Updated: Oct 8
The cadets of the Heart happen upon their first encounter with the Terran Empire, through a deceptively (albeit, predictably) familiar face...
Within the Command biome at the centre of activity at the Heart, Coalition HQ stands tall and proud from the central island with a steady stream of activity surrounding it
Inside it's halls - devoid of life for longer than most Children species have existed - the activity is now equally comparable, a testament of sorts to the once bustling Iconian population here
Deep within the higher levels of the tower, activity is reduced compared to other sections due to the higher level of security here
In a corridor almost completely empty, so deep within the secure section it is, a door opens from a side room and three personnel step out
Two are wearing SFI duty uniforms - marked by their purple division strip
The third - walking between these two - wears... a lot less...
Looking from the ground up; long leather boots stretch up past the wearer's knees to reveal a peak of bare thighs before a short skirt preserves what little modesty is left by the outfit
One thigh has a strap around it, to which we can see attached a dagger bearing a distinct Terran Empire emblem
Looking further up past the skirt and the expose midriff we find a typical cropped Terran tunic, only in recognizably cadet colours and with a red division strip
One arm bears another dagger, strapped high up around the bicep, while the other bears a wrist mounted PADD-like device that sticks out from it's pinkish hue
Though the figures are walking away, that pinkish hue is shared by the long curly hair adorning the head of the Terran cadet...
As the trio walk off into the distance, our perspective draws back slightly to the inner corner of a turn in the hallway
Our view briefly blurs as we pass through what quickly becomes clear to be a stealth field as we now see a mysterious figure clad in just a black hooded robe, watching the trio
The mysterious figure mutters in a hushed tone that is further distorted by the mechanical vocalization of a mask, "So it is true, they are here... Then I know what I must do..."
The hood figure stalks closer to the trio, disappearing from our view as their stealth field leaves us behind with only a vague silhouette of the character it now obscures from the view of others
It is unclear from our vantage point exactly what transpires, but it is clear that the figure swiftly dispatches the two SFI officers
Kayleigh spins around trying to figure what's going on with her escorts who both just suddenly dropped to the floor when a hand reaches out of nothingness and grabs her wrist, causing an involuntary yelp
Mysterious figure, "I'll get you out of here, just stay close"
The stealth field drops as the hooded figure darts off, dragging a bewildered Kayleigh along with her
It is not long before a red alert sounds, and the figure picks up their pace - ignoring the attempted protests from Kayleigh who is struggling to even keep up, let alone gauge what is happening
The fleeing pair weave through the halls, with the armed hooded figure soon exchanging fire with security personnel who attempt to cut them off
This continues and repeats a few times before they emerge into a docking bay
Mysterious figure: "We're almost there, come on!"
They make a dash for a shuttle, seemingly the one the figure arrived in by the familiarity with which they board and launch it
As the shuttle rises, turning sharply as soon as it is off the ground to face the exit, two starships come into view from beyond either side of the entrance
The shuttle pushes forwards regardless, brazenly - and pointlessly - firing it's underwhelming phasers at one of the starships as it wooshes by
The two starships fire warning shots across the shuttles path - obviously determined to recapture and not simply kill the escapees
This unfortunately affords the shuttle a sufficient head start before they can turn to latch tractor beams on and the shuttle speeds away towards the main gateway
The shuttle hugs some of the structures as it makes it's run, only peeling away to make a final push towards the main gateway
The gateway opens as the ship approaches, and it seems that the escaping Terran's are going to get away...
But then the Relentless Hunter lurches into view from behind the gateway, completely blocking the shuttles path and immediately opening fire with one of it's antiproton beams which is far too much for the small shuttle to handle, causing it to burst into a catastrophic - albeit tiny in scale - explosion...
A few days earlier - Heart of Unity Starfleet Academy Annex
Commodore Becket's office
The Commodore is sat behind his desk, and he doesn't look happy
Sat across from him is a sympathetic looking ADM Enelya, and a more frustrated looking SFI officer
Becket folds his arms, "I don't like this Admiral, and that's going in my official report on this"
Harvey: "We've been over this Commodore, and HQ has already signed off on it"
Enelya nods, "You're welcome to include your thoughts in the reports when it's all finished. Just hear him out first, Becket."
Becket sighs and takes a sip of his coffee, "Fine. Go on, Commander."
The intercom chimes on Becket's desk, his yeoman speaking, "Excuse me Commodore, but she is here now"
Becket taps the intercom, "Bring her in."
Kayleigh steps into the office a moment later, initially with her usual rigid approach but hesitating at seeing the Admiral and the SFI officer, "I... um, I was told to come straight in... I apologize if I am interrupting something"
Harvey turns and smiles, "Right on cue cadet! Trust a Vulcan to be punctual"
Becket: "You're right where you're expected to be, Cadet. Although whether you really /should/ be here is a question for someone else..." he glares at Harvey
Kayleigh perks a brow at the Commodore's comment, following his gaze
Harvey places a hand on Kay's shoulder and 'encourages' he to take the empty seat next to the Admiral and across from Becket
Kayleigh looks around, "Am I in some sort of trouble again? Only normally I am at least acutely aware of the reason for my being here, but I am not aware of anything untoward that has transpired of late"
Becket shakes his head, "No, this isn't about anything you've done, Cadet."
Kayleigh looks around again
Harvey, "The truth is Cadet Kayleigh, that you have been selected for a special mission. That sounds appealing to a young cadet, right?"
Perks a brow, visually judging Harvey, "That would depend on the mission and the reason for my selection, Sir"
Harvey smiles a little, patting her on the shoulder - much to Kay's discomfort
Harvey, "This should really come as no surprise to you Cadet, but this is something that you are uniquely qualified for"
Kayleigh:"Then the most logical reason would be that you intend to use my recently awakened electro-psionic abilities"
Harvey, "No, actually I would prefer it if you very much did not use those here"
Kayleigh:"Or not then..."
Becket: "You don't have to undergo this mission if you don't want to. I know you've done a lot, but you're still a cadet. Not to mention you have these new abilities to manage on top of your studies, now."
Harvey paces a little behind her, hands folded at his back, "Do you recall the events of stardate 99779.5?"
Kayleigh looks to Becket, then back to Harvey, "99779.5? That was when we visited the Shenzou, if I am not mistaken"
Harvey, "You are Vulcan, and we are talking numbers. I am confident that you are not mistaken. And what else happened that day?"
Kayleigh:"You mean the rift that opened and the attack from the Terran Empire?"
