NationStates Jolt Archive

A final scientific barrier is broken.

11-05-2004, 16:45
Starship fabrication & retrofitting facility Khandrii.

Europa stationary orbit.

0800 Hours.

Construction Chamber one.

The lighting that sorrounded the two Scolopendrans was minimal at best, totally inadaquate at worst. Shafts of white at regular intervals cast strange and twisting shadows along the wall that seemed to move totally independently of their owner. The floor decking was cool, almost chilling to the touch, the ambient temperature of the station inciting chills in any who weren't native or prepared.

Noises echoed, clanging and screeching, hushed voices, and the thrums of powerful systems filtered down the corridor and continued past the two visitors. For a station, a large construction at that, it was remarkably absent with the energies usually needed. Reactor, power distribution, gravity plating, all for the most parts silent and unwilling to make themselves apparent.

Saparmyrat Chokayev shifted his feet uneasily, resisting the urge to clear his throat with a cough, as though that might well travel through the entire structure and echo back to him. He took a step forward, his eyes drifting to the shadowy tunnel ahead.

"Where are you off to?" snapped Poluta'u Omu, rather harshly.

Chokayev raised an eyebrow, coming to a stop. "its obvious either this is some sort of initiation joke, or they've forgotten we're here. Either way, I plan on getting some rest, the sooner the better. As such, I'm going to conclude this thing as quickly as I can, wether your here moaning about the cold, or still standing there."

Poluta was about to retort, his mouth already forming the sarcastic words, when a third voice, gentle and more than a little calming, interjected the verbal sparring.

"Gentleman, the Serene^Union welcomes to you the Khandrii facility. Your services are much sought after, and we are pleased you have attended with due haste."

The young women stepped into the light, her features coming to bare. She wore a simple, if antiquated black ceremonial dress. The fabric ending just above her ankles, and also at her elbows, a small semi-circle forming breathing space around the neck area. Her hair, seemingly long bound tightly into a severe, if efficient bun.

However, it was her face that undoubtedly harboured more attention.

Starting towards her left temple, and extending down, reaching over the bridge of the nose and encompassing the eye, before returning down and ending near the cheek, was a peculiar ceramic mask of sorts. However this material was fused directly to the flesh, and not a simple decoration. From the edges of the plate visible tendrils snaked, an almost sickly green colour, at the surface of the flesh but disappearing deeper as they extended, before disappearing from view.

Saparmyrat found his voice, almost in time to prevent an awkward silence.

"Yes, its not a frequent visit to Kaeneian facilities. Can't say I've had the pleasure often."

The Kaeneian women nodded, and when she poke, Chokayev swore he could almost hear a buzzing deep within her vocal pattern. An almost enhanced sound, a processor of sorts. But without some sort of recording analysis, or anything deeper or more astute than his own ears, he could not be certain. He was not sure he wanted to certain.

The group broke into a walk, with mysterious stranger leading. Omu and Chokayev took a gracious distance, conversing occasionally in whisper, but nothing that could be considered rude, or ungracious.

"Thats pretty unusual. What do you think, some sort of cybernetic implant?"

Poluta shook his head, glancing ahead, "Looks to be completely integrated, fastened directly to the bone. But its not aged, the tendrils around the edge look like some sort of mild allergic reaction, so whatever it is, it hasn't been there for very long."

The trio came to a halt ahead of a large door. The structure was plit into three panels, each bolting into the next with massive beams. It somehow reminded the Scolopendrans of military grade blastdoors.

"Gentleman, ahead of this chamber I will organise your reimbursment, for your supplies, time and expenditure. Once this is agreed, we will begin unloading your transport craft. Do you find this acceptable"
The two agents of TME Shipboard Industries, turned to look at each other. They didn't exchange words, but each knew exactly what his partner thought.

"Thats good." came Poluta's reply.

Her structure was painfully slow in taking shape, but it was growing by the hour. Massive sections of hull plating, curved and treated with the care an artist might take to his canvas, were gently lowered into place by powerful gravitic negators. Hundreds of figures carefully trudged across exposed framework, and unpressurised interiors. Scaffolding akin to ancient construction techniques sorrounded her drive sections, or more accurately, what would later become them. The entire rear centre of the blossoming starship open to the cold, vacuum of space, despite being housed between four titanic walls.

And watching, observing and generally making good of this, Overseer Kristilanna Lgealis, regarded the scene from the oxygen-rich safety of the overlooking observation lounge.

Her eyes studied the sleek, flowing lines of her hull. Despite the numerous breaches and nondescript breaks, her beautiful form was easy to see and understand. Even through computer-generated Warp field geometry tests, she had been something of wonder. Not only almost alive in its fluid, organic form, but truly displaying the ability of sentient life to turn out something that truly displays its creative powers.

The relative silence was broken by the entry hatch whirring to life, she slowly turned, as she was joined by another.

A tall, gaunt man. His eyes were a bright, cobalt blue that were almost as cold as the atmosphere beyond the massive windows in front of him. He spoke slowly, his eyes drifting out to regard what Kristilanna had moments before.

"We have word from Cetaganda. Negotiation has been difficult, they were not as can be expected eager to part with such a technological peice. But I believe we have isolated a transaction. It will be costly, but we cannot truly place a price on something that by all accounts should not be ours to deal with."

She turned away for a while, travelling back to what she had silently observed before. She took note of the gaping cavern that was to become the engineering section. Unlike the rest of the starship, only the slightest work had been carried out, she was to all intents and purposes, a cripple. Without hope of movement or mobilisation until deliverance of a system never before imagined in the sphere of human existance.

"We are on the edge of a Renaissance. Just as fire, so many millenium ago once changed the face of the galaxy in one single spark, truly giving the term civilisation for the first time to a ravid horde of savages. Just as antibiotics once revolutionised medicine on Earth, and for all of us, Superluminal travel, breaking the light barrier opened the cosmos to our exploration, have we approached what very well will influence our children and their offspring for a hundred generations."

Kristilanna sighed, "But we have never come across a potential disaster as we have now. All those things you mention, have never crossed such integral barriers. Lightspeed was thought impossible, yet proving it not so has not brought about chaos and horrendous circumstances beyond imagination. What we propose, what is taking shape down within that construction chamber, might very well unleash consequences we cannot understand."

The stranger crossed the room, coming alongside the Overseer, his eyes focusing on the construction below.

"I do not believe we can know truly what this will entail." He began, "But we cannot live with ourselves for not fufilling it. How can we truly avoid what is simply bringing our understanding of the universe to a new peak? We have not undertaken this lightly, it has taken bearly five Terran years to reach this point, and never have we been unified in opinion. I do not expect this to change."

Turning, Kristilanna approached the table. Inset, the display monitor flickered to life as she stimulated the required sequence. She idly tapped the runes, the slow change from red to green indicating their processing time.

The two Kaeneians lowered their eyes as the schematics of the work below came into existance.

"Her designation, is curious."

The Kaeneian male nodded, studying the lines before him with intent. "Her class name, is the Terran Spanish for Wonder. Her name itself, Terran Italien for Discovery."

Kristilanna nodded, suddenly realising the true scope of what was unfolding before her.

[OOC: Yes, what your possibly thinking is right. I am constructing, to all intents and purposes, a timeship. Now, I'm addressing this now, becuase I know someone isn't going to be happy. Firstly, I am not out to use this to alter the timeline and favour myself. Indeed, this whole effort is merely becuase of the enormous RP potential of this venture. I won't be interfering in anyones current plans, nor giving myself an unfair advantage. It is extremely likely that at the end of these RPs, the timeship will be destroyed somehow, and disappear, never having been built. So I wil not benefit at all technologically. The potential RP here is pretty much limitless. Visiting countless future timelines, where anything could have happened, up to and including a terrible Morgoth ruled universe, or a Siri-dominated slavedom. Past jaunts are probable also, and not discounted.]
12-05-2004, 04:27
"Okay Frank, here's your Burrito, extra cheese, extra sauce."

"Thanks." Frank stepped away from the counter, perpetually unsatisfied with eating in space. It just wasn't the same. Others told him it was just in his head and maybe it was. After all, huge advances have been made. Frank generally sat alone, however, that cute broker from the syndicate back home sat next to him. He slowly picked at his burrito and took a bite with more than a little trepidation. The cute broker, Annie, just sat silently, curling her brunette hair behind her ears and wrinkling her nose ever so slightly.

This is it. I can feel it. I can do it this time. Nothing's stopping me. Frank began to sweat.

"Okay Frank, here's your Burrito, extra cheese, extra sauce."

"Thanks." Frank stepped away from the counter, perpetually unsatisfied with eating in space. Only now something was peculiar. He couldn't put his finger on it. Frank sat down in his usual lonely corner. This time, oddly enough, the cute broker from the syndicate back home sat next to him. Frank stared at his plate.

"Haven't I eaten this burrito before?"

Annie blinked and shifted away from Frank ever so slightly.

"Yes, I definitely have! I remember!"

Reason got the better of Annie; she got up and walked off.

No! Wait! Frank didn't move. He never did. All lost because of an oddly strong case of déjà vecu. This was strange, though. Something was unsettling. After eating the burrito (again), he wandered off in search of a computer terminal. After finding one, he asked Kepler, the shipboard AI if something really happened or if he needed a visit to the Psych Ward.

>Hello, Kepler.

~How do you do. What can I do for you?

>I had an extraordinarily strong case of déjà vecu. Did something odd happen? Or will I need to visit Dr. Spindler?

~Now that you mention it, I do have duplicate System Logs. Was it about thirty minutes ago?

>Why, yes it was.

~Interesting. I'll hail the nearby station to see if they detected the same thing.

*Public Transmission*
Hail, Station Khandrii. I would with this message be directed to either station control or preferably, an onboard AI.

Would you by any chance have an anomaly in your maintenance logs? I have had a crew member bring this to my attention and my logs agree. Approximately thirty minutes before this transmission, I have duplicate logs for a time period of about three to four minutes. The crew member reported a very strong case of déjà vecu. Could you confirm this?
12-05-2004, 05:11
*does a selffish tag*

I'm interested
12-05-2004, 06:25
Underground Bunker GC-6812, Imperial Union of Cetaganda
The Ring, Sol VI

"Is it ready yet, Doctor?"

"Almost. We have confirmed that what we have is indeed the main dimensional core of a major Kingdom-era worldgate. Tests show that there is a significant temporal flux in the primary matrix crystal. It will be usable for the purposes that you have informed me you wish to use it for. Which, I might add, I have significant qualms with," a woman in a lab coat replies.

"That is of no matter," replies the man with whom she speaks. "All you need to is complete the modifications we asked for. We shall handle the rest."

"The power interface is nearly complete, as are the drive links. You will have to supply the field boosters, of course, preferably either a Compression II or above multispace drive, or at least a capital gravy drive. Are you sure that this is really needed? It should be stuck away safely in the Imperial Archives, not become the play toy of Special Circumstances and your lackeys."

"We need to insure the technology still works, in case it is needed in the future. Perhaps, to give an example, in a situation where Plan B is activated and all may already be lost."

"Well, in any case, I've informed Preternatural Affairs of your little toy here," sighs the woman. "Your superiors will no doubt be hearing from the Archmage soon."

"Yes, we're aware. Arrangements are being negotiated. It appears that they will be sending an observer of their own, no doubt a wizard skilled in these matters. How long will it be before the item can be shipped out?"

"Give me another day or two. I will need to supervise the final installation as well."

"If you believe it to be necessary, then it shall be done," replies the man. "You are the expert."
Der Angst
12-05-2004, 09:02
Zeus- Station, Europa Orbit

Nakatomi was sipping his tea, sitting at one of the windows in his (expensive) 1g quarters in the center of the sphere called Zeus

He enjoyed it, sitting there, watching Ganymede, far away, yet still comparably close. He enjoyed the silence... Although there was always some sort of humming, from the telepathic beacons in the station, navigating the arriving and departing ships.

As the station revolved, the view changed, he could now see the orbital installations the Serene^Union had created over the years...

I wonder what they are doing there?

He liked it, the silence, the vastness... the darkness out here.

And with a smile, not giving his neighbors a second thought, he stood up, and took a book... He enjoyed it, despite knowing that most of his brethren tended to look down upon 'primitive' ways of communications, like, well, reading a book.

H. G. Wells, The Time Machine...

The Tag of Doom strikes again!
12-05-2004, 15:25
Kristilanna awoke with a start. Her eyes focusing painfully on the shadowed edges of her quarters. Her sleep-weary muscles tightening in protest as she groped her way to the edge of the bed. She could feel the most unpleasent, clammy nightsweat hug her pores, her forehead cooled as the liquid met the chilling internal temperature.

For nearly four nights, she could not gather her dreams peacefully. Flashes of colour, voices that seemed uncomfortably alien seemed to permeate down into her deepest subconscious and root. Headaches that pounded, and gave no respite to her weary mind plagued her waking hours, and yet she could find no understanding for it. Wearily slipping on her shoes, and bothering not to change from her sleeping fatigues, she headed to the medical facility.

She passed precious few on her journey. The occasional nod of the head the only indication she was not in fact alone within the throes of this gigantic structure. She felt comfort at least as she cooled, the rather chilling conditions that a Terran human, or foreigner might distaste, Kaeneians finding rather more invigorating.

The entry doors slid open silently, opening into the expansive chamber that marked the entryway to the medical facilities onboard. A massive fountain dominated the entryway. A considerable pond inset into the decking itself. Standing tall and shining in the centre, a sculpture of a DNA strand, of which a green, corruscating liquid bore from its top, cascading downwards in quite a striking fashion.

She stepped onwards, until a voice compelled her to stop.

"Kristilanna, it has been long since you last visited me here. I guess in that respect you have not come to socialise?"

The Protectoresse managed a smile, as her eyes settled on the tall form of man. His white attire, and rather ornamentally styled stethascope identifying his position and calling in life.

She stepped with him through a side hatch, and into an examination room. Hopping on to the cold steel of a biological examination bed, she stretched out, casting her eyes upwards to a bank of illuminated lights, that gave her an almost giddy feeling, their bright tendrils obscuring her vision.

"Initiate bio-toxicity scan, full yield."

As the Kaeneian women was bathed in deep blue, crimson red and the vermillion of the scanning unit, the doctor attending stepped bac, taking a seat at the results station, and tapping his finger against the desk edge idly.

"Scan completed. Blood pressure elvation and forward neurochemical imbalance detected, suspected cause temporal distortion of neural transmitters."

Kristilanna sat up, as the medical intelligence delivered its flawless verdict.

"Its not quite as devestating as our metallic friend does dictate. Its an unfortunate evil of working next to unshielded equipment and testing facilities. Its not in the least bit damaging in the long term, it is however, rather annoying and unpleasent. Unfortunately, bar a mild sedative there is nothing I can do. Temporal science is a blossoming field, but unfortunately temporal medicine has yet to even decide on a motto."

The young women nodded, raising her arm as the Doctoe fielded a subdermal injector. She hopped to the floor as the hiss indicated the injection. She stretched her neck, feeling a slight improvement, but not the miracle cure she had hoped for originally.

"Thank you doctor. It is sufficient."

Kristilanna turned to leave, a voice calling her back momentarily.

"I do hope to see you once more, without you having to break something."

She nodded, and left.

Much craved sleep hardly received a moment to carry her before once more she was forced awake. However it was the low drone of a communications alert, and not of the pained headaches she had suffered earlier.

"Open the link." she muttered, climbing to her feet.

"Protectoresse, I apologise for the early hour interruption, but an event has unfolded. Approximately four minutes ago this day, an Imnsvale starship ferrying supplies and goods past the Europa checkpoint experienced what we have confirmed as a temporal distortion. To be precise, they experienced 'a moment again' from which their shipboard chronometers and resident electronic intelligence recorded a dual error. They have contacted us to request confirmation of the event."

Kristilanna was already changing, dropping her fatigues to the floor, and bringing the Hydroshower online.

"We can neither confirm nor deny. To admit would be to allow a dangerous tangent to form. No one can realise what is truly occuring hear, for the scramble to take it for themselves would be a powerful urge to resist. Neither can we treat people as fools. If we deny, they will question further. Advise them we experienced a low level system wide failure of the sensor net, both internal and external, and have been unable to assertain wether they truly did experience a time related error."

The disembodied voice replied once more, "It shall be done."

Once more left to her own devices, she stepped into the shower unit, knowing that if the people of the Imnsvale starship were even remotely curious, that would not be sufficient explanation.
12-05-2004, 17:39
"A low-level system-wide failure?" Frank was surprised. "I do hope they're okay and things are running smoothly."

~Things appear to be fine. I detected no alarm in the response of the AI.

>A complete system failure, though?

~If it would make you feel better, I can offer aid.

>Yes, that would be fantastic.

*Public Transmission*
Hail, Station Khandrii, resident AI.

Do you need assistance? Crew, repairmen, supplies? We would be glad to offer assistance to your system-failure.

A failure of the entire sensor net? Their engineers must be incompetent. Frank was attempting to shift his thoughts, but now all he could think about was the fool he'd made of himself while in the majestic presence of Annie. Nothing about her was literally majestic, but Frank thought so. The cute way she jabbed at the phone or a calculator with the eraser end of a pencil. Little things like that.
12-05-2004, 17:52
Jovian Space

Detaching from a scheduled commercial Jumpship, a small Cetagandan cargo vessel makes its way to the station above Europa. Aboard is a large crate mark "Super Top Secret - Gouge Out Eyes Before Opening," along with three people, one of whom is less than happy at the moment.

"What do you mean, I have to stay onboard the ship?!" shouts the woman from the lab.

"Exactly what I said, Doctor Mayhew," replies the shadowy man. "We want to insure that any possible problems that crop up in the first flight are dealt with. You are the most experienced person there is with Old Kingdom technology that also knows anything about modern engineering."

"Doctor, we're hardly going to force you to come along," says the third person in the room, ignoring the Special Cirumstances agent's glare. "I could probably handle any problems the crop up. However, it would be appreciated if you did so."

She sighs. "I understand, Lord Callahan. I suppose that I will do as you ask. However, I hope that Seeker Hansen understands that I will not be pushed around like some kind of servant."

"He will understand," Callahan replies, looking at the SC agent. "Won't you, Seeker?"

"May I have your attention, please. This is your pilot. We're currently coming in to dock at Khandrii station. Please put your trays in the upright position."
Wombat News
12-05-2004, 18:22
[hook for Wombat bait]

14-05-2004, 23:10
With a thump, the cargo vessel docks inside the shipyard. The cargo lock hisses open, and non-sapient robots begin the process of transferring the cargo to its final destination. A moment later, the three humans follow. "Well, shall we go and meet our counterparts?" asks Callahan. The three set off in search of the project's Kaenien leaders.
14-05-2004, 23:30
[OOC: I'd love to get involved in this, if possible. Not in an EOTED sense, though. I was going to run a storyline thread a while ago about extraterrestrial's attempting to influence the Earth and her solar system via a network of multinational 'spies' working for them who were, for the most part, entirely unaware of the agenda of said aliens.

The agent in EOTED - a slightly disgraced former Imperial Armourer - was the 'leader' of this ring of 'spies', and had the most information/technology at his disposal. I'm sure he'd somehow get wind of this via his somewhat unusual ET sponsors - if you don't mind, of course. As I said: this wouldn't involve EOTED beyond location of the agent in question - although I'm afraid he has some nifty toys you might not like, considering the whole time-travel thing, I'm sure something interesting could be worked out.]
15-05-2004, 00:04
Jovian League Station [OOC: We never named the thing, did we] -- Thebe

One of the station's area controllers-- the proper name for He Who Watched The Screens-- reached around to scratch the base of his neck. These bloody tags.. getting itchier and itchier by the day.. they need to start printing the washing instructions in tinytext right on the cloth.

He closed his eyes for a moment. Normal traffic, he could rest.
15-05-2004, 06:07
P3SC013-1160 sat in the cramped cockpit of his single-man scoutship, a heavily cloaked reconnaissance vessel of the Dominion Armada. It was not the most comfortable of places to sit for extended periods of time, but then he was not designed to care about such minor discomforts. And so he sat, monitoring traffic of every kind in the vicinity of Jupiter through his various cloaked probes roaming the area.

This was not the most exciting of jobs, but was nonetheless necessary. All sorts of ships and messages passed through this region every minute, and the Dominion must know about it. That was their strength, after all. The Dominion fleets may not have been as large or as strong as many others, but the Dominion Intelligence was something to be reckoned with.

His eyes quickly roamed over the various sensor reports he was receiving from the probes and from the scout's own sensor array, seeing mostly the usual type of things that would go on in this area of space. Freighter movement, hyperspace exit, yadda yadda. On another screen, intercepted messages are displayed, quickly decrypted by the shipboard computer. Those were all the usual stuff too. Permission to dock, casual conversations, repair crew moving into position, temporal anomaly, permission to depar - wait, temporal anomaly?

He brought up the intercepted message from the Imnsvale vessel, directed at Station Khandrii. This was interesting. Certainly something worth investigating further. Without further delay, the scoutship's engines engaged and it moved toward the station. The cloak should keep it from being detected at all. After all, this was what the Dominion was good at.
15-05-2004, 07:17
In a bunker somewhere in Kanuckistan, feline hands played across a softly glowing console.

"Ma'am," the hunamoid cat's voice didn't quite purr, "Getting some weird readings from the Q-nodes.. odd interaction between N-space and the ASPEW fields."

The woman in question, a female hunam dressed in the uniform of a Home Gaurd Lt, aproached her subordinate's work station, leaning over to examine the readout while keying in a breif series of commands.

"Hmm, looks like a temporal overlap ripple hit us; small one, I think.. typicly get them every few years; they say the sensors on our Battleplates pick up really tiny ones all the time. John," she called back over her shoulder, "Send a data dump to the higher ups and flag it for their bean counters; economists bitched enough the last time this happened, lets not give them any excuses befor we find out what exactly happened."

My nation's sitting under a reality-tweaking ASPEW field that can selectivly negate most 'supernatural' things, with a number of interesting spinoff effects, including shielding from temporal weapons and timeline alterations.
15-05-2004, 18:37
The docking bay was a dark affair, and not a place that would convince the Cetaganda party of a warm welcome. Expelled coolant pooled around the flooring, creating an almost eerie mist that hugged the feet of those that stepped forth.

All at once, four powerful spotlights positoned at the corners of the bay illuminated, bathing the Cetaganda craft, sufficiently powerful to show every last warp and scratch that the harsh medium of space dished out to those who travelled.

From behind the assembled visitors, mindless automatons cotinued their vital task, the unloading of the temporal distortion drive. The value of what was now transferring from the Ceta cargo hold could not be underestimated. Of this technology, little was fully understood and even less prone to replication. Dozens of failed systems, and partially sucessful tests gathered dust and age many decks above, consigned to the secure storage facility of the scientific laboratories.

The small group of Cetagandans began to move forward. Little had occured to make them feel any easier or at home amongst the strangely silent chamber.

The air was cold, and if one concentrated, the clouds of warm breath being expelled were almost visible. The low temperature, coupled with the rolling mists created a considerable effect.

From their position on the landing platform, and across a suspended walkway, the entry hatch hissed. Great hydraulic arms pulled apart the sections, groaning with effort as they went. The sound of clipped footsteps echoed over the unloading procedure.

Four figures moved from the entrydoor. They paced quickly, and made ground towards the Cetagandans, who to their credit began walking towards, metting just before the beginning of the walkway.

The lead Kaeneian, a young women whose eyes betrayed experience not common to one of her lessened years, was the first to break the silence between the two parties.

"I am station administrator Kristilanna Lgealis. I welcome you to the Khandrii facility, and the Serene^Union of Kaenei."

She motioned to first her left, and right introducing the two male Kaeneians who accompanied her.

"This is facility Apothacary Meriani Histolex."

The white garbed gentleman nodded his head slightly, as he stepped forward.

"This is construction project supervisor Ferian Cristolof."

The second man did not move, and in contrast failed to acknowledge either of the parties in question, as though he had simply not heard the introduction.

Kristilanna gestured to the walkway, "To pardon a pun, time is of the essence. I believe you may be eager to see the Scoperta herself, and how construction goes. I also believe we will require discussions on suitable reimbursment for your troubles."

The group formed as one, and after a short time, exited the cavernous hold, leaving behind their precious cargo in reliable, if unexciting hands.

The chamber overlooking the blossoming craft was enormous. Her sloped walls, dotted with storage hangers and equipment silos. Great towers of scaffolding wrapped themselves over engine mountings and hull plating. Spanning insane heights yet sturdy to the last without the bothersome presence of an atmosphere.

Clouds of sparks danced across plating sections as phase torches bound metal to metal at the molecular level. Massive cages, carrying dozens of faceless workers, hidden from view behind opaque pressure hoods, scurried from their lifting mechanisms, and to work.

Kristilanna gestured, from behind the security of the observation windows.

"This is the Scoperta." she announced.
15-05-2004, 22:38
[OOC: If this is acceptable, Kaenei, could you please let me know. Otherwise, I'll edit this away and prevent it from cluttering your thread. :)]

[OOC: EDIT- Guess not.]
15-05-2004, 23:32
Scoperta doesn't happen to mean Relativity, does it? :)
16-05-2004, 00:22
Scoperta doesn't happen to mean Relativity, does it? :)

Italian for "Discovery."
Dread Lady Nathicana
16-05-2004, 23:47
What the hell am I doing here? Enzo asked himself for probably the hundredth time since he’d left Zelgado station. He’d been hauled out of bed at an ungodly hour – he couldn’t even remember what time his tired mind had registered as he’d glanced bleary-eyed at the digital clock next to his utilitarian bed.

Word had come down the pipe about some project or other the Kaeneians had cooking. Purchases from at least two other allies had been noted, indicating some sort of cooperative, whether government sanctioned or otherwise had yet to be determined. One continuing combined theme that had crept through intel however had been talk of ‘breaking the barriers’ and ‘venturing into the unknown’. This of course had certain people both excited, and nervous. It had been decided that it would be in their best interests to send a scientist to at least try and get a peek at what was going on.

Unfortunately, having been dubbed one of the ‘most brilliant minds in our time’ after his one shining success with Channel Spook, his was the first name that had come up when it was all discussed. Without even so much as a ‘do you mind’.

”Coming up on Europa,” came captain Sospiri’s voice over the com. ”Leaving jump.”

It was always a slightly odd feeling to him, being first in one place, then vast distances away a short while later. Enzo wondered offhandedly if he’d ever get used to it. Sighing deeply, he got up from where he’d been moping and made his way to the deck, running a hand absentmindedly through his unmanageable hair.

“So that’s what it looks like,” he says quietly, gazing out at the icy moon filling the viewport.

“Khandrii facility, this is DASF Machin Shin requesting clearance to land. Purpose; scientific outreach. One Lorenzo Vettori of the Dominion Science Ministry looking to board. Please respond,” Lieutenant Palmas said, delivered in a polite but ‘just another run’ tone of voice.

The captain turned to him and smiled. “It shouldn’t be long, Signore,” she assured him.

Great. Take your time. Seriously. Take your bloody time.
17-05-2004, 00:05
"A pleasure to meet you. This is Seeker Gerald Hansen, of the Special Circumstances Directorate, and Doctor Helen Mayhew, a specialist in gate technology and, I suppose, the closest thing to a temporal engineer that we have at the moment," says Callahan, gesturing to his companions. "I am Thomas Callahan, wizard, and specialist in temporal theory and dimensional travel."

As the group, Callahan and Mayhew can't help but shiver occaisonally despite their skinsuits. Hansen, though, shows no expresion at all. As they enter the security room, Mayhew quickly walks up the window and looks over the ship. "Quite impressive. I doubt we could have built a ship with the necessary hull design as easily and quickly as you appear to."

"Speaking of reparations," says Hansen softly, "I'm sure you understand that sharing this technology is not something we normally spread about, even among allies. It is, after all, quite dangerous. What we would like in return is assistance in an area that we understand you are quite skilled at: gravitics, specifically drive technology. In exchange for assitance in creating a new generation of gravitic drive for our warships, we will share with you everything you need to construct additional temporal cores: all of our theoretical and practical research, schematics, archaeological information, even provide vital materials that are exceedingly rare outside the Imperial Union's core districts," Hansen explains, expressionless. "And, of course, the working version that has already been delivered."

"We hope, of course, that this will become a long-term association with continual infomation sharing in both areas, as such an arrangement would benefit both our nations," concludes Callahan, considerably more cheerfully than his counterpart. "Oh, yes, I'm afraid we can't offer a warranty. All sales final, we're not responsible for any damage to the space time continuum caused by any time travel. Dangerous stuff."

"One last thing," he adds. "We'd like to go along on Scoperta's maiden voyage, and possibly others as well. I'm sure you understand how exciting the prospect is."
17-05-2004, 18:41
--Double post, read below!--
17-05-2004, 18:41
Amidst the rolling spires, and sharp angles that marked the veritable metropolis of the station summit, the Dominion transmission, was recieved, and logged. As per orders programmed in and given little room for individual inspiration, an urgent internal transmission was transferred.

A soft throng filled the observation suite. Kristilanna was already crossing to the wall mounted communications junction, even as the Cetangandan party looked around in confusion.

"Lgealis confirming, status."

An oddly balanced voice replied. Robbed of the slight imperfections inherent in an organic voice, it made for almost disturbing listening.

"A Dominion starship has entered real space, holding some distance from our starboard quadrant. I have recieved and verified a communication from said vessel. They are requesting boarding permission, on scientific grounds."

Kristilanna frowned. She did not need to consult the internal logs to know that there was nothing in the way of scientific transfers ongoing between the Dominion and the Serene^Union, and most definitely nothing in the way of visitors from any trium vessels scheduled for the immediate now. She did not jump to a conclusion however, common sense told her they could not possibly be in posession of all the facts. It was more likely that in actual fact, they had somehow obtained a piece of a far larger puzzle.

She did not feel that turning them away was a proper course. Diplomatic relations were not something, nor any Kaeneian could claim to be experienced in, but she was grounded sufficiently to realise the implications. Security of course was of absolute paramount importance. She would reveal nothing they did not already know. Agreeing with her internal monologue, she replied.

"Grant said action. Have them move to the upper docking complex, Lgealis out."

The station administrator crossed back over to the group.

"My apologies for the interruption." She began, "I cannot disagree with the fairness of your terms. Gravitic applications of technology have always been a very specialised field, and one which we do not shirk our excellence in. I myself cannot comment further on the benefits, becuase I do not have the required knowledge. However, it will be a relatively easy affair to contact the engineering sections below us, and have them answer your questions, and begin on the long road to your drives."

She paused, looking towards the silent Kaeneian security advisor.

"Your second request, is slightly more difficult to accomodate. Whilst we are always eager to better ourselves, and by engaging in this very product, we are proving so we are not keen to introduce what some amongst my people might view as an unstable element, in a critical situation,"

"However, we would be little in the way of accomodating having taken into consideration your great contribution to this project. I believe that it will be in our best interests to embark on this voyage with one of your people present."

Finally, a reaction from the security coardinator was visible. His jawline tensed, his teeth grinding into their opposites as Kristilanna continued.

"You are free to either remain on Khandrii, or depart home. The Scoperta will now undergo the most critical phase of her construction. Tomorrow we will begin fitting the field coils, and various engineering subsystems that will be required to achieve temporal distortion. I must also warn you if you choose to remain, you may experience some discomfort. Unfortunately temporal activities seem to inspire slight neural degeneration in the frontal lobes of humanoid species. It is nowhere near sufficient to cause anything more than an irritating headache, but with so little known of the science of time, let alone its medicine, we cannot counteract. Since Cetangandans and Kaeneians are not of the same species, it may affect you more, or possibly less."

Kristilanna gestured to the bay outside.

in our opinion, it is worth the inconvienience."
17-05-2004, 22:59
Thousands of sensors were now pointed at the Kaeneian station and the space around it. A previous blip in the system was dutifully written off as an anonmoly. But now, with the deviation from the usual space traiffic surrounding the station, red flags popped up all over the Sketchian sensornet. The arrival of Cetaganda and then the Dominion proved to be more than protocol allowed as mere "traffic". Especially the Dominion, which had been red flagged for "close observation".

Sensor readings fed into the infonet as analyst frantically theorised why the vistors are here and what they are doing were doing. Questions were many, but answers were few. Although the entities of Sketch and Kaenei have long since reconciled their differences, protocol demanded that constant vigilence be maintained. But for now, Sketch will merely watch.
18-05-2004, 05:04
Callahan considers a moment, then says, "Acceptable. Please give us a moment to confer." The three Cetagandans step off to the side of the observation deck, and begin speaking over their comms augments. <Doctor, am I correct in assuming you do not wish to be the one to stay aboard the vessel?>

{Oh, hell no. One of you two can get lost in time. I'm just here in case there's trouble getting it installed, once that's done I'm heading straight back to home.}

<So, Ser Hansen, which one of us gets to go along?>

[This was originally a Special Circumstances mission. It is an external issue, we should have jurisdiction.]

<On the other hand, time travel has always been handled by PIAD. Tell you what, which one of us has the most experience in the subject?>


<Because I, for one, have worked with timeslides and other cross-temporal phenonema. Nothing, perhaps, on this scale, but still more than you, I assume.>

[Fine, have it your way. I hope you kill off your own great-greatgrandmother or something. I'll take care of making arrangments technology wise with OSRD and their Kaeniean counterparts.]

Callahan walks back to the Kaeniean group. "I shall be the one travelling aboard Scoperta. Tell me, are there facilities where a near-baseline human like myself can stay at on the station, or would it be more convinient for me to stay aboard my vessel?"
19-05-2004, 16:39
Kristilanna took a moment to confer with the until now utterly silent Kaeneian security coardinator, whose stone like eyes had regarded everyone in the room with an almost burrowing, unemotional tone. Turning her attentions back to the Cetagandans, she adressed them.

"A set of quarters can be modified for atmospheric temperature and pressure, and be made more suitable to your habitation needs. You are more than welcome to use these facilities, and of course any other desecured sections of the station. As I speak, the temporal field coils are already being transported to this construction bay, where we will begin fitting them without pause."

A second later, and another joined them in the lounge. A shorter women, whose dull, unreflective fatigues suggested a less auspicous and interesting role than the station administrator herself, she nodded to those present.

"I have appointed a guide for which all questions pertaining to your stay, and other factors can be directed." Began Kristilanna, "She will show your transport craft, and habitation quarters respectively. If you require a conference with myself at any stage, this will be arranged also. I must be excused, I shall contact you within the day."

Kristilanna exited the lounge, leaving the Cetagandans to their new relations clerk, and the rather less hospitable security coardinator. She passed through the darkened corridors, whose only light permeated from powerful spotlights mounted on even distances along the top half of the walls. She felt relaxingly cold, the station temperature a pleasently chilling celsius.

She had yet to hear from the Dominion starship, yet she felt they posed the greatest threat to security yet faced by this project. Arming a close ally with the powerful sense of curiousity did not bode well, and did not carry a ready solution.

This was forgotten as a deep throbbing registered inside her temples. Pausing, she brought her hands, rubbing the skin gingerly. She gasped, the pain leaping through her skull, and forcing her to lower herself to the floor lest she risk losing her balance and falling.

She held her breath for near twenty seconds, simply abandoning the action and relying on her lung capacity as she fought the wave of dizziness that sought to overwhelm her. As the wave slowly dissapated, she sucked in a lungful of air, slowly climbing to her feet. She had not experienced this level of pain before, and had attributed the Neural degeneration that the Doctor had described as nothing more serious, when clearly it had gained a new level of which to impress.

She struggled on, finding solace soon after in the quiet boundries of her habitation quarters.
22-05-2004, 03:44
"You two head back to the transport. I'll call if you're needed," Callahan says to his companions. He then joins the clerk that had been assigned to him. "Hello. Thomas Callahan, wizard. Its a pleasure to meet you. I believe the administrator said something about showing me a transport craft and quarters?"

He then cocks his head to the side, as if listening to something. A moment later, he says, "I can feel what the Sera Lgealis meant about the effects of installing the field coils. I've experienced more intense temporal fluxes, but I think I'll be keeping my personal shields tight while they're working."
Der Angst
22-05-2004, 20:34
Khandrii, Europa

"... I mean, seriously, where did you learn to fly? You almost crashed us into the station!" The rather old- looking man with the white hair and the wrinkled face was not pale, as he usually was, but reddened, seemingly... Exploding at his rather young (and fairly well- equipped) secretary.
"Please, Professor, you`re exaggerating..."
The Professor`s face reddened even more, his expression was almost certainly threatening. "By seven meters! I thought I would die!"
The secretary looked down, pouting. She was very young, and seemingly... impressive. "But the looping around the station was shiny..."
"Just..." The professor didn´t continue, seeing someone else coming down the ring, a Kaeneian... It was certainly the wrong time for this.

I just hope the system works... Temporal Computing, feh. I just hope they didn´t overestimate their capability to work with DLM tech...

Well, it was too late for this. The developed tech would either work... Or fail.
Dread Lady Nathicana
22-05-2004, 20:47
Dread Lady Nathicana
22-05-2004, 20:52
“Acknowledged,” Palmas says after receiving clearance from Khandrii station. “Proceeding to docking coordinates as directed.”

For some reason, Enzo’s heart sank to his stomach. Ah hell. He watches closely as they approach, his anxiety building as the station filled the viewport with it’s strangely beautiful alien design. Docking came all too swiftly for his liking, and Captain Sospiri smiling patiently as she accompanies him to the airlock does little to calm his nerves.

“Not used to space travel yet?” she asks, tilting her head slightly.

“Nah,” he mutters, shaking his head. “Not used to being a tool for someone else’s machinations.”

She snorts, shaking her head in turn. “Then you haven’t been paying attention, man. We’re all tools at one point or other. What you have to manage is a balance of being used, and using in turn. Get what you can out of it, Lorenzo. Make it work for you.”

He looks at her incredulously, starting to reply, and thinking better of it. “Whatever you say, Captain.”

Sospiri looks at him oddly, opening up the airlock and preceding him onto the station. They both look around expectantly, and seeing Kristilanna Lgealis, step forward for introductions.

“Captain Dianna Sospiri of the Machin Shin, Dominion Aerospace Forces. This is Lorenzo Vettori, representing the Dominion Science Ministry. Thank you for your welcome, Administrator. We hope our visit hasn’t inconvenienced you.”

Oh no, of course not, Enzo can’t help but thinking. We’re only here to info-mine after all. No harm in the least, there. Aloud however, he has the presence of mind to put forward his hand.

“A pleasure, my lady.”
23-05-2004, 03:11
Kristilanna felt the aching increase tenfold as the message alert rune began flashing an angry red, staining her wall with a crimson glow she did not appreciate in the slightest. She could feel the tissues inside her forehead twist and cry against the bones of her skull, adding to an incredibly distracting presence, affecting actions of the current period which were critical.

"Lgealis confirming, status."

The familiar, disembodied voice flooded the chamber.

"Protectoresse, the Dominion science vessel has completed docking and securing procedures, they await in chamber fourteen. A Der Angst starship is expected within the hour also."

Kristilanna allowed her forehead to make contact with the cool metal of the wall, the scarce few hours rest had all but failed her, and now she had upon herself a further two diplomatic engagements, between nations who were not even scheduled to be here. Indeed, was it not for her almost saintly patience and dispassion, she would find this irritating.

The personal aura faded as she made her way through winding corridors, The occasional complaint about the low temperature indicating the alarming number of foreigners inside Khandrii, and scrutinising the Serene^Union itself. She engaged none she passed in conversation, and those that bothered to make eye contact threw a half-hearted nod of the head, to which she rarely answered.

As she entered the transport lift, and made her destination to chamber fourteen, she leaned against the wall, looking to the exotic greens that coated the wall to alleviate some of her pain and distraction.

The massive structures were gingerly lowered, a small group of Kaeneians downing construction efforts long enough to gaze upon the twin devices that would make the sum of their labours complete and worthwhile. With a final effort, great manipulator arms locked around the cylinders, securing their place and allowing all present to breath a sigh of relief within their pressure suits.

Already dozens scurried, attaching great power transfer conduits to the newly arrived items, though each conduit boasted the girth of a man, they paled in size to what they were to power. Several minutes passed as links were checked and double checked, connections verified and secured, before slowly, as one the workers stepped back.

With an airless thrum, the temporal field coils roared to life. A great bolt of red lightning arced from one end to the other, thrashing against the containment rungs, powerless to escape its prison, yet fufilling its purpose without hesitation. Energy gauges promptly went off the scale, beyond avalible monitors, as the walls of the cavernous construction chamber were lit with the dancing shadows of a technology not truly understood, yet indulged in besides.

Within a few short hours, these impressive creations of a long forgotten line would be lowered deep within the smooth hull of the Scoperta. Fastened under the strongest alloys and links, and contained with the most advanced systems avalible, they would toil to push the experimental starship beyond the realms of feasible science, and into the true unknown of unknowns, time itself.

Kristilanna extended her hand, Though her eyes stared out at the Dominion science advisor, Lorenzo Vettori, her mind concentrated on the irritating pain that spawned within her frontal lobes, seemingly doing nothing but absorbing her thinking time, and using it to sate itself.

"My name is Kristilanna Isiabelli Lgealis, and I am the administrator of this facility, and all Kaeneian facilities on or around Europa. I must admit, of unexpected visitors and unplanned meetings, the Dominion were not at the top of the list. In fact, I cannot truly imagine why you have quite picked this time to extend a diplomatic hand, not that I would treat it any differently now than then."

The tall women rubbed her forehead as she spoke, seemingly spurring herself on through the haze.

"I am most eager to facilitate your presence however, on this, the first date to my memory that a Dominion presence has found itself on property of the Serene^Union outside of Terra. Perhaps you would prefer to discuss your intentions in a more inviting place than the cold sterility of the docking chamber."

Kristilanna turned, gesturing to follow.

"We do not use them often, but we possess adequate facilities for diplomatic consultations."

With a loud hiss, the docking latches secured themselves to the hull of the Der Angst starship. Despite their massive size, the frame of the craft shuddered only slightly as they equated themselves with its size and mass specifications. Already conduits snaked outwards, seeking refuelling ports and atmospheric conduits to which a refuelling might take place.

The Gantry settled around the foreign craft even as a pair argued over the proximity they had come to a station collision.

Their blossoming argument was cut short as the Kaeneian who had first welcomed the Scolopendran delegation arrived, her arms clasped behind her back. Where before tendrils had snaked across the left hand side of her face, underneath the strangely organic mouldings of a bio-mimetic implant, they had receded slightly, until only an inch or so of flesh around the implant remained discoloured.

She took a moment to compose herself, before welcoming them to the station.

"On behalf of the Serene^Union, you are formally welcomed to the Khandrii facility. I do not hesitate to admit I am most suprised of your early arrival. We had not expected you for several more days. No matter, your cargo is as precious now as it woulf have been later. If you wish to proceed with myself to the forward cargo bays, we can begin the process of compensation for yourself."

On the forward hull, designated as deck one, and the central command point for the burgeoning starship Scoperta, The final computational displays were lowered into place. Smooth black rectangles that were as dead as the night-like colour they posessed, yet immensely vital in operation. Smooth and neutral colours complemented them, in the compact, yet efficient design.

Suddenly, with a flicker the bridge was bathed in a ruddy white light. embedded lanterns providing a low, if managable glow to watch by. No doubt beneath work continued at a fever pace, for as of now the brain was not connected to the body, if such a metaphor was suitable. The scoperta was deaf, dumb and blind. Now only the work of its engineers and adepts could reverse this condition.

Yet slowly, and with an inevitability, completion appeared on the horizon. Every hour passed mark another hull plate sealed, another section of the starship supplied with precious power. Soon would come the time that her organic frame could be pressurised, and ridden of the cruel vacuum sorrounding it. And despite the incredible attentions lavished, the starship itself, and her electronic intelligence remained unaware. Consigned to electronic oblivion until launch.
Der Angst
25-05-2004, 14:23
The professor nodded, bowing. Well, almost bowing, he was still a bit occupied with his secretary, though right now, the discussion took place in their minds, rather than by way of verbal communication.

"Prof. Sekhmet my name, this is my secretary, Lieutenant Uhura from Cerio IntP. Thanks for the welcome..." Bow, goddamnit.

Yes, sir.

Uhura bowed, careful, her short, thigh skirt making it slightly risky.

"Well... In any case, we`re here, were a bit lucky, with our research facilities being located on Ganymede... So, basically a short trip. Oh, and..." He looked at Uhura. "We would be pleased to follow you to the cargo bays."

And you shut up.

Feh. Just having fun. She`s pretty, isn´t she?

Some day, I will kill you...

Pft. I`m your last hope, after you were divorced.
26-05-2004, 19:27
Main Engineering

"Easy, easy...forward just a hair." Carefully, Callahan and Doctor Mayhew guide the frame of the primary temporal matrix into position inside the main reactor. Inside this frame could be seen the various crystals and control feeds of the most essential parts of the timeship's drive. It was positioned just behind the reaction chamber itself, where the plasma would pass through it immediately after the reaction. "Got it. Now we just need to clamp it down and we'll be done." A minute later, the pair pulls back and seals the access hatch.

The reactor assembly itself looks little different from the standard matter/anti-matter reaction assembly. The reaction chamber bulged in odd places where secondary equipment had been added on. A larger change was the main plasma feed, which flowed through a series of small, crystal-lined channels back up the matter reactant injector before recombining into two curving conduits that lead to the massive drive coils elsewhere in the ship. The matrix at the heart of the core was, in the end, the true heart of the temporal drive, generating and tuning the frequency of an temporal energy flow through the warp plasma, which the coils simply boosted and shaped into a field that would contain the entire ship.
"All right, we're ready to power up whenever you are," says Callahan to the Kaeneian engineers. "I suggest starting with a matter/antimatter ratio of two to one at first, then bring it to ten to one once we're sure there's no problems. And for God's sake, make sure the power to the drive coils isn't set to 'Go.'"
27-05-2004, 01:51
I will post, I am still here, just give me a minute, okay? :)
Dread Lady Nathicana
29-05-2004, 20:31
Enzo starts to speak, thinks better of it, frowns and rubs his temples.

“I am so not cut out for this shit,” he mutters under his breath. Dropping his hand, he looks back to the woman and sighs.

“Look, Kristilanna, let me level with you. I’m not here to waste time with a bunch of flowery diplospeak – that’s not my strength, and frankly I don’t have the patience. You people are up to something here. Something big.” Behind him, Captain Sospiri groans, muttering an oath under her breath.

He looks at the Kaeneian intently, brow furrowed, ignoring the Captain’s misgivings. “Simply put? I want in on it. I don’t know what I can add, but there you have it. So,” he pauses, glancing at their surroundings, then looking back to Kristilanna. “Can we work this, or do I get back on that fancy ship over there, tell the spooks to sod off, and hope to hell I get to keep my head as attached to my shoulders as it is?”
31-05-2004, 14:52
As the Der Angst envoys bowed slightly, the Kaeneian raised a brow, not accustomed nor familiar with the tradition. Rather than risk returning an innapropriate gesture, she remained as before, allowing them to return to standing before breaking the silence.

Of all the nations the Serene^Union had contact with, and amusingly enough despite the amount of time, they had spent a great percentage of their activity with the co-operation of Der Angst. In concert founding the Jovian League, and bringing fresh stability to the local system, as well as coardinating Europan colonisation and mutual station construction on Thebe.

Indeed, it was arguable they had performed more in the way of joint operations than Kaenei had during its term with the Triumvirate.

"If you will follow me, I shall lead you onwards."

The group left the cavernous docking ring, entering the twisting, darkened corridors of the station. The air was cold, uncomfortable to most yet pleasantly chilling to Kaeneians. The halls were bathed in a darkened blue that to non natives was confusing in the least. A dull rumble periodically passed through the air, reverating the molecules themselves.

The lull in conversation was broken with a question.

"In what manner or field were you lookin to for compensation?"

Kristilanna would have frowned, if such a motion had some productivity or usefulness. Instead, she simply cocked her head to the side, studying the emotions that were raging and well defined on the face of the Dominion scientist. She found it almost fascinating.

Here were a people who could frequently be found not only speaking their mind, but revelling in the torrent of emotions and the trouble they brought to the fore. Here was an almost mirror example of the Kaeneian psyche. We, who battled to supress and control our basic instincts, and emotions in the hope of efficiency and logical outlook. Indeed to sum a Terran expression, that would aptly describe the Dominion and Kaeneian persons standing opposite each other, it would be a yin to yang.

"Not only are you to the point, you are quite the melting pot of feeling." The Overseer began. "I am finding myself worried as to the security capabilities of the Serene^Union. Outsiders seem to be coming about our most secretive works at an alarming rate. You are fully the third unexpected guest who may harbour knowledge of something the majority of my own people are clueless to."

Gesturing, she began to move out of the docking ring, signalling that she should be followed.

"Do let me attempt to return your frankness. We are attempting, that is we have almost achieved a controlled temporal distortion generator."

As the massive entrydoors sealed with a hiss, they were left in an oddly quiet corridor section. An almost invisible blanket of mist hugged the floor, a signal of the low temperatures in the air and metal. She walked onwards, pausing only to adjust the tightness of the ceremonial headband she wore.

"We have to all intents and purposes constructed a starship capable of limitless temporal displacement. In essence Mr Vettori, we have constructed a time machine. One which until I spoke a second ago, was totally unknown to the Triumvirate, the Jovian League, and the limited others who are in contact with us on any occasion, seldom or otherwise."

Ignoring the throbbing that pushed her patience to its vastly expanded limit, and resisting the urge to rub her forehead, she entered a side chamber. The room was remarkably sterile. A long, simple table adorned by six chairs either side, and a slightly more ornate chair at its head. On the wall, a non active computer display, and the immense sculptured form of the Kaeneian symbol. A vast two headed red and black eagle, its emotionless eyes seemingly capturing the attention of all, and examing closely.

"I do suppose you have questions. I will answer any that can be without comprimising what is left of the integrity of this operation."

With a thrum that ruined the relative silence the Warp core roared to life. Within milliseconds Matter and its nemesis, antimatter annihilating each other within the powerful fields of the reaction chamber to generate the huge power resources needed to supply life to the Scoperta itself.

However, at the heart of the engine system lay a matrix unlike any other faster-than-light reactor.

The temporal matrix began to cycle, powerful pulses of warp plasma enfusing it with the power it needed to flicker to life. Green and yellow shadows beginning to flash brightly against the observation monitors sorrounding the unit.

From outside, the magnetic constriction segments began to glow in familiarity, descending in a blue, vertical line. Engineers bustled as systems were checked and power levels monitored. A minute passed, and the thrum decreased to a tolerable background hum as the inertial dampeners were recalibrated to cope with the vibrations.

On the bridge of the Scoperta, on the opposite ends of the starship, a single system panel flickered to life, as main power reached minimum operational levels. The lighting brightened considerably, and the Scoperta began to yawn, stretching as she awoke from her long, yet almost completed sleep.
Der Angst
01-06-2004, 10:47
Sekhmet and Uhura did actually enjoy the rather cold air, being used to it, with DA being kinda... like it, the temperatures usually between 273- 283K, occasionally hitting either 293 or 263K.

The conversation went on, unimportant talk, almost like fencers testing each other before doing the deciding move...

"In what manner or field were you lookin to for compensation?"

Sekhmet didn´t hesitate. "Well... Since I was able to... appease Cerio IntP as well as Kusanagi Technologies with significant amounts of money, I`m free to follow my own desires... And scientific value. So... Aside from a little compensation to prevent me from being ruined, I would love to... Be there, when the ship is used for the first time. On the ship, I mean." He hesitated, almost grinning... or was it greed?, and Uhura continued, by giving the Kaeneian a small datapad, showing a rather large number. "His expenses."
07-06-2004, 01:28
Watching the core pulse and reading from a slim book in his hands, Callahan begins to recite. "Primary matrix core: stable. Secondary waveform adjustment guides: stable. Current efficiency rating: 86.3 +/- 0.7 percent. Current spaciotemporal flux output: 1.76 moirae. A slight displacement rate change inside the core relative to the ship, but its neglible." He glances over at Mayhew. "Anything about that sound out of place?"

"The flux is a bit higher than expected, but that'll just make it quicker to ramp up when the drives are used."

"Right, then. I thank you for your service, Doctor. You're free to return to the shuttle and the Ring."

"I've copied all my notes to your comp, Lord Callahan. I hope you have an safe journey." Mayhew leaves the room and makes her way back to the station hangar. Callahan motions on of the engineers over.

"Inform lady Kristilanna that I have completed all diagnostics of the core. The drives can be used whenever the ship is ready to leave dock."
Dread Lady Nathicana
25-06-2004, 05:42
Enzo blinks, shakes his head slightly, then narrows his eyes, leaning forward a bit as if straining to hear correctly.

“Did you say ‘temporal distortion generator’? As in … Christ, you can’t be serious!” He begins rattling off several short passages from many different sources on the matter, all of which seem to point towards the inability to produce such an effect, even as his mind starts turning over the possibilities – an excitement building in his eyes, in his mannerisms as he speaks.

“You mean, you actually have it? Here? And ready? They said they’d caught wind of something ‘big’ and ‘revolutionary’, but this … this is outside even their rather wild dreams I think. I have so many questions, I hardly know where to start. All I can ask is this; please. Please allow me to at least stand witness on this project. The opportunity for learning … for experiencing … I’m sorry, my lady, but this - this is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
20-07-2004, 22:16
She extended a pale hand. A strange, almost silver alloy collected in skin-tight bands around her palm and forefinger. She wrapped her lithe fingertips and brought the unit closer for inspection. Her eyes flickered from left to right as she quickly scrolled through the impressive list of so called expenses which the Der Angst citizens had assured her absolutely vital.

She allowed an eyebrow to rise slightly as she skimmed the final paragraphs of the seemingly never-ending list. Normally she would not have hesitated in isolating and examing every individual claim for authenticity and requirement. Indeed it would have pained her much to have simply accepted all that was before her, had it not seemed trivial in comparison to the ultimate goal.

"We will endevour to see your are compensated." she added curtly.

She span, quickly and with a curious balance that would betray her lack of resemblance to Terran Humanity. As she did so, the long, elegant tresses that made up her dark blue dress elevated slightly in the chilling air. A glimpse of alabaster skin, smooth and unblemished, of fragile, unmuscled thigh before once more being left to imagination as the material settled downwards.

"However, I do not think that the sorroundings of a cargo bay are much a location for these sorts of negotiation. Your second request is quite simply beyond my power to grant. Only one person can currently accept or deny such, and she is elsewhere with yet another individual from another foreign power with interest in our project."

She stopped, fixing her gaze on the professor.

"In fact, one might be inclined to think a security leak present."

Before any could defend themselves, or question wether an insult, an accusation, or a sarcastic bur had been issued, she began to move off. And with that, yet another pair of offworlders made their way deeper into the facility. In hundreds of years scarcely a single non-Kaeneian had set foot on their workstations or platforms. It was as if time itself sought to catch up.

Kristilanna could no longer obscure the thundering pain her forehead endured with simple emotional suppression. Her hand drifting upwards, she quickly massaged the angry flesh, exhaling loudly through her nose as she felt momentary relief at the loss of pressure. She managed to regain some semblence of control as her Dominion guest began splurring a veritable mountain of scientific formula and concepts. All to disprove what this very second lay moored inside construction chamber one, and very much IN existance.

Where the majority of Kaeneians felt exhuasted simply dealing with emotional outbursts, Kristilanna found herself dubiously lucky enough to have become somewhat resistant, and almost understanding of their random and quite unpredictable excitement. She took a seat, not bothering with the formality of inviting Mister Vettori to do likewise. He seemed a law unto himself.

She could see what almost felt like a fire light behind his eyes. They danced with a thousand hidden possibilities, each more exciting than the last. He formed his words quickly, mimicking hand movements as he crossed over and took a seat, though he seemed to struggle to remain sitting.

She almost sighed as he finished his monologue with a request to join.

"Mr Vettori, I am beginning to fear for my capacity as Overseer Aengelis. The Aengelistorium Dominica will be less than impressed to find under my tenure no less than four foreign nations have somehow come accross what was supposedly from the outset a classified project. I genuinely wonder wether I will be forced to undergo phsyiological examination should they learn I permitted the majority of them to accompany us..."

She was about to continue, to build a temple of reasons as to why his request was not only insane, but carried consequences far outwith his eager wish to fufill scientific curiosity. But she watched as a screen of disappointment settled over his features. The genuine urge to learn dimmed as he expected a stiff rebuttal. She waivered, an act in its self she would have been devestated to learn herself capable of.

"However, you are clearly a capable mind. Considering I have a very real fear that at this very moment another of my guests is formulating a similiar request, I shall allow you to travel on the Scoperta, in the capacity of scientific advisor."

