc#557 | TQ nods, "On it, Captain." NPC@annpc#557 | Fisher taps on his console as the battlegroup is fully assembled and the small attack ships and raiders move forward with the VF at their core... NPC@annpc#557 | Fisher: "Four minutes to arrival." Keelah@crystyl watches quietly while they approach NPC@annpc#557 | Soon, they begin to approach the weakened spot of the Horde formation and Vrolmacht announces, "Horde ships are already beginning to turn back from the advance. I estimate a five minute window - NPC@annpc#557 - to attack before we must begin retreat." Keelah@crystyl:"Then make the most of it" NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht nods, "Aye Captain." NPC@annpc#557 | Fisher: "Entering weapons range in twenty seconds." NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "Weapons powered and ready." Keelah@crystyl:"Commence the attack" NPC@annpc#557 | The VF's phasers light up all around them as the tightly-formed battlegroup suddenly expands outward like a swarm of bees, the various small attack ships forming into squadrons of their own to - NPC@annpc#557 - carry out attack runs on targets of opportunity. The area around them lights up with the flashes of weapons fire and explosions NPC@annpc#557 | The bridge rocks slightly as the VF takes a few glancing hits as the largest and most central ship in the group, but receives no real damage as most of the damage are being done by the allies - NPC@annpc#557 - against the Horde, whose ships are too preoccupied evading and trying to stay alive NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "Four Horde ships down. Five...six!" Keelah@crystyl:"Time to reinforcement?" NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "Seven minutes. I suggest we pull back in three." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Very well. Three minutes" NPC@annpc#557 | A larger Horde cruiser begins engaging the VF and the bridge rocks more heavily this time. The Kayeri Vaj however forms up alongside the VF, activating its tachyon beam to drain the cruiser's - NPC@annpc#557 - shields, supporting the allied cruiser as it normally does with the Thana. This support allows Vrolmacht to quickly finish the job with phasers and a torpedo NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "One minute. Shall I instruct the attack ships to begin reforming for the retreat?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "We're not going to gain any significant advantage in one minute, reform and pull back NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht nods and begins reforming the formation. Before long, the attack ships are packed tightly beside the VF again, with some of the more eager ones still taking potshots at the Horde NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "All ships accounted for. Ready to pull out on your command." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Proceed" NPC@annpc#557 | The formation retreats from the Horde formation. As they pull back, Horde ships can be seen in the distance returning to reinforce their lines, though they don't attempt to pursue or intercept - NPC@annpc#557 - the battlegroup, aware of the other Coalition forces on alert around the facilities who would no doubt make any short work of a counterattack attempt Keelah@crystyl:"What is the status of the other fronts?" NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "Only the Guardian and Lupan fronts had brief engagements before the Horde retreated to reinforce their lines when they noticed our attack. No losses or significant damage on either - NPC@annpc#557 - side. Eleven Horde ships destroyed here, with a further nine disabled or heavily crippled and multiple others with moderate to heavy damage. Minor damage on allied ships to two Toroki raiders, - NPC@annpc#557 - a refit Colonial Fleet Orion corvette and one of their salvaged Dominion attack ships. All in all a successful raid, Captain." Keelah@crystyl:"And what of the recovery team?" NPC@annpc#557 | TQ: "The Lodzki report that the gateway opening was a success and they have everyone on board the Spear of Cidria." Keelah@crystyl:"Sounds like time to regroup then" NPC@annpc#557 | Vrolmacht: "I recommend regrouping once we return the battlegroup to Colonial Fleet forces first. Then it will simply look like a simple rendezvous with various allied forces in the wake of a - NPC@annpc#557 - operation if the Horde happens to be watching." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Very well" --- NPC@annpc#557 | A short while later, the VF regroups with the Spear of Cidria without incident. The gateway activation team beams back along with the MACO leader and the new Counsellor NPC@annpc#557 | The doorbell rings as Keelah awaits in her ready room Keelah@crystyl:"Come in" NPC@annpc#557 | The door slides open and the Efrosian MACO leader and Haliian counsellor step through NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Do you want to speak with us one at a time or should we come in together?" Keelah@crystyl:"I'll catch up with you afterwards Counsellor. We have a large influx of MACO's so I am conscious to see to their collective deployment before squashing them all in here like sardines in a can" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I'll wait outside." She steps out as the MACO commander approaches Keelah's desk NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "Lieutenant Colonel Malix Ra-Zhoreii, commanding officer of MACO 4th Company Andromeda." Keelah@crystyl leans back in her chair, "Take a seat Colonel. Or is it Lieutenant in shorthand? I'm afraid the upper ranks protocols of the MACO's escape me as I have nobody of that rank under my command" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix takes a seat, "Colonel will do. It works the same way as your 'Lieutenant Commander,' though I believe the equivalent is that of your full Commanders." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "I had hoped as much. So, first off I should confess that my brief was, well... brief. I was told you were coming and little more. What orders were you provided?" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "Our primary objectives are to help you secure the Sphere and defeat the Horde, though I understand the two objectives are closely intertwined. We're to maintain a forward base inside - NPC@annpc#557 - the Heart of War until further notice. As commander of the company I have authority to allocate the teams of Andromeda company to assist Coalition efforts here as I see fit, but as the - NPC@annpc#557:- officer in charge of Starfleet operations here, you have the authority to counteract my orders or request specific deployments of teams. We are authorized to deploy outside the Sphere, with the - NPC@annpc#557:- condition that at least one team is to remain combat-ready within the Sphere at all times." Keelah@crystyl:"I see. I do hope Command gave you a realistic picture of the scale of things here..." NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "Of course. We've worked in a dyson sphere before. That's where our company received our name. You're aware of the allied assault on the Iconian dyson sphere during the war?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "I am, and were you aware how much larger this sphere is than any of those visited during that campaign? Ground mobility is not as straightforward here" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods, "I expect we'll primarily be deployed from allied vessels, and we'll be working closely with the Coalition here. I've also heard that there are sentient shuttlecraft aiding your - NPC@annpc#557 - efforts here. If we do require independent transportation, we may seek out one of those." Keelah@crystyl:"They are helpful" she smiles. "They can also keep you informed on which areas are clear for organic lifeforms" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "Perfect. Between them and the Coalition, we should have ample means of getting where we need to be. If an opportunity arises, we'll see if we can capture any shuttlecraft over the - NPC@annpc#557 - course of our missions so we have our own craft on standby if we ever need one in a hurry. Don't worry, I won't request any auxiliary craft from you. I've seen the reports and know you need - NPC@annpc#557:- everything you have. Speaking of- I'm commanding officer of Andromeda Company specifically, which means the MACO team currently on board your ship is still under your command structure. There - NPC@annpc#557:- shouldn't be any changes on your ship, you'll just have additional assets on the Sphere in the form of my company to deploy or request support from if you see the need." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "I was curious on that point, thank you for pre-empting it. As to capturing a small craft of your own, that would be prudent but you should be mindful of this Horde. We recently learned the- Keelah@crystyl:- hard way that they are prone to leave spikes and booby-traps on the ships they operate on the off chance that they get captured by us" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods, "Thank you for the warning. I'll make sure our tech specialists are very careful with anything we capture from the enemy." Keelah@crystyl:"As for your FoB, well, this foundry is the Coalitions FoB, so you may want to make this your primary. If you want to station yourself more centrally, then setting up office on this ship might not - Keelah@crystyl:- be a bad idea. But it is simply an offer, not an order" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix smiles, "Thank you for the suggestion. I was just about to ask for suitable base locations as well. This Foundry sounds like an ideal location for the forward base. I'm thinking to - NPC@annpc#557 - maintain an office on your ship and go between the two- my executive officer takes care of most of the day-to-day business of the company anyways, so she'll be remaining at the FoB most of the - NPC@annpc#557 - time." Keelah@crystyl:"It would be a good way to keep a finger on the pulse with the rest of the Coalition forces. Besides serving as the fleet command hub, we also have representatives from pretty much all other - Keelah@crystyl:- participating factions on board. Most of fleet cycles through this FoB too, but I'm sure as you get the lay of the land you will identify operational FoB's to deploy to with your squad" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "Sounds good. I'll have my XO get to work setting up on the Foundry while I settle in here. Mia, the one who greeted us when we came through, she's the one I should look for, correct?" Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, she can help you in finding your way around on the ship and pointing you to the right people" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods, "I'll look for her then, if there's nothing else?" Keelah@crystyl:"Just your initial orders to report to Dr. Meel. Just the usual new assignment medical catchups, but they are a high priority here as we also need to ensure that Command has set your inhibitors up - Keelah@crystyl:- correctly. Beyond that, I only have recommendations on people to consult with in preparation for your deployment here" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "Of course, I'll go see her immediately. Our medics have all been briefed on the signs of Horde influence and how to cleanse it and install the implants, but I'll have them speak with - NPC@annpc#557:- your doctor as well before they deploy. Nothing like firsthand experience, after all. What other recommendations do you have, Captain?" Keelah@crystyl:"To be clear, there is no doubt on the expertise and training of your medics. But you are the first people to join the fight using implants physically manufactured remotely back at the Federation - Keelah@crystyl:- core. We would be remiss in our duty if we do not ensure that they have followed the specifications correctly. As for recommendations; The Arshai Supreme Commander has been coordinating things here - Keelah@crystyl:- for me when we operate remotely, you may know her better as the 'Branded Lady'. She knows the terrain, the enemy, and the allies. I also recommend pulling Sergeant Daz' team in for joint training - Keelah@crystyl:- exercises as they have been working alongside the native species here to refine close combat methods to suit this enemy, I'm sure they've learned a thing or two about them that I never knew about - Keelah@crystyl:- put in my reports. And I'm sure Mia will encourage the same, but even if not for your own direct benefit I would like to see you introduced to Ensign Tierno from my own bridge staff. She was - or - Keelah@crystyl:- perhaps still is, for all I know - a candidate to join the MACO's, but since opted for starship fleet strategy. Nonetheless she has seen far more action than her age or rank would elude to; to the- Keelah@crystyl:- point of named blood-kin to Captain Vix' Honour Guard from the QanwI'. Captain Vix herself is also one of the most capable warriors in this campaign and may well have some potential targets for - Keelah@crystyl:- your squad to look at" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods and smiles, "Thank you for the recommendations. I'll be sure to seek them out and arrange for joint training exercises with them or their personnel if possible. It's always a good - NPC@annpc#557 - idea to know the enemy, and as skilled as my people are, everyone here certainly has an advantage in terms of experience with this specific foe." Keelah@crystyl nods, "There are holosimulations setup to introduce new combatants to the Horde and their methods, but I suspect Daz will take you through that just to introduce to them. They are - for the most - Keelah@crystyl:- part - nothing special in terms of combat ability. They simply embody the old adage of 'strength in numbers'. There are however a few rarer breeds within their ranks who can be quite problematic" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix: "I'll have my MACOs prepared for the eventuality that they meet them in the field." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Then don't let me keep you any longer as I know you have a lot to do" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix nods and stands, "It's good to finally meet you, Captain. I look forward to working closely together with you." