A Coalition assault on a Horde shipyard leads to an interesting discovery...and places a pre-warp world under threat of Horde domination.
Issandros@anncaris | The Guardians call for a meeting and the Coalition leaders gather in a conference room on board the Foundry serving as the Coalition's field headquarters... Keelah@crystyl takes her place at the table as she arrives Issandros@anncaris | Some of the Coalition leaders are already in the room, including Issandros at the head of the table. The others arrive one by one or in pairs or small groups, and once the room is filled, - Issandros@anncaris - Issandros begins to speak Issandros@anncaris:"I've called you all here because I've received work from the Rangers. Remember the source of the Anarchists they were investigating?" Keelah@crystyl:"The one indicated by the Lupan patrol we encountered?" Issandros@anncaris nods, "That's right. A Ranger vessel's just been to the area. It's not just any old Horde occupied world. It's a Horde shipyard." Keelah@crystyl:"A shipyard? Presumably reclaimed from an influenced species who resided there" Issandros@anncaris:"Most likely. Right now it's got a number of ships under construction and almost just as many undergoing repairs, probably a result of that conflict with the Kratt. If we don't strike this shipyard - Issandros@anncaris:- chances are all the ships being repaired and some of the new ones closer to completion are going to be deployed against us. Issandros@anncaris | Celestina: "How well-protected is this shipyard?" Issandros@anncaris:"Not very. It's got basic patrols- three frigates with routes through the system and a cruiser that seems to stay in orbit, but chances are the Horde'll release some of the ships under work there - Issandros@anncaris:- as a last-ditch effort if we attack. Shipyard itself has some basic defenses, but nothing more impressive than the defense grid of a colony out here. If we hit them now while most of their ships - Issandros@anncaris:- are still being worked on, even with the shipyard defenses, it's likely to be an easier fight than facing these same ships fully operational here." Keelah@crystyl:"Sounds like a worthwhile operation. But how likely are we to raise their suspicions we suddenly move a heavy assault fleet out of the Heart?" Issandros@anncaris:"If we move it conventionally, it's very likely they'll have mobilized a more effective defense from both partially repaired ships in the shipyard and potentially reinforcements elsewhere. It'll - Issandros@anncaris:- take a few weeks to make the trip, more than enough time for them to prepare. Our best option is to get the Junayd's assistance again, launch a sudden assault with the wormholes. The Horde'll see - Issandros@anncaris:- it, but they won't have time to respond." Keelah@crystyl nods, "Sounds reasonable" Issandros@anncaris | Vora: "Whose ships should we send through- or should it be a mixed force with ships from across the Coalition?" Keelah@crystyl:"A mixed force would bring the benefits of everyone's different strengths" Issandros@anncaris | Celestina nods, "Agreed. We can supply some heavier ships alongside the Lupan for direct assault on the shipyards. We'll probably want lighter and faster destroyer-types to keep the Horde - Issandros@anncaris:- ships off us." Issandros@anncaris nods, "We have plenty of those." He looks to Keelah, "What about you, bringing the Valley Forge through, or the QanwI'?" Keelah@crystyl:"The QanwI' will be perfect for a raid like this. If the Forge stays here it might help divert their attention" Issandros@anncaris:"Excellent. And that stealth ship you brought back- the recon phase is done, but a stealth bombing operation could help soften up the target, especially as the QanwI' and the Ranger ship'll be - Issandros@anncaris:- participating, and they also have stealth capability." Issandros@anncaris | Vora: "We'll send some of our Toroki raiders through as well, alongside Colonial Fleet attack ships." Keelah@crystyl:"What is the present situation outside the Heart? Because we still have the Latenter sitting out there on watch duty, but as another stealth vessel and with it's senor technology it could provide - Keelah@crystyl:- valuable on mission support" Issandros@anncaris | Supervisor: "It's been mostly quiet outside the Heart. We still intercept the odd reinforcements, but it has been a long time since anything slipped past us and actually into the Sphere. We - Issandros@anncaris:- can certainly spare the Latenter." Issandros@anncaris nods, "Chances are, the next large wave of reinforcements are going to come from that shipyard. If we hit it, that's going to make things even easier here." Keelah@crystyl:"It might still be worth putting another capable vessel on watch in the Latenter's place if we do send it along" Issandros@anncaris | Vora: "I can send one of mine. Or we can use the stealth ships for that, and send the Latenter along. It doesn't have as impressive sensors, but its sensors aren't bad either." Keelah@crystyl:"I think it would be worth sending the Latenter. If nothing else, they've been sat out there without their CO for a long time now so it would be good to get them more involved" Issandros@anncaris | Celestina nods, "Agreed. We'll have our ships ready and standing by to travel through those wormholes soon." Keelah@crystyl nods, "I'll make sure the QanwI' and Latenter are ready. The Aethon can be ready to launch as well, but we do not yet have a dedicated crew" Issandros@anncaris:"You had a temporary crew fly it back here, didn't you?" Keelah@crystyl nods, "Yes, but given the level of interest expected in the ship's unique technology we did not want to presume sole operation of it. In the interests of collaboration we wanted to first see if any- Keelah@crystyl:- of you wanted to assign someone to that crew and make it a full Coalition command" Issandros@anncaris | Vora: "I've got plenty of people who'd be happy to work on a ship like that. What about the commanding officer of the ship, will that still be the same one who brought the ship in, or should - Issandros@anncaris:- we assign someone new to command it?" Keelah@crystyl thinks for a moment, "That was Ensign Tierno. She is young and inexperienced, but she did a fine job of commanding it during that extended mission. I am willing to reassign her to it, as long as she - Keelah@crystyl:- has at least one of my experienced officers on the bridge to support. And assuming nobody has any objection" Issandros@anncaris | Vora: "Sounds like a small ship like this on a quiet watch assignment is a good place to get more experience. We all have to start somewhere, after all." Issandros@anncaris | Everyone else around the room doesn't object Keelah@crystyl:"Alright then, we'll despatch the Aethon to relieve the Latenter and allow the fledgling crew to gain more experience" Issandros@anncaris nods, "Sounds like a plan. Now let's work out the specific other vessels this attack force will be composed of..." --- T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa and T'Lana finally returns to the Latenter as it enters the Heart of War and gathers with the Coalition attack group to travel through the wormhole to strike at the Horde shipyard... T'Lana@anncaris makes her way over to her console, immediately beginning to tap away at it Mischa@crystyl sits content, quietly enjoying being back T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Welcome back, Commanders. How was your stay on the Valley Forge? Enjoy all the amenities of the classic luxury cruiser?" she grins Mischa@crystyl smiles, "You could say that" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Good to be back on our own ship still, though? Right?" Mischa@crystyl:"The funny thing about hotels is that they're nice to visit, but get a bit... samey after a while. It is indeed good to be back" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria smiles and nods, "Agreed. We've kept the Latenter in good shape for you in the meantime." T'Lana@anncaris:"That I can confirm. All systems seem to be functioning optimally." Mischa@crystyl:"As expected. It's a long time since this old girl has been near any front lines, but now we've got a job to do and the fleet needs our support. so let's show them what a difference we can make" T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "The Junayd wormholes are opening. The first ships of the attack group are beginning to enter." Mischa@crystyl:"Very well, take us into formation and follow the fleet out" T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Aye Commander, taking us in." T'Lana@anncaris | The Latenter falls in line with the Coalition formation and soon enters the wormhole as well, filling the viewscreen with the wormhole aesthetics T'Lana@anncaris | Many of the Latenter crew turn to observe the process, not being as familiar with it as Mischa and T'Lana have become over their time working with the VF T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "You were one of the first Starfleet personnel to go through one of those wormholes, weren't you? After the Gainsborough incident." Mischa@crystyl leans back thoughtfully, "One of, yes. I was the last person off the ship so I am sure others were pulled through before my escape pod" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods, "And you ended up on that very dangerous world before the Valley Forge retrieved you." Mischa@crystyl:"It was certainly not the most welcoming of places. That said, it wasn't all bad either2 T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Oh? Was there something you liked about the place? Like Belyia was for the people on the Valley Forge?" Mischa@crystyl:"It was no Belyia. But not /all/ of the wildlife and vegetation was bent on killing everything in sight. I actually briefly made friends with an adorable little bioluminescent wisp" T'Lana@anncaris looks over, "A wisp? As in a hovering bioluminescent lifeform?" Mischa@crystyl smiles and nods, "We shared a taste for Starfleet food rations. The funny part is that after it settled on my hand one time, my hand inherited it's bioluminescence" T'Lana@anncaris:"Fascinating. I wonder what the source of its bioluminescence was to be able to temporarily transfer such properties. Perhaps the lifeform itself was not bioluminescent, but another smaller - T'Lana@anncaris:- symbiotic lifeform was, or that it produces some form of chemical responsible for the bioluminescence that your hand absorbed." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, it is regrettable that it couldn't be studied more" T'Lana@anncaris:"Perhaps the planet can be returned to and studied more in-depth by a science ship in the future." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "I doubt it. That planet is gone now sadly, torn apart by seismic instability" T'Lana@anncaris:"Ah yes, I recall that detail from the reports now. If only we had found it earlier, perhaps we could have been able to preserve some of the biodiversity there." Mischa@crystyl:"As I said, it was regrettable but such is the nature of things" T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Thirty seconds to arrival." Mischa@crystyl:"Standby for silent running" T'Lana@anncaris | Daurant nods, "All systems ready for silent running." T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay announces a few seconds later, "Exiting the wormhole now." Mischa@crystyl:"Begin surveillance" T'Lana@anncaris nods, tapping her console. "Reading three...make that two frigates in the system." T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, one of the Horde frigates is almost instantly taken out by a combined barrage from a Lodzki cruiser and a Lupan packship Mischa@crystyl:"Well, they don't mince around do they. Lets focus on getting the fleet some useful detail on the shipyards" T'Lana@anncaris:"It is a fairly standard orbital shipyard facility, though a very large one at that, with a multitude of support structures on the planet surface. It is reminiscent of Utopia Planitia or other - T'Lana@anncaris:- major Federation shipyards. They are already launching some of the vessels in better condition. I am highlighting the docks beginning the launch process." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, keep the fleet informed on priority targets while we attempt to bypass their computers from here" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Understood." T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, the battle rages on as the attack group engages the shipyard defenses, supported by the cruiser and two frigates, which do their best but are severely outclassed. Before - T'Lana@anncaris - long, both frigates are down and several ships break through the orbital defenses, hitting the docks where ships are emerging or trying to undock T'Lana@anncaris:"Two ships have undocked. They are not joining the battle but attempting to flee under the cover of the shipyard defenses." Mischa@crystyl:"Are the fleet in a position to intercept?" T'Lana@anncaris shakes her head, "Not at the moment, but we are in the shipyard systems and sabotaging further undocking attempts." Mischa@crystyl:"Bring us into position and prepare to engage the enemy. Dissemination of enemy forces is the priority here, even if that means revealing ourselves" T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Aye Commander." T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "I do not believe revealing ourselves puts us at any risk. The Horde are too occupied attempting to flee or protect themselves to engage us." T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "I can cut them off as soon as they've left cover of the shipyard defenses. That way we'll have a clear shot without being fired back upon." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Proceed" T'Lana@anncaris | As Nethay moves the Latenter to cut off the two fleeing ships... T'Lana@anncaris:"A Horde carrier has torn itself free of its dock and is fleeing in an opposite direction. Toroki raiders are moving in to interceptâ€ Mischa@crystyl:"Continue monitoring" T'Lana@anncaris nods T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay: "Time to intercept, fifteen seconds." T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel: "Weapons are standing by." Mischa@crystyl:"Lock forward cannons on one of the targets and hit the other with torpedo volley. Fire when ready" T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel nods and taps her console. As the two fleeing Horde destroyers come into view, the Latenter's weapons flash to life. the torpedoes obliterating one of the destroyers while the cannons - T'Lana@anncaris - tear through the shields of the other. The now shieldless destroyer quickly goes evasive, returning with cover fire that causes the bridge to shake slightly but does not make it past the - T'Lana@anncaris - Latenter's shields T'Lana@anncaris | On the viewscreen, the destroyer's evasion is clearly a little wobbly, the ship having been released in the midst of repairs and not in pristine condition Mischa@crystyl:"Keep them off balance and maintain pressure" T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel nods and continues firing. A few cannon shots hit the destroyer, whose movements become even more uncontrollable Mischa@crystyl:"The tractor beam is at your disposal. We must finish this runaway and get back to supporting the fleet" T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel activates the tractor beam, catching the fleeing destroyer before finishing it off with a precise cannon burst, "Both targets down, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Excellent. Now recloak us and get us back on track" T'Lana@anncaris | The Latenter recloaks and moves back towards the fleet T'Lana@anncaris:"We have a problem. Two Toroki raiders are disabled and a third is engaged with the carrier's fighters. The carrier is slipping away and powering up warp drive." Mischa@crystyl:"Then that is our next priority. Can we shut them down from the inside?" T'Lana@anncaris:"They have switched to almost complete manual control and deactivated their computer core. I am unable to affect any critical systems." Mischa@crystyl:"What about non-critical ones? Plenty of those can be manipulated too" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I am doing what I am able to hamper them. They have managed to jump to warp. A Colonial Fleet battleship is now pursuing." T'Lana@anncaris:"The situation at the shipyards appears to be under control. Most of the defenses are down and no further ships have managed to break free before being destroyed." Mischa@crystyl:"If the carrier is the biggest remaining threat, can the QanwI' intercept faster?" T'Lana@anncaris | T'Fel nods, "The QanwI' would be more ideal. The carrier is travelling at very high warp." Mischa@crystyl:"Then instruct Captain Vix to pursue and destroy" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods, tapping to send the instructions --- NPK@annpc#557 | On the QanwI'... NPK@annpc#557 | Merc: "Captain! The intel ship is asking us to pursue the fleeing carrier!" Lexi@crystyl grins, "Well now we can't disappoint the princess can we! Pursuit course, maximum velocity!" NPK@annpc#557 | Pilot: "Aye Captain! They're travelling at high warp, it's going to take us some time to catch up..." Lexi@crystyl:"Then you'd better punch it before they get even further away" NPK@annpc#557 | The pilot nods and the QanwI' quickly jumps away to warp Lexi@crystyl turns to the side, "I know these engines can give us a lot more. Squeeze all you can out of them" NPK@annpc#557 | Pilot: "Looks like they're headed towards a system...no data on what's there, though." NPK@annpc#557 | The Engineer nods and taps away at her console NPK@annpc#557 | Merc: "The intel ship is updating us, saying the carrier should be forced to slow down within the hour." NPK@annpc#557 | Pilot: "That should bring them close to the system." Lexi@crystyl:"But why that system. They must have something there... see if the Princess can tell us anything about that too!" NPK@annpc#557 | Merc: "All they can find is that the system has one habitable world, borderline M-class. No tech signatures, though, so I don't know why they're interested." Lexi@crystyl:"We must expect a trap on arrival" NPK@annpc#557 | K'Sarn: "Agreed. Shall we arrive with cloak active?" Lexi@crystyl nods, "Assume a blind situation and play it cautious" NPK@annpc#557 | K'Sarn: "Aye Captain." NPK@annpc#557 | An hour later, the carrier is indeed forced to slow down on the outskirts of the system, and the QanwI' follows it in cloaked... NPK@annpc#557 | Engineer: "No tech signatures on sensors, as they reported..." Lexi@crystyl:"What's the carrier up to?" NPK@annpc#557 | K'Sarn: "It's heading towards the M-class at low warp." NPK@annpc#557 | Merc: "I'm reading lifesigns on it, looks like a single species, no tech signatures. It's not a Horde base for sure." NPK@annpc#557 | K'Sarn: "They may be looking for a new place to conquer and rebuild." Lexi@crystyl:"Fleeing from the middle of a battle go procreate? Who do you think they are, Orions? HA!" NPK@annpc#557 | K'Sarn: "They must have known about this place before. Why wait until now to spread here?" Lexi@crystyl:"It does not make sense. Unless there is something of such importance on that carrier that it becomes a worthwhile risk to make a move like this" NPK@annpc#557 | Merc: "My scans indicate the planet is very poor in terms of resources. It must not have been worth taking before, but now they are desperate." NPK@annpc#557 | Pilot: "We should be able to intercept them before they are close enough to influence the planet." Lexi@crystyl:"The question remains as to why they are so desperate.." nods to the pilot, "Get us straight into attack position, we need to shut down those hangars before they can swarm us with support craft" NPK@annpc#557 | K'Sarn smirks, "Time to fly through a hangar again?" Lexi@crystyl:"Oh well, if you insist..." she grins Lexi@crystyl:"But if we go in one way, I'm afraid we're going to tear a great big hole in the middle of that ship so we can pop out of the side" NPK@annpc#557 | K'Sarn: "Well, we need to bring it down anyways!" Lexi@crystyl:"Oh well needs must, and all then. Standby weapons and prepare to make our run!" NPK@annpc#557 | K'Sarn grins, "Weapons ready, Captain!" NPK@annpc#557 | Pilot: "Helm is ready!" Lexi@crystyl:"Commence the attack!" NPK@annpc#557 | The QanwI' springs into action, cannons blazing towards the unsuspecting carrier. They rip through one of its large hangars and continue tearing a hole as the QanwI' flies through, soon - NPK@annpc#557 - emerging from the other side with a trail of debris behind them! What remains of the carrier begins to fall apart as structural integrity fails around the huge hole they made, but the front - NPK@annpc#557 - half of the carrier rips itself free and activates the impulse engines still attached to it, making a dash for the planet NPK@annpc#557 | Engineer: "Several escape pods are launching from the rear half of the ship towards the planet!" Lexi@crystyl:"Sneaky little bastards... hunt the cowards down! Rear turrets on escape pod sweep" NPK@annpc#557 | QanwI' chases down the front half of the ship, peppering it with cannons while the rear turret picks off escape pods from the second half of the ship. The shots batter what remains of the - NPK@annpc#557 - carrier, and soon escape pods begin launching from the front half as well... Lexi@crystyl:"Alright, let's clean up this mess. I don't want one escape pod making atmo!" NPK@annpc#557 | The QanwI' begins chasing and hunting down escape pods, which disperse and evade like a flock of little birds chased by a bird of prey. The QanwI's forward and aft turrets flare up, taking out - NPK@annpc#557 - multiple pods. Two of them begin to slip into the atmosphere before the QanwI' catches them and shoots them down, their debris raining down onto the planet below NPK@annpc#557 | After a long period of chasing escape pods, K'Sarn announces, "All pods down, Captain!" Lexi@crystyl:"Excellent! Ease off and begin a sweep of the battlefield, we must eliminate all remnants of the Horde" NPK@annpc#557 | Merc: "Captain! I have something- a lifesign, faint, among the debris of one of the escape pods. I...have no idea how it's still alive." Lexi@crystyl:"Exposed to the vacuum and still alive?" NPK@annpc#557 | Merc: "Yes, but it is fading quickly. There's no way it is conscious, should I retrieve it for examination?" Lexi@crystyl grumbles with reluctance but nods, "If this is a new breed of thrall we must find out" NPK@annpc#557 | Merc: "Beaming it to the medical bay now." Lexi@crystyl stands, "Maximum containment. I'm heading down there to see this for myself" NPK@annpc#557 | Lexi heads down to the medical bay to find four guards there and the doctor examining something on a medical bed contained within a force field NPK@annpc#557 | The guards offer Klingon salutes to Lexi as she arrives Lexi@crystyl walks between the guards, "Tell me this was worth the effort, Doc" NPK@annpc#557 | Doctor: "Oh it certainly was." He steps aside to reveal...an unconscious baby, with absolutely nothing extraordinary visible about it on the medical bed Lexi@crystyl approaches, giving it a confused look that she turns back to him NPK@annpc#557 | Doctor: "This is a Horde thrall, but not just any Horde thrall. You know him. You've fought him." Lexi@crystyl:"Are you telling me this is Ar-Rhys?!" NPK@annpc#557 | Doctor: "A clone of him, at least. Not yet mature...as you can see." Lexi@crystyl:"Yes, even I am able to notice that much thank you. Explain your findings" NPK@annpc#557 | Doctor: "He's an exact clone, based on the readings we have of the original Ar-Rhys, just younger. He doesn't have much power yet, probably some minor telekinesis of small objects at best, but - NPK@annpc#557 - he is a full Horde thrall. We can cleanse him of influence and install the implant- like usual, that'll wipe his memory but an infant this age doesn't have much memory anyways." NPK@annpc#557 | Doctor: "I don't see any accelerated growth or any tampering with the genetics." Lexi@crystyl:"And you are certain it is a clone of Ar-Rhys?" NPK@annpc#557 | Doctor: "No, but something tells me the intel ship's got an exact record of his genetics. Their Captain's the one who killed him after all. If I can compare it to that I can make absolute - NPK@annpc#557 - sure, but from the readings we have, I'm certain it's a member of the same species, most likely Ar-Rhys." Lexi@crystyl:"If it's a clone of that species, being Ar-Rhys is a reasonable assumption. What about it's metabolic rate, is it accelerated like other clones?" NPK@annpc#557 | The doctor shakes his head, "It's an exact clone, not a Vue-En or Dominion one. He's basically Ar-Rhys, just born again. Probably made because the Architect feared we might beat the original." Lexi@crystyl:"I see, so it's not a useful weapon in the fight. Good, then I won't feel so bad about giving it to Keelah when we get back" NPK@annpc#557 | Doctor: "Not right now, at least. Give him twenty years and he will no doubt become a formidable warrior." Lexi@crystyl:"He might even stand a chance again me by then" she laughs NPK@annpc#557 | The doctor laughs as well, "Perhaps, if he has the right teachers! Shall I give him the implant, or leave him as is until you hand him to Keelah? He's not much of a danger as a Horde thrall. I - NPK@annpc#557 - doubt his powers are strong enough to move a d'k tahg yet!" Lexi@crystyl:"Probably not, but where there's influence the Architect has eyes. Implant it and keep it sedated until we return" NPK@annpc#557 | The doctor nods, "Aye Captain." Lexi@crystyl gives the infant another glance before heading back out to return to the bridge --- T'Lana@anncaris | Meanwhile on the Latenter... T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "We have comms from the QanwI'." Mischa@crystyl:"On screen" T'Lana@anncaris | Lexi appears on the viewscreen Mischa@crystyl looks up, "Captain, I take that wolfish grin to mean that you have had fun out there" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi laughs, "Glorious as ever!" Mischa@crystyl:"Well, I'm so pleased we were able to sate you appetite for entertainment. What of the Horde carrier?" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi: "Torn in half, decimated the remains and wiped out all the fleeing cowards before they could make planetfall" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "My my, you really did let your hair down didn't you" T'Lana@anncaris looks to the viewscreen, "They were close to making planetfall?" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi nods, "The carrier was making a beeline for the planet, so when we destroyed it the escape pods we're pushing for atmospheric entry, but we made sure none got through" T'Lana@anncaris:"Are there any intelligent lifeforms on the planet?" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi nods again, "Sentient but primitive, no advanced technology" T'Lana@anncaris looks to Mischa, "That may already be close enough to create new Horde thralls on the surface from the native population, or at least spread some influence. Influenced anarchists will die out - T'Lana@anncaris:- within a generation, but if there are any true thralls down there, we will have to contain the situation before the entire planet is compromised. The Horde will not spread fast with only a - T'Lana@anncaris:- handful of thralls, but they /will/ still spread." Mischa@crystyl | Lexi frowns on the screen, "We made sure none of the fleeing thralls got close enough to influence the planet" Mischa@crystyl:"Nonetheless, it wouldn't hurt for us to investigate and make sure now that we're done here" T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed. If there were enough thralls left, they may have been strong enough to spread their influence while in orbit, and that carrier had quite a number of thralls." Mischa@crystyl | Lexi leans back, "Well, in that case I'll save the little souvenir I got you" Mischa@crystyl 's narrow, "What are you up to...?" T'Lana@anncaris raises a brow at Lexi's souvenir comment Mischa@crystyl | Lexi grins and winks, "You'll just have to wait and see now won't you!" before closing the comm T'Lana@anncaris:"Curious." Mischa@crystyl:"Captain Vix is enjoying this a little too much for me to settle for simply being curious. I'm edging towards... troubling" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "She must have discovered something relating to the Horde's plans from the carrier. Perhaps what was so important on the carrier for the Horde to go through so much trouble to protect one - T'Lana@anncaris:- damaged vessel." Mischa@crystyl:"For all her flaws, Captain Vix is sharp. She would have likely surmised there to be some significant element and sought it out. Though why it brings her just entertainment is beyond me" T'Lana@anncaris:"Likewise. We should proceed to the system to check for ourselves." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Update the fleet of our movements and engage warp" --- T'Lana@anncaris | An hour later, the Latenter arrives at the system. The Ranger-Guardian ship has tagged along as well, dropping out of warp half a minute behind the Latenter as it comes to evaluate the - T'Lana@anncaris - potential influence situation Mischa@crystyl:"Hail the QanwI'" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods and hails the QanwI' Mischa@crystyl | Lexi appears on the screen: "About time!" Mischa@crystyl:"What's the situation?" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi shrugs: "Lots of mess floating around but no life among it. Not a lot I can tell you about the planet's population as the most we can do is monitor broadcasts, and there ain't none" Mischa@crystyl smiles a little, "Alright, we'll begin our analysis and see what we can find then" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi: "Before you go swanning off... I've got this present for you. So... your place or mine?" Mischa@crystyl 's eyes narrow once more, "Still being elusive are we? Very well, transport over here with this 'souvenir' of yours" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi grins and nods, "Qap'la!" and ends the comm Mischa@crystyl stands, "Alright, lets see what we can find out about the state of things on the planet while I go see what has Lady Vix so excited" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "I will come with you. This surprise sounds concerning." Mischa@crystyl chuckles as they walk, "Piqued your curiosity as well then, has it?" T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed it has." T'Lana@anncaris waits with Mischa in the transporter room for Lexi's arrival... Mischa@crystyl | Lexi materializes beside her Klingon doctor who carries the infant T'Lana@anncaris raises a brow at the sight of the infant, looking to Lexi for explanation Mischa@crystyl looks between Lexi and the infant, "My... you have been busy haven't you. I had no idea Trill worked so quickly" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi eyerolls at Mischa's flippant words as they step off the pad, "Cute" Mischa@crystyl smiles sweetly, "Would you expect anything less?" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi: "I suppose I deserve that for building the suspense" Mischa@crystyl corrects, "For keeping us in the dark" Mischa@crystyl | Lexi shakes her head, "No, keeping you in suspense. Sounds more fun!" Mischa@crystyl eyerolls this time, "Alright, so perhaps a little context is in order here" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Agreed. Mischa@crystyl | Lexi: "What, you don't recognize your old nemesis? Granted he's a little shorter than the last time you saw him..." Mischa@crystyl purses her lips, clearly not playing any more Mischa@crystyl | Lexi: "Eugh, you spooks are never any fun! Fine. It's Ar-Rhys, or at least a clone of him" T'Lana@anncaris:"Is that also a jest?" Mischa@crystyl studies Lexi, "I do not believe so..." Mischa@crystyl | Lexi nods to Mischa, "Glad /someone/ believes me. Doc, science it up for them" T'Lana@anncaris | The doctor nods and steps off the pad, handing the baby to T'Lana in an almost half-tossing way that only a Klingon would handle an infant before taking out a PADD to give to Mischa, "My scans - T'Lana@anncaris - of the child. It is without a doubt an Olympian. I believe it will match up with your genetic data of Ar-Rhys if you make a comparison." Mischa@crystyl watches TL juggle the infant with a slight smirk as she reviews the PADD, "And how did you come to the conclusion that it is Ar-Rhys?" T'Lana@anncaris | Doctor: "We had some basic scan data of the original Ar-Rhys to work with, but it's hard to say for certain with this one so young. But the Horde had access to Ar-Rhys and his genetic data, - T'Lana@anncaris:- and it just made sense." T'Lana@anncaris | Meanwhile, the baby raises an arm and slowly begins to telekinetically pull T'Lana's combadge towards himself. T'Lana stops the combadge in mid-air, attaching it back to her uniform before - T'Lana@anncaris - gently pushing the baby's arm down Mischa@crystyl watches, "I take it then that this is what the Horde wanted to protect on that carrier?" T'Lana@anncaris | Doctor: "Most likely. If there was anything- or anyone else on that ship, it's gone now." Mischa@crystyl:"Remarkable that he survived really, presumably an extension of his abilities that are clearly manifesting already" T'Lana@anncaris nods. "It must be. I assume you have already implanted him?" T'Lana@anncaris | The doctor nods as well, "Can't let the Architect see the inside of your secret ship now, can we?" he smirks Mischa@crystyl:"Good thinking" looks to TL, "Your thoughts?" T'Lana@anncaris:"He is just a regular infant now, albeit one who will mature into a being with significant powers. It would be best for him to be raised by one of his own, but the closest we are aware of is the - T'Lana@anncaris - silverblood copy of Hades, and I am unsure whether even an adult Olympian can survive indefinitely on such a world, let alone one this young, and the silverblood can only spend limited time in - T'Lana@anncaris:- our environments as well. We may have to find an alternative." Mischa@crystyl:"We'll have to get him back to the Valley Forge for now, they are better equipped for family care than we are" T'Lana@anncaris nods, "Indeed. Perhaps the Chlasi will wish to take and raise him once their Esoterics arrive; they are well-versed in training those with telepathic and telekinetic abilities. But first, we - T'Lana@anncaris:- must ensure that the planet is secure before departing." Mischa@crystyl nods, "We should return and see what they have learned" T'Lana@anncaris:"I suggest leaving the child in Buena's care for the time being. I will stop by sickbay and meet you on the bridge." Mischa@crystyl nods, turning to head out, pausing as Lexi follows and turning back to her Mischa@crystyl | Lexi stares a moment before throwing her arms up, "Fine, fine! We're beaming back..." and returns to the pad, barking in Klingon into her wristcomp before disappearing T'Lana@anncaris | Mischa arrives on the bridge first, where the crew are hard at work analyzing the planet Mischa@crystyl:"What do we know?" T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "Like many planets at this point in development, different parts of the planet have differing levels of technology. The bulk of the planet seems to be at a stage equivalent to 18th to - T'Lana@anncaris - 19th century Earth, though there are still some isolated groups who have not yet been exposed to the technologies used by the most prominent civilizations." Mischa@crystyl: "Volatile stage of development" T'Lana@anncaris | Hassan nods, "All too easy for the Horde to take advantage, if they had indeed spread influence here." Mischa@crystyl:"What do we know on that likelihood so far?" T'Lana@anncaris steps onto the bridge as the turbolift doors open T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "The Rangers are analyzing the records from the QanwI' and the placement of the escape pod debris. They believe there may have been enough thralls in orbit to spread influence or - T'Lana@anncaris - potentially create full new thralls on the surface, but their combined neural power is far from enough to dominate the entire planet immediately as the Horde ships did to Terminu, or even - T'Lana@anncaris - affect anyone on other parts of the planet. If there is influence, it is most likely concentrated in the region directly underneath where the carrier was destroyed, and where the escape pods - T'Lana@anncaris - attempted to enter orbit." Mischa@crystyl:"Which would naturally be centred on one of those denser and relatively advanced population areas" T'Lana@anncaris | T'Bee: "The region appears to be centred on one large settlement with a scattering of smaller ones dotting the landscape around it. It is likely the carrier was trying to head for the large - T'Lana@anncaris - settlement, but its damage actually brought it closer to a smaller one. Some of the debris from the escape pods destroyed as they were entering atmosphere landed in regions near that smaller - T'Lana@anncaris:- settlement." T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria taps her console and nods, "The Guardians concur, the influence would not have been strong enough to affect the largest settlement. The smaller settlement is likely to be the epicentre. Mischa@crystyl:"Well first things first, can we transport out that debris without being witnessed?" T'Lana@anncaris:"All save one. There are already native lifeforms gathered around one of them." Mischa@crystyl:"Well... bugger. This just became an old fashioned cultural contamination containment didn't it" T'Lana@anncaris:"I doubt the local culture will become severely impacted by a single, heavily damaged shard of metal from an escape pod hull. However, if any of the locals in that settlement have become thralls, - T'Lana@anncaris:- that will have a more significant impact. The settlement does not seem to possess any ports, but the larger city does. We must ensure the town has not been affected, and if it has, contain the - T'Lana@anncaris:- spread of the Horde to that settlement alone. If it spreads beyond the city via their seafaring ships, we may be left with no alternative other than enacting General Order 24." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Then let's get to it" T'Lana@anncaris:"I suggest we proceed under disguise. We may abandon them if the situation becomes dire enough, but if we are able to contain the spread of the Horde to this one town and eliminate it there, - T'Lana@anncaris:- then we would be able to achieve the optimal situation of completely eradicating outside contamination." Mischa@crystyl stands, "Indeed. Let's get cosmetics done and head down there" --- T'Lana@anncaris:| Mischa and T'Lana beam down to the surface of the planet in their disguises and make their way into the town... T'Lana@anncaris:FX | https://cdnb.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/012/746/711/medium/remy-m-ville.jpg?1536297333 T'Lana@anncaris:| Most of the townsfolk seem to be minding their own business, so T'Lana speaks to Mischa as they walk, "Recently created thralls will show up simply as local lifesigns. We will have to perform an - T'Lana@anncaris:- influence check on their neurochemistry to determine if they have been influenced or enthralled." Mischa@crystyl:"Then let us hope that the population is as sparse as it appears" T'Lana@anncaris:"The settlement itself is not particularly dense, but there are a number of outlying farms. However, we cannot transport down more personnel without being suspicious, a small town like this likely - T'Lana@anncaris:- does not see a large number of visitors on a regular ba-" T'Lana@anncaris:pauses as a man with a hat and a vest begins approaching the pair T'Lana@anncaris:| With the sparse population of the town, it becomes clear that the man is indeed walking towards the two and not just passing by in the opposite direction.. Mischa@crystyl:offers a casual wave, "Mornin'" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "Hey there. So what brings you two ladies into town all by yourselves? Never seen you around these parts before, so you must've come a long way." Mischa@crystyl:nods, "Been heading this way from way up north. Don't know if you know or not, but harvests ain't been kind up there this year and the groundâ€™s drying up something fierce. Heard there was good - Mischa@crystyl:- farming down south, so we came looking" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "Well, land's something we've got no shortage of. If you find somewhere that hasn't been claimed, it's yours, though you'll have to start from scratch- 'less you buy a farm off somebody - T'Lana@anncaris:- else's hands. It's a lot of work building up a farm, and there ain't many here looking to sell." Mischa@crystyl:smiles, "Well maybe we'll find someone we can help out for a while at least and see if it works for us. But first, it's been a long trek. Got someplace in town we might get some refreshment?" T'Lana@anncaris:| The man smiles back, "Follow me, saloon's this way. First round's on me, to welcome you ladies to Hallowdale." Mischa@crystyl:smiles, "Thank you kindly, Mr...?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "Okes. Deputy Candid Okes. And you two are?" Mischa@crystyl:"I'm Mischa, this's Lana. So Deputy, huh. Coincidence that you were the one watching the town gate ready to greet us?" T'Lana@anncaris | Okes: "No, it's my job to keep an eye on things around here, so I notice when strangers come strolling into town." Mischa@crystyl:smiles, "Figured as much. Still, looks like a nice peaceful little town so don't imagine you have too much to worry about, right?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Not usually. A few years back a band of brigands passed through the region. Fire a couple of shots and ran them off and they never came back again. Luckily no one was killed in the whole - T'Lana@anncaris:- nasty business. That was before my time, though. The trouble I usually deal with are folks who's had a little too much to drink, land disputes between neighbours who's building a little too close - T'Lana@anncaris:- to each other's lands, and that one time Lydes tried to duel young Toler for cheating with his wife." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh my!" she chuckles, "Seems like this is where it's all happening!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "It's usually a quiet town, but where there's people..." Mischa@crystyl:gives him a quirked look, "What... something happened?