Harvey nods, "Yes, and I assume you recall who we took prisoner that day"
Kayleigh:"The counterpart from that universe of my father- oh..." now she realizes why she is uniquely suited to this mission, "...so you need me to do something because he is a quantum duplicate of my father then"
Harvey kneels beside her and nods, "Yes Cadet, Starfleet needs your help in convincing him to open up to us"
Kayleigh:"But I am no skilled interrogator, and whilst mind melds have been used in this manner I highly doubt that my lack of expertise is the best option available, especially against a seasoned officer"
Harvey chuckles, "No no, nothing like that. You see, we have learned from their personnal records that his daughter - your quantum duplicate, as you put it - is also a cadet in their version of Starfleet. If we can convince him that we have capture her, I believe we can then use that to persuade him to be more cooperative"
Kayleigh shakes her head, "You are mistaken"
Harvey leans back a little, "Oh?"
Enelya: "You think that wouldn't work, Cadet?"
Kayleigh:"He is Vulcan. He would not be swayed by emotional detachment in that manner"
Becket: "Well, if you've got a better plan to suggest to our Intelligence commander here..."
Harvey smiles and tuts, "Ah but Cadet, you are considering /your/ father in this light. Our prisoner is an officer of the Terran Empire, and very much susceptible to his emotions"
Harvey continues, "Do not worry Cadet, we would not put you at any kind of risk by exposing you to him or any other danger like that. All we need is to fit you out in a suitable uniform and have you play the part of his captured daughter"
Kayleigh:"I... see. Well that does not seem so bad" she looks around, "But if it is so simple, why does everybody appear to be very much on edge about it?"
Harvey looks back to Becket with a rather smug 'I've won' look on his face, "Yes Commodore, why is that?"
Becket: "Well I know what's been going on with your father in this universe, and you're already under enough stress. Besides, there's always a risk when it comes to dealing with Terrans."
Enelya: "Most of the time, they're just predictively malicious."
Becket: "But still malicious."
Kayleigh lowers her gaze slightly, "Yes, that is all very true. And I do appreciate your concern Commodore" she looks around again, "But if I can help, I would at least like to try"
Becket: "You're not an Intelligence officer, or even an Intelligence trainee. Like the Commander says, Terran Vulcans aren't quite the same as the people you know from this universe. It'll take more than a costume to convince him that you're actually his daughter."
Harvey stands, "Oh come now, have a little confidence in your cadets! Alright Kayleigh, why don't you try it here and now? Just... think of all you know of the Terrans, and imagine portraying yourself as an 'evil' and 'psychotic' version of yourself from that universe!"
Kayleigh looks around, slinking back in her chair a little, "This does not feel like the optimal way to refine one's acting abilities..."
Harvey: "Relax! Nobody's expecting a miraculous transformation or anything, just give it a go and show the Commodore that you are capable with a little help!"
Kayleigh hrms, more with reluctance than consideration but sits up a little, "Alright..." she closes her eyes briefly to collate her thoughts...
Kayleigh then raises her arms in a rather timid claw-baring pose, "RAWR. I am an evil Terran. Beware, for I will do... evil things. Rawr" spoken with the most monotone voice she has ever come out with...
Stunned silence follows for longer than it should...
Harvey facepalms, while Enelya pinches the bridge of her nose, trying very hard to suppress a laugh
Becket sighs heavily, "Cadet... I... please, never do that again"
Becket clears his throat
Kayleigh lowers her hands and looks down ashamedly, muttering an almost stubborn final "Rawr" to herself
Harvey, "Alright... we need a plan B..."
Kayleigh:"I take from your reactions that my performance was inadequate. I apologize, but I did state that it was not the optimal means of honing such skills"
Becket: "See. Kayleigh is a fine cadet who'll make an excellent officer, but she's not cut out for this Intelligence assignment you're putting her on."
Kayleigh hangs her head
Harvey hrms, "This definitely would be problematic, were we to proceed..."
Enelya: "Could we do this without having the Cadet interact with him? Just have him see that we've captured her as well, and then having an SFI interrogator take over from there?"
Harvey: "That was essentially the plan anyway, but a mere image won't be enough to sell it as that will be too easily assumed as fake"
Kayleigh:"A static image perhaps. But what about a holo?"
Becket: "That would certainly be much safer for the Cadet. Make a lifelike holo of her, find some good holodeck programming, it could work."
Harvey: "Well, we could certainly create a holoscan of the Cadet dressed as her Terran counterpart. But a convincing AI behind that though... I am uncertain"
Kayleigh looks across to Becket, "Professor LaRouche"
Becket considers, "That could work. Professor LaRouche is a friendly being at heart, but I think she could probably adapt to fit the occasion if needed."
Kayleigh:"As I understand it, her original programming was derived from records of her creator. If she were allowed access to these Terran records, I believe it likely that she could generate a convincing facsimile using this holoscan for a visual reference. More convincing than I could, it would seem"
Enelya nods, "A good suggestion," she looks to Harvey. "Do you think it could work, Commander?"
Harvey considers, "I am not familiar with LaRouche, not personally at any rate. But I am of course familiar with her, and if what I have read is correct then she may certainly be capable" he turns to Becket, "What say you, Commodore? Is this a more acceptable level of involvement to draft your cadet for?"
Becket nods, "She's had plenty of field experience, not to mention this matter isn't of a personal nature to her. I think she's a much better choice than the Cadet here."
Harvey nods, "Alright, we'll need a few days to get the holoscan equipment shipped over and installed. But once we do I will inform you when we are ready to progress with the cadet's part in this" he sets a hand on Kay's shoulder and smiles, "Thank you Cadet" and makes his way out
Becket: "The Cadet's part in this...?"
Enelya: "I'm sure he just means getting a scan for an accurate holographic reproduction."
Kayleigh:"That would be logical"
Becket: "Well, at least we got that resolved. Remember, if the Commander asks you to do any more than get some scans for the holographic reproduction, you can tell him no."
Enelya: "He's a man of his word, Becket. You might not trust Intel officers, but they're still Starfleet."
Becket: "If they didn't have a habit of poaching some of the best cadets, I'd trust them a bit more..."
Kayleigh:"I understand Commodore, and I do appreciate your defending my level of involvement. I do not like to admit this, but I do not believe my acting skills would have been up to Intel standards"
Kayleigh says so in such a way that suggests she doesn't know just how bad she was..
Kayleigh also specifically chooses her words, almost implying she did a bad job on purpose to avoid getting roped into deeper intel stuff...