Her features hardened, as she leant towards him. Her own personal aroma, of an exotic, almost metallic scent filtered across with her. She spoke slowly and with clear steel. Obviously when the time came or was needed, she had no qualm about carrying out her duty.

"The Dominion are close allies, and we will do nothing in the way to hinder your learning curve. But be aware that you are about to become on of the most elite groups this sector of the galaxy is home to. You will step into and be granted free access to a vessel, and as a result the technology of the Serene^Union. Not fully five people have been given this honour and not those five will benefit from the hindsight you now possess. You are being trusted. I hope it is not misplaced."

She allowed her face to relax, her voice becoming slightly softer. As she began to speak, a soft alert began to ring through the chamber. Excusing herself, she stood and crossed to the communicator. Indicating her readiness, she recieved the report from construction chamber one, and the temporal drive. Ending the communique, she returned to the Dominon science advisor.

"I have just recieved word. The temporal drive is online and verified. The Scoperta is ready Mister Vettori. In a few short hours, we will not only make history, we will explore it."
Der Angst
21-07-2004, 11:47
Sekhmet chuckled, being kinda amused by the reaction. A faint echo reached the mind of the Kaeneian.

I'm sure she will find the time, eventually. Oh, by the way, which way is the... Ah, thanks.

Another chuckle, and Sekhmet was walking towards the next place he expected to find some kind of food, accompanied by Uhura. Granted, considering the rather odd nature of the Kaeneians, and their constant isolationism, it was quite a good question... How would they react?

Well, he would see.

And stop fondling me there, Sekhmet. Not while we're their guests!

As if anyone is watching...

Leecherous... By the way, the cargo is unloaded, right?

The drones should do that. A quick thought, checking back. Yes, they are doing it. So, Yes. And... Well, if the Kaeneian technicians give the necessary specifications, adding them should be done within hours.
Dread Lady Nathicana
01-08-2004, 01:14
"Well, I ah ..." he trails off with a sheepish expression, blushing at the compliment and fidgeting nervously. "I don't claim to know the hows or whys of it, only that I got pressed into service here, and have had the good fortune to stumble across an incredible opportunity. I ... well dammit, woman, it isn't my intent to be a bother, let alone get you into trouble."

As she leans in, a shiver runs through him, for a number of reasons. Several of which surprise him. He manages a nod, then steeling himself, clears his throat before responding. Jesus ...

"I understand the gravity of the situation, Lady Overseer. I do. And creating a rift between our governments is the last thing I want ..." He drops his voice to a quiet whisper meant just for her, his expression earnest. "Look. I don't give a damn about the political manueverings behind the scenes. This sort of thing transcends all that. I can't thank you enough for letting me take part in this, but please. Lets not muddle the experience with all that other garbage."

His eyes are alight with the thrill of being on the edge of discovery, his cheeks flushed with excitement. "I won't let you down, my Lady. If I may?" he says, straightening and offering her his arm. "I'm afraid I don't know the way, but at least perhaps, you would do me the honor of escorting you?"

You blind fool idiot ... God that sounded corny. Christ, that's all I need now, insulting the one person on here who might just not mind having me looking on, and definitely one who could have me removed, he groaned inwardly.
02-08-2004, 18:53
Kristilanna blinked, totally unsure of what to comment on next. Several seconds past, rapidly growing more uncomfortable as the Dominion Science Advisor stood in front, his arm offered in a ritual that was totally unknown to not just the Overseer, but Kaeneians as a whole. Her brow raised as she pondered shooting a questioning glance his way, but decided better on it. Sighing, she stepped forward, hoping she had not mistaken the ritual for something it was not.

She extended her hand, hesitantly as she felt the uncomfortable gaze fall upon her, and worry that what she was doing was not only the incorrect response expected, but in actual fact offensive, or worse. She felt a measured degree or relief as he took her extended hand, and the very bizarre sight of the pair arm in arm was unleashed on those who were sorrounding them in the busy corridor sections.

Kristilanna felt her cheeks flush slightly as she counted the startled looks other Kaeneians flashed their way as they continued towards Construction Chamber One. She firmly pushed her flusterings down, beneath the conscious level, vowing to deal with them when the time was not only more giving, but more pleasent. They made their way through twisting paths and corridors.

Mister Vettori was not short of questioning.

The Der Angst envoys finally found their journey at a halt as the Kaeneian in front slowed before the entry to a chamber. She turned, and addressed the pair with a clipped, if impeccably polite tone.

"The Overseer has been made aware of your request, she will answer before the hour has elapsed."

Leading them inside, they found another spartan construction. A small circular table held in place by taught cabling descending from the roof. Three chair were arranged, two on one side facing the solitary neighbour. It was difficult to tell wether this chamber served purpose as an office, or if it was genuinely a meeting room which had melded itself to precise requirments. Gesturing to the free pair of chairs, the Kaeneian women crossed to the other side.

Her long, blackened locks cascaded down her pale face. She brushed aside a lock, once more revealing the glittering surface of the bio-mimetic implant that adorned her cheek. A smooth spiral of metal that glinted against the few tunnels of light that cast themselves free from above. She clasped hands together over the empty desk. Behind, large bay windows granted an impressive, if imprisoned view of the Jovian moon Europa, which raged and bellowed its ice-cold fury unheard many miles down.

With an almost unperceptible hiss, the entryway to the chamber slid open. Entered a tall, slight Kaeneian male. His features were unreadable, his face a mask of cool, professionalism and detachment. He carried with him a small tray, and also a tall bottle to which two glasses were strapped securely. Setting them down on the Der Angst side, he nodded, and left.

"I neglected to confer on you my designation..." She began, "I am Sianna, and I will be handling the interaction between yourselves as representitives of Der Angst, and the Serene^Union."

She pointed to the covered items, and the bottle, "These are refreshments for your consumption. Apologies if they are not to your taste, indeed you may find them bland. Kaeneian tastes are however fully served by them, which was in all honestly the only design brief in their manufacture."

Sianna lifted the lid, revealing the tray. She closed her eyes momentarily as she took a deep breath, readying herself for the questions and ponderings of the Angstian citizens once they had eaten their fill, and then required food of a more knowledgable nature.

The shining Scoperta lay resplendid within the chamber below. Her hull was an organic mould, where it would amost seem as though the light struck in places, then flowed through crests and falls before falling back overboard and into nothingness. Her running lights blinked absently even as her drive nacelles began to stir. Strips of cobalt blue beginning to appear as the engine systems tested and brought themselves online.

Observing from the watching lounge many feet upwards, Kristilanna allowed the Dominion citizen time to absorb the facts before him. She studied his face, a curious mix of amazement and questions. She feared his exuberance would prove too much for her already wearied self, yet she steeled her soul to persevere. Rest would come later, though undoubtedly disturbed.

"She is capable of breaking through the quantum barrier that unifies and seals time from space. It is this barrier that prevents objects from one chronological period visiting another. With the complicated temporal coardinates required, and the drive itself, that barrier can be bypassed at will."

"A million timelines exist, to be explored Mister Vettori, and you will be amongst the only non-Kaeneians to see it."
She was about to continue, when a soft alarm rang through the observation chamber. Leaving the still silent Scientist to observe further, she crossed to the small communication panel, pushing the activation rune with her thumb.

"Lgealis, confirming status."

The unit beeped its compliance, and a disembodied voice duly delivered its attention-seeking report.

"The Der Angst delegation are consuming refreshments within the company of Adept Sianna, as per your request. They will await your decision, within the hour."

Kristilanna nodded, frowning as she waited for further clarification. Such a statement was nothing more than formality and hardly worth her personal attention, she felt a worrying pit form in her stomach as the voice continued onwards with the actual report requiring attention.

"The Aengelistorium Dominica requests your immediate attention."

She sighed, acknowledging and cutting the link. She raised her head, pushing a lock of platinum blonde from her vision, and raising her voice so that the entranced Vettori might hear her words and understand her soon-to-be-absence.

"Mister Vettori, I must leave you for a short time. As I said, it seems the Aengelitorium Dominica have become aware of your, and others presence. Undoubtedly they are less than impressed. I must acknowledge my actions, and await their decision. I shall return within the cycle. I hope your placement on board the Scoperta is not unsecured when you next see me."

Wasting no time, she exited sharply, feeling the familiar throb of her headache return at the point she needed to be most alert. Stumbling slightly, she shook her head, gathering her wits and senses and pushing herself onwards towards her quarters. The council would not wait indefinitely. She hoped they would understand and approve of her actions, yet the smallest seed of doubt whispered the very real possibility this would not be the case at all.

The council chamber was poorly lit, as it had always been. Yet now, viewing it over the massive distance seperating them on a video-link, it seemed near darkness. She could make out the form of the First, and the assorted advisory ministers. Of Killthanus, and Melyanna there was no sign, the duo having been granted special dispensation to take a well earned rest from official Kaeneian business.

She would fidget if she could grasp the benefit of the emotion.

Finally, after several minutes passed, the first spoke.

"Well Kristilanna, you have certainly become the most open-minded Overseer Kaenei has ever had the pleasure to host."

She said nothing, sensing more to come.

"Our temporal experiment is no longer secretive, and that is unfortunate. However having reviewed all relevent data, we can hardly hold you or your staff responsible. It simply seems as though fate demands we seek company before venturing into the unknown as it were."

Kristilanna nodded in respect outwardly, sighing in relief silently.

"Which is why, after careful consideration, the council has decided supreme executive supervisory presence will be needed. As none of our advisors nor relations can make the long trip from Terra without delaying the timescale for the Scoperta and her launch, I have decided to send you."

The lady Overseer blinked, not entirely sure she had heard correctly,


Caelistis allowed a brief smile to light his features, "Don't look so suprise Kristilanna, I believe you once complained of being overlooked for more "interesting" assignments. Well let it be said I never watch my companions go unhappy without righting the wrong. Consider station command transferred to the authority of your Second as soon as this transmission terminates."

Kristilanna stood from her kneeling position, her jaw widened by what she had heard and was still hearing.

"Oh, and Anna? Be careful. We've suffered cruelty at the hands of space, I fear what time might deal us."

The link blinked out, leaving her in silence once again. Crossing into the bathroom adjacent, she activated the water dispenser. Splashing refreshing cold against her pale skin, she allowed herself the benefit to growl slightly. She had anticapted a chastising, a reprimand. She should have known better with Caelistis fresh from his WorldDisc return. Indeed, she could not find a more irriating punishment had she tried herself.

She marched outwards from her habiation chamber, towards the lonesome Dominion science advisor. She would make him aware of the change. Whilst she passed through the mostly silent corridors and linking sections, she stopped an intern as she walked past the Overseer. Kristilanna almost felt silly as the women before her, no older than eighteen, curtly nodded as she met her gaze.

"Have Sianna advised I grant the Der Angstians station aboard the Scoperta, and they are to ready themselves for starship launch at fourteen hundred hours tomorrow, Terran time."

With a nod, she disappeared, and Kristilanna continued on, still grinding her teeth in disbelief that she herself, an Overseer Aengelis no less, would be forced into participating in this flight. She sighed, visibly shrugging her shoulders.

It was not as if she had a partner, nor children to care for her departure.
Dread Lady Nathicana
08-08-2004, 21:16
Captain Sospiri had tactfully given the two some space while they spoke. Upon hearing the acceptance, she nodded and made her way back to the Machin Shin, this part of her job completed. “Palmas, get clearance for leaving. Tomba, fire her up. ”

Lets hope some of that was an act, she thought to herself, settling back into her seat. Vettori is in for a world of hurt if he doesn’t remember his place. None of us are irreplaceable, I don’t care how brilliant they say he is. Moody bastard …

Vettori, meanwhile was too wrapped up in his internal thoughts and feeling decidedly more uncomfortable than he had on arrival to notice the strange looks the others cast at the pair. Politeness demanded certain responses, but he had never been the social type, always feeling the odd man out. Now, on a strange station surrounded by people who seemed more akin to some distant works of art than living, breathing beings, not to mention having one that looked like …

An angel. Patient, distant as the stars, and damned if she doesn’t seem uncomfortable around me as well. Figures. Damn spooks should have chosen Pacci for this. Hell, he’s the smooth one. Knows how to work with people. I’m better left to my work where I at least have the chance to test out possible screw ups before sending them out for approval.

Even so, his first sight of the Scoperta took his breath away. A thousand questions popped into his head as he scanned the clean lines of the ship, only to have some of them answered by Kristilanna. He listened intently, nodding occasionally, only looking over to her when the alarm went off. He started to speak, then thought better of it, waiting for her explanation, which does little to ease his mind.

“Good luck,” he said lamely, watching her glide out of the room, wincing internally.

I told them this was a bad idea. I told them it was going to cause problems. But does anyone listen? Oh no. Must have our fingers in everyone else’s pies at all times. Damned if I’ll let it be my head they go after if this causes an incident. Maybe I can help patch things up at least with her if it all goes bad …

He turned his attention back to the ship, then carefully made his way down to it. Orders were orders after all, and right now she was the only one he’d been introduced to that seemed to have the authority. His bag tossed over his shoulder, he boarded the ship, looking around curiously for some direction, or fellow traveler who might show him just where exactly he was supposed to be going.

Proverbial fifth wheel, as always. Christ, why couldn’t they have sent Pacci?
08-08-2004, 22:05
Der Angst
10-08-2004, 12:35
Sekhmet nodded, barely consuming food... A little, yes, but not too much. Uhura was a bit different, though.

Well, Sekhmet decided not to pay too much attention to her. He was occupied with more... Interesting things, like, the exact mechanisms, theories, and whatnot the ship, or rather its special abilities worked with.

And even though he was aware that the Kaeneians were unlikely to just tell him, he was quite interested in the things he could get. The math used in this conversation was likely to make the average mind combust. But that was to be expected when it came to temporal science & technology.

And eventually, over time, the news came in.

"Wonderful... truly wonderful..." Sekhmet said, while looking at Uhura, kinda disgusted by her apparent ignorance. "Well... Until tomorrow, then, I guess... You wouldn't mind us exploring the station a little, would you?"
30-08-2004, 00:27
Kristilanna awoke suddenly. Her limbs jerked as shadow and dream were torn from their make-believe reality and dumped into the unceremonious world that she inhabited as normal. Hauling herself upright, and struggling to shake the sleep from her fluttering eyelashes, she allowed an uncharacteristic yawn to escape her drained features. Swinging her lithe, graceful legs over the edge of the bed, and ensuring she had some semblence of balance she stood. Tipping her head backwards slightly, she gathered the long blonde tresses that cascaded over her features and tied them quickly into an untidy ponytail.

The room was poorly lit, and to the Kaeneian spectrium of vision, a very dark blue. A cold, worn slate that lacked the warmth and energy of the lighter end of the colour spectrium. Shuffling from the bedroom, she stopped in front of the sink. Splashing some cold water over her flushed cheeks she sighed. Her temple throbbed painfully as the temporal distortions radiating out from scienced labs and the Scoperta itself burrowed deep within her cranium and pulsed. She was not entirely sure that the level of distraction could be overcome if she were to remain on the Scoperta for any length of meaningful time.

She shivered slightly as the cold water permeated her flesh, stepping back as the hydroshower alerted her to optimal water temperature with a gentle, unconfrontational tone.

Brushing her hair from the way, she pulled over her head her nightgown and folding quickly, let it drop into the recycler for later cleansing. Stepping into the unit, she breathed deeply of the steam that was released promptly as the sensors detected her presence. Raising her arms, she began to lather her scalp, feeling the refreshing fountain at least help to push her mental fatigue from the foremost thought, to ever-present reminder. Reaching for the nutritional supplement, she added it to the massaging action of her fingers against her hair.

And took the oppertunity to relax, as well as was reasonably possible.

For hours beforehand, the vast bio-isomorphic intelligence whose sole purpose came to control, and maintain the Khandrii Facility, performed a new and welcomed function. Indeed exhaustively so, sensor pallets and computational models anaylsed and returned results upon the precious cargo within Construction Chamber One. Indeed every square metre of the Scoperta, analysed and re-checked against every known event and horizon. Avalible processing capacity was hampered severely by this additonal drain. Yet it was welcomed, and indeed wished upon.

The Dominion, Der Angst and Cetaganda all sent and were granted representitives. Indeed all were now within the streamlined, organic hull of the Temporal craft. Residing within purpose-built, if slightly eccentric guest quarters. A result of an over-ambition to provide these "aliens" with a sense of home. However they found their accomodation, they were there, and waiting. Indeed, final pre-flight checks had all but been completed. It waited only for senior authority to finally grant clearance.

Kristilanna entered the bridge. It was a compact affair, and already quite cramped for room. The command throne took centre-precedence, with stations sorrounding the perimeter of the room, and the helm control at the front of the chamber. Gazing around, she saw the various stand-in ambassadors. The two Der Angstians stood aside the science console, talking amongst themselves. Beside Engineering monitoring, the Cetagandan cast a nonchalant look over the various readings, as though ensuring the screen did not betray him. And Mister Vettori, possibly the most interesting of these un-willing diplomats, stood to the left of the command throne. His eyes flashing from her form to the nearby auxilary consoles quickly.

She adjusted her ceremonial headband, a requirement of office she found most distastful. Crossing the short distance, she lowered herself into the throne, feeling the mimetic leather-like material mould around her body to provide optimal comfort. Addressing the two display panels at either arm of the chair, she tapped a sequence idly. Deep below, the thrum of matter and its arch nemesis annihilating each other in hellacious reaction began to grow as the reactor roared to full power. She turned her attention to the young Kaeneian women manning the navigational controls.

"Make our departure now."

The Helmswomen nodded, keying in the required sequence. A slight vibration shook through the bridge as the alligned docking clamps released pressure, and the Scoperta took to the vacuum under her own power. Slowly, she eased forwards, her course displaying through the central viewing globe. A three dimensional map of what lay ahead projected from the viewing matrix for all on the command deck to see.

Without a problem, the Scoperta cleared the airlock, and broke into open space. Receding rapidly in background, Jupiter and her many children, including the peaceful son of Europa. The Iceworld bade goodbye to this groundbreaking starship, as she relayed the final acknowledgement of successful launch to Khandrii control. As she negoiated the course that would lead her to the Sol system boundry, various sections reported in efficiently and with speed. All systems were performing as normal, Though this was no real test.

"Standby charging sequence for the Temporal field coils..." Ordered Kristilanna, her eyes taking in the inky blackness of the void before her.
Dread Lady Nathicana
31-08-2004, 02:58
Vettori looked around the bridge nervously as the systems were charged. Space flight still had him skittish, but this … this was something entirely different they were about to do. And it hadn’t been tested before. And it was something no one had ever successfully accomplished that he was aware of. And he had no idea what exactly was going to happen.

His eyes shifted quickly between Kristilanna, his fellow shipmates, the viewport, the instruments, Kristilanna again …

“Aw shit …”

He braced himself against the nearest solid piece of furniture or equipment, and prepared for the worst.
31-08-2004, 04:53
Callahan moves to stand next to Vettori, then leans over and whispers, "You do realise that if something goes wrong with the drive, chances are anything you brace against will end up spread across six dimensions just like every other thing in the ship." He starts to lean away, then adds thoughtfully, "Well, I suppose only the hull might be shredded and leave us in a dead hulk, adrift in deep space in the distant pass or future, wondering if the inner comparments will hold and how long the air will last. In that case bracing may help - for a few moments." He then gives Vettori a cheerful grin.
Der Angst
31-08-2004, 09:50
Sekhmet and Uhura didn't care all that much about this being the first attempt of a temporal jump, or the natural risks involved in it. They were... Naturally adventurous, and kinda enjoyed the tickling in their stomachs.

Besides, they were quite impressed by the Kaeneian ship design... Angstian ships tended to have a reasonably poor interior, no artificial gravity, made for only one purpose. To fly. Comparing those crude designs to the insanely luxurious Kaeneian ship... Yes, they were impressed. And hence, fairly certain that the ship would make it.

Of course, they were still Angstians, and as such, rather arrogant, hence, they tended to express their admiration by way of mocking the 'Wasteful Design'.

But well... With a bit of luck, the Kaeneians would either overhear it, or not care.

Eventually, their attention shifted to the science console. Basic Kaeneian had been implanted into their minds, so this wasn't much of a problem... Uhura didn't seem to understand all that much, and Sekhmet tried to explain her the things he did understand. Which wasn't all that much.

I need to get one of those Kaeneians to explain it to her... Without me looking inferior to him. Or was it the Cetagandans doing this stuff? Meh.

Now, all that remained was to see what the future would bring them... Or the present.

Or the past.

One thing was certain: Confusion was guaranteed.
Dread Lady Nathicana
01-09-2004, 01:18
Vettori gives Callahan a sickly sort of half smile, not loosening his grip nonetheless.

"Just what I needed to hear," he mutters through clenched teeth. "And thank you oh so much for sharing that little gem. No, really. I can't think of anything I'd rather be pondering than the entirety of my being getting suddenly torn asunder on the subatomic, multi-planed level or the like. Or get to spend the last few moments of my less than meaningful existance staring into the abyss with you charming people. When this is over, remind me to buy you a drink in return for your kindness."
01-09-2004, 04:07
Through the human sphere of experience and ability, Man had sought to overcome the various barriers that denied him free grace through amazing technological leaps and unlimited understanding of the universe and all that existed within its boundless territory. He struggled with the most basic and untouchable laws laid down by the most experienced and intelligent men of the centuries gone before. Though for every year that passed, and as age granted wisdom, still no easy method presented itself to break free of the final shackles that prevented Humanity surely transcending all others and truly becoming knowledgable.

But now, such restraints were cast off. Previously solid and impassable barriers were broken down and pushed aside until the true unknown beckoned to an avid explorer like a beautiful women might beckon her lover with grace, and a hidden delight. Now was the time of exploration beyond deep, bountiful oceans and glittering, distant stars. Now the very stuff of the universe, that which decided what should live, what should die and how long between, would be perused. The great predator, which did ultimately stalk all and deliver a killing blow where mercy and clemency would not be heard, was to be tamed.

Time, truly now had no meaning.

The Scoperta cleared the tiny, frozen rock known as Pluto. Watching with dispassion, Charon orbited it's master with dutiful obedience. These two bodies, curiously almost the same in size, yet assigned vastly different roles as ultimate slave to overseer, were left behind. Unable to keep track with the technology Mother Nature had seen fit to bestow upon her creations, Sol was left a shining beacon amidst an identical million. Adventure lay not in the cradle of Earth, but in the deep, frozen rents of the void.

Kristilanna glanced over as the Cetagandan representitive exchanged some supposedly mild-mannered quip. She saw the look of unhappiness flash over the normally withdrawn features of Mister Vettori, and without urging, nor suggestion did something quite unbecoming of her nature, and indeed generally that of the Kaeneian psyche as a whole-

She reassured him.

"We sit within the most complex starship our generation has ever constructed. We would not be so foolish as to assume it will operate perfectly, within previously stated limits. We will allow the frontier of Science to take us along at its own pace, and not that of impatience. Yet our finest minds have collaborated together, and have done their very best to ensure within reason we can take into account factors outwith our control...."

Realising she digressed, she pushed to get back on to point.

"We are as safe as an experimental Time Machine will allow, Mister Vettori."

Before She could hear a response, activity at the Helm station indicated news. The Kaeneian women turned to address the Overseer, taking a final glance that all was as she thought, before speaking:

"The Temporal coils are approaching saturation limit." She stated.

Kristilanna passed a hand over her left side display. Concurring with the previous statement, she shifted her slight weight, making herself as comfortable as was possible. She took a great breath, ensuring she was of calm voice and spirit to make what was in essence, a historical and forever remembered statement.

"Begin Temporal Distortion sequence."

Seconds passed, and the interior lighting dimmed visibly. Now only the light cast from the displays and consoles provided illumination. The Kaeneian visual spectrum coping with the change, other biologies unfortunately not provided for so easily. Deep within the hull, the massive reactor assembly began to vibrate with the tremendous forces at work within its interior. Containment fields worked at full efficiency to contain the effects of the devastating meeting of Matter and its nemesis. Mind-boggling amounts of energy were siphoned off and directed to the arcane and scarcely-understood technologies that made this craft so special, and so unique.

And changes wrought outside now, with visible consequences. It shimmered like the million-plus sparkle of a diamond star-scape, yet radiated with a deep red that seemed to almost stem directly from a terrible, groaning red giant star in the final stages of a horrendous death throe. It fell gently like a blanket about the aft of the starship, immersing itself against strengthened metal and bio-plastic. The shimmering grew with every second that passed, as the blanket leached from the rear and formed a fading trail of where the Scoperta had been and where it travelled now.

Kristilanna glanced now again at her armrest displays. She scarcely took her eyes off the fluctuating readings, save only to check on the condition of those around her, and to ensure Mister Vettori hadn't passed out from the beginnings of the turbulance. It was one hundred percent assured it would only get worse from this point in.

"Matter, Anti-Matter reaction now reaching one hundred percent capacity. We are generating full power to the Temporal drive. Slight vibrational stresses registering on the starboard nacelle, well within tolerable range. We are nearing displacement vector."

Acknowledging the report from the lean, tall Kaeneian male manning the science station, Kristilanna took a final look against the viewing globe ahead. She could already make out the subtle warping of the fabric of space ahead. As though looking through water, the rippling effect seemed a malfunction of the visual sensors. Yet to those assembled, it was no mere malfunction. It was the making of history.

The Scoperta began to shimmer herself now. Below this red blanket, that seemed to warm the ship as though a sleeping child might cuddle beneath a woolen bedcover. Her pale hull, flowing and finite began to grow transparent to the cosmos sorrounding. Her aft section, from which this strange mist eminated, began to lose any footing this dimension held. A ship hauling up anchor, and now cast upon the raging ocean anew, against the mighty elements of Nature. The frozen starscape that should show itself not through solid form began to flicker into visibility from within the Scoperta herself.

Kristilanna began to fidget. She felt the air around her begin to heat. Obviously it was a tiny increase in ambient temperature, but for a race as well used to the harsh cold of the North, it was unsettling. She felt her pores respond, beads of sweat beginning to form across her forehead, and chest.

"Ambient temperature has increased four point one degrees." Announced the disembodied intelligence, coursing through the thought-circutry of the starship itself.

"Compensate." Ordered Kristilanna curtly.

"Unable to comply. Environmental systems are no longer responding to my commands."

The Overseer was less than impressed. Standing from her Command Throne, she narrowed her eyes on the Kaeneian occupying the engineering overview. Though not the master adept, who obviously remained in the engineering section, he was still of sufficient rank to explain this supposed problem.

"I am at a loss to explain this malfunction." He began, not having to meet the gaze of his commander, "Internal diagnostics indicate the enviromental systems suffer no malfunction. It may be a problem with the interface between the isomorphic systems and the data-editor for the subsidary system. I can attempt to track the problem down..."

"It is unimportant, You are required on the bridge." She added quickly, the rising temperature irritating her greatly, but in all honesty, a secondry concern at this stage.

"Temporal Distortion Vector will be achieved shortly." Chimed the onboard intelligence.

Kristilanna opened her mouth to reply, to utter a word of receipt, but but was powerless to form a coherent thought. Pain burst trough her senses like a scarring touch of boiling water against all-to-fragile flesh. She staggered backwards slightly, her cheeks flushing as she reeled. Forcing her limbs outwards, she found the armrests of her Command Throne in ungraceful, jerking movements. She closed her eyes tightly, and concentrated. She was relieved when the pain began to simmer to nothingness. She had known of this beforehand, and indeed she could see minor signs of annoyance in the faces of other Kaeneians. Yet what she had not been prepared for was the utter impact it had on her alone.

"Overseer? Are you in need of medical intervention?" Asked the Tactical Adept.

Shaking her head, she managed to regain some semblence of composure. Taking a shuddering breath, and feeling able to once more return to normalacy, she dismissed the inquiry.

"That will not be required. Continue with your assignment."

It was then, with a tremendous, heaving shudder than seemed to permeate all aboard as well as the starship itself, that the maiden voyage entered its final phase. Turbulance began to build, a subtle vibration that quickly grew to simulate a torrential earthquake. Kristilanna struggled to remain upright as the intense forces outside acted on the Scoperta. The Bridge shook, and the Overseer strongly suggested that those standing take seat at an empty or inactive station.

With a violent moodswing, the Scoperta dipped starboard. Clinging on to the Throne, Kristilanna felt her body pulled by the unresistable urge of gravity. She could hear the whine of the inertial dampeners as they struggled to maintain livable conditions for the fragile organics onboard. They were losing the battle to retain their bodies in one living piece.

A shower of sparks erupted from the engineering station. Plexi-glass and blasted circutry thrown clear of their housings, and forcing the Kaeneian overseeing up and over his chair. The seat was torn from its mountings, and fell backwards, taking it's occupant down to earth with a painful bump. Quickly Kristilanna assertained he was not seriously damaged, and managed to get some sort of grip back on her situation.

"We are experiencing power fluctuations as a result of the mass power trasfer to the Temporal Drive. I am compensating."

Yet there was no time for even an augmented bio-electrical intelligence to react. With a blinding flash that would surely have overloaded even the most robust of instrumentation, the Scoperta fled from the phyisical universe. A compact yet clearly existing Starship torn from the fabric of the present, leaving only a cooling blanket of scattering crimson to mark its passing onwards. Silence reigned once more out past the loving light of Sol, for thos onboard, things were of a slightly less serene nature.

Consoles, no longer for the operating world hurled their electronic insides across the decking. Unable to withstand the influx of rapidly altering data, coupled with random spikes within the shipboard power network conspired to end their existances. For those aboard, it was an equally harsh struggle. The Der Angstians mounted themselves firmly within their chairs, their considerable mental facilities helping at least to lend an air of calm to their movements.

"I have lost the primary sensor grid. It is unable to cope with the high volume of incoming information. I am narrowing the intake perimeters, and activating redundencies."

The words registered, but Kristilanna did not acknowledge them. She was far to fascinated with what had appeared on the viewing globe seconds before it found itself unable to cope, and promptly failed. Brilliant light, fluctuating deep blue and red that mingled with angry yellow and luminious greens. Shades of every colour known to the Kaenian mind, and shades that challenged perception. Mingling into one glorious technicolour experience. Quite enlightening.

Another violent shudder, and Kristilanna reluctantly came back to reality.

"I am having difficulty maintaing safety parimeters on the Deuterium containment tanks. Temperature within the central repository have risen by thirteen percent. If I cannot stave off this deveopment, it is possible an uncontrolled detonation of the reactant may occur. I do not need to reiterate the fatality of such a scenario."

Vettori was not a happy man. Forced to endure space, time travel, and the very real possibility of destruction at the hands of equipment that to him seemed destined to fail spectacularly at some point. Why didn't they send Pacci?

Seconds later, the bridge was plunged into total darkness. All monitors, consoles and lighting died leaving nothing but the distant thrum of the reactors at least offering some reassurance they were not facing ground-zero of their total and complete destruction. Before Kristilanna could react, once more systems were restored, and lighting returned at their minimalistic norm. Yet she was rapidly losing patience for these problems, and their slow solutions. She was still adamant in the fact this was not a task befitting such a high ranking official of the Serene^Union. But the will of the Aengelistoria Dominica could not bee countermanded. She had no choice. Her fate, one way or another, was sealed.

She cast a glance towards the Dominion scientist. Obviously having a tighter grip on her emotions than the majority of humans, she would not be drawn into comforting motions. Instead she relied on the strength of her character to transmit through to him, and steel his resolve. They were far from troubled yet.

"I am unable to maintain the stability of the reactant tanks Overseer, I must ask for permission to jettison the Deuterium assembly and prepare the ship for emergency decelleration."

This was more than a problem. Even under the most beneficial conditions, computational models had shown the chances of a complete decelleration at these speeds without major structual damage was not in the least bit a sure occurance. Coupled with the fact that should their impromptu stop affect their destination, they might very well find themselves trapped in a period that did not offer a ready solution to obtaining fresh Deterium. Kristilanna knew there was little in the way of choice. She could already hear tortured rumblings from many decks below. Time was short.

She struggled to her feet, thought he turbulance did its best to knock her to the floor. She crossed to converse with the Kaeneian at the Helm, then to tactical. After a few moments had passed, she cleared her throat, finally coming to a decision.

"Begin ejection procedures."

She ignored the gasp that eminated from more than one foreign delagate. She would deal with their objections once they were safely in a reality of sorts. Crossing back to the command throne, she gestured to the assembled delegation.

"I strongly suggest you brace yourself for what you might term, a 'bumpy ride.'"

The moments had passed slowly, as preperations were made and completed. Systems were locked down as best they could be, data saved and isolated. Even the warheads that adorned the defensive torpedeo systems were disabled. Little was risked, in what was becoming a critical situation. With as many as possible braced and ready, the risk-laden ejection was commenced.

A horrible wrenching sound rattled through the air as the injectors gave up their fuel with protest. Clamps hissed violently as inertia was relied upon to pull the rapidly mangling assembly of metal and plastic clear of the hull. For several seconds, little happened. The Deuterium tanks followed quickly, and after a time, it had almost seemed as if the ship simply continueed on without reactant. Obviously this was fallacy, and quickly the laws of physics, already stretched by the very function of the Scoperta, wrought their vengence.

The Scoperta pulled upwards sharply, the nose of the starship suddenly rising as though its aft section became weighted, and heaving. All aboard held tightly as the massive gravitational forces took hold. Already taxed, the inertial dampeners screamed their agony as they were pushed far beyond their maximum rated safety capability. Sections of hull gave in, screaching and tearing from the frame with the roar of vacuum invading fragile atmosphere. Pressure alarms rang loudly, but nothing could be down about it at this time.

Kristilanna could not move. No muscle within her lithe frame had the energy or motivation to move, and she found even turning her neck to be a taxing effort. She took shuddering breaths, trying not to think of the immense weight pressing down on her chest. Looking across, she found herself staring at the equally struggling Vettori. They made eyecontact, and Kristilanna nodded.

She made no further movement, as the Scoperta banked hard starboard. Flung from the Command Throne, she felt heself fly, free of momentary distraction and manipulation. She was brought back to reality only by the snapping of bone, and the tearing of muscle. She felt herself impact against the handrial, and break through it. She felt the sharp pain of her arm providing the leverage needed to smash through the obstacle, before a heavy blow to the temple as she hit the floor, silenced her.

For the others, they would not be granted the luxury of unconsciousness yet.
Der Angst
01-09-2004, 13:41
"Boing." Was Skehmet's reaction as he saw Kristilanna, lying on the ground. He, as well as Uhura, had been quite... Well, shaken, and during the last moments, both of them had found themselves on the floor... Well, one survived it, even though the pain in his ankle was kinda annoying...

Well, nothing is perfect.

He looked around, the chaos being... Impressive, to say the least. He liked it, though, feeling almost... Well, at home.

"Oi. Is it even possible to make it back, after this?" He heard Uhura saying, addressing a nearby Kaeneian. Apparently, she was less... affected by the more recents events than he was... Personally, he wasn't entirely sure if his brain implants had bruised a part of his brain or not.


Getting up, he looked around, again. It was almost... Surreal... But then, from his experience (As well as from the experience of every other Angstian who had ever had any dealings with the Kaeneians), all they did was surreal, anyway... So, he wasn't too surprised.

"Bumpy ride... So, where are we?"
Dread Lady Nathicana
01-09-2004, 18:01
It all begins in a rush. That mix of anticipation and dread settling in the pit of his stomach even as it lurches with the first bumps … the telltale prickling of flesh … the feeling of being caught somewhere between heaven and hell, and not being entirely sure which way he wants to go. The rather prophetic-seeming statements of the Cetagandan keep repeating themselves over in his mind, along with all the things he had ever wanted to do, ever hoped to accomplish but didn’t … the look he gives Kristilanna must speak volumes, because she does the unexpected.

She speaks to him.

Somehow in the midst of the chaos and confusion, he finds an empty seat and straps himself in as snuggly as possible, hanging on to her words, wondering why in hell he ever thought this to be the grand adventure of discovery he had when the nature of the Kaeneian project had been revealed. As the situation worsens, his usual positive disposition takes over.

We’re not going to make it. Sweet God in heaven, we’re all going to die out here, and no one is going to know exactly how or why. I just hope whatever happens is final, and we don’t get caught in some temporal rift of neverending agony and torment … Jesus, what am I saying? That’s just my luck.

He braces himself as best he can against the aftermath of the tank ejection, grimacing against the pressure as it all seems to fall apart. In a moment where time seems to pause, his eyes meet Kristilanna’s … she nods … and he makes his final peace as best he can.

The rest all happens too fast for him to follow. The grinding of metal, the shriek of alarms, the voices of his companions, and his own voice yelling out one last gasp of defiance at whatever powers happen to be listening are the last things he hears before blacking out from the pressure. And with the darkness, odd bits of old reading long forgotten, at this last moment, remembered.

Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, live register'd upon our brazen tombs and then grace us in the disgrace of death; when, spite of cormorant devouring Time, the endeavor of this present breath may buy that honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge and make us heirs of all eternity.

Oh God, let this not be the end.
01-09-2004, 18:01
As soon as the first vibrations start, Callahan slips into an empty chair. At the same time he casually activates the boot and glove seals on his clothing, thankful that the ship's temperature dictated that he wear a modified naval shipsuit. He holds tight to the chair as the ship begins to buck and twist and the grav began to vary wildly.

"Crap on a crutch, I didn't mean the ship would fall apart. If I find myself in Timeheart in a minute, I shall be very annoyed," he says to no one in particular. "Bumpy ride, that doesn't sound good..." Forcing himself to calm, he begins to recite a simple spell to reinforce the structure of his body against the pressure. When the first hull breach alarm seals, he activates the helmet toggle of his suit and a clear memory-form shape springs up around his head without missing a beat in the recitation.

Even as Kristilanna goes flying, the ship seems to settle. Waiting a moment to be sure, Callahan then jumps up and goes to her side. He bends down and checks for her pulse, hoping that Kaenians even had on at the same places as a human. He sighs in relief as he finds one, then unseals his helmet.

"She's still alive," he says, pulling a basic medkit from his side. He frowns at it, and decides against any medicine or nanocelle treatments - he had no way of knowing how her biology would react. Instead, he pulls out a moldable plastic splint, padding, gauss, and bandages and sets about treating her arm, where bone was sticking through the skin. "You're going to be glad you're not awake for this," he tells her still form as he forces it back into place and binds it, with his Manual to a page showing Kaeneian anatomy to make sure he doesn't make things worse.

"Is anyone else injured?" Callahan asks, looking at the other humans. He then turns to the senior officer still functional on the bridge. "Security Coordinator Virtas, I realise I have no authority here, but I suggest that we do not activate any distress beacons at this time. It could attract unwanted attention."

Finally, he answers Sekmet's question. "My Manual hasn't gotten a timefix yet, which isn't a good sign. Hopefully we'll get a positional reading of landmark stars and pulsars from external sensors soon."
02-09-2004, 02:52
As though a fragile sailboat, tossed and pulled against the swirling vortex of the merciless ocean, the Scoperta drifted onwards, slowing to a crawl against a backdrop of uncaring stars and helpless nebulae. Where masts would break, and great patches of sail fall to decking, hull plating drifted past exposed framework, and in more than one section ionised plasma hissed in silence through fractured power conduits. Yet as these ancient oaken wonders that trawled the ocean endured, so did the Kaeneian starship. Her form battered, and broken yet her spirit enduring.

For those onboard, they could not be as easily steadied.

Confusion was the only thing in abundance on the bridge. Those that were in a fit enough state to do so, checked instrumentation and system integrities. Their work was as yet, futile but a required evil of training, and emergency procedures. Those who were still to join their companions in the land of the as yet living, were Kristilanna herself, and the young Kaeneian manning the helm station. The smoking, sparking ruin that had at once directed this timeship through the void, no more. With quick efficiency, her limp form was taken from the sight of the senior adepts. For her, there could be no medical intervention that would be meaningful. Dark crimson masked her features, of which those assembled could only hope were now peaceful.

Security Coardinator Ieanas Virtas, now the most senior Kaeneian aboard, surveyed the carnage before him with a look of serenity. He did little delegation, with the bridge crew already well versed in emergency routine and protocol. He moved towards the motionless form of his superior, Overseer Lgealis, but was caught off guard as the crouching form of the Cetagandan ambassador blocked his direct path. Sighing with irritation he stepped round, using the breach in the handrail to navigate. He was about to suggest he leave treatment of her wounds to assigned Apothacarians, when he spoke.

"You are correct, you have no authority here." He answered quickly. After a second, he softened, realising that he would best please Kristilanna by not at least accepting when a valid point had been made even if it was made by an outsider such as those now present amongst the most intimate of Kaeneian wonders.

[ "...Yet you make a valid point. I am unable to ascertain the full extent of the damage until the Scoperta herself is able to answer our question. Contact has also been lost within various sections of the engineering levels."

With that, two Kaeneians dressed in a startling, pure white entered the bridge. They carried with them an upright medical stretcher. Small potrusions along its length betrayed gravimetric ability, and effortless negation of that great enemy, gravity. They quickly congregated around the fallen Kristilanna, their words whisper between them. Virtas watched them for a moment, before moving off to ascertain the safety of the other delegates.

He crossed the short distances between walls, and stood before the murmuring Dominion guest, Mister Vettori. He waited a few seconds, and finally decided he could waste no more time on allowing him to come together naturally. He coughed, and when he was still not acknowledged relented to a secondry plan. Taking him by the shoulder, he shook him. Hard.

"Mister Vettori, are you in posession of your faculties?"

A groaned statement about his prefered destination to implant those faculties was issued, and satisfied he was in need of nothing more than a personality transplant, he headed towards those from Der Angst. Of all the foreigners, he felt most at ease with them. Their closer Jovian League ties had at least assured him of their partial loyalty. He did not require nor demand anything that was to be considered blood-oath. As the younger Angstian women climbed to her feet, she asked wether a return trip would be within their ability to grant. Taking the oppertunity to interrupt his subordinate, he addressed them:

"As I informed previously, we cannot know the full extent of the damage to the ship until the Scoperta herself is able to tell. At the very least, we now lack Deuterium in any meaningful quantity, and the required storage tanks. We will need to fabricate replacement equipment, and locate some reactant before we could attempt to return to our original time vector.....That is assuming we have no other pressing damage concerns to address, which by my initial examinations, is unfortunately not the case."

With a gentle groan, Kristilanna reacted to the Apothacaries around. Slowly the lowered her downwards on to the padded stretcher. Securing her limbs as best her injuries allowed, a gentle manipulation of the small recessed control runes filled the air with an almost supernatural hum as the stretcher rose upwards, levitating gently. A push against the rear handle propelled the gravitic device forwards, and though she stirred, the Overseer left the command centre in much the same way she had entered it, silently.

The hours has passed quickly, to near-suprise. Hard work and commitment from the repair teams had ensured that the Scoperta herself was now able to deliver a damning verdict on the damage that she had suffered during the jump, and what action, if any could be taken to right her. The various delegates were still on the bridge, now feeling weariness as time reasserted itself and forced them to acknowledge its presence. Indeed only now did the Infirmary end its unwelcomed stay at the top of the busiest shipboard departments. With only the death of the young bridge officer to mourn, as well as the injries to the Overseer, the crew were sufficiently healthy to continue their duties.

Virtas nodded as the display before him blinked compliance. stepping back slightly, he pushed his voice above the din of those working around him.

"Are you online?"

After a few, frightful seconds the Scoperta responded.

"Affirmitive. I have compiled a damage report, that will be truncated lest you grow weary at its three point eight hour length. Four breaches to the hull have exposed internal section to vacuum. They do not however compromise the integrity of my hull. More pressing is the twenty six detectable micro-fratures along the dorsal engine spine. They must be repaired, or a chance exists they will develop into full breaches mid-flight. Our priority however, is our power situation. As of now, we are operating on fusion power supplied by the sublight engine system. It is sufficient for our needs, however it will begin to wane once we restore full navigational control, and begin to accelerate."

"I have safeguarded the primary reactor system as best as possible. The integrity of the anti-matter containment tanks, injectors and magnetic constriction elements are all above minimal safety perogatives. Our primary concern is our total lack of reactant. All Deuterium tanks were ejected, obviously with all Deuterium onboard. In addition, damage caused by the high speed stresses during the period the Injectors were exposed has caused fracturing."

"If we cannot find an additional source of Deuterium, we will be unable to utilise the primary reactor, and as a result will be unable to gather sufficient energy to activate the temporal drive. We will be trapped here."

Virtras was not pleased with this development, he was not pleased at all.

Kristilanna groaned. The light overhead was painful, even to Kaeneian visual preference. For any Terran Human, standing aside they would surely be confused as to why a dull glow presented such a problem. For the Overseer, she has no such problem. She lifted her hands upwards, seeking to shield her face. She found to her half-sleep steeped mind's irritation her left arm was strapped to the bed firmly. She made do with one arm, forming a block against the sun above.

She raised her head, instantly regretting the decision as her vision swirled. The light bled from crisp edging, until it occupied her entire spectrium. Allowing her head to fall back against the pillow, she tried to speak. Yet the words struggled against rasping throat, and a dry tongue. She was about to give in, when a shadow fell over her struggling self, and a voice spoke against the harsh light.

"You were injured in the time jump Overseer, and suffered some extensive injuries. However, nothing serious remains behind to trouble you, and I am confident I shall be able to release you soon."

With that, the Apothacary turned, and left, the overhead light cutting out abruptly, leaving her blessed silence of a sort. She turned her head left, at the immobile limb. Sorrounding the arm from elbow to hand, a collar of metal circled. Snaking the metal, tubes carrying various nutrional gel and healing enzymes pulsed. Strapped tightly downards, she was confident it would be impossible to move.

She winced as a momentary stabbing pain assaulted her stomach. She furrowed her brow as she realised it lay not in her stomach itself, but below. Passing it off as another impact injury, she closed her eyes once more. She had become aware of a previously empty tube on the injured arm mount fill with a blue-tinged fluid, and recognised the introduction of anesthesia. She struggled to maintain wakefulness, even as her eyelids dropped. With a final sigh, she slipped into dream, and shadow.

On the bridge of the Scoperta, Virtras paced. It had been almost an hour since he had instructed that their location be assertained through examining current star and constellation make ups and checking against existing star charts. In addition, what little of the short-range sensor platform that remained operational checked background radiometric decay ratios, in an attempt to identify the time frame. The waiting was a required evil, and the techniques being used to do so painstaking.

Finally, completion brought as much relief as a Kaeneian would allow himself to experience.

"I have completed the locational diagnostic, and have ascertained our time frame."

"We currently lie approximately one point nine lightyears from the Sol System. I have extrapolated our likely timeframe as approximately one hundred years from our original vector."

Virtras spoke first, "These are favourable conditions. We are close to Sol, and as such civilisation. A century is not a great deal of time, and with some care and precuation, we can obtain the supplies needed to repair the reactor without damaging the timeline as it currently lies. Once we have full helm control restored, I believe we should make speed to Sol."

Vettori pipped up, from his position at the rear, leaning against the handrail, arms crossed.

"Shouldn't we run that past Kristilanna first?" He questioned.

Virtras narrowed his eyes, his patience for these foreigners short and his temper held in check through training, and sheer unwillingness to show weakness before his colleagues.

"The Serene^Union grants me authority where my superior is indisposed. You are here in no official capacity beyond observation. As such, you will keep your questioning of my orders to yourself. If you wish to complain, take your views to the relevent authority when we return, to our present."

Vettori growled quietly, He did not like this man. He did not like this man much at all.
03-09-2004, 04:38
"It should not be too difficult to obtain the materials, no. The amount of trade in such materials is massive enough that the ship's needs will be trivial. We may have to make do with lower quality materials than would be optimal in any especially advanced technology, of course - we can not take anything too rare. In general, however, timelines are not easily disupted, and little details tend to be flattened out," explains Callahan, in a even and reasoning tone. "However, I would suggest that we still take some precautions. Obviously, we should try to jump in at the edge of the system, and proceed on a low-emissions trajectory. We should use auxilary craft when possible, to avoid having the ship's technology from being observed directly."

Callahan looks over at Vettori for a moment, then turns back to the security coordinator and continues in the same even voice, "You will need us to assist you in negotiations to obtain the required supplies. At the very least, your ways will seem strange to people. I am not familiar with all of your history, but if we have emerged in a time that predates your arrival in Sol, this will only be further exacerbated. Having humans with you will help with this problem. "
Der Angst
03-09-2004, 15:02
Finally, he answers Sekmet's question. "My Manual hasn't gotten a timefix yet, which isn't a good sign. Hopefully we'll get a positional reading of landmark stars and pulsars from external sensors soon.""I see..." Answers Sektmet, still a bit shaken. Damn. That must have been a few million brain cells. And a few short circuits, or is it just... Feh. "Well, it beats being a part of a slowly expanding cloud of debris. I guess."

With that, he begun a short, internal check. Having implants has a lot of advantages. Maintenance and repair aren't any of them, though.

Hours Later

The ships diagnosis was... Well, not too favourable, for Uhura's liking. But it was better than nothing. They were still alive. Although... Her broken fingernail... Well...


At least for now. And considering Virtas statement, it was... Well, acceptable. She listens to Callahan, by now being rather content with the situation. It sounds so easy... But by god, I could bet something disastrous will happen... Again. "Just make sure we don't run into a random war, somewhere..."

Grr. Argh. No time. Might add something, later.
Dread Lady Nathicana
03-09-2004, 20:26
Damn, but that is a sting that’s gonna linger.

The trip so far had been less the epic adventure he had hoped for, and nearly all the nightmare he had begun to fear. He quietly watched the others from his position against the handrail, brow furrowed and looking grim, trying to ignore the throbbing headache as best he can. Vettori eyed Vitras now and then, clearly unimpressed with the man. While not the violent, bloodthirsty sort, nor indeed one for displays of physical prowess, he was after all, Dominion born and bred. Respect such as the Kaeneian demanded was to be earned, nor was casual dismissal of concerns something he particularly cared to put up with. A scientist, and one accustomed to challenging the status quo, questioning came second nature to him. As did voicing said opinions, right or wrong.

Cracking his knuckles idly, he nodded in return to Callahan. “I may not be the best negotiator, but I’ll do my best if needed,” Enzo says simply, thinking again the man for the job would have been Pacci – skilled not only in his knowledge of history, but his ability to work with people, and communicate. Languages were one of his specialties, after all. If they ran into more primitive races, or those far in advance …

Craptastic. Why me?

The comments about ‘time not being disrupted much’ is a bit more worrisome in his mind however, as is the usual fears of OPSEC breaking down in their quest to retrieve the necessary materials to get home. “We have no way of knowing what meddling here, or after, might bring. It’s all theoretical after all, until we can prove it one way or other. As has been suggested, I think we need to be extremely cautious in any interactions we have with this timeline’s denizens. As for the unfamiliar ship design problem, explanation is simple enough. Experimental science vessel – true for the most part, without revealing the exact nature of it. The only problem I could see is stating a nation of origin when asked, as we’ve currently no idea when we are, or who we might be dealing with yet."

He grins wryly, having an odd thought. "I tell you what, though – we hit Earth and it’s been taken over by a race of sentient apes, and humans reduced to gibbering slaves, I’m going to be sorely disappointed.”
14-09-2004, 23:48
Vitras gazed through the port. Beyond the impressive expanse of interstellar space beckoned, an immeasurable gulf between the systems of stars and planets that could possibly herald life, or simply boiling volcanoes of mud and fire, or frozen splinters of ice-cold rock. For outwith the boundries of these limitless systems, nothing stirred. Elements, most basic and understood of all floated lazily within an environment that demanded little of such simplicity. Hydrogen, simply existed freed of any concern or worries that might plague it.

And the Kaeneian was envious of such a simple existance.

It had been several hours since their impromptu meeting, having taken place on the Bridge. With grudging acceptance he had listened to the ideas from the Cetagandan and Dominion envoys, and concurred with the findings. Without further information, it was impossible to make definite wether they were truly one hundred years past, or future. Kaeneians being at all times until most recently hidden from the people of Earth, would find interaction impossible if the past was indeed home to the Scoperta. It was now likely they would seek to penetrate Sol, and scout the system by auxillary craft.

He dropped into a chair, the calm serenity of his quarters bringing order to the chaotic sequence of events within his mind. The other delegates were now within their own accomodation, to resume their meeting at zero seven hundred hours the following morning, A scarce nine hours from now. Kristilanna's condition had improved sufficiently that she should make said meeting and resume full command. It was a thankful development, for he was not entirely sure that he could tolerate interaction with the foreign delegates with much further calm. Smoothing his sleeping fatigues, he climbed into the compact bedding. He was weary, and it was unlikely to change with a few short hours of rest. Yet it was all he could hope for.

The Apothacary frowned, a puzzled look passing over his previously calm features. Ensuring the results being displayed were correct, he left the semi-privacy of the medical office, and crossed the short distance to the primary care-bed, and to its occupant, Kristilanna Lgealis. He carefully selected the require stimulant, and promptly injected the chemical with a soft hiss as the liquid was forced through the pores of the flesh without the pain of the crude hypodermic.

Her eyelashes fluttered, as synapses fired and neurons carried out sacred tradition. She did not lift her head immediately, instead trusting that her internal balance would right itself and give indication of her safety. No longer feeling her broken limb tied down so, she slowly sat upwards. Her sleep-laden eyes passed over only a secure bandaging where previously machines had worked. She brushed untidy strands of blonde from her forehead, and looked towards the Apothacary.

"It is most gratifying to see you back to sufficient health once more, Overseer." He began, "Damage to your right arm and internal bleeding have been corrected, and you are now of acceptable standing to resume command, and discharge your duties to an acceptable efficiency..."

Kristilanna sensed that more was to come, and raised an eyebrow in question.

"I am concerned with some neural activity thats registering on the cranial scans. Whilst we took into account that the temporal fluctuations would effect Kaeneian biology to a degree, it seems to be having a far more discriminatory effect than first though. Some amongst the crew experience nothng more than an occasional ache, whilst a few have been debiliated by migraine...You similiarly seem to be suffering degredation in the cerebral cortex. It is not serious, nor life threatening, and I can repair the miniscule damage...but it is perplexing."

Kristilanna nodded, hopping to the floor and flexing her stiffened legs as if to gingerly test their abilities to hand her slight weight.

"If I am now able to leave?" She asked politely.

The Apothacary nodded, "Of course, of course Overseer. I shall most likely require a check up on your part within the next day or so, but you are free to resume your duties."

Nodding, Kristilanna left the infirmary. She became acutely aware of her dishevelled appearance. A simple medical garment, dress-like and uninspiring adorned her figure. Her hair originally held in a loose ponytail had worked free and now looked most unprofessional. She shuffled slowly as she struggled momentarily to motivate her weary muscles. She felt the irritating sense of the unknown seemingly prod her in the ribs, mocking her lack of understanding on where the Scoperta now found itself. She would have to make do with automated reports, and the intelligence of the Ship itself to educate her.

With a great, heaving sigh she arrived at her quarters, and entered.

And outwith the Scoperta, that great predator and stalker of us all prayed silently. A force utterly unstoppable for the entire duration of its near-infinite existance cast its terrifying gaze upon the Scoperta, and for which its purpose bypassed all that made this force of the universe powerful. An affront to the passage of age, and to this ancient foe. Slowly, fate was ushered into action, and a set of events placed into motion. Now it would be for the Scoperta and her varied crew to act, and recieve a harsh lesson in the interference of the most basic of laws- Time.

Deep within the bowels of the engineering decks, amongst conduit piping and reinforced bulkhead, tiny figures set against the massive form of the now silent deuterium injector assembly worked tirelessly. Overhead and now tightly sealed, the ejection doors loomed. Blackened and jagged scorch marks around its diameter betraying the carnage that had seen the entire reactant system ejected. Now, where massive tanks should feed supercooled Deuterium slush into the top of the Matter/Anti-Matter reactor, only a great expanse of empty space remained. The injectors, exposed and buckled were sorrounded by hastily erected scaffolding. On various platforms the Kaeneians worked, replacing and re-alligning the components that might be ready for function only if Deuterium could be located in their present timeline. The alternative did not bare thinking about.

Kristilanna sat at the compact table. Ensuring the towel was wrapped tightly around her drying body, she retrieved the brush from the top drawer with practised speed. Slowly, she combed out the waist-long blonde tresses, as her reflection stared back on the waist mounted dress mirror. After several minutes, feeling decidedly more relaxed for the experience, she changed into her sleeping fatigues, tying back her neatly assured hair.

