NationStates Jolt Archive

Nebula Secrets

Changeling Founders
28-05-2005, 12:38
It had been a long time since they had fled the outside worlds, the worlds on which they had evolved, lived for centuries.

They were different, and as the history of basically every sentient species would prove, diferences created fear, fear created hate, and hate resulted in slaughter.

But they weren't different in the way others were 'different'. The hatred they had suffered from was different from the hatred the different races inside a given species sufered from. For the latter, as much as they suffered from prejudices, could still hope that sanity would prevail, for science would eventually reveal that the perceived differences between the races, different colours, different sizes, different languages, were still negligible, that overall, they were still the same, with comparable abilities, with comparable chances.

They were equal.

The changelings never had this hope, never had this chance. For they weren't different in such minor aspects like colour, size or language. In fact, if they wanted to, they could be everything a 'normal' person, a 'solid' would like to see, to touch, to smell, to hear, even to taste.

And this was what the solids hated, much to the changelings' surprise. They simply couldn't understand why they, who could imitate everything their neighbors liked, wanted, craved, would be hated. They were the perfect solution, capable of fitting into every society, into every environment.

Yet, they were despised, hated, hunted, more so than any of the different races inside a species would be despised, hated, hunted.

Finally, they understood. They understood as soon as they begun to fight for their survival.

They were different in a way vastly more threatening to the solids than the solids were to each other. They could be whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. They could deceive, hide, infiltrate, destroy, on a scale vastly superior to that of their opponents.

It didn't take long, and they utilised this and other means to their advantage. And the conflict (Not really a war. If anything, it was a guerilla, a guerilla crossing lightyears, a campaign of terror raging on dozens of worlds) continued. Continued for years, for centuries.

But eventually, superior numbers decided it. Despite all their abilities, despite all their cunning and guile, their ruthlessness and power, despite all of this, the changelings were defeated.

They had to flee, they had to find a world to hide on.

They found it, hidden in a vast nebula, safe to hide on, a rock, a rock nobody else cared about, or indeed, knew about.

That had been a long time ago. A very long time.

During this time, the changelings figured that whenever they would be found (For they wouldn't be safe forever. Some day, someone was bound to find them) they would have to be prepared.

Alas, the war had been costly. There were few of them. Too few. Another war would likely be the end of them. Indeed, now that they were concentrated on one planet, they would be easier to exterminate.

What they needed was help. Help they could control. Help that would always be loyal, always be capable. They took the local biosphere. They searched for species with promising DNA, and they found them. Two of them.

The first was a predator species. They took the primitive specimen, barely on homo erectus level, and enhanced them. Gave them superior sight, superior reflexes, superior strength, gave them everything that was needed to make them formidable warriors. And as a failsafe (For the changelings knew that the build-in aggressions of the warriors could eventually turn against them) the changelings created a drug the warriors would require to live, made the warriors susceptible to it.

They found another species. Those weren't predators but more like, well, something in between, versatile, comparatively smart (Smarter than the warriors). They took them, too, and enhanced them. Made them smarter, more useful. Made them workers, diplomats, engineers, made them the base of the society they were creating.

And then they started calling themselves the Founders, and they made themselves the gods of the species they had created, pushed through hundreds of thousands of years of evolution in no more than a few decades.

Years went past. Preparations were made. The nebula they lived in contained a few other systems. Expeditions were sent, mines, bases built.

Ships were build, to. Small ones, but many of them.

After decades, they were ready. Not to conquer, naturally.

Incoming radiosignals, bits and bytes of data they had collected suggested a galaxy full of life, with nations, empires far stronger than they were. To conquer would be to commit suicide.

But they also knew that the past had been forgotten. What little knowledge remained was shrouded in mystery, unlikely to be a problem.

They just wanted to learn, to actively pursue their own security. The founders themselves would act slowly, if at all. Their servants would do the work.

Given their capacities, it was a comparatively minor event when the eighteen small vessels (A significant percentage of their available fleet. Indeed, it hadn't been easy for the founders to decide to actually use them. The risk of losing them was great) left the nebula, heading for the nearby stars... six stars, each of them approached by three vessels. Beginning to map systems with minimal EM radiation, systems lacking colonies, or even homeworlds, of established species.

In time, they would move on, visiting inhabited places.

In time.

ooc: For the record, the technology base isn't entirely Star Trekesque. Funny 'Particles of the day' don't exist. The Dominions 'I fit into a fucking shuttle and can make a sun go nova' devices don't exist. Engagement ranges are millions of kilometers, not hundreds of metres, as the series tell us, to help my sanity prevail. Everything with energy can damage the shields, no stupid laser immunity here. The founders are a little less excessively wanky than they are in the series (So, they wont be able to turn themselves into a spaceship). Jem Hadar might actually have proper equipment (Say, artillery).
Vorlon Prime
29-05-2005, 19:01
Of course, no one is ever alone in searching the galaxy. Other forces, vast and ancient, if currently sporting clipped wings only now growing back, prowled the depths between the tiny islands of life around stars. Sometimes with ships, but sometimes with more arcane devices, things such as the grandiosely titled 'Eye of Z'Ha'Dum' or a newer and less sophisticated version on Vorlon Prime.This machine spent its time searching the stars for potential Tools of Order. And for once, its report was positive. Very approving.

The Vorlons would watch this people, and watch them closely.
Changeling Founders
29-05-2005, 21:18
The Vorta smiled. Work progressed, smoothly.

The system had been mapped a few days ago. It was a mildly disappointing one, an old system, an old and small sun, a distinct lack of minerals and metals.

No asteorid belt existed, all there was were two small gas giants, one large gas giant and two small, rocky worlds close to the local sun.

Of course, it was pointless to keep a large presence, here, but leaving it entirely for itself was not something she was willing to do. As such, she had ordered a few sensor buoys to be deployed, together with a larger, mildly armed sensor array. A listening post. It was all she could do with this system, right now.

Still, things could change... if one found suitable species. She knew that the Founders weren't terribly fond of the current state of affairs, with her kind being the Dominion's working force. They intended to... To outsource certain things, turning the Vorta into something resembling an elite within the Dominion.