Becket: "It's alright Cadet. No one expects you to have skills like that as a Starfleet officer. If you needed it, then we should be teaching it here at the Academy."
Kayleigh nods, "I expected as much, Commodore. If there is nothing further, may I be excused?"
Becket shakes his head, "That's all for now. I'll let you know when Harvey needs you again."
Kayleigh stands, "Thank you Commodore, Admiral" standing briefly to attention before turning and heading out
Enelya watches and turns to Becket after the door closes, "That girl is either the most innocent and naive young Vulcan I have ever met, or the most cunning... either way, something tells me she'll be an interesting one to watch"
Kayleigh makes her way back to the mess hall where the gang usually hangs out after class, only today - and for once - Kay is late to the party
Kayleigh replicates some tea and sits at the table in her usual spot, once Leandra slides over to an empty chair of course
Leandra: "Don't worry Kay, just keeping it warm for you!"
Kayleigh perks a brow as she sits, sipping her tea, "I was not aware that temperature of the cushion fabric required preheating"
Mariel chuckles, "It's...more a figure of speech than actually keeping it warm. But you Vulcans do prefer warmer environments!"
Kayleigh:"That is true" she looks to Leandra, "Your consideration is appreciated, but not necessary"
Leandra: "What? You mean... I didn't have to move?"
Kayleigh sips her tea, "I did not say that"
Mariel:"So, how's your day been Kay? Juggling the Chlasi training with your classes alright?"
Kayleigh:"The addition to my schedule does complicate things, but I am managing sufficiently. However that is not the reason for my delay today"
Mariel:"Where did you go, then?"
Kayleigh:"I was summoned to the Commodore's office" she sips again, assuming that to be sufficient and totally not just beg more questions
Mariel:"What, why? We didn't do anything /that/ exciting recently...and you've already talked to Academy staff about Kit and all that."
Kayleigh sets her tea down, "Oh right, of course. Well, do you remember when we visited the Shenzou and that Terran invasion happened?"
Mariel nods, "That was a while ago, now. Why would he call you in for that?"
Kayleigh:"Because they want my help to interrogate the version of my father from that universe, who was captured then"
Mariel:"Oooh..." she looks to Leandra. "We should probably explain what happened there, unless you've heard it from someone else already?"
Leandra shakes her head, "I've heard of that ship, but nothing more"
Mariel:"Well we were on board for a tour when another rift like the one it came through opened. The rifts are a whole other story, long story short there were some experiments looking for the ship your sister was on, but the probes went to other universes and caused a bunch of them to come through and investigate. The Shenzhou was one of them, but when we were on board, the Terran Empire from the Mirror Universe decided to open rifts and try to invade."
Kayleigh nods, "And in the heat of the battle that ensued, the version of my father who was on their flagship attempted to seize control before being captured by Coalition forces"
Leandra: "Ooh wow, and now they want your help to interrogate him! But... isn't that beyond our training still?"
Kayleigh:"Very much so, yes. As is acting, apparently"
Kayleigh hrms, "Yes. The Intelligence officer there first wanted me to pretend to be my Terran counterpart, under the ruse that she had been captured so as to make him cooperative. But apparently my acting skills were inadequate, so now I am to simply accomodate their assignment by providing holoscans of me dressed as said counterpart, then they are going to have Professor LaRouche play the part"
Mariel:"That sounds like a good plan. I'm sure Professor LaRouche could pull something like that off! Now I'm kind of curious to see your acting skills, though..."
Leandra smiles, "Well your story does sort of draw attention to them!"
Mariel:"Exactly, and it makes us curious now!"
Kayleigh:"Well, that is unfortunate then" she sips her tea, muttering a near silent "Rawr" to herself
Kayleigh & the hooded figure materialize in a remote landscape
Overhead, the shuttle can seen getting destroyed by Relentless Hunter in the extreme distance
Mysterious figure, "Phew, now that was a rush! We should be clear here for a while, but we can't dordle either"
Kayleigh looks to the figure, "What is going on here, who are you?"
The mysterious figure lowers her hood to reveal a familiar face with an unfamiliar haircut, "Lieutenant Commander Rianni Tierno." She pulls the cloak aside a little to give a glance at her own shoulder. "Don't mind the rank strips. I didn't get around to changing them after killing the Lieutenant Commander. Well, I guess there wasn't really a formal acknowledgement of promotion either, but hey, it's the action that counts, right?"
Kayleigh looks her over, "Um... sure, lieutenant... commander. So..." she looks around, estimating with some ease her current situation, "... what is the plan now again? We seem to be missing a shuttle"
Rianni smiles, "Oh we don't need that shuttle. Luckily what we need is right here inside the Sphere. Although...we will need another means of moving around /within/ the Sphere."
Rianni checks a datapad, "Let's see now, nearest Iconian station is...just a short hike away this way."
She begins leading the way
Kayleigh looks around, "Night will soon rotate in on this biome. We should think about making camp somewhere on the way"
Rianni: "Oh right, you Vulcans and your desert planet. I actually /prefer/ the darkness to the glaring light of the blue giant they got here."
Kayleigh:"Perhaps so, but you are not a nocturnal species. So unless you plan to keep up with me on adrenaline alone, you will require rest before we reach the station"
Rianni: "I can go plenty far without rest but...fair enough. Might have to do plenty of exercise once we transport over to where we need to go."
Kayleigh:"And where is that exactly? I assume since we are no longer there, that it is not the central tower where you found me"
Rianni: "Even I can't hope to take over the whole central tower on my own! No, I'm hoping to go after something a little less guarded than that..."
Kayleigh:"But... you already went after that...?" she asks, almost more to herself in confusion as she tags along, wondering how she's going to get out of this
Rianni: "Well yes, but that's only because more hands'll make going after the real prize easier. I didn't come all this way just to bust you out! You just got lucky!"
Kayleigh:"Yes, 'busting out' a cadet does seem an unlikely parameter, especially with a seasoned officer nearby. Though I suppose he would have been under heavier guard..."
Rianni: "Wait, there was a seasoned officer nearby? Why didn't you tell me sooner?!"
Kayleigh:"Well if you had given me a chance to get a word in at some point, then I could have. But the time I even knew who you were, we were down here"
Rianni: "Oh. Right. Well we're not going back up there again. Place will be crawling with security by now. Starfleet Security in this universe might be pushovers, but the Lupan...those things can be a proper challenge sometimes! Real fun to duel but I don't fancy our chances against a whole pack with just the two of us."