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "As do I Colonel" NPC@annpc#557 | Malix turns and heads out and Jatila steps up towards the open door, "Should I come in now, Captain?" Keelah@crystyl waves her in, "By all means, sorry to keep you waiting. But I can't imagine troop deployments are particularly of interest to you" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles as she steps inside, holding a small suitcase, "No need for apologies. You're right, it's not my area of expertise, and I've already had a chance to catch up with the Colonel - NPC@annpc#557 - back at Forged Earth when we were waiting for the gateway." Keelah@crystyl perks a brow as she eyes the suitcase, "You know could have settled into your quarters first" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Oh, it's not that heavy. Most of what I need I can just replicate anyways. I just thought you'd want this," she opens the case and takes out a PADD, handing it over to Keelah Keelah@crystyl leans forward, taking it with a curious glance, "Oh, well thank you then" she gives it a cursory glance NPC@annpc#557 | The PADD contains a dossier NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://www.theorderofmidnight.com/storybook/m/41760224/viewthread/33575229-jatila-kivar/post/139746303#p139746303 Keelah@crystyl:"Huh. How interesting..." she holds it up side by side with one that was already on her desk before giving a content smile and setting them both down NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I wasn't sure if you've already received one, the schedule was pretty tight. No more than usual for my assignments, but usually there's more time before a gateway or wormhole-crossing - NPC@annpc#557 - assignment. Especially considering the time it takes for messages to make it out here even with your comm buoys, so it might've come in delayed." Keelah@crystyl:"Oh quite right, yes. Command was not able to send anything ahead beyond a brief message alluding to your assignment here" she smiles, standing, "Drink?" Keelah@crystyl has apparently been spending a little too much time with Mischa... NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Something warm would be nice. Lodzki environmental settings are too close to Andorian ones for my liking," she chuckles Keelah@crystyl:"Can't argue with that" she replicates a spiced tea for herself and a hot chocolate for Jatila before taking a seat on the sofa, inviting her to join NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila follows over, taking a seat on the sofa and warming her hands with her cup, "So, I assume the orders you received outlines everything about why I've been assigned here?" Keelah@crystyl:"They do" she answers bluntly NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "And I don't imagine you're particularly pleased about them. I know I wouldn't be if I were in your shoes." She takes a breath, "Let me start off by stating that I have no - NPC@annpc#557:- intention to interfere with the duties and judgements of your medical staff. I'm a psychologist, not a medical doctor. While I do know more about medicine than the basic first aid training, I'll - NPC@annpc#557:- never claim to know better than a certified physician." Keelah@crystyl:"I am glad to hear it, as I am sure Kazra will be. But you are to cast the Surgeon General's shadow of doubt across the mental faculties of my crew" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And you. I'll be honest with you Captain- I know you won't like it any more than you do now, but I can tell you're someone who appreciates honesty in those around you and I don't - NPC@annpc#557 - want to start us off on the wrong foot. The reason I've been given special dispensation is so I can make the final medical judgement on your mental state. I don't mean to cast doubt on your - NPC@annpc#557 - ability to command and I certainly don't intend to exercise my powers to interfere with your command- you're doing very well out here. But we both know you've been through a lot." Keelah@crystyl:"There is no denying that, which is why - in principle - I would not be adverse to you being on my crew. I have read your record and you are of a caliber that I might even have consider inviting to - Keelah@crystyl:- join us had you been available when I put this crew together to come out here. That is not the problem, the problem is the impact of the method by which you have been placed here. Because that - Keelah@crystyl:- kind of thing spreads like wildfire on a ship that is a close knit as this one has become. As well as making your job unreasonably challenging, it makes /my/ job unrealistically challenging - Keelah@crystyl:- because I have to firefight the impact of your arrival and keep my crew on task. This shoehorning of officers never works well, and it is not even necessary. By comparison; had the SG consulted - Keelah@crystyl:- with me, and offered to make you available to come out and support us in light of the circumstances here I could have gladly accepted and your arrival would then be viewed by the crew as a welcome- Keelah@crystyl:- addition to the team, not an outside interloper here purely to make trouble. Which sadly is the brush you have been tarred with, through no fault of your own" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila sighs and nods, "I understand. Unfortunately, it's out of my hands as well. I have my orders just as you have yours. We just have to make the best out of a bad situation." Keelah@crystyl:"And for what it is worth, I will do all I can to help. But I'm afraid I can not order people to adjust their feelings, so the burden will sit with you to win them over. That said, they are a loving - Keelah@crystyl:- family and if you are able to break down that barrier that has been forced around you by those who think they know best, they will welcome you as a part of that family. And I am eager to see some - Keelah@crystyl:- positive impact from your assessments and counselling" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I'll do everything I can to break the barrier and win their trust. Any suggestions on who to begin with first? You know your crew best, after all." Keelah@crystyl hrms, "I assume you have your own priorities for your actual evaluations. When it comes to integrating into the crew, Mia is probably the best friend you can hope for. She lives at the heart of the- Keelah@crystyl:- crew's social structure so if she is seen to welcome you, others will soon follow. Chief Tyr similarly so for the enlisted crew, and even though most of them aren't Starfleet; either Lendaria or - Keelah@crystyl:- Emma Ralde to reach the hearts of the Orions" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "It's a good thing I've already met Mia when I arrived, then. Thank you for the recommendations, Captain. I'll keep them in mind. Anything else I should be aware of here?" Keelah@crystyl:"I think we've already covered the biggest threats to your survival" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I'll get settled in and get to work, then." Keelah@crystyl:"I look forward to seeing what you make of it" she smiles. "And to seeing you beat this unfortunate start you've been forced into" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila stands, "I appreciate your understanding of my situation, Captain. Thank you." Keelah@crystyl:"As I appreciate your understanding of ours. Welcome to the Valley Forge Commander" --- NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila steps into the lounge, glancing around first before heading for the replicator Crystyl@crystyl watches from the corner of her eye, smiling a little to herself before turning and quite brazenly watching NPC@annpc#557 | Noticing Crystyl's gaze, Jatila heads over towards her, "Mind if I join you?" Crystyl@crystyl pushes a chair out with her foot, "I was hoping you would ask!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles and takes a seat, "Thank you. I'm Jatila Kivar. You've probably noticed that I'm new around here." Crystyl@crystyl:"What, the only Haliian on the ship, and not in uniform, and looking in every way like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole through the scrutinizing sideways glances of everyone in the room?- Crystyl@crystyl:- Nah, I thought you'd always been here!" she teases with a smirk NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila laughs, "I suppose I do stand out. Besides, this is a large ship, but you've no doubt gotten to know each other pretty well after all this time. Not to mention that you don't often get - NPC@annpc#557 - new arrivals, and definitely no Federation species since you set out." Crystyl@crystyl:"Which makes you currently the most interesting person in this room!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "That explains the attention. You're Crystyl, if I'm not mistaken?" Crystyl@crystyl leans back with an entertained expression, "And you're very well informed. Good, I like that" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "I've looked through everyone's dossiers, but it's still quite far from actually meeting you in person." Crystyl@crystyl:"Oh my! Does my reputation precede me? Now should I be flattered or frightened... hmm..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "From everything I've heard, definitely flattered. You were the new person on the ship once too though, weren't you? The Valley Forge picked you up on a rescue mission, I believe." Crystyl@crystyl:"Indeed they did, but even then I was never an outsider or interloper to them. Though I can see why you would seek me out on those grounds so soon after your arrival" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Yes, I imagine it must've been easier for you to fit in. But still, you had to find your place here once." Crystyl@crystyl:"That I did, but as happy as I am to recount my tale for you I fear it may not be overly helpful" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "What do you think might be, then? I'm told you know the crew pretty well, especially the enlisted personnel." Crystyl@crystyl hrms, "Well... what's your initial perception of things? That might give some clue as to how best you can proceed, depending on where you want to end up" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Well, this is clearly a very tight-knit crew. And add the fact that everyone sees me as an interloper, well...it's very difficult to get anyone to open up, and having trust is - NPC@annpc#557 - important for the work I do." Crystyl@crystyl:"Yes, if we could see the eyes boring into the back of you right now, you'd look like a piece of swiss cheese" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "No doubt...but you seemed interested to learn more about me. Or is that just a way to bore into me further?" she smirks Crystyl@crystyl:"You know my role on this ship, and just like the Captain no doubt sees happening with the officers, I have the same to deal with from the enlisted crew. They are all on tenterhooks because you were- Crystyl@crystyl:- sent here, and I'm the one they're going to start plugging for information. So if you like - yes - it's a way for me to bore into you further. But I prefer to think that I'm giving a new starter - Crystyl@crystyl:- a fair chance, and not prejudging the person just because of the circumstances that brought her here" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "For what it's worth, I apologize about the circumstances I arrived here under. I took this job to help people, not to get on their nerves. And I appreciate you wanting to give me a - NPC@annpc#557 - fair chance," she smiles." Crystyl@crystyl:"I can tell you that in their hearts; everyone else does too. It's not you they don't trust, it's the ones that sent you here. And I suspect that goes doubly so for the Captain" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Indeed. I suppose I'll have to prove that I'm different from the people who sent me here." Crystyl@crystyl:"If you can do it with Keelah, that's half your battle done. I'm assuming of course it was she who assigned you here" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "That's right. I don't know her particularly well, but I know her well enough to be aware of her relationship with Keelah." Crystyl@crystyl:"Perhaps the relationship on paper, but I don't think either of them truly knows their relationship particularly well" she leans in, "You can at least see why then, that the Captain is so put out by- Crystyl@crystyl:- all of this. To have her CO pull rank would be one thing, even a nameless Admiral from behind a desk back at Earth. But for own mother to do it in a way that even riled the Admiral up..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Yes, anyone would be upset in a position like that. And I understand that because I was the one who she assigned here, quite a lot of those feelings transfer to me..." Crystyl@crystyl:"It is not meant towards you, and that's what I want to help make clear" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "Thank you. I know it isn't, but it still makes things difficult. This may actually be one of my hardest assignments, and it isn't even due to challenging patients..." Crystyl@crystyl:"Oh I don't know, give us a chance! I'm sure we could be your most challenging patients if we really put our minds to it!" she laughs NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "I don't doubt that either. You have a very diverse crew with a few very unusual people." Crystyl@crystyl:"Yes, and that is something you might want to prioritize in your evaluations" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I'll be sure to keep that in mind. What about you, how are you faring with this change of pace? Your records show you had a fairly ordinary and quiet career before the incident - NPC@annpc#557 - when the Valley Forge rescued you, right?" Crystyl@crystyl:"Yes, but I'm hardly on the front lines like the senior staff. My job's no different than any other time really!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "True, you're not the one who has to negotiate peace between sentient starships or find a way to stop fleets of thousands." Crystyl@crystyl:"No, thank the stars! There's a reason I never converted to a commission you know; I'm perfectly happy looking after my little corner of things and knowing that my contributions count quietly in the- Crystyl@crystyl:- background" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You were recommended to get a commission and go into Counselling at some point, weren't you? Or am I mixing up my dossiers?" Crystyl@crystyl:"It was discussed" she nods, "But not my cup of tea. I do what I do, and I do it well because it's informal. I can talk to people as a friend and not in a professional capacity, which works for me" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Sometimes people do just need some caring and understanding friends to talk with them. You're doing well for yourself as you are. Who knows, if you had taken the commission, - NPC@annpc#557:- maybe you would've found yourself in my position instead. I think we can both agree that yours is better right now," she smiles Crystyl@crystyl:"Definitely. So what do you say; I'd like to be your friend here, but moreso I'd like to see you become a friend to everyone else. Sound good?