Yet, such moves, such chances were still a long way off...

But one day, she would be one of those gifted by the Founders, gifted to rule, gifted to serve.

She was secure in this knowledge, and watching the work being finished, the active and passive sensor arrays, the buoys beginning operation, she turned towards one of the Jem'Hadar next to her, on the bridge of the small, sleek vessel she was on. "Our work here is done. Lets go back."


The Vorta, Isha, had troubles hiding her chuckle. The Jem'Hadar's constant lack of... Faithfulness was a constant source of amusement, for her, although she knew that certain others of her kind were a little more worried than she was... But weren't they all but children of the Founders?

Neither she, nor the Jem'Hadar next to her, not even the Founders, dozens of lightyears away, knew that they were not only not alone in this universe, but indeed watched, that their very own secrets weren't actually secrets... Not to all the species around them.
Changeling Founders
16-06-2005, 15:19
The first steps had been done, a reconnaissance perimeter had been established. But so far, nobody had actually come. Not a bad thing, as far as the founders were concerned. After all... As much as they needed to know about their (Relative) neighbors, and as much as some of them were already contemplating vaguely aggressive ways to ensure stability for the coming millenia, isolation seemed to be the most useful option, at least for now.

Still, they needed to know just what was waiting for them, out there, and where, before it came to them, with them being unprepared.

And so the expeditions were sent. Of course, preparing them made the Vorta in charge realise that they didn't have all that many ships available... And of the 36 ships the original plan intended to use, only 9 remained, the rest staying behind.

Three groups, each consisting of three small vessels, were formed, and materials were prepared. Superconductors, weapons arrays, torpedo warheads, warp units, transporter relais, active and passive EM sensors, FTL comms and a million other more or less important things had to be cared about.

Groups of Jem'Hadar and Vorta trained and worked, for weeks. It would be a long range mission, and thus, it would of course take a (very) long time. They had to be prepared, for failure was not an option (On the other hand, it was simple reconnaissance. There weren't many things they could do wrong).

And after about a month of mildly chaotic organisation (They had had to become used to this kind of trip, and thus, organisation wasn't particularly efficient), they were ready.

The three groups started their long journey, heading out of the nebula, quickly travelling beyond the few systems where small listening posts and tiny bases had been built, and headed for the broad space that composed the galaxy, searching and (If considered safe) eventually following the trails of communications, drive signatures and general emissions other civilisations would inevitably produce.
Changeling Founders
05-07-2005, 10:28
Two weeks later

Ester sighed. "This part of the galaxy doesn't seem to be particularly active, does it?"

No answer. Unsurprisingly, given that the Jem'Hadar weren't known for their conversational skills. Still, the fact remained. The nearby regions were more or less empty, and apart from spreading sensor arrays in the systems they encountered, there wasn't much to be done. Sure, there was the occasional signature, transmission or trail, but, well... Small traders, lightyeras away, weren't exactly what Ester was looking for.

"Okay... Try a vector to astrometric reference point seven by nine by eleven, ten- lightyear radius. How long?"

"Four days to the center."

"Good enough."

"One question..."


"We know for certain that nothing interesting is there. We can see that much from here. So, why are we going there? It would be more productive to hunt a trader."

Ester smiled. The Jem'Hadar were certainly hot on finally hunting and killing something. Alas, right now wasn't the time to do it.

"Whim. And we can't check for details from here. Perhaps we find something small we would oversee if we stayed away."

"Ah." The Jem'Hadar didn't look happy. For a moment, Ester wondered how far their defiance would possibly go. Somehow, they always made her shudder when they looked at her like the next meal (Not that the Jem'Hadar actually ate, but still).

"Look, even small details can be important. More important than, say, a planet. And, ah, just obey me."

With that, Ester eventually leaned bac- Well, actually, she didn't, as the ship hadn't been made to accomodate such luxurities like a desire to, well, sit instead of standing all day, annoyingly. Well, she could hardly change that. So she just watched through the link as the ship sped forward, towards its new destination.
Tailed Wind Demons
02-10-2005, 01:37
The scout ship Wandering Dream drifted silently toward the cold red star, propelled beyond the speed of light by an invisible cocoon of energies. Smaller than an seagoing minelayer, it resembled nothing more than an ocean-blue torpedo circled with a flattened warp hoop. A pinnacle of the People of the Wind's spacefaring technology, it was nonetheless a crude and primitive vehicle by the standards of any mature interstellar nation.

From the nearly empty bridge of this vessel, the being that called himself Dog-Barking-With-Foresight scanned the computerized sensor reports with twin blue eyes. At this distance, little more data could be gleaned from the sensors than the spectral class of the star and the number of planets that circled it. It was a boring red star, all of the globes that circled it were probably too cold for life. Stars of this sort were common; the four separate systems the Wandering Dream had visited had all been similar to this. And yet, Dog-Barking-With-Foresight could not shake away a vague feeling that something wasn't right.

At once a hand softly touched Dog's shoulder, startling him momentarily and causing his tail to twitch briefly. "You're jumpy today." a female voice taunted, its owner looking over Dog's shoulder. "Did I catch you downloading porn?"

Dog-Barking-With-Foresight turned to face his accuser, who happened to be the ship's grinning pilot and effective commander, Touched-With-Fire. Her skin was a brilliant crimson-orange, her hair and tail the color of charcoal, and her eyes the color of ash; it was easy to see how she had earned her name. Dog-Barking-With-Foresight looked more human, at least if you ignored the horns and simian tail..

Dog-Barking-With-Foresight refused to laugh at his pilot's lame joke. "No, I'm looking at sensor reports." he answered. He realized that looking at the logs as long as he did was strange in itself. The odds of any new information being received at this range were slim at best; to get any substantial planetary information they would have to hop from world to world and orbit each sequentially. And, it wasn't like the entire crew wasn't checking the sensor logs periodically.

Touched-With-Fire extended a chair, and sat down at the next console, weaving her tail into the slot especially designed for it. "So..." she asked obliquely, "have you found anything interesting?"