Kayleigh:"The odds would be substantially in their favour in such an encounter"
Rianni: "Exactly. Still, we could use a couple more hands, though. But then again, the more trouble we cause, the harder it can get. Maybe we'll get some more recruits once we've got the firepower first."
Kayleigh:"The firepower... of course" she keeps trying to play along, figuring that's her best bet for now and uncertain how this stray Terran will react
Rianni: "So how many of you are locked up here anyways? And do you know of any other prisoners outside the central tower?"
Kayleigh:"I am not aware of anyone being held prisoner outside that facility, and the only other prisoner I saw was that one officer I mentioned"
Rianni: "Ah well, we'll make do with the two of us for now, then!" She pauses at a small overlook, pointing to a spot ahead, "That looks like a good spot to set up camp."
Kayleigh looks over the area, "Sheltered, enclosed but not boxed in, defensible. You have a sharp eye"
Rianni grins, "What can I say? I'm a tactical genius!"
Kayleigh:"A modest one at that" she comments, heading towards the campsite
Rianni starts heading towards the campsite as well, "So you came here with the invasion force I'm guessing?"
Kayleigh:"You mean to say that you did not?"
Rianni: "Nah, my arrival here is...quite a story."
Kayleigh:"Fortunately, we have time that requires occupying while we make camp"
Rianni nods, "Good point. And I don't suppose you've got that many stories to tell, given your rank and how the invasion force didn't seem to have made it very far..."
Kayleigh:"It was a total failure"
Rianni: "Of course it was. They didn't have me directing it!"
Rianni starts setting up camp, "So, the story of how I ended up here..."
On the Valley Forge, Lennie sits at her desk in the ready room, leaning an elbow on the desk and pinching the bridge of her nose while she listens to Becket and Harvey argue in front of her
Harvey: "Don't blame me! We covered all eventualities in our plan, how were we supposed to know an infiltrator would sneak in and grab her?!"
Becket: "You're Starfleet Intelligence! It's your job to know these things!"
Harvey: "We're Intelligence, not psychics. Or Q! Even you have to admit this was beyond unforeseen"
Enelya nods in agreement, "We agreed on using the cadet for the holographic disguise only. It should've been as safe as dressing up for a holodeck program. No one could have expected what happened."
Lendaria squints one eye open, watching for Becket's reaction
Becket: "The response still could've been better. The shuttle didn't need to be shot down!"
Lendaria:"I don't think th'Hunter intended to. He jus'... overestimated a lil', not tha' I expect tha' t'help any"
Becket sighs, looking to Harvey, "Well, my report on this will certainly make it clear that it was your idea."
Harvey: "That's fine, I have nothing to hide in what happened. It was just a tragic misfortune"
Becket: "A misfortune that got one of my cadets kill-"
The door slides open and Ann steps in, "Hey, looks like there was a transporter signature just before the shuttle exploded!"
Lendaria looks up, "Sweets?"
Ann: "The shuttle tha' the Hunter shot down. They beamed outta there in time!"
Harvey looks over, "You're certain? Then there is still hope for the cadet! Where did they go?"
Ann: "Tha' we can't tell. Too much interference, from the gateway an' antiproton blast an' everything. Was hard enough to isolate the presence o' a transporter signature, no way to say where the patterns actually went. Could be anywhere within range o' the shuttle's transporter at the time."
Lendaria:"Then let's get a search area defined based on tha' criteria"
Harvey: "But that will be a massive area of the biome, not to mention how many ships were in range"
Lendaria stands, "Then we'd better get started"
Meanwhile, on the surface. Kayleigh is stuck making camp - and friends - with the Terran Rianni
Kayleigh sits leaning back against a rock, "So, you have deduced that I arrived as part of the invasion fleet. What about this long story of yours now?"
Rianni: "I've told you about half of it now, how we got here by playing with some prototype tech we seized and I ended up getting kidnapped and replaced by my local self. Of course the Starfleet here was too soft to actually permanently replace me, so eventually they swapped us back again."
Kayleigh:"Still, I am somewhat surprised that a leader of your clear caliber was able to be replaced at all"
Kayleigh comments in a way that would sound sarcastic if she were anything but Vulcan, after Rianni's earlier bragging
Rianni: "Only by a leader of my caliber from this universe! Starfleet Security might be a pushover in this universe, and most of Starfleet, but apparently I'm not. I'm just amazing in every universe. It's a universal constant."
Kayleigh:"I see, well that certainly explains it. So what happened after you swapped back for you to end up here alone?" she looks around, "I may be mistaken, but you do not appear to be on your ship any more
Rianni: "Well, my captain wasn't exactly pleased with the whole getting replaced business. She didn't lock me up since we're stranded here and need the crew, but she pushed me back from being Chief. So I backstabbed the new chief, but the crew was starting to get soft from their time here and didn't like it. I didn't like how they were just flying around doing mercenary work anyways, so I stole a shuttle and went my own way."
Kayleigh:"So you deserted and found your way here. I assume this is where your cunning plan comes into play?"
Rianni: "Not deserted! Took initiative. I'm not doing this to run away from the Empire, it's the rest of my crew that's doing that. No, I'm doing this /for/ the Empire precisely because they aren't putting their warship to good use!"
Kayleigh:"Then why not simply kill your Captain and restore order? Surely that would be the correct course of action there, and then you would have a warship not a shuttle... ex-shuttle"
Rianni: "Her bodyguards. She's got those aliens of a species I've never seen before. And they're loyal, so there's no convincing them to help or turn a blind eye. Only chance I have is to lead a full on mutiny and that'd be too much of a mess. I had better chances striking out on my own, I figured."
Kayleigh:"I see. So what is the next move?"
Rianni: "Well, get a ship, of course!"
Kayleigh:"Of course. And your crew to run this ship consists of... you and I? Perhaps sticking with the shuttle might have been more fitting after all..."
Rianni: "That's why I was asking about the other prisoners. But with the level of automation modern ships have, I'm sure we can manage it! You're tactical right? With the red stripe? Or do you pilot or something?"
Kayleigh shakes her head, "I am tactical, same as you"
Rianni: "We'll make do! Plus maybe they'll be keeping prisoners near the captive ships or something. We might even get a pretty full crew to work with!"
Kayleigh:"The... captive ships?"
Rianni: "The ones you arrived in, of course! You think I'd try to steal one of the local Starfleet ships from out under their noses? Even if I didn't have a full crew to contend with, they're just not as well armed as good old Imperial Starfleet ships."