However, she felt curiously unwilling to sleep. After all, she had spent nearly two days under near constant sedation, and her body had taken more than a fair share of the rest on offer. She paused, frowning at this apparent problem. Standing, and requesting that the lights be dimmed, she retrieved suitable footwear, and left the cabin. She would not be frowned on walking the corridors dressed so, for any Kaeneian would simply assume her business important enough to demand immediate attention.

It was curious then, that she found herself outside the entry to the Dominion's envoy at a most unsociable hour. She hesitated at the alert tone, wondering if it was indeed better to wait until the morning, and the meeting. She sighed, and pressed the rune. From outwith the chambers, she could hear the soft hum of the alert ring through. She was almost put out as she caught herself looking over her appearance in a reflective panel. A most un-Kaeneian act.

Especially whilst wearing pyjamas.
Dread Lady Nathicana
21-09-2004, 03:07
Vettori worked on what he could, where he was directed with a dogged perseverance that some might think out of character, not knowing him well. This was no longer a question of 'possibly' for him. It was quite seriously a matter of life and death, and not just for him, but others should he fail to carry his weight.

Those who had already been injured, those they had lost ... one in particular came to mind; Kristilanna. She had been the one who had been kind enough to allow him to accompany them on this journey. Oh, he regretted it now, sure enough, but the fact remained, she had, from the beginning, been more than tolerant of him.

Tolerant. Isn't that what 'Zel said when she left? 'If there's a woman out there who can put up with you, she's welcome to you' - yeah, that was it. Not as if anything like ... I mean, there's no way she ... damn fool, get back to work. And the thoughts continued. One thing he did know. He didn't relish the idea of continuing this journey without her. In spite of her obvious irritation, and the short time he'd actually known her, he found her presence had a calming affect on him. And that, in and of itself, was rare enough a thing for him to take notice.

These are the thoughts that weigh heavily on his mind as he works and toils alongside the rest of the crew, more often than not needing the expertise of the Kaeneians and Cetagandans who had built the thing.

He sat up in bed with a jerk, wondering first, where in hell he was, next what in hell that sound was, and then, once those answers filtered through his sleep-clouded mind, 'who in hell was stopping in at this hour?'. The possible answers were of course, the worst his imagination could conjure up, and he stumbled to the door wearing nothing but his soft blue plaid boxers. He opens the door, eyes squinting against the light, scrubbing a hand through his unruly hair.

"Jesus, what is it this ti--"

He cut off sharply, seeming to sober and wake up rather quickly.

Aw shit.

"Oh...o...Overseer, I mean, Kristi...thatis, Signora Lgealis," he stutters, the fact that she is here, at his door, in the middle of the night, and in her pj's no less, simply not computing.

"I um ... damn. You uh ... can I help you? Dammit, I mean ... care to come it? Hallway's not much of a place to be standing 'round in, and it's good to see you up and about, and ... You ok?" He pauses then, looking her over in concern before it hits him.

I'm standing here talking to her in my underwear. Please, God ... just shoot me now.
23-09-2004, 00:16
Kristilanna paused, as she felt a most unpleasent feeling nestle in the pit of her stomach. She analysed it, trying to place what seemed to churn, and upset her insides so with no regard for her outward appearance. It was an emotion, and a powerful one at that. The Overseer was instantly miffed, and displeased. Emotions were not indulged in by Kaeneians, as a simple and inefficient use of resources. Happiness, longing, affection and love were all irrelevent and not worthy of further discussion.

But here, Kristilanna felt such within her, she felt... apprehension.

Vettori coughed slightly, more to try and bring the waiting women out of her impromptu daydream than in any real need to clear his throat. Roused from her troubled innards, Kristilanna focused on the man before her, and his apparent lack of clothing. She allowed her eyes to travel downards, and then once more returning to a rapidly blushing face. Realising the silence would require breaking eventually, it was the Kaeneian who spoke first.

"I apologise for this intrusion, Mister Vettori, I have been discharged from the Infirmary for only eight minutes yet... I felt I needed some sort of companionship. I cannot truly explain why I am standing before here...After the rest and sedation I have experienced since my injuries were inflicted, I did not feel that being alone would be beneficial. If however I have disturbed you, I shall leave..."

Vettori stammered for a moment, before picking up pace, he stepped backwards, opening his quarters to the view of the Overseer, "N-no, Christ, no. No trouble at all, Ov--Miss Lgealis ... Won't you please come in?" He added quickly.

Kristilanna allowed her gaze to travel around the habitat. Due to her rather unusual circumstances of apprehending this command, she had not familiarised herself with anything more than the most basic and vital locations on the Scoperta, not including the guest quarters. But she found them slightly unusual. She knew that efforts had been made to decorate the interiors in styles of Earth past that might lessen the foreign intonations of being onboard a Kaeneian ship. She recognised the style as Earth Deco, and though she found it asthetically pleasing, she did not care for its "luxurious finishing."

Crossing, she perched down on the edge of a couch. Her stance was curious, as though sitting was something she indulged in rarely, and looked quite at odds with the couch, the room, and even the sleeping fatiges she wore. As Vettori closed the short distance, he threw himself down on the couch, a respectable distance from the Kaeneian women, but immediately worried. Perhaps he should have sat in the chair opposite? Was he being disrespectful? He decided to dismiss it, after all at this ungodly hour, it was hardly protocol enforcing this visit.

"Can I get you a drink?" Asked Vettori, trying his utmost to be professional, and cool, and feeling anything but.

Kristilanna opened her mouth to simply decline, to state she did not require liquid refreshment, but something forestalled her. She hesitated, looking at what she found to be, an utterly intriguing person. She knew that what she was doing now was frowned on amongst more seasoned Kaeneians, as she was not currently in role as Overseer Aengelis, not illegal nor breaking protocol. She nodded to Vettori instead, who grinned nervously in response, and made his way to another part of the room, shielded from view.

Vettori returned, hastily changed into loose drawstring pants and a t-shirt, and clutching a bottle with two glasses upturned. Kristilanna studied the dark liquid, but drew a blank in attempting to identify it. She, as most Kaeneians had no stomach for alcohol, and as such bothered seldom to familiarise themselves with beverages, and never so of foreign brands or drinks. It would be irrelevent, and a waste of resources. As so many things in this life were to the people of cold, and ice.

"The Doc passed you off as fit to go?" He asked idly, pouring a small amount of the mysterious drink into glasses.

"The Apothacary has deemed me of sound mind and body to discharge my duties." She answered curtly, before deciding to elaborate, "I am still suffering from minor neurological impairement, specifically in my frontal lobes. It has led to a rather irritating, and sometimes debilitating headache. It will be several days further before my damaged bones have knitted together fully, but I am to all intents and purposes sound."

Vettori whistled, as the description was spoken. His scientific mind instantly burgeoned with questions, and he ordered them, a puzzled look passing over his intelligent features as he replied;

"I've had the odd headache, but I'd put it down to stress - obviously nothing like what you've been experiencing. It's my dreams that've been, well ... odd."

Kristilanna nodded, taking the offered glass into her hands, but instead electing to postpone sampling. She placed it in her lap, cradling the sculptured glass, clearly Dominion in design, for no Kaeneian would waste such time and effort in putting elaborate designs on something as functional and unimportant as a container of this sorts.

"The temporal radiation being emitted from the core affects all biological lifeforms to some degree. For the majority, an occasional disruption in brainwave patterns results in a headache, for a select few, the results are decidedly more unpleasent, with actual degredation of the cerebral matter... A select fewer experience no visible effects at all."

Vettori nodded, and tossed back his drink. He seemed not taken aback at all, and swallowed it with assured and calm practice. "I'm sorry I don't have the traditional coffee beans to go with it," he says apologetically. "Still, I've become rather fond of the stuff over the years." Kristilanna shrugged inwardly, and presseed the glass to her lips, tipping it slightly, she took a sizable gulp, and swallowed. She gasped, coughing loudly, and quickly putting the glass to the table with a loud and untidy clatter. Her hands went to her throat, and she hacked again violently. She closed her eyes tightly, and sighed. They began to water, and she felt the sting of tears as this liquid fire tore down her throat, and into her stomach. She could barely force a thought or action through the cloud of feeling that suddenly made itself so apparent.

Vettori was quickly at her side, a gently touch on her elbow, and a concerned look. "Jesus, woman! You don't gulp Sambuca like that - not your first go anyways! Smooth shots, dammit. Smooth shots ..." His voice was soft, and apologetic in spite of his words, and he cursed himself under his breath for not having forseen this problem.

Kristilanna choked the words out from behind gasps, "Mister Vettori... I am... not used to the more potent drinks outside of the Serene^Union. Our...biology does not react well to all... but the most watered down beverages."

She allowed her head to fall back against the top of the couch, her chest rising and falling quickly as she felt the rush leave her, and normalacy return. She ran a hand through her loosely tidied hair, and was suprised to feel a slight prick of sweat from her forehead. She felt the worried gaze of the Dominion Science Advisor burrow into her, and she turned to address him, satisfied she had recovered.

"It is an interesting concoction...Mister Vettori."

He managed a smile, and then moved to address a slightly irritating factor. "Please, call me Enzo."

"Enzo" She said simply, as though trying the word out for the first time. She stared at the glass, picking it up hesitantly, and taking a guarded sniff. She could tell little of its overwhelming nature from its aroma, but it was always better to examine something in its entirety.

"Then, I would have you call me, Kristilanna..." She had most definitely stepped into the unacceptable from a Kaeneian point of view. Yet, she relied without having to convey that Enzo would use it when appropriate, and hopefully, it would not raise the ire of those who were in positions of power. Vitras was a name that immediately sprang to mind in this consideration.

She took the glass upwards, and sipped anew. She coughed again, and though the reaction was not as violent as the previous, and some semblence of control, Kristilanna was still taken back by its potency. She shrugged, this time allowing Vettori to see, and swallowed a third gulp. By this time, the baptism of fire had ended, and only a queer facial expression betrayed her struggle to handle it. The man watched her curiously, with no small amount of concern, and perhaps a bit of confusion as to why she continued drinking when she didn't seem sure she even liked it. He poured himself another shot all the same, swallowing smoothly, then letting out a low, slow breath, already enjoying the warm sensation that spread out from his stomach, calming his nerves.

They discussed many things in the coming while. The current state of the Scoperta, and the perilious lack of fuel, of which would bring about their ultimate failing. They pondered what, if time could be considered linear, their original compatriots thought of their departure. Vettori covered briefly his past scientific explorations and discussions. His reputation for speaking his mind, even to the detriment of a political situation, and of his general enthusiasm for the world of science. Kristilanna, listened and nodded at appropriate intervals. She found herself gradually lost in the words of this man, and his actions. His hands would explode into life, to illustrate a point spoken word could not do so on its own. As she gradually finished the glass in front, she found herself in a situation she had never before encountered.

It was one no amount of diplomatic training and experience could help her with. She was intoxicated.

The telltale mental fog that descended, and seemed to poke at her higher functions was unmistakable. She could feel the fiery liquid course through her veins, as though her very blood was replaced with this angry drink. She shook her head slightly, chastising herself for getting into this position, knowing Kaeneian intolerance of alcohol, yet consuming it anyway. Vettori gradually slowed, and stopped his monologue, as he watched the curious actions of Kristilanna.

"Are you feeling alright?" he asked.

Kristilanna nodded, then shook her head, then nodded again. Her brow furrowed, she could not understand the difficulty she had in answering what should be a simple question. She tried to bring her glass down to the table, but suceeded only in dropping it at a greater height than was reality. It skittered against the tabletop and rolled to the soft, carpeted floor beneath.

"I believe... I am intoxicated." She said, in a matter-of-factly way.

Enzo allowed a chortle to escape his lips, as he stood from the couch, shaking some of the stiffness from his legs, he bent down, towards Kristilanna.

"Don't worry. I'll help you back to your quarters." he offered, feeling a little buzzed, but knowing it was nothing he couldn't handle.

Kristilanna nodded, and stood, yet her balance was in great question, and she lurched forward. Vettori moved quickly, and took hold of the Overseer before any harm could come to her. It was then, as they were, face to face and gazes matching, that it seemed Time truly stopped. The moment stretched into a forever, and every sound seemed to fade away. The thrum of the power distribution grid, of the gravitic plating ... all replaced by the sound of heavy, questioning breathing.

Kristilanna felt strange. She now looked deep into the puzzled eyes of Enzo, the gap between the two barely a handspan. Yet neither sought to end this, remaining in this peculiar, swept-of-their-feet momentum. It was the Overseer who spoke first, perhaps becuase the alcoholic fog had removed some of her most inbuilt and driven restraints.

"I find this tactile contact curious."

Vettori smiled, grateful for such an innocent comment to break this heaving moment, he waited, sensing more was to come from this woman, whom he literally held in his arms, and could look not away from even for a moment of respite.

"I am experiencing ... emotions unlike anything I have experienced before. It is quite overwhelming. It is as though they wish me to act on something, yet I cannot say for sure what it is. I believe I will have to react to this stimuli."

And, Kristilanna kissed him.

It was nothing so harsh or badly put together as it sounded, but a simple completion of what had been brewing beneath protocol and politness. It was gentle and hesitant, as Kristilanna, hardly immature at twenty five years of age, could find nothing in her vast experiences that could help her with this task. She moved slowly, fearful she would be incorrect, or worse, insufficient. It lingered, and eventually, she moved away slightly. She felt her cheeks flush, reddening under the hard-to-gauge eyes of Enzo.

"Was that sufficient?" She asked.
23-09-2004, 04:10
While his companion from the Dominion was pursing other activities, the Cetagandan wizard was making a scavenger hunt. With the permission of the craft's commander, Callahan was searching the ship for possible trade items. He started in his own quarters. Most of the luxuries that had survived the trip intact were quickly added to his list of useful items, especially any fine drinks. Next on the list was to look through the manifests for sickbay, which turned up little that could be used - most of the drugs wouldn't be useful on humans. The armory followed shortly after. While he doubted the Security Coordinator would appreciate it, Callahan knew well that hand weapons (let alone anti-shipping ordinance) could fetch high prices on the black market. Engineering and the cargo bays turned up various spares, some of which he judged safe for sale. Eventually, he finishes, his list even including scap metals.

The next task he turns his attention to is the need for fuel. That, at least, he was relatively sure he could deal with. Requisitioning a small space fuel pod that Engineering had made, another tank full of water, and some conducting wire, he sets up shop in a cargo bay, directing some technicians in assembling the components.

Slowly but surely, vital hydrogen slush begins to slosh into the fuel tank. First, the water is broken into its component oxygen and hydrogen by electralysis. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere, while the hydrogen is supercooled and flows into the fuel tank. While it won't be optimal, plain hydrogen will suffice for a short time as fuel for the main reactor. Unfortunately, his predictive models showed that trying the trick using the time drive would almost certainly blow them all into tiny pieces. Still, it would suffice for a two-lightyear trip to Sol.
Der Angst
25-09-2004, 08:44
Sekhmet was in his quarters, alone, searching through the various history files he had saved in his somewhat damaged, but nonetheless still working implants. Muttering something about humanities tendency to blow itself up, constantly, he wondered what exactly would, or rather could, wait for them once they would arrive in sol.

Eventually, he decided that this particular timeframe was not all that different from the others, and with a sigh of relief he paused, for a second... But then, he had to admit that he had never been overly interested in history, and his files were somewhat rough.

Well, he would see, and if his assumptions were inaccurate, he would at least witness some interesting surprises.

On the other hand, he wasn't a man who liked surprises.

Another sigh, and he begun the second part of his work. 'Calculating' the most likely futures. Of course, chaos theory tended to be a bitch when it came to this kind of 'calculation', and while he knew about some projects regarding regional precognition... He didn't have the the knowledge or equipment (Or, for that matter, the proximity) to engage in this kind of thing...

A third sigh, his frustration growing, then he begun.

A few minutes later, he wondered briefly why the calculations showed any and all of his relatives dying approximately 100 years ago.

Goddamnit. Useless piece of theoretical bullshit. With that, he decided that enjoying the quitre pleasent interior and the next available drink was possibly a better idea.

Come to think of it... If this is the past, bringing the ship back home could change a few things... For good.


Elsewhere on the Scoperta, Uhura was helping as good as she could, though her distinct lack of engineering knowledge hindered her a little... But basic work was another thing that could be done, and, thanks to the reasonably excessive education Angstians received, she wasn't all that incapable...

Eventually, during a short break, she sat down and, being the generally rude, privacy ignoring person she was (At least when outside the vicinity of superiors.), let her thoughts circle, exploring the ship as it was custom for a telepath... Touching the faint thoughts of the people around her, carefully, as to not waking them... Then further, where she couldn't see...

And then she smiled softly, and with a chuckle, she stood up, to help, again.
Dread Lady Nathicana
28-09-2004, 16:06
Su-sufficient? Che? Di che l'inferno parla?

His mind refused to wrap itself around the unexpected comment, and he blinked stupidly for a moment, his lips moving, but lacking the words needed to answer. First instincts took over, and he impulsively kissed her again, the heat running through him only due in part to the alcohol.

Of course, being the oddly honorable and logical (if occasionally fumbling) man he is, reason soon asserted itself and he drew back with a sheepish sort of half smile, for some reason looking slightly ashamed.

"I ah ... more than, Ov--Kristilanna. More than." Vettori cast around the room as if something there would give him the inspiration or assistance he needed, scratching the back of his neck and for a moment looking anywhere but at her. If he did, it would only make it more difficult.

"It's been a rough time here of late. You've just recently been released, you still need some time to recoup it seems, and we've both been drinking probably more than we should," he finally says carefully. "I think ... I think I ought to help get you back to your room and tucked in safe and sound. We can talk about all this," he said, then picked up speed as he started stumbling over his words. "I mean, if you want to that is, later when we've sobered up. Or if you'd rather, we could just forget the whole thing, and ... I mean, I shouldn't have given you so much, and I ..."

With a sigh he trailed off, scrubbing one hand through his unruly hair as he usually did when faced with a predicament.

Lorenzo Vettori, you are an idiot.
09-10-2004, 02:58
Kristilanna felt odd. A feeling she could not truly place in her realms of experience saturated her soul, and seemed to threaten to overpower her completely. As though a long battered and gnarled trapdoor has suddenly given way with a terrifying crash, so did a wave of overwhelming emotion flood her senses. Months upon years of hard and difficult training had isolated and compacted her mind to precision and excellence. Logic and calm thinking rationality replaced the impulse for random outbursts. Yet now, for the first time since her childhood, she felt truly free of such limitations.

And for the second time in one night, Kristilanna peformed the unexpected. Her lips curved upwards, and her teeth, pearl white and impeccable flashed a dazzling, uninhibited smile. Not forced, or through politeness, as she saw Enzo run a hand through unruly hair, she returned the gesture with a pure outflowing of emotion. Her cobalt-blue eyes twinkled with wonder in conjunction.

"I do not wish to return to my quarters," She began, matter-of-factly. "I wish to remain here with you."

Seeing a hesitant argumental reply brewing, as Vettori's brow creased in confusion, she quickly added-

"My cognitive functions are not hampered by the alcoholic beverage. I am simply temporarily relieved of my emotional control and subsequent supressing. I am fully capable of making informed and sensible decisions, and I have made one. I do not wish to leave, however I shall if that is truly what you desire."

He tried to argue the point. He did. Words just didn't seem to form correctly, and despite having the room set to optimal temperature and humidity levels, it seemed too hot, and his throat, far too dry. He glanced quickly at the table and the bottle still sitting there, and dismissed it as entirely the wrong thing to continue with.

This sort of situation was entirely out of his realm of experience. Not the intimacy, no, but her responses. Her cool logic in a situation that rarely seemed to involve such things.

No, she can't mean that. I mean ... is that really how they work? And why? Hell, I'm no biologist, but this sure as hell isn't ... Jesus, I can't tell her to leave. What man in his right mind would? But ... oh bloody hell.

Stepping forward, she captured his hand in hers, her own diminutive and slender fingers wrapping around his larger, callused tips. She pulled him closer, until they stood chest to chest, her eyes searching into the confusement, and lust, and want that seemed to mix together and erupt from the window to Vettori's soul. Distance closed once more and lips met. Now passion replaced tempered first steps, and lips pushed against their counterparts seeking, no demanding entrance and sation. With a quiet sigh of mixed pleasure and acquiescence, he allowed her to do as she pleased, letting the arguments and worries slip to the back of his mind as he gently embraced her.

Kristilanna felt strong arms cup the small of her back, and she relaxed into this reassuring touch. She gently ran her fingernails along the handsome lines of his cheek, tipping her head to the left slightly to faciliate his advances. After several moments they parted, the demand for oxygen so the body might continue to function itself equally powerful in both Kaeneian and Human. He gasped as they both drew back, his breath coming faster, his pulse already racing.

"I am experiencing an overwhelming number of reactions," summarised the Overseer, slowly descending to the comfortable couch below, gently pulling the Dominion envoy down with her, until they sat closely together. Taking the hand still held in her own, she pulled the now willing limb upwards, until it it was held against her own cheek, and lowered it briefly to tenderly kiss a knuckle. Reaching back, she quickly relieved her hair of its previous constrictions, shaking the flowing locks free.

A veritable waterfall of blonde cascaded downwards, slowing and finally stopping only once it had reached her waist. She ran fingers quickly through, ensuring it was settled behind her ears and sufficiently pleasing. She had rarely worn her hair downards and so free, and never in the company of another. For seemingly this night would be one of first experiences.

My god ... she truly is an angel.

Vettori watched in fascination, reaching out impulsively to run his shaking fingers through her golden tresses. He hardly dared breathe, half afraid that at any moment he was going to wake up and discover this was all a dream.

"I wish to further explore you," came the scientific, if now infused statement. Her gaze did not waiver from the aroused, if flustered Vettori. She seemed however to act as some sort of emotional anchor. Where previously perhaps his vocal chords would struggle to keep up with the pace of his brilliant intellect, now she gave new energy, and pressured his voice to once more return and find form.

He still didn't know what to make of her clinical yet terribly arousing approach to it all. The scientific part of him found it oddly comforting, while the less rational side was still tweaking from the unusual approach. It all elicited the desired affect however, and at her comment he tossed the last bit of doubt to the wind.

"I'm all yours, la mia bella," he said warmly, rising slowly to his feet and reaching down to draw her up as well, pulling her close for another slow yet hungry kiss before taking a step towards a more comfortable location.

Slowly, she felt herself tugged forward. Not with urgency nor haste, but with a hesitancy she found comforting. He gently guided her towards an area of the quarters she had previously believed suitable only for one act, of which if the Overseer was correct, would not be indulged in for a considerable length of time. Slowly she followed, feeling the pit of her stomach tighten in anticipation, in nervous, raw energy.

She soon found herself standing before Enzo. He sat on the very edge of the comfortable, spacious bed. Perched so far from its edge it seemed as if only his conscious will somehow prevented his spiralling to the floor before her. She smiled once more, dropping her lithe arms around his neck gently. She leaned forwards, and kissed his forehead, allowing her full lips to linger, for a second that onboard the Scoperta, whether mocking time or not, seemed to last an eternity. He shivered lightly in response, letting out a low breath he hadn't realized he was holding, closing his eyes for a moment to just enjoy the soft feel of her lips, the clean scent of her hair as it fell around her face.

She stepped backwards, her hands travelling to her neck, and he looked up, watching her with rapt fascination. Reaching, she tugged at the delicate silk ties holding the upper portion of her resting fatigues to her slight frame. With little resistance they came away, though no wind was present in a room perfectly environmentally regulated the material seemed to flutter gently, as it fell away to reveal her smooth, shaped neck. The curves of delicate shoulders, pale as though from the finest china, and not simply the flesh of a living creature.

She reached now behind her back, and unfastened the straps against the small of her waist. With a gentle flutter, the top now fell totally discarded to the ground. She cocked her head slightly as she noted Vettori's eyes widen as he took in her full feminine curves, only the presence of an uninspiring yet alluring bra preventing the full natural beauty of the Kaeneian women shining through. Taking his hand once more, she held it to pouted lips, and kissed. Slowly, she pushed the hand downards, against alabaster flesh and the nape of her neck. Downwards further, until the trembling fingers were within the valley between her scarcely clothed breasts.

"You approve?" She asked innocently.

"Sweet Jesus," he managed, his fingers gently tracing her soft curves, soon joined by his other hand in quiet exploration and tender caresses. "How could I not?" He slowly slid his hands down across her stomach, along her ribs, then around to her back, looking up at her intently. Without a word, he gently began to draw her in.

She slowly moved closer, leaning over and embracing into a deep and sensual kiss. Feeling strong arms support her, she gave free reign to her weight, and felt herself first pulled into his lap where he lavished her with soft kisses along her shoulder and throat, then with a slow turn, lowered to the bed. Her face betrayed the intense feelings this scenario was evoking. Raging curiosity and flaming passion seemed to tug at the inner soul of Kristilanna, battling away years of exhaustive mental blocking and taking back what once was an inspired and free-soaring spirit.

She felt the thin straps of her bra lifted clear from her smooth shoulders. She felt a new emotion sweep over her head, stomach and toes. As she gazed upon the graceful brow of Enzo Vettori, Dominion scientific advisor, she felt something that never once had her strict and harsh upbringing, and the society from which she heralded ever publicly allowed to come naturally and without stifle.

Kristilanna felt loved.
10-10-2004, 03:21
Virtas closed his eyes slowly, feeling his short lashes scratch the very edges of his cheek as blackness sorrounded him. Outwith the self-imposed blindness, the gentle yet ever-present hum of the myriad of systems vital to life and survival continued on without interruption. From many decks downards the thrum of the fusion reactors had reached a terrifying crescendo, forced into maximum output to compensate for the inability to utilise the matter, anti-matter annihilation system.

Restoring sight, he allowed his eyes to slowly move across the bridge. Though time was a futile concept onboard a starship, and almost absurd on board one as unique as the Scoperta, this now passed as night. The artificial lighting slightly dimmed in an effort to make the non-Kaeneians amongst the crew slightly more at ease, and comfortable. Though the situation they found themselves in would hardly be recitified by an artificial simulation of night.

"Chief Engineering Adept reports the Cetagandan representitive has completed his deuterium collection. We have sufficient reactant avalible to initiate a two light year jump, and bring the Scoperta into Sol."

Fixing his eyes on the helm station, the security coardinator unclenched his jaw and uttered a single retort.


Slowly, he climbed from the command throne. He had protested at allowing not only the Cetagandans, but the other representitives free reign to travel through the ship. Not only as security risk to the Serene^Union, in his own professional opinion, but a slight against all that he felt Kaenei stood for. Yet the Overseer had simply dismissed his claim. She had refused to entertain the thought of caution, instead seeming, almost reckless in her disregard.

Virtas instantly chastised himself for his disrespect. The Overseer was wiser and more trusted than perhaps all Kaeneians bar the select Aengelistoria Dominica. Her words were carried out with mechanical precision and unflinching haste. He would not again bring her reputation into disrepute, even if internally, he was almost offended by her failure to act on what he felt vital lapses in security.

Leaning downards, he initiated a ship-wide announcement.

"All personnel be readied for superluminal speed."

Ending the simple message, he crossed to the engineering sub-station. Currently inactive, but supplying relevent data to any command officer in need of it. His brow furrowed almost imperceptibly, a gentle crease that few save his fellow Kaeneians would take to mean a worry.

Normally such precuations were pointless. Superluminal travel, utilising the Verteron drive was uneventful and scarcely noticable. Yet now, with the damage to the injector assembly and the poor refinement grade of the Deuterium being utilised, nothing could be taken for granted. Indeed his engineering team were unable to ascertain that they would make the full jump without suffering catastrophic failure. unfortunately, options were limited in the extreme.

"Take us underway." He ordered curtly.

And so it was done.

Shimmering amongst the blackness. Scarce and without a solid form to which a dream might lend itself a real form. Subtle yet gross, clawing against a peace that until then had remained so for a million years. A red hand scarf, so similiar in its dainty fluttering against a non-existant wind would do so well as to be called upon to make a comparison to this display. And then, as if a flash of steel rending apart the all to fragile flesh, did the void split from the material universe for a split second. A glimpse through a tear into a world unthinkable in its complexity.

Yet the glimpse lasted but a second, as the Scoperta pushed through and back into the space known and well traversed by Man and Alien alike. Quickly the tear sealed, and all madness beforehand forgotten. Only silence reigned, amidst the silence, and arrogance of the burning stars.

"We have successfully negoiated entry into the Sol system Coardinator."

Virtas nodded, absorbed in the armrest mounted status monitor. Damage reports were quickly filed, and the Kaeneian took reluctant comfort that the hull had survived without further rending or breaching. He was less pleased to note the extensive structual damage to the injectors sorrounding the Deuterium tanks. If they succeeded in locating fresh reactant, they would first be tasked with extensive repair to the engines before it proved to be of any use.

"I am now able to calculate our approximate chronological location by measuring solar radiation decay against our last known reading."

Virtras dismissed the information before him, turning to address the tall, lean Kaeneian male manning the starboard science interface. He nodded for him to continue, words not required in such a small and near-silent exchange.

"Taking into account long range sensor systems are still offline, and compensating for flare activity on the surface of the Sun itself, I find our position in the time-space continuum to be approximately one hundred five years, three months beyond our original launch date. We have travelled into the future."

The Security Coardinator immediately felt his jaw tighten at this news. He had much maligned the chances of finding themselves in this situation. Now, he could no longer rely on history to educate him towards dangers. He could not rely on the power and equipment of the Scoperta to prevail in a reality where they were now considerably obsolete. As an after thought, he postulated wether a deep-system scan would reveal any major political and socio-economical upheaval.

"I am unable to scan beyond the immediate vacinity Coardinator," reported the Kaeneian dutifully. "Long range sensors are still unavalible. It will be several hours before we can hope to learn anything about this time period in depth."

Lorenzo Vettori lay in his bed, one arm wrapped protectively around the sleeping Kristilanna who was presently using his shoulder for a pillow. He smiled softly, watching her sleep peacefully, not wishing to disturb her. Some thoughts were occupied with replaying the past however many hours, minutes, little slices of eternity they had just spent together. Others parts of his brain were still stumbling over it, not understanding quite how he'd ended up where he currently was.

I had no idea forced espionage could be so ... incredible. God I hope she doesn't regret it when she wakes up. Vettori, you idiot ... of all times to get involved. On a timeship, in the middle of God knows when, for however long it takes us to get back ... if we get back ... Bah. She'll wake up, be back to her calm, logical self again, I'll be back to doing whatever grunt work I can to help out, and she'll likely put it past her. Wouldn't be Kaeneian, from what I've seen, to do otherwise. Ah well ...

He reached over with his free hand to ever so gently brush back a strand of golden hair from her smooth cheek, and sighed softly. A relationship hadn't been what he'd been looking for, not for some time now. But here, like this, he found himself wistfully longing for something a bit more than what he'd had. Something, perhaps, a bit more meaningful than the occasional one-night stand. Not that it mattered, of course. If there was one thing he had learned in all his years, it was that if something looked too good to be true ... it was. Resting his head back down against his pillow, he closed his eyes, and simply listened to the sound of her slow, even breathing.
11-10-2004, 03:16
Her eyes were not the orbs of cobalt-blue that shone from the pale flesh of her Kaeneian masters. Her touch not one provided by organic flesh and pathways linked to a complex and fallible nervous system. She saw and understood in spectrums never before witnessed by those that held themselves within impossibly strong alloy and hull. Slowly, her reach, monitored and controlled by a thousand isolinear processors and buffered with computational power beyond rational thinking, clawed painfully against the sorrounding expanse.

The Scoperta herself, dealt a crippling blow without long ranger sensors, and effectively left a blind man cast adrift within an empty, and echoing tomb for which each virtually silent corridor simply mocked as it lent false hope and further disappointment on a cruel whim.

But the vast sentient network of interconnecting data rods and processing vats, passing as the true consciousness of the timeship, knew not failure, or hardship. Unable to function as intended, adaptability proved above all else vital, and as much was done as could be expected. The short distances ahead were duly mapped, and found to be uninteresting and empty. Still scarcely capable of reading the tiny, frozen world of Pluto, marking the outermost habitation of the System, little danger could be assessed and avoided.

And suddenly, a gentle, almost accidental touch. As a light, breezy material might drop across an unexpectant hand, and instantly, the Scoperta was aware. Slowly, her troubled gaze moved to look over this sudden intruder into previous silence and peace. A few more milliseconds were all that were required to catalogue this new find as urgent enough to alert those in power. Almost instantly, though in reality nanoseconds had passed, the timeship handed juristiction over.

Vitras glowered as the display board on his left hand side began to vibrate slightly with the high pitched intonation tone signalling a desire for attention. Quickly, he moved to silence, bringing his index finger down on the flickering rune urgently.

"Proximity alert, a vessel has been detected."

The Security Coardinator climbed to his feet immediately, his eyes narrowing on the empty expanse of space being displayed on the various monitors and datafeeds ahead of him. He did not break the silence, instead waiting for the clarification that was inevitably forthcoming.

"At this distance, I am unable to ascertain further details. However, analysis of energy signatures in the immediate area, and radiation levels would seem to confirm the vessel is adrift, and travelling on inertia."

Crossing to the science station, the lean, imposing Kaeneian male ran his gaunt eyes along the outflowing information, looking for evidence to both corroborate and disrespect the outcome of the Scoperta. After a few moments, of which he became aware of eyes settling on his back, looking, questioning for further orders and clarification, he turned back outwards.

"Prepare to close distance, one half sublight power." He ordered.

Kristilanna stirred, feeling intense disorientation as her weary mind slowly but unstoppably began the tiring motions of full consciousness. She instantly became aware of a strong body enveloping her own, and recognition fluttered through the fatigue. Half shattered images of the hours beforehand assaulted her scarcely-functional senses, her long blonde tresses cascaded across her face and shoulders, untidy and unkempt. She made the effort to roll over, towards this source of heat. She felt a slight groan, but no other indication to wakefulness from her partner. Yet even as she settled back down, her breasts pressing against the well defined chest of Enzo Vettori, and a quiet, easily neglected voice within the darkest regions of her mind questioned both the time of morning, and just what could possibly explain her most un-Kaeneian actions. Yet with a flutter, her eyelids drooped, and she passed from reality.

"We are now within visual range Coardinator."

Vitras returned to the Command throne, and idly sifted through the crew manifest. Locating the Overseer, he instructed the immediate delivery of an alert to her quarters. The Kaeneian women was not expected on the bridge for several more hours, yet this discovery was of grave importance and of more than sufficiently high standing to require the presence of her seniority. Closing the log, he turned his attention to the helm station.

"Show me." He commanded.

The starship was graceful, obvious without more than a momentary insight. Elongated, it seemed almost dagger-like in its pointed prow, and widening rear. Split forth into two prongs that terminated at a curved apex, Vitras was almost instantly able to hypothesise as to its origin. A full red, and blossoming yellow complemented an array of intriguing colours that made up the detailing of the hull. As if more evidence were required, a seal was visible along the dorsal wing. An eagle was obvious, sorrounded by s circular sheath, and single, five pointed star.

Yet it was not that which concerned the Coardinator. It was the terrible battle damage impacted on this vessel.

Great rents in smooth plating exposed interior sections to cold space. Blackened scorch marks topped with obscene bubbles of molten metal dotted the aft sections, where the intense heat generated by energy weaponry had clearly made a mockery of the icy void and seared the starship painfully. Clouds of debris hung lazily metres from explosive decompression zones, where the still functional gravity nets of isolated sections held fast to fellow remains. The massive engine housings, once a fiery red and imbued with the unrivalled strength of the finest techniques of science and engineering were lifeless, and dead. As cold and damp as the silence that sorrounded.

"Menelmacari." He announced, though he knew full well his bridge crew had already deduced this for themselves.

"Whilst that particular design is not contained within our records, it shares a considerable number of construction similiarities to existing Menelmacari design ethics. A temporal analysis has indicated a ninety eight point four percent probability of Elven manufacture. We are most certainly observing a Noldrin vessel of the future."

Glancing towards the entry door, and pondering what was delaying the Overseer so, Vitras returned the question.

"Can we deduce anything from the battle damage? What is the condition of the craft?"

Though few would be able to tell, his tone was slightly unconcerned, his focus now shifting elsewhere, to another person specifically onboard the Scoperta.

"I am reading sporadic energy readings, consistant with emergency fusion reactors. In addition, whilst multiple hull ruptures are in evidence, an atmosphere is in existance, and intact. I am not reading any energy signatures contained within the damaged hull plating, utilising the avalible functional sensor equipment. However, judging by the state of the Menelmacari vessel, the incident that caused its crippling cannot have occured in the long-term."

Turning away from the fore-bridge, Vitras began to trek towards the exit, as he reached the transport lift, he turned sufficiently to issue a final order, his brow furrowing and obvious distaste evident as he was forced to once more involve the foreign delegations now undoubtedly causing havoc onboard his vessel.

"Alert the delegates of Cetaganda, Der Angst and the Dominion, their opinions may be relevent."

And with that, he exited, tracking a very overdue and oddly absent Overseer.

The shadows warped against the bulkhead. Each flicker from the malfunctioning overhead lighting lending new and terrifying power to these insane shapes. Monsters as large as the wall they covered snapped their black jaws closed in silent roars of rage. Whipping tails of darkness lashed against the buckled steel, as though seeking a way from this light-box prison.

And amongst the filth, a body.

Iciptus rolled slowly, feeling his aching muscles whine unhappily at their utilisation. Moving on to his back, he winced as large, hot welts on his sides and neck pressed into the grimy, dusty decking. His arms feel to his lap with little finesse, as he coughed loudly. From somewhere many sections south, a large and thundering tremour shook the corridor. Closing his eyes tightly, Iciptus did not open them until he was sure he had survived this nightmare once more.

He hauled himself upright, feeling the sickly iron-taste of blood upon his lips as he surveyed the devastation sorrounding him. His eyes struggled against the strobe-like flickering of the lighting, and he soon found himself dizzy in the extreme. He took a few unsteady steps forward, but found only the jutting angle of a data conduit to prevent him returning to the floor. He was unable to recall what had led him to this section of the ship, and to what purpose he had once served here. All was blocked underneath pain and weariness. His own name one of the few facts he was sure of.

A second, and third step, and he crashed downards, to his knees. He supported himself as best he could manage, now his vision swirling as though he, and not the room span around so many times. As he felt his shoulders sag, and his forearms fold abruptly underneath his sinking torso, he pondered just how long the rented hull could provide the corridors with oxygen. He had no time to compute an answer, before darkness took him from sight, and sound.

Vitras Was perplexed. It was not a situation many Kaeneians found themselves in, and fewer still liked with any real certainty. He had already found himself in front of the entryway to the Overseer's quarters, only to see the external status panel flashing red, indicating the arrival, but deafening silence of his alert message. A quick analysis of the biological index markers had confirmed that Kristilanna was not within her quarters. A familiar sense of unease began to build. The Overseer had been released from the infirmary that morning, and according to the reports of the Apothacary, was not yet at full physical nor mental strength. Had a situation arised that had found the women unable to handle?

Pausing, he moved over to the bulkhead, and pressed his hand against a smooth pane of plexiglass. Seconds passed, and the previously dead panel erupted to life. Runes of various shades began to shimmer and shine, whilst diagrams of various ship systems appeared. Removing his print, Vitras spoke, his voice decidedly quietened, as though indulging in something usually frowned upon.

"Locate the Overseer Aengelis, privacy override Vitras."

Again a pause, as the order was approved, and clearance sought.

"Overseer Kristilanna Lgealis is currently located inside guest quarters assigned to the Dominion delegation."

His eyes widened, at first in shock, and then an almost slow burning irritation. Clenching his jaw, he span around, marching quickly from the now silenced control panel. The walk would be a short one, and it would do litle good to cool his temper, flaring above mental restraint and many years of exhaustive emotional conditioning. His fists balled, yet he managed to retain some semblence of cool.

He stood outside the reinforced entryway. His finger prodded the alert icon stiffly. He did not move from the sport scarcely an inch from the doorway, all the time focusing on what might very well have befallen the Overseer. As the minutes passed, he began to grow impatient, and despite repeated calls, found no response to his inquiry. He pondered wether it would be best to leave, to perhaps find a communications terminal and try a more direct approach.

He nodded, a more direct approach indeed.

"Override privacy seal and grant emergency access, authorisation Vitras."

Again, he utilised his position to grant the impossible, and felt slight satisfaction as the doors hissed open obediently. Stepping into the gloom, his eyes struggled to adapt, and he found himself losing resolution on the detail beforehand. He took note of the slight mess and general untidiness. He eyed discarded glasses, and an empty liquor container. Obviously, Vettori had drowned his sorrows in another pitiful human vice. Stepping in sufficiently to release the sensor and seal the doors, he heard a muffled voice. Turning to address it, he stepped towards the bedroom area.

As he reached the sealed inner door, he became aware of what sounded like a groan, it was high pitched, and most definitely not of a male persuasion. His instincts began to warn him as more urgency crept into this voice, it sounded almost pleading, begging. Vitras pushed open the door, intent on stopping whatever foul act was being perpetrated.

He spluttered to a halt as his eyes clapped upon the entwined bodies of Kristilanna, and Enzo Vettori.

Vettori was the first to react, his eyes clamping down upon the speechless Kaeneian. His first act was to pull the covers upwards, hiding the perfect and sensual curves of Kristilanna from the frankly disturbing gaze. He opened his mouth to utter a retort, to demand an explanation as to this violation of privacy, yet before he could, he felt a gentle hand upon his arm, and the cobalt blue eyes that politely asked him to refrain.

Retrieving a sheet, Kristilanna quickly wrapped it around her lithe body, and stood from the bed. Her long, graceful legs carried her from its edge out to the floor, and a short distance from Vitras. She fixed a cool, dispassionate gaze upon her fellow officer and began to talk in a slow, deliberate monotone. Enzo noted with grim satisfaction he was sure a change was present, the barest knife edge of anger at this interruption.

"I assume you have an extremely potent reason for this serious violation of personal privacy Coardinator?"

Still, she recieved no answer, though finally, the jaw of the aghast Kaeneian opposite her began to move again.

"I say again, state your business."

Finally snapping from his daze, he began to recover his compsure, albeit slowly. "We have encountered a derelict vessel, it is Menelmacari in design."

Her eyebrow rose, as she replied, "And that is worthy of overriding a privacy seal?"

Shaking his head slightly, he struggled on, "I was concerned for your safety, your location was unknown."

Kristilanna felt irritated, and she did not pause to refrain from utilising this to her advantage, her features darkened, as she closed the gap. Her clutch on the sheet loosened, and bare alabaster shoulders were revealed, along with the very hint of a cleavage through loose bedsheeting.

"That is none of your concern Coardinator. I was as yet not due for bridge duty for further two hours. You have violated procedure on several counts, however.." She glanced back towards Vettori, betraying nothing, before resuming her speech, "In light of your inability to locate me during a time that required my presence, I am willing to accept a failing on my part. But it not a large one and this issue will be discussed at length in a more suitable location. Now, I shall report to the bridge within the hour. That is all Coardinator."

Vitras nodded dumbly, and simply left.

Kristilanna turned, and climbed back upon the bed. Pulling herself underneath the covers, her gaze met Enzo's.

"We have not had proper chance to talk on the actions of last night..." She began. Seeing a protest, she raised a finger to parted lips, and urged a silence. "Though my emotional centres were stimulated, and my logical control impaired, nothing that occured did so without my full consent. Furthermore, I find that even now, as I look upon your features, I am moved to a reaction. Yet, you must understand my difficulty. I am dealing with factors few Kaeneians of sound mental conditioning must encounter. I do believe I continue to have these feelings for you, as I did but hours ago. I will need your help Enzo... I cannot overcome a decade of training and suppression without your assistance, and I cannot throw away all that I am."

Seeing a fear building in those charming eyes, she leaned forwards, and pushed her lips upon his.

"But I will see us prevail, if you should want it so."

Standing, she declined the sheet, instead walking towards the shower unit without a single item to cover against her modesty, nor perfection. Yet until she could overcome the inherent barriers of her mind, and learn to live with the conflicting emotions and logical training that had been literally hammered into her mind from early childhood, she would be forever a pale comparison, to the lively and brilliant man who now considered, and sat in the bed, alone.

Outside the Scoperta, far from trivial concerns, the Menelmacari starship hung silently. Long since robbed of communication, purpose, or ability, it was powerless to alter its destiny, which now lay in the fate of a collection of races, bound together in their wish, and desire to return home, to a time that now no longer seemed as boring and restricting as it had done on the launch of that very ship.
Dread Lady Nathicana
11-10-2004, 18:47
Lorenzo Vettori, what in hell have you gotten yourself into?

The rude interruption had set him off far more than he wanted to admit. Not fear of discovery – he had no shame or reservations about what had transpired – but of anger at Vitras, of all people to have walked in on them. He’d been at the point of saying some fairly strong things when Kristilanna had quietly expressed her wish for him to not interfere. Hell, the thought of outright decking the smug bastard had leaped to the forefront. Had Vitras shown any less respect to the lady than he had, Vettori was sure he would have followed through on that thought.

What he couldn’t understand, what didn’t in his decidedly socially disfunctional mind, was why she had been so intent on reassuring him. More importantly, why she wanted to pursue a relationship that given her explanation, seemed to be as much a trial as a source of enjoyment to her. And why, given her options, him?

Not that he was complaining, mind. As oddly and unexpectedly as it had developed, he found a certain comfort in it all. She, it seemed, in her own way, was as isolated as he was himself. Neither one feeling they truly fit in with the rest of their respective countrymen – or so it seemed from her words and actions at least. He had always been a bit of an oddity, his ideas unconventional, his behaviour sometimes erratic, his odd mix of bold confidence and lack of esteem as well as a clear lack of any sign of the usual drive to get ahead of the pack that Dominion folk tended to exhibit, setting him apart from his fellows. He had resigned himself to working on his projects and theories, thrilled when one of them actually worked out, pushing himself hard to find a solution when they didn’t.

This … this was the last thing he had expected. And as he watched the fair lady make her way to the shower, he couldn’t help but smile in spite of himself, shaking his head slightly and wondering just how it was all going to turn out. There was however one thing he came to realize as he sat there pondering. For this beautiful woman, this angel who had seemingly risked much of what she was to reach out to him, he would be there. For as long as she wanted him to be.

Whelp ... best get up and start pulling myself together here. I mean, if we're to have visitors and all, and I'm supposed to be working as a go-between ... Menelmacari, eh? I suppose they'll be able to tell us something.
11-10-2004, 19:43
"Something," says Callahan, pacing on the bridge, "is very not right about this. Besides the obvious. A space battle involving a Menelmacari ship is not in and of itself that unusual. Even the fact that its been effectively destroyed isn't - even our ships will go down under enough fire."

He turns and gestures at a display on one of the secondary monitors. "Look at what we can see. Obviously, this ship was not crippled too long ago - we still read emergency power, and their are airtight compartments still functional. Now, think of what isn't here. Where are the medical and repair ships? What about even another warship, from at least one Triumvirate or Menelmacari ally? The only thing that would keep them away would be a battle still in progress, and even in our half-blind state we'd notice one anywhere within a few million kilometers. Capital energy weapons, nukes, conversion bombs, and gravpulse warheads tend to be hard to miss. For that matter, the other ships would have noticed us."

He starts pacing again, rubbing the back of his head. "We can deduce the following points from what we already know. One: someone has beat the crap out of that ship, but not taken the time to finish her off or board her. Two: Menelmacari and Triumvirate space forces have been unable to spare a ship for search and rescue. I think we desperately need to find out what's going on. Crippled as we are, we can't risk stumbling into a firefight. We may have to board that ship to see what we can learn from flight data recorders and any survivors. We should also use our remaning passive sensors to try and see what we can observe about known Triumvirate bases and population centers to ascertain why no relief has been sent."
Der Angst
12-10-2004, 16:00
"Hummm..." Despite the disturbing (Well, not all that disturbing, at least not for Sekhmet) discovery, Sekhmet smiled. Apparently, Uhura (Who smiled even more, definitely amused by certain... Events) had told him a few things... Which were most definitely amusing. "I would assume that an initial check about the damage characteristica would be kinda useless, right? After a hundred years of weapons development... Nonetheless, a few basic principles ought to be discovered, I think. If just to know what a possible opponent is capable of.

"Furthermore... We're still able to receive radiowaves, right? Might we have records of broadcasts recently reaching this position in time and space? Basic entertainment, news, educational transmissions, whatever. We ought to be able to learn a lot from them. A lot faster and with less risks than from the remains of this pile of waste out there. Well, at least when it comes to the overall situation, rather than the details of this vessel's destruction."

He stopped, feeling Uhura's voice in his head, her mind connecting to his. You know... It must be a bright future, with 'em vessels falling apart.

That depends entirely on who is destroying them.


Hrrm, why can't I delete my posts?
20-10-2004, 00:52
The atmosphere was tense, the assembled silenced enough to comprehend the images and information pouring from monitors and linked data-nodes. The envoys of the Dominion, Cetaganda and Der Angst stood at the forefront of the compact bridge. At the very apex of the Scoperta, sorrounded by bustling Kaeneians as they sought to their slightly more mundane tasks including the function of the equipment sorrounding. Kristilanna absently noticed a lock of blonde hair had escaped her harsh coil, and now lay across her forehead. She realised twofold the stare she recieved at being so dishevelled, and also, taking the time to correct her original msistake.

To her right, Vitras stood with a look that was utterly unreadable. She would surmise he still felt unhappy over the situation he had made himself privvy to earlier. Indeed, she had not had sufficient breath to discuss the matter with him privately, and now with the discovery of the Menelmacari vessel, it was unlikely in earnest that such time would make itself avalible for her requirements.

"I have completed an in-depth analysis of the Menelmacari craft, Overseer." Reported the attending Vitras. The Kaeneian women nodded, in expectation of the forthcoming statement. Vitras tapped a rune idly, and the large central display altered quickly. before them, a wire-frame mapping of the Menelmacari starship rotated slowly. Kaeneian text scrolled down over important areas. None standing would be able to read, and standard english basic appeared below the alien language.

"Technological scale is comparable to current Menelmacar assets. I am detecting a considerable increase in mass over traditional estimations, furthmore examination of visible energy transfer conduits reveal further shielding and greater capacity, pointing a likely conclusion as to this craft posessing a superior powersource, in excess of our own Matter, Anti-Matter reaction system."

Kristilanna nodded again, as she stepped forward to examine the computational model further. After a few seconds, she turned to address the group.

"It would seem our options are limted. We are still without meaningful long range sensor systems, and our capacity for superluminal travel now expunged. Whilst I agree that immediate monitoring of any and all radio based transmissions prudent, I believe we have been gifted an oppertunity to further our understanding of this future timeline. As such, I am authorising the immediate boarding and exploration of the Menelmcari craft."

The Overseer was almost certain she heard a soft crack as Vitras set his jaw downwards hard, his irritation evident.

"I will be unable to attend, citing protocol of the Serene^Union, and furthermore, I am as yet not to my full physical health. I will assemble a team of twelve, as is standard. Security Coardinator Vitras will lead, accompanied by a full complement of security personnel. I would however, offer the chance for our foreign delegates to lend their expertise." Although her words were addressed to the assembled, her eyes focused on Enzo, transferring her hope he would attend, and her almost-unperceptible concern for his safety, "You will of course, be relied upon for opinion and assistance, though the operation will be conducted under the authority of the Serene^Union, and under the control of Mister Vitras."

"Count me in." confirmed Vettori.

"I will attend." Added the Cetagandan Envoy.

"How could we refuse?" chorused the pair forming the Der Angst Delegation.

"Very well," Began Kristilanna "You have one hour to prepare any equipment you require. I would ask for your attendance in the primary shuttle bay at fourteen hundred hours."

With that, the delegation promptly broke apart, some were excited, others left with trepidation, and still one grinded his teeth together, his irritation at further foreign involvement, and possible damage to the operation he now found himself forced to take charge of, apparent.

In contrast to the relatively compact structure of the Scoperta, the hanger was a spacious affair. A cavernous chamber that was dominated by the aft pressure doors, holding back the implacable will of the cold, dark void beyond. Settled neatly between the entryway and the exit to the dearth between the stars, sat a row of auxilary craft. Each of considerable size, they sported long, winged appendages obviously as at home in the graceful atmosphere of a world as the sea in which their mothership found itself a tenant of. Activity bustled sorrounding one such shuttle. Various supplies were carefully hauled aboard through a generous ramp descended from the smooth hull above.

Vitras mentally checked his equipment as he ensured the place of his team. Each quickly and efficiently strapped themselves into place, ensuring the anti-gravitic harnesses they employed, even for as short a trip as this ship-to-ship excursion, were functional. He allowed his head to relax against the provided rest, surveying his personal. Each remained impassive, only the slow rise and fall of their chests, coupled with the occasional blink, betraying any signs of life.

Already, the delegates of Der Angst and Cetaganda were in place. Secured within the forward cockpit assembly, alongside the pilot and navigational adept. Vitras allowed his eyes to narrow as he saw the scruffy form of Enzo Vettori clamber onboard. His hands were struggling with the weight of various cases and scientific instrumentation. With a little assistance from the Quartermaster, he succeeded in quickly stowing them away. As he the Dominion citizen cast a final glance back into the bay, the Security Coardinator followed his line of sight, and almost gasped as he saw the watching form of the Overseer.

Such a lowly activity as a departing shuttle were hardly cause for such a senior figure to be present, but the facts spoke for themselves. Taking into consideration the earlier incident in Vettori's quarters, coupled with what the Kaeneian male swore seemed to be a colouring to the Overseer's cheeks.. As the ramp began to close, the gentle whirring of well maintained gears signalling their complete isolation from the Scoperta, the operational commander scowled internally.

Perhaps the Overseer was not as impartial and efficient as he had first believed.

The flight was short, and uneventful. Only a small course correction to avoid the remains of a tertiary plasma distributor afloat in the chilling medium broke from the monotony. Unfortunately unable to simply pass through open and accepting doors, the auxilary Kaeneian craft spent several moments tearing its way into the derelict Menelmacari flight bay. Powerful photofluerescent beams of plasma cut through the thick obstacle, quickly rendering it as much a spectator as the long defunct defence cannons mounted along the roofing of the hangar, with a silent thud befitting the oxygen-less atmosphere, magnetic clamps engaged, the the invading craft was secure to the once-polished flooring.

Vitras nodded to his assembled team as the loud hiss of his pressure suit's atmospheric recyclers equalised. A quick verbal confirmation assured him the communications network of which each suit found itself tied to was functional. Gripping his plasma rifle in one hand, he made sure the assembled delegates were sealed, and isolated the section from the cockpit of the shuttle.

A loud hiss signalled the evacuation of the present oxygen. With a slight hum, the magnetised boots of the Security Coardinator stepped down from the ramp, to the solid flooring. Around, supplies were strewn. Containment vessels, and various crates upturned and scattered in hectic fashion. Various explosive marks marred the walls. Internal detonations from overloading systems clearly apparent. As he fanned further forwards, the remaining seven Kaeneians followed, taking up cautious positions.

Vitras had no personal experience of serving aboard a Menelmacari starship, yet he was familiar with their design ethic. Aesthetic to the extreme, and almost painful in their attention to lavish detail, it was quite an absurd contrast to the stark minimality of Kaeneian design. Yet this was not as he recalled them. Conduit piping hung limply from blasted sections. Fluid collected in globules that hovered above the scorched flooring. The occasional scrap of cloth, or metal drifted from wall to ceiling, before bouncing gently back downwards. The overriding silence pressed upon him an urgent need to move on.

After overcoming a stubborn pressure door, they existed the bay. Into once widened and spacious corridors, they found scenes of carnage. Long dead corposes littered the decking as numerous as the dust that floated through their torchlight. Their flesh a pale, pale gray, preserved against the march of decay by the lack of environment beyond freezing nothingness. Some lay splayed outwards, their limbs twisted heavily where they fell. Others sported grevious wounds, great rends in the flesh, and broken tissue. One stared upwards, dressed in a hastily assembled atmospheric suit. Her arms were extended rigidly, white fingers wound tightly around a cracked helmet. Obviously damaged in her fall to the ground. The orbs within her eyesockets, once full of life and sparkling, stretched wide in absolute terror.

Kneeling, a Kaeneian marked with the sign of the apothocary, examined a number of the dead.

"The majority perished from decompression injury and asphyixiation, Coardinator. However a number display severe trauma and concussion. I cannot ascertain the cause."

Vitras narrowed his eyes, "Are you implying another presence onboard?"

"I implied nothing Coardinator." He answered evenly, "I am simply relaying the facts and information. It is for you to make a decision."