"Not really." answered Dog-Barking-With-Foresight. "It's just that... I just have this ill-premonition. Everything looks normal but..." he paused. "I have a bad feeling. Like a cloud of impending ruin."

Dog turned back to the sensor logs. "I'm sorry. I probably sound like a rambling prophet in a tragic adventure novel. I know there's probably nothing there."

Touched-With-Fire chuckled. "Don't worry so much about it. Everyone has ill feelings about certain places every now and then. You might just be a little spooked; we have been cooped up in this boat for quite a while. A couple days from now we'll be close enough to start exploring planets; then you'll see... everything will be okay."

"I hope so." Dogs-Barking-With-Foresight answered. It wasn't like staring at the sensor logs was really going to do him much good anyway, even if something horrible was waiting for them. But it was probably nothing.

"Hey... I know what will cheer you up." Touched-With-Fire suggested. “We can check the video files for something creepy to watch. Or at least something violent and obscene.”

Dogs-Barking-With-Foresight smiled softly. There being little to do on a slowly wandering scoutship, the six members of the crew had already seen most of those files. "Better than nothing, I guess."

While an order of magnitude better than the equivalent systems of twentieth century science, the sensors aboard the Wandering Dream were not especially elaborate for an interstellar starship. While the ship's builders had labored to put the best array of detection devices possible aboard their vessel, as it was their detection suite was barely adequate to support the ship's navigational deflectors. The first scoutships made by the People of the Wind had been constructed to survey planets, not to detect approaching warships. And so, when the sensors of the Dominion first tracked the Wandering Dream, the latter were completely unaware.
Changeling Founders
03-10-2005, 09:02

Passive sensors reacted to odd emissions hitting their fields. Circuits transmitted data, computer cores processed it.


The signal became more interesting. The 'Outpost', a glorified, unmanned sensor array just beneath the surface of an atmosphereless planet, started up its active sensors, minimal-energy sweeps concentrating in the direction the emissions came from.

A ship. Had the sensor array been sentient, it'd have been excited. As it was, it did what had been programmed into it: A message left it, a beam traversing subspace in the general direction of one of the continuous patrols in the area. Disguised as a random, not all that uncommon anomaly, encoded just in case that something was going horribly wrong... It was supposed to be sufficiently safe.

About two point eight lightyears away, three ships waited, guarding a bit of the still rather insignificant volume of space the Dominion considered its own.

The Vorta, Jadris, read through the message, always keeping in mind her more-or-less frustrated Jem’Hadar and the issues they had with discipline. For a moment, she hesitated.

It wasn’t a particularly dangerous craft, certainly, and there was the question if interception would probably result in more foreign interests than the Founders wanted… But then, there was this other thing.

She whistled innocently. The Founders had recently decided to take a more… ‘Proactive’ stance on certain matters. Besides, the Jem’Hadar really needed some action.

“Set a course for our ‘guests’.” And, with a sly smile. “First, you may soon have something to do… But keep them alive, we’ll need them.”

She didn’t need to look back to know that First - Ren’Shre - was grinning.

Still, it would take them a little while to reach their destination, or rather, target. There was ample time to prepare.

On board of the Wandering Dream, Dog-Barking-With-Foresight's ill-premonitions were probably getting worse. Probably.
Tailed Wind Demons
04-10-2005, 21:41
The bridge of the Wandering Dream looked more like a cross between an oversized cockpit and a cramped sensor lab than a proper command deck. Controls and monitors labeled filled the sea blue walls, and six humanoids waited anxiously on the table and in the cockpit chairs. At a cruising speed of warp three It had taken the Wandering Dream a hundred terrestrial days to reach a new system, and by that point everyone was waiting to see what their next move would be. Touched-With-Fire stood near the bow viewport, resting a slender arm on the pilot's chair. Dog-Barking-With-Foresight sat on the ceramic table, clutching a pair of clipboard-thin data pads.

"I'm sure that there was a faster-than-light pulse from the second planet." Dog-Barking began. "Twelve hours ago there was a quick, energy spike. It wasn't very strong, but..."

Fern-Resplendent-In-Twilight, the ship's main engineer, was less than impressed. At present she was leaning against an unadorned wall, like a bored gray-skinned scarecrow. Over 1.6 meters tall, she was a veritable giant for a Wind Demon. "It's probably just a reflection from the ship's strategic drive. planets don't spit out faster-than-light particles; the ship's superphotonic drive does."

"Could it be from an atmospheric storm?" the ship's doctor suggested, arms clutched under his face. The first world in this dimension that the People of the Wind had explored and claimed unwittingly was beset by intense storms; some of which carried bizarre energy surges. It was the study of these anomalies that had given the People of the Wind the inspiration to construct their first warp engines.

"No. Our spectroanalyzer shows the second world is as airless as a sunken pebble." Touched-With-Fire answered. "However, that doesn't rule out the reflection solution."

"I don't think it's a reflection." Dog-Barking retorted. "Our second-generation sensors are designed to identify such reflections, and so far they've been quite successful. And... if it is a reflection, why would it be pointing toward a planet? Space is big, and the odds of that happening are effectively nothing."

The bridge was quiet. Sitting beside Dog-Barking, the ship's planetologist tried to think of a solution, her yellow eyes racing back and forth. At last, she thought of one, almost jumping up.

"It could be a communications pulse. Or even another dimensional vortex!" Around the table, four sets of eyes awakened. A communications or sensor pulse could mean contact with a whole new species. A vortex could perhaps re-establish contact with their home dimension, or at the very least give them another slice of reality to explore. Any of those options were enough to excite their innate curiosity. Strangely ill-enthused, Dog-Barking-With-Foresight simply lowered his head, thinking of ill-premonitions.

Touched-With-Fire returned to the conversation. "Well... whatever it is... I think it's sufficiently interesting to merit making the second world our first stop. Are there any objections?"

The bridge was quiet. "We are as one." the planetologist answered.

"Alright. Then we'll sail in toward second world, then sail out again and visit the remainder." Touched-With-Fire began, turning toward the ship's engineer. "Fern-Resplendent-In-Twilight, could you and Song-Unwhispered please inform me when the regular engine check is finished? I should have a course plotted by then, so we'll be able to return to cruising speed as soon as the check is finished."