Kayleigh:"You think they seized our ships? From what I recall they were more destroyed"
Rianni: "I /know/ they seized our ships. I heard some pretty credible information that one of them has been relaunched under the colours of the local Starfleet here. And there's rumours that they're working on doing the same with several other ships they've captured."
Kayleigh:"Ah, that would do it then. So, we head to that drydock and take one of the ships. Simple as that"
Rianni nods, "My plan exactly! And if there's any more prisoners we can free while we find and take back one of our ships, all the better."
Rianni: "Tomorrow morning, we head to one of those Iconian stations, take the transporter up, find one of those ships and then the game'll be on!"
Kayleigh:"That it most certainly will"
Rianni: "Let's get some rest for the night, then. Tomorrow'll be a big day!"
Kayleigh nods and slides herself back a little to rest
The next morning Rianni awakes, looking around she finds that Kay is no longer at the camp
Rianni blinks at the missing cadet before quickly checking to see if she left any tracks or hint as to where she went
There is a clear set of tracks leading off into the brush
Rianni follows the tracks but doesn't go all the way inside, calling first, "Cadet? You there? Didn't get dragged off and eaten by any predators I hope!"
Kayleigh turns a corner, heading back towards the camp, "No. But I did manage to gather some edible fruits for breakfast" she holds out a handful to Rianni
Rianni: "Not bad!" She takes the fruits, sizing them up slightly. "You're sure they're edible, right?"
Kayleigh:"Of course" she lets Rianni take a bite before adding as an afterthought while walking back to the camp, "That, or poisonous. But the probability is marginally in favour of edible"
Rianni pauses after taking a bite, staring at Kayleigh, "/Marginally/? Nevermind, I don't want to know the odds!"
Kayleigh:"As has been my observation of... Terrans, which is why I did not offer them"
Rianni takes another bite, "You know what they say. No risk, no reward!"
Kayleigh:"You should adopt that as your personal motto" she packs up her things ready to head out
Rianni finishes the fruit and starts packing up as well, "Who says it isn't already? I mean this is all one big risky operation!"
Kayleigh:"Of course, that would be logical. On the subject of this risky operation I assume it is time to move on to it's next stage"
Rianni nods, "Time to continue our hike to the Iconian station. Then comes the fun part."
Kayleigh:"I am ready to depart when you are"
Rianni uses her cloak as a makeshift bag now, carrying her supplies over her shoulder as she gestures for Kay to follow, "This way!"
Kayleigh follows along, "So I assume you have weapons for this... right?"
Rianni: "Oh yeah, of course, I swiped the phasers off these guys who were escorting you from your interrogation. Or was it to your interrogation? But let's not use them unless we have to. They'll definitely pick up weapons fire on their internal sensors. Plus, hand to hand is muuuch more engaging!"
Kayleigh:"Of course. Is that why you haven't given me one of those phasers yet? So I can have more... fun?"
Rianni nods, "You're still a cadet. Don't want you getting nervous and firing it when we don't need to! You're also a Vulcan, so hand to hand, I bet that's right up your alley! Or desert canyon, or whatever you have."
Kayleigh:"Logical as ever..." she silently eyerolls to herself
Rianni continues hiking towards the Iconian station. After a bit more walking, she asks, "So, how's the Empire doing these days? You were there a lot more recently than I was."
Kayleigh:"That... is a fair assumption..." she considers her words carefully, "...however, I could not gauge the difference without first knowing how things were when you were last there. To compare"
Rianni: "It was relatively quiet when I came here. Mostly dealing with internal rebellions. Main campaign was against the Fen Domar but that was the other side of the Empire from where I got assigned. Was some fighting with the Azedi on our side but nothing like the Zauger Extermination."
Kayleigh:"It would seem that not much changes then. A few more exterminations, business as usual"
Rianni: "Rumour I've heard says you've came here with some alien auxiliaries, Lupan and all. What about the Horde and the Diteans? Ran into them back in our universe yet?"
Kayleigh:"I was still in early training during the Horde conflict, but I know it was resolved and they were exterminated too. The Diteans, I am uncertain about. If it was occurring, then it was outside of my limited exposure to current affairs"
Rianni: "Well Starfleet here's only just starting to make contact with them, so I'm not surprised. Apparently they've taken an extermination approach here though which /does/ surprise me. I mean, good for them, I thought the Diteans would be a much better problem cause they're normally so /nice/, you know."
Kayleigh:"What do mean, Starfleet here has taken an extermination approach?"
Rianni: "Well they seem to have started an all-out war with the Diteans! I met them before anyone from this universe ever did, thanks to my time roaming around on my own in the shuttle. They're the very definition of an alien parasite. All nice and charming, worming their way into your society and eating it from the inside out. Though the local Starfleet would be in for some serious problems with them, but nope, they went in phasers blazing or something! Maybe they've got some of our prisoners advising them or something..."
Kayleigh:"I was under the impression that they were defending from an all out Ditean attack. Curious"
Rianni laughs, "An all out DItean attack? Now that's ridiculous. As if these shapeshifting cowards would ever use their plasma as weapons for anything other than a last resort!"
Kayleigh:"Speculation aside, look" she points ahead as the facility comes into view
Rianni smiles, "Now that's what we're looking for. One step closer to our objective now!"
Meanwhile at the annex, another day starts for the cadets as usual
Leandra likes it when it's busier like this at the mess hall and enjoys chatting with her fellow cadets in passing while she queues for the replicator
Mariel steps into the queue as well, spotting Leandra a little ahead and giving a wave
Leandra smiles and returns the wave, stepping back in the queue to join her, "Good morning Mariel!"
Mariel:"Morning Leandra! Oh you didn't have to come all the way back here to join me!"
Leandra:"Oh that's alright, I don't mind!"
Mariel:"If you're sure! How're things going, Leandra?"
Leandra:"Looking forward to a nice quite day today! Nothing but self study after home room this morning! You?"
Mariel nods, "It's a pretty free day today for me too, actually. I do have a bit of study to get through, but not much in the way of classes, here or at the Chlasi Temple."
Leandra:"That's a rare one for you right? Don't you normally spend free time at the temple?"
Mariel:"Depends! Sometimes I go out to the Promenade or other places on the Sphere when I want some off time, or study in my dorm in the Annex."
Leandra heads to their usual table once they have their breakfast, "Right! I haven't really gotten to the promenade yet, but it sounds amazing!"