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Sounds good to me! Thank you again, for giving me a fair chance." --- Emma Ralde@crystyl | Her search for key crewmembers, or priority targets depending on the perspective, finds Jatila crawling through jeffries tubes to reach the location where the computer insists Emma is Emma Ralde@crystyl | After winding around an endless labyrinth, she eventually reaches said room which appears to be a small service area, but it also seems to be empty when she opens the hatch NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila peers in, looking around for any sign of Emma Emma Ralde@crystyl calls down, "You alright down there? Looking a little lost" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Oh, so you /are/ here!" She looks up in the direction of the voice Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles and waves, sitting cross legged in a meditative fashion on the ceiling. From her perspective, she's looking up at the stranger NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila steps inside cautiously, "You're...on the ceiling?" Emma Ralde@crystyl | She would feel the shift in gravity as she enters the room Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Or are /you/ on the ceiling?" she teases in an annoying zen master kind of way NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila comes to a stop and smiles as she feels the gravity shift, "Ahh...it's one of /those/ spots on the ship." Emma Ralde@crystyl then giggles, "Yep, this is the sweet spot! Go ahead and push off, it's quite the soothing sensation" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles and pushes off, hovering her way up to the ceiling as well, "That explains why you're here. Come here to relax often?" Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I try and make a point of it everyone so often. And you are clearly not here for the same reason, so what brings a fresh faced blue shirt all the way down here?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I was looking for you. I'm sure you know who I am- everyone on the ship seems to, and not in a good way..." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Did you really expect anything more?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila shakes her head, "I'm aware of the circumstances I arrived in, and you have every reason to be upset or skeptical. Still..." she sighs Emma Ralde@crystyl:"If you want a miracle, you have to make one. There is nothing to be gained from letting yourself become despondent over an expected result" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I know..." She looks Emma over more closely, "Are you always the wise sage type, or is it just when you're in a sweet spot of the ship?" she grins Emma Ralde@crystyl leans back on her palms, "Huh... let's put it down to the sweet spot, not sure I'm ready for matriarchy just yet" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Guess there's something about sitting cross-legged on the ceiling. I should recommend people find these spots more often." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Yeah, but if you do that then it will get crowded. Some things are best left as a ship's harmless little quirks, you know" she offers with an extra wisdom'y smile NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "True. If there's too many people here, it'll ruin the serenity. If they even fit in such a small space." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Anyways, you were one of the Orions that joined the ship out here, right?" Emma Ralde@crystyl nods, "Is that why you've come looking for me then? Keelah's been busy bolstering her crew with untested locals, so now Starfleet wants to make sure we're up to spec and worthy of the uniforms she - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- bestowed upon us?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "No, if Starfleet wanted to do that, I'm sure they'd send someone with Academy training experience. I've given a handful of guest lectures, but I'm no professor. Actually, - NPC@annpc#557 - Keelah recommended I get to know you and Commander Lendaria because you're key members of the Orion community on board. But that's not entirely the reason I'm here." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila adds with a smile, "You're not quite an untested local, are you." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Of course it isn't. If you simply wanted to get the Orion vote, Lennie would have been the logical choice. She's a senior officer and Starfleet through and through, as well as being thick and fast - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- homegrown Orion legend. Whereas I am just me" she smiles, gesturing grandly NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Yes, her mother was one of the OSN's forefront leaders, wasn't she? That certainly makes her an influential person among them." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"It is more than that. Tabadi Mysti became a martyr to the cause for our people in their struggle to break free of Syndicate slave chains. Her name - even her former slave brand - have become - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- powerful symbols of freedom and hope to many" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "And Lennie has both of them. Well not the name literally...do you use family names? Most of the Orions I know have a single name or a name usually translated with a hyphen - NPC@annpc#557 - between the two parts. Is Ralde a surname of sorts, or simply a part of your personal name, just that you choose to spell it without a hyphen? Or is it one of those translation errors that - NPC@annpc#557:- just stuck?" Emma Ralde@crystyl:"It is a broken translation of my name which I have come to embrace. 'Emma' is not exactly Orion dialect" she chuckles, "As for our naming conventions, they are as widespread as our people are now. - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- Once there was a time when the dominant culture was High Orion. In that golden age it was more common for a given name to be paired with a House or Family name. Similar convention to Klingon, but - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- less focused on blood relation" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "But now that's not so common anymore after the Syndicate took over and High Orions became much rarer?" Emma Ralde@crystyl:"In a nutshell" she nods. "So we have established why you should have sought out Lennie for the obvious results. Though I am left wondering now why you felt drawn more towards me" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Well, you're more of an enigma. And what can I say...I like a good puzzle," she smiles. "You joined with the other Orions, but they're all civilian or enlisted while you have an - NPC@annpc#557 - officer's commission. And you have a pre-existing record in the Federation database from before you joined this crew, but even SFI personnel files have less redacted information than yours." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Sounds like the voice of experience. I take it then it's not just this immediate crew you've been doing your homework on" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I like to be thorough. I'm not here to examine them, but I thought I'd get an idea of their commanding officers, at least. If they /want/ my help I'll be more than happy to take the - NPC@annpc#557:- time to help them, but knowing Intelligence types...that's not too likely," she chuckles Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Indeed" she smiles. "As for me, well... that's a long story, and that you have already seen is classified beyond reach of most officers. Keelah even had to obtain special dispensation to be allowed- Emma Ralde@crystyl:- to view it. That said, it has been all but formally declassified as eyes-only to the extent of this crew" she makes a point of peering at Jatila's arm, "Unfortunately you don't seem to be a part - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- of it yet though. Quite curious since you've clearly aligned to the uniform dress code for the ship, and officially were part of the crew from the moment you stepped on board. So I wonder, is it - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- a decision to remind everyone that you are an outsider in order to maintain that position and keep people on their toes around you, or a gesture acknowledging that current status with a desire to- Emma Ralde@crystyl:- 'earn' that standing...?" she postulates out loud Emma Ralde@crystyl:"And wow, I need to talk to people in here more often. I'm liking this new zen me it brings out!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila laughs, "It's a nice private place to give people advice too. Maybe I should set up an office here. But yes, I suppose it's the latter. I wanted to wear your colours to fit in - NPC@annpc#557:- better, and I need to replicate a change of uniforms anyways as I just had the one I came in. Your crew is like one large family though, and it just...doesn't feel right wearing your emblem yet." Emma Ralde@crystyl smiles, "A fine show of respect to the people here and one I'm certain they will thank you for once they come to learn this for themselves. And you no doubt already know the unusual number of - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- telepaths and empaths on board, so I know you wouldn't waste your time trying to deceive anyone" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I'm an empath myself, I know that would not be a good idea. And I generally prefer to tell the truth, anyways," she smiles. "I also know the large number of Orions on board, and - NPC@annpc#557 - can't help but wonder that maybe they should've sent Layva instead." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"A colleague of yours?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "She's an Orion Counsellor. Specializes in relationship and family counselling, though. She'd fit in well with the family environment you have, though your crew isn't in much need of - NPC@annpc#557:- that type of counselling." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"And proportionately, we have a far larger counselling team already than most ships of this size" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I've served on Counselling departments on ships before I took this current posting, and they were all smaller than yours. Only the Aventine had a comparable team, and that was - NPC@annpc#557:- also a ship meant for exploration, and commanded by a former counsellor at that." Emma Ralde@crystyl chuckles, "That might explain something then. So let me ask you something counsellor; you have your orders that you were sent here with, and you are - presumably - aware of the underhanded - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- bureaucracy which drove those orders. You know the crew and its history - at least on file - so tell me; what is your purpose here, what is that /you/ strive to achieve from this posting?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I'm aware of the bureaucracy that brought me here, and I don't like it either. I don't want to be here to supplant your Counselling team's role. But the Surgeon General's office - NPC@annpc#557 - does have a point. You /have/ been through a lot, especially in this past year. I'm not implying that your counsellors can't handle it, and if they do need the help I certainly think there's - NPC@annpc#557:- better ways for them to receive it than this. Now that I'm here though, I'd like to do what I can to help you." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Good. Because I think we could use it. The problem with our counselling team now is that they are as much a part of the family as anyone else; they've shared the same highs and lows. Whilst that - Emma Ralde@crystyl:- does make them uniquely understanding for peoples mental states, it also makes it harder for people to discuss things with them and gain true insight. Having a stranger to confide in can sometimes- Emma Ralde@crystyl:- be good too in my experience" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "I'm glad you see the wisdom in it, Emma. I just have to gain enough trust so that people are willing to confide in me despite my being a stranger. Being forced upon your crew - NPC@annpc#557:- by admiralty certainly isn't the best of starts..." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"Which is why it is up to you to make your own miracle as I first said" she smiles, "These are good people, some of the best I've ever worked with and that's saying something. Their hearts are big, but- Emma Ralde@crystyl:- they're currently full of duty and caring for the entire galaxy. But there's still room in them for you as well, of that I'm certain!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You're all very nice people from what I've seen so far, and I can tell the crew is doing their best not to prejudge me based on the circumstances I arrived in. Thank you. I'll - NPC@annpc#557:- make sure to prove that you're right to give me a chance, and I look forward to earning your trust." Emma Ralde@crystyl:"I'll help however I can" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "Thank you, Emma." She looks around, "Now, how do I make my way back to the corridors..." --- NPC@annpc#557 | Over a day after Jatila's arrival on the VF, Keelah is picked to visit the Counselling office first in an empty slot on her schedule... Keelah@crystyl approaches the office and chimes the door NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "It's open. Come on in." Keelah@crystyl walks in and approaches, "I see you've managed to settle in nicely" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "I'm used to it by now. My job takes me to where I'm needed so I have to move around often," she raises an isolinear chip and smiles, "I bring around the stored replicator - NPC@annpc#557 - patterns of my preferred decoration to expedite the process. Everything's replicated, except the canar crystal," she motions to a crystal formation in a stand on the table beside her NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/memoryalpha/images/0/0b/Canar.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20170111101149&path-prefix=en Keelah@crystyl perks a brow, "Quite aesthetic. Is this the formation you use as a catalyst for your telepathic connections?