Nodding, he gestured for the apothacary to return to standing. Careful to respect the fallen, the party slowly picked their way ahead, avoiding lunging metal, and slashed hull. More than once, a grandiose view of outer space was provided by the rents and tears. The foreign delegates followed between a front and back number of four Kaeneians each. Eventually, after twenty minutes had elapsed, Vitras stopped the party.

"We are expending energy without the need," He began. "Our party is too large to navigate the damaged corridors without inefficiency. Also, we have multiple areas to visit, and only a limited time before we are to return to the Scoperta. As such, we shall split into two teams. I shall lead three of my own to the bridge, where we will attempt to download from their computer networks, and helm controls. The Cetagandan, Dominion and Der Angstian envoys, along with the remaining four Kaeneians, shall travel to the Engineering sections, to ascertain a more overall damage report, and also access what remains of their primary systems. We shall join you in approximately one hour."

With that swift order, the Coardinator vanished into the darkness ahead, only the faint glow of their faceplates against the blackness providing any indication of their passing, before a sharp bend, and a corner took them from sight. From behind Enzo Vettori, a Kaeneian gestured left, to another long stretch of corridor. With a sigh, the Scientific advisor began to haul himself forwards. Accompanied by the remains of the Kaeneian expedition.

Much was still to be discovered, and if time took much longer a wait, it would be forced into discovering them.
22-10-2004, 17:46
Shrugging, Callahan says, "Well, onward. From what I know of Menelmacari warship design, there should be a central engineering compartment or damage control center a few decks down and aft of here." As they begin making their way through the corridors, he adds, mostly for the benefit of the inexperienced Vettori, "Make sure that you watch for any signs of a habitable area, especially before opening any hatches. We don't want to vent a compartment to vacuum on accident. And for gods' sake, be careful around breached walls and exposed power systems. The last thing you want it to have to hope the ship's doctor knows how to treat humans."

Callahan follows his own advice, doing his best to watch for dangers, inanimate or animate, with all of the senses available to him. In one hand he carries his flashlight laser, as he had politely declined any other weapons. While he hadn't brought it along intending to use it as a weapon, it could serve that purpose. Besides, he has other tools crammed into his head for a variety of purposes, including self-defense. Locally altering the value of pi or the charge of an electron inside someone's body could kill every bit as effectively as any plasma rifle, and he had found a rather interesting targeting equation that looked for the unique spacial disturbance created by an orc - and, for that matter, their elven cousins. He suspected that it would be useful either way.
Dread Lady Nathicana
23-10-2004, 07:13
"Tell you what," Vettori says, looking around with obvious reluctance. "I'll leave the opening and messing with to you folks. Just tell me what to do and how to do it. I'm in no hurry to end this little jaunt drfting out here as a corpse, thanks."

Keeping a sharp eye out as they slowly make their way deeper into the ship, he's struck by the silence here compared to the hustle and bustle aboard the Scoperta - something that began to weigh more heavily on him the longer they went without seeing any signs of life.

At least that bloody damned Vitras is off with the others. Bastard ...
Der Angst
30-10-2004, 20:21
Sekhmet, as well as Uhura, were most definitely... careful. Sure, it was a somewhat enjoyable trip, and seeing this overstyled, useless designs, well... Burninated, or at least suffering from something reasonably close to it, was certainly enjoyable, yet, one doesn't exactly walk inside a heavily damaged spacedyship with (apparently) no one being alive, the risk of ones space suit being cut open, decompressing, dying within a few moments...

It was, indeed, somewhat uncomfortable.

And as if this wasn't enough, here, in the outer fringes of the system, background magnetism (The Heliosphere) was ludicrously low, and Sekhmet muttered darkly about his inability to sense anything beyond a limit of, perhaps, fifty meters, more likely less. Sure, one could occasionally use some local magnet to boost it a little (Uhura in particular seemed to enjoy it, and the magnets they used were reasonably efficient), but then, it didn't help all that much.

The situation was somewhat tense, that much was certain, and Sekhmet couldn't help but catching a few random thoughts from people... Well, it was somewhat hard to tell who thought what, and eventually he succeeded in cutting off the annoying background noise.

"Oh, I w-"

Continue and die.

Bah. Uhura giggled a little, although she was seemingly annoyed by Sekhmet not liking her attempts of doing some conversation with Vettori.

Oh well. Old bastard. "I think I agree with the idea, I hope you don't mind me joining. Of course, I'm sure Sekhmet will enjoy being at the front, being the scientist he is. Discovering secrets is his job."

I will kill her, some day...

And so, they continued, slowly, with Sekhmet wondering what would come next.

"They are lurking in the shadows, dear."
03-11-2004, 21:23
Iciptus groaned loudly, his vision slowly returning to him the ability to fully recall his prediciment with the crystal-clear focus so common amongst his people, usually a blessing, now truly a curse. With a gingerness befiting injury, he slowly sat up. He could feel the various aches and pains of pulled muscle and antagonised flesh rend at his mind a demand for treatment. Yet they were insignificant, as he realised the full trouble that sorrounded him like an over-affectionate blanket of mist.

Sorrounding him, an almost bizarre altar of devastation seemingly constructed around his previously unconsious form. The detrius of a dozen impacts, each more damaging than the previous. Sections of once pristine and polished metal twisted and lashed together into fused insanity, new forms of metal and plastic long since overcoming its previous constraints. Great sections of conduit hung from the ceiling, dripping thick, lazy coolant into collecting puddles that rolled across the flooring.

Ahead, the quiet thrum of the emergency bulkhead for that section broke the near silence that threatened to drive Iciptus insane with loneliness. Behind that thick, he-would-have-impervious door, the vacuum od space surely awaited to deal death with a swift, frozen touch. Only the technology of his Elven heritage, even dealt a crippling blow, continued to frustrate and deny the sea between the stars. Slowly, and with a great dizziness that threatened to at any stage overwhelm him, Iciptus climbed to his unsteady feet.

Slowly, he lurched forwards, and pressed his weeping hands against the cold metal of the forward bulkhead. He feebly pushed forwards, knowing literally that he could not move further forward without the aid of a pressure suit. He scanned the tiny section of corridor that now lay claim to his home. The scattered remains of spent illumination rods and ration packs were accompanied by whatever scraps of material had survived sufficently long to provide warmth. He could feel a deep cold, a freeze press in against his bones, obviously now life support had been comprimised, and his death could not be far at hand.

Slowly, he slid downwards, his back against the immobile barrier. Burying his head into trembling hands, he awaited his fate with a calm serenity that bizarrely enough he had not counted on neither coming into possession of, or indeed wishing for.

Vitras eyed the corridor ahead with distrust, and good reason to do so. Seconds earlier, a flickering, near-lifeless communication junction had erupted into sparks and wail, scarcely half a metre from the vunerable rear of the Security Coardinator. Though he had remained calm, it was a harrowing experience, and it had merely accelerated his desire to board, retain what they required, and depart with haste. He nodded his head, as two accompanying Kaeneian males pushed ahead, towards the entryway marking the primary bridge.

As they began to bypass the security locks which had now added further delay and time consumption, Vitras pondered. Never before had he questioned the orders of the Serene^Union. He understood he was a figure of considerable seniority, yet even that did not entitle him to openly debate the policies and orders of his superiors in turn. The Aengelistoria Dominica had decided upon Kristilanna as the Overseer Aengelis, and as such, his absolute superior.

Yet now, Vitras found himself questioning his faith in her abilities.

For here now, was a women who had broken a handful of the most ancient and secured Kaeneian traditions one could lay claim to. She had opened the most intricate and secret technologies of the Serene^Union, like a prized and ancient book once held dear now copied and prostituted before all, to the foreign delegates of various vulture-like Nations. The Scoperta, a positive miracle amongst lesser civilisations welcomed into its almost holy arms not the deserved Kaeneians, but those of the Dominion. Of who did Vettori think of when he acted as though his right to walk alongside the Security Coardinator was assured?

She had welcomed the Dominion Envoy to her bed. She had with him indulged in desires both subtle, and gross. She brought the genetic purity protocols into open dissension. He had no doubt that she would suffer in some form for breaking that mandate, yet for so many others, Vitras felt compelled to make sure Kristilanna grasped his displeasure. He looked ahead once more, to see the way forwards clear.

He swept on to the command centre. For if many decks below, sorrounded by the bustling drive technologies of many years future-tense, of restrained energy and power utilised most efficiently for the day-to-day running of this Starship, Engineering could be considered the heart, Vitras did now stand deep within the neurons of the Brain. he surveyed the stations sorrounding him, in a circular fashion.

Dominating the centre of the spacious bridge, the imposing command chair sat. Apart from its companions, it signified the true position, and great burden commanding a Starship entailed. Raised on a dias that seemed to confirm supreme authority, above all else, and the difficulties of command. Slowly, Vitras circled the sloping handrail that isolated the chair so. It was deathly silent, a thick lining of dust having accumulated on it's torn lining. Scorch marks were thrust into it's armrests without thought to damage.

Ahead, the remains of the Helm station stood on display. Vitras could not hazard a guess at even the sex of the mangled corpse that slumped over the shattered console, such was the damage to both it and the environment sorrounding. Arms lay at painful, unnatural angles that begged him to step forward and right them, at least to restore asthetic balance. Yet such an act was wholly unhonourable. Tearing his eyes from the scene, he quickly headed to the rear of the bridge once more, and the banks of blank computer displays.

After a few moments of interaction, the Menelmacari text Vitras had familarised himself with prior to this mission appeared with haphazard frequency. Disjointed and erratic, they scrolled in chaos for many moments, before flickering into something that might be mistaken for readable. Again, after a translation, Vitras began to input the required fields into the database. His eyes narrowed as the incompatability between Kaeneian technologies and Menelmacari systems reared its head, and caused the entire panel to blink into inactivity periodically.

Mounting the storage device on the top of the console, Vitras ensured the downloading sequence had begun, before leaving the procedure. He turned now, and stared out, towards the inactive viewscreen ahead, and the silence permeating the oxygenless atmosphere. It was then his attention was pulled to the science station. A small, flickering rune demanded attention. Crossing the short space, he instructed a subordinate to ensure the downloading of the Menelmacari database continued uninterrupted, whilst he investigated.

Wiping the thick grime from the console with a thick pressure glove, his eyebrow rose in curiosity. It seemed to be some sort of pre-programmed data-loop, running from the last vestiges of the emergency power supply. With little more thought, he pushed an extended finger into the rune.

Starboard, a black interface, without life and purpose, burst forth into life. skewered faces appeared to nightmarish colourings. Seconds passed, and stability returned. Now the very area he stood in now was a backdrop before his watching eyes. Yet with colour, and life, and the living. Without warning, the pleasing features of an Elven lady faded into existance. Her long, blonde hair tied back with an odd style Vitras found unsettling, if functional. Her bright, sparkling orbs displayed great intelligence and understanding, tempered by training and dedication. He saw by her position in the ghost-chair he had observed scant minutes earlier, she was the commander of this Starship. Quickly, Vitras linked his pressure suit interface to the playing sequence, and was rewarded when the audio processors within his helmet spluttered to life.

Vitras watched, fascinated.
Dread Lady Nathicana
07-11-2004, 09:19
Damn and bother … I swear I’m less use here than the proverbial fifth wheel, Vettori thinks to himself, his reveries being broken by the Angstian lady … who for some reason in terribly distracting.

“Ma’am,” he says, looking slightly nervous, sensing some sort of … something there between the two foreigners, but having no idea what it might be.

As they continue further in, he lags further behind, once stumbling forward and nearly impaling himself on a bit of wreckage.

Well hell. That could have been rather unpleasant …

Coming into a new section, he looks around with interest, pausing to check the readouts on this panel or that, concerned with not only their surroundings, but familiarizing himself with what he could of the form and function aboard the alien ship. One set in particular was of interest.- those seeming to show what levels of safety lay beyond the doors of the sealed sections of the decks. Many were open to space, their integrity compromised in the attack. Some had been depressurized. Some simply sealed and empty.

None as yet had yielded up any survivors. Whatever had hit this place had done a thorough job of decimating it.

Pausing at another, he yawns tiredly, and presses the buttons the Kaeneians had shown via their translations to be the ones needed to call up the information on the section beyond. He watched closely for the symbols and words they had told him meant vacuum or other status. What confused him was a reading he had yet to see.

“Um … you boys mind coming to take a look at this?” he asks of his Kaeneian companions. Walking over with their usual quiet grace, the technicians approach the panel, using their translator equipment to analyze the new signal.

“It appears to be organic in nature,” one says impassively, quietly consulting with his peers

“And … you don’t think it’s worth our while trying to find out what that organic material might be,” he counters, wishing rather fervently he had something to keep his stomach from turning knots all the same.
08-11-2004, 16:58
"Organic?" says Callahan from where he examines another hatchway across the corridor. He comes over and looks over the display, sending an odd look at the impassive Kaeneians. "That's definately interesting, Mr. Vettori. Very interesting. This isn't the sort of area you'd expect to see a meat locker or something like that. Which leaves just about one thing that could be that large a hunk of CHON..." He flicks through display modes. "The other side's pressurized, too. Which means we may have ourselves a survivor." He grins at Vettori, then tells the Kaeneian grunts, "That means an information source. Call the ship, see if they've got any spare suits. We may need one to get him or her through the depressurized sections."

"In fact..." his eyes narrow. "We'll need to find see if we can get this local area pressurized or find a way around. I'll go on ahead a bit, see if there's a way around. You guys see if there's any section seals we can drop around here."

He strides quickly down the corridor and ducks into a side passage that looked like a possible way around, then holds out his hand, flips off outgoing comms, and quietly says in the Speech, "Manual, please." An moment later, a small leather-bound book drops into his head. "Let's see, index on page 798...Can I get some Menelmacari cruiser blueprints for this class? Just corridor layout."

The books suddenly grows into a wide atlas, causing Callahan to drop it. Kneeling down to study with wide blueprints, he mutters, "Honestly. I knew I should have gone with a perscomp version instead." He sighs a pages through to the appropriate deck, checking his position and that of the possible survivor's compartment. "How about giving some realtime data on obstructions?" The only response is a scrolling header on the top of the page - 'Unable to obtain data for current spaciotemporal location due to atypical timeslide conditions. Please consult local Advisory or Seniors for more information.'

"Oh, thanks. That helps a lot. Right, isolate this section here and get back to managable size. Thanks.." Ten minutes later, after managing to pass through an airlock and into a pressurized corridor, he finds himself at the correct location - with the doorway blocked by fallen supports. Sighing, he clicks on his comms. "I'm on the other side, but the entrance is blocked by rubble. I'll try to clear it, but if you can get your side back to breathable levels, it'd be a lot faster."
Der Angst
09-11-2004, 12:17
Uhura was rather content with giggling, occasionally teasing Sekhmet, seemingly enjoying the game. Teasing Vettori proved a bit harder, though... It wasn't easy to offer feminine charms when being in one of this suits... Oh well, she would learn to life with it.

And so, they continued.

Until said organic thing was approached.

Sektmet sighed. Organic, huh? Well, i guess they also found some electric impulses that hint at something like brain functions, since we have more than enough organic stuff floating around, anyway... Dodging one example of said organic material, a dead Menelmacari floating about, he left things like pressurization to the Kaeneians, concentrating on the things he could do. Like, searching for said electric impulses, on his own. Sure, out here, the heliosphere was ludicrously weak, nonetheless... He could use the time Callahan needed to get to the other side, searching for possible consciousness.

Which he did.

Reaching out wasn't exactly painful, yet, seemingly stretching his abilities, searching for... It, whatever it was.

I would be painfully amused if it was some random pet...

A moment later, he got something.

Ok, it's either a malfunctioning relais or a brain... Lemme see... Brain. BRAAAAAAINNNNNNNSSSSS.

He chuckled to himself before he touched him, deeper. Perhaps he could even establish an actual connection.

"Hrm... I think I found something."

Uhura moved her eyes from Vettori (Whom she seemed to undress with her eyes) to Sekhmet. "Ah."
05-12-2004, 21:37
The Kaeneian technicians stepped away, from the stationary Vettori and resident Angstian envoys. As though the pair thought either their discussion unworthy of the attentions or comments of the foreigners, or simply unable to function to full efficiency with the emotional, illogical influences of those sorrounding them. Becoming at best a distraction, at worst a barrier from which reason stood stubbornly behind futility. Moments stretched onwards, becoming an odd silence amidst deafening nothing, until finally they seemed to reach consensus.

"We shall endevour to discover the nature of the organic signal beyond this section. Our examination indicates that the immediate vacuum ahead can be rescinded, and restored to acceptable condition. After such, it will be a simple matter to bypass the final bulkhead, and examine the curious data at hand."

Even addressed to the group, it seemed not a question, and strangely, not a statement. It fell deep within the murky context of both, trapped and unwilling to commit to neither one nor the other. In this way, did these enigmatic Kaeneians, though now sharing duty with aliens varied and different, remain aloof, and altogether unfriendly. Though of course, they would point the illogical actions of friendship.

Further ponderings would be forced into waiting, whilst beeping and chirping consigned to silence through lack of oxygen signalled the beginnings of a deep seated effort to overcome the complexity of this futuristic Menelmacari design, and to sate a vicious curiousity as to what lay not beyond that door, but that entire section, currently sharing so much in the way of existance with the cold void, beyond.

Vitras stepped back, his audio-processors cutting to random white noise, static and other useless frequencies best ignored. Silencing their cries his jaw tightened visibly, his eyes narrowing against the reflective glare of the screen once active and now as silent and deathly blank as it's counterparts sorrounding the Security Coardinator. What he had observed, and heard, were of tantamount importance to the mission of the Scoperta, indeed what had transpired here, on this Menelmacari vessel stood to wreak havoc on those unrepared for such an eventful alteration to their existing knowledge.

"Make the download and storage of this station your personal priority." Commanded Vitras to the nearest Kaeneian subordinate. His eyes betrayed nothing of his inner turmoil, but he ensured a sufficiently icy intonation of the world 'Personal' would convey the importance of his order.

Quickly, he crossed to the upper level, and the majority of the other assembled Kaeneians. He did not have to make comment to be rewarded with what he sought. Almost immediately, he was made privvy to the information he sought. He found the efficiency pleasing, though beneath multiple levels of repression and cold, hard, clinical detachment, he would never admit to such feelings.

"Unfortunately over forty percent of the Elven database was either purged with deliberate intent, or suffered catastrophic damage as a result of whatever befell the starship. We have retrieved all that is removable. Nothing further can be salvaged."

Vitras nodded, as the technicans sorrounding him began to silence their equipment and make ready to depart.

Thoughts flew from his mind. Half-finished mutterings never again to be gazed upon and relegated to flickering fragments of consciousness. Polished knowledge that would be called upon time and time again to render assistance and aid, and yet one line of imagination continually demanded recognition. Vitras would have to meet with Overseer Kristilanna promptly. What he had learned here was of paramount importance to the security of the Serene^Union, and the safety of the Scoperta itself. Turning to the remainder of his party, her added with implied haste-

"Make ready to return to the Scoperta. And see that you delay no longer than absolutely necessary."

And with that simple statement, the burdened Security Coardinator left, to hurry upon those other, less receptive party members the urgency they faced.

With visible distress, the bulkhead slowly began to recede. Tremendous rams of great physical strength called upon to grant access where before efficient, silent motors had failed and provided disappointment. For the Kaeneians, they saw nothing remarkable in their accomplishment. A simple deduction, and application of logical algorithims ensured success. Nothing more, and nothing less. Indeed, they quickly negoiated around the Dominion advisor Vettori as though he did not occupy any point in space, or time. They were first to step through, already taking in their stride readings and analysis.

From behind, two more Kaeneians, both female, came to the fore of the party. Yet their purpose was clear even as they stepped over the lip of the pressure hatch. Where the previous duo had demonstrated scientific equipment and a willingness to examine and deduce, now plasma rifles replaced them. Where two carried forward inspiration and learning, two further carried death and agony. Their long, slim fingers wrapping around the smooth, black-finished barrel with restrained, if murderous intent.

"Is that really necessary?" Asked Vettori.

The poised Kaeneian security adept turned to stare at the man. Her eyes were a cold slate grey, piercing and seemingly full of purpose hidden beneath layers of steely control and determination. She lowered her rifle slightly, regarding the Dominion citizen with an almost quizzical look.

"We cannot be sure with any certainty that what lies beyond is not hostile, would you have us move to embrace friendship only to be cut down where we stood?"

With little jostling, the entire party eventually entered and with a growing sense of foolish claustraphobia, the outer bulkhead once more rolled closed, sealing the team inside the shorter section without respite to the outside. Kneeling to better reach the interface, the two Kaeneian technicians sought to work for pressurisation,as Vettori assisted from the wall-mounted terminal. Though isolated within their pressure suits, each a self-contained world from which the harsh reality of the void could neither penetrate nor damage but instead rage with impotence, they each observed the tendrils of gas snake from situated vents. Soon, sound echoed through, finally given form to travel.

Taking up suitable firing positions between the two crouching Kaeneian technicians, the trained barrels of the dual plasma rifles would make no mistake should whatever presented itself beyond the final bulkhead prove to be in the least hostile to the Serene^Union and it's charges. The security adepts remained still, for in moments, they would have a silent answer, to meet their question not issued through comunications unit, but with the very weapons they carried.

Iciptus groaned as he felt pain rage through his being as though his flesh consisted of nothing more tha prone trees and shrub helpless in the face of a merciless forest fire, tearing and burning against all that should by right stand free from such agony. Even as he felt his eyes flicker open, and the dark, once-pastel shades of the corridor filter through they once more blurred. His bruised, bloodied body perched against the cracked remains of a now-useless communications line. He could pretend it was merely apprehension that caused the air to taste old, and stale.

As he allowed the cool metal against his neck to cool his fever-wracked psyche, he bolted upright at the sound of a tremendous thump. Immediately his eyes darted to the pressure door, always that permanent reminder of his force imprisonment. A permanent indication of imminent death should it's obstruction not end with haste.
Slowly, he forced himself to his knees, so better able to drag his weary self the short distance to the base of the massive doorway. Iciptus found it odd, almost comforting that this source of anger and frustration so outmatched his physical presence. Here he stood before this gate, to which could present a course to salvation, to safety, to a greater purpose or paradise of sorts, and he lacked the strength or ability to circumvent. A foolish pawn who thought by standing at the summit of the highest mountain one could reach out and grasp heaven itself?

As he lay his shaking hands upon the cold metal, and with a dutiful screech, the gateway to heaven opened.

[OOC: Sorry folks, this isn't the post I'd hoped it would be but I'll try to post again in a few hours...]
Der Angst
06-12-2004, 13:35
"What a threat." was Sekhmet's comment as he saw the person in question, observing its rather poor state. "You want to finish him off?" He asked, slightly ironically, watching the gun- wielding Kaeneians. "I guess not..." He added, after a moment of receiving quite odd looks one could probably describe as 'Seemingly annoyed', especially considering the repressed Kaeneian psyche. Really, odd people... Kaeneians... Oh well, that's what they call a culture shock.

Uhura stepped up behind him, for a moment, just a moment, caring more about this discovery, rather than about Vettori (And for him, she cared mainly because another female cared for him, of course, in a far more honest and loving way than Uhura, who wanted nothing but a little fun... And possibly to annoy Overseer Kristilanna. Well, more the latter than anything else, if she was honest.

Not that Sekhmet liked this, in fact, he did consider this hobby of hers to be quite... dangerous, in its overall implications... But there wasn't much he could do.

Quickly grabbing, holding Vettori's hand, getting closer to him, Uhura hesitated. Even though she was used to quite a few things... This was not something she enjoyed. "Ahum... He needs help, I guess..." She said, honestly, this time... Indeed, this wasn't her area of expertise. But then, the Kaeneians were already moving in order to provide the necessary help, this rendering her comment somewhat useless... Yet, this wasn't what she thought about, right now.

"I guess he will be of significant help..." Sekhmet resumed looking at Iciptus, somewhat curious, and indeed, fascinated. Alas, doing a hard scan would probably be a bad idea, considering certain health issues, not to mention that it would be exceptionally rude... Which wouldn't be a problem at home, but here, things were somewhat different. "Once he received it, that is." And hesitating, recalling some very basic specifics regarding elvish physiology, he stepped closer, smiling. "Welcome in the world of the living. Just in time, I guess?"
Dread Lady Nathicana
10-12-2004, 23:23
Vettori had been growing more and more unsettled at Uhura’s advances, already feeling out of place and more in the way than of much help as it was.

Is she … il dio, that’s all I need. Can’t be serious, can she? I mean … Jesus, I didn’t know a woman could make a suit show that much … and why is it she makes me feel like I’m on the damn auction block? I’m already in way over my head with Kristilanna. What in hell she sees in me is … focus, Lorenzo. Focus. Task on hand. Eyes and mind off the ladies.

He casts another uneasy glance at Uhura, smiling weakly, then tenses as the doors open to reveal the battered elf. "Sweet Jesu," he murmurs, half starting forward, only to find himself inexplicably, and rather disturbingly in his mind, entwined with Uhura. "I ah ... perdon, Signora, but I think," he stammers, gently but firmly extricating himself from her grasp - a more difficult task than he'd have thought - with an apologetic expression. "I think I should ah ... well ... we're going to need to get him back to the Scoperta somehow."

He turns to the others, looking a bit anxious. "Did anyone see any extra suits about? I can't remember what sections we went through and whether or not he needs it. Do we have a clear shot back?"
11-12-2004, 21:58
Kristilanna regarded the relatively neutral hues of the Medical bay with muted interest. The almost pastel tones of white and off-pink seemed to inspire any thought save for those directed to the environment sorrounding. As though carefully chosen to spur the mind to consider events beyond the situation that might very well have brought them to this place of healing, and unfortunately at times, passing.

Admittedly, The Overseer did not suffer thankfully from the latter, yet she was burdened with problems. Many demanded primary consideration, of importance not merely to her own wellbeing but those of her colleagues, and the ship she commanded now to this final limit of scientific understanding, a final barrier which at first seemed to breach with ease, yet now laughed and toyed with those that would thwart time with so little concern or understanding.

She waited patiently for the Apothacary, whose all white garment seemed to paint an odd visual picture. His tall, lean physique and alabaster flesh merely underlined the physical differences between the Kaeneians, and the foreign ambassadors once of the Scoperta, now onboard the mysterious Menelmacari cruiser holding starboard. His lithe, graceful movements quickly brought him to the side of the young women. He held aloft a scanning implement and with characteristic efficiency, began his task.

"I do not anticipate any side-effects of serious consequence, Overseer." He noted, progressing from forehead to shoulder. "However the field of temporal medicine is quite literally being written with each scan I conduct, and note I complete. As such, It was wise to ensure that in addition to verifying your injuries from our arrival were sufficiently healed, your neurological system had suffered no further degredation."

Kristilanna simply nodded.

She found it almost enticing, tantalising to transfer the focus of her eyes from the display ahead, to the myriad of multi-coloured flashes dancing at the terminus of the scanning implement. Merginf from vibrant blue to furious red, there existed no barrier between the colours. Mixing, bleeding as one they created an intense blur of reality to which welcomed those for a time without the normal constraints of law, and rule.

The Apothacary stooped only slightly as he passed Kristilanna's stomach, his pace quickening slightly as he continued the scan only for the sake of completion, rather than any outstanding injuries in her lower limbs. It was this that demanded he stop amost visibily as an unknown, a strange result in a place of exact constants made itself apparent only to him. Pausing, he silenced the scanner and stood, crossing to a tabletop a short distance to retrieve a second piece of equipment.

Detecting the questioning gaze of the Overseer, the Apothacary spoke. "I have detected a minor discrepancy at the cellular level within your lower ribcage. However my original tool lacked the resolution to confirm and elaborate on this curiosity. I shall have further information in a moment."

Indeed, true to his word Kristilanna had but a scarce moment to wait, whilst the large, yet obviously light unit skimmed a scant few inches from the fabric of her robes. A further few seconds, and the Apothacary stood. Yet he did not simply return to replace the recently aquired unit, but to a console. Sliding the scanner into a waiting, accepting slot, his lean fingers ran upon the pad, analysing, commanding.

Kristilanna felt a sense of foreboding as she felt sure a look of suprise passed over the normally unexpressive, reserved features of the man. As all Kaeneians should be, and should strive for. He turned, and made the small difference between his workstation and the primary bed negligable.

"Overseer, I must report... a suprising discovery."

Realising he would not continue without a definitive affirmitive, Kristilanna replied, "Continue."

"I had initially believed the curious readings to be some variety of cellular mutation. Possibly attributed to the temporal radiation your body has been exposed to. However, analysis with a deeper resolution has indicated this 'mutation' is utterly unrelated to the conditions the Scoperta finds itself nestled within. The mutation is nothing of the sort, rather a natural function."

Kristilanna simply raised her eyebrow, demanding further clarification.

"You are pregnant, Overseer."

Iciptus could find no words from his parched, dry throat. His eyes widened as first the very barrier that seemed certain to taunt him until death gave release disappeared, and furthermore, salvation came at hand. He sat on his knees, shaking arms held against the cold decking providing support. His eyes fixed first upon the rapidly lowering plasma rifles, to which he sighed internally with relief, and then to those that wielded them. He gasped.

"...Kaeneians?" He choked, his face now a mask of utter confusion.

The armed security adepts stepped outwards, taking up silent position on either side of the now open bulkhead. With their presence removed, now others could filter outwards. First the remaining Kaeneians followed by the Der Angst envoys and those of the Dominion. Of the Cetaganda delegate there was no sign, undoubtedly still to return from his unsuccessful attempt at renegotiating the maze of corridors.

"I represent the Serene^Union, and I come first to offer you aid." Spoke one of the tall, motion-devoid Kaeneians. Either he had chosen to ignore the startled comment by the Elf before him, or disregarded it as irrelevent, for due consideration and processing at a later date.

"You have a It is not safe! We shall be set upon without mercy!" From inside, the stricken survivor found new strength, unsteadily he climbed to his feet, and almost threw himself upon the pressure suit of the lead Kaeneian. It was not in hostility, but in desperation. Iciptus took two handfulls of the tough material, his eyes pleading, despairing at the impassive orbs of grey that returned his gaze.

"Remain calm. You are hampering your efforts to assist you, control your emotions and be controlled not by them." The semi-assaulted adept replied, easily prising the shaking hands of the Elf from his pressure suit gently, but forcefully. Slowly, Iciptus sank to his knees, this new beacon of power and motivation fading rapidly in the chilling void and leaving him once more weak and without the ability to articulate his terror. As he slumped forwards, he gargled.


Vitras pushed through the assembled party. His eyes instantly fell upon the pathetic figure ahead, and he stopped before one of the armed females. Conversing quickly and in relative quietness, he took a moment to consider before making his presence aware to all who gathered around the prone Elf. Behind, another number of Kaeneians entered, of which one carried a dirtied yet functional pressure suit for which it's designated wearer was obvious.

"We cannot afford further delay." Chided Vitras, "We now risk ourselves where our presence is no longer required. We have obtained as much of the Menelmacari database as is physically possible. Furthermore, we no longer have a sufficient timeframe to examine the remains of this starship for survivors. We shall return to the Scoperta immediately, with the Elven survivor."

Flanked by the armed guards, Vitras exited.

"You are sure?" Asked Kristilanna quietly.

The Apothacary seemed confused further. He was considered an expert in his field, and highly thought of in regards to experience and ability. It was most unusual for his position to be brought into question without any due evidence nor reason. After a few seconds he realised the question stemmed from a supressed but obvious surge of emotion.

"The scanning equipment is functional, and my ability certain Overseer, there is no doubt. Though I can offer as always complete confidence in anything you pass on to myself I feel it is my duty to ask for further information on the nature of your...experience. It is standard medical procedure to ensure pregnancies are monitored exhuastively to ensure successful procreation."

The Overseer felt a familiar tidal wave build. A storming, raging mass of conflicting emotions created a violent tempest within her heart. She relied upon the impressive barriers of reason, and logic. As impulse after impulse, to run, to hide and to fear crashed against aloofness she forced calm upon herself. The Apothacary acted only to safeguard her health, she would not deny him what he required to ensure her continued safety. She pre-empted a coming question, and answered abruptly.

"Mister Vettori, Dominion envoy."

For the second time in as many moments, the Kaeneian male looked to be in genuine suprise. He covered it well, quickly recovering his proffessional coolness, and receding behind training, and practised ability. He crossed to the diagnostic station, and began to input a series of commands. His edcuated limbs found no problem in rapidly carrying out the orders of his impressive intelligence, and soon he returned.

"It would seem that temporal medicine is not the only frontier of medicine I shall be pioneering against, Overseer. As you know, as wel all know, it is absolutely unheard of for cross-species procreation. In almost seven hundred years, we have delivered not one child of non-Kaeneian origin. We shall not now answer the morality or social questions your pregnancy now raises, for that is not my purpose, nor yours. However as a result, we utterly lack data regarding the successful integration of a non-Kaeneian genetic pattern. As a result, I would hypothesize genetic resequencing may be required to carry a child to full term."

As she distanced herself from feeling, and terrible emotion, a familiar numbness set about her. She could now look upon her furious strife from afar, yet not interact. Seen by many foreigners as a frankly disturbing splitting of the soul, of the psyche, yet so vital to continued function at such a level as the position of Overseer demanded. As though a gaping wound, a torn artery in which only constant applied pressure prevented catastrophe, only her strength of will ensured she would not flinch visibily.

"As is your perogative, you may request I inform Mister Vettori of these unfolding circumstances. Yet I do believe, in my opinion best you make this announcement. You will require a complete examination, which I shall schedule at your earliest convenience. Furthermore I have moments ago initiated a complete and detailed genetic acceleration projection. The Scoperta herself will calculate utilsing a sophisticated computer model the likely course your pregnancy will take, and any genetic issues that might arise. However the procedure is varied and lengthy, I cannot present results sooner than eight to twelve hours from now."

Kristilanna could not reply before the internal communications system indicated an announcement.

"The delegation visiting the Menelmacari cruiser are departing for immediate return, Overseer." Came the serene tone of the Scoperta itself, delivering with impeccable pronounciation and clarity.

Turning to the Apothacary, and pushing herself from the edge of the bed to standing, she adjusted her ceremonial headband. "I understand, please make me aware once your analysis is complete."
Kristilanna Lgealis, Overseer Aengelis of the Serene^Union, exited the Medical bay with a far greater anxiety than her admittance had led.

With a gentle hiss, though the function implied was understated, the aft hatch sealed. Seconds later and a gentle flashing green upon the helm of each pressure helmet indicated atmosphere aboard the transport had been safely generated. As though a poorly orchestrated sequence of noise, the individual hissing of broken seals as each delegate removed their efficient, if claustraphobic suiting reverated. Iciptus already sat unconscious, and securely strapped within a station. To both his right and left, armed security adepts sat, more at the command of Vitras than out of any genuine belief the Elf might prove dangerous in transport.

With a shudder, the magnetic clamps disengaged and without the immense power required to generate a gravity field within the Menelmacari husk, the Kaeneian transport began to float free. A second was required before the powerful thruster assembly mounted to the rear brought furious blast, and forward motion. Negotiating the shattered remains of the bay pressure door and escaping free, without restriction into the coldness of the vast ocean-between-stars.

Behind, the receding qualities of the now lifeless Elven starship. For all hope had now been thoroughly exploited and explored, and could no longer provide a false belief in rescue, and survivial. Twisted, shattered corridors meshed in an insane new layout skewering previous plans and carefully laid construction efforts. Mighty engines capable of forcing titanic weights at blistering speed lay powerless, and useless. Long since isolated from their controlling systems and utterly without function.

For now, the hope of the final surviving crewmember lay bound within the fates of the Scoperta and her charges. There could be no seperation for their ends, met together as a quite unprepared group, little choice nor decision in the final outcome. Such was the cruel quirk fate played against those pawns underneath it's direction and control. Pawns that had penetrated that final barrier, time, and surely now would be punished for flying too close to their immortal gods.

Kristilanna became aware of her daydream only after the hushed mutterings of the assembled Kaeneians behind her brought forth the fact the shuttlebay had pressurised several moments beforehand, and now she wasted not only her own time, but those of the team behind her. Efficency a must, and an almost painful rending at the thought of precious time lost that could be better spent carrying out assigned task. Stepping through, she allowed those to disperse to task, and work.

Great plumes of coolant slowly vented in controlled bursts from the fusion reactor of the stationary transport. The complex coolant system required to ensure utter and unwaivering safety taking upon itself the task of ensuring a steady and balancing temperature even without interaction with technicans or qualified persons. She felt envious of the coolant, escaping without restraint and free to float against the lofty ceiling of the bay. She would do well to reach such heights and still remain free of these collective troubles.

She broke her internal monologue as the hatch lowered. Almost immediately, the Apothacary and two medical adepts boarded with a gravity-spurning transport bed. Kristilanna had not yet been briefed on the outcome of the tentative mission, and she felt unpleasent worry seep into her consciousness. She had yet to see those of the delegation leave, and her neck craned slightly for Vettori. She stopped short of being sufficiently cruel to sigh in relief as the limp form of an Elf was quickly carried forth and to the Medical Bay. She allowed herself a brief satisfaction as the obviously weary Dominion delegate slowly walked outwards, behind Security Coardinator Vitras and escort.

That relief evaporated sharply as she met the eyes of Enzo. She desperately tried to remain impartial, cool. Yet she knew herself that her eyes, so normally cold and cobalt blue betrayed her excitement at her return. She ensured nothing more however, and began to step forward, to seek a time when the pair could converse alone, and Kristilanna could deliver her damning news in the relative comfort of their isolation. She was duly prevented by the large frame of Vitras, who had made up the ground between them with impressive pace. She focused on his silent face, noticing his jaw set in tension.

"Overseer, I have grave news that must be delivered promptly." He intoned.

"Must it be delivered immediatelty, or is it better recieved as part of your report?" She countered.

Vitras pondered, and then nodded, "I shall submit my report within two hours. It shall allow me sufficient time to order the threat."

The Overseer nodded, her formidable intellect needing no further encouragement to begin concern than the use of the term 'threat'. She dismissed the Security Coardinator, and watched for several moments further the passengers disembark. The duo of Angstians conversed amongst themselves as the Cetagandan envoy emerged perplexed, and seemingly deep in thought. Lastly, the remaining Kaeneians with them dragged vast datanodes containing as much data as could be reasonably salvaged in the little time available on the Menelmacari craft.

Turning, she once more found Vettori. He had already moved to leave the shuttlebay, and had not yet realised that Kristilanna
did not intend to persue at any length a conversation with Vitras. She increased her walking pace, her long, flowing ceremonial dress billowing slightly amongst the differing air currents within the bay. She was formulating a loud alert to prevent him leaving, when he turned his head to look back before open exit doors. She stopped even as she slowed in his presence.

Kristilanna had thought for many moments how best to bridge the conversation. A simple exchange of pleasentries? A request for a meeting in privae sorroundings? She knew little of social interaction, and absolutely nothing of interaction between those who were considered intimate with each other on such a delicate subject. It thusly suprised Kristilanna almost as much as it did the man opposite her when she opened her mouth, and instead found her mind-ordering techniques, and emotional control took it upon themselves to coldly state the source of her worry.

"I regret to inform you Mister Vettori....Enzo, that I have become impregnated. I understand if you wish no further interaction. Already I have crossed the bounds of acceptable behaviour as not only the Overseer, but as a Kaeneian. If you so wish it, I shall endevour to raise the child without aid or assistance from yourself."

Kristilanna could only ponder wether the Scoperta utilised it's temporal drive currently, as to her it seemed as though moments became hours, and silence reigned even in the bustle of the busy shuttlebay. She became concerned that indeed something amiss was underway when the Dominion scientist simply continued to stare at her. Finally he spoke, but she found no comfort in his words, merely another question.

Vettori blinked once. Then again, his mouth opening to speak as he tilted his head ever so slightly as if the motion will help replay those words in a manner he can better grasp. "You're what?" he finally stammered, beginning to look just as panicked as confused.

The Kaeneian women sighed, becoming almost tired of repeating herself.

"I am pregnant Enzo, and you are the father."
Dread Lady Nathicana
16-12-2004, 04:03
The ride back had been an anxious one for Vettori. The elf's manner was disturbing to say the least - he'd yet to see one of that race in the state of mind that the poor gentleman had been in. The fear ... the panic ... it had Lorenzo's stomach feeling empty and cold, a sense of foreboding hanging over him. Not even Uhura's attempts at teasing could draw him from the emotional corner he'd pulled himself into.

His spirits had risen seeing Kristilanna standing there to greet them, though the usual self-doubt and second-guessing had set back in immediately as she turned to deal with Vitras. Best to be on his way, and back to his quarters where he wouldn't be underfoot. On last lance back stopped him in his tracks. Of all the things he had thought or hoped she might say, however, her next words didn't even come close.

He blinked again. What ... I mean, surely not ... only just that - ok, so it wasn't just once, but only just that one night and ... oh hell, that isn't what she wanted to hear. Oh god ... ohgodohgodohgodohgod ... what was that? Crossed boundaries? Raise the child without aid? Is she ... scopa! Does she mean for me to ... say something, you idiot!

"I ... that is we ... " Enzo began haltingly, clearly unsure of quite how to deal with the current situation. "Perhaps we should discuss this in a more er ... private setting," he finally managed, offering her his arm, a mix of confusion, worry, and rather a lot of concern flitting across his features. "This isn't the best place for such talk, and I'd rather we not get interrupted - so long as that's alright with you?"
19-12-2004, 02:11
Paying little attention as Vettori and Kristilanna as he exits the shuttle, Callahan follows the Apothecary and medics as they take the unconcious elf to the medical bay. He believes that the best place for him at the moment is there, so that someone other than the Kaeneians to deal with him when he wakes. It wasn't that he didn't trust them, but they could be so damn cold at times, and he doubted it would be helpful if the poor man was treated like an interrogation subject.

As he walks, he says, "Scoperta, would you be so kind as to relay to Advisor Vitras a request for me? I'd like to review the data retrieved from the Menelmacari vessel. While my knowledge is mainly technical, I may be able to assist by providing a second opinion of what has been found. If he allows it, please transfer the data directly into my suit's comp array."

While he sat in the medical bay waiting, he recieved the data he requested - at least some of it. There was mainly technical and navigational data, and little else. The nav data showed a long series of manuevers consistent with a battle, but the point of origin and flight duration had either been wiped or censored by Mr. Paranoid. 'Someone should show that guy the definition of the word ally.'

The technical data was a bit more complete. Most of it was simply more refined versions of subjective-modern Menelmacari technology, much as modern Noldorin tech was essentially the same as that of a few centuries ago. The ship boasted a smaller, more efficient gravitic core, plasma weapons the same size as modern cruiser-class guns but with greater output than modern Grand Cannons, and refined shields to match. The main difference was the power core. Rather than the fusion plants that powered Menelmacri craft back in his time, it used zero-point power sources similar to those of the Ctan - close enough that it was probably aquired from them. While even 'modern' high-end Cetagandan conversion plants had greater power output, these devices could sustain power for far longer as they didn't need any shipboard fuel. It was too bad that the wreck power modules had been destroyed, mused Callahan. One could have been adapted to replace the temporal drive's M/AM reactor and gotten them all home.

Eventually, he finishes going through what data he has and sends it off to Vitras and Kristilanna, complete with an analysis of what kind of firepower would be needed to overwhelm the Menelmacari ship - a very frightening amount, given its own capabilities.
Der Angst
19-12-2004, 20:46
Sektmet and Uhura were still discussing the issues at had, privately. Neither one did know too much (Although Sektmet had checked all data he could get, comparable to Callahan), and both were somewhat eager to see what would happen next.

Of course, it was pretty much obvious that considering Iciptus' state, this hadn't been an isolated event. Indeed, there must have been something... 'Greater', triggering this reaction.

What, that was yet to be seen.

"Although I'm wondering how we... I mean our descendants... Are managing it."

Uhura giggled at the idea. Indeed, it was a reasonable question... And perhaps they would even find something valuable, while travelling through the space of this time period. After all... Well, Sekhmet didn't have many problems with altering timelines, a little.

"Well, knowing the past, I doubt they are still existing."

"You're a pessimist."

"Yes. Yes I am. And now to more important matters..."

Indeed, there were more important matters. First of all, getting a complete version of all available data. After all.. they were on the ship, just like the Kaeneians. Of course, Sekhmet wouldn't be all that rude and just ask outright... He would see what the Overseer would have to say, later.

For now, speculation was the best he could do. That, and preparing for the things to come.

Like changing into something more comfortable, in the case of Uhura.
28-12-2004, 01:43
OOC: The final scientific barrier is leaving the Multiverse. No one's accomplished that yet.

But, good job. I want to read more of this before anything ICly is said.
28-12-2004, 01:53
The interior was poorly lit. Rounded, reflective surfaces whose presence should reflect and intensify what little light remained existed only to induce the opposite effect. Seemingly the precious illumination was swallowed whole, dismissed and forcing the few shining points of light from outside a watching window to take over ever-increasing burden.

Vitras remained within the epicentre of the darkness. From behind a desk, only his still, pale hands extended past the shadow formed upon one half of his quarters. The gentle hum, permeating the very air with a technological sense of wonder, indicated the thought processes of the Scoperta as it processed and displayed relevant information to his request.

The situation grew ever more critical, seemingly every passing hour revealing yet more deceit and treachery to rival even those whose very names existed in legendary text but a short reach from his person upon sparse, compacted shelving. Here the most lambasted and ill-thought of from a time before the founding of the Serene^Union found infamy from which to continue their corruption long after their mortal lives were spent.

Vitras could not help but ponder if his upcoming actions would ultimately decide whether his name bore the praise and appreciation of a civilisation, indebted for all time, or if he would instead join the ranks and file of the damned, and forever hated. Glancing at the blank and reflective monitor ahead, he ensured the data reconstruction process had run due course, before making his grim viewing ready.

What he had now learned was of absolute importance to the security of the Serene^Union, and the very survival of this mission. Yet many questions remained unanswered, and he lacked almost all resources from which even a sturdy hypothesis could be formulated, and built upon. From the seeds of logic he could not observe the glory of nature lead him to blossoming success without hospitable conditions.

Those conditions would be decided by the Overseer, through her own willingness, or not.

Iciptus bolted upright, his reflexes shredding away the dumbing fog of poor intellectual performance and forcing his most debased centres into action. Almost instantly he returned to vertical, his equilibrium shattered and his heavy shoulders sagging as the soft padding of the medical bed absorbed the limited kinetic momentum from the short fall.

”Your return to consciousness pre-dated our computational analysis.” Came the precisely modulated comment. The dazzled Elf turned his head slowly, cringing as his poorly treated muscles baulked at this new and unpleasant challenge.

”I...cannot remember where I am...” He rasped.

”You have suffered from considerable malnutrition and concussion. Diminished mental capacity is to be expected. Already our full course of treatment has been completed, and now we cannot further increase the pace of healing. Time will be your limiting factor Mister Iciptus/”

”You know of me.” He stated, feeling a small well of strength welcome his weary, parched person.

”As Apothecary I was furnished with your complete medical and crew records from the Menelmacari vessel. Better to aid patient care. Your rights were, as always, respected.”

”I do not understand... you cannot exist.”

The Apothecary simply rose an eyebrow, to indicate his doubt to such a rather illogical, and frankly incorrect statement. Refining a scanning process via a few short strokes of in putted data and long, carefree fingers he took up position at the head of the prone foreigner.

”Kaeneians... they did not exit Sol... They remained behind...” Iciptus garbled, his chest heaving as a series of wracking and violent coughs began to literally force his body nearer the bed edge. He rose his arms protectively even as the Apothecary held his fingers against the clammy, skeletal neck.

”I am afraid I lack the authority to make you aware as to our reasons for occupying this section of space. I am limited to providing your physiological care. I have been advised however our Security Coordinator shall endeavour to assist you in your line of questioning.”

He nodded, already feeling weariness onrushing as a terrifying wave of ignorance, and blissful, if dreamless rest.

”You require further rest. Be assured I shall make you aware when our situation progresses.”

The Apothecary delivered the assurance with typical sterility, yet the Elf had closed his eyes, his lips slackening as he passed from the conscious, colourful word before the sentence had ended. Ensuring his pulse and heart rate continued to remain within tolerable zones, the Kaeneian shifted attention to other problems of a decidedly unusual nature. Upon the screen, a tiny collection of cells, hardly more advanced than many forms of the most primitive life, glittered. Even as he watched the sensor scan progress, he spied duplication, and progress.

The offspring of the Overseer evolved before his very eyes. It caused him to experience a most unusual sense of discomfort. He acknowledged his professionalism ensured any qualms about the impact to the society of the Serene^Union would remain out with these walls, yet it was impossible to disregard. His internal monologue was interrupted by a peculiar genetic discrepancy. Unwilling to dismiss a possible glitch, he increased the scanning resolution And left national social issues to those more equipped to ponder.

Kristilanna clasped her hands together tightly. She had stood and sat on the exact same chair within a period of twenty seconds before settling on standing, her nervous disposition hidden well beneath impeccable training and a decade of the most comprehensive emotional control demonstrated by any Kaeneian.

Yet for such a situation she found herself now embroiled within, there could be no training, no advice, no true assistance.

Enzo still wore a mask of shock as he stood likewise before her. She was able to see the impressive scientific intellect struggle to comprehend the life-altering news delivered with little time for preparation barely a few moments ago. Again a deep-seated guilt rose within her. Shame took close company with guilt and together they danced entwined, as two lovers might irritate and infuriate unwilling parents or families. For what man of passion and emotion, of a race of people whose very moods had transpired legend tolerate one of ice and cold, such as her? The Dominion, forever secretive yet possessing of a temper and anger outstripping it's friendly façade claimed Vettori as one of their own, of fire and zest of life.

The Dread Lady Nathicana, truly one of the most vocal and emotive leaders Kristilanna had ever before seen of. Whose wit, intelligence and beauty evoked willing appreciation and desire from friends, and forced, grudging respect and simmering acknowledgement from enemies. The Overseer had little experience in dealing with women outside of the Serene^Union but it seemed to her that here lay the very summit of perfection, in this fascinating leader.

Kristilanna glanced upwards, towards a wall-mounted mirror. She traced with her eyes the simple, black frame surrounding the reflective surface. Uninspiring, efficient. Utterly without asthetical considerations. Disappointment welled as a tear might fall from unhappy eyes, as she came to ponder the future. To Vettori surely She seemed little more than an emotional retard. Unwilling or unable to articulate her feelings despite his best intentions and efforts.

Devoid of warm laughter to melt difficult situation, lacking in the dazzling smile to win a hesitant heart. Missing the well-timed quip that willingly drew a group into wonderful, rolling laughter. She felt now the differences between the two races could never be bridged. Overall that Kaeneians would forever remain as their native countryside- without feeling, without love.

”I am sorry Enzo.” She said finally, her voice without the intense fluctuations she struggled with internally.

”I appreciate now you are faced with a decision. I am further aware you did not share these intentions with myself, and that I place you in a difficult and unpleasant situation. I realise you gave neither permission nor obvious intent for procreation. Given my... situation when we became intimate, I neglected to ensure no risks were subsequently taken. “

She reached upwards, and pulled from her head the ceremonial headband of the office of Overseer Aengelis, placing it gently upon the counter. Her face split forth into a thousand subtle refractions against the small and scarcely noticeable gems set into the front of the piece. She allowed her lithe fingertips to linger upon it, before drawing away.

”The repercussions for my failure may be more so than I had imagined..” She began. ”For had I been simply an Adept, my treatment would have been harsh and swift. Yet to be on the council of the Aengelistoria Dominica, and furthermore the Overseer... I will be required to explain my wilful disregard to the social and genetic policies as laid down by the Union.”

”I understand if you no longer wish to associate yourself with me romantically. I was selfish in assuming you could successfully adapt to the Kaeneian psyche. Furthermore if you wish no association with the child, as shall be present in seven months I will immediately make the required legal documentation available so that your rights may be voluntarily rescinded.”

She took a shuddering breath, for a moment her mind failed utterly in containment and aloofness. A shudder broke through her being and she squeezed her pale hands together with such force the alabaster flesh became a snowy white. Yet as her will threatened to dissolve totally, she found new strength.

”However, I would like you to know...that I am glad you allowed me to experience such intimacy. I admit that before we copulated I had never before indulged in such acts. Such was and is the way of Kaenei, in that the mechanics of procreation are merely for the furtherance of the species. I now know in certain situations, this is not entirely accurate.”

She allowed further a moment for the surprising statement to settle, before reaffirming eye contact.

”I do not know what further to say.”

Vitras entered the medical bay with purpose. He had reviewed the information to the very limit of his understanding and to such point as he could construct a likely framework of events and situations. Yet several gaps remained that could not be identified. As a stubborn lock stood between the Security Coordinator and understanding, so did a complex and difficult task to decipher and defeat this lock and gain access to the vault of learning beyond.

”I require conversation with your patient, Apothecary.” He said with subtle intonation as to demand no refusal nor attempt to delay. It struck Vitras as odd that he had almost employed intimidation, as such a tactic was utterly redundant amongst a people who did not employ, let alone understand the nuances of emotion.

”He is of sufficiently sound mind to facilitate this Coordinator.” He replied simply, gesturing to the centre of attentions.

Vitras nodded, and crossed silently. Here lay a race whose existence had seen them master literature, music and art as the first Terran Humans crawled from the freezing oceans to gaze upon the blazing sun and ponder with little sentience of which rock they might reside under until such searing attention had passed.

Yet, here lay Iciptus, broken, and weary.

”Awaken yourself.” He ordered.

Iciptus seemed to take a moment to remind himself of his location, and unfortunate company. Slowly rolling towards the Security Coordinator, he sat up, feeling decidedly uncomfortable in the presence of this tall, and utterly unemotional statue.

”I am Security Coordinator Vitras, of the Kaeneian vessel Scoperta. I must ascertain key facts from which you are in possession of. Consequently I require your cooperation. Are you aware of when you are?”

Immediately the Elf took upon his face a curious look. Only a moment was required to pick up upon the curious use of the temporal sense. Swinging his bruised legs so that he might better look respectful, he eyed the Kaeneian cautiously.

”Are you telling me I am no longer within my own time?”

Vitras shook his head, sighing. ”Quite the opposite, you are exactly where you are to be. It us us, this vessel and it's occupants who are in error from a sense of time. We have travelled precisely one hundred years from whence we came, in your past. We seek information, specifically on what lies onwards from here.”

Iciptus took a moment to absorb the startling information.

”It explains at least your presence. For it was impossible that you might have been Kaeneians of my time. Such an impossibility... only if somehow the ghosts of the dead could resume physical form and taunt the living, perhaps.”

”Explain.” The inquisitorial figure demanded.

”You reside in a place that though carries a name you are familiar with, exists only as a memory within your minds. Here is a place of death, and murder. Of hideous, salivating torture and horrific excess. Sol burns undimmed at it's centre, yet those that orbit without question follow new, more terrifying commands than that issued by the force of the star.

The cradle of Humanity is lost, all has been consumed by fire, and ash. Nightmares confined to the fevered rantings of deranged madman now freely stalk the lands, killing and pillaging at will. Free will and isolation is no more.”

”You are being non-descriptive, clarify.” He countered.

”Of the Earth you remember, nothing remains. The white, freezing glaciers of your lands are stained with your blood a thousand times. Now no longer pristine, yet a disturbing shade of red, and death. Cities of incalculable antiquity smashed beyond all hope of recognition. There is only one order to the chaos of Terra.”

Iciptus ensured he had the attention of Vitras, before continuing. ”Of traditional power blocks and petty, bitter squabbling none remain. The empire of Elves, of glorious Menelmcar and our people, no longer eternal, and no longer free. Together with the vast fleets of the Triumvirate, stricken and overwhelmed. Only detritus and remains orbit Titan.”

Setting his jaw grimly, Vitras nodded.

”Much of our history is as yours. Continuance of rivalry, occasional bloodshed yet nothing that bore more deserving mention than a footnote in the scheme of the universe. However those unseen work unchallenged. Agents of the shadows do not recognise peace, or fufillment. So did it come to pass that the greatest evil of our lands rampaged unchecked.”

”The Imperium?” Tended Vitras.

”Changes were wrought, at that most cosmetic of levels. Many were convinced, or allowed themselves to be convinced by a new age of peace, and prosperity. For a time the grandness of Yut existed in medium with the spanning expanse of the Five Kingdoms.

”A tree possesses many different parts. To the trunk, and the branches beautiful flowers blossom. To those that do not suspect it holds a pleasant, cheering appearance. To take a petal and old against warm flesh, what is there to fear? Below the rich earth of our hardship, bitter black roots gnaw. Ever stronger they grow, hidden from sight and allowed to remain, and prosper. Eventually thorns of wicked sharpness sprout from blossoms, and the innocent are taken aghast. Yet nothing can now be done. For the tree is immovable and everlasting. Then, we are damned.”