Leandra hesitates as she nearly sits in Kay's chair, "Oops! Almost..." she chuckles, sitting elsewhere
Mariel chuckles as well, setting down her food and sitting in her usual spot across from Kay's seat, "I can take you there later today, if you have time! But Kay's definitely a better guide for the place than I am."
Mariel nods, "She's very familiar with the Promenade! But don't tell her I told you that!"
Leandra pulls a funny look, "Is it... a secret promenade or something?"
Mariel:"Oh no it's a public promenade. A very public promenade, because that's...well, kind of the point!"
Leandra:"That's what I figured! So why the big secret with Kayleigh?"
Mariel:"She spends a lot of time there, but she doesn't like to admit that she enjoys it."
Leandra:"Is enjoying yourself against the Vulcan rulebook or something?"
Mariel:"I'm not sure if it's against the /Vulcan/ rulebook, but Kayleigh doesn't like to make it known how much she likes the place," she giggles slightly. "So don't tell her I told you! If you do want a guide to show you around there though, she's certainly the person to go with!"
Leandra:"I'll keep that in mind then! And don't worry your secret's safe with me! I mean... her secret..."
Mariel chuckles, "Speaking of which, I wonder where she's at. Maybe she got her breakfast much earlier..."
Leandra:"She is normlly quite punctual, isn't she? Does she have business at the temple maybe"
Mariel:"Not that I know of, but it's certainly possible! Although I'm pretty sure her next session with her mentor isn't until later this week..."
As they speak, Mariel's PADD beeps with a new message
Mariel looks down to check her PADD
The PADD plays a recorded message from Kayleigh, "Good morning Mari. If you have received this message, then I have been delayed in my assistance of Security. I would appreciate it if you could visit my quarters and provide a fresh ration of sustenance for Kittiah" the message ends
Mariel looks up to Leandra, "Looks like Kayleigh's been delayed helping Security. Weird, I thought they were asking Professor LaRouche now..."
Leandra:"Maybe we should check with the professor first. Don't want to intrude into Kayleigh's quarters if this was an error!"
Mariel:"Good thinking! Let's go find Professor LaRouche and see what's going on with this whole security business."
Leandra:"Good thing I'm a light eater in the morning!" she chuckles
Mariel finishes her food and stands, "Come on, then!"
Leandra stands as well, "Lead on!"
Mariel taps her combadge as she steps out, "Cadet Tanglao to Professor LaRouche."
<C-Mia> "Oh, allo Ms. Mariel! We did not expect to hear from you today. Is there something we can help you with?"
Mariel:"We just wanted to check in about Kayleigh. Apparently she's caught up assisting Security, or so her message claims. But I thought they were going to ask you to help them instead."
<C-Mia> "Ohh, but of course! Non, Ms. Kayleigh is still helping them. She is providing holoscans that we will then use to create an accurate holographic replica of the Terran!"
Mariel:"Oooh, yes that makes sense. Why would they call her in so early, though..."
<C-Mia> "Hmm... to our knowledge she has not been called early. In fact, it is a simple process that we believe she was being called for yesterday after class"
Mariel:"We just got a message saying she's still delayed now. How long could a holoscan take..."
<C-Mia> "We do not know, Ms. Mariel. Apologies!"
Mariel:"You've been very helpful with the information you've provided already, Professor!"
<C-Mia> "We are glad to hear that! If we can be of any further help, do reach out. But for now we must prepare for our classes, good day Cadet!"
Mariel:"You too Professor!"
Mariel looks to Leandra, "Well this sounds pretty unusual. Let's go make sure Kittiah gets her breakfast first. Then we should look into what's keeping Kay so long..."
Leandra nods, "Count me in! Any excuse to see that little cutie again!"
Leandra:"By which I mean Kittiah!"
Mariel giggles, "Well she /is/ pretty adorable!" She starts leading the way to Kayleigh's quarters
Leandra:"We are still talking about Kittiah. Right?"
Mariel:"Of course! Wait, who did you /think/ I meant..."
Leandra:"Well we were just talking about Kayleigh, and you two do seem pretty close"
Mariel:"As friends, not like that!"
Leandra:"Hey, it's all good! I wasn't judging or anything, I swear. I just wasn't sure is all"
Mariel smiles, "It's okay, I can see why you would think that since we do a lot of things together!"
Leandra:"So I assume you know which are her quarters?"
Mariel nods, "I do, but getting in I'm not so sure about. Last time we, uhh...kind of had to break in."
Leandra:"She is logical and methodical. If she had the foresight to anticipate this situation by leaving you that timed message, I'm sure she left a means for you to deliver on her request"
Mariel:"True! Let's hope she's set her lock to recognize me, then..."
Mariel steps up to Kayleigh's door, "Here goes. Oh and be ready to grab Kittiah, we don't want to have to chase her through the Annex again...
Leandra nods and stands ready
Mariel tries to open the door from the panel
Sure enough the door slides open for Mariel
And Kittiah darts out, deftly avoiding Leandra's attempt to grab her
Mariel sighs, "Here we go again..."
Mariel sighs, "Here we go again...
Leandra:"I think she has grown more nimble..."
Mariel:"She is still growing! Now how do we catch her without Kay around...
Leandra:"First thing is to not lose track of her I think"
Mariel nods, "Let's go after her then!" She races after Kittiah.
Leandra follows as best she can
Mariel keeps her eyes peeled, trying to keep an eye on Kit while chasing
Leandra pauses to catch her breath as they reach an intersection
Mariel spots Kit a short distance ahead down one of the turnings, sitting there looking back at them. She yips before turning and running off again
Mariel:"Hey just wait up a moment! We're trying to give you food!"
Mariel starts running after Kit again
Leandra sighs/groans and picks up the pace to follow again
Mariel:"She must be trying to find Kayleigh again..."
Leandra:"Makes sense. Maybe Kayleigh should install an autofeeder when this is all over..."
Mariel:"Yeah that wouldn't be a bad idea..."
They turn another corner and for a moment seem to have lost Kittiah, but then Mariel spots her jumping across to a balcony beyond a small crowd of cadets. She again sits and looks back to the duo
Mariel holds out her hand, "Come here, Kit! You know we're friends with Kay!"
Kit yips at them, hopping around in circles
Leandra catches up and watches, "I was going to say I don't think she could even hear you from there, but she clearly does. And she clearly doesn't want to listen"
Mariel:"I wonder what she's trying to do...think you can keep an eye on her while I run over to that balcony?"
Leandra nods, "Go for it"
Mariel:"Let me know if she goes anywhere!"