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Nah, just that people usually make some trouble. But they're generally quite nice in this town, you'll see." T'Lana@anncaris:| He leads the two into the saloon, where a few locals are drinking and chatting Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds perfect" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes smiles, "It's a good place to live. Good choice for settling down and building up a farm, that's for sure." He walks up to the bar, "A drink for these two ladies here." T'Lana@anncaris | The bartender nods, moving over to fill two glasses with...some form of likely alcoholic drink Mischa@crystyl:follows, "Demonstrating that Hallowdale hospitality to hammer home your point?" she smiles T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes smirks, "You got that right!" Mischa@crystyl:looks around, "So who - besides you - are the people to know around here?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Well, there's Sheriff Rorran, but you just missed him. Rode off to Tadsprings earlier, he watches over this whole region so his job takes him from town to town. There's the mayor- you'll - T'Lana@anncaris:- definitely want to meet him if you plan on settling down here," he motions to the bartender, "And of course Honesty here who runs the saloon." Mischa@crystyl:smiles and gives a little wave to Honesty, "What's the deal with Tadsprings?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Oh it's a town just like this one, by a spring where frogs like to breed, if you can't tell by the name. No trouble there or anything, Rorran's just off to collect the taxes." Mischa@crystyl:"Aah, never a dull moment in a Sheriff's life!" T'Lana@anncaris:| The door to the saloon swings open and a woman in a dust-covered dress runs in, "Deputy Okes! Deputy Okes!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Or a deputy's, it seems..." he turns towards the woman, "I'm here. What's the problem?" Mischa@crystyl:nods, sipping her drink quietly as she turns and observes them T'Lana@anncaris:sips her drink and watches as well T'Lana@anncaris:| Woman: "It's the Selen Brothers! They...they..." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Calm down, Brilliant. What'd the Selens do?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Brilliant: "They just showed up at our house, started taking our mounts. My dad went out to ask them just what they were doing, grabbed his rifle too, but it wasn't a few minutes 'till he started - T'Lana@anncaris:- saddling up a mount alongside them, not even a word to me or my mother. Mother went out after him, started yelling but then just...froze and moved to the mounts too. I slipped out back, came here - T'Lana@anncaris:- quick as I could. No idea what's happening but it's as if the Selens put a spell on them both!" Mischa@crystyl:shares a glance with TL before playing her part, "A spell, like witchcraft?!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Brilliant nods, "That's what it looked like! I mean, I never thought the Selens were the type to play around magic or anything, but it couldn't have been anything else! Maybe they told - T'Lana@anncaris:- my father something important, but the way my mother just froze and walked over to the mounts...it's downright unnatural, I tell you." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Now now, let's not be hasty in making allegations first. Let me check it out, think they'll still be there, or rode off already?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Brilliant: "They seemed in a rush, so I'd say they're already off, but it wasn't long ago. Our ranch's not far from the town, even on foot. I'm sure you can catch up." Mischa@crystyl:turns to TL speaking perfectly audibly for Okes to hear, "Well Lana, guess I owe you a drink. Seems our witch did ride this way after all" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "It can't be anyone else." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes turns to the two, "What'd you mean, witch? You know who did this?" Mischa@crystyl:nods, "I rightly do" tipping her het in introduction, "Back up north they call me Mischa the Witcher. We ain't nought but humble bounty hunters - truth be told - but these northern witches are a - Mischa@crystyl:- nasty breed, bewitching good honest men and the like. Made something of a name for ourselves hunting these foul beasts down, but we got whispers of one that slipped away and headed south. Good - Mischa@crystyl:- thing for you Lana here-" giving TL a hearty pat on the back, "-is the best tracker in the business!" Mischa@crystyl:might be having a bit too much fun getting into character today... T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "So you're not here to farm after all...thought it was a bit strange, just the two of you, no families or nothing. Well, I won't turn down help from professionals. C'mon, let's go get that - T'Lana@anncaris:- witch of yours." T'Lana@anncaris:"It may be best for you to stay here. You would also be susceptible to her bewitching." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "And you two aren't? It's not like this witch only seduces men or anything, you heard Brilliant. Her mother was struck by a spell too!" Mischa@crystyl:"We have undergone rigorous training to resist their charms. Lana is right, it is not safe for you. Best you point us to them and focus on keeping the townsfolk safe here" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "What about mounts, she can charm them too? You won't catch up to them on foot." Mischa@crystyl:"From what Ms. Brilliant tells us, the mounts are not affected. If you've got a couple to spare it would surely get us there a whole lot quicker" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods, "Come with me, I'll give you the ones we deputies use." Mischa@crystyl:nods and follows T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes leads them to the stables, where several horse-like creatures are kept. They appear to be evolutionarily similar to Nimbosian horses, only with a longer horn that makes them more closely - T'Lana@anncaris:- resemble unicorns from classic Earth fairytales. Instead of pure white furs though, these 'unicorns' have a more colourful spotted pattern reminiscent of Appaloosa horse breeds T'Lana@anncaris:FX | https://i.pinimg.com/originals/9f/10/54/9f1054a40db0649a9babb6b2604cb34b.jpg Mischa@crystyl:smiles as she approaches and greets one of them, "Well now aren't you just beautiful!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "I take it you know how to handle them well? Must need a mount from time to time to chase down witches, after all." Mischa@crystyl:grins, "Grew up at a breeding stable if you can believe it!" keeps introducing herself to the mount making sure it's ready to accept her T'Lana@anncaris:| The mount does indeed accept her thanks to Mischa's experience with Earth horses! T'Lana seems to be doing fairly well with hers as well T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods, "Keep 'em safe, and go get that witch." Mischa@crystyl:satisfies herself before taking the reins and elegantly pulling herself up onto it's back. She rears the beast around and waves her hat, "Make sure Honesty's got another round ready for our return!- Mischa@crystyl:- YA! she gees the mount and gallops off out of the gate apace T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes grins, "Will do!" T'Lana@anncaris:follows Mischa out of the town on her own mount T'Lana@anncaris:| Before long, the two reach the ranch where the mounts were taken. Indeed, the property seems to be empty now, of both mounts and people, though there is a very visible trail of hoofprints leading - T'Lana@anncaris:- away from the property T'Lana@anncaris:points at the trail, "We should be able to follow the trail to them. They were not exactly being subtle." Mischa@crystyl:pulls out her tricorder for a quick scan as well now they're not being watched T'Lana@anncaris:| The mounts and their riders are not currently within tricorder range, and scans do not pick up anything odd...for the moment Mischa@crystyl:"Well at least we know we've got a ways to go. Come on, before this trail is lost to the elements" T'Lana@anncaris:nods and spurs her mount on, following the trail T'Lana@anncaris:rides beside Mischa as they go, "I suggest we stun them and beam them back to the ship for examination and cleansing of influence. By the time we catch up to them, we should be far enough from - T'Lana@anncaris:- any prying eyes to safely do so." Mischa@crystyl:"That would be for the best. We can't be sure that it started with those brothers though, so must be prepared for greater numbers" T'Lana@anncaris:"Agreed. There seems to be more than a few mounts among these tracks, which means they most likely took additional ones. That suggests the brothers may wish to procure more mounts for others as well." T'Lana@anncaris:"The ranch seems like it held at least a dozen, if not more." Mischa@crystyl:"Do you recall any other features in this region we're riding for?" T'Lana@anncaris:"There is a small canyon somewhere ahead of us, with a river running through it. That would be a logical place to set camp, and Horde thralls are still susceptible to the elements and require - T'Lana@anncaris:- sustenance." Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds reasonable" T'Lana@anncaris:"If we are to engage them, it would be advantageous to do so from the top of the canyon. It would also be possible to simply beam them to the ship under containment as well, especially if they have - T'Lana@anncaris:- significant numbers. They do not have access to technology that could build them transport inhibitor chips." Mischa@crystyl:"Tagging them for transport might be a cleaner solution" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "Agreed. The level of weaponry they have access to here would be of no threat behind our containment fields, so neutralizing them before recovery would not be required." Mischa@crystyl:"Now we just need to verify their location then" T'Lana@anncaris:nods and continues following the trail. After a fairly long ride, their tricorders begin to pick up lifesigns ahead beneath the canyon, as T'Lana predicted Mischa@crystyl:"Seems promising" T'Lana@anncaris:"Six males, three females. Certainly more than the account we were given, within which the mother should have been the only female who had fallen under Horde control. I suspect you were right in - T'Lana@anncaris:- that others have been dominated as well. The direction of their travel corresponds to the direction of the port city. This is most likely a group of thralls, or at least influenced individuals." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright then" taps her combadge, "Leveson-Scott to Latenter, can you get a wide area transporter lock from our current coordinates?" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "Affirmative, Commander. I'm reading nine locals, are they confirmed or suspected Horde thralls?" Mischa@crystyl:"Consider as suspected" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "Understood. We'll transport, contain and examine. Do you want us to beam you back as well?" Mischa@crystyl:"No, we will investigate the area while you tend to the locals" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "And the wildlife within their midst- should we transport them as well or leave them in place?" Mischa@crystyl:"Leave the wildlife" T'Lana@anncaris:looks to Mischa, "We should bring the mounts back to the ranch, but it may be easier to transport them than lead all of them back." Mischa@crystyl:pauses, giving TL a 'you're no fun' look before nodding, "Leave the wildlife... for now. Then once the locals are cleansed, they can be beamed back to the return site which we will give you then" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "Transporting the locals now." T'Lana@anncaris:| A few seconds later, she reports, "We have them contained. I'll keep you updated, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Excellent. We will proceed to investigate here in the meantime" T'Lana@anncaris:checks her tricorder, "No other local lifesigns in the area, and I am detecting thirteen mounts, not counting our own." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's get down there and see if there's anything evident of further activity then" T'Lana@anncaris:nods and begins making her way down the canyon T'Lana@anncaris:| Making their way down to the base of the canyon, they reach the thralls' campsite, now devoid of people with only the mounts standing around, a few of them wandering over to the stream to drink - T'Lana@anncaris:- the water there Mischa@crystyl:performs a cursory scan as they approach T'Lana@anncaris:| Mischa detects no further lifesigns and can see that all the mounts are unharmed and in good health Mischa@crystyl:rides into the camp and dismounts to take a look around T'Lana@anncaris:| It is a very ordinary camp, in some ways even less than ordinary with virtually no luxuries. Mischa notes that all the tracks are those heading in towards the camp, and there are none leading out Mischa@crystyl:"I can see no evidence of further activity. You?" T'Lana@anncaris:shakes her head, "It does not appear that anyone left the camp. While it is good news that we seems to have captured them all, I find it unusual that the Horde would concentrate all their thralls - T'Lana@anncaris:- together in one large group and be so easily contained. Perhaps it may be the lack of intelligence due to having only a small amount of thralls and thus less processing power. That has not - T'Lana@anncaris:- limited the Horde under the Architect's control, but it is possible the Architect is not directly intervening as we have already removed the Ar-Rhys clone, his primary point of interest here." T'Lana@anncaris:"However, I would still recommend that we continue monitoring the people here, just in case there are more thralls or influenced individuals." Mischa@crystyl:grins, "You just want to go back to the saloon don't you" T'Lana@anncaris:"It is the logical course of action. We would not want our efforts so far to go to waste if a thrall slips past and spreads influence across the rest of the planet." T'Lana@anncaris:"It would be best to confirm that the rest of the residents here are not influenced before departing." Mischa@crystyl:"We can start making our way back. But we will come under scrutiny if we return to town without a definitive answer on their people so we might have to stop and wait at Brilliant's ranch" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "We will want to make sure the ranch is clear so we can transport the mounts back as well. Let us return to the ranch, then." Mischa@crystyl:jumps back up on her mount, "Back to the ranch we go!" --- T'Lana@anncaris:As they make their way back towards the ranch, Mischa's combadge chirps Mischa@crystyl:taps, "What do we know?" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "All the individuals we beamed up are confirmed to be under Horde influence. I have good and bad news regarding them, though." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's have it then" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "The good part is that five of the nine were under heavy influence, but not yet completely dominated by the Horde, which means we can wipe the influence and transport them back onto - T'Lana@anncaris:- the planet with no problem. They'll remember something taking control of their minds- we can wipe that specific part of their memory if you like, but they'll remember the rest of their lives, how - T'Lana@anncaris:- to get home, and how to continue living in their society." Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds reasonable. What about the other four...?" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "The other four...I'm afraid have already become full Horde thralls. We can free them like the thralls at Terminu, but just like these people, freeing full thralls means wiping their - T'Lana@anncaris:- entire memories. They'll be blank slates- capable of relearning and reintegrating into society with effort, but I'm not sure a society at this stage in development has the systems in place - T'Lana@anncaris:- for that level of rehabilitation." Mischa@crystyl:"So you would recommend handling them off-world with the other refugees?" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "Yes. The locals here can simply be led to believe that they are dead, and they will start new lives with no recollection or ties to this pre-warp society." Mischa@crystyl:"Agreed. The loss will be hard to deal with, but familiar at least to these people. We are on our way to drop zone now" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "Transporters have all the wildlife you identified locked on and ready to transport on your signal." Mischa@crystyl:"We'll contact you as soon the drop zone is clear" T'Lana@anncaris:"I suspect Brilliant's parents are likely among those who can be fully restored, as they have only fallen under Horde control recently. That will no doubt be good news. As for the others, we will - T'Lana@anncaris:- simply have to report that they attacked us and could not be saved." Mischa@crystyl:"Or simply that the 'witch' had already killed them" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "If they believe that this witch has magical abilities at her disposal, that can also explain why no traces of them remain." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh I was just going to say that we burned all of the remains to cleanse them of witchcraft!" T'Lana@anncaris:"An excellent idea. That should also be an explanation that may be convincing to the locals." Mischa@crystyl:"It was for my ancestors at least" T'Lana@anncaris:"I am sure it will be convincing for a society at this point in development as well." T'Lana@anncaris:"Speaking of which, you seem to be blending in quite well here, despite our lack of information on the specifics of the local culture. I assume it is not very different from that of your ancestors - T'Lana@anncaris:- at a similar point in development?" Mischa@crystyl:"Not my direct ancestors, but this place is... remarkably similar in fact, to another part of Earth. The American mid-west, or 'wild west' as it was fondly dubbed in all the romanticising fiction - Mischa@crystyl:- that came in the decades that followed" T'Lana@anncaris:"That was the region Captain James Kirk originated from, was it not?" Mischa@crystyl:smiles and nods, "Very good, yes. Though I'm sure it was a lot different by his time" T'Lana@anncaris:"I would expect so. Still, his ancestors may have been quite like the people here." Mischa@crystyl:"A distinct possibility, yes" T'Lana@anncaris:| Before long, the two make their way back to the ranch, which still appears to be empty. T'Lana takes out her tricorder, doing a scan to confirm T'Lana@anncaris:"This place is still deserted. We should be clear to beam the mounts and the recovered locals here." Mischa@crystyl:nods tapping her combadge, "Leveson-Scott to Latenter, we are at the transport site now and you are clear to moving the livestock from the previous coordinates" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "Understood. Beginning transport now." T'Lana@anncaris | Two of the alien unicorns materialize on the ranch, followed by two more a few seconds later Mischa@crystyl:"So far so good. Should be set to return the locals now" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "They are still unconscious, but should awaken in time. I will transport them to the inside of the residential structure." Mischa@crystyl:"Very good. We can position them comfortably from there to maintain the illusion" T'Lana@anncaris:nods and dismounts, making her way towards the house on the ranch Mischa@crystyl:heads inside with her T'Lana@anncaris:| They find the four already having been transported inside and unconscious on the floor as they enter. T'Lana performs a quick scan and gives a satisfied nod before pocketing her tricorder and - T'Lana@anncaris:- lifting up one of the locals to position Mischa@crystyl:gets to work positioning the others to maintain the illusion that they just had a bad dream, too much drink, or something fairly mundane T'Lana@anncaris:"Good idea, Commander," she follows Mischa's example, setting up the locals and the room to look the part Mischa@crystyl:"Hopefully they'll find it sufficient to brush it off without a thought, and when the only person who speaks to the contrary is the excitable daughter, they will be inclined not to believe her" T'Lana@anncaris:"I am sure they will," she steps back as she finishes setting up her side of the room Mischa@crystyl:finishes soon after, "There. We should get back to town and finish this little adventure off" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "Let us proceed." She heads out of her house and back onto her mount Mischa@crystyl:mounts up and trots along beside her T'Lana@anncaris:| It is not a long ride back to the town from the ranch, and the pair soon make it back to the stable T'Lana@anncaris:| However, in addition to Okes, they find several other men waiting for them there, all with rifles in hand... T'Lana@anncaris:| One of them, wearing a long jacket and a hat similar to Okes, raises his rifle at the pair, "Dismount." Mischa@crystyl:"Well now, that's a far cry from that Hallowdale hospitality we enjoyed earlier. What seems to be the problem?" she asks, discretely activating her combadge as she dismounts so the ship can listen T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "This is Sheriff Rorran. He rode back not long ago. I told him all that went down, but he's convinced that you two are the real witches." T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "They played you for a fool, Okes. Two strange women just strolling into town, claiming to be some foreign witch-hunters from afar, and you believed 'em?" Mischa@crystyl:"Even though we were with you when the witches struck at Brilliant's ranch?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "Who's to say that witch wasn't a friend of yours, and she pulled off that business so you could seem trustworthy?" Mischa@crystyl:"To what end?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "To enchant the entire town, maybe? Or maybe you just want a deputy under your control, so you can do as you please here." T'Lana@anncaris:"If we wanted to enchant Okes, we would have done so without such an intricate plot. It seemed easy enough for the witch to do so to Brilliant's parents, did it not?" Mischa@crystyl:"Then we'll negate your fears by turning around and riding straight back out of town" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "Maybe you've enchanted him already, and while we're not looking he'll shoot us all in the back and you can just come strolling back in." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "I'm not under any kind of spell!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "That's exactly what someone under a spell would say." Mischa@crystyl:"Ask Brilliant then. She has seen the behaviour of those under the witches spell" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "Fine. But you stay right here until I get back. And the three of you," he looks to the other three men with him, "Keep an eye on 'em." T'Lana@anncaris:| The sheriff turns and walks off T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes, "I apologize about this, the sheriff's not usually this...headstrong." Mischa@crystyl:"Not wanting to play devil's advocate here or anything, but has it occurred to you that /he/ may be bewitched, if this - as you say - out of character for him?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Now that you mention it...he does seem to be behaving a bit unusual since he got back." Mischa@crystyl:"Did he travel alone, or did others return with him?" T'Lana@anncaris:| One of the other men shakes his head, "No, he went out on his own. When he got back, he heard what happened from Okes and rounded us up to deal with you." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "I don't think he even went to Tadsprings- wasn't gone long enough for a round trip." Mischa@crystyl:"And what do you all say then; of the two, who is acting strangely - Okes or Rorran?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Posse Man #2: "Okes has always gone soft when it comes to women, I can see him trusting you without magic, but Rorran definitely seems...different." T'Lana@anncaris:| Posse Man #1: "You'd trust the strangers over the sheriff?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "The strangers got a point. You must've noticed." Mischa@crystyl:"Now I ain't accusing him of nothing. Just saying, if you got cause to doubt him, then challenge him; find out why he didn't go to Tadsprings, where he went instead and why he came back here then" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods, "All of you stay here, I'll talk with Rorran. I'm the deputy still. You two might not want to trust the strangers, but you all know I got what's best for Hallowdale in mind." T'Lana@anncaris:| The two men exchange looks with one another before nodding and Okes turns to follow in the direction the sheriff went Mischa@crystyl:looks between the two left with them, "Guess this town's anything but quiet, contrary to popular belief" T'Lana@anncaris:| Posse Man #1: "It usually is, but we usually don't got any witches or anything like that to deal with." Mischa@crystyl:"Well for what it's worth, we did deal with the ones out in the canyon that bewitched Brilliant's parents. My only worry now is that there may be one at large still" T'Lana@anncaris:| Posse Man #2: "You think there's more than one? What've we done to attract the attention of so many witches?" Mischa@crystyl:"Probably not more than one. But perhaps the one we found at the canyon was simply another bewitched thrall of the real culprit. These creatures of the night can be devious after all. As for why - Mischa@crystyl:- you good folks? Probably just bad luck. Foul creatures such as this tend to draw attention after a while when they stay in one place too long, so inevitably have to keep moving around to work - Mischa@crystyl:- dark crafts. That's why we end up roaming the plains to hunt them" T'Lana@anncaris:| Posse Man #1: "Maybe...or the sheriff could be right and the two of you are the real witches. Sure, he's a little more on edge than usual, but with witches roaming around, that's-" T'Lana@anncaris:| He is cut off as the sound of a gunshot reverberates down the street and both posse men turn to face the other direction, rifles held at the ready... --- T'Lana@anncaris:| A few seconds later, Okes dashes out wildly from the saloon, "The sheriff, he's gone mad!" Mischa@crystyl:"Okes, get out of there!" she calls out moving to aptly disarm the nearest posseman, knowing she can make a more collected shot, bringing the rifle to bear to on the doorway behind Okes T'Lana@anncaris:quickly disarms the other posseman as well while Okes continues running. The door opens a few seconds later and Rorran appears with rifle in hand. Seeing Mischa and T'Lana armed, he fires a wild - T'Lana@anncaris:- shot that hits only the ground and causes a puff of dirt to fly up where it lands before he promptly dodges back into the cover of the saloon Mischa@crystyl:calmly returns fire with (hopefully) a more precise killshot T'Lana@anncaris:| The two posse men are completely stunned by the sudden turn of events and disarming, having no idea who to support Mischa@crystyl:rolls 27 (1-100) T'Lana@anncaris:| Despite Mischa's skill, the low tech of the rifle makes it difficult to get a precise hit, and her shot blasts a chunk of wood off the top of the saloon doorframe, with the sheriff safely ducking - T'Lana@anncaris:- away from it T'Lana@anncaris:rolls 36 (1-100) T'Lana@anncaris:doesn't fare much better, her shot punching a hole through the saloon wall, though it doesn't hit the sheriff Mischa@crystyl:gives the rifle an unimpressed look before ducking into cover behind a barrel as he returns fire T'Lana@anncaris:moves into cover as well. The sheriff's return shot misses as well and he quickly ducks into the saloon after firing, though he shouts, "Get the witches, they've put Okes under a spell!