Menelmcar fell first A chaotic wave of a million upon million Orcs descending with nothing more than their own seething discontent. Without mercy the elegant weaponry of the Noldrin fired without need of respite, and the streets of our capital ran slick with green blood. Drains overflowed until Elf and Demon stood against each other knee-deep in the thick, vicious mass. Allies swarmed upon the ancient and scarcely understood war machines of the enemy. Virtually indestructible Sky Furnaces were torn from the skies and destroyed.

Yet we could not stand against such numbers. Our fate was sealed with clashing sword and agonising pain. From above, the combined might of the bombardment cannons of the Federated Segments took retribution upon our fallen. The Union of Cetaganda aided our evacuation still. And from the skies, we observed the loss of our history and future.”

“”What of Sirithill? Did she perish?” Vitras pondered further unpleasant scenario of capture. Truly did even his cold heart share slight pity for what would without doubt become a wailing and wretched existence, chained for all eternity to the enduring helm of evil.

”She fled, when all hope was lost with the remnants of the C'tan. Their destination a combined outpost of our peoples, and far from the gaze of Melkor and his combined armies.”

”Yet the power of the Trium is considerable. I do not fathom how all could have been lost without the impossible becoming a daily occurrence.”

” On the eleventh day of the Terran month of November, they awaited. The shining vessels of the TYCS, and those of all allied states had since the inception of this devastating assault upon Terra mobilised for outright war. Earth was virtually beyond reach, a cauldron of violence and death. Those who could waged war upon those that could not. Your Serene^Union rendered assistance to those nations within geographical closeness, and lent efforts and your first Solarri fleet to the defence of Menelmcar. Of what little could be spared, was redirected to aid the Trium, and your world of Europa.”

”Not all Yut members arrived at once. Those vessels of primarily Earth-based theatres taking considerably longer to extract themselves from the devastation ensuring. Of Menelmcari and Ravenspire fleets, nothing remained of consequence. My own vessel purely by chance remaining behind having undergone repairs at the Ring only days earlier."

”Subtlety was never a common tactic of the Five Kingdoms, and as one they attacked. A swirling tempest of armoured prows and cruel, hooked bodies from which terrible death would be dealt or in turn issued forth to them. The stars were outshone and blurred by crashing electric blue volley and sheering torpedo impacts. At points vessels of the Imprium crashing into each other in the melee, utterly unable to navigate within the close-range quarters ensuring.”

Iciptus paused, his eyes narrowing. Vitras could read strong and burning rage beneath his calm exterior. As he recited the tale, drawing ever-closer to circumstance that brought this line of questioning in the first place, he struggled to retain composure.

”Thousands perished. Their soft flesh exposed to hard vacuum, or simply vaporised. A select few gave their lives in vicious close-combat fighting. Repelling slobbering, grotesque monstrosities whose death simply allowed their equally violent brethren better access to carnage. Yet still the Trium forces did not waiver. For when the grounds of battle take place not on grass, or concrete or sea but the void, the sea between the stars, the advantage laid with Yut. It would take a significant event to alter this status quo.”

The Elf took a deep, sorrow-quenched breath.

”It was at this point the final member of the Triumvirate able to do so deployed to the fierce battle. The Dominion had, much to their credit expended considerable resources in a valiant, if futile attempt to stabilise the Earth theatre. The Dread Lady Nathicana had, according to preliminary reports offered to travel to the most hellish pits of Morgoth to attempt to put an end to the madness. Whether she did so or not remains unknown, yet it made no difference to those that perished.

Even as they lay alongside their allies, a new plan was implemented. With the arrival of the Dominion forces, Yut sought to strike with definition against the elite capital ships of the enemy line. They would split forth, with the powerful, pacey attack vessels of the Scolopendrans and Karmabajian breaking forwards to strike, supported by the vessels of your Serene^Union. The Dominion craft would ensure their departure left no considerable hole in the Yut line, for which the enemy could exploit to the utter disaster of the defenders.”

”So it was, that as beams of incandescent energy erupted from the charging Yut lines, the well oiled Scolopendran military machine carrying out in the most chaotic heat of battle their sacred duty, treachery struck with an effect that I cannot put into words. With the forefront of the Triumvirate now engaging the enemy head-on, the Dominion fleet began to break position. They moved forwards on masse, seemingly in an uncoordinated desperation to bring death to the Five Kingdoms.”

”No torpedo impacts rocked their vessels, and no blasts of energetic aggression made themselves apparent. Even as the enemy fleet seemed to spread apart to form pincers that would simply swallow whole the Dominion fleet and expose a path from which the Scolopendrans would find themselves utterly surrounded, they ceased firing. The spacecraft f the Dominion continued forwards at maximum acceleration, where a sheer wall of the most horrific death awaited, a sheer drop from a cliff so high that to expect to live at it's conclusion was folly indeed.”

”They simply passed through.” Hissed Iciptus through clenched teeth. ”Onwards towards the Earth theatre, abandoning us to death and slaughter! Without their support the Five Kingdoms encircled the onrushing Yut vessels and swept them aside. The Kaeneians and the Cetagandans could not stand against such numbers, and were duly eliminated. Those surviving vessels of Titan chose without hesitation to realise at least survival. Those that could evacuated, and fled. The Ring itself detonated spectacularly, a work of great scientific glory and wonder rather destroyed than allowed to fall into the hands of those that would abuse and use it's divine placement for further immoral gain.”

Vitras was silent. He not expected such a revelation. Deep within his most cynical core he could not have envisioned such a betrayal. It infuriated him, it provoked emotion without doubt. Anger radiated from his features and he did well to avoid taking hold of the Elf and demanding further explanation.

”Europa was next to fall. Your people would be displaced no second time. After such exertion, to cross eighty thousand light years and settle on Terra from the world of Solarri, to overcome such hardship to guarantee survival and see it all lost again proved too much to bare. The ice fields of the cold moon heaved and boiled as Kaeneian weapons bombarded the orbital battle fleets. Above every starship still intact made a final stand in orbit, accompanied by the incomplete space frames of fleet yards that would now never again complete their works.

Great craters in the ice were tore miles deep as one by one, defence lasers were silenced. Kaeneian vessels, of few number and considerable ability stemmed the tide for as long as it was able to endure, but could not stand forever. Many chose to detonate their Anti-matter containment, rather than be crippled and boarded at the readiness of their foul captors.

I shall mention that not one Orc set foot on Kaeneian cities. They gathered instead around the blazing remains of their twisting superstructures. Crumbling amongst the self-detonated reactor cores that proved a final, desperate act of denial and refusal to yield. For fifty days the tiny world was bombarded, long after the final Kaeneian had felt his flesh rended and cold steel part his bones and rob him of final breath. No splintered rock was left intact, and your species at that point ceased to exist.”

”This destruction, of such beauty and civilisation smashed aside. The Menelmcari, the Kaeneians, the Cetagandans, the Scolopendrans, the Aelosians and countless others. My most trusted allies, your most beneficial acquaintances. Those whom we knew of sound heart, even amongst disagreement. Wiped out, forever lost. For that, I blame the Dominion. They ensured the lives of our people were thrown away in vain, for nothing. They ensured our sacrifice as nothing more than a footnote, rather than a memorial.”

”What became of the Dominion?”

Iciptus shook his head, his rage subsiding. ”That I cannot answer, for I left the immediate vicinity of Earth soon after. I had attempted to reach the location of Lady Sirithill and the tattered remains of the Menelmacari fleet, yet our vessel was crippled by an advance Sketchen attack party, whom left us for dead."

”It can be assumed Nathicana whored herself to whatever infernal gods she pledged allegiance to. Perhaps chained by the neck for the amusement of her new owner, and divine master of the Five Kingdoms? Danced for his amusement, and fulfilled his carnal desires whilst thinking nothing of the billions she condemned? I cannot say. For her people, damnation most certainly.”

Vitras stirred himself, and softened his tone. ”You have done well Iciptus, and your cooperation will ensure our continued safety. I have no qualms regarding any security risk you possess, for your presence now proves vital. I must make an immediate report to the Overseer, whom must make a decision as to how to proceed. Much must be discussed, and the ghosts of the past once more forced to resurrect and fulfill our curiosity.”

The Elf nodded wearily.

”I shall return, for now rest.”

Vitras turned, and with each footfall thought of what had transpired. Still he had yet to assimilate the terrible tragedy and it's cause. He thought of the Kaeneian territories once grand and mysterious. The Spire of Solarri reaching towards the heavens to grasp at the sun and bring closer it's knowledge and experience to the populace. He considered the hard-won lands of Europa, where a million lives had found their end against the forces of Sketch. Only for a billion more to find their end also. Then, he considered Vettori.

Logic pointed out the foolishness in attempting to hold the Dominion envoy responsible. Just as an innocent bystander cannot be held accountable for the actions of an utterly insane serial killer on the grounds of identical nationality, so was the scientist free from blame. Yet a very irrational fury demanded penance. If this time line came to pass, Vettori would assuredly prosper. His position within the Dominion government surely promising riches and glory.

The Security Coordinator, his ship, it's crew and his superior Kristilanna would endure agony and death.

Vitras would not let this come to pass.

He would not let this betrayal come to pass.
Der Angst
28-12-2004, 15:48
Uhura was oblivious. Oblivious in almost unbelievable ways. It remained to be seen just how her chances with Vettori would change, now, that Vettori was about to become a father, and apart from that... Well, being oblivious of the whole surroundings they were in, the whole situation... Wasn't overly useful.

Admittedly, it could proof to be amusing, with a cheerful woman in the middle of the end of civilization.

Eventually, she chose to rest, in illusionary peace, not knowing all that much... And circling her mind around, knowing more, wasn't what she was interested in, right now. It would be a bit rude, too, and she didn't want to alienate the Kaeneians even more than she had.

Well, actually, she did, but the things she would do if Sektmet asked, politely...


Sekhmet wasn't as sleepy as Uhura. As a matter of fact, he was more curious about certain things. And, ignoring Kaeneian 'supremacy' on board the Scoperta, he did, eventually, leave his chamber (Cabin would be correct if he was on an Angstian ship, but the Kaeneians had a certain sense for luxurity), heading for Iciptus' location. The medical bay.

He didn't see many people while walking through Scoperta's corridors, apparently, most of them were busy. He smiled faintly, thinking of them working, and him, well, observing.

Eventually reaching the medical bay, he was, however, stopped by a Kaeneian guard.

"I want to, uh, see the poin- the elf."

The Kaeneian didn't answer immediately, but it was rather obvious that he didn't intend to let him in.

"The survivor of the Menelmacari vessel has yet to recover fully from injuries sustained. In addition Security Coardinator Vitras has directly ordered none are to converse with him before gaining his expressive consent. I suggest you take the matter to his attention."

"I see... If you don't mind me asking, where is Coord-" Sektmet stopped, watching the door sliding open.


Turning towards Coordinator Vitras, his mind enclosed, yet still catching a faint (Very faint) sense of... Darkness?, but eventually deciding to not follow this any further (Such intrusions into the privacy of ones mind could, after all, be taken as a serious offense), he made a polite expression, addressing the Coordinator. "I see, you don't waste any time, so, ah... Since this is kinda why I came... What do we... You know, now, about this time period?"

He seems to be into secrets. I wouldn't be overly surprised if he would refuse to tell me what the elf had for breakfast, not to mention the important things...
Dread Lady Nathicana
31-12-2004, 21:51
He understood that Kaeneians were not comfortable with displaying emotion. At least, he thought he understood. Or had accepted what little he did as simple fact. All the same, given the topic of conversation, Kristillana's demeanor only served to inspire more worry on his part. No woman was this rational, this controlled. He had seen a passion in her, had seen the tenderness she possessed, knew that such emotions existed on some level underneath the cool, controlled facade. Seeing her be so calm and logical about something so personal, so intimate, nearly broke his heart.

With trembling fingertips he reached out to gently brush a strand of golden hair from her face, then brushed his palm along her silken cheek. "Please," he began, unsure of himself and his words, unsure that anything he was doing was right, his usual self-recriminations by now going off the charts. "Please don't just walk away. Not like this."

"I don't know what's going to happen, Kristillana. I can't guarantee it's all going to be sunshine and roses, what with all the complications it seems we've got to deal with now. I should have ... hell, I should have been more responsible. It's not your fault. I'm sorry to have done this to you. It's not what I intended, I swear - I just ..." He pauses, stopping what he was going to say once, then again before continuing on. "Once things started, I didn't give any thought past having you, wanting to be with you like that. I know we don't know each other well enough to be dealing with this sort of situation, but here we are, no? Only way to go is forward. One thing is this - I don't know what this council of yours has to do with it, and granted I don't think they have any right nosing into your personal affairs, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let them hurt you. Genetic policies be damned."

Vettori drew himself up a bit more firmly as he spoke again. "And I'm not in the habit of walking out on a lady, especially one I happen to have feelings for. Traditionally for me, that's worked out the other way around," he says, his wry smile speaking volumes. "What an incredible lady like you saw in a dysfunctional neurotic bastard like me in the first place, I've no idea. I don't claim to fully understand the mindsets of your people or their traditions either, though it seems I'd best start learning. I do know that if you'll have me, I'll stand by you in whatever capacity you wish. You and our child. Damned if I'm ready, or likely even capable of being the father he or she deserves, but I'll do what I can. It isn't in me to do otherwise."

Still unsure of himself or her reactions, knowing only that he needed to do something, to try and offer something more than simple words, he tentatively reached out, offering to draw her into a warm embrace.

Jesu Christo, Lorenzo ... of all your fuckups, this has got to be the worst. Damned if she doesn't deserve better. This is no place for a child either. We still don't have any idea when or if we're going to get back. Whatever blew up that cruiser is still out there as well. How in hell are we going to manage this? We need to get home. I have to get her home.
06-01-2005, 21:16
"This is not good," muttered Callahan on the other side of the medical bay from the closed room they were keeping the elf in. Withdrawing the eavesdropping spell that he had used to listen in on the conversation between the Inciptus and Vitras, he leaves the ward and returns to his quarters, where he throws himself on the bed. "Ship, please alert me the instant that either the Security Coordinator or the Overseer calls a meeting. Of course, that assumes His Paranoidness deigns to share any information with anyone. Manual, electronic version."


"Priority connection to the Archmage, or senior Supervisor or Advisory wizard who is a Triumvirate national."

>Warning: Class One selective lockout has been initiated on communications protocols for Senior Advisory Wizard Ronald James da'Griffert sa'Callahan by order of megasector-level Causality Consensus. No communications with home location allowed for duration of temporal excusion.

This was exactly the sort of thing Callahan had been hoping hadn't happened. He'd expected it for voluntary pastward trip, but accidental futureward travel was different. "Goram it. Request priority communications with one of the Galactic Supervisors."

>Request submitted. Reply received. "I'm sorry, but I can't interfere, Callahan. I suggest you do some research into the relevant temporal causality mechanics as regards to your situation - I've cleared you for full access, although you nearly had it anyways.. There may be a way for you to find a way out. Remember, there are no accidents. You were aboard that ship for a reason, even if you and I can't see it yet. Msher'dalv'KvCh, Galactic Supervisor." Message ends.

A ray of hope, albeit not much of one. Still, it gives Callahan something to start formulating a plan around. He'd need information to back it up for when - if - Vitras ever got around to sharing his horded information with the rest of them and they started talking about what to do. "Ok, where to start...I need information on Class Three causality alterations, resulting from information gained from futureward travel and return to subjective-present."

Lying on the bed and reading the scrolling information, Callahan tried to put in the back of his mind what failure to 'correct' the future-past would mean for his nation. The problem, of course, would be making sure it got fixed in a way that didn't either excise them from their timestream entirely or get them smitten by one of the Powers that don't take kindly to causality violations. He had no desire to be struck by a relativistic man-eating hamster or nibbled to death by a pack of asteroids.
11-01-2005, 04:49
Progress stood as far more than a mundane word of language whose use went utterly ignored or worse, incorrectly represented. With implications both far-reaching and profound it stood for the very march of civilisation and achievement. In both the fertile fields of the Natural World to the most fantastical contraptions of Men ideas became reality through a chaotic mesh of inspiration, technical ability and perseverance.

Yet to what could the impartial observer credit with the foundation of all things, an all powerful deity whom all worshipped as the source of creation and ultimate salvation? Millions flocked underneath the umbrella of organised religion to lend support to this theory.

Men of science scoffed, demanding logical and precise details, of little short than the appearance and confirmation of God before they would abandon textbook and equation and embrace the truth. Two opposing views forever locked as cast iron enemies, though each represented that which eluded lesser beasts and granted those that possessed it the power to debate at will. It was that which acted as the personification of progress and the very pinnacle of the Natural World.

The mind.

Not simply a collection of organic matter tasked with control rather then obedience, so much more than simple nerves, neurons and synapses yet at the same time those simple names allowed terms to be applied where before only awe and wonder existed to describe.

Love- for a heart broken and separated from that which was meant to be, held within a devoted and warming embrace no longer and cast forth to contemplate amongst the rain and chilling winds of loneliness.

Hate- A seething cauldron of bubbling dislike and scarcely-restrained venom, a festering tumour of soul-destroying discontent that threatened to overwhelm all reason and end in a hideous explosion of violence and bitter enmity.

When considered alongside such epic achievements as fire, flight and the mastery of the elements of this Earth the ascendancy of intellect was complete, and unrivalled. Even in times of great distress and periods of hopelessness consciousness from the depths of despair did provide sole hope for survival or solution.

Kristilanna felt herself lean forwards, in expectation as the open arms of Enzo Vettori seemed to swallow not only her fragile form but also for a period the multitude of problems swarming her weary mind. Warm fingertips snaked about her waist as she leaned inwards, lips meeting not with passion as a motivation but an altogether more tender impulse.

Her own nimble fingertips ran through thickened locks atop stressed yet focused features. Her own blonde strands did descend around the tickled flesh of the Dominion envoy, distracting but not so that one might seek an end to the impulse. As she allowed emotion a brief residence within the visible walls of her fortress-mind, much as the sole periscope of an armoured submarine might peek beneath the freezing waves of Arctic cold, she thought of all that granted her supremacy above lesser creatures.

Through closed eyes she knew the rugged face of Vettori without fault. Gently she allowed questioning urges to surface and trembling hands answered such a call, caressing a cheek gently, cupping it. She felt a sorrow well within her, one to which even her most powerful and blanketing suppression techniques could not quieten, only stifle.

If emotion were the pinnacle of the humanoid equation, if that summit which makes us laugh and cry and herald the new dawn of day then were Kaeneians inherently doomed to lie beneath that final level of life? Did deliberate refusal to indulge in the most bestial and driving urges of a sentient race extend below aesthetic considerations of manners?

Tales existed on data slates so fragile that to expose them to the air would be to watch foolishness rewarded with the destruction of priceless antiquity. These tales carry times long since passed from which stars burning brightly are now dead and cold. These relics whisper of a period when mental control was not as it is now amongst those citizens of Kaenei.

When neighbour regarded neighbour with savage jealousy and a wilful disregard for personal control or restraint, when groups of like-minded barbarians scoured entire cities of life so that they might add some trinket to bloated collections of pillaged treasures. Kristilanna could not entirely rely on these legends to tell her why her race now took as radical an approach to feeling as they did, indeed she did not rebel against the system. The very coldness and aloofness found so offensive by countless individuals and races acted as an integral factor in the core of her being. Without doubt those exact characteristics Enzo found so disheartening and worrying would not render her a superior women should the magical ability to remove them from her psyche present itself.

”Enzo, I find it extremely difficult to articulate my thoughts so that you might understand how I am struggling to translate my…”

She paused, and resisted the urge to grimace at the deep-seated irony of the final word that had yet to form on her lips.


Kristilanna took a step back, though she ensured her hands remained clasped with Vettori. She searched confused yet resolute eyes with her own implacable, cobalt blue orbs.

”Absurdity surrounds us both, on the very starship that carried us against that final barrier time. Within my womb grows a child not of one ancestry as defined by the entirety of my culture and being but two. What is spawned from me is unheard of amongst my people, and regardless of your appreciated promises over my safety there will be repercussions for me. Unfortunately I cannot even begin to imagine or contemplate them, for there is no benchmark by which I can measure”.

Her head lowered, as she allowed the statement to stand. Once more re-establishing eye contact she ensured her voice was steeled, and her nerve held. Slowly she led him forwards to the couch rarely sat upon, and almost entirely forgotten of. Interlocking her fingers through his, she pleaded sincerity as honestly as one with such limited emotional output could.

”It would seem I am cast adrift to the whim of fate. I cannot ask you to be likewise cast away, yet I would sorely miss your company so.”

Vitras had not even the time to collect his thoughts before the decidedly shorter body of the Der Angstian Envoy impeded his progress with such haste the entry doors to the Medical Bay scarcely had sufficient time or room to seal closed. Further denied time for respite he felt his jaw tighten visibly as a question on the nature of their predicament came to light.

”Our position is still one of great uncertainty.” He began as diplomatically as his limited patience would allow for, ”We have however ascertained our location to be approximately one hundred years into the future, and consequently at a disadvantage on technical evolution. An extensive amount of data was acquired from the Menelmacari vessel, however it has not yet been sifted to isolate the relevant from that which is useless. I will shortly seek conference with all envoys, and attempt to disseminate information suitable for their viewing.”

Vitras stepped forwards, his face impassive as it was uninteresting.

”I have much to attend to, I shall be in contact within the immediate future.”

Pausing neither to indicate his willingness to hear a question on when that might be, or the exact nature of the data revealed the Security Coardinator pressed onwards. Held within his right palm a data slate was secured tightly in grasp. Upon this delicate storage medium the transcription of the conversation between the grim Kaeneian, and the Elf survivor. Vitras would have much preferred the time to first edit, and ensure the flow of the conversation suitably indicated immediate action was vital.

Time however, defeated once and all to eager to extract revenge, conspired to force his hand. With efficiency never waning he had located the position of the Overseer as within her own habitation quarters, and suitably altered his destination to suit. His mind wondered, unusually so, towards the Dominion envoy. Vettori was bothersome in the least, and a security threat of massive proportions at worst when information held about his person was factored in.

He represented all that threatened the Serene^Union and her people. Furious emotion boiled from his mind as though a volcano of epic proportions. His nervous energy, enthusiasm and irritation were not readily identifiable, instead a swirling vortex of feelings, inhibitions and wanton derangement from any logical viewpoint. How he could in any form attract a women of the standing of the Overseer, Vitras could not understand. Kaeneians were, or should be far above such egocentric offerings as charm, or wit.

He was a well respected citizen and officer of the Defence Solarri. Exemplary service and distinguished dedication to the cause of pure, unbiased logic and examination that was not only vital, but a much admired quality amongst his people. Vitras felt no self-satisfying thrill in describing himself as superior in many respects to the Human. Yet clearly he was missing something from nothing that declared his accomplishments worthless.

The Kaeneian paused, his face forming a subtle frown from which doubt surfaced and made itself home.

Could that which he did not possess be the one element he despised? Surely Kristilanna found not attractive the concept of free emotion and expression? Such a concept evoked considerable trepidation from within, that for all the efforts of his life and unselfish dedication to the Aengelistoria Dominica, that which was declared without use, inherently dangerous seemingly provided the key to union with the Overseer.

Reasserting his professional facade, he pushed the rune indicated before the doorway to request entrance. He found it curious that an almost perceptible pain seemed to riddle his stomach at each conversation, or appearance of Kristilanna. As though his body cried to step away from her gaze or be granted a moment's respite from her presence. Vitras knew this to be foolishness, he did not suffer such nervous bouts- He was Kaeneian, he was unable to suffer such episodes.

”Coardinator?” Came the slightly raised question.

Vitras was forced to flinch. He had not even detected the opening of the door, utterly lost in an internal monotone that seemed not to offer a satisfactory resolution. Trepidation was replaced by a keen wariness, he had allowed personal matters to intrude upon his duty. Such failings would be unique in their occurrence from then on.

”...Overseer, I bring you a duplication of a conversation held between myself and the Elven survivor from the Menelmacari Cruiser. It contains information that is to the up most importance to the Serene^Union, and our safe return to our original time vector. I apologise for not taking sufficient time to compile a report but in my capacity as Security Coardinator I felt it warranted no such delay.”

Kristilanna nodded, her own internal agonies forgotten in a frankly disturbingly easy silencing of the struggles that would surely affect the professional abilities of a Human. Stepping to the side she indicated for her counterpart to enter, whereupon Vettori stepped from a side room.

”I cannot share this information in the presence of the Dominion envoy, Overseer.” Vitras did not pause to allow either the man in question or Kristilanna to protest, ”I give you my word of office that the information contained within this slate must be witnessed by only those of equal rank or above.”

Kristilanna turned to Vettori, sighing audibly and surprising Vitras with such an open display of weariness.

”Very well, I shall take a moment to examine this. I shall return.”

As she exited, she unwittingly took with her all conversation, humour and acceptance as she left two individuals for whom conversation proved an alien and unpleasant concept, best avoided and subsequently ignored.

The mass was recognisable only by the subtle disappearance of stars as it crossed ahead of countless points of flickering, burning light. A colour to match the freezing void it betrayed no visible emissions, of powerful engines nor illuminating windows. Menacing sheaths of metal erupted from points along its dorsal hull, seemingly twisting into archaic bolts of lightning-given-form.

Tapering to a blunt, menacing maw from which needle-like protrusions glinted momentarily to provide full nightmarish acknowledgement of the bizarre. It seemed adrift, neither boosted nor pulled by a larger more controlled vessel. Its location one of repetition and boredom, lonesome and without company for a distance considerable. For here even Pluto proved solace for the mind, an empty region of dust and weakening solar winds providing little indication as to its marking of the boundary of the Sol system.

However it was not alone, and it was not without company. Her hull a stark contrast to the blackness of the unnatural observer, the Scoperta powered towards the nine planets present slowly, as though her true course was undecided and that which was implemented merely a place holder rather than true intention. Irrelevant of destination she closed distance unintentionally, without realisation nor warning.

Suddenly, the blackness receded. With a visible mushrooming of hazy blue the twisted mass of metal sought new life and was granted growth in the form of movement. Dust expelled in objection as the stale state of the millennia-unchanged dust cloud was shattered. The distance closed and with a mocking not entirely invisible, serenity would be shattered by an assailant unknown.

Kristilanna returned, to an atmosphere of silence and awkward mutterings. Yet having perused the data slate, she now found herself unwilling to shatter the stifling air of barely-restrained outburst. The information contained had made her clench fists white in rage, and consider the dishonour of betrayal by a supposedly close ally. Indeed the Overseer had been tempered only by her first-hand feelings for Enzo, providing the only real input to the truth behind the leanings of the Dominion.

Vitras had been impeccable in his action and deliverance of this report. She would find no fault with such dedication. She fixed eyes upon Vettori, knowing full well his sharp intellect would regard the pained, if muffled expression behind crystal orbs with worry. Turning to the other Kaeneian, she spoke-

”I have reviewed the information. You acted with distinction in raising this to my attention, yet further analysis is vital. We shall gather at a later date, at seventeen hundred hours and supply more depth to this investigation. You are dismissed.”

Vitras had no sooner nodded than he felt himself lifted free of the burden of gravity, and hurled towards the bulkhead. A loud thud heralded the only responsive sound as he crumpled to the floor, without even the time to raise his hands in reflex. The entire room shuddered violently and both Kristilanna and Vettori were unable to retain their respective footing.

”Condition red, hostile fire confirmed.” Came the ship-wide announcement.

Scrambling to his feet, Vitras placed aside the considerable pain radiating from a possibly dislocated shoulder. Pausing only to check on the condition of the Overseer and assist her in returning to standing he wasted no time in securing their next destination.

Photofluerescent death spat violent volley as the Scoperta crackled with the consistently victimised absorption fields struggling to retain cohesion against such merciless impacts. As though the energy supplied by the on-board reactors sought to escape directly into the coolness of space they erupted outwards in dazzling bursts of multi-coloured light. Impact after impact creating sweeping depressions in the field that threatened to push the Scoperta's defences beyond the point of survival, only for it to shimmer back into relative existence once more.

At no point did fire return against this adversary. For it was utterly impossible to wreak revenge. To the Scoperta and her sensors it was the Hydrogen, the interstellar dust and the nothingness-between-stars that bore grudge. Even the most detailed scans indicated nothing that might pose as ship or device and intend to cause ill harm. Essentially blind and powerless, the Kaeneian vessel could but endure.

”Status!” Bellowed Vitras, giving no time to the transport life to full open the door that barred his way before demanding information.

The helmsman replied with typical efficiency, taking his eyes off of the myriad of shifting runes and glowing indicators only long enough to show the proper respect expected of a lesser officer.

”We are under attack from an unidentified source. Impact analysis suggests a highly charged form of plasma augmented with an as-yet unknown kinetic accelerator. Absorption fields are intact, but cannot withstand a prolonged assault.”

”Why have we not defended ourselves?” came the tense statement as Kristilanna took residence within the compact confines of the central command throne. Her fingertips spread across the parallel information and display screens upon the armrests.

”Our systems are unable to establish a targeting lock upon the hostile in question. I believe the technological evolution of this time period has allowed for sensor-deception fields that remain intact even during high-energy events such as weapons discharge.”

The Scoperta shuddered once more, the interior lighting of the bridge flickering momentarily before systems were stabilised sand disaster averted, if only temporarily.

”Make all weapons ready, random discharge patterns. Ensure your eyes are keen, and focus further fire on any certified impacts.” Ordered Vitras.

Utilising instinct and little more than chaotic randomness the Scoperta unleashed a hail of beam-riddled energy. Piercing white light tore from cannon mounts into the blackness of space, simply continuing onwards and doomed to wandering having failed to find the truth behind launch. Carving apart simple Hydrogen molecules proved easy to achieve, yet none were able to strike a blow of warning against the aggressor in question.

The absorption fields reeled visibly as the energetic distress took precedence. Over sections of hull the rippling effect seemed to fade, realising the harsh white of the metal below. Protection would soon be lost and fragile skin exposed to searing agony.

”Tactical sensors indicate negative impact.” Announced Vitras.

Kristilanna frowned, leaning forwards slightly. The display screen ahead showed nothing but empty space, and lonely star. Occasionally from nowhere bolts of plasma destined for destructive end would phase into existence, appearing not where they truly existed but simply where the sensors were able to register their energy against the void.

With a shower of slug-like, glowing sparks a section of console exploded. Shards of plexiglass scattering against the carpeted floor and chair, the remainder of the station simply melting against flickering consoles and causing further damage. A second impact brought a longer period of darkness as the most basic systems of the Kaeneian vessel struggled to continue operation.

Vitras moved to another station, his brow furrowing. ”Absorption fields are fluctuating below minimal operational yields, we are defenceless in key areas.”

Vettori, until now remaining silent and occupying himself at the rarely-manned environmental controls, allowed his hands to wander over the interactive touch-screen.

”Minor buckling of the plasma exhaust manifold.” He added dutifully.

Vitras nodded, consulting his own console. ”Confirmed, pressure within the starboard fusion reactor is rising, preparing to vent excess pressure.”

Unfortunately the Kaeneian was allowed no time to fufill his promise. With pinpoint accuracy a further barrage impacted the already damaged manifold, reducing it to scant more than fused steel, and twisted, useless baffles. Vitras watched as his console flickered, struggling to maintain a link to the rest of the ship and consequently keep him informed. When it stabilised he growled in frustration, though not sufficiently to allow audible rebuttal.

”Overseer, I must report the destruction of any means of venting the reactor. Without relieving the building pressure a breach is inevitable, I suggest ejecting the reaction chamber.”

”That's going to seriously impact ship power levels.” Challenged Vettori.

”We have little choice, continue.” Interrupted Kristilanna.

With a simple, dying thrum the console charged to the Security Coardinator faded to blackness. Repeated attempts to elicit a response or affirmative resulted in simple, bitter failure. Wheeling around, he consulted a similarly unresponsive auxiliary unit. Beginning to grow weary of technology failure, he straightened.

”I have lost primary status board, Overseer. Internal communications and key control links between the bridge and the engineering levels have been interrupted. I am unable to command the ejection of the fusion chamber without intervening manually.”

Kristilanna grimaced as she once more felt her stomach quiver in response to a violent tremor. She had experienced this helplessness before, and paid for it with injury during the first temporal jump of the Scoperta. She felt no relish in being incapacitated again, turning she was interrupted from acknowledging by the mostly silent Enzo Vettori.

”The Scoperta's carrying concussion warheads, yes?” He asked.

Vitras nodded, ”It is a standard armament aboard vessels of the Serene^Union.”

Standing, his eyes became distanced as though performing a calculation.

”If we substitute the warhead for a container of drive plasma, and adjust it's yield we'd get an impressive flash.”

”The torpedo would be useless as an offensive weapon, I doubt very much a hostile in possession of such advanced sensor-foiling measure would in turn fall to a simple input overload.” baulked the Coardinator.

Vettori snorted, ”If you'd be quiet long enough to let me finish talking.” He ran a hand through ruffled hair, continuing with Kristilanna as his focus. ”It'd be one hell of a flash, strong enough to certainly reveal the location of any vessel...”

Nodding, the Overseer transmitted understanding. ”Proceed, however make the ejection of the fusion reactor your priority.”
Vitras nodded, turning to exit. He hesitated as the transport lift obediently opened forth to admit his person. Turning, he gestured to Vettori.

”It would be more efficient to utilise your help, you will assist me.”

Vettori grumbled, managing to squeeze ”Your welcome” as he followed the Kaeneian into the lift, and descended into the bowels of the shuddering vessel. From outside, the fields continuing to tolerate the punishing levels of energy levelled upon it began to fade from visibility, struck a lethal blow and useless as meaningful means to prevent damage.

The corridor was a chaotic mix of obscuring smoke billowing forth from ruptured piping, and the incessant blaring of the alert tone as it sought to obviously make even the dead aware of the evolving crisis simply by ear-piercing volume. Pushing through as two contrasting shadows, Vitras ploughed onwards, doggedly followed by the Dominion citizen.

”We will have little time to effect an ejection. The situation is considerably worse than I had previously realised.” Vitras explained, ”It is obvious from the state of this section that those charged with the observation and maintenance of the reactor are either incapacitated or dead. It is fortunate we were forced to conduct a manual ejection.”

”Not for those people.” replied Vettori.

”If they are dead, they are no longer a concern. It but remains to ensure we do not join them in eternal rest.”

Determination finally brought limited success. Entering the reactor, they became aware of bodies slumped against ruptured equipment. Electronic detritus mixing unnaturally with spilled crimson and torn flesh. Vettori found it unsettling that the faces of the normally impassive Kaeneians were marred with what seemed agonising wails of death. Staring ahead the impressive form of the fusion reactor dominated. From its squat frame energy conduits exited to quench the thirst of the aimless weapons of the Scoperta. Efficiently Vitras began the sequence for ejection.

With a loud hiss, the conduits disconnected themselves explosively. Obvious latches designed for careful manual removal too consuming of precious time to warrant attention over built-in explosives.

From the ceiling a tube of thickened metal began to descend, enclosing the now vibrating reactor body so as to retain pressurisation of the hull during ejection. As it descended great gouts of steam erupted as emergency valves sought to futilly bleed excess pressure from the system.

”I cannot signal the computer to complete the ejection without secondary verification. Input the override at the starboard station.” Commanded the hunched Kaeneian.

Vettori nodded, crossing and focusing his attention on the task at hand.

”Starboard fusion reactor ejection confirmed, initiating ejection in twenty seconds.”

Enzo took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief, turning to watch the containment tube complete it's descent from above. It was consequently with great horror he watched as the unit stalled but a half metre from the flooring. The whine of hydraulics indicated not a fault with the will, but the way of the system.

”Pressure door isn't coming down!” He exclaimed.

Vitras swung around, eyes widening as the computer began to count the timer from ten. ”We cannot override the system, secure yourself!” He urged. Vettori did not require a second education.

With the suitably apt sound of sheering, tortuous metal the reactor began to descend violently. Entire plates of protective armouring being torn free and deposited against the resolute cylinder once supposed to protect those observing but now entirely aesthetic in use. The howling cry of decompression announced the loss of the chamber to deep space. Vitras felt as if punched in the ribcage not by a mere drunkard but by the force of a concrete weight. Struggling to maintain his grip, he grimaced in the time he felt surely elapsed for the ancillary systems to restore atmosphere.

Thankful for his inherent strength, vital for his location so close to the actual open port venting to space, he gathered the strength to gaze at his unlikely colleague. Vettori was clearly struggling, his attention focused solely on the handrail preventing his painful and unpleasant demise at the hands of a most uncaring slaughterer- the void.

With a tortured scream the handrail so providing him protection began to wrench free, first at the far right, where mountings surrendered their charges willingly. Then likewise far left, until Enzo was left with what made a superior close combat weapon, but a near-useless grappling tool. With a muffled yelp he fell backwards, instantly caught in the swirling air pressure and hauled through the departing air towards the once dominant reactor assembly.

Flailing his arms, he desperately tried to reach, to grab, to survive on something. Kaeneian architecture foiled him to the final moment, all sharp edges and possible protrusions sealed behind accessible hull plating. Yet plating beyond his reach. He looked downwards to see his feet pulled underneath the useless remains of the vacuum shield. Closing his eyes tightly he felt his waist wrench as a second force exerted influence. Vettori waited for the agony of decompression.

When he felt no further pain after a few moments, he opened an eye to see the gaunt features of Vitras staring at his face. He was silent, clearly struggling with the combined efforts of ensuring his own safety and that of his new found charge. Scarcely audible underneath the tremendous forces around, Vitras shouted-

”I have always wanted to know Mister Vettori, how was she?”

Enzo felt rage build within him. Narrowing his eyes, he did all that was possible in the situation. Squeezing his hand, he clamped considerably painful pressure upon the outstretched limb of the Coardinator. His teeth ground together as he sought to exert maximum pressure in return for such a comment.

With a considerable effort the Kaeneian succeeded in hauling the envoy from underneath the shield so that he might be clear of it. With a loud thud, the ejection port sealed as computer countermeasures finally took long-overdue effect. Both men fell to the floor, as the hiss of oxygen recyclers indicated a restoration of atmosphere.

”I must say, I am seldom used to motivating those on emotional grounds Mister Vettori, however it was necessary to ensure you did not lose grip and fall. I am somewhat disappointed I received no reply.”

The flabbergasted look of shock on the face of his counterpart proved all the thanks Vitras required. Turning, he seemed to punctuate the moment with another violent quaking of hull.

”We must reprogramme this torpedo, lest it become the sole survivor of the Scoperta.”

Nodding, Vettori moved forwards and resolved that he would discuss with Vitras the remarks made at a more convenient, less deadly time.

Kristilanna could no longer rely on her command throne to provide a calm in the storm that was this assault. A blast had simply torn it free from mountings and forced a rather swift abdication for fear of injury. She gave subtle thanks that this ship represented not the final terrified days of a monarchy in rule, else she may have been inclined to direct her thoughts to something altogether more morbid.

”Hull armouring is failing in multiple locations. We will shortly be exposed.” Announced the stand-in for Vitras at tactical.

Maintain random firing patterns, attempt as many evasive procedures as possible.” She commanded, disliking intensely for this feeling of helplessness.

She spared a thought for the other delegates. Though procedure would indicate persons of such privilege as the Cetagandan and Der Angst personnel would proceed to the bridge in times of crisis stood, she doubted both were aware of such. Without internal communications she had no way of resolving their location or status. With all defences now compromised, each impact would kill both instantly and consistently until such time as Kristilanna could be sure they lived.

From behind only her instincts saved savage injury as the tactical console detonated spectacularly. Throwing herself to the floor she watched as razor sharp shards of the former unit span through the air in all directions. Sparks fell downwards, cooling almost instantly as they impacted cold decking but retaining sufficient heat to scald her exposed neck and hands.

A loud cry of pain heralded the death of the helmsman. He stood, his limbs spasming as a large chunk of plexiglass embedded within the back of his skull. A trickle of dark crimson left forth from his neck, trailing his back and waist as he continued to jerk uncontrollably. Finally, he slumped to his knees and then forwards so that his head impacted against the station once under his charge, console cracking underneath claustrophobic, enclosed face.

Kristilanna restrained the urge to run towards him, to comfort, to check for the barest hint of life. Yet it mattered not, for no chance existed of survival, reiterated as oozing red ran brightly across the remains of the navigational array, congealing and obscuring the readouts in nauseating visibility.

”I must report loss of helm control Overseer. We cannot further regulate our course.”

Nodding, she took solace in the fact that both Vitras and Vettori had survived to eject the reactor. She could do nothing but continue to place her faith and that of the Scoperta in their hands.

”Continue firing.” She ordered.

Torpedo control was as cramped as it's purpose would lend one to believe. The firing tube stood scarcely a foot higher and wider than the weapon it was designed to accommodate. Only the loading chamber before and the storage bay beyond granted Vitras the ability to stand at anything approaching upright. Utilising the handrails secured to the roofing, he hauled himself through the narrow confines.

Behind, Vettori struggled with the plasma bottle. He took a moment to appreciate the odd swirls of light and colour cast upon the dark contours of the tunnel by the energetic phenomenon, pushing onwards until he lay on the left of the waiting torpedo, with Vitras to the right. Swinging the bottle gently over, he removed the warhead inspection hatch and hastily began to analyse each component and remove.

”You are proceeding too rapidly, mistakes are liable.” Complained the Kaeneian.

”Mistakes won't get us killed, that... thing out there will. Worst case scenario, this thing doesn't do shit, we all die. Maybe, just maybe it'll do the job, and we won't. Now quit whining, and help me remove the coupling.”

Relenting to the superior, if unusually applied logic Vitras hauled the lumbering detonating coil out, casting it to his feet with sufficient room to kick it away when the time did come to depart. With caution he recalibrated the on-board computer system, careful to match the yield to that required. Vettori worked furiously likewise, pushing the plasma bottle into place and sealing it downwards with poorly hacked strips of steel.

A shudder brought his forehead against the torpedo hard. Cursing loudly, he slammed the casing hatch back on, ensuring it was locked downwards. Kicking the bothersome weapon once for good measure and spite, he began to push himself downwards, indicating Vitras should do likewise.

Eventually, they exited, Enzo grateful in the extreme to be allowed to stretch his worn back. The Security Coardinator wasting no time on such luxuries crossed to the manual targeter. He knew what remained of the external sensors could not provide him with much information, yet anything would be preferable to simply firing the modified torpedo blindly. Forced to await the impact of three further crippling detonations, he triangulated their likely origin and obtained an average, looking to Vettori, he nodded before slamming the palm of his hand on the firing key.

With a sedate flash the torpedo duly left the launcher. Slowly it rolled against the backdrop of inky blackness, seemingly content to forever defy gravity in graceful loops and curves. It seemed for a moment as though the weapon forgot not only point of origin, but purpose and would forever dance gracefully between stars despite the imminent danger to the ship from which it given use.

With the brilliant burst of a star merely beginning an epic life of dazzling brightness, the warhead detonated. Spreading illuminating rays of revelation it expended furious energy and plasma in seconds. Alas, it seemed in vain as nothing save dust was revealed in shadow. As the very limit of the detonation began to recede black metal focused sharply into view.

Painfully visible and no longer so deserving of protection the sea between the stars abandoned its charge with typical fickle desertion.

”We have confirmed lock Overseer.” Came the mellow announcement.

”Fire.” Commanded Kristilanna.

With the fury of a lion wounded yet not without sharpened claws or sinking fangs the Scoperta unleashed what offence remained within her weary hull. Launchers now freed from such complex modifications as carried out by the unlikely duo rapidly fired and reloaded, eager to see death dealt. Blistering beams of energy now with focus and target drilled into previously obscured metal. The no-longer subtle flash of acceleration heralded an attempt to flee, to remove from a now unpleasant danger. Time so eager for revenge now took pity on those that would risk it's wrath, and consequently allowed the toll taken on the mysterious intruder to overwhelm defence.

Twisting explosions blossomed as petals of fire, first along the axis and then tearing the vessel into two chunks of which continued to rotate around each other, until momentum forced them together in a union which could result in only mutual annihilation. Soon, only the expanding cloud of debris indicated anything had occurred to pique interest.

From the bridge, Overseer Kristilanna Lgealis gave the almost ironic order to step down from alert red. She stopped short of requesting a damage report, for fear of being made to look foolish and having as well requested a report of what -continued- to function. Yet the Scoperta had endured, taught a harsh lesson by whatever foul citizens of this future had in turn be brutally educated within.
Dread Lady Nathicana
19-01-2005, 20:18
"Doesn't matter," Vettori replied stubbornly to Kristilanna. "Don't worry about all that right now. We'll deal with whatever comes, when it comes. Right now, we've got the present to deal with, and that's more than enough to keep us occupied, no?" He gives her hands a firm yet gentle reassuring squeeze, smiling crookedly. "I'm not much, true. But for what it's worth, you've got me. Just you take care of yourself." The man pauses shaking his head and blinking as he chuckles in an expression of not terribly unpleased amazement. "Yourself, and that little one you're carrying. We'll get this ship back up and running, get the hell out of whenever we're at, and then we'll take on the bastards. After all this, it'll be a cakewalk. Here. You sit tight, I'll get us some juice or what not, and we can talk about whatever you like if it makes you feel better."

Trying to keep up the encouraging smile, he leaves her for a moment to go fetch the aforementioned drinks. Hearing the lady address Vitras however, he steps back in, frowning somewhat at the news. And moreso at the indication that his presence was not welcome. He simply nodded to her, trying to let her know all was well, glaring at the back of Vitras as they left.

Smug bastard. He better damn well show her some respect. Well then. Back to the grind.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Back on deck, her initial look gave him no comfort. Red flags immediately went up as she turned and relayed her summation of the private meeting. What investigation? What information had he unlocked that he was unwilling to share yet? Who all would be gathered to delve more deeply into the situation?

He never had a chance to ask, as their world was rocked to the core.

<cut to previous post>

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

It was over. The immediate threat had passed. For how long remained a mystery. And with the passage of chaos, confusion, and pain, a void was left of seemingly unnatural calm. Nature abhors a void, so they say. And Vettori, for better or worse, was very much a slave to his nature.

Breathing hard, he looked over at Vitras, relief turning to undisguised hatred. The Dominion character had always been a complex one, and Vettori, more complex than most in that regard. The man had saved his life. He had skills that were necessary to complete this mission and get them all home. He was also clearly an enemy to be watched and eventually, defeated - of that he had no doubt. Call it machismo, call it vendetta and a confused sense of honor, but try as he might, Enzo could not just call it even and let it pass.

Nor could he take action. Not yet.

His lips twitched as hasty words were bit back, as his reason an intellect battled with his own raging emotions and instincts. His fists clenched and unclenched at his sides, adrenaline still running high through his system.

"I suppose there's some things you're just going to have to keep wondering about, Vitras. I will tell you one thing, though. You keep a civil tongue and speak of her with respect, or you'll find yourself lacking the means to do so," he said in a dangerously soft voice, holding the other man's gaze for a moment more, then turning his head, spitting disdainfully, and stalking off in the direction of the bridge, intent on making sure Kristilanna was safe, forgetting his own pains momentarily in his anxiousness and anger.
Der Angst
01-02-2005, 14:44

Sekhmet sighed once again. He would never be able to actually understand Kaeneians, yet alone their psyche. Odd was a term far to weak, and most definitely not suiting his definition needs.

Or his need to learn enough to work with them, for that matter.

"Well, great. Good to know the part I already knew-" He didn't bother looking at the departing Vitras, instead, he had his mind expanding, just a little, an infinitesimal magnetic field touching... Around... It wasn't enough to get the information he wanted, this much was certain. Given the Kaeneian psyche, he wasn't exactly sure if he would remain 'stealthy', and then there was, of course, the Scoperta itself.

Annoying. Really, really, really annoying. Another sigh, and slight bits of frustration showing up in Sekhmet's face. And next time we get a derived, not at all detailed and most certainly incomplete description that makes barely any sense. Wonderful, really.


Damage was, obviously, not exactly insignificant. Nonetheless, after being thoroughly shaken while trying to cross the corridors of the Scoperta, (Looking not all that well during the attack. As cold as Sekhmet was during normal times, the attack allowed the Kaeneians Sekhmet encountered to see a visibly pale, scared and more than nervous Sekhmet trying to stay alive, almost praying to various deities) getting back to his quarters, Sekhmet could find Uhura, being a mess, with several wounds due to secondary damage, namely splinters of glass.

"This wasn't especially... Pleasent, was it?"

The answer was a short moment of pain in Sekhmet's forehead, before he could raise his blocks.

"I see... I guess we should check the bridge, now that this is over... I wonder ifwe surrendered to... Someone."

"We will see, no?" Answered Uhura, wiping a bit of blood from her face, and treating her wounds as good as this was possible, in this moment.

"Indeed." With that, Sekhmet took Uhura's arm, eventually leaving the quarters and heading towards the bridge, wondering if Vitras would held his lesson soon or if it was already outdated, due to them being taken in by someone mightier.

Meanwhile, Uhura was pondering Vettori. Namely, what kind of treatment she could give her (Quite possibly wounded) target. Be it wounds or... Something else. There had to be some way for her to receive sufficient amusement from this journey.

Of course, the other option would be Kaeneians, but the idea of this machines... No. Besides, the challenge of the captain wouldn't be there, and this was half the fun.

"What are you thinking about? Your blocks are up."

"For a reason, dear. For a reason." She looked almost beautiful as she said this, poking a Kaeneian who looked busy with repairs. "Keep up the good work, my friend."

Needless to say, the Kaeneian did find this approach to be somewhat odd.

"Oh, and what's your name?"

And he wasn't alone with this, as Sekhmet's slightly surprised (But not disturbed) look proved.
20-02-2005, 04:14
The Kaeneian disturbed by the Der Angstisan envoy took several moments to respond- Settling his selected tools neatly back within their supply case and rising from his crouched position to address them directly.

"My name is Tzeenith." He stated simply. "My work is neither good nor below what is acceptable- It is simply of a level deemed satisfactory. I do not alter my level of application in reference to various tasks."

He did find these disruptions rather odd.

The wall flickered with life not native to its simple construct- Shadows that danced across the once pristine white forming insane patterns of assorting light that would bend and morph into shape and face for one moment, before once more resuming myriad patterns whose meanings either escaped translation or simply escaped sense.

Casting their equally dour reflection haggard sections of torn conduit hung lifelessly, viscous liquid once carried securely inside dripping as a slow cut might draw the crimson from the body until deathly white signalled end of supply. Thick black scars smeared themselves lazily, the sight of intense burning that steel could not simply recoil from as the humanoid impulse allowed.

Amidst this gloom the details of the room were impossible to come upon- The flickering illuminations providing only enough light to cruelly bring the intellect to the edge of successful mapping, before failing utterly for as long as it took for the eye to forget all it had learned. Only the dimensions of the chamber were readily apparent as even the momentary burst of dysfunctional light lit well the other walls in varying states of damage and distress.

Amidst these strobe-like bursts, the slender mass of an occupant upon a bed became visible- Intermittent and jumbled so that their identity remained totally unknown. Only when it sat up, folding lithe hands into lap did the light catch the features and make it apparent as to whom the phantom was in reality.

Kristilanna sighed wearily, pushing aside a handful of her blonde locks with a crude brushing of hand totally bereft of usual poise and grace so interlinked with the being of the Kaeneian. Her cheeks were marred with the foul trappings of events recently passed- Grime and dirt dislodged along with the internal systems of the Scoperta and flung into the air to strike tender flesh and bone and render unto them great injury and distress.

Her muscles ached, so that the tendons themselves begged not to be called into action to haul unwilling bone into positions commanded. She had but the strength to roughly tip the headband and symbol of supreme office from her forehead and crudely deposit on the scorched table to the immediate right.

Lowering her head gingerly until such time as the soft embrace of the pillow welcomed her hunched shoulders, she brought her hands to her abdomen. Her fingertips gently traced the stomach, moving downwards until they lay upon her naval and considered what lay beneath the flesh. It was an incredible thought- One that threatened to absorb her every waking attention until she stood all but a wraith to the waking world.

Within her, life grew- Utterly free from the troubles and concerns that struck the fine balance between the glorious gift of sentience and the dragging weight of responsibility. Simple cells multiplied at phenomenal rates and acted on almost unfathomable will to a process well defined but a design that had never before in the Kaeneian sphere of experience come to pass.

She unconsciously rubbed at the flesh standing above her womb, intellect now devoted to considering the wonders of procreation. Scarcely had the thought of children crossed her mind and rarer still so that it shared stable with impossibility had the chance to conceive presented itself. At a mere twenty seven Terran years of age such events were destined for later life- If indeed they came to pass at all.

However, all this was nothing more than skewed afterthought. The chain of events was already in motion and though the Scoperta violated the sacred impassability of time, the final scientific barrier would retain sanctity by having this event, this one variable utterly dominated by the passage of moments, imprinted upon the Overseer. In the great and most ill-understood style of unpredictability so common to fate this new life, this child would be born to no normal environment or family.

For Kristilanna could take no sole credit for the actions of her body- Another, equally surprised and in awe played equal part. The Overseer’s thoughts turned now to Enzo Vettori, with whom she consummated union and now felt feelings whose intensity rivalled anything she had experienced in her relatively short life.

He was a seething cauldron of self-doubt, brilliant intellect and insecurity. A raging torrent of fantastical solutions and the brutish self-respect to acknowledge both when they prevailed against all other choices and when they failed to present best course. The very sum of Humanity- Bound by the logic which gifted him such genius but wrapped within a fluctuating blanket of emotion that inspired a certain volatile element that could not be repressed without damaging character and soul.

Kristilanna pondered the bitter irony inherent in their places of birth. The Overseer hailed from the Serene^Union- A frozen tundra of rock and ice blasted equally only by the relentless snow and banshee-like winds that buffeted mountainous summit and still lake. Without change, so that the height of summer might to one be as uncomfortable as the darkest depths of foreboding winter- So like the Kaeneian psyche, and Kristilanna as an extension.

Enzo born in the Dominion, a verdant Mediterranean climate whose subtle nuances and outright meteorological clashes related well to his own personality. Bathing rays of sunlight that painted the flesh a tender brown and whose gaze provided lush plant life underneath to thrive. Racking storms that flattened all with their fury and turned the sky a black reflection to the startled stares from ground up. Sheer variety that faced equal opponent only in the form of the national personality.

Kristilanna felt herself sigh- Static, unchanging and without hope of feeling such warmth. As the quintessential snowman that stood in sorrow and sadness until the stretching tendrils of Sol peeked through icy sky and finally granted him anonymity through dissipation. To Enzo she could be only the dimmest and barest of burning lights. A flickering torch carried into the ocean between stars and offered before a sun as evidence of its reign supreme.

She was once viewed as one of the most promising youngsters selected for the Program of Dominion- A stunning example of the beliefs and views of Kaeneian society made true and imbued with the common yet solemn approval of her peers and juniors alike. Clinical and logical to a faultless medium her disposition was held aloft as textbook example to all Kaeneians of tender years- A true embodiment of all that it meant to be of the Serene^Union.

Yet now, all was lost. She had abandoned her principles of isolation and logic and found herself catapulted into the swirling tempest of feeling that until now had seen her only observe from the firm safety of port. It was not simply her transgression, one night of passion best forgotten and rationalised- Such a deed would easily be removed from a position of harm.

What wounded Kristilanna so was that this one night of passion extended, that she could not bring herself to give it up. Feelings that had not been expressed as she had done in five hundred years of Kaeneian civilisation nestled and found new home in her confused mind- Which struggled to make these unexpected tenants at home whilst retaining the isolation so favoured mentally as well as physically.

She was caught between two worlds, between two nations- Traversing the cold snow, and ice to the hazy warmth of sunshine and finding the way barred so that she remained only in a purgatory of sorts. An apathetic stillness that offered none of the comforts of her legacy or future. Truly now she could never go back, and it seemed move forward. Should they return to from whence they came, the Aengelistoria Dominica would show no hesitation in stripping her of all she had worked tirelessly to achieve.

The reputation of the Program of Domination tarnished, her teachers shamed for any imaginary part in her downfall played and the acute embarrassment of the assembled council upon her conscience- How could any expect to rationalise such shame?

Her weary contemplation was disturbed by the gentle tone of the Scoperta informing her of a guest outside her quarters. Feeling no motivation to rise to administer personal access, she instructed the ship itself to administer entry.

Kristilanna sighed almost in contentment as the familiar and flawlessly white gown of the Apothecary drifted into sight. He seemed a quite absurd variation on a consistent theme of destruction and damage- His own profession in reversing the injured and ill coupled with his cleansing appearance did much to raise the grime and gloom from the damaged chambers.