Mariel heads over to find the balcony and get onto it
Mariel finds her way around, much to Kit's delight
Mariel steps up to Kit, "Alright, I'm here. Why are we here?"
Kit yips more at her, sounding quite agitated really, and promptly spins around and bolts away
Mariel:"Are you trying to find- Hey, wait up!"
Mariel sighs and continues following
Leandra watches and hurries around to catch up
Leandra rejoins Mari a short time later, "What happened? I thought you had her for sure that time!"
Mariel:"I don't know, I thought she was going to stop and show me something, but then she just ran off!"
Leandra:"Again? Huh... Do you think... no, I'm sure it's just me" she chuckles as they continue the chase
Mariel asks as she jogs after Kit, "What're you thinking?"
Leandra:"Well it's just that twice now it's like she has stopped to wait for us before continuing. She didn't do that the last time she gave us all the runaround, so I thought maybe she was actually trying to make us follow here somewhere. But that's just silly" she giggles
Mariel:"It's possible, but where would she be trying to lead us to? Kayleigh's probably not at the Annex..."
Leandra:"Exactly why I thought it was silly!"
Mariel points ahead at a door, "There! Looks like she's waiting for us again. You're probably onto something..."
Mariel jogs over to Kit
Kit turns and starts scratching at the door
Mariel looks between Kit and the door, "You want to get inside there?"
Kit yips excitedly at them and continues clawing at the door
Leandra:"Sounds like a yes to me. I'm just glad she isn't blowing it all up"
Mariel:"Yeah..." she checks to see what's behind this door
It's another hallway which Kit darts down when they open the door
Mariel:"This just leads to a docking port. Maybe she really is trying to get to Kayleigh..."
Leandra:"It does seem like it"
Mariel runs after, "Hey Kit! If we go looking for Kayleigh, will you come with us and stop running off on your own?"
Kit keeps running on, yipping excitedly at Mari
Mariel continues following, "Where are you going? Do you even know where she is?"
Kit continues until leading the pair to the docking pad where she circles around yipping more and more at them
Mariel:"You want us to take you to Kay, don't you?"
Kit yips some more, bounding around excitedly
Leandra:"I... take that as a yes?"
Mariel:"I guess we can call a Ferry. But...where to?"
Leandra:"That is a good question... do you know where Kayleigh was working?"
Mariel taps her combadge, "Hey, Professor LaRouche? Sorry to bother you again..."
<C-Mia> "Allo again Ms. Mariel! It is no bother, what can we do for you?"
Mariel:"Do you happen to know where Kayleigh went? We tried to feed Kittiah, but she seems like she really wants to find Kay."
<C-Mia> "Oh? Well if you want to find Ms. Kayleigh, everything was being done at the HQ tower"
Mariel:"HQ tower. Thanks Professor!" She looks to Leandra, "Guess that's where we need to go!"
Leandra:"Sounds like it! I'll call a shuttle then"
Mariel looks to Kit, "We'll find her, don't worry!"
Kit yips, somehow sounding happier as she sits and looks out waiting for the shuttle
As Rianni and Kayleigh enter the automated Iconian facility, two drones swing by to scan them. For a moment Kayleigh thinks Rianni might be outed...but the drones then hover off
Kayleigh silently curses the simplistic drones
Rianni heads on inside, checking a PADD briefly before leading the way again, "Should be a transporter around here somewhere..."
Kayleigh:"I think it's just up ahead a bit further"
Rianni nods, exploring ahead. After a bit more walking, she comes to a pause, "Aha! See, I knew my plan would work!"
Kayleigh:"It is a little soon for victory declarations yet I think"
Rianni: "True. Next stage of this operation is going to make or break this whole thing!"
Rianni steps up to the transporter, checking away at its available connections
Kayleigh:"So, now is the part where we beam right onto your new bridge?"
Rianni: "If only it was so easy. I need to figure out where they're keeping the ships first. But even if I knew exactly where it was, these transporters look like they're tied to specific other transporters. Can't just beam anywhere we like with them. This looks perfect, though..." she muses as she looks through the console
Kayleigh steps closer to get a better look at what she is thinking
Kayleigh sees that Rianni has picked out an industrial production facility out of the list of available destinations. Meanwhile, Rianni turns and steps onto the pad, "Come on, stick close Cadet."
Kayleigh follows quietly, mostly curious as to understand the logic for now
As they step onto the pad, the transporter energizes. A moment later, they materialize inside a different facility, this one looking much more Nuhar than Iconian. It is also significantly more industrial looking, with virtually no effort to cover up the pipes and supports across the room they appeared in
Kayleigh looks around, "We appear to be in a less refined area of the Heart now"
Rianni: "Well, this is an industrial facility, and an automated one at that. No point in decorating if no one's ever going to see it!"
Rianni begins making her way away from the transporter pad
Kayleigh:"Exactly which industrial facility is this? Something connected to the drydock where your new ship is?"
Rianni nods, "It provides materials for the Foundries, yeah." She steps over to a console, tapping away at it
Kayleigh follows, again watching curiously and wondering how close she can let this Terran get before she finds a way to call for help
Rianni shakes her head, "Useless. Need a different console."
Kayleigh:"What are you searching for? You realize you are going to have to trust me with details sooner or later, right?"
Rianni: "Well two things- the location of the ship firstly, and secondly, it would be helpful if we can get one of the replicators here to make us some local Starfleet uniforms. Should make getting through the Foundry much easier that way!"
Kayleigh:"That is logical. We would likely draw attention dressed like this"
Kayleigh looks around, "However, since this is an automated facility servicing the foundries I do not anticipate favourable odds of a replicator carrying Starfleet uniforms patterns. The location of the ship... more favourable"
Rianni: "We'll have to get uniforms at the Foundry. See if you can make yourself a cloak or something though, so you don't look /too/ obviously Terran!"
Kayleigh:"I will remain watchful for any sufficient fabric"
Rianni continues making her way through the industrial facility. The area is entirely devoid of people, with only Nuhar and the occasional Iconian drone
Kayleigh:"It is fortunate that these drones are not on alert following the events of yesterday"
Rianni: "They'd never expect us to come in here! The Foundry might be another matter, though. Which is why we have to go in prepared."
Kayleigh:"And how exactly are we to prepare, beyond figuring out where it is, of course?"
Rianni: "Well, not looking obviously like Terrans would help, too. But for now we'll have to make do with the stealth field."
