Following a chance encounter with the doppelganger of their missing classmate - T'Pia - the cadets are invited to visit the Shenzou and gain a unique first hand look at this parallel civilization from the inside.
Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | On a regular day in the Sphere, Kayleigh is once again on the promenade, browsing clothes... Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | As she examines the latest outfit to catch her eye, she feels a tap on her shoulder... Kayleigh@crystyl jumps a little and turns Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Kayleigh sees a smiling Mariel behind her, dressed in a Chlasi robe, "Window shopping again, Kay?" Kayleigh@crystyl catches herself, having totally not been distracted by her browsing, "I- yes, well... it is only logical to plan one's wardrobe spending beforehand, and weighing all of the available options from - Kayleigh@crystyl - each source is the best way of doing so" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"That it is!" She steps up to look at what Kayleigh has been browsing. "So which one are you fancying this time?" Kayleigh@crystyl turns back, "I have been studying the biomes within the Heart, and believe that a seasonal shift is approaching. So here I was considering that jacket" she points it out Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"That's a pretty good pick! Want to try it out?" Kayleigh@crystyl shakes her head, "That would be ill-advised right now, as I already have a jacket which fits nicely over my uniform if required. For now I will earmark this one, then seek out the rest of the - Kayleigh@crystyl:- ensemble. Once I know what I will wear it with, then I can size up the jacket" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Is that just an excuse to not be seen buying it...?" She smirks Kayleigh@crystyl:"Of course not" She glances to Mariel briefly before looking back, "Nor is it one to spend the day trying on different outfits" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "So, on to seek out the rest of the ensemble, then?" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "That is the plan" looking Mariel up and down, "Are you heading to another session with the Chlasi?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Just came back from one, actually. It was a shorter one since our instructors had a meeting with some psionics from those alternate reality ships." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Oh? Does that mean the psionic resurgence happened in their reality as well?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"It seems so! They've got a Chlasi Temple set up in their Heart too, but apparently they've also developed some implant to better help new psionics control our abilities, and the Chlasi are - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:- naturally interested to learn more about that." Kayleigh@crystyl:"So they have focused more unilaterally on using these abilities to their fullest potential" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Apparently so! They also don't have organizations trying to control psionics like the Klingons and their new Inquisition, since the Klingons are a part of the Federation where they're from." Kayleigh@crystyl:"It certainly does seem to embody the image of a parallel dimension does it not. Everything the same, but just different enough to be almost unrecognizable" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "There's certainly a lot of similarities, but it's quite different too. Very interesting..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Still, does it not seem all too convenient? All this business with the infiltrators, and now visitors from a parallel world show up. Two extraordinary elements coinciding tends not to be a - Kayleigh@crystyl:- coincidence" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"You still think they're connected to the infiltrators? Or are you suggesting there might be some kind of interdimensional physics that we don't understand yet. Maybe as a result of the - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - infiltrators travelling between realities, it's drawing people from other realities through?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"I have insufficient information to speculate on the nature of the relationship. But whichever way you look at it, there is most certainly a connection of some description - be it by design or - Kayleigh@crystyl:- happenchance - it is there. We are simply yet to discover it" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"There have been crossings from other universes before by chance, but I agree. The timing is too coincidental." Kayleigh@crystyl sighs, "Frustratingly, I highly doubt that our position as cadets will afford us the opportunity to gain such insights. This is still very much a problem for the current generation" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "Yeah...let's get on with the shopping for now! We've already got some of the current generation's action last time on the Courageous after all!" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "To name but one recent event where our physical proximity would seem to have benefitted us professionally. Speaking of the Courageous, did I mention that the Professor was most taken with my- Kayleigh@crystyl:- account of those events?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"No, I don't think you have. Professor H'Raarin, you mean?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Oh, wait, the one you submitted your paper too! Which one was that again..." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Yes, Professor H'Raarin is the lead on security, but as tactical I report Professor Mitchell" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I imagine he must be pretty interested in these alternate ships. Same pattern of similar yet quite different. Should be interesting to study for tactical and engineering personnel!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"He was very interested in my initial assessment, and gave an illogical display of regret too" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"In not being there himself for the arrival?" Kayleigh@crystyl thinks for a moment and then nods, "Yes, I believe so" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I can see why. Maybe illogical, but don't you feel just the slightest bit annoyed of being left out from the rest of the dealings with the alternate reality, since it's a matter for the current - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:- generation? Or at least...wanting to get involved, if not annoyed at not being involved." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Hrm... your logic is... annoyingly sound. Though I do share that feeling of a desire to understand, I would not describe it as annoyance at being left out, but more a frustration at not being - Kayleigh@crystyl:- in a suitable position to answer the questions that have already been posed. And even if I did feel a stronger way about it, exerting energy on fruitless emotional displays serves no purpose" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Which is why it's illogical, but not everyone has Vulcan emotional control. So they'll feel the illogical emotion anyways!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, it is true what they say; nobody else is perfect" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I think it's just nobody, not nobody /else/..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"No, I meant nobody else" was that the hint of a smirk.. Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Right...Anyways! Which shop are we onto next?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"I heard about a new store which recently opened with a collection of imported natural fabrics from the delta quadrant. It is just down there" she points... at a spot barely visible on the distant - Kayleigh@crystyl:- horizon, "...ok, that might be a bit of a walk. Perhaps it would be prudent to pause for refreshment on the way" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Imported fabrics from the delta quadrant, that sound be interesting! Refreshment sounds good though, come on!" — Mariel Tanglao@anncaris and Kayleigh make it to the dining area of the promenade, approaching for some refreshments when they see someone from the alt universe ships, distinguishable by her different uniform style and - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - prominent cybernetics. The uniform sports colours the two had not previously seen from the comm on the Courageous bridge, though... Kayleigh@crystyl pauses, eyeing the individual for a moment, "What was that we were saying before about the opportunities of physical location..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Well, seems we might have an opportunity to look into this other universe after all..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Then it would be an affront to waste that opportunity" she nods, heading over to the stranger, "Pardon me, but you are from the Interplanetary Federation ship, yes?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | The stranger turns, and Kayleigh suddenly recognizes the face. It's hard to tell with the pigtails and cybernetics, but it's T'Pia! Kayleigh@crystyl is naturally a bit taken aback, "T'Pia..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Yes, I'm from...have we met before?" Kayleigh@crystyl shakes her head, catching herself. "Apologies for my abrupt reaction, no we have not met. However I am familiar with your counterpart from this universe. Seeing her- you, your face, was somewhat - Kayleigh@crystyl - unexpected" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Oh, yes, I can understand the surprise. I probably look quite different from your T'Pia, don't I?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Well there is that, yes. I have never known our T'Pia to wear her hair quite that way for one thing. However it was more the fact of seeing her here at all though, since I know she is not at the - Kayleigh@crystyl:- Heart presently" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Right. My mother's ship is missing in your universe, from what I hear. My counterpart must be on it." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is correct. But please, allow me start over now the initial misconception is dealt with. I am Cadet Kayleigh, and this is Cadet Mariel Tanglao. We were both on the Courageous when your ship - Kayleigh@crystyl:- arrived, and we were rather curious about your appearance since your uniform is not the same configuration as any of those we saw on the communication" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "You're Cadets! That explains the different uniform and how you know my counterpart here. My uniform is different for the same reason. I'm Cadet T'Pia, which...you already know." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Well to be fair, we knew you were... you. But not that you are also a Cadet" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "I'm the same age, aren't I? If you recognized me, I assume I'm not still a toddler in this universe. That must mean the circumstances of my birth were the same here, too..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Presumably. It would be quite a stretch to imagine the same unusual results being achieved by different means. Though since I did not know our T'Pia then, I am not well placed to comment on the - Kayleigh@crystyl:- specifics" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "It must be the same means, like you said. Strange, how so many things are the same here. It's all so familiar, but so foreign..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris chuckles, "We were /just/ talking about that for your universe earlier, too." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, it is a lot to weigh on all fronts I imagine" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "I don't know Cadet Kayleigh in my own universe, but I do know your counterpart." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Me? That's the opposite of our universe here. I've never met you, but Kayleigh here has. I've only ever heard about you." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"And seen you in visions..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "You've got retrocognition here too?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "And another thing that's the same. Weird, right?" She looks to Kayleigh Kayleigh@crystyl:"Similar abilities to one's counterpat does make a certain sense. They do after all stem from your genetics, and in most multiverse cases those are unaltered. Or if so, then the difference is minimal Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Shared circumstances and historical details don't follow that logic though. But we're learning of quite a few, more and more as we know more about you." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, the dominant theory remains here that the multiverse's are essentially a manifestation of choice. Though it is inconceivable that a different reality exists for each different possible - Kayleigh@crystyl:- decision made by every individual in existence throughout all of time, it does seem that certain key events are often attributed as a distinguishable divergence point; one where a shared history - Kayleigh@crystyl:- becomes two seperate paths. Significant milestones like that having this result is... not entirely inconceivable given the evidence to date" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "My mother and your historians here believe the divergence point of our universes is back during Earth's Third World War. But there's also a surprising amount of similarities after that - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - point. Some of which make sense, as it was Earth history that was different and went on to affect the Federation developed in our respective universes, so other cultures that hadn't interacted - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - with us would be exactly the same. But others are very unusual coincidences that have no logical reason to be the same." Kayleigh@crystyl:"No logical reason that we can comprehend yet at least. It is much like the connection between our universes I suspect. We have been theorizing about this a lot in class of late and the consensus - Kayleigh@crystyl:- is that there is a connection between realities with direct divergent points, which is why those we experience encounters with are invariably similar. But there are likely other realities far too - Kayleigh@crystyl:- removed from our respective ones to ever be reached" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "By accidental crossing or any technology we have now, at least. I don't think it's /impossible/ to reach them. Maybe one day!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Perhaps, but that will almost certainly require technology we simply do not have the theory behind yet. There is also an interesting side to the debate which suggests the mycellial network and - Kayleigh@crystyl:- world trees play a part in these... what can best be described as weakened barriers between certain realities" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "That's a potential theory, too! Are you a Science cadet, Kayleigh? The division colours you use are so different from ours, I still can't remember which is which..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"No, I am tactical actually. However as I still only in my second year I follow a broader curriculum" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Oh right, red is tactical! I just thought from all the theorizing about timelines and all..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I'm in Science, but I'm not wearing my uniform right now, so you can't tell," she smiles Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "You're in Science?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I'm guessing from that reaction my counterpart isn't." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "No, she's in Operations. Specifically Security." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I did consider Security as an option here too, especially after developing my abilities and all..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "What am I studying here?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Engineering. Specifically, starship design. The T'Pia from this universe has high aspirations for joining the ASDB upon graduation" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Well I seem to be more or less the same. I'm studying Engineering too, though more general Engineering. I'm looking to work as Chief Engineer on a starship, though I'm not sure where - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - to go from there. I've considered starship design like grandfather, but I might go into Command like my mother." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I take it your mother also moved into command from engineering then as she did here?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Right. We've got quite a history of engineers in our family." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I feel we would be remiss to not take this opportunity to learn more about you there are compare notes against your counterparts. Though neither of us could claim to know either of them - Kayleigh@crystyl:- particularly well beyond being classmates, your mother - I mean, our Captain Se'Lai - is a significant figure at the Heart and so a subject of required study for us at the annex" Kayleigh@crystyl adds, "That is of course if such an exchange is of equal appeal. I do not wish to intrude on your time either" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia shakes her head, "You're not intruding at all! I'm here in hopes of meeting people and learning more about this universe of yours, too! This exchange is definitely of equal appeal." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is most fortunate then. We stopped here to get some refreshment, so you are welcome to join us" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia smiles, "Sounds good to me!" She turns across the counter, "I'll have a...Yridian tea. You should have that, right?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | The bartender nods and replicates her a cup of Yridian tea, and T'Pia beams, "Perfect! I thought you'd have most beverages from non-Earth cultures the same here!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"A fine choice. This establishment is a favourite of many because of its tea selections" she turns to the bartender, "Just my usual please, and whatever she would like too" she nods to Mariel Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I'll take some orange juice this time." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | The bartender serves them their drinks Kayleigh@crystyl collects them and finds a table Mariel Tanglao@anncaris and T'Pia follow over, taking seats around the table Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia gazes out across the promenade as they take a seat, "Your Sphere architecture is the same as ours, which makes sense as all this was built long before the divergence. Though you use less - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - holographic signs and images, which I also noticed for your Starfleet ships, too..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That may come in time here as the commercial elements develop. As for our ships, Starfleet did experiment with holo interfaces but they were found to be more vulnerable than physical displays when - Kayleigh@crystyl:- it came to combat situations and the threat of power outages" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "We have backup physical displays too, but we prefer to use the holographic ones in normal operation. And we use a lot of holo-signage through our ships, which you seem to have - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - significantly less of." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is a curious distinction, yes. Have you theorized on the reason for this at all?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia shakes her head, "Not yet. I saw an image of one of your cities, and you at least use some holographic signage. Maybe not as much as we have on Earth?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Presumably not. I could not say without seeing comparison images of your Earth. Typically such things stem from cultural and social behaviours developed over time. So if a divergence point has been- Kayleigh@crystyl:- determined, it may be worth evaluating the cultures involved in those differences to see if one has a history that aligns with this practice on each side" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Since we think the divergence is the Third World War, you must've had one on Earth too, right? With nuclear destruction and all that?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"The time when Humans almost self destructed, yes" she nods Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "So it wasn't because we had to rebuild and completely change our older cities, while you maintained a more traditional look, leading to less new aesthetics like holograms..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Perhaps that war had a different outcome in your reality?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Maybe. You say humans almost self-destructed here too, which sounds like what happened in our universe..