"It's no trouble at all." Fern-Resplendent answered. Un-leaning herself from the wall, she and her assistant engineer sallied back to the main drives, which they were dutifully ensuring the integrity of. Standard scoutship operating procedures required an engine check every month or so; while newer warp-four engines were much more reliable than the prior generation, a critical mishap would still doom the crew to a trapped near-eternity in a potentially worthless system.

Returning to her pilot seat, Touched-With-Fire accessed the flight terminal and started planning an optimal course. Going closer to the star would require a short hop out of their way, but compared to their three-month voyage the time wasted would be insignificant. They would simply swing into orbit, survey the second planet, then fan back out and chart the remainder of the system.

It's probably some kind of illusion; the rest of them are probably getting worked up about it because there's not much to find out here. the pilot thought. Hopefully taking a look around would make Dog-Barking feel better about the universe at least. And if that brief pulse of energy was actually caused by something on that planet... well... they'd find out soon enough.
Changeling Founders
07-10-2005, 16:23
More data was coming in... The sensor array did a few more minimal-energy sweeps.


Apparently it'd been noticed. Not too surprising, all things considered. While it'd been careful - Just as its programming required it to be - nothing was ever perfect.

Circuits and processors interacted. Programs evaluated the situation, and cold, mathematical - And perhaps somewhat predictable - logic eventually decided to shut it down. Well. 'Cease Active Operations'. Running on standby, with minimal emissions. There was no need to be detected - Or rather, located with a sufficient degree of accuracy to, say, excavate it - ahead of time.


"The sensors have it..." There was a bit of a pause suggesting that Ren’Shre wanted to say something else, but apparently, discipline was still working, much to Jadris' relief.

"Good. Prepare to leave warp in, ah... Thirty seconds."

She had been thinking while they had bee in transit. Technically... Well, the Jem'Hadar would hate to not get a fight. On the other hand, personally she very much disliked the idea of going in and starting to shoot immediately. If anything, they'd probably have it much easier if they were a little more careful and... patient.

Just, keeping the Jem'Hadar at bay could turn out to be a little complicated.

She sighed briefly, looking around the bridge... Unadorned walls, no seats, nothing even remotely unnecessary or wasteful. It was about as practical - and cramped - as it could possibly be.

In other words, it was boring and uncomfortable. But then, Jadris wasn't supposed to find joy in the thousand little things other races would find interesting. Arts, Paintings, general recreation... It was unnecessary, and she had been sufficiently altered to not care about this things.

She was a machine.

"We wont attack immediately, first."

"Why?" There was a hint of frustration, even arrogance and - Perhaps - a degree of disobedience in Ren’Shre's voice. Jadris shivered. Suppose the others don't think much different from him... it.

"We don't know much about them. They seem to be rather noticeably inferior, but still, I'd like to know more. I'd also like to gain a little trust... It'll make things easier." She smiled, the whole gesture expressing her own arrogance. "Don't worry, your time will come. Just not immediately."

A moment later, they left warp, now only a number of lightseconds away from the 'target'. Jadris accessed a few subsystems, and announced herself, using mere lightspeed-comms.

This is Jadris of the Dominion. You happen to be in Dominion-controlled space, and I'm actually quite interested in knowing who you are and what you are doing here.

I hope you don't mind telling me?

Having sent the message, Jadris closed her eyes, waiting for a reply she knew would take perhaps ten seconds to arrive. If those 'Uninvited Guests' were particularly fast, that is. "Oh, and First... Please access the sensor array and make sure it jams FTL comms. As subtle as possible. I don't want them to realise it until about... Oh, in a few hours, ideally. Thirty minutes minimum."

Ren’Shre obeyed, grudgingly.
Tailed Wind Demons
09-10-2005, 07:38
A musical chime sounded an off-note in Touched-With-Fire's cubicle, breaking the vocal harmony of a recorded symphony like a pebble breaking the surface of a pond. Without a thought, she clicked the communications panel. The chorus of singers and their accompanying drums dimmed, their volume reduced automatically as a channel opened to the bridge.

Before she could answer with a customary reply, an urgent voice darted from the speaker. It was Barking Dog. "Fire - get up here now. We have a signal."

Touched-With-Fire's eyes widened automatically. "A signal? Do you mean another burst from the planet?" she asked. At once she threw down the datapad she had been reading (a cheap historical novel), and started climbing out of the widened bunk.

"No." Dog answered. "It's not from the planet. We've been followed."

"Followed?" Touched-With-Fire answered. It didn't take her brain long to realize the implications of this. The Wandering Dream had spent years traveling through empty space. No ship of the Wind People would have any recourse to follow it. "I'll be there soon."

***** *****

The bridge of the Wandering Dream had become a frantic scene of activity in just a few seconds. Outside the sole viewport, the purple-gray globe of the second planet waited like a lingering eye. A minute ago the crew was slowly and fruitlessly trying to locate anything of interest on that planet; now they were dealing with a first-contact situation – the first the People of the Wind had ever encountered in this Realm.

The lower hatch popped open, and with monkey-like haste the ship's captain climbed out – dressed in a bathrobe instead of her utility jumpsuit. Ironically enough, she looked almost regal in it; its rough fabric was cut with swirls in blue and yellow – a crude equivalent of the ceremonial garb allegedly worn in the Home Realm. Not that any member of the crew had ever seen such gear in person; the colony that had built the Wandering Dream was cut off permanently from their original home.

“Okay... what's going on here?” the captain asked. As she asked it, Fern-Resplendent-In-Twilight sped clumsily through the lower hatch, engineering tools still bound around her belt.

Looking away from her computer terminal, the ship's planetologist, Racing-Justice answered quickly, “Me and Dog were doing a survey of the planet... trying to find out where that spike might have come from. When, without any warning, a radio pulse blasted into our sensors, like a horn from the underworld. We turned the sensor array around, and we saw it was coming from these guys.” She gestured to a sensor monitor. It showed three vague purple dots, several light-seconds away from the Wandering Dream, which was itself performing a distant orbit of the planet. Dark blue glyphs below each of them read simply, “Unknown Contact. Unknown configuration.” Racing-Justice continued, gesturing toward another monitor.