”I apologise for the intrusion, Overseer Lgealis. Whilst I understand your position demands attention I am obliged to remind you that your condition requires urgent medical analysis that I cannot in good mind delay further without extraordinary reason, of which I find none.”

She sat up, failing to mask the wince in distaste of the muscle cramp plaguing her tired body.

”You are fatigued Overseer.” The Apothecary stated flatly, manipulating the controls upon the scanning device contained within his right arm. ”I do not require instrumentation to discern that diagnosis- I shall make this brief.”

Raising the medical tool, he stepped forward- Lowering it carefully and giving Kristilanna time to remove her hands from her lap and to ensure their presence did not obscure or further degrade the results. Focusing on the naval, patterns of rotating red danced across the material of her gown which also acted as unremarkable backdrop thanks to the uninspiring tone of blue.

The Apothecary’s face was utterly impassive- None could discern advanced information before he and he alone stood ready to deliver. He paused, returning the tool to manipulation range, before a final cycle of scanning lasting some twenty seconds saw him silence the myriad colours and take a respectful step back.

Kristilanna took this as permission to once more lie back, placing her hands upon her stomach protectively.

”It is as I suspected, Overseer.” He began, his eyes still focused upon the embryonic results. ”Genetic therapy will be required in order to carry this child to term, and beyond. Without direct intervention the foetus will be unable to stabilise its genetic profile and will spontaneously abort before the second phase.”

Kristilanna felt her chest tighten, though her demeanour remained cool- ”Yet you can act to prevent this?” She asked, the answer never before now so urgent.

Seeing this distress behind sparkling orbs, the Apothecary soothed in the limited capacity he boasted. ”Such therapies, although rare in practice and unheard of in these circumstances, are well researched and the theory grounded. Issues would arise only in later development- I can see no outstanding barrier to prevent successful pregnancy and birth.”

The Overseer nodded, calmed somewhat. ”You shall make the arrangements to begin at your earliest discretion.”

The Apothecary nodded, yet delayed his departure. [”Overseer, I must remind you though I suspect you are aware that the legislature of the Law Dominica demands I inform the biological father as you have been informed- Though there is no specific entry to apply to non-Kaeneian parents I feel I cannot deny Mister Vettori this same courtesy.”
Kristilanna nodded, pulling herself to the edge of the bed. ”I would not dream of attempting to demand otherwise, though I shall endeavour to make him aware sooner.”

”As you wish Overseer.” He nodded affirmatively, before exiting.

Allowing a long sigh to escape her lips, she collapsed once more to the soft pillow and malleable blanket beneath. Her eyes lowered sluggishly as her consciousness prepared for an all too short respite from the concerns of the waking world. As if cast from the shores of reality she felt herself drift towards blackness- A gradual but inevitable descent into restful sleep.

The entry tone sounded, seemingly harsher than before.

Her eyes opened instantly, though she did not rise as before. Granting this bothersome intruder similar courtesy as before she ensured the Scoperta granted access. She fixed her gaze upon the poorly lit archway leading from reception area to bed chamber. It would take a moment for etiquette to be fulfilled and the visitor to enter.

Security Coordinator Vitras paused only a few feet from the bed, his face a uniform blanket of smothered thoughts and a viewpoint altered only by the dirt and stains that life aboard a damaged starship inflicted upon all occupants.

”Overseer, I apologise for the disturbance.” He droned, painfully obvious he felt no such sorrow towards the unannounced visitation.

”It is of no consequence.” She placated half-heartedly, ”Continue.”

”I have a full damage report covering all primary, secondary and tertiary systems. Furthermore a complete repair schedule and a comprehensive list of that we cannot repair without assistance or supplies. I have also completed a thorough security threat grading for your immediate review and assent.”

Kristilanna opened her mouth to rebuke, to lament his desire to begin a laborious and long-winded meeting when her being cried for rest. Yet beyond the passive features she spied the burning eyes of pride and irritation at the state of affairs surrounding him- He would take no negative easily.

”Very well- However it is time others were made aware of our situation. Prepare an immediate gathering of senior adepts and ensure all foreign envoys are present, it is time to ensure they know what we know.”

If Vitras was capable of displaying blatant disapproval of executive order, he did so without the need for words other than to punctuate a hostile response. ”With all due respect Overseer, I cannot in good conscience authorise such a compromise of security. Revealing the nature of this timeline, including the evident Dominion betrayal of the Triumvirate represents a grave risk to our survival.”

Kristilanna felt her head begin to contort internally with the agonising formation of a headache. Steeling her resolve, she urged more openness from Vitras.

”Too long have we basked in the light of knowledge whilst our allies have groped in the shadows for scraps of information- We cannot succeed alone Coordinator.”

”I must officially file my protest at such course- Both formally for the attention of the Aengelistoria Dominica and in a more relaxed sense to you now.”

”Very well, it is duly noted- I expect you to comply immediately.” She replied dismissively.

Vitras seethed internally, he stepped forward slightly, restraining the urge to raise his voice and instead lowering the tone to that of a muted hiss. ”I believe you are allowing ‘feelings’ to affect your logical judgement Overseer. Your infatuation with Mister Vettori is endangering this vessel and as Security Coordinator I cannot stand idly by and watch the teachings and doctrine of the Aengelistoria Dominica circumvented for your amusement.”

Kristilanna climbed to her feet, steadying her centre of gravity as her headache stepped upwards to become a migraine. As though a vice settled upon her head and squeezed with venom, so did the terrible pain amplify twice fold.

”Your comments are beyond that of duty, Coordinator.” She rasped.

He remained silent for a moment, before asking simply- ”I must exercise my right to personal statement in privacy.”

Unwilling to bar such a basic privilege, Kristilanna nodded.

”They are a vital intervention.” He rebuked, illustrating his point further. ”Your romantic affiliation alone is utterly abhorrent; I cannot fathom why you have abandoned such principles in favour of free fraternisation. You will pay a heavy price for this Overseer.”

”I am not bound by either the rulings of the Aengelistoria Dominica or the Law Dominica to reveal my motivation or intentions to you outside of my leadership decisions and those of relevance to my position of authority.”

Vitras paused, and though Kristilanna felt weary and unsure she could not entirely dismiss the presence of a caustic and sly grin upon the features of her counterpart.

”It is far more than your personal decisions under scrutiny Lgealis- Your entire approach to the office of Overseer Aengelis has become erratic. You have consistently sought to put the needs of Vettori above those of your own crew and race, you have granted him preferential treatment to the detriment of your duties- There will be no escape from the judgement of the Serene^Union.”

Feeling her strength dissipate, she knew this could not continue further. Her stamina had fallen to unacceptable levels and she had yet to endure this meeting. Consequently she cut short this shocking and open revulsion in favour of more important duties.

”I revoke your right to personal statement- You will immediately call forth this meeting, or do you challenge now my authority as Overseer Aengelis?”

As if to surprise her, Vitras nodded curtly. ”Your will shall be done immediately.”

Pausing not even to utter a final parting snarl, the gaunt Kaeneian turned and exited- A meeting to organise immediately a pressing itinerary upon his overburdened agenda. Kristilanna sank to her knees, the pain rebounding upon her temples threatened to rob her of all coherent thought and the stinging criticisms of Vitras echoed within her mind.

She saw no lies in his statement- No half-truths to scorn. She had betrayed all that she once was and could ever be, sullied the name of the Aengelistoria Dominica and the Serene^Union at large. Feeling emotion well up within her embattled innards, she pulled her knees upwards and wrapped arms around them- Until her petite body lay curled as a ball.

Within the flickering darkness, the sound of ragged tears echoed forth. A slow sobbing that flowed outwards as the over-taxed walls of a dam might breach slowly but carry the implacable volume of torrential water behind. She wept for her betrayal, and for her misconduct. She wept for Enzo, and the burden she had placed upon his caring shoulders.

She reserved a percentage of grief for the continually growing cluster of cells within her womb. A child to be borne of this universe without the rich and whole history of either parent- Doomed to be little more than a half-breed shadow and banished along with the disgraced and broken form of its mother.

Vitras stalked the corridor dangerously, his eyes guarding the elation he could not deny. Much evidence had been gathered against the inept Kristilanna, though the majority remained circumstantial the final proof needed to ensure her removal grew inside her- Nurtured and nourished by that which it doomed. The irony was delicious and the Kaeneian did not deny his appetite for that particular dish.

Pausing at a communications junction, he entered his demand of the Scoperta- To inform the foreign envoys of the immediate meeting and their compulsory attendance. Vitras selected the unimpressive environment of a secondary diplomatic chamber rarely utilised and furnished as such. He did not see comfort as being a factor worthy of serious consideration- All the comfort he required was supplied by the imminent removal of his much maligned superior.

If Kaeneians could place a spring in their step, Vitras would touch the heavens.
22-02-2005, 18:16
Completely unaware of any pregnancies or plots to remove superiors, Callahan made the obvious assumption that the (rather rude) summons were going to be in relation to the rather large problem of the complete destruction of all civilization, and working on both finding out how to prevent it and, more importantly, getting back to their own time. He was aware of the possible objections that the Kaeneians might raise to any meddling with causality, but he was also fairly certain that anyone rational might be willing to try it anyways in order to prevent the extinction of their race. Not only that, but he couldn't imagine that they could object too much - after all, they'd built a timeship in the first place.

Callahan was already well-prepared with arguments for his proposed course of action, and counter-counter-arguments for the inevitable objections that would arise, most likely from a certain senior officer who didn't seem to like humans much. He'd had plenty of time to think it over while he was stuck in his quarters during the battle, as it had only taken a few seconds to note the location of the nearest escape pod, prep a teleport wizardry, and discover that with the ship in lockdown he had no way to reach the bridge or anywhere else important.

In any case, Callahan shows up at the conference room slightly before he's been told to, loaded for figurative bear.
Dread Lady Nathicana
27-02-2005, 03:34
Vettori had likewise made his way quickly to the conference room, datapad in hand, muttering quietly under his breath in his native language as he went over figures and probabilities and any other bit concerning their present predicament he'd been able to gather sufficient data on - up to and including information gained during their most recent run-in with local ships. Anything to try and be helpful, to add what bits he could to what seemed to finally be a meeting to get answers and make plans.

Anything to keep his mind off his own selfish troubles.

He walked into the room in his usual distracted, frowning manner, looking up in surprise as he saw Callahan already there. "I ah ... Callahan," he said with a nod, walking over and extending his hand. "I don't know how long we have before the rest get here, but I figure ... hell. We're in it, man. In it deeper than I care to think about."

The Dominion man glances around quickly, then leans in, speaking more quietly for a moment. "I don't want to be one to cast aspersions, but do me a favor, and keep an eye on Vitras, eh? I think our little jaunt has taken his almighty calm Kaeneian reserve and shattered it into itty bitty pieces. Unfortunately, we need the bastard, or so help me, I'd--" Vettori breaks off, taking a seat next to Callahan, and settling in, attempting a less worried expression.

"I don't suppose you've any ideas or opinions on what our next step ought to be? Already established we're in need of some materials, we're down a reactor, likely enough we're not in friendly territory, at least what, one hundred years out of phase, and our hosts haven't been telling us everything. Personally, can't help but think, given the traffic Sol has always had, that we might be able to slip by, hit one of the trade posts that are scattered throughout the sytem, find a way to purchase, barter, or steal what we need, and get the hell out of here. Granted, after this long, I've no idea where any of those might be, but ..." He shrugged, slumping back in his chair again, running one hand nervously through his disheveled hair.

Not sure whatever info the Kaeneians have is going to do much. Seems we're pretty much fucked one way or another. I just -had- to get on board. Couldn't take no for an answer. Wouldn't just take the excuses offered and go home to face whatever hell they'd planned for me if I didn't get what they wanted, oh no! "See what's never been seen before! Lets all play with the timestream!" Among other things. Goddamn, what a mess.
27-02-2005, 04:42
Callahan takes Vettori's hand without hesitation. "I suspect, Ser Vettori, that deep doesn't even begin to cover our situation. And trust me, I'll be keeping an eye on our illustrious security idiot. I'm not about to risk loosing everything because he's to self-absorbed to see the value of other people's ideas." Callahan decided against clarifying what he meant be everything (namely, the potential fall of civilization), as he wasn't about to admit that he'd been spying on Vitras. It wasn't that he didn't trust Vettori, but if Scoperta was anything like a Cetagandan ship, there wasn't a compartment that wasn't wired for audiovisual survelliance.

"Getting supplies is a priority, I agree. Our goal must be to refuel the temporal drive and repair the ship's structure and systems enough to use it to return home. Anything else, like intelligence gathering, must take second place." Callahan sighs. "But like you, I'm not sure where to get those supplies. I'm not sure how much trade exists in the current political climate, and any Cetagandan supply dumps were probably emptied or blown during the events leading to this point. That doesn't even address the difficulties I suspect we'll have in convincing our hosts to actually do anything we suggest."

Callahan shrugs and smiles, adding in an attempt at a light tone, "At least Vitras isn't in charge. Kristilanna seems like she'd be more responsive to outside ideas."
Der Angst
27-02-2005, 19:23
Uhura watched Tzeenith' reaction with slight amusement (And mild surprise). Of course she knew the basics, but with every day, the Kaeneians seemed to be more alien to her. More odd, more... Inanimate. Like machines.

"I... See. I didn't actually intend to... Nevermind."

Sekhmet chuckled a little, watching. Watching Uhura being, well, clueless proved to be a valuable sight, to him. "Well, we're wanted, my dear. Well, I am wanted, anyway. I'm sure there are some very important things you can do here..." Especially seeing as you distracted the poor man.

Oh, shut up.

Sekhmet turned, still chuckling, leaving Uhura behind, helpless as she was.

"Ummm... Well, as I said... I wasn't implying your work to be.. Insatisfactory... Elsewhere... It was mere, uh..." He might explode if I mention something about irrelevant conversation. Damn. She hesitated. "You don't have any experience or... Theoretical knowledge regarding foreign cultures or societies, have you?"

The Secondary Diplomatic Chamber

Sekhmet was surprised and relieved at the same time, once he entered. He had never been one for excessive luxurities, and the more empty atmosphere in the room suited him. And his ability to perform intellectual work, come to think of it.

Oh, of course I'm the last one to enter. Just my luck.

Other than that, he didn't yet have a clear idea as of what he would prefer to do. There were, of course, various options. What he was potentially interested in was, of course, to simply go on, and see what the system was like. The problem was, of course, that he wasn't certain if this wa sa possibility. After all, he did value his life.

For now, he preferred to simply listen to the things the others had to say. A compromise should be possible.

Sitting down, he nodded politely, glad that the discussion hadn't yet started. Well, not officially, anyway.

"Of course, the question is just how the crew, Kaeneians raised in a rather... Strict social system, will deal with a more open- minded commander, whom they might suspect of selling out to foreign influences, no?" He asked, smiling, effectively replying to the only part of the conversation he had actually heard. "I wouldn't be surprised if a few think of this as being rather uncommon and potentially dangerous."
Dread Lady Nathicana
08-03-2005, 20:22
"Yeah, at least we have that," Vettori mutters, not seeming terribly comforted at Callahan's statement. He looks up at Sekhmet as he enters, giving a brief nod of recognition. "I hardly see how working together equals 'selling out', but then, I'm no Kaeneian. Who can say what sort of thought patterns they have hardwired, or what they're thinking on all this. Wish I were a damned mind-reader sometimes, I swear. Would certainly make things easier."

He stretches for a moment, then mutters something under his breath in his own native language pertaining to the usual cursing of his situation and piss poor luck in general as he looks over his datapad again. "They have been historically isolationist, yes. I'd like to think that given the circumstances, even if some of us were say, Five Kingdoms folk, or Sketch, that we could bloody well get along and work together long enough to pull our asses out of the fire, and cultural or political bias be damned."
08-03-2005, 21:40
"Can't say I understand their attitude, either. A Southron would cooperate to save his own skin, and with an orc you'd at least know where you stand, but at times these people seem outright suicidal in their stubborness." Callahan lets out a frustrated snort. "I sometimes wonder if the Kaeneian language even includes words that correspond to 'allies' and 'friends.' Don't get me wrong, a lot of them are good people, but as a whole their society seems to be a bit loony."
Der Angst
09-03-2005, 10:26
Sekhmet coughed lightly as he listened to Vettori's 'rant' of sorts. "Well, it's not like the Scoperta would be especially thrilled by the idea of a mindreader running wild... But where were we? Ah, yes... Well, from a logical point of view, you're certainly right, but odd societies tend to produce odd results... There are actually a few examples in more recent history..." He hesitated. "Well, more recent plus a hundred years. Including the history of my own people. And given the Kaeneian... Code of Honour? I wouldn't be terribly surprised if one or two would think about protecting Kaeneian intellectual property - This Ship - by way of selfsacrifice. Although this is, perhaps, a slightly extreme, and thus rather unlikely option."

Suppressing a brief burst of laughter following the image of Sketchians 'cooperating' with Kaenei, Sekhmet did, eventually, manage to continue. "Well... Hihihi... Anyway, yes... I do think they... Bwahahaha... Sorry. I do think they know the terms 'Allies' and 'Friends'... They just use slightly different definitions."

Given the hypocrisy that was now spilling out of Sekhmet, one had to wonder where justice was in this universe. Certainly not in this particular room, seeing as Sekhmet didn't suffer some truly painful punishment for his all so slightly hypocritical comments.

"Mind you, as you said-" He glanced at Callahan. "We're talking about extremes, and i'm sure that the vast majority of them wouldn't even think about the more extreme options, seeing as they are rather efficient. Probably lacking a bit of imagination, but efficient." Actually, I'm not sure if they think about anything but the very task they're assigned to do. "And I'm fairly certain that the Aengelistoria Dominica did think about potential problems, ruling out as many potential, internal threats as possible. Unfortunately, it's the extremes pushing things into new directions. Oh, and while I'm at it... The Scoperta is a neat ship... You're sure no-one is listening, yes?"
09-03-2005, 21:20
"Of course there's someone listening, or at least recording," says Callahan as if it was obvious. "The entire ship almost certainly has audio pickups. Scoperta is probably listening in right now. I'm not worried. It's hardly as though we're plotting mutiny or something."
Der Angst
10-03-2005, 13:23
"No, obviously not. But we're not exactly engaged in the most innocent of conversations, either. And while we do admittedly have more important problems than minor pettiness, well, given the emotional stresses... But ok." He hesitated, wondering if there was any place where he could get a drink. Well, later, perhaps. I wonder how Uhura is doing. Meh. "Oh, but to get back to the main topic, may I ask what the main consensus is so far, between you two, anyway? I would assume that it is along the lines of slipping in by way of abusing the vast amounts of space we can try to hide in, taking what we need by any means necessary, so long as we're capable of applying them, which is effectively ruling out the use of force, seeing as we're not exactly in a state that allows for fighting, and getting the hell out, yes? If so... I'm not sure. We didn't get any information about the current state of the Kuiper belt, especially with regards to trade on the larger Kuiper belt objects or random stations for the mining sector, simply by way of listening to the radioband, did we?"

He did, of course, hope that they did. Going any deeper into the system, while doubtlessly being an... Interesting option, posed a fairly significant risk, and Sekhmet wasn't too much into risking himself. On the other hand...

"Oh, or is someone here interested in learning significantly more about the current structure of the system? By way of going deeper into it, naturally. I wouldn't exactly mind... If we gain the means necessary to survive it. In which case it would be a fairly intriguing possibility."
16-03-2005, 19:16
Vitras did not stop to regard the assembled dignitaries, shunning pleasantries and showing the keenest disdain for that which each stood for and in their group embodied. Crossing so that he might take seat at the penultimate end of the table, he allowed the data nodes gathered in hand to drop to the table with a soft thud. Looking upwards he set eyes upon each dignitary in turn, as though he might gaze their mood and feeling merely in the facial expression reciprocated.

Of course such experienced gentleman, and the neurotic Vettori were either adept at masking intent or so hopelessly lost in their own tumulus emotions that to attempt to read into their actions was as likely to fail as they were themselves to successfully guess their next action. Following the orders from the Overseer Aengelis to make the dignitaries aware of the events that transpired within this accelerated time period, Vitras had resolved to utilise the intelligence compromise to his advantage where possible. It would be he who revealed such betrayal, and only in a manner most crediting his viewpoint.

“Gentleman, your punctuality is appreciated.”

The Security Coordinator was interrupted by the lithe form of Kristilanna, passing slowly through the receding doors until she had silently come to the head of the table and taken her seat. Without capturing the gaze of any the Overseer folded hands into lap and then finally looked upon the assembled- Features impassive and unyielding to even inquisitive stares. Her flowing tresses of blonde bound tightly and pinned at the rear of her head so that only the barest coil allowed the shimmering hair credited visibility, further obscured behind the rigid and woven headband of such lofty office.

“Proceed.” She said simply.

Vitras nodded, leaning over the table slightly as his cast data nodes lay between leaning arms- “You are all aware of our plight, and I do not need to indulge any sense of despair and doom with innuendo and falsity- The stark reality of our situation can provide such without any embellishment.”

Gesturing to one such node, he continued. “Preliminary damage reports were unacceptably vague, and have revealed a situation that demands redress before all safety is lost. As all were aware, we have exhausted any meaningful supply of Deuterium and are consequently unable to utilise the Temporal or Superluminal Drives and thusly are relegated to sublight speed. This is well known and a fact of our existence- Unfortunately our hostile encounter has exacerbated our decline critical point.”

“The loss of a fusion reactor has perilously impacted shipboard power levels- The Scoperta is now drawing only forty percent of normal operating energy levels. Further firing and subsequent depleting of weapons systems had led me to deduce that if we are forced to enter into combat again, we will be adrift almost immediately thereafter. Structural integrity of damaged sections has been stabilised, yet without access to external repair facilities no redress can be affected- Further weakening our position.”

Vitras efficiently distributed the copies of said damage report, more in the spirit of completeness than for any meaningful function.

“In my capacity as Security Coordinator, I can only forecast a bleak conclusion. We require an urgent avenue for repair and most importantly, attention to the propulsion systems- Not accessible with the current hostility of Sol at this time frame.”

Vettori frowned, leaning forwards. “There isn’t any evidence to suggest that whatever it is that attacked us is the dominant force here, god only knows there’s a fair share of pirates and associated scum back in our own time- Shouldn’t we be less keen to call the entire system without actually having the facts to back it up?”

The gaunt Kaeneian shot an immediate look to Kristilanna, who simply nodded, fatigue evident in her hunched shoulders.

“An excellent question, Mister Vettori and one very worthy of a lengthy and detailed explanation.”

“Our resident Elven guest has revealed some very interesting occurrences.” Began Vitras, “Which precisely reveal the reason for our initial hostile contact, and dearth of recognisable civilisation and structure. This is not the Sol System you left Vettori, this is not the Earth that fills your dreams and occupies waking thought. A force has exerted influence granted through traitorous intent originating within this very chamber.”

Vitras leaned further over the table, making the Dominion scientist the obvious recipient of the tirade.

“A chain of events forced the diversion of this time from our own- A sequence whose starting point stretches almost the century between, perhaps beginning even within one of those that sit here now. I know of this chain, and those responsible for the loss of all worthwhile and true.”

“Your people, Mister Vettori, are responsible for the death of billions.”

Before the young man could rise from his seat and allow the bubbling fury to issue forth, Vitras barked darkly to remain silent, clearly not yet finished. “I shall elaborate for you and all others present, and reveal the nature of the Dominion’s betrayal of those it once counted allies, and some friends.”

Kristilanna’s head remained bowed, having not addressed any in vision or voice for many minutes.

“It seems for all that changed; one thing remained the same- The Five Kingdom’s quest for power and influence. This alliance continued to press upon the tolerances of their primary nemesis, the Triumvirate and despite the diplomatic entourages of the latter friction continued to build to intolerable levels. Consequently, it became clear only decisive action of a military nature would see a peace of any sorts settle on this prolonged conflict.”

Vitras passed his fingertips over his own data node, and at such touch the displays upon the other pads distributed to the dignitaries changed to reflect the original, slightly edited conversation between Vitras and Iciptus within the Scoperta’s medical ward.

“In essence, a clash of truly titanic, even slightly clichéd proportions took place. The nations of Yut stood assembled in their entirety to repel an incursion into Jovian space by the hounding fleets of the Imperium whom prepared with cutting energy and brutish hull to destroy all the former had worked to create and maintain. The full tale can be found upon your pads- Sufficed to say that at the penultimate stage of combat the vessels of the Dominion sought refuge in the bosom of damnation, forcing with heavy boot the already scorched faces of their allies into roaring furnace.”

“To ensure they endured, they sought to ensure their once cherished Triumvirate did not. So you see Mister Vettori that in reality, our situation is far grimmer than I have elaborated upon. I have simply conveyed the facts, yet releasing the emotions they carry further demonstrates the gravity the predicament- Sol is as hostile as any bubbling world of magma or poison gas, utterly without mercy and cannot now grant us solace for repair and tending to grievous wounds.”

Gesturing to the neatly angled observation windows, Vitras said finally- “It would seem we are bereft of options.”

Having evidently heard enough, the Overseer broke her silence.

“I grow tired of hearing negativity, Security Coordinator. I wish to hear an option, a possibility, or simply damn us now and give us peace to prepare for passing if we are as truly beyond salvation as you say.”

Vitras pondered this with an almost thoughtful look- “Short of taking what we require from those that cannot defend against our might- In this instance most likely civilian in nature, I cannot see another option Overseer.”

“Unacceptable.” She snapped with irritation evident and shocking for those unprepared for it. Kristilanna turned to face the seated delegates, particularly laying a sorrowful look upon Enzo, before adding- “Gentleman, can you lavish me with a realistic venture? I shall not accept our doom until I see the hull itself split and my flesh wither.”

Though aware of such conversations, the Scoperta itself continued forwards at little more than a pathetic crawl, restless and without meaningful energy. Her engines burned only dimly, for there was not the precious power to make once-mighty equipment shine as a star itself might cast brilliant light as it burned fiercely. It could merely continue to enact the orders of its biological charges- Though it seemed that said
Charges had little chance of formulating orders capable of averting steadily increasing catastrophe.
05-04-2005, 22:49
"Well. I suppose the only feasible long-range plan would be to repair the temporal drive and return to our subjective present, with the aim of preventing this particular possibility from playing out," says Callahan in a slow, calm voice. "The Cetagandan Space Service has long maintained emergency supply dumps and hidden ship stores. Most are, or were, still located near Sol when we departed, especially in the Belt. If the Cetagandan withdraw was sufficiently hurried, many of them may still survive. I can check to see if I have the coordinates in my Manual." He hesitates, and further elaborates, "I had not mentioned this earlier because I believed it would increase our risk of cross-temporal contamination. This is no longer a concern, as a causality violation appears the only way to save the Triumvirate and your species."

He taps the table, then continues, "Gaining more information will also be critical. What we have right now could be useful, and is better than nothing, but it could be vital to know more about what happened, from more sources than one injured elf. For example, what happened with the Dominion: was it truly a treasonous act by the Imperatrice, or were the events result of a coup by traitors - and in either case, why did they turn?"

Callahan then casts a glance at Vettori, the looks around the room. "I must also emphasize this is not the time for accusations or mistrust. The apparent treason of this future Dominion does not necessarily reflect Ser Vettori's loyalties in the least. If we are to get through this successfully, we must work together."
Dread Lady Nathicana
06-04-2005, 09:27
Whatever Vettori's reply to the previous conversations would have been, it was cut short as Vitras entering the room. He met the Security Coordinator's gaze with a firm, unblinking one of his own, until Kristilanna entered the room. He broke eye contact then as he rose to his feet in polite recognition, then waited for her to be seated before returning to his own chair.

Damn, I wish I could get used to how she changes her moods like that. She looks well enough, at least. God I hope she's doing alright ...

He turned his attention back to Vitras as the man spoke, taking brief notes on his datapad on key points concerning ship integrity and the lack of resources.

Yes, yes, blah blah blah 'not the world I remember' ... pompous overstuffed windbag son of a b-- tha' fuck?

His datapad temporarily forgotten, Vettori sat, gripping the edge of the table tightly, his face like a thundercloud. It didn't make any sense at all. Surely it could not be correct. Everything he knew of the Dominion and its views on its allies, everything he thought he knew about the Dread Lady, supported his disbelief. And yet, here Vitras was, gleefully laying out what had happened, point by point.

Oh God. Oh Godohgodohgod no ... Gone? All fucking gone, and it's our fault? No, this can't be right. He's done something. Twisted it somehow. The elf's clearly off his gourd - he was in no shape to be talking much anyway ... got to be a way to fix this.

The support from Callahan, some calm, rational words, was like a cup of water in the desert to Vettori as his mind scrambled for a proper explanation or answer along with grasping desperately for any possible solutions that might be had. Of course, the first thing that happens to escape his lips is probably not the best way to start things off.

"Jesu Christo, we are screwed ... I mean, er, supply dumps. Good call, Callahan. No, really. Excellent start. Trying to think - I know we had several outposts," he continues, picking up speed as he rises from his seat and begins pacing nervously and gesturing animatedly with his hands. "Yes, yes, I know you're saying the Dominion is at fault and is the enemy here, but aside from one clearly damaged elf, we've got no real proof. Besides which, I'm a fucking citizen and ought to bloody well be able to work something out somehow if we could get somewhere to ... to ... oh bloody hell. We were on Io, on Titan and the Ring, though those are likely of no use ... on Sslaa II, which is a bit out of system, but a possibility, one station that I've no idea of the coordinates, and it was in conjunction with Iraqstan, so also likely of no use ... Oh - and at the time of our departure, there was a project in the works building our own space station at the Saturn L4 point. No idea what may have happened with it since then, but the intent was to have it as an international port of trade and such. Your guess is as good as mine whether that went through or if in this timeline it's a military base."

He stops his pacing then, and fixes Vitras with a baleful stare, knowing the man was taking far too much enjoyment from all of this. "You can turn your face to the wall and go curl up and die if you like. Me, I've got things to live for, and by damn, until we've actually exhausted every option, I'm not giving up." A pause, then with a definite edge and challenge, "I am no traitor. Nor will I believe my nation is until I see further proof. If at such time this proves to be the case, I am still no traitor. I will continue to try and assist getting us home until I am forced into irons to prevent me from doing so."

Just give me an excuse, Vitras. Just one. Pop your miserable ass in a suit and find you convenient 'malfunctioning' airlock. Make sure you have time so you can fully appreciate just how fucked you are for a good long while. Damn shame if some horrible accident were to happen, especially with sensors down and all. Damn shame indeed.
12-04-2005, 01:48
Vitras narrowed his eyes, leaning over the pristine surface so that the Dominion envoy was the very obvious focus of his coming rebuttal and no mistake could be made in which direction the fierce vitriol was to be directed. Retrieving his own data node and taking only a moment to select the relevant data, he slid it roughly across the table, so that it stopped suddenly as it impacted the reacting hand of Vettori.

“Do not presume to question my abilities as Security Coordinator Vettori.” He hissed, “The information you so urgently seek to pacify your inner conflict at my statement can be found on that data node. It contains a full download of the Menelmacari vessel’s database and corroborates flawlessly what I have revealed before you all this hour. I care little for your pathetic ministrations of woe and denial; anger or sadness, refusal to comprehend or acceptance is all as irrelevant to me as your slight upon my name.”

Vitras leaned further still, deliberately testing the nerve of the fiery man opposite. “You are a danger mister Vettori, a danger to everyone aboard this starship. You consistently allow your emotions to overcome rationality, as a furnace blindly consumes anything thrown into its slavering maw so you seem to reserve no tact in relation to who you tar with your illogical meanderings. Of the envoys from foreign lands present you are the only one who consistently seeks to buckle against authority, whilst lambasting all I do to ensure that the same authority you seem to despise keeps you in a state of life.”

Returning to standing fully, the Kaeneian only paused in his tirade. “Turn my face to the wall and die, mister Vettori? Are you insinuating I lack the dedication to my race so well exemplified in you? By extension are you claiming that the Kaeneians of this starship somehow welcome the end of their race? I am afraid the only one who has shown a genuine fear is you—lashing out blindly not unlike a wounded animal or beast of burden.”

Scarcely a harsh whisper, Kristilanna punctuated the brief silence; “That is sufficient, Coordinator.”

Vitras continued quite unperturbed, “Allow me however to address your quite wonderful plan, mister Vettori. Having made yourself familiar with the state of the Scoperta, you have deduced our best possible course of action is to penetrate deeper a Sol system not only firmly in the grasp of the Imperium, but one that has already shown us well the violent nature of its welcoming embrace. Assuming we are not eliminated thoroughly, we then dock at a station belonging to the power responsible for this cataclysmic timeline variation deep in one must presume hostile space.”

Vitras began to clap slowly, each thud resounding through the still chamber.

“Bravo sir, an excellent choice. Perhaps we should simply disable our life support whilst we push onwards so that we might better channel the energy to the engines to expedite our arrival.”

“You are out of line Coordinator Vitras.” Hissed Kristilanna, causing a rather startled look to be cast in her direction from those seated nearest.

Seemingly unable to heed this dire warning, the Kaeneian simply pushed onwards. “Your people are one of intrigue, aren’t they mister Vettori? A people with passion and determination; genteel yet firm, compassionate yet distrustful, yet above all else a resourceful people—even in the darkest and most despairing circumstances, they find solace in some avenue. Isn’t it possible, nay even likely that the Dominion simply isolated their best option and followed it through to its logical and betraying termination? Surely it is more than likely, given your own shall we say, indiscretions committed aboard the Scoperta with an individual not beyond these walls?”

“Enough!” Bellowed Kristilanna as she sprang to her feet, her fist impacting the tabletop with such velocity as to send a loud crack resounding as the glass surface shattered beneath her rage. “You are beyond reason Vitras, and you have pushed my patience to the absolute limit! I will endure no further these accusations or assumptions upon your part, and I will look only at the cold, hard evidence that presents itself!”

Pausing, she unclenched her fist, noting with visible sagging of her shoulders the dark crimson that wept from loosening fingers.

“We shall place such discussions as lesser priority.” She said, in a far quieter manner than before. “Mister Vettori’s suggestion is valid, and in my opinion the only recourse at this time. Ensure the bridge receives the supposed coordinates of this trading station, and prepare to be on our way at our earliest possible convenience.”

“At once Overseer,” Acquiesced Vitras.

Taking a moment to calm the rapid rising and falling of her chest, heart beating soundly after such unaccustomed exertions, Kristilanna nodded coldly. “I see no further reason to continue, dismissed.”

Before any could impart a word of comfort, or questioning of soundness the Overseer Aengelis turned upon her heels and exited, avoiding the eye contact of any whom attempted to address her and leaving only the slightest pool of crimson upon the damaged table.

The Apothecary replaced the medical sensor upon the instrument rack as the doorway to the medical bay opened curtly, admitting the senior most Kaeneian onboard the Scoperta. Retrieving a diagnostic tool immediately, the aging medical authority approached, offering a diagnostic bed to the newcomer.

“How may I be of assistance, Overseer?” He asked impeccably.

Kristilanna leapt slightly, sitting upright and uncomfortably close to the edge of the bed. After several moments making nonsense attempts to gain more settlement, she sighed. “The headaches are becoming unbearable.”

Taking a moment to examine the cranium of the women before him, the Apothecary passed the probe between first her eyes and then each temple as he sought to gain further information on the troublesome ailment. Withdrawing the device, he returned to a nearby diagnostic console and examined the data.

“I believe a combination of the temporal radiation, and the hormonal changes triggered by the onset of pregnancy are responsible. Unfortunately I cannot prescribe the previous treatment offered in this situation, due to the foetus and considerations on how it might affect development.”

“Yet I have scarcely known for a few days of my condition; already I am beyond treatment?”

The Apothecary nodded, “It is not so much the pregnancy, but a combination of its nature and our predicament. A non-Kaeneian birth has revealed questions, for which I do not yet possess all answers, and in view of the complex genetic re-sequencing which will be required and in concert with the effects of the temporal radiation I dare not prescribe overly powerful medication.”

Kristilanna laid her hands upon the midriff of her stomach, where within a wondrous, and unsettling life was taking root.

“You can give me nothing Apothecary? I am finding it difficult to function effectively.”

He was about to respond when he caught sight of the until-then hidden and wounded palm. Taking it in his hand gingerly, he reached for the appropriate medical aid—gently opening the hand so that the full injury was visible for deliberation.

“First, I shall heal this laceration—it would do you little good to defeat a headache and bleed to unconsciousness.”

After a few moments of intensive manipulation, the Apothecary reached for a fingerless black glove of sorts; constructed however from material considerably denser and stiffer than simple fabric. Securing it about the wrist in question, he wrapped not uncomfortably so white bands tightly to ensure a secure fit. Satisfied with the repair he climbed once more to his feet, to address a more pressing concern.

“I shall administer a very mild sedative, though it will do little more than remove the edge of the pain.” He began, his eyes drifting to her stomach. “I am apologetic in my inability to offer more, but such developments prevent the mundane.”

The Overseer nodded, resigned to the discomfort.

Having managed to avoid any interaction as she journeyed back to her habitation, Kristilanna felt relief as the non-descript grey doors of her quarters slid shut behind her weary form. Pausing only to roughly remove the unremarkable three-quarter length overcoat of the office of Overseer Aengelis, she fell unceremoniously to the simple couch below. Removing her blonde tresses from the severe restriction of a coil, lithe fingertips quickly provided an impetus for the hair to cascade untidily about her pale shoulders, as her cobalt eyes stared upon the featureless ceiling.

Again as an unconscious act, her hands framed her stomach protectively. Allowing a second sigh to escape slackened lips audibly, Kristilanna felt the cushion beneath absorb yet more of her aching spine as fatigue refused to be further denied by even years of training and experience in sleep deprivation.

“I ponder little one, what shall be your name?” She muttered aloud, speech slurring in the face of weariness.

“Will you be furious in application as your father? Will you possess his towering intellect? I would very much like you to live as he does, without the burden of your own bestial self to suppress. The Dominion is colourful like a field of flowers little one—framed occasionally by a clap of thunder, or driving rain but ever blooming even in the darkest nights. Solarri is of ever-present white; towering glaciers amidst black and splintered rock which thrusts into the freezing sky irrelevant of the time of day, or even year.”

Her fingertips traced lightly around the now exposed flesh of her bellybutton.

“I do not know what my people will make of you, little one. You are unique in a way not a million children can duplicate, or assume. Though you are not even formed already my fate has been altered and skewered thousand-fold, for good or bad I cannot yet tell. I do not know if you will be sufficient for your Father, for the genetic material which even now merges cannot do so alone and without our intervention. Even after such therapy, I do not know if the personality of such a hybrid from polar-opposite civilisations can endure.”

Even as Kristilanna’s eyes fluttered shut, and her words degraded into undecipherable mutterings her worries would not abate in such an easy fashion, as the tossing and turning which soon plagued her nightmare-ridden rest would testify. Elsewhere, the Scoperta finally received due purpose, and with a visible boost the starship forged onward—uncertain destination aside—towards the only true avenue available within such uncertain times. For the ship itself, such a decision was simple logic; to act or not to act, zero or one, yes or no.

The consequences could not be so black and white.
Der Angst
12-04-2005, 17:10
Sekhmet hadn't said anything, partly because he was content to watch and listen, partly because he was a little tired and unattentive (One of his more annoying characteristics), and partly because the rather frank exchange of views hadn't really allowed him to intervene.

Besides, as socially incompatible and clueless as he was, he still found that the whole argument was mainly a thing between Vettori & Vitras, and as such, his own... Interference would have been a very bad choice indeed.

Still, he couldn't exactly be stopped from thinking while listening to the argument, an argument that had surprised him a little. He found Vitras'... yes, Vitras tantrum be be rather odd, for a Kaeneian. Indeed, he would have thought Vitras to be incapable of saying what he had just said, as the whole scene striked Sekhmet as rather embarrassing. For Vitras, and perhaps even for the other Kaeneians on board, as their priced self-control, something he was pretty certain Kaeneian's defined themselves with, had failed in this particular individual.

An individual that was unfortunately serving in a rather high position on board of the Scoperta.

And Sekhmet didn't really believe that such would be without consequences.

In any case, he got a chuckle out of it. Well, Kaeneian psychology, I guess. Of course Vettori isn't an individual, he must be solely responsible for his nation. Or more like it, for the actions it takes in the future, when he's quite possibly already dead. Assuming non-confused timelines, anyway. Heck, he might even have done it, in Vitras' mind. I wonder what he smoked... And of course Vettori is the emotional one... Not our dear Vitras flipping out over this issue. The man's not used to more dire situations, I think. Stress overload. Perhaps he needs a new job... I wonder what Kristilanna is thinking. I could try and peek- No, bad idea. In any case, I wonder if I should be insulted. He is the one constantly buckling against authority? I guess I've been out of touch with my own people for too long...

Incidentally, Sekhmet wasn't at all against the (Apparently suicidal) idea of continuing further into the system. For him, 'Surrender' was an option, if only to deceive the opponent long enough to regain the ability to return to their proper timeline. And he was reasonably certain that such shouldn't be impossible.

Of course, the disadvantage was that it was still a rather risky thing, depending to no small part on the ability of the Imperium to not do the 'Shoot first, ask later' routine. As such, for now, he was with the rest, preferring the trading station option. They would have to see.

Having few options left, he sighed, waiting for a moment, sitting still. He wasn't a leader, he was one who followed (Followed in an extraordinarily obnoxious and annoying fashion, but still), and for the moment, he just waited to see what the others intended to do.

Still, as he watched the other two envoys, he shrugged, giving them a rather questioning look. "So?"
12-04-2005, 21:46
After calmly listening Vitras rant and rave, and then watching first the Security Coordinator and the Supreme Overseer stalk out, Callahan closes his eyes and softly bangs his head of the table a few times. "We." *THUMP* "Are." *THUMP* "So." *THUMP* "Screwed. Powers and dominations, what did we do to deserve getting stuck with that man? I've met incarnations of the Lone Power that were less arrogant, not to mention less annoying. And what the hell was he going on about with line about 'indescretions with those not beyond these walls?'"

He shakes his head. "Right. Back to the survival of civilization. Assuming this trade station pans out, and if there's anyone there, and also assuming that Security Coordinator Paranoid Xenophobe doesn't try to lock us all up -" and if he does, he's going to find out exactly what 'subtle and quick to anger' means,"- it's going to be up to us to try and actually get supplies. A few humans won't be of note, but you can bet a bunch of extinct Kaeneians showing up will attract attention. Suggestions for a plausible cover story?"
Dread Lady Nathicana
26-04-2005, 00:51
Out of respect for Kristilanna, Vettori does his damndest to keep his cool while Vitras rants, though his deepening scowl fairly accurately betrays what's going through his mind. Her outburst takes him more by surprise than he lets on.

Jesus Christ, Kris ... could have at least let loose on the bastard's face instead. Waste of a good punch, that, and it's hell on the hands ...

"I'll question whomever I damn well please if they appear in need of being questioned. And I'll question the validity of this information until you allow one of the others to verify by speaking with the elf in question," the man growls, then arches a brow slightly while looking the Security Coordinator over.

"Slipping, Vitras?" Vettori asks, a smug smile finally turning up the corners of his lips. "Your bias and your supposedly controlled emotions are showing through. Perhaps its the pressure of the situation? I think recent events have us all shaken more than a little bit, after all. Or is there something else bothering you? Something you've been wanting for a while now that somehow continues to elude your grasp?"

The human arches his brow further in a questioning expression, his smile broadening. Whether it was the position Kristilanna had within the Serene^Union, or Kristilanna herself, or the vaunted emotionless logic the Kaeneians were known for, or all of it at once, he leaves for the other man to guess, turning his attentions to Callahan and Sekhmet.

"Recon is something we're capable of, no? We'll do what we can that way to try and gather some info. We wouldn't want to take the Scoperta in, regardless. Too risky. I say we hop a shuttle, come up with a believeable backstory ... pick one of the human races that's been traditionally further out or some such, with a tale of a tragic accident or what not, or abandonment by our colleagues or what have you, and make the best of it. We could send a limited crew out - like it or not, Callahan is right on the blending in point - and see how things sit. Whether there is a military presence at the station or not, I'm willing to bed that it still seres, at least in part, the purpose it was designed for. Trade. Unless we can scare up one of those supply dumps in tact that some of the Trium nations left, I'm not sure we have a better shot at it."

Vettori shrugs, tosses his datapad onto the table, then raises his hands slightly as he looks around at those remaining in the room. "We have to do something. Every action will have risks, the worst of which is sitting here doing nothing. Me, I'd like to salvage us some parts, get the repairs made, and get the hell back to where and when we belong. If you are unwilling or unable to do what's needed, Vitras, I'm sure the rest of us can manage without you. Who's with me?"
Der Angst
29-04-2005, 20:19
"I'm for it, certainly. As for a cover story... I would love to know the content of the coms we intercepted by now, as well as the elf's knowledge, regarding human nations cooperating with Mr. Tall, Dark & Evil. Not to mention rebel movements, internal resistance, the likes."

He hesitated. "Of course, The Dominion would be the... Perfect Choice when it comes to a cover story, should Vitras' claims be true. As far as I can think, I suppose that such would be sufficient to guarantee a save entry, assuming that there aren't rigid convoy regulations in place to effectively control traffic, in order to cut the ground beneath possible rebels. And if there are, we're all dead, anyway.

"Getting, out, well... That's another question, but assuming that nothing goes terribly wrong, it should work out, I guess. Of course..." Sekhmet grinned, seemingly enjoying the very idea of such a time without them. "As Mr. Vettori said... A bunch of extinct Kaeneians wouldn't exactly be helpful with such an endeavour."
03-05-2005, 03:45
"I think that we can get Dominion culture to work to our advantage," muses Callahan. "While the government does keep tight control as far as speech and rabble-rousing go, there's a considerable amount of, ahem, completely legitimate under-the-table business that goes on. A little bit more won't be noticed."

He thinks another moment, then snaps his fingers. "I've got an idea. We take the biggest shuttle we've got, and modify it and beat it up a bit so that it's not obvious where we got it. Then we load it up with whatever the ship can do without and we think we can sell. Some of it should be completely normal, like foodstuffs or spare parts; we also bring along a few more valuable items like a few missile warheads or small arms - even if it's illegal, I can certainly rig up a smuggling compartment. We go in to the station with a story about coming across a wrecked Kaeneian ship and doing some legitimate salvage. We sell our goods, either on the open or black market, then buy parts for repair and either fuel or an alternate power source." He looks at Vettori. "Does what I'm suggesting sounds at least reasonably possible?"
03-05-2005, 11:52
Vitras allowed his gaze to travel upwards, until his eyes settled upon the smug, self-satisfied visage of the Dominion envoy Enzo Vettori. The upward curling of the corners of his mouth soon presented the Kaeneian with a veritably infuriating show of flagrant disregard for all that the Security Coordinator had sought to accomplish in this meeting, and Vitras was in precious little temperament to endure this foolishness any further.

“You will question whom I provide you with permission to question, Mister Vettori; you will accept the information I choose to make available to you, or you will go without such enlightenment. I am under no order to furnish you with free access to each and every data node onboard the Scoperta and neither am I bound to make my own case sufficiently transparent so that you might attempt to waste endless hours in delusions of paranoia.”

Vitras had intended at the conclusion of his terse statement to move to the head of the table and take the chair of the now-departed Kristilanna, yet snapped his narrowing eyes back to the fiery Enzo as the Dominion citizen accused the Kaeneian of showing not only unrestrained emotion, but hinted at a deeper and more enraging purpose.

Utilising his arms as bracing, Vitras leaned over until the distance between Vettori and the Security Coordinator was significantly curtailed, his voice a restrained hiss though laden with a dozen serpentine-like threats which bubbled malevolently beneath audibility.

“I know precisely what it is you speak of,” Vitras began whilst ensuring Vettori was the sole receiver of his statement. “You are a fool Mister Vettori, and a blind fool if further extrapolation is required; unwilling to see, nor listen and equally stubborn in your inability to see the damage you inflict upon one you claim to care so much over.”

“Do you love her Mister Vettori? Were you hearts for all too brief a time united, or is she simply a notch upon a bedpost? An achievement to be noted and retold with whatever egotistical embellishments can be conjured in the seediest and most filthy public houses of Devras? Is it a perverse pleasure Vettori, to take to your bed such a senior official of the Serene^Union, a monumental sexual achievement of seducing a Kaeneian?”

“You do not realise what fate now awaits her,” He continued. “The Aengelistoria Dominica would look indescribably dimly upon a simple citizen of the Union engaging in such an affair with a foreigner, but for one of the Council itself to fraternise? To take all they have been brought up embracing and understanding and for the sake of nothing more than sexual gratification to cast their very genetic legacy to the winds? She is finished Vettori, you have ruined her and nothing awaits but disgrace and exile.”

“Do not believe I think her blameless, for she has reduced herself to little better than those whores who would flaunt their bodies upon the streets of the Dominion, in return for enough monetary reimbursement to supply them with intoxication at the hands of drugs, and alcoholic decadence.”

“I make it clear now Vettori and I make it painfully frank; that which has been spawned between you, despite your vain belief in its secret existence will ensure her suffering far more so than would otherwise be the case. This new life, consequence of the sating you partook in to quench your passionate desires cannot and will not be allowed to remain so. Though it is not my place to interfere in such and I can assure it shall remain as that, the Aengelistoria Dominica will ensure this obvious mistake is stricken from any record or data node and that you remain the only individual in this universe to recall, and feel sorrow.”

Giving the Human not even time to formulate a retort, Vitras stepped backwards, addressing the entirety of the chamber and focusing specifically upon the Cetagandan envoy.

“Your scheme is not without inherent risks, of which I am concerned may be our undoing. Whilst I see little in the way of security risk bartering such items as food, raw materials and small computational components the proposition of including ordinance and shipboard weapons is unsettling. “

Pondering for a moment, he continued. “However I cannot see any other recourse but to relent in this concern; envoy Callahan shall therefore take charge of such a project and make ready a transport shuttle in any way or form he sees fit best to achieve our aims. Mister Vettori shall assist, and any resources or personnel you require shall be made available to you without delay. If there is nothing more, I shall make our course the Dominion station without further delay; though at our current poor speed it shall make negligible impact on distance.”

Turning to leave, Vitras suppressed the urge to glance back at Vettori as he likewise stood. Had the Kaeneian been unfortunate enough to have been born a Human, with the same drives and desires and utterly irrelevant emotions, he might very well have smiled.

Kristilanna sat up sharply, a tortured gasp tearing free from her panting throat as her unfocused eyes took several moments to communicate safety to her fevered mind. Brushing flowing tresses of displaced blonde from her features, the Overseer licked her lips distastefully, unable to ignore the salty aftertaste of sweat which likewise formed across her forehead. Her chest still rising and falling with obvious accelerated speed, she lowered her hands to cup her abdomen gently.

Climbing upwards, Kristilanna crossed from the lounge area and through a small partition, until she stood before the now automatically lit sink of the bathroom. Retrieving an empty and unremarkable glass from the side, she placed it underneath the dispensing tap, allowing the water to run for a few moments before filling. Bringing the tasteless liquid to parched lips, she gulped it greedily, replacing the water lost through obvious perspiration and the irritating dryness that would have made words impossible had she been in the presence of company.

Replacing the glass wearily, she crossed back to the couch and lowered herself there once more. Climbing briefly so that she might reach behind, she took into her possession an unremarkable grey blanket and settled it over her aching body. Fatigue that had scarcely remained at bay even whilst the pacifying wave of unconsciousness lapped over the Kaeneian now overwhelmed Kristilanna and demanded her sole attention. Settling into the embrace of the pillows, her eyes fluttered closed and worries as well as desires and goals merged into an indistinguishable blackness that could no be more ratified than removed from consciousness and committed to paper, or data node.
Dread Lady Nathicana
15-05-2005, 02:09
It was all Vettori could do not to reach up and throttle the bastard as he spoke. It didn't matter that most of what Vitras had to say was blatant hypocrisy, misdirection, outright lies, or petty digs meant to push and prod him into doing something stupid. He could see that well enough, even with his own temper flaring. It still stung, and moreso for the fact that taking action right now was not the best thing for Kristilanna, or the success of the mission, or himself. Revenge, if any, would have to wait. And if there was one thing a Dominion native knew how to do, it was to quietly, carefully nurse a healthy plot for vengeance. Sometimes such things were indeed best served cold.

What disturbed him was being unsure of just how much of what the Kaeneian said about the Angelistoria Dominica was a lie ... or if it were the simple truth, thrown in among the rest to further confuse and sow seeds of fear and doubt. He hadn't bargained for any of this when he'd first set foot on board, pressured by his government to find a way in, then taken completely by surprise, however pleasant, by the strange and beautiful woman who had somehow managed to become a rather important factor in his life. His head was still in a spin at all the implications that went along with what had started as a simple night of companionship, let alone the additional worries that were cropping up faster than he could bat them down. But this ... this went beyond all that.

Family was family. And in the Dominion, one did not threaten family and expect there to be no consequences.

His hands gripped the edge of the table tightly as he watched the Coordinator leave the room, his jaw tight, only trusting himself to speak once the other man had left the room. "Glad to see the mission will be in capable hands, and guided by a sound mind," he finally said. "Congratulations, Callahan. I'll be happy to assist with whatever you need me to. I respectfully suggest we get going on this as soon as possible, and give ourselves a bit of time for any personal preparations between."

If nothing else, I've got someone I really need to see.
15-05-2005, 21:40
'Of all the times for racism to rear its head, why now?' Callahan nods to acknowledge Vitras' order while watching Vettori. Satisfied that there was no explosion forthcoming, he casually says, "While I work on the shuttle, I think that, as the resident Dominion expert, your time would be best spent finding what the ship has to offer in terms of potential trade goods. Perhaps Lady Kristilanna could be of assistance in helping you get the information you need." To the Angstians, he says, "Unless you have something else you think you can do, perhaps you can assist me in making our transportation into something suitably disreputable."

A quick survey of the surviving auxilary craft is conducted. Most are quickly discarded as too small or too distinct, but eventually one large cargo shuttle ( is chosen. "The main cargo bay is certainly large enough, and with a bit of work we can modify the forward section to include some small bunk rooms and a common area, so that it looks like it's an independent ship. We'll need to strip the paint off and redo it, of course, then add some dirt and scorches. Any suggestions for a paint scheme? In fact, you pair handle making all the cosmetic changes while I direct the engineering overhaul."

One such 'overhaul' includes an interesting addition to the aft wall of the cargo bay. Anyone with a tape measure and a calculator could see that there is less than half a foot of very solid wall between the bay and the aft engineering compartments, far too small and too solid to conceal anything in. Removing a carefully concealed panel protected by both conventional shielding and subtle Nothing-To-See-Here compulsions, however, would reveal a substantial space behind it, more than enough to conceal numerous weapons with space to spare for smaller items. Having spaces that are larger inside than outside is quite common in Cetaganda, especially in military craft, and while they're normally constructed by teams of specialists over a period of a few weeks, it would be a poor wizard who couldn't construct a pocket this size. This is especially true for Callahan, as he would explain, for anyone who wishes to learn to manipulate time must also learn to fiddle with its relative dimensions in space.
Dread Lady Nathicana
19-05-2005, 16:40
"Will do," Vettori says simply, giving Calahan a quick nod as he gathers his datapad, and makes his way briskly out of the room. He stalks through the corridors, his face troubled yet determined, going through several different things in his mind, clearly preoccupied.

First, there's the solution to the current situation, and trying to make an educated guess at what available things would be useful onboard the station. Usually there was a salvage business or two hanging about such places. Raw goods were a possibility. How much of a chuck of that Menelmacari ship would be useful came to mind as well - what bits wouldn't be either too questionable, or too dangerous to be hauling about, at least. Luxuries, gadgets, things not easily gotten by the common resident were a thought as well. If the Dominion still held the station, there was guaranteed to be a healthy black market flourishing somewhere - all just a matter of knowing what to look for, and tracking down who to speak with. Asking the crew to offer up any bits that wouldn't be a inappropriate to trade off, was a thought as well. If it meant saving their collective asses, he was fairly certain they wouldn't take too great an issue of it. He doubted very much anyone had any fine jewelry along with them, but that too wouldn't hurt to ask. Of course this line of thought leads him to his other point of concern - Kristilanna.

He finds himself at her door before he knows it, half a dozen different ways to begin on the tip of his tongue. All of which seem to disappear as her door opens for him once he identifies - something he hadn't expected. Peering into the room cautiously, he calls out in a gentle, worried voice.