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Well from my admittedly limited knowledge of Earth history; that was an all encompassing war which almost devastated the entire civilization. In the aftermath, the large western civilization of the- Kayleigh@crystyl:- Americas - where Starfleet HQ now sits - rapidly rebuilt and laid the foundations of the first United Earth government. During that reformation, Zefram Cochrane developed their first warp drive - Kayleigh@crystyl:- and conducted a test flight which prompted first contact from the Vulcans" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "That might narrow down the point of divergence. The war sounds the same as the one our Earth had, but in the aftermath, it was the major civilizations of Asia, predominantly the - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - Eastern Coalition, that rebuilt first and laid the foundations. The Americas descended into total anarchy and had only managed to form tribal societies when the Chang-Mikhailovich warp drive - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - was developed. Though first contact was also made with the Vulcans as well. From what my mother learned, the date of First Contact is identical in both universes. The only difference is location.” Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "That would explain the prominence of the script you use for your ship names..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I expect further exploration of the historical cultural differences between ancient Earth's East and West civilizations may begin to explain many of the differences we see. Especially given the - Kayleigh@crystyl:- impact they have had on the galaxy since that time" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "That might explain much of the cultural differences! Good thinking! I imagine there's no reason for Vulcan history to be different...we still had the Time of Awakening and the Romulan - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - exodus with the rest of the planet embracing the ways of Surak? You and most of the other Vulcans here seem pretty logical, like the majority of the ones I know." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Yes, I expect that our pre-Federation history is the same" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "What about the Romulans today, I hear they lost their adopted homeworld in your universe, too." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, Romulus fell some years ago now. The remnants of their society divided with the more zealous elements holding close to the Tal Shiar. They supposedly formed sketchy alliances with the Elachi - Kayleigh@crystyl:- and turned on the other survivors. Those other survivors - the Republic - grew increasingly independent and developed a healthy relationship with the Federation. I am not sure what is going on - Kayleigh@crystyl:- there now though, but I keep seeing news about shake ups in the old Star Empire" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "That's interesting. The Romulans are in a similar situation in our universe, but there's no Republic. The ones that were more amenable to the Federation joined and are a part of us, now. Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, your Federation does seem to encompasse those we consider the other major political powers in the Alpha quadrant. Is it right that the Klingon Empire also completely joined too?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "What remains of the Klingon Empire at the end of the 23rd century, at least. During the Federation-Klingon War, six of their Great Houses were completely destroyed. The thirteen - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - that signed the peace treaty were the ones that eventually joined the Federation, but there were five who wouldn't agree to the terms. They were exiled and were all eventually destroyed or - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - collapsed on their own. So most Klingons today are a part of the Federation." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Fascinating. Whilst we do have Klingons in Starfleet, the Empire is still very much a dominant power. Albeit an allied one like the Romulan Republic. It is only really since the Coalition formed - Kayleigh@crystyl:- here that they have all started to work more as a single body, at least in activities at the Heart" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Your Coalition seems pretty similar to ours. It includes Borg, right? I haven't seen any around here, only ex-Borg. Noticed them because they're one of the few to have visible implants!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, though the Borg directly associated with the Coalition are a specific small breakaway hive. There are more elsewhere who call themselves the Co-Operative; those are the ones we most commonly - Kayleigh@crystyl:- recognize as Liberated Borg - those who still appear in some fashion at least as drones, but have regained their free will. On the whole - your use of technology and implants seems to be the most - Kayleigh@crystyl:- distinctive difference; political borders aside of course. I find it quite fascinating how a single changed outcome in the ancient history of one world could influence so many at a cultural level - Kayleigh@crystyl:- centuries later" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Oh not all Vulcans embrace implants like mother and I. Actually the Vulcans are the founding member that uses the least cybernetics. There's a lot of traditionalist elements in our - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - home region. Is that the case here too?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes indeed. Though the biggest cultural clash we tend to face with the other Federation races is the embracing of emotions. Most staunch traditionalists still spurn those who embrace emotions - or - Kayleigh@crystyl:- half-breeds embracing their non-Vulcan heritage. The illogic thing is that they tend to do so whilst misquoting Ambassador Spock - another half-breed - and illogically referring to those like the - Kayleigh@crystyl:- v'tosh ka'tur as 'without logic' like the ancient stigma of the name suggests. Most of us tend to know better now though and those traditionalists are much more of a stubborn minority on Vulcan" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Oh it's quite similar in our universe, too. The traditionalists who spurn displays of emotions also don't like using implants. But there's a bit of a middle ground, some Vulcans who - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - have embraced emotions but not implants, and some who've embraced implants but not emotions. Though usually, the traditionalists hate both and those who are closer to the Federation like my - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - own family embrace both." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I suppose it should be no surprise that those who simply wish to oppose cultural variation will always find something to rally against. Well it may or may not be of interest to you, or perhaps even- Kayleigh@crystyl:- news at this point; but your mother here is a self proclaimed v'tosh ka'tur and regarded by many as a symbol for the successful pairing of emotion with logic. Much as her, the you of this universe- Kayleigh@crystyl:- is also more connected to her emotions" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "It's definitely of interest to me. Not quite news, since my mother and I are more or less the same in our universe too. But just with implants. And speaking of which..." she looks over - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - towards the promenade, where the cybernetically augmented Keelah is walking towards them Kayleigh@crystyl follows her gaze, "Well if nothing else, it would reinforce our Captain Se'Lai's claim that - despite what the traditionalists say - it is a genetic disposition, not a conscious choice" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Maybe. It probably is a genetic disposition for me, seeing as I'm half human and all. But like you said, with mother and grandfather...that could be..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | As T'Pia muses on Vulcan emotions, Keelah enters, making her way over to the group Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah approaches the table, noting the strangers and looking to T'Pia, "Daughter, I see you are making friends already" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Kayleigh here recognized me from my counterpart, and I know Mariel's counterpart back in our Heart, too!" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah looks to the two and bows her head slightly, "I see. Then you both have my gratitude for taking care of my daughter" as she rises she looks at them more closely, "You are officers from the- Kayleigh@crystyl - Admiral's flagship which first greeted us" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"We're cadets, actually. That's how Kayleigh recognized T'Pia. And presumably how she knows me in your universe, too. We were on the Courageous as part of a special training assignment, and just - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:- happened to be on bridge duty when you came through. Was an exciting first bridge shift..." Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah considers this a moment and smiles, "Yes, I imagine that made for quite the training cruise. I do hope we did not cause you too much undue restlessness" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"No, no, it's all good! It was a little stressful, but a good experience to have! Now we can know what to expect when we work on a ship's bridge." Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah: "Yes, well as much as regret causing you stress. It is indeed a fine experience to have as fledgling officers, and gaining that experience whilst training is exactly why T'Pia is - Kayleigh@crystyl:-stationed to the ship instead of an academy" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia looks to Keelah, "That gives me an idea..." Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah perks a brow, looking to the empty seat, "Then would you young ladies mind if I join you and you can elaborate on this idea" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"By all means, Captain." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "So we were just talking about the differences between our universes, like how we have more holographic displays." Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah sits, "Thank you - Kayleigh, was it?" looking to T'Pia, "Of all the differences noted to date, you do seem to pick the most obtuse to fixate on" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Oh, I'm Mariel Tanglao. She's Kayleigh," she gestures across at the Vulcan cadet Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia giggles slightly, "It does make quite a visual difference, don't you think?" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah looks between the two with a perked brow, "Really now? My apologies for the misconception. But of your two names, Mariel sounds closer to a Vulcan origin whilst Kayleigh is a Human name" Kayleigh@crystyl:"No apology is needed Captain. I am aware that I am rather unusual in that regard" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah nods, looking back to T'Pia, "There is no denying that the difference in technology implementation is distinct. Moreso than we would have expected, especially since our mission was - Kayleigh@crystyl:- first prompted by a probe sent from this reality. We had anticipated a much closer parallel than we actually discovered. Please, proceed with your elaboration" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Well, I was thinking, we've been visiting their facilities and ships here. Of course they don't have access to our Sphere, but maybe we could invite Mariel and Kayleigh over to tour - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - the Shenzhou? And maybe they can show us around here a bit too." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is a most gracious invitation, thank you" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah considers this and nods, "We will have clear it with their superiors first of course. But I certainly have no objection, and we do want to get to know one another now we are here. Are you - Kayleigh@crystyl:- prepared to serve as their host during their visit?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Of course! I'll be happy to show them around the ship and learn more about the similarities and differences between our universes!" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah: "Very good. In that case, leave the discussion with their superiors to me" Kayleigh@crystyl:"We can probably help arrange a meeting with them for you Captain. I would also like to propose an addition to this arrangement" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah: "Oh?" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Perhaps a means to repay the kindness; whilst speaking with the Professors I would like to request permission for T'Pia to be given permission to join some of our classes whilst you are - Kayleigh@crystyl:- here. Subject to her availablity of course. But I believe an 'open door' policy could be agreeable, affording her the opportunity to study our history and methods alongside us" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah smiles, "That would be quite the interesting comparision. Well T'Pia, would you like me to explore this opportunity with their academy too?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods and smiles as well, "That sounds like a very good way to learn more about your universe! Good suggestion, Kayleigh." Kayleigh@crystyl:"It was a logical solution to balance the generosity of your offer to grant us a tour of your ship" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "And a logical method for sharing information. I'm sure we'll learn plenty about each other's universes this way!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, I find the prospect most agreeable" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah meanwhile looks across to Mariel, "What say you Cadet Tanglao, you have yet to comment on this proposal. Do you have reservations? It would be quite understandable in the circumstances" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"It's a great idea. I'd be interested in seeing what things are like on your ship, too. Especially since I come from one of the eastern cultures of Earth, it's quite interesting to see how things - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:- are where you come from! And we can learn about any differences in the way our Starfleets operate with T'Pia attending some of our classes, too." Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah nods, "Yes I see it in your features now that you mention it. In a sense you much more closely resemble the typical Human in our eyes than those I have been seeing everywhere here" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Probably why you got confused with my first name, too. As I understand it, Mariel comes from European influences, but Tanglao is Asian in origin." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"But it's not quite a European name either. Somewhere in between, while Kayleigh is a much more human sounding name..." Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah: "True, but I should not use that as an excuse. After all, my yeoman has a split euro-asian name as well. Only hers is the other way around" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Well, Earth's got quite a diverse collection of names! Even I don't recogize them all. Your yeoman comes from a mix of backgrounds, then? Or just a place that's been influenced by other cultures - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - like where I'm from?" Kayleigh@crystyl | Keelah smiles, "A mix of backgrounds would be the most accurate, though the context of this conversation hardly does it justice. I think it may be best to let you see for yourself when you come - Kayleigh@crystyl:- for the tour. Since i know regardless of whether I order her to assist, order her not to, or simply don't inform her... she will appear. She... does that" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I look forward to meeting her, then!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"As do I. She sounds like a most intriguing character" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia smiles, "I'm sure you'll have as much fun meeting her as she will meeting you!" — Mariel Tanglao@anncaris and Kayleigh materialize in the transporter room of the Shenzhou, which appears largely like a Starfleet transporter of our universe, but with more lights and holographic interfaces Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia awaits them off the pad, with Mia beside her Mia@crystyl steps up to the pad as they materialize, sporting a small smile and hands folded in front of her. As they appear, she bows her head, "Welcome to the Shenzou ladies. I am your host, Miyata" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris steps off the pad, "Thank you for the welcome, Miyata. I've been wondering what the inside looked like since I saw you come through..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Miyata here is the yeoman my mother told you about!" Mia@crystyl smiles, "Just as we are all curious to see around your world now we are here" she turns to TP, "The Captain saw fit to speak of me to our new friends? I am honoured" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods and smiles back, "She did! It came up in conversation about human cultures and all." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris offers her hand to Mia to shake, "Well it's good to meet you properly!" Mia@crystyl smiles, "And in a topic about Human culture no less! I will make sure to thank her the next time I see her" looks to the hand and thinks a moment, "Oh! You follow that custom here? How marvellous!"- Mia@crystyl:- she takes the hand, eagerly shaking it, "I remember learning this from when we discovered the lost Human colony that led us to the Heart!" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh perks a brow at the unexpected reaction Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"A lost human colony? I remember reading about something similar here that also led Captain Se'Lai and her crew to the Heart. But yes, this is a common custom throughout our Starfleet, tracing back - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:- to human culture!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "The lost colony got it from human culture too. A continent called Europe. Their culture must be more prevalent here too, like the Americas." Mia@crystyl:"It was actually a customary greeting among the Western societies of ancient Earth! Wait, so... does that mean when the Vulcans made first contact with your people, that you welcomed them by - Mia@crystyl:- offering a hand to shake?" she snickers, glancing to Kayleigh, "I bet that went down well!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"We did! How did you do it?" Mia@crystyl:"In the same manner I greeted you, I believe. I might be old, but I am not so old that I bore witness!" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh: "I suspect that the Vulcans of that time found your method somewhat more amenable" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Right, traditional Vulcans don't much like physical contact, so they probably did!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris meanwhile examines Mia, "You look pretty young. Not much older than us, probably a junior officer rank at most. Wait, are you Starfleet? You're not wearing a uniform." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Yeomen usually are here, but things might work differently for you." Mia@crystyl smiles, "Actually I am! This is the uniform of Starfleet during the 23rd century, the era which I modelled to represent!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Oh, this is your version of the 23rd century uniform! I see some resemblence now in the simpler design. But...modelled to represent?" Mia@crystyl smiles, tapping the stone on her belt, "Yes, I am actually an artificial lifeform; holographic to be precise. I was first created as an experimental self aware program to serve as an educational - Mia@crystyl:- tool to cadets; allowing them to fully immerse into their historical studies of that early period of warp exploration" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "Like our emergency holograms. Do you have those too?" Mia@crystyl smiles, "Of course! Nowadays holograms and other artificial lifeforms are recognized as their own form of digital life, so you will find quite a few serving on ships like the Shenzou. Holograms - Mia@crystyl:- like myself typically serve as officers, or in senior positions. While smaller drones - with artificial intelligence equivalent to high level domesticated animals - serve more typically on the - Mia@crystyl:- lower decks as enlisted personnel" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"That sounds similar to what we have, though drones are a rarer sight outside the Heart. Some ships have exocomps serving on them, but it's not as common as all the Nuhar and Iconian ones here in - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - the Sphere." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh adds: "And to my knowledge, most ships have an EMH built into the system now. But they are generally not as free roaming as the rest of the crew, as you seem to be here. Purely a - Mia@crystyl:- technological limitation with emitters as I understand it. EMH programs are seldom needed, so it is only logical to save the expense of installing emitters throughout a ship" Mia@crystyl:"Hrm, yes I can see that. I do recall a time when holograms were more limited like that" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Are holograms more advanced here? Or just have much bigger roles?" Mia@crystyl:"Hrm... I would have to run a comparison against a hologram native to this reality in order to answer that" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "Maybe you'll have a chance to meet one! Can you leave the ship? Do you have mobile emitter tech?" Mia@crystyl:"Naturally! As your friend pointed out, it would be grossly inefficient to have to install holoemitters /everywhere/!" she giggles Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Maybe that's why holograms are more limited here. We've got mobile emitters, but they're not commonly issued to every hologram. At least I think most of the emergency ones are confined to - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:where there's emitters, from what I understand." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh nods, "That is correct to my knowledge; mobile emitters are not readily available here" Mia@crystyl:"Ahh, that would certainly explain why your holograms don't serve as actively as we do!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "That it would! Anyways, let's show our guests around the ship a bit. Where should we start?" Mia@crystyl:"Since these are your guests young Miss, I believe it would be most fitting to allow you to take the lead" she smiles, "That, and your mother suggested that it could be a good experience for you" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "I'll show you to the observation lounge first, then. It's normally the place we greet visitors!" She smiles back and turns to lead the way Mia@crystyl smiles, "An excellent choice, young miss" bowing to the guests, "Right this way, ladies" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | As they step out into the halls, they see that the difference in aesthetics inside the transporter room stretched to the rest of the ship as well. While the interior isn't a drastic deviation - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - from Starfleet as we know it, the shiny chrome colouration of the ships' hulls is present on the inside as well, along with the bright white lighting. It feels less homely than the VF and - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - other exploration ships we know and has more of a showy futuristic feel Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | The officers that pass them by wear the unfamiliar colour schemes of this Starfleet, and sport a variety of different visible cybernetics Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh quietly observes as they walk Mia@crystyl makes smalltalk, "I can't help but notice that your implants all seem to be obscured. Does your Starfleet have a philosphy of restricting their use until fully qualified?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"You can- right, of course you can see our implants, you can scan us," she chuckles. "No, we normally don't make our implants visible unless they have a reason to be. Like they replace a body part - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:- on the surface or something. And even then we try to make it blend in with the body as much as possible. With the medical technology we have, most cybernetic body replacements can look completely - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:- like normal limbs, so visible cybernetics are quite rare. Usually it's either a result of very advanced Borg technology, or a very outdated replacement." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia looks surprised at that, "You intentionally make your cybernetics look like vanilla flesh?" Mia@crystyl:"Truly? That is somewhat hard to imagine, even for me! Oh, now I simply /must/ come and visit!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Yes, our universe seems to be quite different from yours in that regard! We're still trying to figure out why that happened, we think it probably has something to do with the differences between - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:- the ancient Earth cultures that influenced our Federations." Mia@crystyl:"That does seem likely. However I will have devote increased runtime to the analysis if I am to determine how this resulted in the specific result regarding cybernetic differences. since Humans of - Mia@crystyl:- that time did not posses the technology!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"It's an interesting mystery, but don't divert anything away from your regular duties! Though I'm curious what conclusions you'll come up with..." Mia@crystyl:"Oh my, everyone is so kind in this universe! You need not worry though, since I have sufficient runtime that is not otherwise engaged presently. Even still, I will likely not reach a conclusion - Mia@crystyl:- without extensive study of your history yas well" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I'm sure we can provide you plenty of historical data!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "I'll ask mum to give you everything she's obtained so far!" Mia@crystyl:"I look forward to it!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | The four of them step into a turbolift, which has the same chrome walls and bright light. T'Pia taps the holographic interface on her wrist, and the lift begins moving Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Your lifts aren't voice activated?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Not on Starfleet ships, at least. Most of us use our tools to interface with it," she holds up her wrist. "It has our Starfleet identification in it. There's a manual interface you can - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - use here," she walks up to a blank panel and waves her hand, causing a holographic deck list to pop up. "This is coded for guest use, and won't take you to some parts of the ship." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh: "Another curious variation. Do the rest of your interfaces work in this manner? Pretty much all standard Starfleet interfaces we have are tactile displays with a voice command component" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Oh we have tactile displays and voice commands too, all as options when it's convenient. See," she swipes away the holographic interface and taps the blank panel behind it, which - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - slides back to reveal physical buttons. "This is here for emergency controls, in case there's issues. We never use it except for maintenance, or in case someone gets trapped in here or something Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh, "That makes sense, and aligns with our Starfleet's experiment in holographic displays. What about voice though? Can you verbalize instructions to your ship computer whilst walking down - Mia@crystyl:- the hall, for example?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "We can ask the ship for information, like directions or data, but not instructions like orders. It's too easy to mimic someone else's voice with a basic vocal implant. Just about - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - anyone can hijack a ship if we let it take orders through voice." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh, "That is comparable" she nods, "Our computer can take basic verbal instructions like playing music or initiating library searches, environmental adjustments and the like. Anything more - Mia@crystyl:- involved requires a direct interface still" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "It's the same here, more or less. We also have the option of using our tools," she taps the holographic interface on her wrist again, "but direct interface through the holographic - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - or tactile interfaces are needed to actually operate the ship, so people can't access the systems as easily." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Stepping out of the lift, they arrive on a different deck with the same type of chrome hallway Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"That tool is Starfleet standard, right? Everyone in uniform seems to have one." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods and smiles, "That's right!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"What do they do?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia giggles, "Listing all its functions would take a while! Mostly it's used for communication, scanning, interacting with other technology remotely, or interacting with the environment - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - through emitting energy or radiation." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Sounds like our tricorders, combined with those old communicators we used to have before combadges." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Try...corders?" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh, "Handheld devices carried to perform many of the functions you describe from your wrist attachment" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh adds as an afterthought, "Not communication though - as standard anyway - for that we have our combadges" she indicates her insignia Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "You use those to communicate? Interesting! Ours are emergency transport units that also function as a backup transporter lock. The multitool can serve as a transporter lock too." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh: "Yes, these are used to establish transporter locks. But standalone emergency transporters built into them? That seems incomprehendable based on our own level of transporter technology.- Mia@crystyl - That said, we are aware of more advanced and varied technologies beginning to merge with Starfleets now through the Coalition" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "The emergency transport is one use only and is linked to our ship. That's why it's for emergencies only, because it's not reusable. It's Borg technology, the same one they use to - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - recover damaged or destroyed drones." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh, "Interesting. Is there much integration or adaptation from Borg technology in your cybernetics?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "And they've assimilated plenty of ours, too. We've had several wars with the Borg. They've assimilated a lot of us, and we've liberated a lot of them. At this point, I think the - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - Federation and Collective have the same technology. Of course, our cybernetics are infinitely more fashionable," she grins Mia@crystyl smiles proudly and gives a firm nod in agreement Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh perks a slight brow, "Aesthetic value placed on cybernetics? I have only seen this before in the Olelians. Fascinating" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Yes, the Olelians are a good example! They have the same culture here I assume? No reason not to, since they weren't impacted by Earth culture!" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh nods, "From the sounds of it, yes they do" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris glances to Kayleigh, "I take it the Olelians use implants heavily too? The name sounds familiar, but I haven't met one yet..." Mia@crystyl:"That is no surprise, there aren't many in Starfleet yet. But yes, they have a flair for cybernetics and nanotechnology. Much as our hosts here; they too place significant aesthetic value on - Mia@crystyl:- cybernetic augmentation" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Oooh, that certainly sounds quite similar." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "There's not many in your Starfleet?" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh shakes her head, "They joined the Federation just a few years ago as I understand it" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "They joined the Federation not long after first contact with us, and there's been quite a number of Olelians joining Starfleet since then. I suppose our Federation has more cultural - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - similarities with them, which might be why they integrated so naturally." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh, "A logical conclusion" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris looks to Kayleigh, "Have you met an Olelian before, or only read about them?" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh, "Only read about them" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Well, you'll probably meet one on here sooner or later! But first..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia leads them through a door into a massive lounge which dwarfs even the lounges on our exploration cruisers, and seems more at home on the promenade where they met T'Pia. It is absolutely - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - massive, large enough to be an auditorium and shaped somewhat like one as well. A large semi-circular window covers one side, and from the view it becomes apparent that this lounge stretches - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - out from the centre of the saucer at the hollow section Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Wow...that's quite a view." Mia@crystyl grins, "It never ceases to amaze visitors!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia grins as well, "There's a reason we hold formal receptions in here! And most of our ceremonies too, like awards and promotions. But when it's not on use for a special occasion, it serves - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - as a lounge for crew to relax in, as you can see!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Indeed, the lounge is quite busy, with various crewmembers socializing, dining, or just enjoying the view Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh is already looking around trying to determine which one is her seat Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Kayleigh finds her seat closer to the window, where there is a nice outwards view Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh makes her way over to stake her claim, not waiting to see where their hosts decide to lead them Mia@crystyl watches and looks to Mariel, "Did... I miss something?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris giggles, "No, not at all! She has a habit of...picking a seat everywhere she goes with seating." Mia@crystyl smiles, "I see, how charming!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Yes, it's quite an interesting personality trait. Especially for a Vulcan!" Mia@crystyl giggles, "I am sure there is a perfectly logical reason for it if you were to ask her" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia giggles as well, "Must be! Come on, we should follow her." Mia@crystyl:"You girls go ahead, I will bring some refreshments for you" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris and T'Pia head over to Kayleigh's table, taking a seat Mariel Tanglao@anncaris looks around, "Picked quite a view here Kay!" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh looks back, "It is the best seat within this area which most closely satisfies all of the required criteria" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "I'm guessing the view is one criteria?" Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh nods, "The overall aesthetics do play a part. As does the view of the rest of the room, distance to - and visibility - of exits. Or in this case, obscurity of the location from said - Mia@crystyl:- exits. So in the case of an attack, one has the best chance of either escaping promptly or remaining hidden long enough to take action" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Miyata was right, quite a logical reason for this choice of seating!" Mia@crystyl returns, presenting a selection of drinks and a tray of snacks. All just in time to catch that, "Aha! So I was right!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris grins, "Yes, you were! Ooh, thanks for the refreshments!" Mia@crystyl:"A fairly typical selection to suit most tastes among Humans and Vulcans" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia smiles, "Thoughtful as always. Thank you!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris meanwhile observes the room, "Huh. You're right Kay, this is a good spot to watch people from, as well as the view." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh, "Of course" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"Wait a second..." she turns around, checking something out... Mia@crystyl follows her gaze curiously Mariel Tanglao@anncaris seems to be watching a group of four off-duty crew playing a game centred around a table, "That's...mahjong, isn't it?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Yes it is! You have that in your universe too, then?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "Yes, but it's more of a local pasttime in certain parts of Earth. Poker is the most common social game for Starfleet crew." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Another thing reaching back to the difference in old Earth cultures that impacted the Federation, it seems." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh watches for a moment, "I do not believe I am familiar with this particular pastime" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"I'm not surprised. I don't know the rules myself, but I've seen people play it growing up, so I recognize it. I just assumed people were playing poker here at first, until I took a closer look." Mia@crystyl:"The young miss would have to confirm, but I believe it is one which may hold some appeal to a Vulcan" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris nods, "I think so! From what I know there's a degree of strategizing and logic to it." Mia@crystyl | Kayleigh: "Is that so? Then I will make a point of looking into it when we get back" — T'Vek@anncaris | As they converse in the lounge, an Olelian dressed in a similar uniform to T'Pia, but in green, rushes up to them T'Vek@anncaris | Olelian: "Hey Pia! Showing some new friends-" she eyes Kayleigh and Mariel, then Mia. "Wait, I'm not interrupting an official reception, am I? Sorry!" Kayleigh@crystyl | Mia giggles at the backtracking T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia giggles as well, "Don't worry Zray, if it was official the lounge would be closed off!" She looks to Kayleigh and Mariel, "Here's one of the Olelians I knew you'd run into sooner or later! T'Vek@anncaris | Zray gives them a little wave T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "This is Cadet Z'Raeshan, one of the other cadets on this ship." Kayleigh@crystyl:"A pleasure to meet you Z'Raeshan. I am Cadet Kayleigh" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel smiles and waves back, "I'm Cadet Mariel Tanglao." T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "You're visiting from this universe, aren't you?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, we met T'Pia whle she was visiting one of our shopping districts and she was good enough to invite us here to learn more about you" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray nods, "It's weird seeing you so vanilla. I mean I've seen vanilla Vulcans and even humans before. But you've got the features of standard Federation humans..." she stares at Mariel. "But - T'Vek@anncaris - you've got no implants like the Ariel ones! Well no visible ones anyways." T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "Ariel ones?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia giggles, "Your name even sounds similar!" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "I'm not the leader of some anti-implant movement in your universe, am I...?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "No, you're a cadet too! Just not on the Shenzhou, but I've met you in the Sphere. And you've got plenty of fashionable implants in our universe! Though you don't go by Mariel..." Kayleigh@crystyl perks a brow, looking from one to the other following the conversation curiously T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "I've got a different name?" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "Now that you mention it...I know you too! You still go by Cadet Tanglao, but you have a different given name. But you seem to be the same person, just without implants..." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Takes some getting used to, doesn't it!" She giggles Kayleigh@crystyl:"A different given name? That seems a rarity amongst a wealth of inexplicable similarities we have observed so far" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "My first name comes from an Earth language originating from a region called Spain in Europe. Back in ancient days, they had one of the biggest empires and took over the place I was - T'Vek@anncaris - born, turning it into one of their colonies. They had a heavy influence on our culture, so even after their empire collapsed, many of us still use names that come from them, both given and - T'Vek@anncaris - family names. But we also have influences from the rest of Asia due to proximity. In a universe where Asia was responsible for rebuilding after the nuclear war, I can see us taking on more of - T'Vek@anncaris - their influence than Spanish ones into the modern age." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Interesting. And... oddly reassuring, to finally see a break in the inexplicable similarities" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "I have a feeling Ariel might be another one of those, since you don't recognize the name." Kayleigh@crystyl:"There is certainly nothing familiar about to me at any rate" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Right, we should probably explain then! Ariel is the colony which led us to find the Heart. It was founded by an exodus from Earth, primarily a group of survivors from the European - T'Vek@anncaris - continent who wanted to preserve their way of life. They're one of the few groups of remaining vanilla humans." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Fascinating. I wonder if that would be the world we know as Forged Earth then?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Forged Earth? Now that's something we haven't heard of..." T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "Ariel isn't located too far from Legia. It's in the neighbourhood, pretty much. Is that where your Forged Earth is, too?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"It could well be, that description certainly fits. It became significant shortly after it was rediscovered in this universe by the Valley Forge. After they began to reintegrate with the Humans - Kayleigh@crystyl:- of the Federation, an Iconian gateway was unearthed in the system. This led to the Heart and prompted the voyage of discovery which led us here" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "That sounds like what happened at Ariel! So the differences are still similar, just different in some ways..." T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "Very interesting!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"So are there many cadets serving on this ship? We only tend to get posted to ships for short term assignments as part of our studies, or in some extreme circumstances cadets can be tutored on long - Kayleigh@crystyl:- range exploration vessels to accomodate familiy needs" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "That's why Pia and I are here! Our exploration expeditions are like little communities of our own. We don't usually take civilian family along unless they have skills to contribute to - T'Vek@anncaris - the expedition, but we cadets who have family on the expeditions usually come here with them, since we can learn and contribute at the same time!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"It was the same philosphy that brought me out to the annex here after I started my studies at San Francisco. I would not have agreed with the benefits at that time, but recent experiences have - Kayleigh@crystyl:- forced me to reassess that stance" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "You have a family member serving in the Heart?" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Both of parents do, yes. My father is posted to a starship that is now stationed here. So when the repopulation of the sphere began, my mother took a reassignment and we moved out here" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray nods, "Pia's mother commands the ship, as I'm sure you know. My father's serving on the Hayabusa, actually, but I come here often because the lessons are generally held on the Shenzhou." Kayleigh@crystyl:"The Hayabusa is one of those ships accompanying the Shenzou here I assume?" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "That's right! It's the other cruiser, smaller than the Shenzhou." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Yes, I believe I recall it. So as someone tied to a different vessel, I would be curious to hear your opinion of the Shenzou; for example, does it accurately represent your fleet in your - Kayleigh@crystyl:- eyes?" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "Well it's certainly one of the pride of our fleets. It's the ship we like to use for first contact and diplomatic occasions like that, though it doesn't represent the tactical - T'Vek@anncaris - composition of the entire fleet. The expedition as a whole does kind of represent that though, with a central capital ship supported by smaller cruisers, frigates and destroyers." Kayleigh@crystyl:"A tried and tested formation" she nods, "And it is fitting that this is your perception of the Shenzou, since that is generally people's perception of the Valley Forge here too - our Captain - Kayleigh@crystyl:- Se'Lai's command" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Another interesting similarity! I guess our universes look more different than they actually are." Kayleigh@crystyl:"It does seem that most of the differences are relatively inconsequential" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "Certainly looks that way! So much to learn about still though, figuring out what's similar and what's not." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Come on, we should show you more of the ship!" — T'Vek@anncaris | The group make their way out of the lounge and T'Pia looks to Kayleigh and Mariel, "I imagine your ships probably have most of what we have on board, right?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"You are talking in terms of amenities I presume?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "The lounge was the obvious choice since you definitely have lounges, but probably not one like ours! Where else should we take you..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Well on ships like the Valley Forge, they do have comparable lounges with similar design intentions. To continue the comparision with our capital cruisers; most standard amenities would include a - Kayleigh@crystyl:- number of similar facilities throughout the ship, where the main hub tends to be at the forward section of the saucer for the most aesthetic external views. You would also find several holodecks, - Kayleigh@crystyl:- gymnasiums and similar recreational facilities. Most vessels of that status would also have a few arboretums - though technically they are part of the laboratory complement, they are configured to- Kayleigh@crystyl:- also provide recreation" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "We have all of that, down to the arboretums! It's mostly used to study the plant life we come across, and sometimes we grow and nurture samples on board to be able to study them - T'Vek@anncaris - after the expedition moves on. So it's filled with all sorts of things we've discovered on our journey!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"As I would expect from an exploration cruiser" she nods T'Vek@anncaris | Zray hrms, "Maybe we can bring them to see where we stay! Those of us that don't stay in the Captain's quarters that is," she smirks Kayleigh@crystyl:"I take from that; you do not have individual quarters?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Hey, I come by the capsules sometimes!" She nods to Kayleigh, "Only the officers have quarters. Enlisted and Cadets have different accomodations." T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel nods, "We get bunks on our ships and academies. Kayleigh@crystyl:"Capsules you say? It does conjur rather different images than what one pictures with our dormitories" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray smiles, "That sounds like a worthwhile visit, then!" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Come with me!" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia begins leading the way onwards, "So you said you came here because your parents serve here, Kayleigh?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes. I first joined the core academy complex on Earth" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "What about you, Mariel? Did you come here for the Chlasi training in this universe too?" T'Vek@anncaris | Marial nods, "Yes I did! I guess everything's the same with me except my name and implants, huh." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Seems so!" She leads the group back into the lift, which she sends down with another swipe of her tool T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "You mentioned holodecks, and you don't use implants much...does that mean you use holodecks very often for recreation?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, they are a staple of modern entertainment, recreation and education" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "I thought that might be the case! We use it for education and testing simulations, but on smaller ships they're used as a stand-in for gymnasiums, pools and other physical exercising - T'Vek@anncaris - facilities that would take up too much room. Not so much for entertainment, but I don't suppose you'd have neural ports, so..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I had suspected that your different approach to technology would mean that you had some alternative to holodecks. though your use of them does compare to ours overall, these neural ports you - Kayleigh@crystyl:- mention seem to take away the entertainment factor. Could you please elaborate on this type of implant?" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray taps the back of her head, "It allow us to insert entertainment programs right into our minds to play! It's like a holodeck simulation, except it doesn't take up any space or resources. - T'Vek@anncaris - Well, not for playing alone, at least. You'll have to host a server for multiple people to tap into the same dreamspace." Kayleigh@crystyl:"So you can use these devices to actually connect directly to each other's minds?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "No, not quite. It could be used to record a person's memories for someone else to relive, but we don't use it to connect directly to other people's minds. I mean, with a few - T'Vek@anncaris - modifications we /could/, but we don't want to turn ourselves into Borg otherwise we'd just join the Collective. We use it to experience simulations, like holodeck ones, but directly inside - T'Vek@anncaris:- our heads. That's why they're called Dreams." T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "And a dreamspace is basically a shared dream, but we don't have access to other people's minds. We're just experiencing a fantasy together with other people." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Tapping directly into the subconcious mind like that must make the experience indistinguishable from reality. Holodecks are good, but there are always limitations that remind you it is in fact just- Kayleigh@crystyl:- a simulation" T'Vek@anncaris | The lift opens on a different deck and T'Pia begins leading the way again, "That's right! If you're using the neural ports to play someone else's memories, it is literally reality, just as - T'Vek@anncaris - experienced by someone else. The dreamspaces can be anything from a private adventure game between friends to something like a whole alternate world. The most popular ones back in the - T'Vek@anncaris - Federation centre have servers on multiple worlds that host millions upon millions of users at once!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Single game servers with all those users playing the same game world at once, like some sort of massively multiplayer game? Forgive me, but it is hard to imagine such a concept ever being popular" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Well it's popular in our universe! We don't have access to any such servers in the Heart yet, though there's actually plans to set one up. The individual dreams and recorded - T'Vek@anncaris - are very popular too. So popular that the Dream industry is actually tightly regulated by the Federation government because of Dream addiction." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, I can imagine such a thing coming with a wealth of complexities. Still, I suspect that if nothing else such a system would have a lot of potential here as well" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "Well, the technology would require implants to work. Maybe someone can find a way to have it done with an external device, like a hat or something..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Perhaps. But it is not like people here are adverse to implants, even as it is I believe there are plenty who would be interested. Trust me, as soon as people learn about this it won't be long - Kayleigh@crystyl:- before you find a Ferengi or two reaching out. I trust they are the same in your universe, so the warning goes without saying" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia giggles, "That they certainly are! Actually they're one of the main reasons for the spread of our implants beyond Federation borders!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is no surprise" T'Vek@anncaris | As they travel through what must be one of the lower decks of the Shenzhou, they notice many more drones and less officers. Some of them bear a resemblence to our exocomps, while others are of - T'Vek@anncaris - various different designs. They don't always travel in the hallways, tending to disappear into Jefferies tubes. Their zipping around makes the deck feel a lot more like a Sphere structure than - T'Vek@anncaris - a Starfleet ship, and there are some Nuhar drones present among the mix as well Kayleigh@crystyl watches, "Are all these drones enlisted personnel?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Most of them! The Nuhar ones aren't sentient enough to be personnel, though. They're just a part of the ship, usually directed by the other drones and used to help their duties." Kayleigh@crystyl:"We have a number of them around the Heart working in a similar fashion, but you would never see such volumes and coordination of drones within a Starfleet vessel here. Some exocomps, but typically - Kayleigh@crystyl:- less independent than their Nuhar counterparts" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "We've got plenty of drones serving on our ships. The Nuhar ones are...not quite unique to the Shenzhou, but since the Nuhar are a newer discovery and most of the drones are used by - T'Vek@anncaris - their own facilities and constructs, they're not commonly found on Starfleet ships. A few other vessels in the Sphere have them but that's about it. The regular drones though, they serve on - T'Vek@anncaris - all ships. Small raiders and destroyers especially due to the space limitations! The Klingons love them on their crews, so they don't have to go crawling around doing maintenance and can focus - T'Vek@anncaris - on the warrior stuff." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I can see how that would appeal to them. But this raises another point I find myself curious about now; since the talk of your neural ports and cybernetic interaction, does that extend to the - Kayleigh@crystyl:- drones as well?" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "You mean link with them? I suppose we could, but we don't want to violate their privacy!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"I take it none of those sentient enough to make such a decision have ever expressed a desire in linking with a biological lifeform?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Not that I know of. Some have expressed interest in experiencing life as we do, so we've found a way for our recorded neural experiences to be legible and compatible to those drones - T'Vek@anncaris - who are curious to feel what biological life is like." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Perhaps because of the lack of cybernetic focus here is why there has always been a stronger focus on artificial intelligence. Before holotechnology became viable - particularly for integrated - Kayleigh@crystyl:- specialities like the EMH's - there were advanced androids. Created in their makers image, this led a much stronger AI movement towards emulating said makers so were this linking technology - Kayleigh@crystyl:- developed here, I believe there would be a much broader interest from the artificial lifeforms in gaining biological interaction and experience. I must admit, the concept of communicating with - Kayleigh@crystyl:-such a lifeform in a more direct manner than translated commands is certainly intriguing" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "We had a fairly reverse approach here. Our implants are meant to make us better than what we naturally can be. We create AIs for maximum efficiency in their task, and they only - T'Vek@anncaris - resemble biological life if it benefits their task. Like Miyata, who looks human because she was initially made for education, and it's easier for us to learn from someone with a friendly - T'Vek@anncaris - face! Or the EMHs, to interact with and comfort patients. If anything, we're trying to shape ourselves to be more like them," she gestures to a passing drone, which replies with a friendly beep Kayleigh@crystyl almost seems to smile at the beepy greeting. Almost. "Another point of interest - Zray - from what I know of your people here, they are without parallel in nanotechnology. However it is somewhat - Kayleigh@crystyl:- isolated in it's applications. With your cybernetic culture, has that allowed closer integration with your technology?" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray nods, "It has! One of our latest scientific projects is being rolled out through Starfleet at the moment, actually. It's a nanoprobe healing system which integrates nanites into the - T'Vek@anncaris - circulatory system to heal injuries almost instantly. I'm one of the few on board to have it outside the Landing Forces," she smiles proudly Kayleigh@crystyl:"Instant healing? Sounds like something from a science fiction holo, but I am not surprised given the technologies at work. I believe the most we have seen so far is the development of a - Kayleigh@crystyl:- nano-generated ablative armour skin for a starship" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Oh, that's already standard for every new ship being rolled out of the shipyards. The Shenzhou has one, and thanks to the shipyards here and at the New World, all the ships in our - T'Vek@anncaris - squadron are equipped with it now. I've been hearing from grandfather that they're experimenting with the next step of that technology, having hulls that are completely generated and which can - T'Vek@anncaris - heal itself like Borg vessels." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, I remember you - our 'you' that is - telling me about something similar being researched with the new generation of ships being developed here by the Coalition. She was also using an - Kayleigh@crystyl:- adaptation of the technology I believe, to try and create some form of dynamic workstation to react to each users physique and requirements" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Interesting! Sounds like your me is doing my grandfather's work," she giggles. "I better not be put to shame by myself!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Being competitive with oneself... now there is a concept the psychologists and councillors will have a field day with" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia laughs, "That's prooobably why mum is arranging our visits to try and make sure we don't run into our direct counterparts, if we have any to run into here." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Well, were it not for the infiltrators then you would have run into your counterpart here. So I am sure there will be others with the same potential, she is wise to account for this" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel nods, "Yeah, seeing everyone with implants is strange enough, but it would be really weird to see myself with all these implants!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"And going by a different name, in your case" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Probably an experience best avoided, and heard about through others at most!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | The team turns a corner, entering a hallway lined with beds, Lower Decks style, except the beds extend into the walls, allowing far more to be placed in a single hall Mariel Tanglao@anncaris FX | https://cdn.cheapoguides.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/08/capsule-hotel-tokyo-iStock_chee-gin-tan.jpg Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Several other cadets are in the area, wearing their universe's cadet uniform of varying department colours Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Zray: "Welcome to the capsules! And there's our fellow classmates here too! Not all of them, some were out and about like I was!" Kayleigh@crystyl looks around curiously, "I see now why you call them capsules" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris looks around as well, "I've seen similar living spaces, but not quite /as/ compact." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Compared to our dormitories, it is a far more efficient use of space" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "The design was initially made to accomodate smaller ships- destroyers, birds of prey and the like. But it was very efficient so it was implemented as enlisted sleeping areas on all - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - ships. And depending on the size of the ship, junior and even senior officers sleep in the capsules too. So all cadets sleep in them to get us accustomed, as we don't know what ship we'll end - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - up serving on!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"That makes sense. So are these capsules purely bunks? They seem to be very intricate if that is the case" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "The ones that line the outer bulkheads can also be used as single-person escape pods. Not all of them here are, but we keep the design consistent so it doesn't look all uneven. We've - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - got larger, multi-person escape craft that have better control systems so they don't all need to be here, but the original design was made for much smaller ships after all, so it serves as - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - many uses as possible since space is a premium! We still kept that functionality on the outer capsules, just in case." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I see, very interesting concept" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Sleeping areas doubling as an escape craft was a common concept going back to the very first Federation Starfleet ships. Prompted by what happened to the NX-01 and the subsequent - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - Romulan War. The entire Captain's Quarters on the Shenzhou and Hayabusa can detach into a fully armed craft, like a runabout." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Really? I have known ship's to carry a dedicated captain's yacht, but never a combat ready small craft - and from their quarters at that. What exactly happened to your NX-01?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "It was sacrificed to stop a Xindi superweapon from destroying Earth. The whole crew was lost in the process and it showed the pre-Federation Starfleet how dangerous the galaxy can be." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Interesting. I remember those lessons from modern history, as they were key events in the Federations formation. But here that ship was not sacrificed, they ended up negotiating a truce with some - Kayleigh@crystyl:- of the Xindi races and then rallied them all together to destroy that weapon. It was a battle on an immense scale, but the NX-01 and her crew returned home as heroes and were pivotal in bringing - Kayleigh@crystyl:- the founding races together. In fact, Captain Archer's speech from the dedication ceremony is required learning in our first year" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | An Andorian cadet steps over to the group, "Telling some locals about the history of the Federation's founding, Pia? Don't forget to mention that it was my people who saved your collective - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - backsides when you went after the Xindi for blood." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia ahems, "Yes, well, one of the people lost on the NX-01 Vostok was a Vulcan exchange officer, Subcommander T'Pol. Do you know her in your universe?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"The...NX-01 Vostok?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Must be another name difference across our universes..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Apparently the ancient Earth naming conventions stemmed right from the beginning. Ours was called the Enterprise, and yes Subcommander T'Pol is as much a significant figure in our shared history - Kayleigh@crystyl:- with the Humans for her contributions to the NX program as for her contributions towards interspecies breeding research" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Interspecies breeding research? That sounds like it's got quite a story behind it. Our T'Pol gave her life on board the Vostok, and the Romulans who had infiltrated Vulcan High Command - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - at the time used that to manipulate the Vulcans into supporting Earth's retaliation. When human and Vulcan ships attacked the Xindi, the Romulans moved their fleet in behind us to strike at - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - our now vulnerable homeworlds. Fortunately, Earth had made an alliance with the Andorians behind Vulcan's back, and a fleet led by Commander Shran intercepted the Romulans in time." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I see, so those events from Vulcan prior to the Xindi war were in fact far more critical than we perhaps realized..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Andorian Cadet: "What happened in your universe? General Shran /is/ still a hero, right?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, I am uncertain of his final standing at retirement. But I know the name Shran well as he was instrumental in forging bonds between Humans and Andorians. Here, Captain Archer and Subcommander - Kayleigh@crystyl:- T'Pol visited Vulcan and worked with T'Pau to rediscover the Kir'Shara. When this was presented to the High Command, the Romulan presence was nullified. So without that Romulan manipulation, there- Kayleigh@crystyl:- was no counter move on the allied defense against the Xindi which could be the reason our NX-01 survived" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Your NX-01 also had a different captain, too. T'Pol was there, but the Vostok was commanded by Veer Dahan." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris:"That sounds like more than a different name..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Captain Archer fought dilligently to get the NX program off the ground because his father developed the warp5 engine. With the earlier changes we know of, it stands to reason that someone else - Kayleigh@crystyl:- would have done that and so he was likely in no position and with no drive to push for the NX-01 command as he did here" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Wait, his father worked on the Warp 5 engine..." she taps her multitool, "You're talking about Johnny Archer, aren't you?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"I did not know him so informally, but yes it was Jonathan Archer" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "We call him Johnny Archer here, probably because his old Earth language name didn't translate as well to our standard language," she giggles. "His father worked on the Warp 5 engine - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - here too," she scrolls through something on the tool's holographic interface, "but he was Chief Engineer of the Vostok, not Captain." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "With his father simply working on the engine rather than being the man who's name was against it likely made the difference in his incentives. I do believe this is a significant develop in - Kayleigh@crystyl:- the study of differences here, given how pivotal that era was in the development of the Federation, and we are already seeing rippled differences carried through to core elements like starship - Kayleigh@crystyl:- design" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia nods too, "Yes, it could explain a lot!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | By now, the other cadets have all gathered around to listen. One Orion cadet steps forward, examining the two visitors curiously Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Orion: "So it's true, they don't use visible implants here..." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris eyes the Orion curiously, "You seem to have less implants than everyone else, too." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Wasn't it the same of that Orion Ambassador that came over for the initial meeting as well?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | The Orion nods, "I have the ones required for Starfleet service, but they're not as...showy as most of the humans. For us Orions, excessive surface implantation have always been a male thing." Kayleigh@crystyl:"The same can be said for Orions here as well. They have a strong presence here at the Heart, and I don't believe I have seen a female with any implants so far. But even the colonial males sport - Kayleigh@crystyl:- them to some extent" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Orion: "From what Pia's been saying, the divergence seems to come from Earth history, so I guess there's no reason for pre-Federation Orion traditions to be any different. Well...pre-heavy - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - contact with the Federation for you I guess, since we're apparently our own thing here. Which is really quite fascinating." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, we have learned a lot of it from one of our Orion classmates. I know the broad strokes, but I highly doubt either of us here is best placed to truly educate you on them" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Orion: "I guess not, but the lack of implants is...different and interesting too. But before I get carried away, I'm Cadet Vayni," she smiles, giving the pair a bow Kayleigh@crystyl returns the bow, having now learned the local custom earlier, "I am Cadet Kayleigh" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris returns the bow as well, "And I'm Cadet Tanglao." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Andorian Cadet: "You're Cadet Tanglao? Didn't recognize you without the implants!" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris chuckles, "I'm getting that a lot today." Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Vayni: "You mentioned an Orion cadet in your universe too?" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Well, there are a lot of Orion cadets in Starfleet and there always have been at least to some degree. But our classmate I spoke of is called Shavinnia" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Vayni: "The name doesn't sound familiar to me. There's quite a few Orions in Starfleet here, though most of us are male and part of the Landing Forces. My father's one of them, which is why - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - I'm here!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"You say that as though it is commonplace. But... landing forces?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Vayni: "They're the personal combat specialists of Starfleet. Deployed to defend the ship, board enemy ships and fight planetside engagements. You have something like that, right?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Well, we have security officers I suppose. Some missions do take a more military unit when required, those are called MACO's. But they are far from being commonplace on most ships" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Your security officers defend the ship and perform boarding actions?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes. Not that boarding actions are something we exactly plan for, but when are necessary the mission leaders will generally take a security contingent with them" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | T'Pia: "Interesting. We've got security officers too, but they're just responsible for investigations on the ship. There's no more than a handful on each ship, even ones as big as the - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - Shenzhou." Kayleigh@crystyl:"A most unexpected variation. But tell me, what is the significance of male Orions with these landing forces then, or perhaps more pertinently the lack of females overall?" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Vayni: "Well, our males have always embraced implants more, so naturally they fit into Starfleet better. And you've seen an Orion male before, I assume. They're big and tough, perfect for the - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - Landing Forces. Us females, we like to use implants less, and most of us working with the Federation government either go into public relations, politics or the Diplomatic Corps like - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - the Ambassador." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Interesting. It would appear that your closer involvement with the Federation has allowed your people to find suitable niche's for their natural tendencies. Which then makes you perhaps something - Kayleigh@crystyl:- more of a rarity here, at least moreso than our Orion classmate is" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Vayni nods, "That I am! My father served on the Shenzhou during the initial journey and throughout the Horde War. He's...a bit of a decorated war hero now, you could say, and that made - Mariel Tanglao@anncaris - me want to join up too." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I see, you must be very proud to be continuing his legacy" Mariel Tanglao@anncaris | Vayni smiles, "That I am!" — T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Come on, let's show you to the exercise facilities, see if anything's different there! Not much to see of the capsules beyond this!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Since even your residencies are so different, and the source of such insight into the historical significances, I would not be surprised to learn more there either" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia grins, "Exactly what I thought!" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Mind if I tag along?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "By all means! Just not everyone at once, you'll have plenty of chances to talk to the locals here!" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray giggles, "I'll get back to my studying then, so you don't end up with a whole boarding party following you around." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Thank you for sharing your insights with us Zray. It has been most interesting" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel nods, "And it's been interesting to finally meet an Olelian!" T'Vek@anncaris | Zray: "I'm happy to be the first one you've met! Even though I'm not technically one of your Olelians...but by the sounds of things we're the same in both universes!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Alright, please lead on T'Pia" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods and leads the way, with Vayni following behind the group T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "So, are you completely vanilla? Or do you have some implants, just not as visible as everyone else here?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Until recently, the term 'vanilla' would have been accurate for most. However, one of the defences that was developed against Horde influence was a subdermal psionic inhibitor. This quickly became - Kayleigh@crystyl:- standard issue for all duty personnel and since the increase in psionic activity everywhere, most people have chosen to leave them in place" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni nods, "We have that too, as well as a few others which are required for Starfleet service. And of course I have one to keep my pheromones in check, which is standard practice for serving - T'Vek@anncaris - for us too. But I've only got the mandatory ones." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, I believe some Orions opt for an implant here to regulate their pheromones. But some also go down a medication route for it I think. I am no doctor so I could not tell you the difference" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Medication is definitely an option, but it's only taken by those who work off Orion worlds on occasion. It's a chore acquiring them and remembering to take them all the time, so going - T'Vek@anncaris - with the implant is...only logical on a Starfleet ship, wouldn't you say?" she smiles Kayleigh@crystyl perks a brow, "I suppose you would" her tone eludes to a little more approval of the attempt at logical reasoning than the words let on T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni smiles again at the approval, "We Orion females see implants as more of a male thing, but we don't avoid them like some species do. I wonder...why did the humans here embrace cybernetics - T'Vek@anncaris - more than yours do?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is an excellent question that we have yet find a definitive answer to. We have postulated that it stems from cultural differences between the dominant Earth factions which rose to power in - Kayleigh@crystyl:- each universe following the last great war there" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Well, the reason behind the implants is self-improvement. I understand your Federation society has a focus on that too, right?" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel nods, "That's right." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Negative impacts of relations with species like the Borg have likely introduced a stigmatic element as well" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "We introduced our implants long before we made contact with the Borg. When was your first contact with them?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"A Starfleet flagship was transported to the Delta Quadrant by Q. That put them in the direct path of a Borg cube which they were not prepared to face and it cost them heavily" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Sounds like what happened here. Was it in the mid-24th century too?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, that sounds accurate" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "We started using implants much earlier than that, and already had fairly advanced implant technology by then. When the Borg first showed up, there were actually quite a number of - T'Vek@anncaris - people who lined up to get assimilated, thinking the Collective was the logical next step in the Federation's evolution." Kayleigh@crystyl:"People in your universe felt so strongly about their technological connection? Here there was an overwhelming resistance against them, based on nothing more than the retention of free will" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "The implants and focus on achieving our highest potential made the Borg very appealing to some. They were willing to look past the unfashionable cybernetics for the higher quality - T'Vek@anncaris - of existence the Borg claimed they provided. And they did have more advanced cybernetic tech at the time. But there were some who saw the Collective as a threat, like the captain who first met - T'Vek@anncaris - them on the other side of the galaxy." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Delta Quadrant...is that your term for Quadrant Four?" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "Delta is the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet, so...I guess." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That seems likely" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "So your Starfleet resisted the Borg from the start?" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Yes, as did everyone else to my knowledge. At least in the Alpha Quadruant, or Quadrant One I assume?" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni nods, "That's what we call the quadrant with the Federation homeworlds." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "I suppose the Borg would be much less appealing to you without the focus on cybernetics." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes indeed, though the overwhelming threat they posed to everyone did serve a purpose I suppose in bolstering alliances between the galactic powers. So there is that" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "For us, they weren't a direct threat to the Federation at first. We lost a number of worlds to them, but they had all joined the Borg willingly, and there wasn't any law against - T'Vek@anncaris - secession from the Federation. Only a few people like the captain I mentioned earlier saw them for the threat they really were. There's still some people who argue that Picard and his Maquis - T'Vek@anncaris - provoked the Borg with their actions, but with what we know of the Borg today, pretty much all historians agree that the Borg would've taken to aggressive expansion sooner or later." T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "Good old Admiral Picard, saving the Federation in your universe too." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Only as the leader of a resistance group it would seem" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni narrows her eyes, "He might've been right about the Borg being a threat, but I...wouldn't exactly call him good." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Yeah...that man is a /divisive/ topic, even today. I'd avoid discussions about him." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Duly noted. But you should be aware - and perhaps make your mother aware - that his considered a legend in his own lifetime here and regarded as one of the greatest leaders in Starfleet history. - Kayleigh@crystyl:- The more comparing of notes which goes on, the more likely that subject will resurface so she would do well to be mindful of this" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Really? Well my mum usually keeps an open mind, so she'll be fine! But there's some people who have strong opinions on him, either for or against him." Kayleigh@crystyl:"At any rate, we have no need to linger on the topic. I will endeavour to avoid further mention" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni chuckles, "That's probably safest. Shayni, on the other hand, is very well-regarded by the whole Federation. -ayni names like mine became very popular among Orions thanks to her." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Shayni?" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "She's the one who negotiated the original Armistice with the Borg. One of our best diplomats, and probably the only face you'll see on Federation posters that isn't sporting visible - T'Vek@anncaris - cybernetics. We like to say it's because her natural look is beautiful enough," she smiles T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Probably the most famous Orion in modern history, and definitely the most famous member of the Diplomatic Corps." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is indeed impressive. Interestingly after seeing your Ambassador Mysti at first, I did some checking here and she was considerably acknowedged at a similar level" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Ambassador Mysti's fairly well-regarded for us as well now, after everything she's done on the Shenzhou's voyage. She played a very critical role in getting the Coalition together." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Not quite as famous as Shayni, but she's certainly up there, with both famous Orions and Federation Ambassadors!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Here she was regarded as a revolutionary and a key figure in the reformation of a singular Orion society. Something about being the first slaveborn Tabadi to become a member of a Circle I think" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "That sounds...very different from what I know of our Mysti's life. I'll have to talk to the Orions around here sometime!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"I am confident that they will find your history equally intriguing" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia leads them back into a lift, once again sending it on its way with her multitool, "I wonder what other species have drastically different histories as a result of this cultural - T'Vek@anncaris - difference on Earth. Really puts into perspective how much a divergence in history can change things." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Yes, this'll be one for the Temporal Mechanics classes in the future..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I have a feeling that just about every class is going to be on the topic for the rest of the semester..." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Hey, it's an interesting topic! I for one am glad we followed through on your probe and visited here." Kayleigh@crystyl:"It certainly does make for a fascinating experience" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Speaking of our classes, what do you study? I can see your uniforms have different colour stripes, but I'm not sure if they mean the same thing as our colours." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Oh right, well this red strip-" she points on her tunic, "-marks me as a tactical cadet. While Mariel's blue puts her in the sciences. Medical also wears blue, but full officers use a different - Kayleigh@crystyl:- shade. Operations - including engineering and security - wear gold strips" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "There's some similarity with ours, but differences too. Science and medical are also blue here, which is why I'm wearing blue. Tactical and Landing Forces are both green, though. Red - T'Vek@anncaris - isn't a colour we use on the modern uniform." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Was it used historically?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Not that I know of as a department colour. When the Klingons first joined the Federation, their ships were integrated as a special Raider Corps branch of Starfleet and they wore - T'Vek@anncaris - what was the Starfleet uniforms of the time but with a red base colour. But eventually all those ships were outdated and decommissioned and we began building Starfleet raiders, so the Raider - T'Vek@anncaris - Corps slowly became a part of the larger Starfleet." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "There's Klingon personnel throughout the fleet now, but they're still most commonly found as part of raider and destroyer crews." T'Vek@anncaris | The lift door slide open and T'Pia steps out to lead the way again Kayleigh@crystyl:"Just the very concept of Starfleet having raider and destroyer type ships is still difficult to reconcile. At least within an amenable society, I haven't gotten to study it in detail yet, but there- Kayleigh@crystyl:- is a historical connection between this and another reality where Humans are an aggressive conqueror species. Their version of Starfleet I can much more easily picture as having such ships" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "We're certainly not conquerers, but the Xindi and Romulans showed us how dangerous things can be out here. Starfleet tries to avoid violence where possible, but we're still a military - T'Vek@anncaris - and the Federation's primary defense. So if someone /does/ pick a fight with us, we make sure to show them the error of their ways." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni nods, "And the Klingons' ancestors certainly learned that lesson." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, our Starfleet holds to the same tagline. Yet we still do not have such a focus on military strength. Perhaps the inclusion of the Klingons from early on had more of an impact" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Or the survival of your NX-01. It was the Xindi crisis that really jump-started Earth's development of starship weaponry. We were advancing our tactical technology before then of - T'Vek@anncaris - course, but after the atomic war, we were avoiding too much of a military focus for fear of sparking an arms race that would lead to an even worse war." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Perhaps, although I recall from our tactical studies that when the NX-01 returned from that mission, Captain Archer rallied Starfleet to increase the tactical capabilities of the NX-02 before it - Kayleigh@crystyl:- launched" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia hrms, "Maybe it goes all the way back to the cultural difference, then. The Klingons certainly had a part to play too, though!" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "I imagine you must be quite interested in our military tactics, being a tactical cadet and all. We should take you to Commander T'Vek, she's our Chief of Tactical. And she'll certainly - T'Vek@anncaris - be interested in comparing notes with your Starfleet." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "That would be most agreeable" — T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia leads them through a door into a gym, where many crewmembers are currently working out on various exercise equipment. Most of the equipment seems close to what is present in our - T'Vek@anncaris - universe with some minor design and aesthetic differences, but it's still fairly obvious what their purposes are. The main difference is the crew working on them, many of whom are wearing tank - T'Vek@anncaris - tops and other clothes which reveals more of the cybernetics across their body. There are also quite a number of Orion males around, though they don't sport the Syndicate style implants we're - T'Vek@anncaris - familiar with, instead having the same fashionable ones as the rest of the Starfleet crew T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "So, this is our gym! I can't imagine yours would be much different, right? I mean, what else can you do with a gym..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"At it's core it is very much the same, yes" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "But the people are quite different..." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Oh yes, the implants are more visible here than anywhere else, aren't they?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"It does give us our first look at the fuller extent of the cybernetics" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "This must be the extent of a lot of advacements on cybernetics. Do you know when you started using them?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "There's no exact date, but we started developing cybernetic technology not long after first contact, while the whole rebuilding of Earth was going on. But back then it was pretty basic - T'Vek@anncaris - technology. Cybernetic fashion became more and more prevalent as the technology advanced and became more commonplace." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That makes sense I suppose. But still, since the Vulcans couldn't have introduced it at First Contact, there must have been something prior to that which sparked the trend" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Actually the Vulcans played a part in that, just not directly!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Oh? How so?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Well, we're naturally stronger than humans. Genetic augmentation was outlawed after the war, so humans turned to cybernetic augmentation to try and catch up with Vulcans physically." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Genetic augmentation is banned for you too, right?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes. But still, the same circumstances were present here and that did not prompt a cybernetic revolution. So my point stands in that there must be some pre-existing element that we are still missing T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "It might tie back to the whole cultural difference again. In any case, here we saw cybernetic enhancement as the best way for improving our physical selves, since it doesn't come with - T'Vek@anncaris - the negatives that genetic augmentation is infamous for." Kayleigh@crystyl:"It is fortunate that it didn't spark a competitive cybernetic arms race of sorts. With Humans using them to parallel Vulcans, and then Vulcans embracing the same thing and getting stronger. It - Kayleigh@crystyl:- could have easily spiralled out of control, given how volatile Humans of that time were" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "The Vulcans didn't embrace it until a good while after the Federation founding, and the Romulans gave us a common enemy to work against! And then the Klingons the century after that, - T'Vek@anncaris - then the Romulans again. The Borg were our biggest test, that almost split the Federation." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Because of what you said before about so many finding the prospect desirabe?" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni nods, "And others seeing the Borg for the threat they really were, yes. Quite a few Starfleet officers went rogue and joined the Maquis. Colonies were seceeding to join the Borg, and - T'Vek@anncaris - Federation members, especially the newer ones who haven't embraced cybernetics as much yet, were threatening to secede if the Federation government didn't take a stronger stance against the - T'Vek@anncaris - Borg. The period leading up to the Borg Wars were probably some of the darkest the Federation had ever faced." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods in agreement, "Wars are never pleasant, but it was something the Federation had gone through several times already. The internal disagreements, we've never had something to that - T'Vek@anncaris - extent before then." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Then I am pleased to see that everything worked out in the end as you all seem to be quite content with things now" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni smiles, "Yes, we even have peace with the Borg now, thanks to the Iconians and the Horde. Anyways, we should show you something more pleasant than our history with the Borg..." T'Vek@anncaris | She begins leading the way further into the gym T'Vek@anncaris | They reach a door, behind which is a staircase. Vayni makes her way down T'Vek@anncaris | At the end of the staircase, they find themselves in a level beneath the gym, which is a sizable pool area! Kayleigh@crystyl:"Ok, this is something you would not see on a ship here without the holodeck" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia giggles, "It's far from standard for every ship in our universe! Only the largest ones like the Shenzhou have it." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni smiles, "That's why we wanted to show you. It's not something you'll see on the Hayabusa." Kayleigh@crystyl:"The closest I have heard of is a rumour that the Orion flagship has a hot tub on the bridge..." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni widens her eyes, "Really?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"I highly doubt the validity of such a rumour. It would be most impractical" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Well, we do run pleasure barges and luxury yachts in our universe. But, they're not /flagships/." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Exactly. As with most conjective, I expect there to be an element of truth behind it which has become obscured. More likelyy; the Orion flagship has a hot tub somewhere on it" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "That would make more sense, yes. I guess we know how to enjoy life in this universe as well," she grins Kayleigh@crystyl:"It is fair to say that it is a staple of your people here. And desipte the negative impression from the likes of the Syndicate, 'pleasure' is generally the first thing most in the galaxy associate - Kayleigh@crystyl:- with the Orion name" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni smiles, "I'm glad to hear that. It's a good thing to be associated with." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "What about art and fashion, are we known for that here, too?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Not so much. As I understand it, most of that side of Orion culture was wiped out by the infighting. It is however on the rise now I believe" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "That's unfortunate. We're quite well-known for our art here. My mother is a fashion designer, actually." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Is that so? Has Orion fashion been influenced much by your people's interaction with other species or do you consider it much traditional?" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "I'd say it's a mixture of both. We've certainly been influenced by Federation cultures, but there's still some traditional designers. Not to mention we've influenced the Federation, - T'Vek@anncaris - as well. Several Orion designers have worked on Starfleet uniforms, and...you see that swimsuit?" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni points out a human in the pool Kayleigh@crystyl looks and nods T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "That's an Orion design. And it's not uncommon to see people dressing in Orion designed or Orion-influenced clothing off-duty in the Federation. Cybernetic fashion isn't the only type - T'Vek@anncaris - of fashion, after all. The shinest implants won't make you look good if you're dressed in rags!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"I hope we get the opportunity to explore this then. I don't think there are many Orions around who even know what their traditional styles were like now, so to rediscover this and present it back - Kayleigh@crystyl:- to them could be the fashion trend of the century" Kayleigh@crystyl totally hasn't switched gear back to shopping mode already. nope... T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Unfortunately my mother and sister aren't on the ship, but I'm the next best thing," she smiles. "You think you might be able to arrange a visit for me to the Orions here?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "I think mum will certainly be up for it!" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "And we've met that Orion captain too...albeit not under the /best/ circumstances." She chuckles Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, though we do not have sufficient access or clearance to request diplomatic meetings, we can work with our professors at the annex to help arrange something for you" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni smiles, "Thank you. I think it'll be a very interesting visit!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"I am inclined to agree and hope that we will be permitted to witness it for ourselves" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "I'll be sure to mention your enthusiasm to the professors, Kay! After all, no one knows how much you like Orion fashion than me..." She grins T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni eyes Kayleigh curiously Kayleigh@crystyl gives the stoic Vulcan equivalent of a huff and a pout, looking away, "It is not /just/ Orion fashion. It is only logical to explore all varities and properly assess their socialogical influences" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "You have an interest in all fashion, then?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Given that it plays such an important part in social interactions, it is only logical to take it seriously" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "I'm glad studying fashion is logical for you Vulcans, too." She grins. "I hope I get a chance to show off our fashion to you too." Kayleigh@crystyl:"As do I" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Let's take you to see Commander T'Vek first while you're here. Unless you want to take a dip in the pool...?" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel chuckles, "Unfortuantely we didn't bring our swimwear..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"As pleasant as that sounds, it would not be the most efficient use of the unique time we have on this visit. Learning more about you and the differences in our societies would be more frugal" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "I have an idea...Vayni, you can show Cadet Tanglao here our labratories, since you're both science specialists. And I'll take Cadet Kayleigh to talk tactics with T'Vek." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Thank you T'Pia, a brief recess to focus on professional elements could be most enlightening" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni: "Sounds logical to me." Her gaze lingers on Kayleigh for a moment, "We'll talk fashion another time." Kayleigh@crystyl bows her head, "I sincerely hope so" T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni returns the bow, "Come with me, Mariel." T'Vek@anncaris | Vayni turns to lead Mariel up the stairs while T'Pia leads the way for Kayleigh — T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia leads Kayleigh to another deck, where they enter a large room lined with consoles and viewscreens. The centre has a raised platform with a holoprojection in the centre of the Shenzhou - T'Vek@anncaris - Squadron. If Kayleigh didn't know better, she'd think this was their version of the bridge, except she had seen the bridge through comms when she was on the Courageous during the alternate - T'Vek@anncaris - universe Starfleet's initial arrival, and it doesn't look like this Kayleigh@crystyl looks around, "This is not the bridge. A CIC?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia smiles, "That's right! I take it you have something similar on your ships, then?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Mostly not actually. Modern capital ships often have a dedicated CIC as they are intended for fleet coordination, but that's it" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "All ships capable of serving as the centre of a fleet has one. Which includes most ships cruiser and above. It was implemented during the Borg Wars, to counteract the Borg's - T'Vek@anncaris - coordination thanks to their hive mind." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Interestingly, it reminds me somewhat of a rather proud achievement your counterpart here never stops reminding me about" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Really? I did help modify and refine our CIC during the Horde War. Don't tell me I came up with the idea in your universe! Then I'd really be out-competed by myself... Kayleigh@crystyl:"Not quite. As I understand it, the concept was the brainchild of the Valley Forge's now CTO. She was a graduate on board during the voyage out here and her successes to date have made her something- Kayleigh@crystyl:- of a prodigy. Rather frustratingly, she all too often the focus of comparison for us tactical cadets at the annex, and junior officers alike. Her concept was a lot like this room, with a heavy - Kayleigh@crystyl:- emphasis on holographics and realtime communication with a fleet. Our T'Pia helped her retrofit the idea onto the Valley Forge's combat bridge which was seldom used for combat seperations. - Kayleigh@crystyl:- Following that successful implementation, the concept is being explored for a more thorough and designed implementation into the Coalition fleet project" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "I take it she's not T'Vek, given your lack of familiarity with the name..." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "And not the right age either to graduate during the voyage, unless your T'Vek is younger than ours!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Indeed. Her name is Rianni Tierno" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Rianni Tierno? She's here too! But she's not Chief of Tactical, she's the head of the Landing Forces for our squadron..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I am not surprised by her presence here. And in this universe she only recently took over the role. Following the battle of the Heart, her predecessor - a Klingon named Vrolmacht - went on to - Kayleigh@crystyl:- accept a command of his own. He actually commands the vessel on which my father serves, and so I have also heard praise of Tierno through him. To earn the respect of Klingon warriors is no small - Kayleigh@crystyl:- feat, and they do like their elaborate stories. Though much like the Orions and their hot tubs, I suspect some elaboration involved. After all, it is almost inconceivable to imagine a Human girl - Kayleigh@crystyl:- of my build dropping the 'God of War' to his knees with a 'single mighty blow'..." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Actually, our Tierno did the same thing! Though she's equipped with some of the best combat implants Federation technology has to offer..." Kayleigh@crystyl perks a brow, "Truly? Then perhaps Captain Vrolmacht deserves more credit for the accuracy of his stories" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Truly! I wasn't there to see it, but Commander T'Vek was. Come on, her office is just through the CIC here!" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia taps her multitool as she approaches the door. A voice sounds from inside, "Come in." Kayleigh@crystyl follows TP inside T'Vek@anncaris sits behind a desk, wearing a green uniform with the white section highlighting her role as a department head. Like most of the crew, she has visible implants on her face, including eyes that - T'Vek@anncaris - are clearly artificial. Of more interest however is her natural features- she appears to be Vulcan, but a bit more heavily built than the average Vulcan female. Her forehead shows ridges - T'Vek@anncaris - remniscent of a Klingon's, but smaller and significantly less pronounced. A traditional Klingon mek'leth rests on her back, attached to a cybernetic piece on her shoulder T'Vek@anncaris looks up from her console, "You must be one of the visitors from the Starfleet here. Welcome to the Shenzhou." Kayleigh@crystyl offers another customary bow, "I am Cadet Kayleigh, yes. Thank you for your gracious hospitality" T'Vek@anncaris stands and returns the bow, "I am Commander T'Vek, Chief Tactical Officer, though I imagine T'Pia has introduced me already. Please, have a seat." Kayleigh@crystyl sits, "Thank you Commander" T'Vek@anncaris:"Do you wish for something to drink? I assume spice tea is still popular among Vulcans of your universe as well." Kayleigh@crystyl:"After a day of walking around the ship that would be most welcome, thank you" T'Vek@anncaris steps over, replicating two cups of spice tea and setting one in front of Kayleigh, "You are not the only cadet visiting the Shenzhou, I assume. I take it from your presence here alone that you - T'Vek@anncaris - more interested in the tactical department specifically." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, I am tactical cadet in my second year. Cadet Tanglao is also with me, and one of your science cadets is currently showing her areas of professional interest while we are here" T'Vek@anncaris hand the other tea to T'Pia and sits back down on her own chair, "As I thought, a logical distribution of your time." She pours some drink of her own from a bottle on her desk, taking a sip Kayleigh@crystyl:"Of all the differences observed between our realities to date, the variations in approach to tactical functions seems to be the most heavily impacted. I take it you have already pursued a line of - Kayleigh@crystyl:- investigation and drawn the same conclusion" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "Indeed. I've been analyzing the tactical systems of vessels in your Heart of Unity. The Coalition vessels seem largely comparable to the ones in our universe, save for the Colonial Fleet, - T'Vek@anncaris - which seems to be more advanced here. Starfleet, however, has a remarkable number of differences to our own." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, given the overall similarities I too have been surprised by these differences. T'Pia and I have been learning what we can from each other to better understand this, but have not reached a - Kayleigh@crystyl:- definitive conclusion beyond the identification of the divergence point" T'Vek@anncaris:"It is quite a curious difference. My conclusion so far is that our Starfleet has a greater focus on military strength and the defense of the Federation than your own. That is not to insult - T'Vek@anncaris:- your fleet, of course. Your vessels are still quite formidable and hold a similar place among Coalition forces as our own. Some may even argue that your lesser militarism is a boon for diplomacy." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, that is one distinction that we have found and speculated on a source of in fact" T'Vek@anncaris:"From what I understand, the Klingons are not a part of your Federation and remain a distinct galactic power. I assume you have also come to speculate that to be at least one reason for this - T'Vek@anncaris - difference." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, but we believe it actually goes back a lot further than Starfleets interactions with the Klingons" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "We determined that the Xindi crisis played out differently in our universes, and the NX-01 wasn't lost here. But that doesn't seem to explain it either, because despite the ship's - T'Vek@anncaris - survival, the captain still pushed for increased tactical readiness in Starfleet." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Further study of the specifics of those events on either side would be required to see the full impact. But since that crisis was essentially resolved diplomatically here, I believe it laid the - Kayleigh@crystyl:- foundation for what would become Starfleet principles on both sides" T'Vek@anncaris:"It may be one contributing factor, though the crisis was eventually resolved diplomatically here. Earth and Vulcan did attempt a retaliation first, but when that was revealed to be a Romulan ploy, - T'Vek@anncaris:- a peace treaty was signed between what would later become the founding members of the Federation and the Xindi Council, so our attention could be focused on the greater Romulan threat." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes that was the thing; because of additional involvement from the NX-01 here, that Romulan ploy was countered before they could act. They found the Kir'shara and returned it to the High Command. - Kayleigh@crystyl:- That threw the Romulan infiltrators into disarray and they were forced to abandon their designs on Vulcan at the time. So that counterstrike never occurred, which meant the NX-01 Captain continued- Kayleigh@crystyl:- to champion diplomatic solutions on a galactic scale. Even if he did also push for the NX-02 to be more combat ready as well" T'Vek@anncaris:"While Captain Dahan was lost along with the rest of his crew while stopping the Xindi weapon. It is a good theory, though I have been examining the information Captain Se'Lai acquired on the - T'Vek@anncaris:- most significant tactical encounters of your Starfleet, and formulating a theory of my own." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I would be interested to hear your analysis as I have not yet had the opportunity to compare notes like that" T'Vek@anncaris:"I am still working through them, but I have already noticed several key differences in tactical approach. Your Starfleet appears to have more of an emphasis on protecting itself as well as the - T'Vek@anncaris:- Federation, and avoids the sacrifice and loss of ships and personnel at every possible opportunity. Ours operates on the idea that our duty is to protect the Federation, at any cost, including - T'Vek@anncaris:- our own lives and vessels when necessary." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That seems consistent with what we have seen so far" T'Vek@anncaris:"Even during your disastrous initial confrontation with the Borg, your vessels did not attempt ramming or self-destruction to damage the enemy, but attempted to preserve themselves when it was - T'Vek@anncaris:- clear they were technologically outmatched. There are a few instances of ramming maneuvers and attempted ramming, including one on a Borg cube during a later encounter, though that vessel was - T'Vek@anncaris:- commanded by a Klingon. Overall, it is a much rarer occurance for your Starfleet." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, such measures are considered extreme and hard to justify.” T'Vek@anncaris:"Depending on the context, perhaps. In situations such as your first fleet action against the Borg, it may not have been effective in the end, but it would have been logical to try, especially for - T'Vek@anncaris:- damaged vessels which are unlikely to survive the fighting. After all, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and the loss of a single vessel in such a situation may be able to save - T'Vek@anncaris:- the rest of the fleet, or even entire planets and systems." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Perhaps. As you say, context is everything" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "In any case, I do not seek to discuss the rationality behind kamikaze maneuvers. I am simply highlighting it as a key difference in tactics utilized by our respective Starfleets. Our - T'Vek@anncaris - fleet also makes more use of smaller attack ships such as fighters, raiders and destroyers, though this only came into practice following the Klingons' integration, and the source of that - T'Vek@anncaris - difference does not trace back beyond the late 23rd century." T'Vek@anncaris:"On a slightly tangential note, the acceptance of kamikaze maneuvers in our Starfleet also assisted in the integration of the Klingons, so the two are related. It was noted that the sacrifices of - T'Vek@anncaris:- certain Starfleet vessels in ramming maneuvers earned the Federation significant respect with several Klingon Great Houses, and due to the Klingons also employing such tactics, their methods - T'Vek@anncaris:- blended well with ours when they became Federation members." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is understandable. And the use of smaller craft is an observation we also made" T'Vek@anncaris:"I can say definitively that such fleet composition was only implemented following the Klingons' integration. What was initially the Starfleet Raider Corps slowly dispersed through the rest of the - T'Vek@anncaris:- fleet when the older Klingon vessels were retired, and newer, Federation-produced birds-of-prey were rolled into service. Prior to this point, our fleet composition was not dissimilar to your own." Kayleigh@crystyl:"A Starfleet Raider Corps? Such a concept is difficult for me to imagine" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "That's the Klingon division I mentioned earlier, when we talked about the red uniforms. They were called the Raider Corps by name, but they're essentially just the Klingon fleet at the - T'Vek@anncaris - time flying under a Starfleet banner." T'Vek@anncaris:"It would have been illogical to put such a signifcant number of tactically capable vessels to waste." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "And despite the name, they had battlecruisers serving as the centre of fleets." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That it would. Thank you for the clarification T'Pia, I believe I understand now" T'Vek@anncaris takes a sip of her drink, "The most crucial part to my current theory is the kamikaze tactic, which can be traced much further back than the Klingon integration and is in itself likely a factor - T'Vek@anncaris - for the Klingon integration, leading to further differences from your Starfleet. I believe this is the element that can be traced down to cultural differences from Earth." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Interesting. Is this something tied to the old Asian nations then?" T'Vek@anncaris:"That is my conclusion. The word we use for the tactic, kamikaze, can be traced back to Japanese, the language of the island-nation of Japan in East Asia. According to the historical records that - T'Vek@anncaris:- survived Earth's atomic devastation, the name was first associated with ramming maneuvers in the Second World War, when Japan utilized early aircraft to ram enemy vessels. From our limited - T'Vek@anncaris:- records of old Earth, such sacrificial tactics were also used by other nations of Asia to varying extents and with other vehicles or even individual personnel. These tactics were apparently - T'Vek@anncaris:- frowned upon by the European and American nations as extreme." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Which would reflect the different philosophies of our respect Starfleets" she nods T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods as well, "That would explain the difference in our tactical approach, but I wonder where the cybernetics comes from..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Perhaps there is some underlying cultural philophosy behind that general approach to military matters which could explain it?" T'Vek@anncaris:"I was speaking with Commander Oshiro concerning that yesterday. Her family traces their ancestry to the island-nation we were speaking of. Apparently, they were among the leaders in the industry - T'Vek@anncaris:- of robotics on Earth for some time prior to the Third World War. It is possible given their role in rebuilding Earth that their advanced robotics may have altered technological development." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "It might also explain why we have much more AI on our crews than your Starfleet..." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That does seem a logical conclusion" T'Vek@anncaris:"On the subject of tactical differences, what I find as curious as the ones we have identified between our Starfleets is the difference in tactics employed by the Borg Collective of our respective - T'Vek@anncaris:- universes. Your early encounters with the Borg were through aggressive attacks by single Borg cubes." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "That is my understanding of it, yes" T'Vek@anncaris:"The Borg did not initially take an aggressive stance with us. That could be explained by logic, as our culture seems much more receptive to them than yours. This makes a peaceful approach to - T'Vek@anncaris:- assimilation, at least to begin, a far more favourable approach. However, as efficient as the Collective is, they did not simply sit idle while they awaited willing Federation citizens and - T'Vek@anncaris:- colonies to join. During this period of peaceful assimilation, the cube they had dispatched ventured in the other direction of Quadrant One." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I can see how they would not choose to delay their opening approach at all just because people were amenable to it" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "We later learned that while the Federation was struggling with internal politics, the Borg had assimilated multiple civilizations elsewhere in the quadrant, such as the Cardassians. When - T'Vek@anncaris - their peaceful facade was finished, the first Borg War was fought against the one cube and a large number of assimilated vessels from these other civilizations." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That sounds like your equivalent of the event we all now know of as Wolf-359" T'Vek@anncaris:"I believe it is. We suffered multiple defeats in the opening forays of the war. The tide was only turned after putting aside our differences with the Maquis. The infamous Captain Picard, who was - T'Vek@anncaris:- both the first human to be forcibly assimilated and liberated from the Collective, utilized his inside knowledge to assist Starfleet in finally bringing down the cube. Unlike your first conflict - T'Vek@anncaris - however, the war continued for over three years following the cube's destruction, due to the amount of assimilated vessels the Borg had at their disposal." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I see. On the subject of Picard, I assume from your research to date that you are already aware of his standing in this universe?" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "Yes, it seems he enjoys a far less...contentious reputation here." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Quite. As long as you are already aware, because I noticed the polarization of opinions when his name came up earlier and it would not be conduscent to fostering good relations should a similar - Kayleigh@crystyl:- incident occur during a diplomatic event" T'Vek@anncaris:"I understand. I will ensure that Captain Se'Lai makes everyone attending diplomatic events aware of the difference." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I will also relay this back to my Professors so that they can pay our leaders the same service" T'Vek@anncaris:"Excellent. Once we know what to expect, there may be interesting information to be gleamed from comparing the similarities and differences between the captain in your universe and the one in our-" T'Vek@anncaris | The room's lighting suddenly switches to a faint purple. T'Vek raises a brow and stands, "There are no drills scheduled for today. This must be a real situation." Kayleigh@crystyl stands as well, "Do you want us to remain here?" T'Vek@anncaris:"We are not yet at red. That means the Captain does not believe there to be an imminent threat, but something has occurred. There is no logical benefit to hiding in the office, as it is no safer - T'Vek@anncaris:- than the rest of the ship. This may be a good opportunity for you to observe our CIC in action. Come." T'Vek@anncaris leads the way out — Kayleigh@crystyl looks around at the different lighting again and nods, "Very well. I will try and provide local context to the situation if applicable" T'Vek@anncaris begins heading towards the top of the central platform, "That is much appreciated, Cadet. I was told you have a problem with infiltrations here?" Kayleigh@crystyl follows, "Yes, from another quantum reality. Which is why you were met with such force and suspicion at first" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "Perhaps they are rearing their head once more." T'Vek@anncaris begins manipulating the central holo-display as they reach the top. It zooms out, showing other Coalition ships in addition to the Shenzhou and their squadron Kayleigh@crystyl:"I sincerely hope not. Even with your armaments, they could be a real danger" T'Vek@anncaris | As the display moves, the Shenzhou and her support vessels begin moving as well T'Vek@anncaris:"Fortunately, it appears your Coalition and Starfleet are mobilizing as well. I hope our combined strength will be sufficient to overcome them, if that is indeed what we are dealing with." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Has anything been communicated?" T'Vek@anncaris looks over to an Andorian Ensign, who gives a nod, "We've just received information that another interspatial rift has formed." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That would certainly explain the reaction. I take it you are not expecting additions to your convoy?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "We don't have plans for a second expedition, so it's not more of us coming through." T'Vek@anncaris:"It may be those infiltrators, or perhaps yet another quantum reality you have contacted in your search for your missing Captain Se'Lai." T'Vek@anncaris:"We shall have to see." Kayleigh@crystyl hrms, pulling out her PADD and tapping quickly before handing it to TV. Then please, use this. It is only my own report and readings, but I have been studying the previous engagements with this - Kayleigh@crystyl:- enemy, so some foresight on their vessels and approach may be of assistance" T'Vek@anncaris takes the PADD with a nod to Kayleigh, "Thank you. I will study them thoroughly as we amass near the rift and await what comes through." T'Vek@anncaris | A few minutes later, the Shenzhou nears the rift. Like last time, a fleet of Coalition ships are gathered before it. The difference this time however, is that the rift is red, rather than the - T'Vek@anncaris - blue one the Shenzhou came through T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Yup, definitely not one of ours..." T'Vek@anncaris | A human lieutenant announces, "Energy spike detected. Something's starting to come through." T'Vek@anncaris:"Whoever they are, they're significantly less careful than us when probing into another universe.” Kayleigh@crystyl:"The probability that this is the infiltrators is significantly high than previously. They are also moving much sooner after the rift first opened" T'Vek@anncaris:"My thoughts precisely, Cadet." T'Vek@anncaris | The lighting around them shifts to red and Shenzhou and her escorts flicker to show the shields activating, with the shield strength as a number above the ships, all 100%. The same begins to -- T'Vek@anncaris - appear on the other ships through the Coalition fleet around them as all the ships increase their state of alert T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Looks like my mother agrees too." Kayleigh@crystyl looks to TP, "I assume she will be in contact with our fleet and gaining the same insights from there?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "That's right." T'Vek@anncaris | A ship begins to emerge from the rift. Unlike the Shenzhou and her squadron, it appears much closer to our Starfleet's ships, with the exception of deep red Bussard collectors and red markings - T'Vek@anncaris - on the hull. The central viewscreen in the CIC displays the ship in its entirety, while one of the screens on the side zooms in to show the ship's identification... T'Vek@anncaris FX | https://i.imgur.com/wvpjIR3.jpg Kayleigh@crystyl:"That is not the infiltrators, but we are all well aware here of that ISS registry prefix. That is the Terran Empire" T'Vek@anncaris:"The Terran Empire? We are unfamiliar with that name." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Another multiverse variant of our Starfleets. And not a friendly one by all accounts" T'Vek@anncaris | Two more ships emerge behind the ISS Jahn, a Defiant and a Saber class sporting the same red Terran decor T'Vek@anncaris | A Vulcan Lieutenant speaks up, "Tactical analysis indicates similar technology to the Starfleet of this universe, though an increased combat focus with more armaments compared with similar - T'Vek@anncaris - vessels we have examined here." T'Vek@anncaris nods, looking to Kayleigh, "You have had confrontations with this Starfleet in the past, I take it?