“We couldn't recognize the format of the message they sent, so we piped it to the protocol-detection-unit. It returned a probable message format – it looks like a short audio message! But we can't understand the language – so Dog brought up the Rezh' translation-algorithm; it's trying to decipher the message now.” Another monitor was dutifully displaying a status report, sent by an untested logic system laboring valiantly to uncover a completely unknown message.

“Where did these three come from?” Fire asked.

“They just warped in and sent this signal.” Dog answered. “I have no idea where they came from. For all we know they could have been shadowing us for weeks.”

“Can I hear the message?” Fire asked. The planetologist hit a switch, and the bridge's speakers repeated a short audio blurb. The sound and character was completely foreign, but not entirely unpleasant. Barking-Dog shuddered. It wasn't quite as alien-sounding as the crew had expected, but to his mind it somehow seemed creepy. Touched-With-Fire listened carefully. The last bit of it almost sounded like the intonation used for a question.

“Okay... bring up their protocol, and use it to encode a reply.”

“But we don't understand their language!” Dog objected.

“Don't worry about it.” Fire answered. “They probably won't understand ours yet; I just don't want to keep them waiting too long. They might get cranky.” the idea of three alien ships being cranky was not a pleasant thought. “They'll figure out what we said soon enough.”

At the next terminal, Dog-Barking's fingers danced over an azure touch screen, and he twisted his tail to point toward the panel. Touched-With-Fire did her best to recall the hello signals recommended for first-contact situations. It didn't work, so she settled with a modified traditional greeting.

”By the voice of the Nine Winds, with the resplendence of heaven, we extend greetings, to you, whoever you are, in benevolence. This ship is called the Wandering Dream; it is of the People of the Wind. We think we have deciphered the signal you have sent, but our computers do not yet understand the language. When our understanding becomes complete, we will reply in full. Our apologies.”

“Not bad for a cuff-of-the-pants greeting; except for maybe the 'whoever you are part'.” commented the chief engineer. “But what if their planet doesn't have any air – then they won't get the references, let alone the name of our race.”

“Well... I didn't think of that.” the pilot/captain confessed. “They probably have air though; that was an audio signal, so it needs a medium to carry it.” However, if the species in question didn't dream, or wander, they wouldn't understand the ship's name. Hopefully, they wouldn't misinterpret Touched-With-Fire's greeting as an excuse to attack. Still sitting at the next station, Dog-Barking-With-Foresight was developing a bad headache, and looked noticeably unrelieved. He was a stark contrast to Racing-Justice, over whom a cloud of energy had emerged. Poor dog... Fire thought. I just hope his premonitions were just from a bad dream...

As the remaining two crew members climbed into the bridge, Touched-With-Fire took the pilot seat. While she doubted that they would turn hostile, on the chance they did, she wouldn’t want her ship to be a sitting duck. As she sat down, the computer kept trying to translate the signal into something usable. And on the bridge of a nearby starship, a certain Vorta and her Jem’Hadar minions were getting a tad bit impatient. Probably.
Changeling Founders
14-10-2005, 18:39
Not too impatient, all things considered. In fact, Jadris had to struggle a little to hide her surprise as the reply came, faster than expected.

"They're certainly smart... Getting a response up this fast. In Dominionese," she mused audibly to herself, kind of disregarding the - Surprisingly interested - Jem'Hadar around her.

Still, the message itself was... Not very interesting, to her. Oh, she understood it, certainly. She was also mildly bemused at its colour- and - To an appreciative mind - even beautiful language, but appreciating it?

She simply wasn't meant to do, or rather, to feel such things.

She could, however, feel the tension on the bridge, could feel what the Jem'Hadar were thinking. It wasn't particularly pleasant, and a part of her wondered why the Founders weren't engineering them to be somewhat less aggressive... Well, the Founders in their wisdom surely had their reasons, and indeed, if it actually came to a fight with a serious opponent, the Jem'Hadar as they were now would be vastly more useful than a slightly more 'Diplomatic' version.

This was after all what her own kind was for.

"Keep the ships where they are now. I don't think they'll try to run... At least not if we look peaceful, for a while."

Scary, she thought, seeing Ren'Shre frown. Still, the reply was affirmative, if layered with a noticeably annoyed undertone. "Yes."

She hesitated a little, wondering briefly how long this People of the Wind would take to eventually understand Dominionese. She was also a little amused, knowing what would happen in the forseeable future... Had she been a compassionate being, she'd probably have felt a little bad for the People of the Wind. As it was, however, she kind of liked the irony.

A sigh. Granted, they didn't yet speak Dominionese, but that'd soon change, hopefully... Though it would probably have been more appropriate to learn their language first. But as the Vorta weren't exactly used to first contact situations, a few mistakes were probably to be expected. Of course, imperfection was still despisable...

Jadris closed her eyes for a fraction of a second, quickly chasing away this thoughts, then she sent another message.

I see. Well, People of the Wind, I'm certainly curious to hear what you have to say once you've learned our language, and can reply in full. I suppose that will be the time you'll respond to this message, too. As mentioned before, I'm of the Dominion, and I'm somewhat interested in knowing who you are, what you're doing here, etc.. If a person-to-person meeting on board of your ship could be arranged, that'd be fortunate.

Jadris wondered briefly if they'd reply with a provisional message, again, but supposed that they'd not. There was, after all, no real need to do it, and her message hadn't been particularly aggressive.

Well, not yet, she thought with a sly grin, quietly omitting language codes that would have made the whole process faster. Setting this uninvited guests under a bit of pressure would probably prove to be vaguely useful... Provoking reactions that could tell her more about them. In fact, this had already happened... Apparently, her 'Opponents' were relatively harmless, vaguely peaceful... In other words, easy to include in the greater sphere of the Dominion as the Founders were envisaging it.

Elsewhere on board of Jadris' ship, Ren'Shre, who had temporarily left the bridge, and another Jem'Hadar, Kin'Napar, grumbled.

"She's weak-minded."