"Kristilanna ... it's Enzo. When you left like that I was ... and there's things we need to ... what I mean to say is ... dammit woman, are you alright?"
Der Angst
20-05-2005, 10:29
"Oh, it will work out." Is pretty much all Sekhmet says. Granted, he is a little annoyed by the idea of doing this kind of work (Given his degrees), but, as annoying as it is, he isn't exactly an engineer, nor is he especially knowledgeable in Kaeneian technology, so the choice is obvious, as unfortunate as it is.

Uhura cackles, seeing the shuttle. "I guess that a pink colourscheme isn't particularly desir-" She stops, the looks of the men around her already giving her a definite answer. "It was just an idea..."

The work progresses, with Uhura doing most of the work, 'redecorating' the shuttle using a few external means whose sheer size looks as insignificant as the noise they make is excessive.

The whole process doesn't take especially long. New paint isn't added, as far as Uhura is concerned, a low-budget look suggesting that paint was too expensive works best.

A few scorchmarks and dents are created, using whatever devices are at hand, occasionally with Sekhmet's assistance, fiddling together a device or two. Granted, their operational lifetime isn't terribly impressive, but it works.

Besides, building together what would go through as a handheld magnetic accelerator or mildly effective laser helps shaping up, after all this time, even though neither device actually survives the process of redecoration. Still, they do the job, which is sufficient.

Looking over the results, Uhura sighs a little. "Still needs to fly through an asteorid field, for good measure. Otherwise, it would look a tad artificial."
23-05-2005, 06:33
“No,” was the simple, if slightly slurred response that seemed not to emanate from any individual mouth but rise upwards from a position obscured and waft to the listening Vettori. The lighting within was poor and indeed the only illumination came as an unspoken partnership between stars burning dimly beyond the sloping observation window, and the radiating strips of dark blue acting as little more than ambience enhancement.

Enzo might have full well been confused had a pale limb not slowly and almost haphazardly crossed the threshold of the visible side of the couch’s rear, sporting a flesh tone as white as the stretching tundra and smoothened glacial fields surrounding Solarri. The lithe fingertips wrapped unsteadily upon the softening fabric, though not hint seemed to come that they would provide lift to the remainder of the Overseer, assumedly upon the recliner.

Vettori was into the room and around the couch nearly before he could think it through, banging one of his knees as he dropped down to kneel at her side, looking anxious. "What's wrong? Can I get you anything? Do you need the doctor? I can fetch him back here quick as anything," he began breathlessly, looking her over with concern, one hand reaching out to gently clasp her free hand, his own lame effort to offer some comfort.

Kristilanna took the hand linked with her own silently, and slowly moved it downwards, passing without haste over the valley of her hidden though hardly unnoticeable breasts, and onwards until the impromptu fingertip journey ceased at her navel. Utilising her other remaining hand she crept the line of her sleeping fatigues until the pale flesh of her stomach was visible, and secured Vettori’s flattened palm upon it.

“Can you feel it?” She asked softly, whilst drawing him closer so that he might almost lie next to her upon the rather spacious couch and enter into an embrace. “I am plagued by headaches, the result of both my pregnancy and the temporal radiation which infects us all and riddles our bodies; some to no effect, such as you and some to debilitating pain.”

“Also, I am visited in my dreams Enzo, by things I dare not to face. Demons of my future haunt my achievements as natural disasters threaten to topple even the sturdiest of structures; as a fine tapestry subjected to wear and tear I feel the strands of my being unravelling and scattering to an uncaring wind.”

The Dominion man wasn't quite sure what to do or say at that, allowing himself to be lead, his mouth feeling oddly dry for some reason. His hand gently caressed the soft skin of Kristilanna's stomach for a moment, before he shifted his position as directed to wrap his other arm protectively under her shoulders to hold her close, his other hand soon returning to rest where she had first pressed it.

"We've got to get you off this ship," he said quietly, a dozen different possible means leaping to mind - each one of them with their own set of problems and impossibilities. "Is there something the doc can give you to help at least? I mean, something that wouldn't hurt you, or ..." He still had a hard time believing he was going to be a father. Too much, too fast. Blinking for a moment, he leaned in to kiss her forehead softly.

"It's only dreams. No wonder you seem so tired. Headaches when you're awake, troubled dreams, all the stress, and the other problems. It will be ok, I promise. The best thing is to get us out of here, and you away from the temporal problems. And if we're going to do that the right way, we're going to have to get some parts, make the repairs, and get home. Callahan is working on modifying a shuttle as we speak. Maybe you should come with us, and just keep in hiding. At least you'd be away from the headaches and pain ..."

“The Apothecary has advised me no medication can be issued; genetic therapy aside the unknown influence of our surroundings may damage the foetus in ways that we cannot as yet imagine.”

Kristilanna allowed her eyes to narrow, as yet further her frontal lobes illustrated their displeasure on behalf of her brain at the intense pressure being applied by an environment silent in its lethality, though blatantly clear to technology itself. Pulling the unsure form of Vettori closer, she banished the discomfort of the headache and fixed the full gaze of her cobalt orbs upon his tanned flesh. “Coordinator Vitras would not be pleased.” She began, the irony in her statement obvious. “My place would appear to be here, overseeing little and achieving nothing whilst curiously enough wasting none of the time such procrastination should bring.”

Taking note of what she thought hesitation, she queried; “Are you frightened of what grows within me? Are you apprehensive that it does not bring good tiding but damnation and fall? Our child is not natural Enzo, for it cannot grow much further without the intervention of medical science. The genetic legacies of the Dominion and the Serene^Union seem not to wish to mesh, and only the most advanced therapies will succeed in gifting new life consciousness. I fear that I have pressed upon you a burden that is weighing heavily upon your shoulders and impacting your life in detrimental fashion.”

Slowly pulling him closer, she grazed his drying lips with her own. “I know now how to categorise that between us, in label and analysis. I love you, Enzo Vettori. It may not be precisely the passion a Human can share for another, and it perhaps is not as fiery as that which has graced you previously, but it is the same longing and desire to be near you and it is identical in pain caused by your absence.”

Enzo shook his head at the first bit, letting her finish before he tried to answer. Her last words scattered whatever response he was planning to the nether regions of his mind, however, and for a moment, all he could do was hold her close, kissing soft and slow, hoping for now that was reassurance enough.

"Not scared, no. Not like that. More worried that I won't measure up. Not sure I was cut out to be a proper father, let alone companion. If anything, just afraid of failing somehow. I'm sorry, Kris. Never wanted to cause you pain, or put you in danger like this. Never thought past what seemed to be the right thing to do at the time, given the circumstances. You deserve far better."

He shifted position slightly, trying to offer a more protective embrace, punctuating his words now and then with kisses. "Fuck Vitras, and what he'd like or wouldn't. More important we take care of you, in whatever way is best. As for the rest ... there's options. .There's always options. We've got contacts, if your own people can't help. There's others with a better grasp on genetics than my people would. Zero-One, for example.

I hear Shodan can literally work miracles. I think after this jaunt I'll have at least one favour to call in. You'll be fine, the baby will be fine, it'll all be fine." Surely it can be understood if at least half the time it sounds as if he's trying to convince himself of this as well while he continues to cradle her gently.

"You need your rest. And I need to find a way to get you home. And to do that, I'm going to need to find out what all we can safely salvage off the Scoperta to trade or sell so we can get the parts we need. You've got enough on your plate as is, so I'm going to need to ask if there's someone, aside from Vitras, who can help me take inventory and get it gathered together. I wish I didn't have to go. I'd still rather you could somehow come, and to hell with 'duty' and 'responsibility' and the like. But if I'm going to get you home like I need to, this is something I've got to do. Can't manage it alone."

Love? He wasn't sure he'd actually ever been in love before. If love meant going through the day with your head in a spin and your insides feeling like they'd gotten twisted up the wrong way, flitting between anxiousness and exhilaration, the heady thrill of just being next to her and the odd feeling that part of him didn't seem to be where it was supposed to be when she wasn't around, perhaps it was.

Words like that had never come easy to the man, in fact, he wasn't sure he'd ever used them in conversation with anyone but his mother when he was younger. Every good Dominion boy loved their mamma after all, but this ... this was all sorts of different.

"Don't worry, mi'lady. Already told you I'm not going to leave you. Going to see you and the bambino get through this all just fine. Going to do my best, in any case. Hoping that will be enough," he murmured more quietly, his hands moving to caress and soothe as he continued to hold her close, kissing when it seemed right.

"Feel the same way, after all. Even if it does get a bit confusing now and then. So long as you're willing to have me, I'm here. So while I'm here ... is there anything I can do to help you feel better? Anything I can get you?"

She listened attentively as Vettori cycled through his worries; fears of being insufficient or otherwise unable to discharge the duties befitting fatherhood. Kristilanna however was unwilling to entertain such doubt, and pressed a finger to his lips not to silence him, for she waited until he had finished, but to prevent him rebuffing her words.

“It is for no one to question your efficiency as a father, Enzo and for no one to sow such seeds within your mind. I understand you did not intend for this, and your choice of partner in me initially unintended however I implore you to consider that you display none of the destructive habits which might be unsuited to progeny; neither self-centred, cruel, hate, impatient nor unloving. Indeed where I am as a creature of ice and the coldest winds, you are one of basking sunshine and warm rain.”

She shook her head even as he attempted to reassure her of the abilities of Zero-One, “It is not technological my beloved, but social. The Aengelistoria Dominica, and all that the Serene^Union is built upon and that I believed in tell me our child is an aberration; a twisted and dark meshing of that which cannot be understood and our own stable stock. The abilities of the Union of Medicine include the therapy that shall be required for me to carry to term, yet to receive this is to deny my nature and certain exile and disgrace. I cannot convey to you how torn I truly am.”

Removing her arms from their previous position at the small of Enzo’s back, Kristilanna brought them to her neck. She slowly worked upon the clasp of the necklace there, until it dutifully separated and was removable. Upon a silver chain it hung, a small and impeccably carved figurine whose arms rose upwards and were in turn bound together to form the point at which the sculpture found attachment to said chain. Erupting from behind great sweeping wings of shimmering crystal stretched, providing a backdrop that was interrupted only slightly by the locks of silver acting as hair for this nameless woman and obscured the sparkling wings at regular intervals descending.

She quickly pressed the jewellery piece into Vettori’s hand, closing his fingers around it tightly. “This is both the mark of the office of the Overseer Aengelis, and a personal possession of my own. The figure itself is based upon my own appearance, and was gifted to me upon my attainment of the rank of Overseer, whilst the wings were added upon my receipt of this current object. It is constructed from both the Earth elements Platinum, Silver and Diamond and should be well received upon the station.”

“Take anything you believe shall do you a return worthwhile,” she added, gesturing to the surrounding quarters. “I grant you the power to request all onboard donate to such an effort to secure treasures for trade; our survival being more relevant than mere physical possessions.”

Grimacing, Kristilanna acquiesced to her beloved’s willingness to provide for her. “Perhaps you could fetch me a glass of warmed water? I am growing pained.”

Vettori was clearly torn. Accepting felt like demanding something he had absolutely no right to, not from where he was standing. But to not could make the difference between success and failure in getting her, and the rest of them for that matter, home. He watched her quietly for a moment, unsure of quite how to proceed, at a loss for words. Finally, he nodded, hugging her close, albeit gently, and kissing her again.

"Only because we need to get you home," he said quietly. "Grazie, la mia dolce Kristilanna. Bene grazie." He gently disentangled himself, taking great care not to disturb her rest more than was necessary, and gingerly made his way through her quarters to find both glass and sink, one hand still clenched tightly around the precious amulet.

Trying to sound positive, he went on in his usual manner of talk, filling up the silence that for some reason made him nervous. "We should have no problem, I think, so long as there's still a station there. Knowing the Dominion mindset, trade and commerce should still be bustling somewhere in this miserable system. And where there's trade, there's a market for 'goods on the sly'. More so if the atmosphere has become more stifling."

He eventually found what he needed, testing the water temperature so that it was neither too hot, nor too cold, at least to his best estimation. He filled the glass and brought it back to her, offering to help her sit up enough to comfortably drink. "We'll have what we need in no time, I promise."
Dread Lady Nathicana
03-06-2005, 18:13
An all too brief reprieve, that had been. Even with all the additional concerns, even with all the worries and fears and doubts, she still had a way of comforting him somehow. Of making him feel needed past whatever good he could do, or skills he possessed. She had reassured him, given him the clearance needed to do what he needed to, and now it was time to get that job done.

Notice was sent out through the crew that any available items that could be bartered and traded were to be gathered together at the shuttle bay for accounting and packing. Directives were cycled through the different departments to requisition any spare parts or supplies that wouldn't be needed for a return trip or continued well being of the crew. Detailed lists were compiled for what was needed to repair the ship, along with suggestions for possible alternatives where available, having no idea what sorts of things could be garnered in this time frame.

It seemed to take forever, much to Vettori's chagrin. He did his level best to keep himself immersed in his task while avoiding any contact with Vitras, however incidental. At those times when avoidance proved to be impossible, he would direct his gaze past the man as if he didn't even exist and either continue on around him, or change directions and move on to another task. And each time he had to, he swore silently that the time would come when he would lay the bastard out cold.

He went through his own belongings as well, frowning as he realized nothing he had came even close to matching the delicate pendant Kristillanna had given to his care. That he didn't pack in with the rest as they catalogued and counted and packed carefully into the shuttle - it remained around his neck, tucked safely inside his shirt where no one would see it.

As things seemed to come together, he gathered his reports and tracked down Callahan with the figures. "I think we'll do alright with it," he said, frowning as he scanned the lists. "I wish to hell I had a better idea of what to expect, but going in blind ... I think this is going to have to be as good as it gets. Any chance on snagging bits of that Menelmacari ship? Certain to be plenty of those hulks around, given the supposed state of things. Not too obvious, I'd think." He looked up for a moment to scan the renovations Callahan and the others had been doing on the shuttle again, nodding thoughtfully. "Looking good there."
08-06-2005, 17:50
“I am afraid your scavenging will have to draw line at stripping my vessel of trinkets,” grated the familiar tones of a Kaeneian Vettori had little time to entertain and even less patience for the presence of. Coming around to stand in front of both the Cetagandan and the Dominion envoys, Vitras regarded the hastily converted shuttle with a look of intrigue.

“An interesting renovation sir,” the Security Coordinator commented, pressing a finger against a deliberately intentioned dent with a look upon his face that suggested this mere action might breach the hull utterly. Though his tone addressed both delegates his gaze accentuated the direction, settling on Vettori—“I am hopeful you did not take too much pleasure in rendering damage to property of the Serene^Union.”

Before a reply could be formulated, Vitras looked up as two Kaeneians entered the informal circle, pushing an anti-gravitic transport sledge into the peripheral vision of Callahan and attracting his and Vettori’s attentions. Atop the unit and bound tightly was a single slightly flattened cylinder of some seven feet in length, both ends rounded though one considerably sharper in point than the other. Two non-descript panels traversed the length of the unit, and at a subtle manipulation by one of the Kaeneians, rose upwards to grant those observing a glimpse into internal workings.

“This is a standard example of onboard ordinance, equipped with a ship-to-ship plasma warhead and first stage accelerator-engine. I have requisitioned three such torpedoes for your use onboard the station in trade and have also personally wiped the ident-computer, electronic registration number and onboard navicomp to ensure there is no possible way to trace the weapon beyond identifying it as Kaeneian, which would be obvious even in cursory examination.”

Nodding to the adepts, the anti-gravitic sledge was quickly removed from their presence, towards the ramp leading into the hold of the shuttle. Vitras was about to continue, when he spied the shimmering chain around Vettori’s neck and was more than capable of deducing what lay hidden beneath the collar of the Dominion citizen’s shirt.

“It seems I am mistaken Mister Vettori, in that you have gathered for yourself more than idle trinkets and worthless nothings. Perhaps I should be so fortunate, to gain for myself such a treasure as you seem to possess. However this diverts me from the true purpose of my presence here, which is to ascertain whether you are ready to depart for the station. The Scoperta is now holding at what we believe to be the minimum safe distance to avoid detection, whilst what little we have learned indicates there are a considerable number of vessels in orbit surrounding the station of various types not recognised in our database or experience. One thing you have said Mister Vettori at least seems to be truthful—it is indeed prosperous, in that curious Dominion way.”

Gesturing, the Kaeneian stepped back towards the exit from the launch deck. “The Overseer has granted me delegation over the launch, you are hereby authorised to depart at your earliest opportunity. I do not need to stress our deuterium supplies are of a critically low status and shipboard power will shortly be entirely generated by onboard fusion reactors, which themselves cannot hope to supply sufficient energy for full operations, additionally hampered by our loss of one reactor in events previously. Time is something we do not, ironically enough, have an unlimited supply of gentlemen, and I suggest you press onwards.”

Kristilanna stepped out from the shower unit gingerly, feeling the deliberately chilled air of the bathroom area a warming experience to her curious Kaeneian physiology which, naturally favouring the cold, found the situation delightful. Wrapping an unremarkable white towel about her torso, the Overseer stepped quickly into the adjacent bedroom, retrieving from the near-bear dresser a brush. Stretching fingers through roughly dried blonde tresses, the brush brought at least relative order to the previously tangled curls, as Kristilanna perched upon the edge of the bed.

Her left hand however soon grew bored of providing assistance to the brushing, and drifted downwards to cup her stomach gently. It seemed that she could scarcely concentrate on another subject or scenario without losing attentiveness to that which slowly grew within her, and seemed to demand all her attention and then more. It had been several hours since she had been so comfortably held and soothed by Enzo and it was with great regret he had left and in turn she had been rendered alone, though duty demanded such trivial sacrifice her mind was overwhelmed with worry as to his wellbeing. This mission could hardly be considered routine and with the hostility of the new timeline apparent, difficult to see safety for those travelling.

She had considered accompanying them, but it knew it virtually impossible. Her place was on the Scoperta as the supreme Kaeneian authority, and she doubted the Apothecary would give his medical consent given the inherent danger to the unborn child, which was far from safety itself. Fate had decided against her travelling, and she would be relegated to mere observer, though as per typical for such situations her worry and difficulty would be no more lessened.
Der Angst
18-07-2005, 11:36
Sekhmet glared at the people outside the shuttle, apparently busy with something he felt was not much more than pointless bickering in a situation when neither side could afford this internal friction slowing them down.

"Well, fuck that." He could hear Uhura giggling softly, eventually looking out of the shuttle, waving at the three people still bickering over what could only be a minor issue, given the present situation (Disregarding the possibility of the shuttle's drives detonating within the next few minutes, of course).

"It's time, gentleman. If necessary, duel each other, but please, finish it within a minute, ok? We don't want to come late for the flea market in Imperium-controlled sol."

Sehmet was already fiddling with some controls (He had to occupy himself with something), all so slightly impatient. "Now what? I wouldn't be surprised if they actually dueled each other..."

"The blood stain on the shuttle would certainly make it look more realistic."

"Good point, we should encourage them..."
19-07-2005, 03:07
Callahan looks at the Angstians, gives them a "what can you do?" shrug, and waves for them to follow him to the control room. As he stis down at the main board and runs final preflight checks, he asks, "Do either of you know how to pilot a ship this size? I can probably handle it myself if we have to, but I'd like to have someone at the copilot's board and so that we keep at least one potential pilot awake at all times in case we need to shut off the autopilot for some reason." The fact that the most likely reason to do so would be enemy fire is left unsaid. "It's been configured with a fairly common setup for comercial ships of this size, so if you have any experience it shouldn't take too long to learn. We're using an gravy drive with auxilary fusion torches. You have to be careful with the retro thrusters, because if you were to use them with this sequence," he demonstrates a key sequence with a sly grin, "the thrust gets extremely focused and you might accidently melt a hole through someone's hull."
Der Angst
19-07-2005, 11:04
"Mustn't be accidentally..." Uhara grinned back at Callahan. "Technically, both of us have the necessary experience to pilot such things, although I think I've had a little more practise over the past two years. Mind, only ion/ plasma thrusters and a few experimental EM drives, nothing gravitic, so it might take me a few minutes of practise to get used to its reactions.

"Oh, one thing, though. Is it equipped for neural linking? It would be the infinitely preferable option. I can deal without it, but it would be... Bothersome. A little."

"Especially given that you intend to fly it through an asteorid field, for good measure." Sekhmet muttered.

"Well, yes." Uhura shrugged. "The damage should look a little less artificial, really. Anyway, hoping that the gravitic signature isn't immediately giving away where we're from or what we are..." She smiled. "Well, while the two out there are finishing the duel, you might want to give me a short introduction into gravitic drives and their behaviour during flight."
20-07-2005, 19:59
"No, there's no neural interface. The Kaeneians don't use any kind of augments or direct man-machine interfaces. It's a cultural dislike that's grown especially strong after the entire mess with Angelus," responds Callahan. "It's probably for the best, anyways. Trying to reprogram that kind of interface for a species it isn't designed for can be tricky work, even for specialists. However, you shouldn't find the controls all that different from flying any other craft."
Der Angst
22-07-2005, 21:39
Uhura shrugs. "Meh. I would suppose that a little readjusting would work for the basics, but, anyway. I suppose that I can deal with the lag of manual controls."

The part where she wonders about the rather odd Kaeneian culture (Being closely allied be damned, they are just so damn isolationist, so she doesn't know particularly much) is left unsaid. Granted, she can sort of relate to the Angelan problem (If she just knew what had happened bac home while she was gone. She could probably relate a lot more), but, well... The Kaeneian mind is just to different to argue about.

"So, well, lets start, I guess. Well. As soon as Mr Vettori joins us. Until then, I'm all yours."
Dread Lady Nathicana
09-08-2005, 15:52
Damage? I'll give you damage you son of a bitch, just as soon as we get ourselves out of this mess. Arrogant bastard.

In spite of his silent litany agains the Kaeneian, Vettori offers a pleasant, if slightly smug smile. Whatever else, he hoped that alone would be enough to irritate the man. He only regretted the situation didn't allow for a more satisfying solution. They still needed him, after all, and Vitras suddenly up and disappearing after all their altercations wouldn't help matters.

He nods curtly at the offering of weapons, doing some quick calculations in his mind, and thinking that perhaps with these, he wouldn't have to resort to hawking the treasure that Kristilanna had entrusted him with. Of course that's the time Vitras chooses to get in another dig.

"Well Vitras, we can't all be so lucky. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you, all the same. Good to hear our guesses were on, concerning the station," he continues breezily after giving Vitras a knowing smile. "Lets just hope we can make this gambit pay off."

Vettori snorts quietly at Uhura's comments, and lets it go. He gets himself settled aboard the shuttle, making a final quick check that all their trade goods have been properly secured.

"I think we're set, Callahan," he says simply.
10-08-2005, 01:58
"Right, then." Callahan flips a few switches and settles his hands on the controls. "Airlock sealed, all systems now on internal power and life support, board is green. Bay now reads as vacuum, outer doors are opening. Station-keeping thrusters in three, two, one." He pauses, then continues. "We are clear of the shuttle bay, activating main drives. Scoperta, Odyssey. We're free and clear. Catch you all on the flip side." He cuts the comms, and turns his chair enough to see his companions. "Well, we've got a while before we come into range of station's sensors. Anyone have any thoughts?"

Launch (
Up, up, and away (
Der Angst
12-08-2005, 09:34
"Apart from doing a trip through a few microasteorids to make the damage on the hull look less artificial... no." It wasn't entirely true. So far, going through the data one had about the system in its present state hadn't been particularly interesting for Sekhmet, who wondered a little about what had happened to his nation of origin. Well, it wouldn't be important, hopefully. Still, knowing nothing was a little... disconcerting, but then, he didn't intend to make it a huge topic, either.

Uhura was absently shuffling a deck of cards, occasionally looking at the controls, yawning. The coming while was presumably going to be boring, and she needed something to busy herself with, if only to forget about the appreciable level of nervousness she was experiencing. "Any odds regarding our chances for success and/ or survival?"

She almost dropped her deck of cards as she asked this.
Dread Lady Nathicana
12-08-2005, 16:20
Vettori watches quietly as they get underway, brow furrowed in a frown that has become a near constant these days. His eyes flicker to the Angstians as they speak, one brow arching up slightly.

We're doomed. Oh god, so doomed.

"Common sense is probably our best bet. Things you don't need me telling you, like being careful about what we say, and who we say it to. I imagine it will take a bit of looking to find the folks we'll be wanting to swap stuff with on the sly. Probably. Perhaps." He looks less than confident as he speaks. The simple fact of the matter is, while they have a base to operate from, there are far too many variables they can't possibly know.

And unlike a game of cards, what we don't know could get us killed out here. Dammit, I wish I'd known more about the station. Wasn't my project. Too busy tied up with Restricted ...

"In any case, we stick to our salvage story, and go from there, no? Most things we have are above board. Things like the weapons, likely black market materials. All we've gotta do is find those enterprising individuals who deal on the sly, and we're set."

He was never one for dabbling much with Family politics, even in the best of times. And now, with so much time having passed, it was impossible to know where things had gone. Still, some things he hoped, remained a constant. People being people, Dominion folk being who and what they were, they'd find what they needed, one way or the other.

The trick was in the doing it.
28-08-2005, 23:03
Veneluala took attention originally fixed upon the expansive console in front charged with the navigation of the Scoperta, to address a smaller visual feed from the primary Shuttle Bay. Completing a minor series of course corrections whilst swivelling from one portion of his curved station to another and without devoting meaningful effort via a left hand operating almost entirely without visual confirmation, the voice of Callahan echoed and brought a distraction through the unobtrusive earpiece cupping his left ear.

Whilst the launch confirmation from the Cetagandan had been transmitting, the Scoperta itself had helpfully ensured a link was established via the Kaeneian helmsman’s earpiece and the cockpit of the departing shuttlecraft. Bring a sole fingertip down upon the lit icon, a reply was swiftly forthcoming.

“Acknowledged Odyssey,” Veneluala confirmed despite the oddness of Callahan’s lingo -- Precisely where was the ‘flip’ side in three dimensional space? “You have departed our defence radius; advise communications silence unless absolutely necessary to ensure mutual safety. May you have a prudent and fruitful expedition.”

From her position within the lift, Kristilanna gained a small measure of comfort from her immediate surroundings. The close confines of the car itself were reassuringly similar to her life until events of days passed. Hardly expansive and importantly, mapped out so that no surprise of truly foundation-shaking proportion could take hold. Like the walls she could press her hands upon, her grasp upon her destiny had remained tangible and strong; what could go wrong when one could see all options ahead?

Destination reached, the doors opened dutifully to reveal the slightly more expansive setting of the bridge and similarly, the changes that had overcome her once ordered existence and threatened to flood her balanced life with raging chaos and confusion incarnate. Adjusting the already-perfect neckline of her unremarkable black dress beneath the contrasting dark blue robe, Kristilanna snapped her hand back with irritation; realising she had unconsciously sought to tussle with the necklace given to Enzo in a show of distraction blatant to all those around her familiar with Kaeneian disdain for fidgeting.

Settling into the lone Command Throne, she attracted the attention of Flight-Adept Veneluala, who swivelled until facing her directly though uneven due to the elevation of his superior’s station. Waiting with impeccable patience until the Overseer Aengelis’ monitors and various direct control systems mounted on the Throne’s armrests had risen into position, he duly gave report.

“Overseer, the Odyssey has departed and is making all speed to the Dominion installation. A communications blackout has been strongly suggested, whilst we withdraw to maximum operational limit of the Shuttlecraft until such time as it has completed its mission -- In order to avoid a path being drawn back along the flight course.”

“Acknowledged,” Kristilanna replied as she observed the launch telemetry from her own station. There was little else she could do to help from her current position; all aid had been rendered and advice spoken and instead, waiting was the only act to be carried out in lieu of a hopeful and successful return. Her internal monologue was shattered by the soft thrum of the internal communications net icon upon her left armrest, demanding attention -- Duly silenced with her pressing.

The tone of the voice made it instantly recognisable as the Security Coordinator; “Overseer, may I see you at short notice?”

“At my earliest convenience,” Kristilanna replied, utterly isolating her internal sigh from the cool and clipped retort issued. Closing the channel promptly after Vitras’ received though hardly vital approval, the Overseer Aengelis climbed to her feet, and silenced the Throne below back to a state of inactivity.

“You have seniority, Flight-Adept Veneluala.” She ordered, departing relatively speedily and halting not to receive the short nod from the Helmsman as he retreated from the foremost bridge station to the relatively promoted heights of the Command Throne vacated mere moments earlier. A reminder of his temporary status obvious as the numerous displays and controls remained silent even at his occupation.

Vitras interlocked his fingers together thoughtfully, as he finished perusing a security report laid upon his desk. A minor infraction by an unimportant Adept of the Department Scientia which would be duly dealt with when more vital matters were safely concluded. Turning his seat to instead regard the stretching blackness of the void beyond the bay window he now faced, the Kaeneian allowed his gaze to wander from one point of light to the next. Somewhere between, he mused, the Odyssey made her way towards the quaint Dominion ‘space bazaar’. A ship of emotional misfits and psychically questionable aliens careering through the cosmos with plasma warheads and all manner of trinkets stowed in their hastily jury-rigged cargo hold, not to mention the sheer randomness of their specified plan would be to any Security Coordinator a logistical and factual nightmare.

To Vitras, it was little more than a calculated risk. The safety of the Scoperta was not directly threatened by the success or failure of this intrepid venture; the chance for a speedy return to their origins yes, but hardly a life-or-death struggle against adversity. Furthermore the disruptive element in Enzo Vettori had for the short-term at least, been removed from his ship and thusly his influence diminished somewhat on his flagging superior.

It was not simply as a Kaeneian he found Kristilanna’s fall from grace worrying, but as an agent for the Aengelistoria Dominica and the supreme will of the Serene^Union. It was a blatantly worrying sign of ever-increasingly liberal times, as all-embracing foreign policies brought one of the most senior officials of Kaenei to the point of breaking all taboos known and offering little in the way of respect to her office and charge.

It was not simply Vitras’ duty to counter this, it was his being. He would bring order to the chaos, despite the protests and foolish defences and irrelevant character witnesses. Turning back to his desk, he took into his palm a data node previously ignored, and reread the final paragraph; simply a further addition to the long list of infractions committed by his superior against the Council and Acts of Supremacy so numerous to quote them all would be to devote hours to waste.

Yet this mere data node was simple testament and statement -- It was not fit to lay in the shadow of the ultimate example of the Overseer Aengelis transgression; the child within her which would in a little over seven Terran months if left unchecked be borne unto a Union unprepared for such a shocking event. Her lustful liaison with the promiscuous Dominion Scientist would seal her fate more so than a million pages of listed procedural breaches.

The high-pitched chime filtering through the darkened chamber put further lonesome ponderings to idleness, as he granted entrance to his assumed guest. Gesturing to the solitary seat waiting on the other side of his desk, Vitras remained silent until Kristilanna had slowly taken her seat, and fixed a withering, though tiring gaze upon him.

“I trust this is relevant, Coordinator?” Came the not unsurprising opener. Retrieving the data node he had so meticulously compiled to a position where she could notice it, Vitras slid it across the desk and though no words passed between them still, the obviousness of his desire for her to read the contents remained palpable.

Words would find a vent to usage after only the barest of moments, as the Overseer took little time to ascertain the obvious intent of the contents she read. Placing the node to the tabletop but also not relinquishing her grasp, her jaw clenched somewhat and the slightest hint of a far deeper fury betrayed the coolness so required in such a hostile atmosphere.

“The data is quite safe Overseer, you may do as you wish with that particular node. Yet I am interested to garner your opinion? Do you believe I have been factually inaccurate, or grossly incorrect? Or do you indeed concur that the charges highlights merely in the initial paragraph you came upon are entirely true and just?”

“You seek to discredit me?”

Vitras shook his head quite thoughtfully, “Not at all Overseer, not at all. I seek to remove you from office, I seek the damage you have set in motion reversed and the tarnishing of the reputation of the Aengelistoria Dominica expunged. Do you not realise what has transpired on this Starship? You cannot be so blind as to realise what you have committed is not simply a breach of protocol but virtual heresy.”

Standing, the taller Kaeneian turned to face the window once behind. “You have betrayed the ideals and purity of your office, and by extension your character and position as the second most powerful official of the Serene^Union have rendered said betrayal a tenfold greater atrocity. That which grows and absorbs nutrients within you is in itself a gross violation of our laws Overseer, which numerous Acts of Supremacy highlight and detail the consequences of. You cannot be so blind to them, yet have risked and shall incur their consequences -- You were spoken of as the most promising individual of many years within our society, why have you forsaken this?”

Kristilanna knew choosing her response carefully was key; Vitras had no intent or interest in being swayed from his present action, he merely sought further details to damn her with and vilify. “Explaining my situation will not bring me clout, nor influence your decision, Coordinator -- I cannot understand any benefit to commenting.”

“Is that to be your final statement to the Aengelistoria Dominica?” He asked pointedly. “The first Aengelis Overseer to face not only impeachment, but the first Kaeneian also to experience the loss of their citizenship, and you simply refuse to comment?”

Changing his line of questioning, Vitras spoke with an almost flippant tone. “Tell me of Mister Vettori Kristilanna? What medal shall he receive from his capricious government for this period’s work? Perhaps an order most sound, or even a title of nobility? Shall the Dread Lady herself congratulate him and invite a personal orgy of pleasure, decadence and that most vile brand of Dominion hedonism?

Taking no notice of the blatant disrespect shown by his addressing her by first name Kristilanna continued; “He is of no concern to you Vitras,” She hissed. “You will make no further mention of his name or deeds supposedly committed by him. He is not a part or consideration in your efforts to usurp me or otherwise discredit. He had at no point committed an act upon you or any other member of this crew which is in any way unacceptable.”

“I cannot comply with that order, for he cannot be entirely excused from the events which have transpired. Unfortunately, he cannot be rightfully punished for his actions under Kaeneian law which has no jurisdiction upon him, and thusly in all probability focuses further blame on yourself. He is a dangerous and disruptive influence Overseer, though in your compromised position it is not surprise you cannot fully contemplate this.”

“Look simply at what has he can now boast to his drinking friends and one-night stands. He has not only bedded a senior official of the Serene^Union, but impregnated her and all the while with enjoying the sating of carnal desires with your expressed blessing, enjoyment and full reciprocation. Do you even truly consider yourself Kaeneian?”

Standing also to match his stance, the young woman’s eyes barrowed dangerously. “I am utterly devoted to my country, Vitras. I have given all I can give in servitude to the Aengelistoria Dominica and I have discharged my duty to the very best of my ability. I have jettisoned free time, erased the possibility of family and discarded leisure in the best fashion of patriotism. Only once have I stumbled, to the situation I find myself now embroiled within, and I know I shall pay for such an error.”

Wheeling round, Vitras raised an eyebrow. “You admit to an error?”

Shaking her head, and scalding herself for the minute pleasure she felt in shattering his surprise, Kristilanna fixed her cobalt eyes upon their slate-grey counterparts. “Do not confuse error with regret, Vitras. For I regret nothing; of my relationship with Enzo I am content, of my status as mother-to-be I am nervous yet welcoming. The events leading to our togetherness perhaps an error on my part, but a footnote merely.”

His brow furrowing, the Coordinator did not speak for several moments, as though wrestling with the statement. What followed surprised Kristilanna, as she had expected another smug tirade, another self-satisfying rant on her wrongs and betrayals.

“You are no true Kaeneian, Lgealis.” He said, almost flatly. “You have taken our most sacred tenants, that of logic and isolationism, and mocked them before discarding as you would a damaged data node or insignificant insect. Worse still you acknowledge your crimes and all the while, embrace that which will bring you an end. I had hoped in some small way for repentance on your part; a promise to deal with that which grows inside you, perhaps an utterance of the feasibility of ending your association with Vettori. I see now you intend to proudly carry forth your disgrace and flaunt it in front of the Aengelistoria Dominica as though praise, nor punishment is your right. Dismiss your dislike for me Kristilanna, and pay no heed to the charges I have prepared before you but consider this -- You have betrayed your Country, and you have mocked its founding principles. Your patriotism is coloured as red as the banners of those that once displaced us from our world to Earth.”

Leaning closely, he finalised his stinging rebuke with a well placed barb. “You are a traitor Kristilanna, to your country, your people and your ancestors. All you have achieved -- Colonising Europa for the Serene^Union, negotiating the settlement of Mars and the peers you have impressed and gained the respect of will be lost forever. History will make only the mention of a talented youngster tainted and corrupted beyond redemption.”

“Ponder this -- Vettori will return to congratulations, and appreciation. All else aside my Lady, he will be welcomed and he will be wanted. You shall step through the cold streets of Solarri only so long as it takes to discharge your honour and banish you, and will he care for you then? Will you spend your days as a mother in Devras, whilst Enzo collects accolades and glory?”

Stepping from the desk, he headed towards the door, unintentionally creating a double harshness by first summoning the Overseer Aengelis then leaving her company first from his very own office. “Consider that you gave all you could to the Union, return receiving the purpose of your existence and now that remains only so long as it takes for us to reach home once more. Even if I file no report Kristilanna, and make no mention others amongst the crew will not hold their tongues forever; they respect you but they cannot hold that respect above the respect owed to the Council and Country.”

“Will your child compensate for this?” He asked as the doors to the office slid open. “Or will it act as a constant reminder of your loss, and disgrace?”

Kristilanna slouched back into the chair, as Vitras departed and left her alone once more. She had expected and resisted his traditional onslaught of corruption and decadence, but his alternative tactic had such truth that she found herself assailed and struck painfully by blow upon blow of harsh reality.

Until now she had known perfectly the penalties for her pregnancy, and other actions. Yet the hope that a case could be argued had remained to comfort her -- That her peers would respect and cherish her enough to make exception to laws never actually tested to fullness and legality. Yet had she placed too much faith in personal working relationships? Perhaps not enough thought had been devoted to the entity that was the Aengelistoria Dominica, and the ultimate power of the land.

Exile seemed now not a probability, but an ultimate certainty. To a patriot and servant like the young woman, to be branded a traitor was to be granted a fate no less terrible than death. For at least in the latter the remembrance of those would be geared towards appreciation and achievements; cursed words and a name used to incur wrath on another wronged instead seemed her ultimate fate.

Closing her eyes, her chest rose and fell in shuddering breaths -- Pain in both emotional and physical form tearing through her being as even as formidable a will as that of the Overseer Aengelis waned in face of such sorrow. The muscles about her abdomen tightened agonisingly, in reaction to her distress and she slid from the chair to her knees, arms wrapped tightly about the still imperceptible foetus. Pulling herself against the desk sufficiently high so that her eyes might gaze upon the control board, she forced her palm upon the sequence of icons necessary to contact the medical bay.

“Apothecary,” She wheezed loudly. “You are needed in Coordinator Vitras’ office immediately, I am in some distress.”
Dread Lady Nathicana
03-09-2005, 18:24
Machiavelli Station, Dominion-controlled space

In the years since their betrayal, the Dominion had grown in both power, and influence. The space that they had controlled around the station remained in their grasp, as well as the expanded territories in what was left in the Saturn system – for all the good it did them.

The Trium had left little for their enemies to gloat over. Where the Ring once was, there was now only a new belt of rubble and jagged ice. The platforms and stations that once dotted the region had been utterly destroyed, offering the invaders no opportunity to gain either tech or footholds.

The cost of invasion had been unbelievably high, especially in regards to the Scolopendrans, who had made every effort to take as many of their enemy with them as possible. The improvised energy-conversion weapons they had used in places had left nothing but huge, empty craters of scorched rock. Even on Titan, the once wondrous underground expanses of cities and tunnels that made up the Caves of Steel had been collapsed, whatever secrets that may have been left buried under tons of earth and rubble. Above, nothing but ruins. The artificial solettes and gravimetric plants that had maintained the terraformed landscape were long gone – the surface that survived the onslaught having slowly reverted to it’s natural state of barren rock.

Rhea’s true state was still unknown. A number of incredibly large explosions had been registered initially, during the brunt of the attack. When things quieted, squads had been sent in to investigate and acquire whatever tech they could. Brief reports had come back of horrific traps and toxic conditions in many areas that were too much for even their mechanized suits to handle. None of the forces sent there had ever returned.

The station itself at least, had not been lost. And this is where the Dominion had prospered. Being the only remaining port in the area, business had increased, once the fighting had died down and order was again imposed, albeit under a new regime. If one discounted the cost of having betrayed their once allies, Arda had rewarded them well for their efforts, remaining autonomous and under their own rule as much as any Ardan nation was. Even their leader now held the high position of Ardan Warlord. Trade was again encouraged and pursued, additional outlying structures were built to accommodate increased traffic, and a healthy black market flourished.

Machiavelli had become a sprawling complex with as many levels of lifestyles and complexity of societal twists and turns as any Dominion city. From the tip of the main building with it’s views, and high society restaurants and shops and hotels, to the lower wards and outer structures, where more than a little lawlessness reigned. Organized crime had a strong hold in both the business and political circles, though independent factions still gave them a run for their money – literally.

Dominion fleets still heavily patrolled the area, though traffic in and out was both expected and allowed. As the Odyssey eventually reaches the outer perimeter, the usual automated message is sent out via remote transponders.

”Welcome to Machiavelli space, traveler. If this is a military vessel, please stand by for escort.

If you are a civilian or trade vessel, please ident on the following frequency, and follow Control instructions for course and docking.

If you are in need of assistance, please ident on the following frequency, and advise Control of your situation and needs.

Please be aware that in entering Dominion-controlled space you agree to abide by all laws and guidelines currently in force. For information on said laws and our judicial system, please make a request to Control and a file will be transmitted.

We hope that you enjoy your stay aboard Machiavelli Station.”

[frequencies transmitted - message repeats]
19-09-2005, 03:02
The fur took upon itself an impure reflection of the snow surrounding; a dirty white where the hardened soil layers beneath the stretching tundra had been exposed by over-exuberant play. Speckled as a myriad of dots, the dirt collected at the outermost tufts of fur and leant them a blackened point, acting as the barest hint of an outline to identify.

A cold nose impacted the ground crudely, a far deeper black than the poorly cleansed coat and twitching with the olfactory keenness of a predator well adapted to life within the those most northern wastes of this Earth. The sniffing continued, pushing through soft mounds of snow no sooner overcome than rebuilt behind the animal by the virtually ever-present shower from skies above.

Yet a pile of such unremarkable ice did not yield, indeed providing an impassable barrier to the nose and as an extension, the remainder of the curious bear. Clearly indignant at such obstruction, an irresistibly swiping paw adorned with claws sufficient for rending the best defences of opponents impacted and withdrew the shield of snow.

The object which had come to impede was of the darkest crimson, so that it had more in kin with the black nose so hunting it than the ichors of life which flowed freely through the veins of the inquisitive Arctic animal. Jagged edges of sheared metal were barely avoided by vulnerable flesh, safeguarded only by keen eyes and cautious disposition.

Surmising it was inedible and consequently meaningless in the grand scheme of sustenance, the bear continued onwards across that most bleak and inhospitable of landscapes; a canvas not of fabric for beauty but everlasting monotones of white and the barest darkness - Overseen by an artist as base as the wind itself; shaping and carving the splintered rocks and frozen lakes over the course of days and weeks, and only to become enraged at the end result and smash asunder the natural sculptures of ice to begin anew once more.

Yet a large swathe of this area did not pay heed to Mother Nature despite her dominion over the land itself; their very own twisted sculptures rose up independent of any natural formation and did not find themselves reshaped at a merest whim.

They were a curious assortment of spiralling trusses and warped wreckage united only in the material constructed forth from; some boasting pitiful girth and more akin to a transmitter or antennae, whilst a few constructs stood fifty feet in width and virtually as tall - So that one might think a city had been stumbled upon had the buildings been of regular height and organisation.

Above the howling, banshee-like winds the growls of Polar Bears reverberated; for the weather had turned for the worse and the animals now sought shelter not amongst the odd towers, whose innards were so torn that they provided a mere path of exploration for the cutting winds to wage their way through, but the welcoming shadow of the towering mountain, sole and lonesome above.

Yet this mountain possessed too many sharp angles, outboard points, and lacked likewise partners by which to form a range or chain, to be considered a work of the Earth directly. Tectonic movements alone could not hope to sculpt something so impossibly high whilst being virtually needle-like in shape, and hands beyond that of the natural were surely responsible.

Her true creators were in reality not even of this world, or her myriad people borne forth. Her constructors had journeyed a distance unimaginable from a horror too painful and settled here; amidst that most hostile of environments to others and to them most like home, upon the third world of Sol a new beginning founded.

Her flesh was blackened terribly; the architecture of metals and altogether heavier materials peeling back from a structural skeleton before separating totally to descend, and afterwards become buried for only the local wildlife to uncover, and disregard. Her many thousands of observation windows - elongated and elliptical were breached and disgorged, like a wounded creature vomiting forth life blood, snow which then trailed downwards as the final fevered gargling of that no longer able to clutch the mortal coil.

At her highest point, where only a handful of antennae scarcely more formidable than the mass of a limb might present, flew the utterly tattered and torn emblem of a society long since passed from existence to memory to disregarded history. For at least in this terrible environment, some semblance of survival had existed to allow its continued fluttering; a black background acting as a harsh contrast to the white all surrounding, the barest hint of brighter colours in addition.

Of wings divergent and proud, of a tradition of survival once prized and now lost. A creature whose entire existence confined to legend to denote the impossibility of a light coming to extinguish; for a spirit to end its consciousness and for a people never to be torn from each other and their union fragmented.

The Phoenix; not of Earth, but of the people of the Serene^Union. The stretching provinces and their teeming populations; Solarri, Byzantineri, Khandrisii, Xirithias, Fortuna, Meridiaa, Xiana and the Northern Fortresses -united forth under the Aengelistoria Dominica.

The capital of Solarri lay in ruin, buried forth underneath the arctic snow drifts and virtually beyond the sight of any would-be explorers or historians. The seat of the Aengelistoria Dominica, The Spire, existed only to the thankful Polar Bears who wandered those same desolate drifts and now she had not a city to stand over, and watch.

The neighbouring provinces of Byzantineri, Khandrisii, Xirithias, Fortuna, Meridiaa and Xiana lay scorched back to rock and covered forth again with white - of five billion souls and their civilisation to live by there remained the harshest whispers of that which once was and is no more. Had any of her people remained alive to know what terrible tragedy had come to pass, would they realise the terrible irony of a second betrayal - For the great displacement that had seen Earth come to act as a second home came full circle and saw that welcoming orb turn away - at the hands of the Dominion, and the Dread Lady’s machinations.

The Serene^Union’s fate had been assured prior to the destruction of the Triumvirate; for there could be only one response to that most twisted of deceitful actions, and though their means were not sufficient to secure survival the wrath of Kaeneians wronged could be contained no more than their will broken and turned to slavery in thought and deed.

Her vessels fought until their controlling Electronic Entities were rendered impotent to act,. Having had their hulls previously torn asunder, and their crews brought swift end by the uncaring though comfortingly neutral void between the stars. The Defence Solarri’s single issued order to stand fast, and perish as the righteous fulfilled until they themselves whom not only carried the order but formulated, transferred and announced it were slain.

The territory of Europa, likewise assured their end; orbital batteries ceasing not their withering barrages of photo-fluorescent death until such time as barrels twisted, cooling lines severed and armour plating tore apart and even then falling silent only as their limited station-keeping thrusters set forth collision courses.

The ice fields of the Jovian moon were pockmarked to such extent by the debris of Kaeneian defences that they boiled forth and turned to great oceans; heaving waters swallowed the violent energetic impacts of entire starships and stations whom had exhausted their reserves to the point orbit was impossible and unimportant to maintain.

Eventually, the final defence lasers fell silent, to enemy orbital barrages and overheating. After a time, the stations and starships were flung to destruction upon atmosphere or boarding action. Before long, there stood nothing to prevent invasion which in turn was rendered essentially fruitless as the countless reactors and power generation facilities of the Kaeneians turned to suicide - They would not be taken into the night bound in chains, but fly into the darkness as free spirits, whilst the cold night of Europe became day as a hundred miniature suns burst forth.

The Dominion wasted little time in assessing what could be gathered from the carnage; they were nothing if an avid and aptly gleeful people in opportunity. The Arctic was scrutinised, where the Spire had stood and only frustrated by such ferocious weather that any true exploration of the lands of the Union were dangerous at best and assured suicide at all other times. The Jovian moon of Europa was scarcely more inviting and though landfall was achieved many times, there existed little technological civilisation save the Sketchens of the Northern Hemisphere who had watched in disbelief and perhaps glee, only to realise their own fates sealed in a future decided utterly.

Unlike perhaps the Scolopendrans, or the Cetagandans or Sunset no Kaeneian starships left Sol thereafter; if one knowledgeable on such events is consulted, the opinion most frequently garnered is they who crossed the void between stars and negotiated an entire galaxy, are extinct to the child and dream.

For the determined and avid historian it is possible to see glances of their existence. Those whose purposes wandered short distance from pure interest often safely negotiated the northern expanse of Earth and penetrated the Provinces; to the vast lakes of Xiana, or perhaps to search for the mountainous communities of Meridiaa. Whispers of a remaining Kaeneian weapon safeguarding against military operations abound, but they are often dismissed as the consistent Human need to craft legend, and story.

The Apothecary frowned as he completed the diagnostic, idling the data screen before crossing the short distance to the observation bed currently occupied by the Overseer Aengelis and his supreme superior, Kristilanna.

“I must apologise,” the aged Kaeneian began. “I have underestimated the complexity of the meshing genetic patterns within the foetus, and consequently the genetic therapy required. I believe that medical intervention will be required sooner, and that ideally, I must begin a preliminary course in the immediate future.”

Her exhaustion apparent in the failure of the Overseer to sit up as she replied, Kristilanna cleared the raven hair atop her head that had clamoured irritatingly to a sweat-laden brow. “But I am scarcely a second week in pregnancy Apothecary, surely this is too early for such treatment?”

The noticeable wrinkles of flesh aged became apparent around wise eyes, as the Apothecary placed a hand atop the data screen he had abandoned moments before, and turned so that its inactive screen could regard the young woman in his care. Restoring the information, he began an explanation.

“I had originally believed, at least in hypothetical computational models, treatment would begin no sooner than the eighth week of gestation. I cannot stress enough Overseer, that I have no prior cases nor experience to aid me in my attempts at your safeguarding. At the same time as your current situation progresses, I must monitor additionally the temporal radiation and its effect upon the crew. This monitoring now brings to my attention a cause for concern, regarding your unborn child.”

The screen now altered to that of a three dimensional model of Kristilanna’s abdomen. Flesh removed, the tiny collection of cells that even now multiplied, were highlighted. Adrift of these and impacting the entire body area, a constant barrage of blue waves assaulted; dissolving into the body cavity and seemingly being absorbed the organs therein.

“The temporal radiation’s effect on new life is unknown, as is much of the radiation in question. However I am concerned, especially in the difficulty you have suffered in headaches, that the chance of miscarriage may be vastly increased when compared to any normal environment. In considering a counter against this, I believe starting genetic therapy early may offset much of the risk.”

Kristilanna cupped her stomach without conscious order, the graphic illustrating for her mind perfectly what already assailed that which could not defend itself. Her fingers gently pressed upon her womb as though this act alone, blocked the radiation which stood aloof from taste, smell, sight and sound.

“You have sufficient technologies to begin this?” She asked candidly.

The Apothecary nodded, moving to allay her fears of danger. “Whilst it is true the more intense and complex therapy must be performed at a purpose-built or equipped facility, the initial stages of genetic stabilisation are perfectly performable in our medical bay. I would dare not suggest this if I did not believe myself capable of carrying this out, Overseer.”

“I have a further duty rotation upon the bridge,” Kristilanna pondered aloud. “However if it is within your ability to be ready, I can submit myself for treatment beginning upon tomorrow’s end. I would rather we complete as much of the therapy as possible before Mister Vettori’s return - I do not wish further worry upon his burdened brow.”

The Kaeneian medic nodded, for a reply would have been wasted upon a mind clearly now thinking of the Dominion envoy and how his mission progressed. Any Kaeneian would in her position feel likewise impotent to render aid, so far from that which occurred and further still from any influence over said situation. For Kristilanna the pain was thrice multiplied - The emotion of love did not understand the sorrow of separation and in comfort, gave only the hope of return.

Vitras paused to regard the sentry who stood outside the chamber of the Scoperta’s Electronic Entity. Exchanging the customary military salute appropriate in the situation - Extending the left arm outwards at shoulder length, and bringing only the forefinger to temple - before examining his uniform for signs of unacceptable maintenance or other failings. Finding none and satisfied, he bypassed pleasantries.

“You are relieved from your post, Adept. Whilst it is against established security doctrine your engineering abilities though minimal, are of more beneficial assistance in repairs. Report to the Master Engineering Adept immediately for new assignment.”

Nodding his understanding and barely even casting a glance for a possible replacement entering either end of the utterly empty corridor, the young Kaeneian returned a second salute. “As you command, Security Coordinator.”
Waiting not for his subordinate to exit the vicinity and pausing only long enough for the genetic integrity scanner to establish identity and thusly his security authorisation, Vitras entered the computer suite and disappeared from organic recollection.

The chamber was counted amongst the largest spaces aboard the Scoperta; standing at almost six floors worth it consisted of a roughly hexagonal arrangement, with a central core of cylindrical stature passing through the middle and acting as additionally as a support for the distant ceiling portion. Each wall segment was adorned with a network of panels of which each contained a dozen slots; filled forth with backlit computational nodes approximately half the size of a Human palm outstretched. These nodes created an impressive and utterly expansive storage area, necessary for the raw operations-per-second carried out by the Electronic Entity in question.

Between the fourth and fifth floors, the central core ceased to be solid, instead widening on the former to become a platform, and narrowing on the latter to form a computer station accessible from three hundred and sixty degrees of rotation. A safety rail ran the full circumference as precaution against carelessness.

Running forth as the spokes of a wheel met the rim, data transfer conduits left the core at regular two-floor intervals to interface with the nodes upon the walls and thusly access, and provide means to access, the information they contained. Though concentric rings provided platforms by which all nodes could be individually accessed, and ladders provided a method between floors, an anti-gravitic platform provided far quicker access and investigation.

Quickly travelling to the station between the fourth and fifth core segments, Vitras dismounted the platform and stood before the console. Upon the monitors at his waist level, tilted slightly upwards so as to be easier to observe, and upon the monitors above head level and likewise pointed downwards for visual ease, constant streams of nightmarishly complex code sprang forth. Keying in manual access, the input keyboard before the Kaeneian flickered to life, the blue backlit becoming visible.

“Do you require assistance, Coordinator Vitras?” Came the disembodied and multi-projected voice of the domain the Kaeneian had invaded scant moments before. As cool and clipped as any of her constructors or facilitators, the Electronic Entity was as impeccable in politeness as she was in attentiveness.

“That will not be necessary,” countered Vitras. “I am simply examining the repair logs for this sunrise, and ensuring all personnel have adequately completed their assigned tasks. It does not require assistance or devoted energies.”

There was no reply, though Vitras knew full well the monitoring of his activities, which had begun the moment he had entered the control matrix, would cease in no imminent time. Finding what he required within the database, the Security Coordinator removed from his tunic an unremarkable grey sphere of non-descript material.

Twisting sharply, he separated the sphere into two halves; securing one to the frame of the station above his head, and removing a service panel upon the platform floor he secured the second within the maze of electronics, sealing it away once more. Depressing a section of the half-sphere secured above, a previously unseen light began to cycle quickly, passing from flash to near constant illumination.

Almost as a side-thought, he spoke; “Scoperta, which date block are the shipboard medical records located?”

“Block fourteen-eleven, branch delta," replied the Entity almost instantly. “I remind you that information is not accessible, and is confidential to all crewmembers irrespective of rank ,excluding the Apothecary so assigned to this vessel.”

A blinding flash obscured all thought, sight and movement as Vitras was momentarily stunned. Recovering his senses, he nodded in approval as the monitors, which had previously been dominated by scrolling date now rolled lazily with garbled static and noise.

Beneath his feet, a wisp of smoke passed between the seal of the access port and the electronics underneath. Opening the hatch though ensuring his head was turned away and eyes clenched shut, the Kaeneian endured the pall of black smoke which rose from the incinerated electronics. Satisfied, Vitras returned quickly to the levitating platform, steering it away and towards a section of the wall containing the data he had located previously.

Confirming he stood before block fourteen-eleven, Vitras took little time to locate the correct branch. Producing a blank data node he examined the numbers beneath each computational node, searching for his prize and though he did not smile, a slight nod of the head confirmed he had triumphed - removing the node and holding it tightly within the left palm.