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "That's right, though it does make for a nice decoration as well, doesn't it? Anyways, I hope I'm not taking too much of your time. I chose a spot on your schedule when you - NPC@annpc#557 - weren't on duty, but I understand you have a daughter on board and no doubt plenty of things to see to outside your role as Captain." Keelah@crystyl nods, "It is fine, and I appreciate your effort to minimize disruption" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Good. Take a seat, at the table or the sofa." Keelah@crystyl sits across the desk from her, "Thank you" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Your daughter, she just enlisted and became a cadet recently, didn't she?" Keelah@crystyl smiles proudly, "Yes, she is now an Engineering Cadet, 4th class" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "I'm sure she'll make a great officer, like you, or her father- Admiral Samuel Bishop, if I'm not mistaken." Keelah@crystyl:"That's right, yes" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I'm surprised Medical never sent any of us to his ship. He's had quite a history of getting himself into...predicaments." Keelah@crystyl:"I assume that's why he got promoted to a desk job; to keep him out of trouble" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Quite possibly, yes. Speaking of which- you're still a Captain by rank, but you've got the Intelligence ship and the QanwI' here, and now Andromeda Company all under your direction - NPC@annpc#557:- for the foreseeable future. You've been at the head of task forces before, but these usually last from a few days to a few weeks. Out here, you're in more of a permanent Fleet Captain role." Keelah@crystyl:"Actually the only one of those which actually reports to me is Andromeda Company who have just arrived, and don't have a ship. The QanwI' and Latenter are Starfleet assets but not in my reporting - Keelah@crystyl:- chain. To count them as such would be no different to counting the Colonial fleet support, or the Lupan packships here for example" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "So they're members of the Coalition overall, rather than under your command. You play quite a central role in the Coalition, don't you?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "I have been singled out as the lynchpin of it before owing to this vessels role in the formation of the Coalition, and my own diplomatic role in the various negotiations which have gone on.- Keelah@crystyl:- Though it is not a strict command chain, the Coalition leadership do look to me for overall guidance. The Chair of the Council, is perhaps the best analogy" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "A very major role to hold in such a large alliance. How are you handling it?" Keelah@crystyl:"I believe the results are quite satisfactory" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "As I can see from the Coalition's progress here. But it must have its difficulties too. Many starship captains already find the duties of command to be a heavy burden at times. I - NPC@annpc#557:- understand your crew have grown much closer than most and leading them may be easier than a new ship full of officers you hardly know. The Coalition on the other hand, everyone has the same goal, - NPC@annpc#557:- but they're not only so different, many of them were also at conflict with one another just before the Coalition was formed. Guiding a group like that can't be easy, and it's not something most - NPC@annpc#557:- captains ever expect to do." Keelah@crystyl:"That is why I never set out to lead any of them. I merely played my part as a diplomat when the needs arose, and as a result others have chosen to follow our cause. Everyone is here because they - Keelah@crystyl:- want to be here and to help, they follow because they chose not because I lead. That is why it is a perfectly manageable position" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Yes, that makes sense. You're filling more than just a diplomatic position out here, though. Negotiations, conflict, that's all a normal part of a Starfleet captain's job, but the - NPC@annpc#557 - Horde isn't exactly a normal enemy, is it? Yes, Starfleet has confronted some threats with similarities like the Borg, but even now when we know the Borg much better, and know how to fight - NPC@annpc#557:- coming face to face with something like that still takes a toll on many officers." Keelah@crystyl:"But you know the one key difference between the Borg and the Horde?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila shakes her head, "You and your crew are the ones who have had firsthand experience with them. I've only read your reports." Keelah@crystyl:"The Borg are honest. They approach, tell you they're going to wipe out your civilization and then proceed to do so. Quite courteous really all things considered. But the Horde, they weave their way- Keelah@crystyl:- into the minds of unsuspecting innocents from across the galaxy, turn them against their own to sow the seeds of chaos, and then sweep in to clear up after making a society tear itself apart" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "A very insidious method of operation, and one that must make fighting against them very hard, if everyone is already too busy fighting each other." Keelah@crystyl:"Which is what makes them so much worse" she nods, "But we continue to do so and draw ever nearer to ending their threat" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "This new leader of the Horde, the Architect- he almost embodies the dishonesty of the Horde, doesn't he?" Keelah@crystyl eyes narrow ever so slightly, "You refer to the fact that he played the part of an ally with us for so long before his betrayal" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "That's right." Keelah@crystyl:"Then yes, he does embody it. Not that the Horde wasn't insidious before, but with him at the helm it's like they are more intelligent with it" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "But your struggle against him is more personal than just stopping a threat, yes?" Keelah@crystyl:"His betrayal came at the cost of one of my officers' lives, and another who is still held hostage by him, so yes he made it personal" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "What about the betrayal itself? How he pretended to work with you for so long before he enacted his true plans?" Keelah@crystyl:"What can I say? That it's all taken in one big professional stride and to think nothing more of it? Nobody could say that honestly. I allowed him onto my ship, encouraged my crew to welcome him as - Keelah@crystyl:- a friend. I allowed him to maneuver into place for this and now I have lost a friend because of it while another hangs in the balance. Does this affect my judgement on the Horde threat? I do not - Keelah@crystyl:- consider it impaired, only channeled. To deny any such natural reactions would be illogical" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Indeed it would," she smiles. "Thank you for being honest about it. I'm more concerned about how he did what he did rather than what he pulled off. To have your mind dominated is - NPC@annpc#557:- certainly no pleasant sensation, but it's also unfortunately far from unheard of among Starfleet officers and a scenario that we counsellors are trained to prepare for. Being betrayed by someone - NPC@annpc#557:- you welcomed on board and must have trusted to some extent- that's something that's difficult to get over." Keelah@crystyl nods, "A process which can not even start until the situation is resolved and my missing officer is safe again" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "This missing officer- he's currently controlling her body, is that right?" Keelah@crystyl:"Yes, but we know she is not lost in there yet" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "So you believe there is a way to free her?" Keelah@crystyl:"It is only logical given the evidence to hand" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And if there isn't a way? What if it comes down to choosing between saving her or defeating the Architect?" Keelah@crystyl:"She is a dear friend of course, but a Starfleet officer as well. We all know that sacrifice is one we may one day have to make and she would not forgive us if we chose her over the galaxy" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "A logical choice as well. I hope it does not have to come down to that, though." Keelah@crystyl:"It is my job to make sure it doesn't" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "What about the other things that's happened out here? You had to destroy an entire star system to stop one of the Horde fleets you encountered. I don't have all the details of that - NPC@annpc#557 - report, but it could not have been an easy decision to make, even knowing that everyone remaining on the inhabited planet was already lost." Keelah@crystyl:"It certainly was not, and it was not a decision I took lightly. But again, when it came down to the facts on the ground; it was the only viable option" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And if you faced the same situation again, you would've made the same decision?" Keelah@crystyl:"Assuming the same set of extraordinarily unlikely variables, yes" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "You're very sure in your decisions. I can see why you make for such an excellent captain now. If the variables were different though, I would assume you would look for a less - NPC@annpc#557 - drastic solution first?" Keelah@crystyl:"As I did previously" she nods, adding, "Even when we did resign ourselves to that drastic action it was not before we did everything in our power to recover the resident population" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "What about the rest of your crew through all this? They seem to be in good spirits given the situation, but they must have had their ups and downs. Your shared struggles were no - NPC@annpc#557:- doubt an excellent bonding experience and one of the reasons you are so tightly-knit, but it must have presented difficulties as well, especially in the moment while they were experiencing - NPC@annpc#557:- everything that happened out here." Keelah@crystyl:"Of that I have no doubt, but they are all equally resolved to see this through for the greater good. Even moreso since experiencing forced influence for themselves. We remain highly conscious of - Keelah@crystyl:- situation and continue to pursue every opportunity to let everyone get away from the fighting. Not just R&R, but also to do their real jobs - to study and explore. It helps keeps a healthy balance" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Yes, I read the report where you sent teams out to explore the Sphere. That was how you ended up discovering the gateway that allowed us to come through, wasn't it? That was a good - NPC@annpc#557:- idea." Keelah@crystyl:"One that I can't take credit for, it was my senior staff who tabled the proposal" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "You have a very good senior staff as well then, Captain. This'll be all for today. I'll let you know when I need to see you again, and keep you and your department heads up to - NPC@annpc#557:- date on appointment scheduling. Feel free to call on me if you need anything." Keelah@crystyl nods and stands, "Very good then" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "I told you I'll try not to take too much of your time. Enjoy your time off, Captain." Keelah@crystyl smiles, "Thank you, and I hope you continue to settle in well" Keelah@crystyl turns to leave with that --- NPC@annpc#557 | Sometime later, Rianni's appointment in the Counseling office comes up... Rianni@crystyl chimes the door when she arrives NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Come in." Rianni@crystyl stands at attention NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "Relax, Ensign. No need to be so formal. Come, have a seat." Rianni@crystyl steps just inside, coming to a snap attention, "Ensign Rianni Tierno reporting as ordered, Sir- Ma'am... Sir? Right, sorry. Thank you" she makes her way over and sits a little less rigidly across - Rianni@crystyl:- from Jatila NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "I'm not calling you here to relieve you from duty or anything. You haven't shown any signs to be concerned about or made any mistakes, so there's no need to be so tense." Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "Respectfully ma'am I disagree. I recently learned - when the Latenter joined us - that I had grown a bit to complacent with the nature of relationships here and it was highlighted- Rianni@crystyl - to me by Commander Leveson-Scott that not everyone in Starfleet shares that informality, so it is always prudent to start off as formal as the situation calls for. It can be relaxed down from - Rianni@crystyl - there easy enough, but if you start casual it is much harder to build back up when formality is desired" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "That's true. But we Counsellors usually like to nurture a more casual and friendly atmosphere." Rianni@crystyl:"Yet you sit in a pristine office, formally behind a desk awaiting a scheduled appointment. That is not a casual picture" Rianni@crystyl catches herself, "I mean... in my opinion, not judging or anything!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "It's a good point. I don't know the crew as well as you know each other, so I wanted to start off more...official." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "My sentiment exactly. So... you said you're /not/ here to turnover the Captain's decision to expedite my graduation. Right...?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Not at all. You have more experience than most Lieutenants. If I had any say in the Academy system I'd commission you at Lieutenant Junior Grade. But your experience /is/ what I'm - NPC@annpc#557:- here about." Rianni@crystyl tilts her head curiously NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Well, you've been through a lot, and not just for a Cadet or Ensign. Being replaced for a year and kept in stasis, all the missions you've been on since coming out here with the - NPC@annpc#557 - Valley Forge, taking a central role in coordinating entire battles from your CIC, and from the latest reports, even commanding a ship of your own for a week." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I've met Captains twenty years older than you who don't have that kind of resume." Rianni@crystyl:"That last one wasn't by design by the way, but yes that sums up the circumstances. And was why my graduation was expedited. I can promise you that it is all real, and my personnel records haven't - Rianni@crystyl:- been mixed up with that of my future self or anything" she smiles a little, starting to relax it seems NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Don't tell me you've met your future self too..." Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "Oh no! That would be just silly! But she was here for a while commanding a version of this ship from a future where we initially failed in the campaign here and the Horde overran - Rianni@crystyl:- the galaxy. I wasn't here though, I was infiltrating a Terran Empire ship at the time pretending to be the me from that universe" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila narrows her eyes, "You've been through even more than I thought... It's not unheard of for Starfleet officers to encounter all sorts of strange and wonderful things in the depths of - NPC@annpc#557:- space, but you're still very young, and it's happened to you within a very short span of time." Rianni@crystyl nods, "I do not know what makes me special, or why the universe persists in putting me through so much. But this is how my Starfleet career has been ever since my first year as a cadet" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "As I can see from your dossier. So how are you holding up with all this?" Rianni@crystyl shifts a little, "I don't know. I guess it's hard sometimes, heavens know I have had my moments of weakness! But even when those come; they play out, I lean on others I trust, I learn and I move on" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "That's what the crew is here for. No one can manage everything by themselves. But your crew is close and here to support you when you need it, I imagine." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Very much so! Being away from my family was especially hard, particularly in light of what happened with the Junayd and what it put them through. But with all we've experienced here, this - Rianni@crystyl:- is just as real a family for me now as well" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "That's good to hear. Speaking of your family...the incident your mother was involved in, that happened while you were out here, didn't it?" Rianni@crystyl shrinks away a little, "Yes. One of the aforementioned moments of weakness on my part, I'm ashamed to admit..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila offers a reassuring smile, "No need to be ashamed. You're a living, breathing person, after all. It's only natural, anyone would be hit hard by such news, and the fact that you were so - NPC@annpc#557:- away must've made it harder." Rianni@crystyl:"What made it really hard is that we were being given the runaround by the Regulators at the time who forced us out of comms range with home. I only learned of the accident weeks later when I got - Rianni@crystyl:- flooded with messages from the family trying to reach out. /That/ is what hurt, and it took all my willpower to forgive them for it. Not like I could have done anything to prevent it, but it hurt - Rianni@crystyl:- not being able to be there for my sister" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I understand. You couldn't have done anything to prevent the incident in any case, but you wanted to be present for your sister, and the rest of your family. How are they holding - NPC@annpc#557 - up now, if you don't mind me asking?" Rianni@crystyl:"There say time heals all wounds, but I disagree. It just makes them more distant and dull. My family have moved on with their lives, but there is a still big hole in those lives where my mother - Rianni@crystyl:- should be and nothing will ever change that" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I'm sorry for your loss. What about you, are you moving on too?" Rianni@crystyl gives a confident nod, "I won't pretend it's not difficult to revisit the memories sometimes. But as we've already discussed, it seems to be my lot in life to grow up quickly. So I have done" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "It certainly seems to be. Your work in the CIC here, how do you feel about that? It's a big task, coordinating fleets in battle, but I hear you have a particular talent for it." Rianni@crystyl:"One of the traits I owe to the Junayd and my connection to the Observer, I think. Though she claims to get it from me, but I don't know. It started as a little side project that I pursued alongside- Rianni@crystyl:- my studies in advanced fleet deployment, strategy and tactics. After developing the concept we found ourselves in a situation here where I thought it could be beneficial, and so we cobbled - Rianni@crystyl:- together a rough implementation of it on the secondary bridge. From that success, we have more actively pursued its development and continue to do so. Whilst it has proven... difficult to find - Rianni@crystyl:- others with the right aptitude for it - by which I mean they think like I do, not like any is literally 'right' or 'wrong' - but it has not been impossible and others have successfully used the - Rianni@crystyl:- system too" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "But you're the original pioneer, and still the one it's best suited to." Rianni@crystyl nods, "The core system is still essentially my idea to accomodate my way of working, so yes I generally get better performance than anyone else with the system" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "That makes sense. And I've heard you've coordinated quite the successful battles with the system." Rianni@crystyl smiles slightly, "Well I mean, I wouldn't say we won directly /because/ of the CIC or anything... but I like to think that it helped in some small way; saved unnecessary use of some munitions, - Rianni@crystyl:- maybe kept a few ships in better shape than they would have been. I'd like to imagine it helped saved lives too, but I'm not that presumptuous" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "I'm sure it was helpful, otherwise Keelah wouldn't have kept it around and continued to use it into further battles." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "I like to think so! Even though we can't implement the full concept here, I'm still developing it all the time with T'Pia! We're trying to reach a maturity with the system that she include- Rianni@crystyl:- it with her projects in starship design. And sometimes in doing that work, we find improvements that actually can help with the system here too!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You must find quite a lot in common with T'Pia. You've both seen a lot for your age." Rianni@crystyl:"Her even moreso. But yeah, since we're around the same age we've always been very close" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "It's always good to have close friends. What about your recent unplanned stint at ship command? Commanding a ship is very different from what you do in the CIC or at the - NPC@annpc#557:- tactical station." Rianni@crystyl nods, "And it was very different to my training shifts on the bridge here, or the night shifts I've taken to clock up hours in the chair" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "How did you feel about it? Challenging? Did it push you beyond your limits, or do you think you handled it well?" Rianni@crystyl:"It was /definitely/ challenging. But I did what I had to in order to get my crew back safely, I knew I couldn't let them down or I'd never be able to face that chair again. So I did my best to be - Rianni@crystyl:- the Captain they needed to be. Then... we got home, I sat down with the Captain and cried for a solid 5 minutes..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila gives another reassuring smile, "Well, everyone made it back, so it sounds like you did well. It's normal to be overwhelmed after a difficult situation. That doesn't make you weak. - NPC@annpc#557:- That just makes you normal. And people need that in a good leader. Even the strictest, most formal Captains, if they're a successful CO, they still show that at times, they're still a person. - NPC@annpc#557:- And that's a good thing, because someone tries to pass off as an infallible hero, the moment they make a mistake or show any sign of despair, it wrecks everyone who follows them." Rianni@crystyl nods, "I do understand that, and it's so much that I felt weak or inferior. More like... overwhelmed and underprepared. The crew I had were all way out of their depth so - besides Emma - I knew - Rianni@crystyl:- at least as long as we were there, that they needed me to be a rock and source of confidence for them, because they were filled with enough doubt from the circumstances and their own perceived - Rianni@crystyl:- inadequacies. It was a lot for me, too much really. But that doesn't mean I'm not proud of the achievement, and went straight back to command the ship for the trip home again once we'd reunited" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "That's why I wanted to check up on you. You're a talented officer as your record clearly shows, but it's hard for someone at your age to be prepared, for command or all the other - NPC@annpc#557:- things you've gone through. But you've done very well for yourself so far, made it through all these difficult circumstances. That'll be all for now, but if you ever want to talk about something - NPC@annpc#557:- that happens, don't be afraid to stop by my office," she smiles. "Or book an appointment, if you want to continue starting formal," she adds with a smirk Rianni@crystyl:- at least as long as we were there, that they needed me to be a rock and source of confidence for them, because they were filled with enough doubt from the circumstances and their own perceived - Rianni@crystyl:- inadequacies. It was a lot for me, too much really. But that doesn't mean I'm not proud of the achievement, and went straight back to command the ship for the trip home again once we'd reunited" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "That's why I wanted to check up on you. You're a talented officer as your record clearly shows, but it's hard for someone at your age to be prepared, for command or all the other - NPC@annpc#557:- things you've gone through. But you've done very well for yourself so far, made it through all these difficult circumstances. That'll be all for now, but if you ever want to talk about something - NPC@annpc#557:- that happens, don't be afraid to stop by my office," she smiles. "Or book an appointment, if you want to continue starting formal," she adds with a smirk Rianni@crystyl smiles, "I have preferred the more casual approach ever since we settled on Belyia" she stands, "You know, I sort of understand what it's like being lost in a crowd. If you like, why don't you join- Rianni@crystyl:- me and Emma for drinks some time?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I'll certainly take you up on that offer. Until then, Ensign." Rianni@crystyl smiles and nods, "Until then!" giving a little wave as she heads out --- NPC@annpc#557 | Now, it is Sin's turn to be called to the Counselling office... Sin@crystyl isn't as punctual as many of the others, but shows up eventually, chiming the door NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Come in." Sin@crystyl strolls in, "So you're the here to make me look good" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "That depends on you. So, you're Ensign Sin." Sin@crystyl nods, "That I am, and you have already done so whether you know it or not" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Oh? You mean my calling you to the office like every other officer, even calling you here earlier than some who are much more senior than you?" Sin@crystyl snorts, "Nice try Starfleet, but no. I mean your arrival! With everyone focused on you as the new bad guy, that takes the last bit of attention any of them still holds on me! So I assume I'm here to - Sin@crystyl - repay the favour. That's how this works right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Actually, I'm here to evaluate you. As I understand it, you're fairly central to this plan to wipe out the Horde for good, but you're also a...bit of a wild card," she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila adds with a smirk, "But I wouldn't mind any tips you have." Sin@crystyl:"Only a bit of one?" she chuckles, sliding into a chair and stretching her legs out to one side with a mutter, "Must be losing my touch..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Well, Keelah saw fit to give you that uniform, after all," she grins and closes her computer, "I've never met any Ocampa, you know. Though I imagine most of your people are quite - NPC@annpc#557:- different, from what I've read at least." Sin@crystyl:"Different to you, or different to me?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Different to both of us, I'd say. I meant you, though- both in personality and telepathic prowess." Sin@crystyl:"It is true that I never exactly fit in with my own kind. Why else use up this short life of mine by roaming the galaxy with everyone else?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I thought as much. What about here? You're quite different from the typical Starfleet officer- or enlisted, but you seem to have settled in here." Sin@crystyl:" 'Settled' is a strong word, and it sends a shiver down my spine. I came here for a simple job, I got the Horde. Not to mention a telepathic summons, I suppose that's when I really resolved myself to- Sin@crystyl:- join you guys" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And once the Horde is gone? What do you plan to do then- continue your Starfleet career, or go back to wandering the galaxy as a bounty hunter?" Sin@crystyl:"I assume I'll be gone by then" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Why's that? I know your lifespan isn't very long, but the Coalition is making good progress here. You may very well live to see past a victory here." Sin@crystyl:"And the more my people spend time away from our home, the more it seems we are capable of living longer. But there is the whole ascension thing, and that ties in much more closely to this whole - Sin@crystyl:- I'm meant to play in the grand plan here" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "And that's not quite my area of expertise. A matter of personal curiosity though..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila stands, picking up the canar crystal and setting it on the table in front of Sin Sin@crystyl watches, "If you're after my opinion, I prefer reds" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "I can tell from your uniform. But no- put your hands on it and stretch out with your telepathic abilities. Does it extend your reach and help you focus?" Sin@crystyl:"Oh this is one of /those/ crystals! Alright, let's see..." she reaches out for the crystal first, then closes her eyes in focus as she tries NPC@annpc#557 | Sin does indeed feel more focused and has her reach extended! It's far from as drastic as the improvement she feels when she puts on the necklace Ketkolep gave her, but there is certainly a - NPC@annpc#557 - small improvement Sin@crystyl leans back after a moment, "That actually does help a little. I assume this is something you use for the same purpose, and not just decor then?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles and nods, picking up the crystal and putting it back where it was before, "That's correct. I wanted to see if it has any effect with you; it helps most telepaths to different - NPC@annpc#557 - degrees, but it was designed for my people." Sin@crystyl:"Sort of like the necklace Ketkolep gave me to help take down the Architect" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Exactly. You prefer sitting here, or do you want to come to the sofa? I have a feeling you usually like a more casual environment." Sin@crystyl stands and joins her, "Cosy works for me!