"A Vorta." Kin'Napur spit the word out as if it was an insult. "We should take action before she does, or the prey might escape."

"She isn't alone..."

Kin'Napur nodded. "The other ships... we may be able to convince them."

"If you can do that..." Ren'Shre hesitated. "Then we may be able to do our service to the Dominion-"

"Rather than sitting around like disloyal cowards."

Ren'Shre nodded.
15-10-2005, 20:21
The small craft glided through space at barely warp 2; its engines about to mutiny on the pilot from being in operation far longer than its design. The vessel was crude, cylindrical in shape, resembling a cigar with the ends rounded. The hull is covered in small dents from being hit by meteoroids over the years, and the insides are faring little better. With life support on minimal and most other systems jury-rigged, it was not exactly a luxury hotel. Or even a Motel 5, for that matter.

The pilot, the lone man in this ship designed to outfit five, sat lazily in the cockpit. There really was not much else to do. The sensors were damaged, reducing their range dramatically, and the computer files containing the astrometric charts were corrupted. So, hurling blinding deeper into space with little clue as to where it was going, all the ship could hope for was that it passed close enough by a habitable planet or a friendly ship that would give a helping hand. Not that the ship could hope or anything, being just a hunk of metal and all.

Oh, hey, look at the sensors! Still nothing! he thought.

A pause.

Yeah, I don't care much for these ships. At least you don't have to be here, Ara. You're in a palace in comparison.

There was, of course, no one else on the ship.

I know, I know, don't give me that spiel. I chose to do this; it's my job, and I'll do it. But talk about the down time!

You know I never cared much for books.

Ok, howabout you tell me a story, then.

Umm...something about a brave frontiersman going out by himself into the depths of the unknown.

He grinned.

Fine, something else, then. Howabout...wait!

The man shot up from his lounging position and checked and rechecked his dubious sensors.

Can this be? Is it true? Alas, a star system ahead! he thought, with a touch of melodrama.

I'm surprised these things could even scan that far ahead, honestly. But anyway, I'll stay quiet until contact.

He shrugged his shoulders and altered course toward the star system.
Tailed Wind Demons
06-11-2005, 10:54
The translation algorithm was taking its time. Fortunately, during the testing phase the algorithm had translated every language in the People of the Wind's database to at least a reasonable level. Unfortunately, for some of the languages it had taken hours to perform successfully. And a hour for the research computers used on Stormsphere would be several days for the compartively minute computers installed on the Wandering Dream. There was simply no way to predict how long it would take the Rezh's algorithm to translate a given language, particularly one of an entirely alien species. Right now, Touched-With-Fire was wondering if their language even could be translated. Especially with only two short messages to work with.

"If they understood enough to make a reply, then why wouldn't they have simply used our language?" Fern-Resplendant-In-Twilight asked. By now, the commotion on the bridge had settled down; the crew of the Wandering Dream was now milling around like adolescent clutch-mates waiting for a concert. Or in this case, waiting for the computer to finish number crunching. Several hypothetical situations had been discussed in the past hour. After arguing over whether or not the alien language could even be translated, and if the aliens had similiar translation algorithms, they were now ironically discussing the possibility that the aliens had understood the Wandering Dream's message, but hadn't sent an understandable reply.

"Who knows why an alien being would do anything?" the ship's planetologist answered. "I'm sure they could have some kind of reason. Maybe they feel that we should have to decipher their message to be worthy of communication, like how a martial arts master or ancient wizard would test prospective pupils. Sort of like Twisted-Eye in Hell-Penguins of the Laundering Underworld III." the ship's crew adored movies, and they had seen far too many cheap martial arts flicks in the last three years of spaceflight. "Or, they could be holding back for a reason completely obscure to us - a motivation we can't even dream of."

"Or, they could want to test the power of our computers." Dog-Barking-With-Foresight suggested, starting to sweat. He had spent most of the past hour rereading sensor reports on the three unidentified vessels and trying to make sense of the available evidence. As it was, the information available worried him. The alien ships individually had much greater power output than the little Wandering Dream, which was one of the Wind People's most advanced scout ships. In fact, they probably produced more power than one of the big freighters that plowed the void in the Wind People's home territory. And, they had managed to walk up to the Wandering Dream undetected. Aside from vague estimates, little information was available on the three ships. At this distance, they couldn't even get a visual image.

A pause settled over the bridge. "Well, it is possible that this is some sort of test - either of us or our computers." Touched-With-Fire answered. "Or... they could have just not been able to translate the message to begin with."

A chime echoed from the computer. "Hey... it's done!" the second science officer announced. Six sets of eyes rushed forward to face the screen, and six brains silently praised the brilliance of unknown programmers. After a minute of reading, Touched-With-Fire laughed, in spite of herself, followed by several of the crewmembers

"Is that anatomically possible?" the ship's doctor asked.

"Wow... these aliens must certainly be... imaginative." the ship's second engineer added, searching for a required word. "I wonder if we even have the required parts for that."

"Uh... I think it's a mistranslation." Touched-With-Fire suggested. "The Rezh didn't say this thing would work like a levy builder before a hurricane."

"Probably." Dog-Barking-With-Foresight asked. His headache was partially subsided, but he still didn't feel very talkative. He did have one suggestion. "I think we should prepare a message drone just in case something bad happens, and load this translation data."

"Good idea." Touched-With-Fire answered. "Although launching it now wouldn't do much good." The People of the Wind did not have long-range superlumial communications, and hence relied on small warp drones to carry information from place to place. At least, they didn't have long-range superlumial transceivers smaller than a wet-navy battleship; this meant that the adopted homeworld and the bigger colonies could chat with some degree of efficiency, but that it took years for the reports of scoutships to filter in. The Dominion was probably unaware of this, just as the Wind People were yet unaware that a screen of superlumial jamming had been erected.

At any rate, it was time to compose a reply. Touched-With-Fire and the rest of the scoutship's crew found themselves again wondering what exactly these mysterious aliens, now identified as members of some mysterious nation/state/empire, happened to look like. Touched-With-Fire had a picture of a giant green-furred sphere with spider eyes and tentacles named "Jadris," but doubted this vision was correct. At least this "Jadris" character seemed somewhat polite, judging from the grammatical markers appended to the translation.