Rianni steps into an area that is slightly less industrial looking with more consoles, "Aha. This must be the place for humans to work at when they come here. Or Iconians or Nuhar..."
Kayleigh:"Or Vulcans" she adds after taking a look around and heading for a console to start working
Rianni makes her way over to a console too, tapping away at it
Rianni: "So which ship did you come in on?"
Kayleigh:"I was serving on a ship called the Beowulf" she recites the only one that sticks in her memory from being the flag of the invasion force her father's duplicate was on
Kayleigh meanwhile keeps an eye over her shoulder on Rianni and tries to work discretely on raising an alert
Kayleigh is unable to alert any other facility to Rianni's facilities, but she does find a way to direct the facility's drones. Before she can explore the possibility of marking Rianni as a target however, she turns around
Rianni: "You came on the Beowulf? Perfect! I knew rescuing you was a good idea!"
Rianni nods, "Did you work on the Beowulf's weapons systems at all while you were on board? Or at least learned what an Oddy's capable of."
Kayleigh:"I have some basic knowledge of the class and it's operations. Why?"
Rianni: "Good. We're gonna need it. Come on, I know exactly where to go now!"
Kayleigh:"You- oh. Alright!" she quickly hides her incomplete attempt at raising the alarm, silently cursing her misfortune once more as she scurries to catch up
Rianni leads the way back towards the transporter, walking faster now that she knows where she's going
Kayleigh finds this newfound confidence quite disconcerting, "So you have a way for us to reach your new ship?"
Rianni nods and happily replies, "Yup!"
Upon arriving, she sets her destination and quickly steps on the pad, giving Kayleigh no time to linger...
Rianni: "Come on, we're almost there!"
Kayleigh hops up to the pad, "Almost where?"
The two disappear into transporter beams before Rianni can respond. They materialize in a transporter room where an Arshai is manning the transporter console
The Arshai gives the pair a confused look, "Is this one's visor malfunctioning? These look similar but different from Starfleet's usual uniforms."
Rianni steps up to the Arshai with a smile, "It's a special party variant. You like?"
Arshai: "Why would there be a party variant of-"
Rianni swiftly knocks out the transporter operator
Kayleigh regrets not being fast enough to save the Arshai from the KO
Kayleigh:"A party variant, seriously?"
Rianni: "Probably should've said a custom uniform by an Orion captain or something. They've probably got more of those here."
Kayleigh:"Custom uniforms or Orion Captains?"
Rianni: "Orion captains! Our uniforms are pretty customizable depending on the crew. Not sure if it's more or less than here, but that's besides the point!" She taps on her PADD and the stealth field activates around the pair again
Rianni: "Okay, stick really close..."
Kayleigh almost trips over herself as she gets pulled inside the cloak
Rianni drags Kayleigh along as she makes her way out of the transporter room. They pause as a pair of Engineering crewmen walk by through the hall before proceeding ahead...
Continuing on, they occasionally stop and dart around corners to avoid getting too close to drones and other people as to not be spotted. Most of the personnel here seems to be Starfleet Engineering, but there are also officers and crewmen from other divisions, as well as some Arshai and even a Romulan Republic officer. The Romulan was the closest to sniffing them out, actually glancing in their direction as she walked by. However, she didn't stop and investigate, simply shaking her head and moving on
Rianni: "Phew, that was a close one. Romulans...let's hope there's no more of them."
Kayleigh:"Yes... let us hope..."
Rianni presses on. Soon, a large window comes into view and Rianni picks up her pace
Kayleigh again nearly trips, "A little warning wouldn't hurt..." she grumbles
Looking out, they can see the nose of the ship protruding from the drydock
Rianni: "There she is! The ISS Beowulf, so you ready to get back to her?"
Kayleigh inwardly curses herself for choosing that ship to name, "But, you are aware that-"
Kayleigh is cut off when Rianni grabs her hand and rushes out, "Come on, let's go already!"
Following a short wait; Mari, Leandra & Kittiah all board the Nuhar shuttle that comes along
Mariel:"Take us to the HQ Tower, Ferry!" As the shuttle gets underway, she looks down to Kittiah. "Happy now?"
Kittiah gives a happy bark
Leandra watches her, "I... assume she is house trained, right? I don't think I can handle a cleaning bill for one of these ferries..."
Mariel chuckles, "Don't worry, the whole Ferry system is automated. That said, we do still need to feed Kit like Kayleigh asked. What rations does she usually eat..."
Leandra:"I am unfamiliar with the species. Did Kayleigh's message not say anything about that? Oh... it was probably listed on her replicator wasn't it!"
Mariel:"That's probably the case, yeah..." she looks around, "Hey Ferry, could you analyze the non-bipedal lifeform with us and produce something edible for her?"
Ferry: "Scanning now."
Moments later, a bowl of what looks like dog food materializes
Mariel steps over and picks up the bowl, "Let's hope this is edible..." She holds it out to Kittiah
Kittiah approaches and gives the bowl a cautious sniff. A lot of cautious sniffs in fact before braving a nibble. She seems to accept it and starts munching away
Mariel gives Kittiah a pat as she munches away, "Probably not her usual, but the Ferries are usually pretty good at figuring out the best foods for its passengers, so here's hoping it's a decent breakfast still!"
Leandra:"These ferries are impressive!"
Mariel smiles, "That they are! Way beyond any taxi service on Earth, that's for sure! And I bet Mars too."
Leandra:"You're not wrong! So this tower we're going to now, it's the headquarters of the whole Coalition?"
Mariel nods, "It's where the big Coalition meetings take place. Also a lot of offices for Coalition representatives and general Sphere administration people."
Leandra:"I feel like I should have worn a dress uniform now..." she half mutters
Mariel chuckles, "Don't worry, we're not actually going to attend one of these meetings or anything! I'm pretty sure our regular uniforms are completely acceptable."
Leandra:"I hope so. As for her..." she looks down at Kittiah who has just about finished eating now, and turns to look back at Leandra with food stained in the fur around her mouth
Mariel grins, "Well you wanted to play with her, and she's not running around for once!"
Kittiah yips and bounds around playfully at Leandra's feet
Leandra:"Hey, hey! Don't get your food on my uniform when we're going to the important HQ place!"
Mariel chuckles, "Maybe we should clean you up first. Ferry, towel."
A towel materializes
Mariel takes the towel and kneels down to clean up the food around Tiah's mouth
Kittiah doesn't like being cleaned and tries to run and hide behind Leandra
Leandra crouches, trying to hold her, "How does Kay manage this all on her own..."