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles and sits down on the sofa, "Thought as much. So, tell me more about how you settled in here. It must have been a significant transition, from bounty hunter to Starfleet officer." Sin@crystyl:"Eh, I don't know. I mean I was here for a good while /as/ a hunter. So by the time I made my decision I was already acclimatized really" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "And this crew has recruited locally, so having someone who doesn't conform perfectly isn't something particularly new, I imagine." Sin@crystyl:"I suspect it was a necessity of the mission before they set out; knowing they have to be adaptable and not all... Starfleety" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "Indeed. But you began by infiltrating the crew- that's a different start than most of the new recruits. How did you go from that to Ensign?" Sin@crystyl:"This was the rank and position I infiltrated as. I guess when everything eventually got settled, it just made sense for me to stick with it. After they made me formalize it with some of that - Sin@crystyl:- stupid academy fastrack stuff for short lived species" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Ahh yes, I've heard of these programs. But why did Keelah allow you to formalize the rank and stay as a member of the crew? I imagine most Captains would give a brig cell instead of - NPC@annpc#557:- quarters to an infiltrator they found among their crew. Was it just because of the telepathic summons, or was there something more?" Sin@crystyl:"No, I think that's all it was about. I did spend a good while locked up in there. But ultimately a starship brig is not a long term prison, nor is a ship like this geared up to handle stuff like - Sin@crystyl:- that. So then it becomes a simple choice; kill me, dump me somewhere, or let me in. Given that her Starfleetyness rules the first two out, it was a no brainer really" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "And now you've proven to be an integral member of the ship. Well you offered- how did you end up gaining their trust after the infiltration you pulled off?" she smirks. "The - NPC@annpc#557:- telepathic summons explains why they kept you around, but as you said, the crew sees you as one of their own now, not a useful but potentially dangerous person." Sin@crystyl:"Oh come on, they see me as potentially dangerous too. Don't they...? Well, they did for a while at any rate. I was the biggest of pariah's; a constant reminder of betrayed trust. But turning back - Sin@crystyl:- on my original job out here went some way to it. After that, it took a /long/ time, I don't think it was really until after Belyia that they really accepted me. But that place changed us all" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Yes, I've heard quite a lot about Belyia. Tell me more about it." Sin@crystyl:"It was a paradise for a while. Once you got over the lack of amenities. And plumbing..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I can imagine on a place like that. But the planet had its benefits as well, didn't it?" Sin@crystyl:"For some more than others, and for me most of all it seems. I was isolated from everyone else for the most part so had no idea they were even there. I lived there for so long adapting to my new - Sin@crystyl:- life and trying to figure out where I was and how I got there, that it became a welcome norm. The effect was like your little crystal there, but exponentially multiplied" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And how did that change you, help the crew accept you?" Sin@crystyl:"Well eventually they did find me. It... wasn't a smooth reunion. But once we settled things there I turned the resources of my Empire to helping them figure things out. In the end, my forces were - Sin@crystyl:- quite instrumental in protecting the realm and by the time we found our way back out of the place we had become a family" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "That's good to hear. You were on Belyia for a long time, weren't you? At least a long time on the planet's time, quite a bit shorter out here as I understand it." Sin@crystyl nods, "Yes, it was on it's own temporal plane or something. But it was a very long time; long enough for everyone on the crew to think more about how they were going to settle down and live out - Sin@crystyl:- their lives than how they were going to get back. And at that time, we'd spent longer together there than we had on this ship beforehand. So you can see how that became the catalyst for the - Sin@crystyl:- transition from shipmates to family" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I certainly can. Unfortunately, I don't have a pre-warp planet with mysterious properties to be trapped on," she grins Sin@crystyl:"Nope, so you'll have to do this the hard way like I did at first!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "I suppose so. Anyways, how do you feel about your role in all this? The telepathic summons, being expected to help defeat the Architect and the Horde...clearly everyone here - NPC@annpc#557 - wants that, but it must be a big expectation still." Sin@crystyl:"Yeah... you're not wrong. I guess I'm ready for it, taking down the Architect is just a step on the way after all; not the endgame. Not for me anyway. I'm more mindful of what happens to me after" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "This 'whole ascension thing' you mentioned earlier?" Sin@crystyl nods, "I... feel that the stronger my powers grow, but closer it gets. And it's been alluded to by the likes of the witch" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "It's like death for you, but...different, isn't it? We all fear death to some extent because we don't know what lies beyond it, but at the same time, it's an inevitable thing." Sin@crystyl:"But this isn't inevitable, and it isn't death. All Ocampa die, but ascension is like a ghost story or something. It's mythology, and that's not supposed to be real! At least death is generally - Sin@crystyl:- known to be the accepted end. But this? This is cutting a short life even shorter, and for something completely unknown that could sneak up on me at any time" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "So could death, for any one of us. But I understand what you mean, this is even more unknown than death. Your people aren't the only one to have myths about it, but they are usually - NPC@annpc#557 - regarded as just myths and little more." Sin@crystyl:"Yeah, it's not exactly a well documented thing. I'm just not sure if I'm ready to turn into an explosive ball of light. Fun as it sounds, flesh is fun too and I don't want to give that up!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "It's difficult to prepare for something like that, and I certainly don't have any firsthand experience. But if you want to talk about it anytime, feel free to come by here," she smiles Sin@crystyl:"And if I ever figure out what to think about it so I have something to say, I'll be sure to do just that" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "No rush, Ensign. I'm sure you have a lot on your mind right now. Go on, don't let me keep you." Sin@crystyl stands, "Fair enough, is this a one time thing then or do I have to start clearing my schedule regularly?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You've settled in well, much better than I anticipated, actually," she smiles. "I don't think you need regular Counselling. You are clearly troubled by this ascension, but that's only - NPC@annpc#557:- to be expected in your situation. We'll do our best to help you through it, so if you do figure out something to say, feel free to come to me or any of the Counsellors you have on board." Sin@crystyl:"Will do. See you around then!" she chirps and heads back out --- NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila steps into the lounge to meet with Rianni and Emma for drinks... Rianni@crystyl & Emma sit at a table, clearly relaxed and enjoying a lively atmosphere as Rianni waves with a bright smile, "Over here Jatila!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila steps over, "Sorry, I didn't have time to replicate anything fitting for the lounge yet, so I just came in my uniform." Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "It's not exactly a requirement!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles and takes a seat, "Your uniform is pretty nice, with the skirt and heels. Works just as well in here! Rianni@crystyl looks to Emma in a moment of realization, "Ohmygod, is that why it's like that?!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma laughs, "Maybe, who knows! Keelah's not exactly your regular Vulcan! Anyway-" she turns to Jatila, "-first things first, you need a drink. It's the law" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Any recommendations?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Well we do have a favourable selection of genuine Orion wine on board. That, or the Olelian stuff's good. Or there's always local options" Rianni@crystyl points out the bottle of Orion wine the two are already sharing, "We favour the classics!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I'll give it a try! I've always enjoyed the Orion wines I've tried before." Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles with approval, leaving to get an extra glass Rianni@crystyl:"So how are you settling in now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Well, I don't think I'm really one of you yet, but that's fine. I don't expect to be accepted right away or anything, but I /think/ people are staring less daggers now that I'm - NPC@annpc#557 - getting to know them a little. It'll take a while before it goes away completely, but in the meantime, as long as I get /some/ people to trust me, I should be able to do my work and hopefully - NPC@annpc#557 - be of help to a few of you," she smiles Rianni@crystyl:"A few of /us/ you mean" she smiles, "First step might be to stop referring to yourself as an outsider and the crew as a separate group of people to your own!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back and nods, "Good advice. I'll be sure to keep that in mind!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma returns and fills the glass for Jatilaa, "There you go!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Thank you, Emma!" She takes a sip and nods, "This is good wine. One of the authentic stocks you received and not replicated?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles and nods, "Of course! We like to treat ourselves every now and again" Rianni@crystyl smiles, holding Emma's hand across the table, "That we do" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles as well, "Let me guess...from the OSN ships that arrived here to support the Coalition? Or did you have stocks on Vue-En as well?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "A bit of both, but this is the stuff the OSN brought. Vue En only has very rare vintages of the real thing these days, more commonplace to see it's own blends. Which are good, but... it's - Rianni@crystyl:- not this" she smiles, raising her glass before sipping NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Nothing quite like the original, is there?" she grins Rianni@crystyl:"So we were talking before you got here and we have one rule for tonight" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Other than drinks being mandatory?" she smirks. "What's that?" Rianni@crystyl:"Oh right! Ok, two rules then..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma snorts: "For now, make sure you don't lose count!" Rianni@crystyl pokes her tongue in response, "No, rule /2/ is this: no talk about either of us, only you Jatila" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila pouts, "And here I was wondering if I could shed light on those hidden parts of Emma's dossier..." she chuckles. "Fair enough. So...what should we start with?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma chuckles, "We just thought that you've probably spent every moment since you first got this assignment either reading, thinking or talking about everyone here. And every moment since talking- Rianni@crystyl:-to everyone about themselves. So we figured you deserved a break from that and so we want to get to know you a little better!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila takes another sip of her drink and nods, "You have me there. Well, have you ever met with counselling specialists from medical? As in those of us who report directly to Starfleet - NPC@annpc#557 - Medical, not your shipboard or station counsellors, which of course you've met with." Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, looking back curiously NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "Let's start with what I do, then. You can probably guess that the specialist part means we're analogous to medical specialists- like neurosurgeons who almost exclusively work - NPC@annpc#557 - with brains compared to a general practitioner. Most specialists tend to spend the majority of their time in one facility and have patients who require their expertise transferred to them. - NPC@annpc#557 - That's where we work a little differently." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh yeah, there were those counsellors on the starbase I had to see after I was returned from the Junayd. Though... I'm not sure if they were specialists or just regional office based..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I suspect they were regional-based. We specialists aren't usually sent out for a few patients. If it's a small volume, these patients are usually directed back to our own office. Some - NPC@annpc#557 - specialists, mostly in my specific field, are sent out. That's because when a conflict breaks out, it's impractical to send every patient that needs us back to our office, both because there's - NPC@annpc#557:- far too many and because some of them are still capable of performing their duties and needed in their roles while undergoing counselling, so we're sent out to the front lines instead." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Sometimes, that means being posted on a starship or a starbase for a while, like I am now." Rianni@crystyl:"Makes sense. and yeah, they probably were regional. I just know they /really/ wanted to convince me I should resign my commission and go spend time with super-specialists back on Earth" Rianni@crystyl | Emma ahems Rianni@crystyl:"Oh, sorry! So, um... oh I know! What do you prefer then; starships, starbases, or the home office?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I...would have to say starships, because that's where I started out. And I think most people joined Starfleet for a want to roam the stars and see the galaxy. Earth is a wonderful - NPC@annpc#557:- place, don't get me wrong, and some starbases can be nice. But starbases on the front lines tend to be miserable, and seeing as those are mostly the ones I worked on...I wouldn't recommend them." Rianni@crystyl:"Ooh which starbases have served on then?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Oh because you've served on so many too..." she smirks Rianni@crystyl:"Hey, it's not impossible!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Let's see...I've been posted on 58, 621 and Deep Space 5. We used to frequent 73, 157 and Deep Space K-7 while the Klingon War was going on, too. Those were visits, and before I was a - NPC@annpc#557:- specialist too, but it was more than enough to get the atmosphere of starbases during times of conflict. And I was on Earth Spacedock for a few weeks during the reconstruction." Rianni@crystyl:"After the Iconian war, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "After the Undine attack. I suppose it could be seen as an extension of the Iconian War, though. We had to evacuate the ship I was serving on above Sol after it took extensive damage - NPC@annpc#557 - from the Undine and ESD approved for me to lend a hand there briefly as I was between assignments." Rianni@crystyl:"Was that what made you choose your specialization then?