The answer that came into the Dominion's transceivers was this, rendered into somewhat improper Dominionese. Ironically enough, it resembled a garbled copy of Jadris' voice, as that was the only native-speaker sample from which the algorithm could pull phonemes from.

"Jadris of Dominion. We intrestedly learned language, could at least. This is scoutship Wandering Dream of People of the Wind, of the space of Stormsphere. My name is Touched-With-Fire. Exploring curious mission am we doing, to wander around *big colorful gas cloud*, and find many interesting space. Met Dominion have not yet we, but hope to be fortunate. We did not know this is Dominion-controlled space. It would be certainly fortunate if we could learn where Dominon space is, and maybe *avoid us ferret trouble*. As for the Wandering Dream *high-ladder bonding ritual*, for now may be unacceptable, though maybe we learned message wrong. So what are you're doing here, etc? Wind People am curious."
07-11-2005, 01:16
OOC: Heh heh heh
Changeling Founders
07-11-2005, 13:47
Jadris chuckled briefly. Well, it was a nice attempt, anyway...

And it was impressive enough, given the time and resources the People of the Wind had had. They were certainly not stupid... Possibly a bit anxious, though, given that they'd replied before their grasp of the language was complete.

And given that they don't seem to be a military unit... Well, it meant two things. First of all, they were a bit careless, even naive, assuming that space was this threatless. Second, this scout was supposedly not the extend of their capabilities - But given their apparently civilian attitudes, not to mention the general inferiority some basic scans had suggested, Jadris supposed that their military resources weren't all that impressive.

Not that it mattered, long-term. The Dominion wasn't so unsubtle as to go for a crowbar-attempt (If it went after them at all). It had vastly simpler, yet more refined methods available. They'd probably take a longer time to succeed, sure, but they also ensured secrecy. And secrecy was important, for where they were, in comparison to their potential neighbors.

"Still, the language-barrier..." She mused, mostly to herself, ignoring the just-entering - And not particularly happy looking, though to be fair, Jem'Hadar never looked happy to begin with - Ren'Shre, and contemplated the virtue of replying in the language of her soon-to-be prisoners.

Possibly a bad idea. Showing a bit of arrogance by continuing in dominionese - Though less than diplomatic - seemed to be more appropriate.

Less practical, though. Oh well. It wont hurt, given the next few steps.

Her next transmission was translated into her future 'guests' language. Not perfectly, of course - There were always nuances a computer didn't get - but sufficient for the basics.

High-ladder bonding ritual?

I see. Well, that's fortunate, though I believe that yes... There seem to be a few missconceptions, Touched-with-Fire of the Wandering Dream of the People of the Wind of the Stormsphere.

Exploration, then? I see - I shouldn't be surprised, I guess. It was bound to happen, sooner or later. Especially given our 'Colourful' location, as you describe it.

Oh, and you're certainly fortunate - I think we can provide you with plenty of information regarding the region and our boundaries, not to mention establish basic contacts.

For which I once more express my wish to visit your vessel - Though you'd be perfectly welcome to enter our own ships. Also to exchange aforementioned information - Just as you are interested in our boundaries, we're interested in yours.

Suppose they really missunderstood the person-to-person thing. Gross.



Jadris looked up, and then felt the ships' external sensors feeding her with information about another arrival - The sensors didn't tell her or the Jem'Hadar all that much, at this range, but it was certainly a notable allocation of junk.

"... Are our unmanned outposts becoming tourist attractions? I don't think the Founders sent out advertisements for our atmosphereless sunfactor 3000 worlds..."

Nothing. The Jem'Hadar just stood there, stern expressions of unshakable seriousness.

"... Nevermind. Tell Menalis to intercept it with his ship. Well, offer help by way of appropriating it. I guess its inhabitants wont even mind... By the Founders, that's shoddy. Oh, and do a few more-than-basic scans of the Wandering Dream. I suspect that their EM's too much for us to beam through, but it doesn't hurt to know for certain."

"Why didn't you ask them about it?"

"Could be interpreted a bit too hostile. They're likely unable to outrun us, but I'd like to know a little more about their 'Civil' culture. It will be helpful for the Founders."

She couldn't mention the Founders often enough. It greatly helped discipline.
08-11-2005, 23:52
There was not much else to do after correcting his course to head toward the star system. And so, the pilot just sat in his seat, legs propped up on the console in front of him while one hand idly drummed on another console by his side. This was getting really boring, really quick.

Then the little ship began to rumble, and klaxons went off. The pilot started at the noise before muttering under his breath and looking over at the readouts. With a sigh, he shut off the engines. Getting up from his seat, the pilot grabbed the nearby toolbox.

"Bloody engines," he grumbled as he headed to the rear of the ship. He loosened a bulkhead near the ground and popped it out. Moving the bulkhead aside, he got on his back and slid his upper body into the cavity. Reaching into the toolbox outside of the cavity, he picked up the flashlight and illuminated the dark interior. Looking through the mass of jumbled wires, he tried to find the troublemakers.

If this thing blows up while I'm still in it, I'm not going to be very happy.

Yeah, yeah, I know what I said about staying quiet until contact. What can I say? I'm a social creature. Can't help it.

Fine, fine. Be that way. Bye.

After some time had passed, with little progress made, the klaxons again went off. The pilot's instinctive reaction was to launch himself up - which only resulted in him whacking his head on the ceiling of the cavity. Grabbing at his head and muttering something about stupid klaxons as he slid himself back out, he stumbled over to the cockpit to see what the second round of ruckus was all about.

"Oooh, a ship," he cooed. The Dominion vessel was nearly on top of the little craft before its sensors picked up on Menalis' ship. Even then, the sensors did not reveal too much of this alien starship at this range. Basically, it boiled down to "a bigger ship is front of you." More or less. There was a little bit of visual, however, and the pilot brought the fuzzy image of the Dominion vessel up on his screen.

"Alright, showtime," he softly said.