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"Not me personally, but as cadets we are all quickly made aware of them. Horror stories they tell first years tend to revolve around one of three subjects: The Borg, the Q Continuum, or the Terran - Kayleigh@crystyl:- Empire. I can only assume there is an element of truth behind it, but they say that these are a dark reflection of the worst in Humanity; ruthless, power hungry and manipulative. I have heard - Kayleigh@crystyl:- stories that they put Klingons to shame with their shameless infighting for control of ships, with anyone capable of rallying enough support able to pull a power move to assassinate their Captain - Kayleigh@crystyl:- seize control. Honestly it all sounds a bit far fetched as I can not fathom how such a reckless society could even function to the point of operating starships. But that is simply the picture - Kayleigh@crystyl:- people paint of them here, for right or for wrong" T'Vek@anncaris:"Perhaps a biased picture, but I must concur with your evaluation that there is likely some truth behind it. Judging from the aggressive nature of these vessels, they seem to be far less peaceful - T'Vek@anncaris:- than either of our Starfleets. Not to mention the fact that they run an empire rather than a federation." T'Vek@anncaris | Andorian Ensign: "The lead vessel is communicating with the local Starfleet flagship, the...Courageous." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Based on the loose assessment of these Terrans; they may be putting on a friendly face to buy time for a larger invasion force to arrive. I do not believe they would send such a small - Kayleigh@crystyl:- vanguard for an assault, since they must have also come from their Heart, and so must be aware of the similarities and likely resistance they would face here with an aggressive move" T'Vek@anncaris:"This rift is also smaller than the one we created, yet it has drawn the same amount of attention. With the additional power, they may be able to generate a second rift elsewhere in your Heart for - T'Vek@anncaris:- a flanking maneuver," she nods to the Andorian. "Advise the Captain." T'Vek@anncaris | The Andorian gets to work on his holo-console Kayleigh@crystyl:"I would certainly not put it past them, from the reputation alone" T'Vek@anncaris | A few seconds later, the holo-projection shows the Shenzhou and her squadron flicker again. The shield percentage disappears and the projections shift to being more transparent as they turn - T'Vek@anncaris - away from the gathered Coalition fleet. Several Romulan and Klingon ships do the same, and Kayleigh suspects this flickering is to denote cloaking rather than shielding Kayleigh@crystyl:"It seems negotiations are going as well as one would expect. The fleet is preparing to engage it seems" T'Vek@anncaris:"Our suspicions are correct. Sphere systems are detecting an unusual tachyon build up on the far side of the Sphere. This was a distraction." Kayleigh@crystyl:"It would seem the Terran's reputation is not without merit" T'Vek@anncaris:"Apparently not." T'Vek@anncaris | The fleet begins to break up, most of it heading to the other side of the Sphere as a small group remains, engaging the small distraction force of Terrans Kayleigh@crystyl:"With your heightened knowledge of these rifts, do you have a means of disrupting them?" T'Vek@anncaris:"We devised one when we created ours," she taps away at her own holo-console. "I am sharing it with your Coalition now." Kayleigh@crystyl:" A prudent measure to take before embarking on this expedition" she commends T'Vek@anncaris:"It was only logical." T'Vek@anncaris | The second rift appears on the viewscreen. Several Terran vessels have already come through, and are engaging Iconian and Elachi forces which responded more quickly due to their instantaneous - T'Vek@anncaris - travel. A few of the enemy ships don't seem to be Terran in origin, but instead correspond to local rimward powers, though they all bear red Terran livery. One such vessel, a Terran-marked - T'Vek@anncaris - Lupan packship, comes through the rift, with Terran frigates and escorts hiding behind it, using the alien ship as a shield T'Vek@anncaris | The uncloaked ships engage the Terran packship, the concentrated fire quickly disabling it, but it is more than enough time for the Terran forces behind it to enter the fray and return fire T'Vek@anncaris raises a brow, "They appear to be using Coalition vessels as cannon fodder." Kayleigh@crystyl:"There are only two types of beings in their galaxy; Terrans, and sub-Terrans. Anyone not born Human is considered inferior and even more expendable than their Human comrades" T'Vek@anncaris:"That would explain this behaviour. And I thought the Klingons at the height of their power were ruthless." T'Vek@anncaris | Speaking of Klingons, the Klingon ships decloak to engage the Terrans, but Kayleigh notices that the Shenzhou's squadron and the Romulans are still cloaked, bypassing the fight entirely and - T'Vek@anncaris - going for the rift T'Vek@anncaris | Two Regulator ships tag along, similarly cloaked and out of view T'Vek@anncaris | On the viewscreen, the rift draws closer. A group of red-marked Clenduros and Toroki ships appear, appearing oblivious to the cloaked group moving in. Behind it, a red Terran Odyssey-class - T'Vek@anncaris - ship starts to emerge... Kayleigh@crystyl:"That must be their command cruiser" T'Vek@anncaris | The Shenzhou and co. decloak. On the holo-display, the deflectors of all the formerly cloaked vessels light up, firing a beam into the rift which begins to destabilize, shooting energy into - T'Vek@anncaris - all directions. The Clenduros and Toroki raiders immediately start making an attack run, but the raider in the Shenzhou's squadron intercepts them alongside several light Romulan warbirds T'Vek@anncaris | The ship shakes slightly as the Odyssey desperately returns fire, but it is too late. The rift collapses around it, cutting the command cruiser in two. A burst of energy launches the broken - T'Vek@anncaris - half of the ship forwards, and the Shenzhou activates her tractor repulsors just in time to stop a collision Kayleigh@crystyl:"If they can be restrained from self destructing in this state - possible since that class is seperation capable - then the leader of this invasion could well be alive on that bridge and so worth - Kayleigh@crystyl:- capturing alive" T'Vek@anncaris:"Their warp core appears to be on the other end of the rift. Self-destruction will be more complicated, and our Landing Forces should be capable of stopping it from occuring." T'Vek@anncaris | Andorian Ensign: "Lieutenant Tierno is deploying our forces now. The Regulators and Romulans here are joining the efforts as well." T'Vek@anncaris:"Excellent. We will focus on clearing up the forces that made it through before we collapsed the rift.” T'Vek@anncaris | The holo-display shows the Shenzhou and co. turning to engage. Fortunately, the Terrans don't seem to have gotten the bulk of their forces through, and the few ships on the field quickly begin - T'Vek@anncaris - flickering off the display as they are taken out of the picture Kayleigh@crystyl looks to TP: "Do you have the facility to remotely monitor feeds from the Landing Forces? As already noted, Terran technology is closer to that of our Starfleet. So I may be able to share greater - Kayleigh@crystyl:- insight to that team than to you here right now if it possible" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Yes, this CIC can be used to coordinate ground assaults as well as fleet actions! One moment, if I may, Commander..." T'Vek@anncaris gives a nod and T'Pia gets to work on a holo-console behind them, bringing up holoprojections showing top-down views of the different landing parties like some kind of RTS game T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "I assume you can help guide the teams to critical areas like the bridge?" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "I have not been on a ship of that class, but I am familiar with them. If the team is able to provide visual feeds and locate a MSD. I will be able to better guage the layout and condition of- Kayleigh@crystyl:- the wreck" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia taps away, bringing up further holo-screens around Kayleigh of the different visual perspectives of the boarding parties, "Like this?" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Excellent" looking from one to the other, pointing to a control, "I assume this enable communications?" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia smiles, "Right!" Kayleigh@crystyl nods, continuing to monitor, "I will do what I can to assist then" T'Vek@anncaris glances over from the fleet display, "Thank you. I am sure your familiarity will prove very useful to our Landing Forces." Kayleigh@crystyl:"It at least has a greater chance than my being of use to you with engaging the remnants of their fleet" T'Vek@anncaris:"Indeed. A very logical use of your presence." Kayleigh@crystyl monitors the boarding action, eventually diverting one to get a closer look at a shattered MSD console so she can optimize their route and attempt to identify the crews whereabouts T'Vek@anncaris | Kayleigh sees the Terrans put up quite a bit of resistance, but the Shenzhou's forces have the numbers with Romulan and Regulator support. She sees from the MSD console that the crew are - T'Vek@anncaris - quickly being pushed back and appear to be falling back towards the bridge, probably where their leader is Kayleigh@crystyl provides guidance to the bridge and notes on security systems T'Vek@anncaris | With Kayleigh's guidance, the Landing Forces, who are indeed made up of quite a number of Orions and Klingons, make their way onto the bridge. The Terrans fight back hard, but the cybernetic - Kayleigh@crystyl highlights potential blind spots within the bridge layout, including the intel dungeon T'Vek@anncaris - augmentations make the Shenzhou's personnel a force to be reckoned with T'Vek@anncaris | Cyber-Rianni busts down the door to the bridge and they proceed inside carefully, with Rianni signalling for some of the troops to cover the intel dungeon. However, there are only a handful of - T'Vek@anncaris - defenders, who are quickly dispatched. In the centre of the bridge sits the Terran counterpart of Admiral Ali, but he is already dead, with a Terran dagger in his throat. Standing over him is - T'Vek@anncaris - a Vulcan man in Terran uniform. As the Landing Forces surround him, he drops his phaser and raises his arms T'Vek@anncaris | Turning around, Kayleigh immediately recognizes him...as her father Kayleigh@crystyl:"Father...?" she sighs, "Well this became needlessly awkward. Depending on the current state of volatile Terran politics he may be a sympathiser or part of an anti-Terran resistance. - Kayleigh@crystyl:- Either way, by killing that Admiral he has placed himself at the top of this command structure here and is now the priority target" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "He appears to have surrendered. Lieutenant Tierno is taking him prisoner now." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Terrans are not Klingons, I have heard nothing to suggest that they would favour an honourable death over a chance to keep on going" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "We'll see what he says once he's in custody. Perhaps this may simply be part of another plot of theirs, from what little we have witnssed so far." T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "In any case, the wreckage looks to be secure now. Thanks for your help, Cadet Kayleigh!" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "And...sorry for the awkwardness." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Indeed. I am confident that your landing forces would have succeeded regardless. But if my contributions expedited their efforts, then that is all I can ask in the circumstances" turns to TV, - Kayleigh@crystyl:- "Thank you for permitting me to assist. As an unqualified guest on your ship, I appreciate that I represent a certain element of risk" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "It was logical to make use of your local knowledge. There are always risks involved, but your presence at our arrival shows that you may not be fully qualified yet, but you possess enough - T'Vek@anncaris - skill to adequately conduct yourself." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Be that as it may, I am not sure any amount of training could sufficiently prepare me for seeing that" T'Vek@anncaris:"Yes, I imagine not. I apologize for your having to witness that. This is the reason we are avoiding contact with any direct counterparts." Kayleigh@crystyl:"No apology is needed, there is no fault at hand here. At least now I can personally vouch for the philosophy of avoiding contact with direct counterparts as this is unsettling enough" T'Vek@anncaris:"Indeed. We are bringing him and the other prisoners back on board, but we will avoid you crossing paths with them." Kayleigh@crystyl:"If it is deemed beneficial to the interrogation, I am not adverse to using my presence to influence him. Whilst my father is a perfectly logical Vulcan, the extreme nature of these people may have - Kayleigh@crystyl:- altered that aspect to the point of being susceptible to emotional influence" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "It is possible. We will likely be transferring him and the other prisoners to your Starfleet for processing, as this is your Sphere and we are merely visitors who happened to be on hand - T'Vek@anncaris - to assist. We are not their intended targets, after all. If your people deem it prudent to have you present for interrogation, I am certain they will inform you." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Of course, that is logical" she looks around, now things have settled, "If I may inquire now; do you always manage tactical operations from this location?" T'Vek@anncaris:"Whenever fleet coordination is involved, yes. I manage tactical operations from the bridge when it is only the Shenzhou, or an engagement involving us and one or two other members of our squadron, - T'Vek@anncaris - as it does not necessitate the use of the CIC. Even in those cases however, there are usually still tactical officers present and monitoring the situation in here." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I see. Then the function seems remarkably like the development I was telling T'Pia about earlier. Do you not find a sense of being overly detached from the situation when not on the bridge?" T'Vek@anncaris nods, "More disconnected from the situation on the ship specifically, but the CIC presents an increased awareness of the fleet at large and the greater situation. That is why I manage operations - T'Vek@anncaris - here during larger engagements but choose to remain on the bridge for ones only involving or centred around this ship. For these larger fleet confrontations, I trust that Captain Se'Lai has - T'Vek@anncaris - the ship under control from the bridge while we manage the larger picture down here." Kayleigh@crystyl:"I see. It is not a setup that I have worked with myself at all yet, but I am aware of the concept and the general belief that it is largely superior. If we are permitted to share details, it would - Kayleigh@crystyl:- be interesting to compare notes on what you have here as an established CIC, with what T'Pia and LT Tierno put into development here as one" T'Vek@anncaris:"I will speak to the Captain about sharing details." She glances back to the central viewscreen, where the section of the Terran Odyssey is still being held in place by the Shenzhou's tractor beam. - T'Vek@anncaris:- "I must admit I am curious about these multiversal aggressors. It seems from what you know that you have had multiple contacts with this Terran Empire." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Indeed we have. And there are also known contacts with other multiverse layers as well. I do not know if this is common, or unique to our particular reality. But either way, understanding - Kayleigh@crystyl:- the larger picture more could help everyone better manage these factors moving forwards" T'Vek@anncaris:"I would say it is not unique from our own experience. We do not have any previously recorded contact with you nor this Terran Empire, but we have encountered other quantum realities in the past. - T'Vek@anncaris:- There is one particular universe we have encountered most frequently, and our scientists theorize that the boundaries between certain realities may be weaker, bringing them closer in proximity to - T'Vek@anncaris:- one another, as it may be. Though space of course has no meaning when we speak of things beyond space-time as we know it. There are even some who suggest certain quantum realities are inherently - T'Vek@anncaris:- linked in some way." Kayleigh@crystyl:"Yes, I have heard mention of such theories. Whatever the case, and with your own expedition as an example; I find myself dwelling on the future of Starfleet. And if space is - to turn a poetic - Kayleigh@crystyl:- phrase - really the final frontier, or just the first step. I will have to meditate on this prospect" T'Vek@anncaris:"A very interesting thought, Cadet. You will have plenty to meditate on after this experience." Kayleigh@crystyl perks a brow and nods, "Indeed" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia checks her multitool and looks to Kayleigh, "The prisoners are all on board and being secured now. Come on, I'll take you back to the transporters so we can return you to your Annex here - T'Vek@anncaris - without running into any more surprises on the way." Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Very well" turning back to TV, "Thank you again for indulging my curiosity. It has been a most enlightening experience and I would welcome the prospect of doing so again" T'Vek@anncaris nods back, "As would I, Cadet Kayleigh. I am glad this unexpected situation granted us an opportunity to demonstrate our tactical systems at work." Kayleigh@crystyl:"As am I" she raises her hand in Vulcan salute before following TP out T'Vek@anncaris returns the salute. TP leads the way back out of the CIC and towards the lift T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "Looks like we're probably not the only ones who got your probes. I hope if anyone else comes through, they're nicer than these last ones!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"And now that your Captain has demonstrated your capacity to force these rifts closed when needed, hopefully that is knowledge that can be shared in order to control any future incursions" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "Assuming they're unfriendly incursions! Probably don't want to shut the door in the face of everyone who tries to come through." Kayleigh@crystyl:"That would make diplomatic relations... problematic" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia giggles slightly, "That it would!" T'Vek@anncaris | The pair step into the lift again and T'Pia sends it moving with her multitool Kayleigh@crystyl sideglances at the giggle, "Some things never change" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "I'm guessing I'm not too dissimilar to your T'Pia in behaviour?" Kayleigh@crystyl:"The way you giggle still throws me just as it does with her. I grow accustomed to seeing her talking passionately about her design work; emotional, but concise and focused. Still very logical. And - Kayleigh@crystyl:- then she will randomly giggle like that at the most obtuse things, and I am reminded of hers - and I suppose your - origin and parentage" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods, "I am half human, after all!" T'Vek@anncaris | The door opens to the deck Kayleigh first arrived on, and T'Pia starts heading back to the transporter room T'Vek@anncaris | Upon arriving in the transporter room, they find Vayni and Mariel already there T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "There you are Kay! Saw some interesting things with the tactical chief during all that I imagine! Kayleigh@crystyl nods, "Apologies if we kept you waiting. We were in the proximity when the alert sounded and so moved to support from CIC" T'Vek@anncaris | Mariel: "Don't worry, we just got here too. We were watching them configure the deflectors to close those rifts! Didn't think I'd get a chance to see the science department here in action like - T'Vek@anncaris - that when we headed down to tour the labs!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"It was indeed a fortunate happenchance towards our educational experience here" Kayleigh@crystyl looks to TP: "I am afraid I can not guarantee excitement on par with this for your visit to the annex" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "I'm not expecting it! This was totally unplanned, things just happened to work out! Plus, I'm not sure a situation in the Sphere will be anywhere near as exciting on the Annex as it is - T'Vek@anncaris - on the bridge of a ship!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"You would think so. But when you come, remind me to tell you of our previous encounter with the infiltrators" she teases, stepping up to the pad with Mariel T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia: "I'll be sure to ask! Well, thanks for coming by and I'm glad you got to see our crew in action!" Kayleigh@crystyl:"You have been a most gracious host T'Pia, and it was a rewarding experience. I look forward to the return trip" T'Vek@anncaris | T'Pia nods to the transporter operator before waving, "As do I! I'll see you at your Annex!"