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Yes, but I didn't become a trauma specialist there and then. I was assigned to the Aventine after then, an exploration ship like yours, though not on a long-range mission at the time. - NPC@annpc#557:- She was operating not unlike the Valley Forge before you took this mission, undergoing more local, short-range explorations on the edges of known space. I chose the specialist posting when the - NPC@annpc#557:- Iconian invasion began; when their own ships started showing up across the galaxy. I thought it was the best place my skills and prior experience in the war with the Klingons could be used." Rianni@crystyl:"I can see now why you chose your field. It's not easy to lose a ship is it" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "That it isn't. I lost two, actually- the Courageous to the Klingons and the Tupac Inca to the Undine. Fortunately most of the crew managed to make it out in both cases, though." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "That is good then, and by far the important thing!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "Indeed. Courageous was part of a task force and the other ships managed to pick us up quickly, and being just above Earth certainly helped in the Tupac Inca's case." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "So what about home? Lot of fleet folks tend to spend their whole lives floating around and never really having a place to call home. You sure fit the criteria with all those assignments" Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "Almost sounds like more than you- ow!" absently rubs her shin for no apparent reason while pouting at Emma Rianni@crystyl:"I mean, um... sounds like more than your average officer, yeah!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila laughs, "I do have a family home on Halii where my parents live. I visit when I have shore leave, but I probably spend most of my time out on assignments or in my office on Earth." Rianni@crystyl:"What did they say when you told where you were going this time?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "My parents? Well, they were quite interested to hear all about it when I get back. There's a lot of new and interesting things out here, after all, and most of my previous work tended - NPC@annpc#557:- be around the Federation border but not too far outside it." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And of course they said the usual well wishes and be carefuls," she chuckles Rianni@crystyl:"Well this certainly constitutes far outside it now!" she chuckles Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Truth is, much as we get the occasional comms influx from home, we don't really know what's being said about our work out here now. We figure the Federation must have had to acknowledge - Rianni@crystyl:- the mission is out here by now, but to what extent? Are they telling people about the Horde and the war out here at all?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Well it's not being widely broadcast through media, unlike the Iconian War and more select knowledge to the general populace, but it's fairly known within Starfleet. Ships along the - NPC@annpc#557:- rim-facing border are beginning to have their crews equipped with implants if the Horde come this far, along with a number of other crews which Starfleet intends to send through the ship gateways - NPC@annpc#557:- as soon as they're open. It's not unlike how things were before the Iconian War, actually. It's not classified knowledge but not common knowledge either, though most people in the fleet know - NPC@annpc#557:- something is up and that Starfleet's gearing for potential conflict." Rianni@crystyl:"That's probably for the best. I'd hate to think of everyone back home worrying and not even being able to do anything about it" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I think the only people who are worried are the Admiralty and some COs, but they are doing things about it- in preparation for it, at least. Most officers don't know the details, just - NPC@annpc#557 - that we're preparing for something. There's been an increase in fleet exercises, and rumours are starting to spread from the crews already equipped with implants, but I didn't find out all the - NPC@annpc#557 - details until I got this assignment and read your reports." Rianni@crystyl | Emma hrms, "I hope we get it resolved before panic spreads over another conflict" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I hope so too. The last thing we need is everyone on edge about another conflict." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Exactly my point" Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Don't worry, after our last mission I'm sure we're close now!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "And hopefully the MACOs I came through with will help contribute to that end as well. Starfleet's been outfitting the most combat capable ships we have in the vicinity of - NPC@annpc#557 - the large gateway in Romulan space, and so have the Romulans I believe. It's probably not going to be of much help here unfortunately as I understand you can't get the ship gateways open - NPC@annpc#557 - without disrupting the Architect's control and doing that too early might cause more problems than it resolves. But the ships in that region are also close enough to respond if any threat - NPC@annpc#557 - approaches Sector 001 or New Romulus, which I think is why Starfleet put in the investment anyways. It's like a...double insurance measure. Helps cover the gateway and the homeworlds." Rianni@crystyl:"A sound strategy. We don't know yet how things will play out, but given what we've seen of the Architect's behaviour so far, I would guess that as soon as we make a move on him he will rally all - Rianni@crystyl:- his forces with some desperation. It would make sense for a prompt followup move to be reactivating those gateways to flood in reinforcements" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smirks, "Haven't we talked about no tactics at the dinner table?" Rianni@crystyl grins and gestures, "No dinner here!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma's turn to poke a tongue back NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Don't worry, you don't have to add a third rule. I'm far from an expert on tactics." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Me neither, which is why it's not allowed" Rianni@crystyl:"Pfft, says she who's got more experience than this whole crew pu- ow!" again finds the sudden urge to pout and rub her shin NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila grins, "No talking about yourselves, remember! You said that was a rule." Rianni@crystyl:"Technically I wasn't talking about myself, but yes sorry! Just a slip of the tongue" Rianni@crystyl | Emma hrms NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Good point. No worries! I'll just have to ask about that experience another time..." she smirks Rianni@crystyl | Emma facepalms, "Guess the Caitan's out of the bag now..." Rianni@crystyl smiles innocently, "Sorry!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles back, "Good thing you're pretty" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Anyways, we don't have to talk about your experience now! Though I am starting to formulate some theories..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma leans back, "Well may as well have some fun with this now while I can. Go on then, let's hear your best theories!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "You have someone else's memories? Like with a mind meld, or maybe a bond, like a Trill symbiont. There's a known case of a symbiont bonding with a non-Trill temporarily, but - NPC@annpc#557 - it could also be something else, maybe a being of similar properties. Like a non-malicious bluegill parasite?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma shakes her head, "Nope! Proud to say I'm 100% parasite free!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And it's not a mind meld? Hm...a transfer of knowledge from an energy being? Or an alien artifact?" Rianni@crystyl:"No that was my thing! Well, sort of. I remember the Observer kept getting her head fiddled with by non-corporeal beings at least..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "No mind melds, knowledge transfer from other beings - energy or otherwise, and no alien artifacts!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "At least I guessed something right, just for the wrong person! Let's see...you joined at Vue-En but received an officer's commission unlike the other Orions who joined with you. I - NPC@annpc#557 - know having the memories of another person doesn't fast-track you through Academy training or Starfleet ranks, joined Trill who just enlist still have to go through the Academy, and those that - NPC@annpc#557 - join after sometimes have the memories of senior officers, captains or even admirals but they still have to work up the ranks like anyone else. Even if you were /really/ good, Keelah's more - NPC@annpc#557:- likely to give you a higher enlisted position than start you at Ensign. So you must have attended the Academy as yourself..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma hrms, "I'll give you a point for that" and smirks a little, clearly enjoying this little game more than she first let on NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "So you did attend the Academy, presumably before you ended up at Vue-En. That doesn't answer the experience part, though. You /are/ Orion, right? Not a changeling, or a species - NPC@annpc#557:- that can make yourself look like another but have a considerably longer lifespan?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles, "I like the way you think, but I guarantee 100% homegrown Orion here!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Homegrown, so you weren't cloned or genetically engineered by the Arshai either I assume?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles: "Very astute, and quite correct. Born and bred on the old homeworld" Rianni@crystyl drifts off, staring into the middle-distance as she imagines possibilities first of shapeshifting Emma's, then cloned ones... Rianni@crystyl | Emma seems to notice and nudges her, "Oi! Mind out of the gutter you!" Rianni@crystyl flushes, "I- what? No! I was just... thinking..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Mhmm. I know exactly what you were thinking" she grins NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila laughs, "On the old homeworld...temporal displacement? But then you would be skipping years, not have them as experience..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Aah yes, another astute observation!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "So it can't be displacement, unless...you're from the future? But that would mean you have knowledge, not experience. And it doesn't make much sense either." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Yeah, she's the one who has future versions hiding around every corner" thumbing towards Rianni Rianni@crystyl:"That was /one/ version of me!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Oh right, it's hard to keep track with all the you's" she grins NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila grins, "Yes, most people don't know more than one version of themselves." Rianni@crystyl:"Oi! Mind out of the gutter, you!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila laughs Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Besides a very brief stint of hiding inside a transporter buffer, I am perfect temporal sync. No forwards or backwards offset" Rianni@crystyl:"Well there was that one time when you went back to the homeworld..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "True, but I returned to be back in sync now!" Rianni@crystyl:"Good point" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "So you've attended the Academy at some point, somehow ended up on Vue-En, but aren't temporally displaced, genetically engineered or have the memories of someone else..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Nothing in that statement is inaccurate" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And you're also a regular Orion...you're much older than you look, aren't you? And I don't mean that in an impolite way, you look /very/ young. Even for an Orion!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles: "That's because I /am/ very young... and have been for a good 2 or 3 centuries now" Rianni@crystyl smiles, "You figured it out!" raising her glass to to Jatila NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back: "It took a while! I thought the only viable explanation was that somehow your aging was stopped...I don't know how, but there's no shortage of anomalies and strange beings - NPC@annpc#557:- out here in space, after all." Rianni@crystyl | Emma nods: "This was one of Starfleet's own creating, hence the classified status of my records. But it's all to do with the mycelial network" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "The...what network?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Oh, um... how do I explain this now..." Rianni@crystyl looks to Jatila, "You know how subspace works, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "I'm not a physicist, but we all learn the basics in the Academy." Rianni@crystyl:"Well basically, the mycelial network is another layer of subspace" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "More like /the/ layer of subspace. It spreads all across this galaxy, maybe the universe, like how a fungal organism can spread beneath the surface of a forest for miles, connecting all - Rianni@crystyl:- trees, flora and fauna together as one big eco subsystem" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "How does it stop you from aging? Or is that detail classified?" she smirks Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "It's technically classified, but common knowledge out here now. Starfleet was experimenting with alternate FTL methods, including using the network. Unfortunately we were far less mature - Rianni@crystyl:- back then and did a lot of questionable things, including these experiments. Suffice to say one went wrong, and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Ahh, so it's a result of a failed experiment, then. May I ask if there are any other effects? Other than not aging." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Not really. I mean, it's not like I'm immortal or anything. It's kind of like... I've got a biological reset button that keeps getting hit on a daily basis. So on one hand, if I get sick - Rianni@crystyl:- it's like having a weak immune system because my body struggles to adapt. But once it does, it never goes back. It also means that my pheromones, hormones and biochemical levels are the same now - Rianni@crystyl:- as the day of the accident. That is why I returned at a lower rank, despite previously holding my own command; I lack the emotional maturity. It does of course mean I remain in near perfect - Rianni@crystyl:- physical conditions, and whilst illness can be a problem for me, injury is nothing because my body just goes back to how it was before. It does also make it impossible for me to ever have children- Rianni@crystyl:- or grow up and mature alongside loved ones..." Rianni@crystyl reaches over, squeezing her hands, "We'll find a way don't worry!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smirks, "You just want to enjoy having a young Orion girl on your arm when you're a big shot Admiral in charge of Starfleet!" Rianni@crystyl giggles, "Nice as that sounds, no. We'll find a way to stop that reset button of yours, or I'll get one of my own if I have to! Either way, I won't see you go through that pain ever again I promise" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles at the sentiment, despite how unrealistic it actually might be NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I assume Starfleet Medical's tried to look for a solution over all these years? Or were all the redacted files getting in the way?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma shakes her head, "Oh no, I've been poked and prodded by the best over the years. Starfleet just doesn't know enough about the Network and it's mechanics. Nor does anyone else for that matter" Rianni@crystyl:"Now that's not true, we know the Elachi are close to it" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "And generally about as helpful as a sunroof on an airlock" Rianni@crystyl giggles, "Maybe, but they're not all so bad! And there's the Guardians too, and that World Tree you spoke to! I bet when this fight is done, we can take a LoA and go find the answers!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma snorts, "/You/ take a LoA?" Rianni@crystyl shrugs, sipping her drink, "It could happen..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I think after all you've been through out here, you deserve one. Don't forget to take some time to see your family back on Mars, too." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Yeah! I've still to meet this little sister of yours!" Rianni@crystyl smiles, "That is a day I look forward to!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles as well, "And I hope you manage to find a solution to the non-aging problem as well." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila sips her wine, "Actually...I might have an idea..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "I guess this means you're officially part of the crew now then. Hm?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "Thank you! And Starfleet Medical hasn't found a solution...but maybe there could be a solution that uses non-Starfleet medical methods. Only your body is affected by this - NPC@annpc#557:- reset, right? You still have all your memories and knowledge you've learned over the years." Rianni@crystyl | Emma nods as she listens curiously to see where this is going NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "The Architect has the ability to transfer a person's consciousness from one body to another. And as I understand it, it's not just an imprint of your memories but placed in a new - NPC@annpc#557:- individual like the Dominion do with the Vorta, with the original dying. You- who you are psychologically, along with all your memories and experiences, get transferred into another body. The - NPC@annpc#557:- original body dies, but you don't- it's more like shedding a skin. Maybe the solution isn't to undo the effects of that experiment on your current body, but to get you a new one. And the Colonial - NPC@annpc#557:- Fleet have a lot of experience with cloning Orions." Rianni@crystyl | Emma hrms, "I did work with the Colonials for a while and their clones. But I don't know, a cloned body? Those things never smelled right..." Rianni@crystyl smiles, giving her hand another squeeze, "But it means you've at least got options to consider, even if you choose not to pursue them. That's a start right!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles back and nods, "Indeed it is. Thank you for the idea Jatila!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles as well, "I'm happy to help. I'm not entirely sure it'll work, but it could be worth looking into." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "That it is!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And thank you for trusting me and sharing these redacted details." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Better you hear it all from me than the rumour mill" Rianni@crystyl giggles, "Yes, Mia has a habit of exaggerating and romanticizing just about everything!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma nods deadpan, "Exactly, the rumour mill" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Yes, this way you can make sure all the details are told right." Rianni@crystyl:"Well I guess that means our table rules are out the airlock now. So we won't force you to just talk about yourself anymore!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "It seems so! But I'm happy to talk about myself more if there's anything else you want to know," she smiles Rianni@crystyl hrms, "I'm sure there's lots we haven't covered yet. But I feel like we're grilling you now- Oh! This is hard, how do you do it?" she chuckles NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "How do I do my work as a counsellor?" Rianni@crystyl nods, "Yeah! I'm struggling just after a brief get to know you chat, I can't imagine how you do this in depth with people all day every day" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Well...I suppose you have to enjoy talking a lot" she chuckles. "It's not a job for everyone, that's for sure. But the most difficult part usually isn't the talking, but the listening - NPC@annpc#557:- and understanding. Talking is something you do every day, but many people talk to get their own ideas out without ever really listening to others. And many of those who do listen to others only - NPC@annpc#557:- listen for cues where they can join the conversation themselves, or information that can benefit them in some ways. Being a counselor means talking with someone, listening to what they say in - NPC@annpc#557:- response to you, and actually understanding them- their thoughts, their feelings, how they see from their perspective. It's less about being extroverted and more about being empathetic." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "That's why there's a lot of telepaths in our line of work. It's not necessary- you can read another from their words, voice and body language alone, but being able to sense how - NPC@annpc#557:- they're feeling and even what they're thinking certainly makes things easier." Rianni@crystyl:"So how does your telepathy work exactly? I mean, can you hear my every thought right now?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma giggles, "I certainly hope not..." NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Don't worry, my telepathic abilities are very average for a Haliian. Without the canar, I can only sense the feelings of people around me. Usually it's just like background - NPC@annpc#557:- noise for me, unless I focus on a single one, or if we're the only two or three people in an empty area. It's not unlike chatter in the lounge, actually. There's several other conversations going - NPC@annpc#557:- on around us that just blends into the background, but if you wanted to eavesdrop, you can focus on one voice or one conversation and listen to it more closely." Rianni@crystyl:"I see, that makes sense I guess. But, um... what's canar got to do with it? Isn't that Cardassian liquor?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila laughs, "No, I don't drink alcohol to enhance my abilities. Sounds like something from a bad holonovel. The Cardassian liquor is /Kah/-nar. /Cay/-nar is a crystal that enhances - NPC@annpc#557:- telepathy from Halii. You might've caught a glimpse of it on the desk in my office." Rianni@crystyl:"Oh... Oh! Sorry, my bad!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma snorts out a laugh NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "Don't worry, it's not something many people outside of Halii are familiar with." Rianni@crystyl:"So how does that work then? I've seen touch telepathy like the Vulcans do, but don't recall ever seeing any that used objects?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "It's not /exactly/ touch telepathy, we do touch the crystals to use it, but we're not telepathically communicating with the crystal. It's essentially a signal amplifier- the specific - NPC@annpc#557 - structure of the crystal helps us focus, read deeper into a person past surface level emotions. If two people use the canar at the same time, it can be used to form an even deeper connection - NPC@annpc#557:- or a telepathic bond, which is more akin to touch telepathy, but the crystal is still present as an amplifier." Rianni@crystyl:"Ooh does it work the same if both people touching are non-telepaths?" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "I don't know, actually. I've used it with people who aren't telepathic, but I'm a Haliian myself, so at least one of us was. You're welcome to try it, if you want." Rianni@crystyl:"Could be interesting just to find out!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles: "I'm always game for new things, sure count me in" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "Just let me know when you want to try and I'll be happy to lend you mine. If it works, I can get you one for yourselves when I next return to Halii." Rianni@crystyl beams, "Something to look forward to!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "If it does work, just don't go around telling everyone about it. Probably best for people not to come flooding to Halii looking for their own crystals," she chuckles Rianni@crystyl:"I'm sure we can't be the first to wonder, so I doubt it will work for us" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "But like I said, the canar isn't very well-known outside Halii. Not every single Haliian has one, and not all of them bring it with them when they go offworld, either." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "And that's exactly why we aren't going to make any assumptions yet. All part of being explorers right!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "Exactly. I was curious to see if Sin could use it, and it turns out the crystal does amplify her telepathy too. I have no idea if it will work between two non-telepaths, but I'm - NPC@annpc#557:- just as curious as you to see the results." Rianni@crystyl chuckles, "Figures Sin would be straight in there!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Actually I was the one who asked her to try, but she was more than happy to!" she chuckles Rianni@crystyl:"I'm not surprised, she's always looking for ways to refine or improve her abilities that way" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Please, she wants to dominate everyone again" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila nods, "Yes, she does enjoy improving her abilities, but don't worry, she's no Architect." Rianni@crystyl:"Yeah, we know her heartâ€™s in the right place even if she won't admit it most of the time!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "That it is, though she does get some enjoyment from being seen as the unpredictable one it seems." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "That's putting it lightly!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila chuckles, "But I've no doubt that she's doing well and fitting in nicely, despite how she likes to appear." Rianni@crystyl nods, "Not that I'm a professional or anything, but I think you're right. We often spend time with her off duty too, and occasionally she lets her guard down" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "That's good to hear," she looks to Emma. "What about you, how long have you been at Vue-En and away from Starfleet?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma thinks for a moment, "Oh, um... hmm... a few decades maybe? I don't really know, time doesn't have the same meaning for me anymore" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Starfleet must've changed since you last served, I imagine." Rianni@crystyl:"It was when the Orions first started settling there with the Arshai, when the OSN was still just threatening to become an organization" Rianni@crystyl | Emma nods to both, "Yes, although it's not a big of a difference as from my first tour" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles, "I thought you settled in nicely too. How long ago was your first tour?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "About two centuries, give or take. Before Mia's golden era" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "And I thought Mia remembered a Starfleet from a long time ago..." Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "I served during that time too, still my first tour then but I knew what I had become. That's actually when I met my first Valley Forge" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "A very different ship from this one, no doubt." Rianni@crystyl:"That was the one that was the flag of it's class right? 14... something?" Rianni@crystyl | Emma smiles, "1463. And yes, it was a Valley Forge class. Visually very similar to the now iconic constitution of that era, but a bit smaller and more different on the inside" Rianni@crystyl:"Kind of like a prerunner to that line!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Interesting. Everyone knows the Constitutions, but I wasn't familiar with the Valley Forge class. I remember coming across some images of Constitution variants including a smaller - NPC@annpc#557:- one, that might've been it." Rianni@crystyl:"I've seen the images and it did kind of look like a smaller Constitution!" Rianni@crystyl | Emma: "Yeah, it was one of those many obscure classes churned out in that massive expansion period" Rianni@crystyl:"I think the Captain's got a picture of it in her ready room!" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila: "Oh, /that/ was the Valley Forge class! I just thought it was a Constitution," she chuckles. "Hard to tell the scale without other ships beside it for comparison." Rianni@crystyl:| Emma smiles, "If you're that curious, there's a pretty decent reconstruction of it in a holoprogram here. Based mostly on a starbase, but the ship plays a part" NPC@annpc#557 | Jatila smiles back, "I'll give it a look sometime. I'm always interested to learn more."