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Posse Man #1 begins running towards Mischa and T'Lana, but Okes and the other posse man grabs him T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "It's Rorran who's under a spell! He tried to shoot me!" Mischa@crystyl:tries to adjust her aim to compensate with the clumsy rifle and aims to shoot the saloon sign out on one side so it swings down to KO him Mischa@crystyl:rolls 96 (1-100) T'Lana@anncaris:| Adjusting her aim after the first shot, Mischa manages to shoot the saloon sign, which smacks the sheriff across the face as he tries to fire another shot, knocking him out! T'Lana@anncaris:"Excellent shot." Mischa@crystyl:can't deny herself a slightly smug grin as she stands and offers the rifle back to the posseman she took it from, immediately holding her hands out non-threateningly as a sign of truce T'Lana@anncaris:| Posse Man #2 lets go of his fellow, taking the rifle. T'Lana does the same and Okes takes the rifle, handing it back to the other posse man T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "I'm still the deputy here. Leave these women be." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes draws a revolver from his belt and slowly approaches the KOed sheriff Mischa@crystyl:joins him T'Lana@anncaris:follows over as well. The sheriff appears to be out cold and Okes holsters his revolver, picking up the sheriff's rifle before checking him, "He's still breathing. Think you two can break whatever - T'Lana@anncaris:- spell he's under?" Mischa@crystyl:"It's... possible, but exorcising those demons from him iss no easy task and certainly not for the faint hearted. If you've got somewhere private we can work, we can at least try for him" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods, "Let's take him over to our office then." He moves to lift the sheriff and T'Lana steps up to help Mischa@crystyl:nods and follows, addressing Okes as they go, "You understand that we'll need absolute privacy if we're to try this. You and your men must seal the building behind us and under no circumstances can - Mischa@crystyl:- anyone enter until we give the all clear" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods, "Got it. Do what you need to, we'll make sure you're not disturbed." T'Lana@anncaris:and Okes bring Rorran into the sheriff's office, setting him on top of a table T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "I'll be just outside if you need anything." Mischa@crystyl:nods, "I'm trusting you and your men now. This is not something we would normally attempt in the field. But... you bought us a drink!" she smiles, ushering them out of the door T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes smiles back before turning to head out T'Lana@anncaris:takes out her tricorder and checks the unconscious sheriff once the area is clear Mischa@crystyl:returns to TL, "What's the verdict?" T'Lana@anncaris:"He is under Horde influence, but not yet a full thrall. The Latenter will be able to return him to as he was before." Mischa@crystyl:addresses her combadge, "I assume you've all been listening. Lock on to the local with us and beam him up for immediate cleansing" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "On it, Commander." T'Lana@anncaris:| The unconscious sheriff disappears away into a transporter beam Mischa@crystyl:"How long do we estimate to have him recovered?" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "I'll ask Buena for a preliminary estimate. One moment." T'Lana@anncaris:| A short while later, VIctoria replies, "The influence is not exceptionally strong. We can return him in about fifteen minutes, though it'll take a few hours before he wakes up." Mischa@crystyl:"That is fine, thank you Victoria" Mischa@crystyl:turns to TL, "So the question remains, what is our next move from here. Clearly he got influenced from somewhere on the road" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "Speaking to him after he awakens may reveal how he was influenced, but if we wait for him to awaken before tracking down who influenced him, it will give the thralls more time to make it to - T'Lana@anncaris:- the city. However, it may be difficult to follow his tracks from earlier, though it is possible the deputy has an idea of the general route he usually takes." Mischa@crystyl:"I think it might be worth taking Okes out to try and track the Sheriff's movements" T'Lana@anncaris:"We can set out as soon as the Sheriff is treated and returned." Mischa@crystyl:nods, hopping up and perching on the table, "I wonder if Okes keeps a deck of cards in here. I recall that being a favourite pastime of the old west" T'Lana@anncaris:"Perhaps, but I suspect the rules of their game will be quite different from anything in your history." Mischa@crystyl:"Well, we should probably make it look like there's been quite the epic ordeal in here after my earlier sales pitch" T'Lana@anncaris:"Time for more setup while we await the Sheriff's return, then?" Mischa@crystyl:smiles, hopping off the table, "I believe so, yes!" and getting to work making a mess T'Lana@anncaris:gets to work messing up the room as well. After fifteen minutes of making the room look utterly chaotic, the sheriff is beamed back onto the table Mischa@crystyl:moves to check him T'Lana@anncaris:| He is alive, and clear of Horde influence! Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, time for the finishing touches" she ruffles her hair a little - and TL's - before dipping her fingers in a glass of water and splashing them both with droplets to look like sweat T'Lana@anncaris:"Good idea," she steps over, ruffling the Sheriff's hair as well, opening his duster and making a large tear in his shirt before taking off one of his boots and tossing it across the room. "That - T'Lana@anncaris:- should do it." Mischa@crystyl:chuckles at the sight of TL tearing the Sheriff's clothes off, "Now there's an image I'll never soon forget" T'Lana@anncaris:raises a brow in response Mischa@crystyl:continues chuckling, "Alright, never mind. I think we're all set here, time to get in character" Mischa@crystyl:heads the door, becoming more hunched and out of breath. Opening it a crack and leaning through, "It's... done..." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes rushes over, "How's Rorran. Is he alive?" Mischa@crystyl:braces against the door frame and nods, "He's a tough old bird, that one, he'll be just fine. Gonna take him a while to sleep it off though" T'Lana@anncaris:appears behind Mischa, pretending to be worn out as well, "Though I am afraid we will need your aid, hopefully for one final thing." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "What's that?" Mischa@crystyl:"Well clearly Rorran got bewitched by someone. That someone's still out there, likely on the road from here to Tadsprings" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods, "You want me to help bring 'em down?" Mischa@crystyl:"We're worried that if we wait until Rorran wakes up, they will have bewitched more folks. But we don't know the terrain here like you do, so you think you could help us backtrack his movements?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "You can count me in, but sure the two of you don't need a drink first? You look pretty tired." Mischa@crystyl:"We'll be fine" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "If you say so. I'm ready to get going when you are." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's mount up then!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods and leads the way back to the stable, where the three mount up on the alien unicorns once again T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes speaks as they ride off, "I'll take you on the route he usually takes to Tadsprings. Must've met this other witch somewhere along there." Mischa@crystyl:"At the very least, something must have drawn his attention away. Hopefully it's clear for us too" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods, "I'll keep my eye out." Mischa@crystyl:rides along quietly, following Okes' lead T'Lana@anncaris:| After a while of riding, Okes stops his mount, "I see something, there, besides the Peles' farm." T'Lana@anncaris:| Mischa spots it as well, a small crater that was almost certainly made by one of the escape pod fragments Mischa@crystyl:nods, "I see it. Stay here Okes, let us check it out first" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes nods, "Let me know if you need me." He unslings his rifle from his back cautiously as he waits by the road Mischa@crystyl:rides over towards the crater, getting far enough out of site before pulling a tricorder under her jacket T'Lana@anncaris:| As they get closer to the crater, it becomes clear that there are people around it, Mischa's tricorder picks up five individuals- two adult females and one adult male, along with one male and one - T'Lana@anncaris:- female child. The crater itself still has the hull material inside it, though it is little more than a burning slag of metal T'Lana@anncaris:"This is the piece we were unable to recover, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's get close enough to check them. I'll occupy them while you scan" T'Lana@anncaris:nods and dismounts, making her way over more discreetly to check them while Mischa approaches directly Mischa@crystyl:trots over to the group, "Howdy folks, what's going on here now?" T'Lana@anncaris:| As Mischa rides over, she notices that the individuals seem to be kneeling beside the crater. They stand as she speaks, all turning to her T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "Come, join us. Let us together admire the majesty of the great Lords Above." Mischa@crystyl:"Majesty of the Lords? What you got there?" Mischa@crystyl:slowly circles around to draw their attention and line of sight away from TL T'Lana@anncaris:meanwhile sneaks up behind the group, moving from rock to rock to stay out of sight T'Lana@anncaris:| Woman #1: "The Gods have given us this sign of their coming. The ancient ones are here, our creators have come to take what is rightfully theirs." Mischa@crystyl:"And y'all figured this out from... a hole in the ground?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Woman #2: "No, we found the hole early in the morning. We didn't know what it was then." T'Lana@anncaris:| Boy: "We were ignorant. Afraid. But then an envoy of the Lords Above came to us." T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "He had received knowledge from the gods themselves, and came to enlighten us of the true meaning of this sign." Mischa@crystyl:"No kidding? And this Prophet told you to... worship his hole?" Mischa@crystyl:somehow manages to keep a straight face as she says it too T'Lana@anncaris:| Woman #2: "Not quite, but he said it was a harbinger of things to come. That soon we will be reunited with our Father, not Valiant Peles here, but the creator of us all." T'Lana@anncaris:| Girl: "We are to rejoice at his coming, for it is the beginning of a new age for us!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Beside them, T'Lana has gotten close enough and runs her scans hidden behind a boulder Mischa@crystyl:"Interestin'. So what happened to this wise Prophet, how come he ain't here with y'all?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Woman #1: "After Sheriff Rorran came by, he spread the truth of our Lords Above to him as well, and then they both went on their way." Mischa@crystyl:"They left together for Hallowdale?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "No, he headed off towards the city of Felron, to spread the word there while he sent the Sheriff back to Hallowdale to deal with some 'interlopers.'" T'Lana@anncaris:| Boy: "He said something about being the last of the envoys, and that he must herald the arrival of the ancient ones by spreading the truth to all corners of the world." T'Lana@anncaris:gives Mischa a nod and slowly begins making her way away from the group Mischa@crystyl:"No kiddin'! Sure sounds like an interestin' fella, say how long a ride y'all say it is to Felron from here? Wouldn't mind catching up to this Prophet and hearing the word my good self" T'Lana@anncaris:| Woman #1: "It's about a day's ride. The envoy left just past noon, he'll be there probably â€˜round noon tomorrow." Mischa@crystyl:tips her hat to the group, "Then I'll ride like the wind and see if I can't catch up to him sooner. Mighty good of y'all to be so forthcoming now, have a pleasant day now!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "You too! Praise be to the Lords Above!" Mischa@crystyl:brings the mount around and trots away the way she came until catching up with TL T'Lana@anncaris:soon meets back up with Mischa, "They are under Horde influence- a similar degree to the Sheriff, but they are not thralls nor entirely controlled by the Horde." Mischa@crystyl:"The one responsible is riding for the city and has been since he parted ways with Rorran here. It's about a days ride so we can probably catch up. Could bring down a containment crew to pick this - Mischa@crystyl:- up and process them" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "What of Deputy Okes? Shall we ask him to turn back for Hallowdale? We do not want him present when we transport these people to the Latenter for treatment." Mischa@crystyl:"Might be for the best. We can probably track the last thralls movements and get ourselves beamed closer that way too" T'Lana@anncaris:"I will inform the Deputy that we have found the trail and will pursue the 'witch,' while he should return to the town and ensure its safety." Mischa@crystyl:nods, "I'll contact the ship and get a containment crew ready T'Lana@anncaris:mounts up and makes her way back to Okes Mischa@crystyl:taps her combadge and contacts the ship to arrange reinforcements to do the dirty work T'Lana@anncaris:| Before long, T'Lana joins back up with Mischa. The Latenter identifies a few different individuals on the way to the city and cannot easily pick out the thrall to beam back up, but reports that - T'Lana@anncaris:- they can beam Mischa and T'Lana further along to help them catch up Mischa@crystyl:would have found that little jump in the right direction more than acceptable and agreed to the most suitable coordinates to optimize their search T'Lana@anncaris:"Deputy Okes is on his way back to Hallowdale. We may proceed." Mischa@crystyl:nods, tapping her combadge again, "Latenter, we're ready to transport" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "Transporting now, Commander." T'Lana@anncaris:| Mischa and T'Lana rematerialize further down the road Mischa@crystyl:scans around to get her bearings T'Lana@anncaris:| They are indeed much closer to the city now, and not far behind a group of people headed in the same direction, who are showing up on tricorder scans at this distance already Mischa@crystyl:"Guess we'd better start with this first group then" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "Shall we use the same strategy- you speak with them while I take discreet scans?" Mischa@crystyl:"It seems to work well enough, unless you would prefer to make small talk?" T'Lana@anncaris:"I will stick to the scanning. You seem to be blending in very well here." Mischa@crystyl:grins, "You have no idea how many holonovels Starfleet ships are embellished with to recreate romanticized environments like this. And they have horses, so of course I would have tried them on - Mischa@crystyl:- occasion. And as unrefined as this setting is, there is an undeniable rustic charm to it all" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "Indeed. I believe I understand the appeal in the combination of the simplicity of the lifestyle and the dangers that come with it." Mischa@crystyl:"Probably why so many of Keelah's crew grew attached to that Belyia world they got to live on for a while. Of course, having real magic powers and dragons in the sky might have something to do with - Mischa@crystyl:- it too" Mischa@crystyl:so isn't bitter about missing that place still. Clearly T'Lana@anncaris:checks her tricorder, "I will dismount here and approach the group discreetly while you attract their attention." Mischa@crystyl:nods and spurs her ride along to pick up pace T'Lana@anncaris:| Mischa sees that the small group is travelling with a wagon drawn by one of the alien unicorns. The group slows down as Mischa begins to approach and a man greets her with a wave Mischa@crystyl:waves back, slowing down to match their pace and draw up alongside them, "Howdy there folks! Heading up to Felron?