Inserting the storage medium into his data node, he began to download its contents and complimented himself on the promptness of his actions as the afore mentioned strip whilst chronologically structured thusly informed him of an update scarcely fifteen minutes previously by the Apothecary himself. Satisfied by the screen the download has been completed, Vitras replaced the computational node.

Realising his time was short, he returned the platform to the core station, and hastily moving to the still smouldering circuitry beneath the open inspection hatch, the Kaeneian produced a discreet blade and ran it dutifully along his forehead even as eyes confirmed all traces of the explosive spheres had vaporised, producing forth a gash and the accompanying crimson. Checking the impromptu self-mutilation in the reflection of the garbled screens before him, Vitras replaced the blade within his tunic and slumped against the console in front of the hatch, slowing his breathing with concentration and a practised will.

With an echoed and mechanical thud, the screens cleared as the Electronic Entity of the Scoperta rerouted the damaged systems and created a workable bypass to restore normal function. After a few moments spent scanning the chamber for the cause of the malfunction, the essence of the starship concocted the most reasonable hypothesis and issued forth its ponderings. “Security Coordinator Vitras, are you of sound health?”

Vitras opened his eyes slowly, and deliberately allowing his head to lull forwards and back. Raising a hand he felt the trickling blood upon his fingertips and brought it to confirm to his eyes what the mind beyond already knew and understood.

“I am only superficially injured,” he announced without the self-confessed premeditation. “What happened? I recall smoke beneath the personality matrix junction hatch, and I moved to inspect, though I cannot recall if I drew a conclusion or even reached such a point.”

“My internal diagnostics confirm the destruction of a coordination matrix, consistent with an overload in the afore mentioned junction,” the Entity agreed. “I have a gap within my internal monitoring subsystem of approximately two minutes eleven seconds, and I am thusly unable to confirm an overload occurred. There appears to be no damage to any other system.”

Rising to his feet, and tearing a considerable amount of material from his sleeve, Vitras pressed the impromptu bandage upon his wound. “Do you have no records within your secondary systems to draw upon? Is the policy of redundancy not designed to eliminate this problem?”

“My secondary monitoring system has been offline for approximately three days, six hours twelve minutes. The material and logistics to effect a repair have not yet been spared from other more important assignments.”

Vitras nodded, “Then it shall become a priority - If this occurs again and date is lost, we shall be ruing far more than a possible wiring malfunction. I shall report to the medical bay and have this laceration dealt with, and inform the necessary departments to pool whatever resources are required to facilitate a restoration.”

Returning to the platform and bidding it to return to the chamber exit, Vitras ensured all was secure within his tunic, and that not a hint of the node contained about his person could be picked up by the Scoperta’s Entity. He knew full well whilst shipboard intelligences of Kaeneian origin were uninspiring, they were deadly efficient in information dissemination. Whilst he did not relish breaching protocol and abusing his position, it had been necessary to obtain duplicates of Kristilanna’s medical records - He could not risk she might alter or influence them so as to support her case on their return.

Returning to the corridor still deserted, the Security Coordinator pondered his next move. Whilst undoubtedly he would have to commit further acts which breached the code of conduct and infringed upon his fellow Kaeneians’ courtesy Vitras was found of a Human saying he had come upon during the extremely rare moments he allowed for examining other cultural methods for security - The end justifies the means.
20-09-2005, 04:53
"Well, here goes nothing," says Callahan as he opens a channel to the station. "Machiavelli Control, this is civilian cargo vessel Odessey, requesting docking instructions and that legal file you mentioned." He hits the contols again, before adding to his companions, "There's certainly enough traffic around here. We shouldn't have too much trouble fitting in for long enough to get supplies and get out."
Der Angst
20-09-2005, 10:44
Uhura stiffled a giggle. "Dominion and legal files? Oxymoron-"

"Anyway..." Sekhmet interferred, looking at the ever growing station and the considerable traffic all around, not to mention the all-so-slightly changed astrography. "Shiny new ring..."

"-Well, perhaps they are written along the lines of 'We suggest that you don't piss off the local Don, or we guarantee for nothing-"

"Easy in, easy out, you say?" Sekhmet said, looking rather pessimistically in Callahan's direction.

"-Though this might raise actual opportunities-"

"Well... I shall hope for the best."
21-09-2005, 18:23
"You must be talking about some other Dominion," says Callahan, not taking his eyes from the controls. "The one I'm familiar with has a very well-developed, if strict, legal system. And yes, hope for the best. The mind boggles at the number of ways this little venture could go wrong. Be glad that we're dealing with a highly capitalistic society that tends to look the other way about under-the-table dealings. If this was a Cetagandan port, an unscheduled, unknown ship like this would be getting a deep scan by effectors and micromolehole sensors right now and the controllers would be laughing at us."
Dread Lady Nathicana
22-09-2005, 05:55
Control to Odessey – cleared to dock at the following coordinates with the main structure. No expected delays. File sent – please pass on any questions to our Public Relations office. Main mezzanine, G-sector. Welcome to Machiavelli.

Vettori shoots an irritated frown at Uhura, but is beaten to the punch by Callahan – for some reason, feeling slightly pleased by the comments as well. He avoids the view, however, already feeling enough guilt over the situation, regardless of it being no fault of his own.

“Lets at least take a look at the damn thing. Can at least get an overall idea of how much has changed,” he mutters. “And yeah. Just because we have our more shady side doesn’t mean the bureaucracy isn’t alive and kicking. You bet your ass ‘legal files’. You’ve never seen slick til you’ve seen a Dominion lawyer with his game on. Ratbastards.”

Perusing the simple text file told him pretty much what he needed to know, so far as ‘keeping one’s nose clean’. Nothing much had changed over the years, aside from a little fine-tuning here or loosening there.

“Shouldn’t be too problematic,” he finally says, brows furrowed. “I imagine we’re more likely to have more trouble with the black marketeers than the law, in certain sectors – especially if we save a bit to grease a few palms. Rule of the day is common sense, boys and girls. Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’, so they say. Keep your noses clean, and security won’t hassle you. The only thing that concerns me is the temporary ident cards. Just a simple tracking measure while on station. Pretty much consists of the information we give them, which could be anything we like within reason. I still don’t like it.”
Der Angst
22-09-2005, 11:12
Sekhmet shrugs. "Well, effectors can be fooled... Not that I'd be particularly fond of testing it. In any case-"

Uhura just chuckled, still having certain doubts regarding the Dominion's legal system... In any case, such things (Legal Stuff) were kinda dull to her. Still, she said nothing, having little interest in being talked down by the rest of the shuttle.

"-I suppose that the content of the ident cards would be checked for validity, yes? If not, odd but perfect. If yes, kind of limits the time we can spend on the station without being hunted down. To, ah... Somewhere between a few seconds and a couple hours. Is there any way to take on existing identities, for a limited period of time? I suppose that we can just pick a few floating in the void... There's the greasing, of course, but just to be on the safe side... Can't hurt to be careful, especially if a vanishing Imperial warship raised some questions throughout the system's administration."
Dread Lady Nathicana
30-09-2005, 16:43
“Eh … not so much,” Vettori says, running a hand through his hair in his usual expression of nervous discomfort. “Truth, so far as I’ve seen, they use the idents just to keep track of folks while they’re in Dominion-controlled territory. They usually have flags for things or people they’re looking for, and the cards, or whatever they’re using these days, are color-coded if a person is a known troublemaker, or comes from a ‘questionable’ location. That being said, things get faked all the time, and money passes hands, and … well, you get the picture. It’s not a perfect system by any stretch, but it works keeps most of the irritants out, and a good deal of the more problematic ones in check. If we don’t cause trouble, we’re not likely to draw much attention. You’re right on one point - what we need here are some identities.”

He ponders for a moment, scowling thoughtfully. “I doubt the Angstians would be much trouble, all things considered. Obviously any Trium nations of origin are out. I wouldn’t recommend any of the Ardan nations either, just in case. I’d imagine places that have had little political involvement historically would be a safe bet. Or we could all just pose as Angstians.” Vettori shrugs. “Without further intel, it’s a bit hard to know for sure, but there’s ample locations out there that I doubt we’ve started any trouble with. At least I’d hope so. They’ll take down the info we give them, and we’ll have to hope for the best.”
22-01-2006, 03:32
The panel that moments earlier had glimmered and reverberated with constantly updating information abruptly fell silent; fluctuating graphs, navigational data and the finer points of astrological obstacles being replaced with a far less helpful and forgiving black finish that resisted any fingertip machinations.

Flight adept Veneluala allowed the confusion over the malfunction to continue alone for a moment, before duly following the ingrained guidelines his training had provided. Being nothing if not thorough, he attempted to rouse a response one final time.

“I have lost the helm interface,” Veneluala began. “Long-range sensors, astro-navigation and redundant systems are inaccessible.”

Kristilanna, thoughts absorbed by a multitude of issues far beyond the scope of simple bridge duties to restrain and refocus, took several moments to register the information. Keying the direct communications link to the engineering levels, she dragged her consciousness fully back to the task at hand— “Navigational malfunction; deck one; priority repair and assignment.”

Closing the link, the Overseer Aengelis regarded the exposed innards of the bridge systems surrounding her. Large inlets once obscured by matching panels displaying the blackened scorch marks of explosive malfunction, spewing tangled wiring and field-repaired electronics from their formerly orderly lines and sideways to a neighbour.

To her left shadow temporarily found inroads as the overhead illumination flickered haphazardly, steadying only long enough to lure the eye into relaxing from its twitching distraction, before resuming its malfunction. To a Kaeneian the state of the Scoperta was as much a personal tragedy as the simple facts of a dire situation, for a vessel of such complexity and difficulty to be reduced to anything less than what originally flew free from native shipyards perhaps considered a slight against the ability of those that built her to protect her.

Leaning at the waist, Kristilanna retrieved a stray shard of wreckage whose ribbed construction betrayed a role in the overhead coolant lines, and discarding it with some force against a pile gathered upon the still smouldering remains of the auxiliary science station. Smearing the gathered soot from her blackened hands upon the already poorly treated thighs of her dress, the Overseer settled back against the resolutely stiff backing of the command throne.

To her starboard side, the erstwhile overhead lamp which had until that moment remained perfectly functional, began to flicker in silent conversation with its likewise compatriot. Priorities demanded the aesthetics of poor lighting be banished temporarily, though she doubted the Engineering Adepts would be quite so quick to do likewise were they cursed with the same irritating shadow play.

Vitras replaced the tool within its open case and resumed standing, closing the junction box in front and turning to address the adepts who likewise were coming to the end of their scheduled repairs. Stepping from the box, he addressed the large and seemingly immovable blast door in front, the gunmetal surface broken by the reinforced observation window inset within the centre. Functional in its ugliness, the barrier succeeded in chief aim of retaining atmosphere and integrity.

The snaking lines upon the glass, spreading forth from hidden edges betrayed damage that impugned the hardy reputation of the blast door—blackened panels distorted beneath the window and distended to bubble forth and seem engorged as a well-fed man’s stomach might grow.

Beyond the bulkhead, the faint glimmer of stars battled the overhead lighting for supremacy, visible as the former was through the shorn hull and shredded support plates, which guarded the delicate charges onboard from the uncontrollably harsh sea between said stars.

“This door will not retain integrity for much longer,” Vitras said without moving his gaze from the decompressed corridor beyond; “Are we ready to bypass this section and isolate?”

The senior engineering adept nodded, closing his own tool case and standing. “We have isolated deck thirteen from the bulk of ship’s systems; environmental controls, data network conduits and power transfer lines. Passage to deck fourteen will be limited to service crawl ways and we will be forced to utilise pressure suits should access to the aft torpedo launcher be required.”

“Then we are done here,” the senior Kaeneian surmised. “Prepare to decompress the deck and clear the assorted debris here. Once this is achieved close the remaining pressure doors and isolate the deck from the rest of the ship.”

Veneluala stood aside the helm console, awaiting any sign of life from the unit as the body of an engineering-adept, obscured beneath save for outstretched legs, worked tirelessly to correct the fault. Pausing to wipe the perspiration generated by the poor functionality of the environmental systems, the flight adept’s attention was drawn back to his station by a sole functional icon.

Pushing fingertip upon it, he was rewarded by the partial return of the graphics beneath from electronic oblivion, and soon spread his hands upon the controls displayed. “Partial reactivation successful, I have short-range sensors and astro-navigational systems.”

Returning to his seat as the engineering adept extricated himself from the innards of the console, his features hardened; “Threat warning, vessel approaching starboard. Configuration and class unknown, but temporal extrapolation confirms possible Imperial vessel.”

Before Kristilanna could react, the bridge and presumably, the ship to which it was attached rocked violently, so that a jaw not set tightly would clatter and send intense vibrations in waves through person and place. Veneluala dutifully added the event to complete his report—“The vessel is firing.”

Vitras had scarcely completed his nod in approval, having been satisfied by the closure of the deck before him, when the intense and violent shaking led into the wall behind with enough force to daze the Security Coordinator to inaction for several moments whilst his consciousness flickered. Shaking aside the mental fog that had temporarily afflicted him, the Kaeneian stopped before a lift and questioned the poor timing of cutting his deck off from the rest of the ship, with only the inconvenience of service tunnels to link.

“Weapons?” Kristilanna asked tentatively, whilst gripping the arms of the command throne in such a way as to guarantee she would occupy it despite the buffeting, which eluded the ship’s internal stabilisers, and the sanctity of her crew’s stomachs.

“Power reserves are falling below critical levels,” Veneluala replied as he trained his eyes to the board in front and plotted the most effective evasive manoeuvres. “We can neither sustain nor exchange considerable fire before we are in an unsalvageable condition Overseer …”

“Direct impact, starboard exhaust manifold— armour is insufficient; the manifold is disintegrating.”

Kristilanna steadied herself through the ensuing impact, gritting her teeth as the overhead coolant conduits were torn free of their housing, and began to pump their visibility-hampering contents throughout the bridge. Ordering the atmospheric scrubbers to compensate, she took stock of the situation; “Tactical assessment on the nature of our aggressor; strengths and weaknesses?”

The flight-adept considered this even as he struggled with the sluggish responses of a starship half-starved of the energy so desperately needed not simply to return home, but to remain functional and indeed intact. “The size and mass of the threat is comparable to our own, however it possesses a greater weapons-to-hull ratio and furthermore we are considerably weakened by our power situation. In a standard fire exchange we cannot prevail.”

“Analysis of their hull materials however seems to show little molecular differences to current sample types in the database, and it may be that at close range our remaining weapons might be effective. Their reactor compartment in particular seems to be less well protected around their considerable cooling baffles on the ventral side.”

“Our vessel is one hundred years behind the pace of technology—our hull armour is merely adequate rather than all-protecting and it will not provide extended protection. We may however have not yet been identified as a Kaeneian starship if they have yet to close the distances sufficiently to perform a full scan, a retreat may dissuade their interest.”

“What are the current contents of the primary cargo bay?”

Veneluala would have frowned at such an odd question, had the practice not in turn be deeply unwelcome. “Non-essential replacement computational components, engine coolant, the remains of the ejected fusion reactor gathered for analysis …”

“Evacuate the cargo bay and prepare to decompress,” Kristilanna ordered. “Have the high-yield torpedo warhead loaded in the aft launcher and prepared on my signal.”

Turning to address the adept standing over the engineering substation, the Overseer continued with her rising gamble. “I want you to set up a crude interface with the primary power distribution network—create a method to interrupt the network and produce limited surges and spikes, and route the interface to the command throne.”

Standing from the throne, Kristilanna narrowed her eyes upon the view screen ahead, and the foreboding shape of the intruding threat. She would see an end to this mission, whereupon her feet would touch the cold and snow-laden fields of Solarri for however brief a time that may be. She would see Enzo back to Earth; his people would miss him no further. At the very least, she would abandon no less the other envoys to their fates.

Vitras crouched to the point of painfulness; shoulder blades, elbows and forearms bending almost unnaturally to accommodate his hardly lithe frame amidst the cramp confines of the launch tube he now found himself inhabiting. He had expected his presence to be required on the bridge, but a terse exchange on the ship intercom had dispatched the senior Kaeneian official to the aft torpedo chamber to load the high-yield device.

Unfortunately, for Vitras, the same chamber that had only minutes beforehand been depressurised for the sole purpose of securing the ship and not endangering its survival, as the time taken to don the pressure suit showed, now stood between him and success. Forcing the heavy ordinance into the loading slot, he laboured without the gravitic emitters silenced by the severing of the deck from shipboard system as performed earlier by his own team.

The irony of the situation was hardly lost, though unacknowledged, by the Kaeneian. Pushing the inspection hatch closed once more and satisfied the weapon was armed, Vitras exited the tube and alerted the bridge to his completion. Whilst he had little idea what exactly required the use of the highest-yield weapon onboard ship, and what was risking the decking itself from coming apart beneath hit feet, was unknown—though he intended to learn of it the moment he could breathe unassisted.

“The warhead is active Overseer,” reported Veneluala from his station, still doing his best to avoid the devastating impacts of the foreign energy weapons as they arced across the sea between stars. Unable to elude two simultaneous firings, the Scoperta shook painfully in a crossfire scenario, being struck from fore and aft.

Kristilanna’s brow furrowed; “On my command Adept Veneluala, discharge the port exhaust manifold in its entirety—accelerate to our maximum sustainable speed in order to extend the drive plasma to form a trail. Once the manifold has been discharged decompress the cargo bay and vent its contents to the sea between stars.”

The Overseer clutched her armrest, the remaining hand held in her lap. Timing was pivotal, and the venting must take place at the approximate time of another successful weapons impact on the Scoperta to have any chance of succeeding fooling the enemy into a false sense of premature victory. Her breathing as calm as any amount of training and impartiality would allow, the bridge and ship as a whole waited.

The jarring almost succeeded in derailing her orders from the beginning—the impact rupturing further power lines and almost throwing any Kaeneians at their station to quite another station abruptly. Clinging on to the throne, Kristilanna struggled to be heard above the din, “Purge the manifold!”

With a silence befitting no atmosphere to speak off, the Scoperta lowered her port wing substantially, the drive plasma beginning to flow from the opened ports quickly filling to expand the infinite space before it and forming an impressive trail, which seemed not unlike the silver gleam of a snail’s wake, or perhaps the severed artery of a terrible wound.

In the moments following, the opening of the cargo bay door signalled a telltale flash of escaping gas—impossible to distinguish beneath the multi-coloured and vicarious threads of plasma spilling forth from the nearby exhaust manifold. Almost immediately, a stream of supplies, wreckage and non-essential replacements peppered the plasma stream with debris. Some vaporised instantly, superheated to nothingness before the incredible energies. Others still endured, adding a distinctly metallic flavour to the multi-coloured display.

As quickly as the scenario developed, yet more reactions occurred. Navigational beacons and windows previously so consistently illuminated began to flicker, until entire decks disappeared, save for their superstructure standing out against the total blackness surrounding. Engine cowlings previously illuminated began to deaden, and rapid pulsing betrayed apparently critical power failures.

“The vessel’s weapons remain charged, but are not firing,” the flight adept noted.

Kristilanna nodded, “Continue our course, but lower our speed, make for inertia only and continue preparing to close the exhaust manifold.”

Veneluala continued his reporting; “The vessel is within full scanning range …”

“Close the port,” The Overseer ordered. “Re-pressurise the cargo bay and prepare for a black-out scenario.”

“The vessel is within our propulsion field …”

Kristilanna lowered the fingertip-operated bar upon her throne console to nothing, as the lights above her head and beyond the hull died utterly. Only the glow of the readouts upon stations provided anything by which the dominance of the darkness and shadow could be challenged, and staved off. The thrum of the ship’s remaining operational fusion reactors signalled however that not all was as it seemed.

Helmsman Veneluala broke the silence, “The vessel is now within boarding range.”

Kristilanna glanced once more at the foreboding shadow visible only slightly above the bleakness of the void it existed within. Only the lack of stars within its volume betrayed any mere visual presence beyond background radiation and constituent hydrogen.

The Overseer Aengelis placed her bet upon the table, with stakes too high for quantifying or defending beyond the desperate. “Fire.”

The vessel had some semblance of suspicion, for the vastly increased glow of thruster firing betrayed a realisation as the stalker began to withdraw from the Scoperta and her false state of helplessness. However, weapon state and understanding were futile, as the torpedo left the Kaeneian starship’s aft launcher with a pathetically short journey to target.

Though turrets turned to address the warhead, their defensive arcs were poor and they provided no challenge, merely continuing to track the weapon until it plunged into the cooling baffles of the reactor plant upon the belly of the insidious intruder. For a moment, the explosion was a simple hull breach and an utter failure to pacify. Though time had been warped and abused by the ship firing, it allowed itself to be used as a mere delay to the target’s destruction—blossoming explosions soon reducing the baffles to a similar wreckage floating amidst mingling drive plasma.

Devoid of sufficient cooling, the adjoining power facilities joined in kinetic revolution, separating into their soon-to-be-vaporised constituent parts and forcing free of carefully tendered joins and hull sheeting. Fracturing, the attacker separated into two distinct parts, with the drive section tearing apart once inertia had rotated it a mere ninety degrees.

The forward section propelled itself forward via the momentum gained from the explosion, and drifted helplessly before the aft explosion began a chain reaction that similarly reduced the separated entirety of the crippled starship to anti-protons, deuterium and trace metals.

Kristilanna sank into her throne, unclenching her shoulders and forcing the disjointed blonde tresses that had fallen over dirtied features back behind sight. Allowing a few moments to pass and the aftershock of the detonation to pass over the Scoperta, she ordered a return to normal status and power generation. Their excesses in the confrontation were well remembered however, and their need for the foray on the Dominion Station to be successful ever more pressing. She thought of Enzo, and wished him as much success as her logical being would allow her to believe transmittable through the void without technology or great faith in the impossible.

“Ventis Secundis …” she said aloud, reciting the ship’s motto; “With the Winds Favourable.”
11-05-2006, 18:08
The instrument passed over the exposed flesh with a methodical slowness totally confined to the pale hand which grasped the medical tool firmly, bathing the alabaster skin on display in a fluctuating field of blue which confined itself to a pulsating circle. Halting over a belly button, the tool moved closer as the corresponding reach of the scanner narrowed, bringing forth the secrets held within the body.

The Apothecary replaced the scanner on a side-table, taking a moment to observe the skin he had analysed a mere second ago as though his keenly trained eyes might mimic the technological and see past this great barrier. Straightening his posture from where he had previously bent over, the Kaeneian Medic crossed to a small monitoring station set within the wall.

Stepping over the detritus and blackened fragments of wall plating which littered the floor, the Apothecary picked his way through the damaged medical bay until his fingers were within easy reach of the data pouring through the internal processors. Studying the data his brow furrowed slightly, and further refinements were made to the stream.

“Current growth does not match the statistical calculations performed by the medical computer—I am detecting odd genetic reactions amidst the expected effects of the gene therapy I began earlier. The growth rate appears to be seven percent faster than expected.”

Kristilanna remained motionless on the bed, save for a hand which draped itself protectively upon her exposed navel. “How is it affecting the development of the foetus? Is this a side-effect of the introduction of Human codes?”

“My analysis did not suggest a change in the speed of development; rather this could be a symptom of the effects of the temporal radiation, and whilst it is cause for concern there are no worrying signs of spontaneous or detrimental mutation.”

“I would immediately however,” the Apothecary continued as he returned to his patient’s side. “Recommend you are removed from the source of the radiation without delay.”

Kristilanna sighed, “Unfortunately in our current sphere of ability the only option available would be to abandon ship and attempt to eke out survival in the hostility and unknown of this current timeline. I am prepared neither to accept this as my fate nor that of all under my charge. You must counteract the effects until such time as we can affect a solution.”

“I will do what my knowledge and resources allow, but anything I can come upon is at best a temporary solution and at worst a dangerous and insubstantial safety net offering no true security.”

“That is all I can ask of you,” The Overseer replied as she left the diagnostic bed. “Keep me informed as to your progress and to any solutions, no matter how short-lived or insubstantial they might be. I shall be on the bridge if I am required.”

Nodding curtly though she did not see him bow, the aged Kaeneian rang his gnarled knuckles slightly as an intellect keen despite the years turned its attentions to the cutting edge of medicine. It would be this Apothecary, this representative of medicine who would be selected to do battle with time itself, and seek not merely a resolution, but to emerge the winner.

Vitras’ gaze burrowed into the flickering console held between his hands, as if the intensity of his need for functionality to return would traverse the technological and succeed where engineering adepts and diagnostics had failed. The static which danced across the outputs revealing the blindness of the long-range sensors to astronomical events, stellar happenings and the dark meanderings of threats both distant and near.

Overhead the flickering lighting panels haphazardly alternated between illumination and shadow, schizophrenic in their indecision and causing anything within their field to seemingly slow down amidst a strobe effect. Beyond the port window the assembled stars watched the Scoperta, one spot amidst untold billions of points of interest, with the dispassion so inherent to that which has existed for untold millions of lifetimes.

Yet the task at hand could not consume the entirety of the Security Coordinator’s attention, for whether he agreed or not the irritating anomaly of the Dominion representative and by proxy those that accompanied him, still remained out of contact and an unknown quantity. The thought that they had already failed and the entire crew now awaited a saviour that would never make itself apparent was swiftly banished, unproductive and self-defeating as it was.

The fact that his fate, and that of every single soul aboard the ship was in the hands of one whom Vitras could not help but feel was incapable of safeguarding even his own wellbeing, was not lost nor forgotten and grated even at the layers of calming training and logical reasoning. Retrieving a suitably sized engineering spanner the Kaeneian set about working the slightest of frustrations out upon the console which displeased him, and not the perceived weakness of Humanity beyond his ability to currently affect.
Der Angst
12-05-2006, 23:05
"Well, at least they don't require us to show our unextant permanent ones. I suppose this is a good thing, at least," Sekhmet said, sighing briefly. "Angstian... Well..." he looked thoughtful, pressed a few buttons, cursed as a loud, but rather pointless BLEEPing began, pressed a few other buttons, and cursed again, unfamiliar as he was with Kaeneian interfaces.

"Well, DA's fractionalised enough to make it perfectly possible for us two to fit in - I'm unsure about the station's security, though, so someone might want to keep a closer eye on us, just in case, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem, so long as we stay at least semi-legal. For you two..." He tapped briefly on one of the smallish monitors and screens, and looked at the the station they were approaching, watching it coming closer, with the Odyssey maneuvering to eventually reach its designated coordinates, and docking on Machiavelli.

"Well..." A bit more tapping, this time without cursing. "Mr Callahan... I think you'd make an excellent Knootian... A salesman, perhaps, Bastiaan Van Dijk? And Mr Vettori... well, I suppose that staying Dominionese would be the simplest solution. I doubt that biometric or DNA records of your existence, together with information about your involvement in a Kaeneian time-travelling experiment have been kept for a hundred years... Not readily available to bored and partially bri- greasable low-level security on a station in an otherwise dead subsystem, anyway."

A little thump, and the Odyssey lay silent, motionless.

Well, motionless, anyway.

"There we go. Let our fantasies go wild - I'm sure we can manage some pretty amazing, if mildly depressing, biographies. Backstory as close to what we intend to do as possible - vaguely unsuccessful traders out to buy things they hope will allow them to start up again? I admit, my attempts at fiction are rather poor, so if anyone has any better idea..."

While Sekhmet talked, sounding - though not actually being - unconcerned, neither he nor Uhura were particularly worried when it came to the distant Scoperta itself, and didn't really entertain (Didn't want to entertain) the idea of their ship suffering even more assaults by the apparently rather numerous imperial warships.

Well, better not to know that, really. Would just make them more nervous. Getting back into their own timeline would be a little hard, without the Scoperta...

Hatches and doors opened, pressures equalised, security locks were unlocked and everyone got ready in what amounted to cheerful tension. As far as the Angstians were concerned, anyway.

Next step, the reasonably fresh air on Machiavelli. With a bit of luck and creativity, they'd get through the opening 'Interrogation' without any serious troubles.
22-05-2006, 02:46
As he powers down the ship, Callahan says, "Backstory, backstory. Just simple traders, looking to score a few cheap parts to keep their ship running and food in their bellies. Nothing to declare but some salvage. If they should seperate us, try not to get too inventive regarding each other. Just keep it as close to the facts as possible so that we don't contradict one another. After that, we should probably split into pairs to cover as much ground as we can. One pair look for buyers, one to find the parts we need."

At the airlock, he rummages around a storage compartment and produces four communicators. "Take these. Theoretically they're secure, but don't count on it." As the door opens, he takes a deep breath and gestures outwards. "Well, here we go. Don't worry too much, it's only the fate of civilization."
Dread Lady Nathicana
01-06-2006, 04:54
“Christ, Callahan – you really do know how to boost a guy’s confidence,” Vettori says wryly, accepting the communicator, and getting himself set for the outing. “I think you’ve got a winner there all the same. We’re just a small ship, and a small crew – things like this probably come and go dozens of times a day with no incident.”

He pauses, then nods affirmatively, and heads out the door with a purpose. “Here goes nothing.”

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

The scene our travelers are met with as they exit the shuttle is one of a bustling trade center, with at least a dozen or so races and nations represented at a glance, all coming and going, minding their own business, or checking out others with interest. The dull roar of the crowd is often punctuated by a yell, whether in anger or greeting, trying to get the attention of someone over the ambient noise.

Clear directions for getting security clearance are regularly posted, as are indicators for the gates to get there, which aren’t far – the outer layer being a series of docks and bays and various other methods of linkage, the inner rings containing all the rest the station has to offer.

Upon approach, a bored-looking soldati puts out his cigarette, exhaling slowly before greeting them in a tone that speaks of long-endured routine.

“Welcome to Machiavelli. Please turn to face the camera,” here he idly indicates a spot to his left, as clearly marked as the instructions were to get to this point. “Wait for my signal, then press your thumb on the pad,” another indication to the electronic pad on the countertop, “And state your name and business here for your identicard.”

Vettori takes the initiative, stepping forward for the slightly different yet still familiar routine. A brief scan of light for the photo, a nod from the soldati, a press of the thumb for the print scan.

“Vettori, Benvenito – layover for supplies and parts trade. In from a salvage run.”

A nod from the soldati, data is entered on the keypad without looking up as he makes with some small talk. “Good run?”

“As good as it ever gets,” Vettori says, shrugging. “Looking forward to some ar-and-ar, if you know what I mean.”

“Bene, bene – suggest Club Styx up on level 5 if you have the cash. Girls there will treat you right, and they’re clean.” The sound of quick printing and processing from the machine bolted to the counter, and soon the identicard is spat out through a slot on the side, sliding down the short ramp to land with a plastic-y tap on the countertop.

“Thanks for the tip,” Vettori says, palming the card, and passing through as the barrier is dropped, then readied behind him for the next person.

“Enjoy your stay,” the soldati says as he passes, already looking to the next person as he runs through his spiel again.

“Welcome to Machiavelli. Please turn to face the camera …”
Der Angst
07-06-2006, 14:20
Uhura snorts in annoyance as the 'Clean Girls' are mentioned, but other than that, nothing much happens. Security's a bit of a disappointment (It really doesn't strike Uhura or Sekhmet as sharp), but then, that's a good thing. And so long as it doesn't develop Cetagandan degrees of paranoia (Well, 'Paranoia'. The past hundred years are seemingly proving that paranoia's actually insufficient), everything works out.

Click, and the picture's done. A bit of pressure, and the thumb scan's done, too. Take the card, add a little 'Thank you' and 'Have a nice day' in the general direction of the soldati, and then it's joining the crowd, communicator in the pocket (Using more unconventional methods of communication might as well be tracked by station security - bad idea).

"Quite an interesting place, actually..." Uhura meant as she looked around curiously, her eyes tracking some serpent-esque figures creeping through a hallway and engaging in small talk (Possibly something about food - it was a Dominionese station after all).

"So... I suppose splitup, as Mr. Callahan suggested, although both pairs should look for both, really - would be somewhat annoying to find a seller without having sold our 'Products' yet. I wouldn't mind a bit of food, either, but our monetary reserves might be a little unimpressive, so..."
11-06-2006, 05:32
The impact was a jarring mesh of high-energy blunt force and unsuspecting foe turning to meet a threat which had passed beyond the immediate and into the past, so that the flesh might be forced inwards, the muscles depressed, the tendons and the bones they were attached to crack and twist under the kinetic assault with the rush of air indicating rapid emptying of the lungs.

The reinforced chest shield of the combat automata showed no such weakness, staggering back only as far enough as it took for its sophisticated counter-balancing system to compensate and bring it to a sudden halt. Identifying the trajectory necessary the powerful claw-like legs of the faceless machine launched the unit forwards, a shining metal fore-arm swinging in a near-irresistible arc and promising swift unconsciousness to those who failed to heed.

Kristilanna brought her head down sharply so that eyes bore holes into the deck plating, bound hair whipping hard to the left as the machine’s lunge scarcely avoided trauma and instead stumbled forwards as its own targeting matrix struggled to adapt.

Seeing an opening, the Kaeneian presented her side to the rear of the assailant, a leg rising upwards sharply so that he heel of the foot struck the top of the automata’s processing unit with such velocity and power as to tear the entire unit free of metallic shoulders, and bring a moment’s frantic spasm before dropping to the floor, lifeless and without control.

Kristilanna dropped to the floor with a wheeze, the burning sting surrounding calves, thighs and elbows a pointed reminder that the mental fatigue of the exercise was well matched by physical exertion. Running the back of a palm across a forehead framed with sweat, she drew the hand down until it dispersed a pooling between the valley of her breasts so consuming as to have rendered the sports tank top soaked from blue to midnight black. Placing lithe fingers against shins she pressed aching legs straight, aiming to achieve a sort of warm-down that would limit the over-stretching.

Her gaze travelled to the still twitching remains of the combat automata she had engaged and eliminated moments earlier. It served as a crude metaphor to her desire to find a solution to the myriad problems facing and dispatch them as neatly and finally as the exercise currently engaged in had been. In a dark and twisted way Kristilanna held envy for the peace the machine now enjoyed—born forth with a purpose, retaining that clarity of vision throughout existence and exiting the world in satisfaction—or if not that assurance—that its life’s goal was complete.

Any resemblance between its existence and the Supreme Overseer’s was shattered the moment fate had taken hold of her orderly destiny twisted it into a new and unpredictable form. In many ways that metaphor was far more apt—the child which assembled from constituent cells and codes within her was an accident, a random convergence of technologies woven from strict discipline meshed with passion and wonder.

Thoughts turned to his hair, remembering how unkempt the style was thanks to each indecisive interruption by nervous hands. How lines of hesitation would form on his brow highlighted by the barest sheen of sweat. The occasional stammering laden as was normal with the Mediterranean eloquence of the romantic languages—Italian; as Kristilanna’s somewhat modest initial research had shown. Why then had she such a bond with the polar opposite of her own personality? Cool, clipped, stoic and reserved against; flustered, unsure, mysterious and deep.

Ensuring the clean-up programme was primed to make the combat facilities ready for the next user Kristilanna exited and began the short journey up a single deck to her quarters. Beneath the fatigue she could feel the palpable blanket of a different kind of weariness—the tiredness inherent when the mind cannot rest even for a while. Her Kaeneian demeanour busied itself with concern for her ship, her crew, the timeline and the entirety of known existence—hardly inconsiderate. Whilst professionalism busied itself with survival the deep-seated emotions of the mind—suppressed but always a constant—longed for the closeness two souls could achieve as one.

Entering her quarters she pressed her palm upon the rune of locking, pealing the sweat-drenched tank top from her chest and allowing it to drop into the hygiene receptacle within the bathroom. Checking the shower temperature display as she had done every morning and afternoon though it had never been changed since the day of initial installation, the unit hummed to life.

Tugging at the waistband of the elasticised athletic trousers, Kristilanna disposed of them as she had done the top and ran a hand underneath the freezing water. Satisfied the temperature was as low as was practical in lieu of ice formation she pulled at the utilitarian grey underwear, hands reaching upwards to unclasp the unremarkable matching bra afterwards.

Stepping into the stream the Supreme-Overseer welcomed the slight relief in muscle tension, raising her chin so that the stinging rain-of-sorts lapped upon her eyelids and pooled until their clenched form could not prevent pseudo-tears from falling down alabaster cheeks. Reaching for the sanitation liquid her arm paused mid action and found itself redirected, so that it pressed against the naval and felt for what grew within.

Clenching her eyes tightly, and compressing the well of sadness within so that it could merely remind her of what lay ahead the Kaeneian resolved that despite what might happen she would do all that she could to ensure her charge, her link to that long repressed, her beloved Enzo, would return from Machiavelli Station and live to tell his Dread Lady of all that had transpired. Perhaps one day he would regale their child with tales of adventure not envisioned of by the most feverish of fiction and dared not believed by the most fanciful dreamer.
25-06-2006, 06:37
Detective Luciano Stancato pulled the plastic restraints from his utility belt with the practiced single left hand of an Officer accustomed to occupying his right with a drawn pistol. Roughly squaring the wrists above his own knee pressed painfully into the prone back of the struggler, Luciano read the act which effectively separated him from the common man with a tone suggesting this was the thousandth time of use.

“You are hereby under arrest for theft and assault by authority of the government of The Dominion for breach of the common law as described before. You do not have to say anything but anything you do say will be noted and used against you if relevant in a court of Dominion law. You may contact your lawyer if you possess one at the time of processing though if you cannot afford one you may represent yourself.”

Pulling taut on the restraints so that the plastic strip held between forefingers lengthened whilst pulling the caught hands together, he hauled the whimpering man to knees and holstered his sidearm. Roughly wrapping an arm underneath his prisoner’s shoulder Stancato completed lifting the gentleman to his feet with a grunt.

“This is ridiculous!” The stranger gibbered whilst shaking his shoulders and generally being uncooperative. I was just taking back what’s mine! You Soldati are only to be found when there’s a wallet to skim or a signora to ogle.”

The meeting of face-to-floor was so sudden that the first cry of surprise was made after the impact, a string of Italian cusswords meaningless to the myriad foreigners who did not speak the romantic language and went about their business. Allowing the blubbering oaf a moment to appreciate the pain Luciano pulled him to standing, very roughly shoving the “innocent” forwards towards that level’s holding cells.

The desk sergeant groaned as the familiar and gaunt features of Detective Stancato entered the foyer, cuffed man in tow and a promise for more paperwork. “Can’t you take a break from great justice for a day Luciano? I’ve got lunch in five.”

“Your gut can thank me later,” the Detective droned whilst a single closed grasp of clothing steered the petty criminal to the front desk, and brought him to a stop by virtue of his legs being unable to break through the aged oak.

“So what’d this one get up to? Scopi la vostra moglie?”

Luciano brushed a hand through his graying mane and regarded the sergeant. “At least I remember what it was like to wake up next a woman who wasn’t my sister Vieri. Caught him slipping his fingers into a couple of pockets that weren’t his – took exception to someone who could feel his “light” touch and took a cheap shot.”

“I’ve got five kids to feed!” The man pleaded desperately. “The moglie won’t give me a moment’s piece! It isn’t like any of those suits up a level are hurting for a sovereign or two.”

“You’re a regular Robin fucking Hood, my good sir.”

Unintelligible grumblings were the only reply as Sergeant Vieri began the paperwork and bureaucracy necessary. Fairly uninspired by it all, Detective Luciano turned and exited pausing only to exchange a middle finger in silent reply of Vieri’s parting insult regarding alleged fraudulent time-clocking.

Frode adjusted his tie for the second time in ten minutes—the black silk was impeccably fashionable, but did not lend itself to low-maintenance. Against a matching black shirt and suit combination the youngish man did not look amiss amidst the countless business folk and dealers who swarmed within the Station; commuting, wheeling and dealing and anything in-between.

Checking the computer pad held in his hand, he scrutinized the inventory closely. As non-descript as it appeared the inventory was not the usually released document by freighter captains with full cargo holds and no buyers. Indeed this had been compiled form the inside, by an unnamed official with greed outstripping his meager pockets and the sense not to be caught at what he undertook.

This ship was a shuttle, "The Odyssey"—long range but still smaller and lacking the amenities and supply capacity of a true star-to-star vessel. The images on the pad were limited; his source was not known for thoroughness. The hull in the small screenshots appeared blackened, bruised. Clearly it had not been plain sailing for those aboard.

The ident-numbers of all the crewmembers were also on the screen; all Human apparently. What interest him above all else however was the cargo carried. Not the medical supplies, or energy converters or even trinkets which had been observed through the security measures so easily bypassed with the right crossing of a palm.

Pressing his thumb against the necessary graphic the unmistakably sinister and elongated image of a torpedo of sorts appeared. Its metal skin painted black almost nothing was discernable beyond the cooling baffles and maintenance hatches upon its top, but the former was enough to hint at the devastating warhead—evidence of plasma technology.

Pulling at his tie Frode clears the screen even as a group of stone-faced Soldati walk past on patrol. Bringing up one of the images of the crew, the Dominion businessman allows a small smile to curl at the corners of his mouth. This would do—this would do very nicely.
Dread Lady Nathicana
23-01-2007, 06:30
ooc: Right then. We’ve gotta get these folks home, Kae’s expressed a desire to post, so I’m going to do some maneuvering to put some things in order and get things moving. Anyone who wants to continue, feel free. Anyone who'd rather do their own exploring, same. If not, we’ll assume your characters don’t get inadvertently left behind once we’re able to hopefully come to a positive conclusion so you’re not left in limbo any longer. Will try not to take liberties with anyone’s characters, and just narrate the behind-the-scenes legwork from my character’s point of view for simplicity’s sake. Game on, and apologies for brevity.

Scavenging crews had one thing in common – they all needed buyers. Thus, it was not unexpected for the recently-arrived group to start making inquiries and asking questions along those lines. Some leads turned up nothing, others something, but not quite the right fit. Still others seemed to lead them around in circles before any real progress was made, but in the end, information was gathered, contacts were established, and those who accompanied Vettori found themselves seated in a booth near the rear of a restaurant located around the middle of the station.

One person consistently came up in conversation as being ‘the man to see’ about offloading cargo quickly and quietly, and that was who he was here to meet. Hopefully, the meeting wouldn’t end with him getting blown out an airlock in some lonely corridor as he couldn’t help but fear …

Bits of what Vettori had learned from casual and subtly pointed conversation had done little to allay his fears, and was deeply troubling, as it all seemed to confirm what the elf had said. The idea made him feel sick to his stomach, and fear what reasons might have driven the Dominion to do what it apparently had done.

Traitors. I'd have never thought it possible. Alright, perhaps possible, but bloody well not likely. Not with the ties she had. Not with the apparent friendships. Not unless something went horribly, horribly wrong. A coup? Sudden inexplicable death that the blame for which pointed at allies? Christ, did we really sell out? And to them, of all people ...

Something didn't add up. And as he sat there puzzling it out, the certainty that he wanted off of this station, and out of this troubling future, and back where he could perhaps do something to prevent it ever happening, grew exponentially.

God I hope this guy can get us our parts. Without too many questions.
26-01-2007, 03:47
Callahan accompanies Vettori as he tries to find someone they can work with, silent for the most part, only occasionally giving terse technical details when needed. He is too busy listening to the station, although he remains attentive to their surroundings and watches for anyone paying too much attention to them. The station speaks of trade and travelers, of growth and damage and repair, of old, remembered panic and occasional more recent scares from skirmishes and raids and fleet strikes, of friendships and betrayals. He wishes he knew more of what had happened, but it can not tell him more.

Although, there are other ways. As they move from place to place, he buys a few things with what currency they have gained so far from a few of the more easily sold things. Mostly he buys history texts in disk form, and encyclopedias both old and new, and similar items with a few trinkets thrown in as cover. Official government books and independent ones, legal ones and black market, a few at a time as to not arouse suspicion, and never anything technical, which he suspects might be well watched. All disappear into his pockets, in the hope that they will give some hint as to what disaster befell their peoples once a chance to review them came.

Eventually, they end up at the restaurant, waiting for their contact. Callahan maintained a calm face, but inside he wasn't quite as confident as he had been trying to appear. He's fairly certain that he could extract them from any trouble some local mobster or whatever could cause, especially in public, but not without causing a scene. And if that happened, the chances of escaping the station dropped greatly, and the chances of mission success and return of to Scoperta would be all but nothing.
27-01-2007, 22:48
Frode accepted the proffered menu from the disinterested waitress with an equally apathetic swipe, paying it little attention as he strode with a purpose past the myriad peoples who bustled in and out of the busy restaurant. His keen eyes passed over the tables and booths which themselves summed up the sheer diversity of Machiavelli Station.

Salesman nursing hours-old coffees whilst surrounded by the trappings of a life spent transiting between worlds: garbed in a suit of econo-silk—guaranteed to stay wrinkle and odour-free for two months between industrial cleanings; a hefty case of vaguely unique wares ranging from the complete work of esteemed Orc poet Sturmgurtzer the Greatest, to “Lost Dishes of the Cetagandans,” recipe books.

A huddled group of children dressed in durable and blackened cloaks surrounding a lone parent, who guarded the remaining crusts on a plate even as she carefully dispensed them to clawing young hands and regarded dangerously any over-efficient waiter who accosted them to order further or collect plates.

Then there were the sharks. Frode always knew them—they were the people who matched his analytical stare with an equally calculating gaze. They were just as sharply dressed and bore the subtle worry lines of a happy-go-lucky bravado marred internally by the occasional brush with disaster which threatened every “reputable” businessman worth his salt.

Finally negotiating the bustle, the Dominion-born native slid into the booth occupied by those that were apparently in need of quite modest supplies but if truth be known, were in possession of something not in the least bit describable as run-of-the-mill.

“Gentleman,” he began with the slightest flick of the menu. “I’m Frode Tevez; I’ll have the cappuccino, and I do believe you’ve been looking for me.”
Dread Lady Nathicana
28-01-2007, 00:10
“Buon giorno, Signore,” Vettori began, extending his hand and hoping to avoid any bullshittery due to ‘dealing with foreigners’ right off the bat. “Benvenito, pleased to meet you.”

“It’s been far, far too long. I’ll have a cappuccino as well – could use a decent one after being out so long. Signore?” he adds, turning to Callahan to see what he might want before shifting his attention back to Frode. “As for looking, so it seems. We’re in need of some parts, and a buyer for some salvage, and we’ve been told you’re the man to talk to, especially if one prefers smooth, quiet transactions.”
Dread Lady Nathicana
29-01-2007, 05:25
Aboard the Telltale Heart, Saturnspace

She sat for a moment, watching the raven-haired woman in silence, her face unreadable. How many years had it been now? She’d lost count, really. It didn’t matter anymore, now that all was said and done. Would she do it again?


Her mother had taught her after all, to do what was needed, to try and live without too much regret. Don’t let your conscience get in the way of doing what’s right. Or was that best for you? Sometimes things still got a little hazy now and then. Maybe she was mixing that with what her father had taught her. To take what you could while you could, to hold it with an iron fist, and not let anything, or anyone, stand in your way once you’d made up your mind.

And she’d done that, hadn’t she? Done what she must, what needed doing, the only way it could be done? Reaching out, she stroked the outside of the clear tank over the face of the older woman, her brow creasing in a frown as she did so.

“I’m sorry, mia madre, but you left me no choice.”

The woman didn’t respond. She’d known she wouldn’t. How could she, locked in a constantly-shifting loop in her own mind? The cable running from her temple to the closed system integrated into the life support tank connected the woman to the only world she now knew. One comprised entirely in circuitry and algorithms, seamlessly-blended mindscapes and adaptive programming.

Of course, she could have simply killed her, and rid herself of the problem entirely, but every time the choice came up, she found some excuse. This way at least, she was out of the way, and could still, if need be, contacted via the system through various constructs. Or drawn out of her electronic dream world to be mocked and berated, her memories then forcibly muted to avoid more trouble. There was some concern of eventual overload and psychotic break given the number of times it had been done, but until then … she tried not to think about it.

It was the least she could do for her mother, she supposed, for having at least raised her, and having tried to give her something from the mess she’d created. It was more than that bastard deserved in any case – the man whose memory lived on within the programming, the thing that had driven her mother to become less the woman she’d been, and more akin to her sister-in-mind than she’d ever originally intended.

She looked much the same on the outside as she had ages ago, with the long dark hair, olive complexion, and piercing blue eyes, at least when they were open, but it was just a manufactured façade that showed from only the shoulders up. She’d begged for the means to prolong her life, and what parts she felt she needed along the way that she couldn’t get for the asking, she bought or bartered for elsewhere. It had been pathetic, watching the once-strong woman falling apart, desperately trying to rebuild herself bit by bit as she searched for someone who simply was never coming back.

She’d seen to that, oh yes. After years of slights and neglect, of doing his best to pretend she wasn’t there, she’d made it clear who held the real power. How she’d made him scream. The memories of that prolonged venture still made her smile. It had certainly made her father smile, and that made it all the more sweet. They’d even taken turns tormenting, torturing the man, seeing how far they could press, how much he could take. And all this was long before larger plans had been implemented. It had only been the beginning.

There were times, she supposed, that she felt badly for how things had turned out, though she explained away any suggestion of ‘treachery’ with her arguments that she had been betrayed first. In the wide array of possibilities in the multiverse, there was no way of knowing that another life might have awaited her elsewhere. Here, she had been shunned, and her relationship with her father frowned upon. There were those who had tried to help, but she had seen through their intentions easily enough. They did it for themselves, not for her. She was merely a means to an end in their eyes. She had denied them all that in the end, just as they had denied her the one thing she had always wanted – acceptance.

When the time had come, and her fleet had sailed on, leaving their allies to fall into the carefully crafted trap that had been so painstakingly laid for them, she had felt a number of emotions she hadn’t expected, she had to admit. One of course was relief that she no longer had to put on the smiles and mask her anger at those who should have done more, should have been the ones to be there for her, to make him see her for herself, and love her as he should have. As a daughter, not an enemy from birth. They should have, she told herself. Should have done more. And in the end, they paid for their betrayal, one and all.

They had deserved it. She had done what she must. He knew, he agreed with her, understood how it pained her to help tear down what her mother had worked so hard to build so that she could cleanse it of its weakness, and mold her empire into what it was meant to be – a power unto itself, not a puppet of those soft-hearted idealistic fools.

She could see the broken Ring from here, the remnants of all that was left of a once great alliance crystallized in glittering ice shards amidst twisted bits of this and that. It was eerily beautiful, she thought. A suitable tribute to what once was, and the price of failure. And now, it was all hers, for what it was worth, damn them for their salted earth tactics. All this, a huge stake in the solar system, an Empire of her own, and the title of Warlord in Arda, second only to her father, Alkanphel.

Naiya D’Aquisto, Dominion Imperatrice, Augusta Sanguinaria, Warlord, absolute ruler of all she surveyed, slowly stood, taking one last look at her mother lying helpless in relative stasis, idly brushing a lock of brilliant red hair back from her face. Would she do it again?


And perhaps one of these visits she would let the woman know the truth, watch the light fade from her eyes as she realized the depth of what all she had lost, and at what cost and who’s hands before terminating the systems that kept her alive.

Or perhaps not, and things would go on as they had. It vexed her, this last tie to a past she’d just as soon forget. No matter. There was always tomorrow.
14-05-2007, 03:19
Tevez thanked the waitress with a subtle nod, taking hold of the simmering cup and taking it to his lips with a practised lack of savouring. Taking a long sip which permeated with a somewhat refreshed gasp, he set the cup down on the ring-marked table. “I’m very pleased to hear my reputation precedes me, Mister Vettori. I’m not usually one to talk my abilities up without reason, but if it’s required quickly and quietly then I’m your best chance of success.”

Frode allowed them a few moments to digest what it was they wanted to hear -- after all, business was a subtle art. Setting a data-node down on the desktop, he nonchalantly flicked through an inventory.

“Salvage you said?” He asked in a somewhat muted tone. “It’s curious Mister Vettori … I’ve met many individuals in the course of my travels and none of them have ever referred to ship-to-ship plasma-based torpedoes as salvage. None except smugglers, and fugitives …”

Moving quickly, he sent the node sliding across the table to his Dominion-born counterpart. “Fortunately however, I have met a small number of individuals who’ve described what you hold in their possession as “salvage” they’d like to appropriate. I’m sure you don’t want to tell me precisely how you came upon military-grade ordinance as much as I won’t tell you how I obtained your cargo manifest, but I’m confident perhaps we can reach an agreement. It does concern me somewhat though …”

Tevez leaned in, his lips curling in a somewhat mischievous grin, ”What kind of high price or treasured part could you require in exchange for a giant plasma bomb or two?”
Dread Lady Nathicana
07-06-2008, 23:28
“Ah you see now, there’s the rub,” Vettori says lightly, taking a slow sip of his cappuccino, trying to look more relaxed than he feels as he looks over the node.

“We all have our little secrets, and our methods that allow us to do business day to day, no? It’s good we have an understanding of this. And just as we have this understanding, I’m certain you grasp that some salvages one is able to move along more quickly and quietly than others. So when one has say, a windfall of good fortune …”

“Our needs are relatively simple, given the requests we have on hand.” Here he passes back a return list of the items needed to repair the Scoperta – a large supply of Deuterium, matter anti-matter injectors, and various other bits and bobs needed for this and that. “What you won’t find on that list is a somewhat … unusual request, but one I’m certain a businessman of your stature should have no problem acquiring, if the price is right.”

He lets Tevez take some time to look over the relatively simple, and undervalued list, considering what they were potentially offering, and to consider the possible implications before continuing.

“What my client requires is a complete and unblemished historical library, that contains as many accurate sources and viewpoints as possible going back at least twenty-five years prior to the, shall we say ‘shift’ in the Dominion’s galactic prominence, through the present. I realize that this may require information from sources that are no longer readily available, or perhaps ‘encouraged’. It of course needs to be delivered on an easily-transportable media, and accompanied by no questions.”

Vettori sits back and smiles, running his hand through his hair. “In addition, if you could locate for me a genuinely hand-mined diamond of the highest purity, colorless, trillion cut and set in a delicate platinum band? Of course it must be at least five carats in size, though no more than six. None of this fabbed nonsense or those tacky things that can be mass-produced or lab-grown. Something precious, something … perfect, no?”

Yes, so he was fishing there, but considering the oddness of the previous request, perhaps that last wouldn’t be so terribly amiss, and would help offset it a bit in the end. Collectors, after all, were notorious in their eccentricities, and if Tevez believed that is who they represented, so much the better. He hoped desperately they could wrap this up soon – he could really use something stronger than the cappuccino to drink, given the state of his nerves. And if the man refused ... he wasn't sure what he would do.
22-06-2008, 17:41
"Mister Vettori!" Tevez said loudly, his brilliant smile warm and caring to everyone apart from those who knew the cut-throat world of wheeling and dealing - like Enzo. To the bustling crowds milling about the corridors that wound between the cavernous docking bays the two Dominion men seemed long-lost cousins or great friends; shaking hands vigorously a show of camaraderie.

"Everything you asked for has been loaded on to your shuttle. I took the liberty of removing my payment so as not to trouble your fine crew."

Seeing the protest forming on Vettori's face, the slick dealer interrupted; "Yes, yes I know - you'll hunt me down and slay my first-born if I took anything besides what was promised. Have no fear - I have nothing but the ordinance. As for your other request ..."

Tevez pulled a small velvet-covered red box from the folds of his suit, and smiled again. "I like you Vettori - I can see you're an honest man, like me. Which is why I've gotten you something very special - very expensive. I couldn't just let you leave with some odds and ends after what you've supplied to me. I couldn't let what we've traded make me a very wealthy man whilst you get sundries."

He pressed the box into Enzo's hands and winked. "Whoever the lucky woman is - or man, it's a free solar system isn't it? - they'll be putty in your hands my friend. Putty in your hands!"

Clasping his hands together, Tevez nodded enthusiastically. "I'd love to chat for a few hours my friends, but there's money to be made and trades to be made. I'll see you all around!"

He turned away too quickly to see the small sarcastic smile of the Dominion scientist.
22-06-2008, 20:12
From where he's been discretely lurking, Callahan approached Vettori while shaking his head. "I can't wait to see the expression on the Kaeneians' faces when you show up with jewelry."
Dread Lady Nathicana
24-06-2008, 00:26
"Bene, bene grazie, Signore," Vettori managed, discretely tucking the little box into his pocket, shaking his head with a small crooked smile.

"You know Callahan, so long as we get the hell back home, and in one piece, I don't give a damn what those Kaeneians think. All save one. And if this little bit of glint isn't up to snuff, I'll be shopping 'round Devras once we get home. So unless there's anything else anyone is dying to do here, I suggest we beat feet and get out of here before something else goes wrong, or someone else decides to take an interest in us or our little transactions here."