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "Hey there! That we are. You making the journey too?" Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed I am. Actually trying to catch up with a friend we met down in Hallowdale. Preacherman, you know the sort" T'Lana@anncaris:| The man nods, "I do, but I haven't run into anyone like that out on this road yet. You travelling all by your lonesome until you meet up with this preacherman?" Mischa@crystyl:smiles and shakes her head, "Nah, I'm just riding ahead to scout for our party" she patas her steed's side, "Been a might hard run so far though, so wouldn't mind tagging alongside you good folks a - Mischa@crystyl:- spell which she rests, if you'd have us" T'Lana@anncaris:| The man smiles, "Of course! I was just about to invite you to join us. The road can be dangerous on your own, but it's good to hear you've got a group and just came to scout ahead. Feel free to - T'Lana@anncaris:- tag along while your mount takes a breather, though." Mischa@crystyl:"Dangerous as it might be, always nice to see good honest folks out here too still. So what has y'all on the road?" she asks, pulling a flask from the saddle bag and refreshing herself T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "We're fur traders. All part of the business. What about you, you come from Hallowdale?" Mischa@crystyl:"Hunters actually. Don't really got a home as you'd call it, just roam the plains along with the beasts. Got to keep your trade up after all!" she smiles T'Lana@anncaris:| The man nods, "There's a high demand for good furs, after all!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Mischa spies T'Lana's signal from behind the wagon as she finishes her scans! Mischa@crystyl:returns her flask to the saddlebag, "Well, been a pleasure talking and all, but we've got a lot of ground to cover before nightfall so thank you for the hospitality. Time for us to move on" she pats - Mischa@crystyl:- her mount beneath her T'Lana@anncaris:| Man: "Good luck on your hunting!" Mischa@crystyl:tips her hat before spurring the beast and galloping off towards TL T'Lana@anncaris:| She soon joins up with T'Lana, who announces, "This group is free of influence." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, they did not seem to have any knowledge of the self proclaimed prophet. How far ahead to the next signal?" T'Lana@anncaris:checks, "One hour and twenty minutes. Do you wish to transport again to close the distance?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, let's do all we can to expedite this search" T'Lana@anncaris:and Mischa repeat the process again, this time running into another group of simple traders showing no signs of influence. They regroup and transport forward like before T'Lana@anncaris:checks her tricorder as they materialize, "Seven lifesigns in the group ahead." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, same again" she begins to race ahead T'Lana@anncaris:| As Mischa begins to approach this group, she notices that many of them are carrying rifles. They slow down as she comes into view Mischa@crystyl:slows and raises her hands clearly, "Easy fellas, just little old me passing on through here" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #1: "And what would a lady like yourself be doing all by yourself on the road?" Mischa@crystyl:puts on a respectable Brilliant impression, sniffling away, "I'm terribly sorry to intrude. We ain't but humble fur traders see, only our caravan got attacked way back. Please, I don't mean y'all no- Mischa@crystyl:- harm and I've got nothing to my name worthwhile to offer. Just passing through is all" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #2: "Damn. Looks like Lucky's band beat us to it. They took everything you got?" Mischa@crystyl:nods meekly, "The Preacherman carried all our coin. I were hoping he might've joined up with your caravan here when I saw you heading this way" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #3: "Preacherman? Older fellow, long black duster and hat?" Mischa@crystyl:"Could be... does that mean you've seen him?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #3 nods, "Yeah, we have. He was travelling with a wagon. We were thinking of ambushing 'em, but there was something...off." Mischa@crystyl:"Off?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #2: "There were five of 'em, three men and two women, but they weren't talking with one another. Sure you don't talk every minute you're travelling or you'll get mighty thirsty, but folks - T'Lana@anncaris:- usually exchange a few words or look around, swat away some bugs, something. These people, they were marching down the road like they were in the army or something." T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #4: "But they didn't have no uniforms. And army travels in larger groups than five." Mischa@crystyl:"Well that definitely sounds like him" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #3: "What kinda outfit is he running, anyways?" Mischa@crystyl:"Some crazy-assed cult is what it is! You said there was two girls with him with? Well they're my sisters, he went and brainwashed them or something! Now I'm hunting the bastard down before - Mischa@crystyl:- he gets away with any more!" clearly having now dropped her initial ruse T'Lana@anncaris:| Mischa spots T'Lana's signal again as she speaks T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #3: "Guess letting them pass was a good call. So they're the ones who hit you, huh?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes and now we're closing in, I'll bid you gentlemen good day" T'Lana@anncaris:| Man #3: "Go on ahead, sounds like you got nothing for us to take anyways. And good luck with that cult- sounds like you're gonna be needing it. They should be the first group ahead of us on the - T'Lana@anncaris:- road, just passed us by not long ago." Mischa@crystyl:rejoins TL, keeping pace and waving her along, "They're not far ahead now" T'Lana@anncaris:"This last group was not under any influence. The next group is about an hour ahead." Mischa@crystyl:"The last group encountered them but only in passing. We've got 5 in total" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, tapping her tricorder, "The Latenter's scans from orbit also detected five in that group. Should we attempt to get close to verify influence, or have them all beamed up and checked on the ship? Mischa@crystyl:"If they're in a clear enough position we could go for transport" T'Lana@anncaris:taps her combadge and relays Mischa's instructions to Victoria T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "I am not detecting any other locals near the group of five. Transporting them now. I will keep you updated on the influence check." Mischa@crystyl:eases up to let the unihorse rest T'Lana@anncaris:slows down as well. A little over a minute later, Mischa's combadge chirps again Mischa@crystyl:taps, "What do we know?" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "Buena confirms that the five are influenced. Only two are full thralls, while the others are under heavy control, Buena believes they can be restored." Mischa@crystyl:"Excellent news, commence treatment then and we can return to Hallowdale to put all of this to bed" T'Lana@anncaris:<C - Victoria> "On it, Commander. What about the mount lifesign and wagon the group was travelling with- shall we transport it somewhere out of the way?" T'Lana@anncaris:"Once the three are treated, we may be able to beam them back down to their wagon to make it seem as if they have been ambushed and robbed." Mischa@crystyl:"Good thinking. Let's continue there and set up the scene then" T'Lana@anncaris:nods and continues riding ahead, "We should transport these ones down when they are almost awake- leaving them unconscious in the wild for too long will no doubt be dangerous." Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, our friendly bandits back there might not be so friendly if they were to come across helpless victims like that" T'Lana@anncaris:"I will ask Victoria to hold them until they are nearing consciousness. For now, we should reach their wagon and set up a convincing robbery." Mischa@crystyl:nods as they gallop along T'Lana@anncaris:| The two spend the better part of the hour riding before coming upon the now-abandoned wagon and mount. After riding the alien unicorns all this time, it is not difficult for them to get the mount - T'Lana@anncaris:- to drive the wagon off the road, where they cause a mess with its contents to make it appear as if it has been robbed. Another three hours pass and the sun has set before Victoria reports that - T'Lana@anncaris:- the patients should reawaken soon and are ready to be transported back down Mischa@crystyl:looks around at their handiwork and dusts her hands, "What do you think Lana, ready for our poor victims to be returned?" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "Let us return and position them quickly and head back to Hallowdale before they awaken." Mischa@crystyl:signals the ship to beam them down T'Lana@anncaris:| The three are transported down unconscious on the dirt, and T'Lana quickly goes about positioning them, splattering some dirt on their clothes in the process to make it look like there had been a - T'Lana@anncaris:- convincing scruffle Mischa@crystyl:does the same T'Lana@anncaris:soon finishes the setup, stepping back to examine the scene fully before giving Mischa a nod, "We should return to Hallowdale with their mounts and report that the threat is dealt with." --- T'Lana@anncaris:| Mischa and T'Lana ride back into town, finding Sheriff Rorran and Deputy Okes waiting for them by the stable again. This time however, the two are not armed nor accompanied by posse men Mischa@crystyl:smiles, riding up to them, "Howdy there gentlemen, feeling better now Sheriff?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "Much better, thank you. Okes said I was under some kinda spell, tried to shoot him and you?" Mischa@crystyl:nods, "Mighty rude behaviour for a Sheriff, wouldn't you say?" teasing as she dismounts T'Lana@anncaris:dismounts beside Mischa as well T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran nods, "You have my apologies. I don't even remember everything that happened, it was all a blur, like I was walking through some dust storm or something." Mischa@crystyl:chuckles, "Don't worry Sheriff. We understand, and you'll be pleased to know that the one who bewitched you is no more" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "You've found and dealt with them as well, then?" Mischa@crystyl:"Sure as the sun rises!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "That's great news! The region's safe now, or safe from those dark magic wielding folks at least?" Mischa@crystyl:"We reckon so, yes. That last one proclaimed itself as the last prophet, so we don't expect any more to appear" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes smiles, "Am I happy to hear that! How can we ever repay you for all the help you've given us?" Mischa@crystyl:raises her hand, "We didn't do this just to coax a paycheck out of you good folks. Save your coin" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "Anything else we can do for you? At least come on into the saloon and have a drink to celebrate your successes here." Mischa@crystyl:smiles, " A drink would be fitting" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes smiles back, "C'mon then!" The two men lead them back into the saloon, where the sign has been fixed, though the bullethole in the doorframe and wall are still not yet patched T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran eyes the bulletholes as he passes, "Been one hell of a day, hasn't it..." Mischa@crystyl:rubs the back of her neck, "Yeah... sorry about your sign, but glad to see it fixed already!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "We gotta be resourceful people to survive out here!" Mischa@crystyl:"That's one thing I always admire about you townsfolk, building your settlements up so proudly like this" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "You need a certain type of resilience to build up these towns and keep 'em going. No end of challenges out here, though we don't usually get witches." Mischa@crystyl:"And hopefully you won't get any more now!" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "I hope not. We're not equipped to deal with things like this, unlike you. I believe I remember a few glimpses of what this witch you dealt with was like- older fellow, long black coat?" Mischa@crystyl:nods, "Yeah... the 'Last Prophet'. Nasty piece of work" gulps her drink, "Caught up to him with a small caravan heading for the big city" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "What was he doing with 'em? I seem to remember when I found him, he was talking with the Peles, by a hole near their farm. He started talking to me, and that's when things started - T'Lana@anncaris:- getting all clouded." Mischa@crystyl:"Yeah, he'd bewitched a few folks there and had a few more on the road with him, likely heading to the city to increase his following" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "And the Peles- you freed them from the spell like you did with me?" Mischa@crystyl:smiles and nods, "Yes, they should all be back to their old selves now" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran nods, "We owe you a great debt, all of us here. If you hadn't freed us all, who knows what these witches would've done with us." Mischa@crystyl:"It's best not to think on it" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "What about the flashes of light in the sky we saw early in the morn? You must've seen it too, I assume that had something to do with the coming of these witches?" Mischa@crystyl:feigns ignorance, "Flashes of light? You mean like a lightning storm?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran nods, "Something like that, except it was flashing green, like no lightning I ever seen. Then fire started raining down from the sky, think that's what made that hole beside the Peles farm. - T'Lana@anncaris:- Okes actually asked me not to go on the tax collecting trip today, said something unnatural was going on, but I had friends expecting me in Tadsprings. Guess I should've taken his advice after all." Mischa@crystyl:"Sure sounds like witchcraft to me. But a green lightning storm, you ever heard of something like that before?" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "No, never. That's why I figured something wasn't right." Mischa@crystyl:"Well I guess you figured right, Deputy. If it's been unheard of before today, I can't imagine anyone ever reporting green lightning again. But will be sure to remember this and take is a sign to be- Mischa@crystyl:- extra cautious. Especially around suddenly formed holes in the ground" T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran chuckles, "I'll keep that in mind. So, you deal with things like this often? Okes tell me you specialize in hunting witches." Mischa@crystyl:nods, "Was a bit of an outbreak up north and we built a name for ourselves clearing it up" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "How many witches have you taken down so far? Or never really got into counting?" Mischa@crystyl:smiles, "Never really one for counting. Or boasting" she winks T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran nods, "Smarter that way, especially when you deal with evil magics like you do. Heard of a Sheriff some ways west of here who liked to boast that he was the best gun on the continent. - T'Lana@anncaris:- Wasn't long till he got himself shot. Who knows what kinda things you'll attract if you go to every town announcing yourselves as famous witch-killers." Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly why we first posed as humble farmers when we first got here. Better for everyone if we just quietly slip in and out of town and everyone just puts the whole sordid affair behind them" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes takes a sip of his drink, "Ahh, that explains it. So these witches you dealt with here, how'd they compare to others you've encountered before? Never really met any for myself before." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh your witches were by far the most sinister I've ever encountered! Hiding in plain sight, twisting the minds of good honest men like yourselves. Definitely be glad if I never see any of them again!â€ T'Lana@anncaris:| Rorran: "Well, we're glad you came by, then! You'll be staying long, or is it off to the roads again now that there's no more witches in these parts?" Mischa@crystyl:"I'm afraid this settlement game is one that just doesn't work for the likes of us" she finishes her drink and sets in on the bar, "Time for us to ride off into the sunset. Well, walk off at least" T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: 'Sure you don't wanna take the mounts with you? The roads are long, and two mounts aren't much in comparison to what you've done for us." Mischa@crystyl:shakes her head, "Tempting as it may be, walking works just fine for us. Lana, if you've quite had enough to drink?" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "Let us be on our way." T'Lana@anncaris:| Okes: "Thanks again for all your help, ladies." Mischa@crystyl:turns, "Farewell Sheriff, Deputy. I hope for the sake of the peace of your town here that we do not meet again" she smiles, waving her hat as she walks away T'Lana@anncaris:follows Mischa out of the saloon and begins heading out of the town, "The Sheriff returning under influence was an unexpected turn, but we still managed a very successful cleanup." Mischa@crystyl:"And now for our reward; strolling off into the sunset never to be seen again like a pair of bonafide wild west heroes" she grins T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "You are enjoying this mission very much, aren't you Commander?" Mischa@crystyl:"I have no idea what you mean..." she professes with almost no effort to sound believable Mischa@crystyl:starts whistling a strange tune as they pass through the town gates... Mischa@crystyl:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFa1-kciCb4 T'Lana@anncaris:"Of course not..." She glances back at the town as they leave, "This has certainly been an interesting experience. This particular environment and period of development does have a very...memorable - T'Lana@anncaris:- atmosphere." Mischa@crystyl:"You should try some of those holoprograms I mentioned. From a purely scientific perspective, of course. A fascinating anthropological study into Humanity" T'Lana@anncaris:nods, "I will be sure to do so once we return to the Latenter. Speaking of which, we should be far enough to transport back without the townspeople noticing." Mischa@crystyl:nods, tapping her combadge and calling for beamout --- T'Lana@anncaris | Back in their uniforms after returning from their away mission, Mischa and T'Lana arrive back on the Latenter's bridge T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "Welcome back, Commanders." Mischa@crystyl settles back into her chair, "Thank you, a well executed mission on all fronts I believe" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods, "I think so as well. The debris in orbit is cleaned up now- we've vapourized the smaller pieces and tractored the larger ones on a trajectory out of the system so once the - T'Lana@anncaris - civilization advances to a spacefaring stage, they will not discover or crash into it in their orbit. The locals whose memories and identities cannot be restored are still unconscious, and the - T'Lana@anncaris - Olympian baby is in good health according to Buena's latest report." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Perfect. Then it's about high time we ride off into the sunset" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "The Coalition forces are waiting by the former Horde shipyard for us. The shipyard and all the Horde vessels have been completely destroyed." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Take us out then" T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay taps on the helm console and the Latenter jumps away to warp, with the QanwI' following along. The Guardian-Rangers remain monitoring the system, not intending to return to the Sphere - T'Lana@anncaris - as they were out here to begin with T'Lana@anncaris | After another hour of travel, the Latenter drops out of warp with the Coalition assault force ahead of them, and the debris of the shipyard and its ships further in the distance Mischa@crystyl:"So what's the latest from the forces here now. Anything warranting further investigation in this system?" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "The Colonial Fleet vessels reported a part of the breeding complex on the surface seems to have been made for genetic manipulation and cloning. It may be where the baby Ar-Rhys came - T'Lana@anncaris - from. They've collected scans of the facility, but the computer core was already destroyed, likely by the Horde, when they investigated the facility, so unfortunately they were unable to - T'Lana@anncaris - retrieve any files. The facility is now destroyed, along with all other Horde complexes on the planet." Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds like we're done here then" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria nods, "The Junayd are standing by and ready to generate wormholes for us back into the Sphere." Mischa@crystyl:"Then relay the order and lets get our young guest into more suitable hands" T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria taps her console and a few seconds later, the wormholes begin opening up and the Coalition forces slowly enter, travelling back to the Heart of War.. T'Lana@anncaris | Nethay takes them into one of the wormholes, and a few minutes later, the Latenter reemerges with the rest of the victorious Coalition forces into the Spherescape. T'Lana@anncaris | The ships cruise towards the Foundry serving as the Coalition HQ, where the Valley Forge can be seen among other allied vessels T'Lana@anncaris | Victoria: "I have a comm channel with the Valley Forge, Commander." Mischa@crystyl:"On screen" T'Lana@anncaris | Kelly appears on the viewscreen in the command chair, "Welcome back, Mischa. How'd your first mission with your own ship in a while go? Good to be back, or missing the social life here - T'Lana@anncaris - already?" she grins Mischa@crystyl:"It was of course good to be back, Kelly. How are things here?" T'Lana@anncaris | Kelly: "Still pretty quiet. The MACOs are settled in and looking to begin their first missions now, but the Horde haven't made any moves in the Sphere while you were gone. I take it from the - T'Lana@anncaris:- state of the assault group that the attack on the shipyard went well?" Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed it was. We had a slight delay caused by a fleeing Horde ship which threatened to influence a pre-warp civilization in the area, but the threat was contained" T'Lana@anncaris | Kelly nods, "That explains why you were gone for so long. We were getting worried, but the Guardians assured us things were going well since they had that telepathic link of theirs with the - T'Lana@anncaris:- Rangers there. It's good to hear that you managed to protect another innocent defenseless planet from the Horde's control." Mischa@crystyl nods, "And on the subject of innocence... Captain Vix recovered a most unusual thrall we would like to transfer to you immediately for the proper care as we do not have the facilities on board" T'Lana@anncaris | Kelly: "Unusual how?" Mischa@crystyl:"It might be easier to show you than to explain. Don't worry, we've made sure he is perfectly safe to be contained and he is of no threat. Perhaps you should wake your dear Captain and meet is in - Mischa@crystyl:-one of your transporter rooms?" T'Lana@anncaris | Kelly narrows her eyes before nodding, "I'll see you there." --- T'Lana@anncaris | Keelah and Kelly wait in one of the VF's transporter rooms... Mischa@crystyl & TL materialize on the pad, with TL holding the baby Mischa@crystyl waves loosely, "Ladies" T'Lana@anncaris | Kelly waves back, "Where's the..." her gaze trails to the baby T'Lana is holding as well Mischa@crystyl | Keelah gives the pair a bemused look, "This is your thrall?" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Lana, care to elaborate?" T'Lana@anncaris:"It is a clone of Ar-Rhys, most likely a backup created by the Architect, having anticipated the situation of the original perishing during his search for the thunderbolt." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah: "Fascinating. And it is a full Horde thrall even at this early stage of development?" T'Lana@anncaris:"He was most likely dominated by the Horde the moment it had any semblance of consciousness. The QanwI' cleansed the Horde presence and fitted him with an implant, and he is no longer under their - T'Lana@anncaris:- control. As with such a procedure, his memories have been wiped, though at this age there is not much, if anything, that was lost." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah: "So for all intents and purposes he is simply a normal infant now?" T'Lana@anncaris:"A normal Olympian infant. Some of his telekinetic abilities have already begun to manifest, but outside of those, yes." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah perks a brow, "Truly? Remarkable. It will be quite the challenge to care for such a child, especially in this environment" T'Lana@anncaris:"Indeed, but we still believe that the Valley Forge is a much more suitable place for the child than the Latenter. It may be an option to give the child to the Chlasi Esoterics, who are experienced - T'Lana@anncaris:- in training those with telekinetic and telepathic abilities. Some of them will be arriving to assist here soon." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah nods, "A fine suggestion, yes. I suppose-" she maneuvers the baby from TL's arms, "-we'll just have to care for him here in the meantime" T'Lana@anncaris:"You are the best ones to do so until the Chlasi arrive here." She steps forward to hand the child to Keelah Mischa@crystyl smiles, observing the honed maternal instincts at work as she cradles the child T'Lana@anncaris:"Be mindful of his telekinesis. He cannot lift anything too large or heavy, but-" T'Lana@anncaris | The baby promptly raises an arm and starts trying to telekinetically pull Keelah's combadge into his tiny hand Mischa@crystyl | She smiles, gently holding it back from him and returning it to her tunic Mischa@crystyl adds with a chuckle, "And he appears to have quite the eye for shiny objects, especially combadges. Well ladies, enjoy!" she returns to pad to escape before they change their minds