Having grown up learning several different languages, he picked one of the non-native tongues in his repertoire and opened up a comm channel. Moving his mouth over to the microphone, he said:"Greetings, alien ship. My name is Vallar, and I am the captain of this humble
little craft before you. I am...a little lost, so to speak. Would you be so kind
as to tell me where I am?"

The pilot closed the channel and sat back down in his chair, rubbing at his sore forehead.
Tailed Wind Demons
12-11-2005, 10:33
"By the Dragons of the Overworld..." muttered Dog-Barking-With-Foresight, lowering his horned head, and raising a hand slowly to meet it. A drop of sweat trickled down his neck.

"So... they really did understand us after all." Racing-Justice repeated, lowering her morning-pink tail.

"Indeed." Touched-With-Fire answered. A cloud of mild silence settled over the bridge. The aliens' response, while devoid of the traditional similes and nuances used in formal Wind Demon speech, nonetheless was delivered in Tlewayu, the Wind People's lingua franca. But that, in itself, wasn't what surprised the crew. Rather, it was the precision at which the reply was arranged. The Wind People's translation algorithm had been tested on many languages, and while the results were acceptable, seldom was such a lucid message produced from a small sample size.

"So... now what?" Fern-Resplendant asked. "Are we going to drink tea with a herd of mysterious aliens?"

"I think that would be a bad idea." Dog-Barking interjected; the ship's doctor hijacking his comment.

"How could they even make such a request? We may not even be from compatible biospheres, and what about microbes? Aren't they concerned about contamination?"

"Maybe these aliens are made of steel..." the engineer suggested.

"Still... you'd think they'd be vaguely more concerned, at least for our sake." the doctor answered. Threats of contamination were taken quite seriously by the Celestial Order of the Eye (Stormsphere's ostentatiously-titled space exploration agency). Although elaborate and effective procedures had been developed for decontamination, in general, the Wind People preferred not to risk it. That was one of the reasons the Wandering Dream was not equipped to land on planets. More advanced races would likely consider such suspicions silly.

And why onboard our ship, anyway? Touched-With-Fire asked herself, reading a summary of the alien message again. Exploration, then? I see - I shouldn't be surprised, I guess. It was bound to happen, sooner or later. What did that statement imply exactly? Were these Dominionites aware of the People of Stormsphere beforehand? That could explain their superior command of Tlewayu, although it was just as plausible that they simply had superior translators. Or did it mean that they had a general awareness of other civilizations around them, but lacked details? Questioned circled in the pilot's head.

"Maybe they just want an easy way to capture us." suggested Dog-Barking, grimly. This caused a small debate to flur in the cockpit.

"Given the apparant power of those ships, if they wanted to be hostile, they could probably have destroyed us already. And why would they want to be hostile anyway?" Planetologist Racing-Justice asked.

"To secure a sample of our technology." Dog-Barking answered. "Or ourselves."

"But why would they feel the need to?"

"Who knows why an alien being would do anything?" Dog-Barking repeated Racing-Justice's earlier words. In the background, a sensor chime began to

"By the way, they're scanning us." Dog-Barking informed the crew. "I can't get much information on it, though." Not that they could really fault the Dominion; they had been unsuccessfully scanning the three alien ships for hours.

Touched-With-Fire pondered her options, wishing vaguely that she had some kind of model to consult for dealing with extra-terrestrial powers, beyond those afforded by science fiction TV shows. Then she stopped wishing, mainly out of fear that such a line of thought would cause her to daunt herself.

There was no time for that now. Instead, she sorted her thoughts. On one hand, she wanted to know more about these aliens. Stepping foot on an alien starship or entertaining an alien guest certainly sounded exciting, if a little daunting. On the other hand, there was no shortage of risks involved with accepting Jadris' proposal. Sure, early explorers carousing the waters of the home dimension in a seagoing junk could afford to set up a mat and trade teacups with the natives. On the other hand, often those early explorers and natives were subsequently decimated by an exchange of diseases. And the situation of explorers on an ocean frigate was far different from the situation of an interstellar scout. Her mind wondered the best way to handle this, keeping in mind that the aliens seemed to be no stranger to first contact situations, given the character of their messages, such as the fact that Jadris seemed to suspect that the crew of the Wandering Dream would understand their greeting right off the bat. And then, Touched-With-Fire had an idea.

"Why don't we send this Jadris character information about our general biosphere and the climate in which we can survive, and about their protocols for decontamination." asking questions like that might shed some more light on the Dominion's level of technology.

"And what if everything appears fine? Do we accept this proposal or not?" Fern-Resplendant asked.

"We'll accept it - but on our terms." Touched-With-Fire smiled momentarily. The bathrobe she was still wearing accentuated this; no one was quite sure how. It might have been the pleasant colors.

"What do you mean exa..." Fern-Resplendant began to ask, only to be interrupted by Dog-Barking.

"One of their ships is warping out." the science officer reported. "It's headed outsystem... at a rather fast clip too. Shall I chase it with a probe?"

"No." The pilot cautioned. "Lobbing what could be mistaken as a warp-capable torpedo at an alien ship ain't a smart idea in my book. But do track it with the long-range sensor, as much as you can."

Dog-Barking followed Fire's lead, running the commands that turned the sensor array around. And then, the pilot began to compose her reply, this time using her native language. It read like this,

With the blessings of the Overworld, we extend peaceful greetings on behalf of the people and nation of Stormsphere, to the people and nation of the
Dominion, and hope that your journey through space has been fortuitous. We respectfully congratulate you on your system's command of our language, Jadris of the Dominion.

We find ourselves curious now as to the nature of your culture, and of your species, and of your Dominion-nation. From where have you come, and what is your mission in this portion of the universe? Similiar inquiries we will gladly answer.

While we may be willing to oblige your request for a meeting aboard our ship, at present we feel this imprudent, given that we are unaware of what environmental and biological conditions your species exists in, as well the details of the mechanisms that your nation may employ to avoid decontamination. Assuming that your species is carbon-based as our own, this person has no desire to perpetuate an exchange of deadly organisms. Perhaps if you could transmit a list of your environmental requirements and protective protocols, our concerns would be allayed. We have appended a similiar list to the end of this message.

(appended is a crude list of environmental specifications and a succinct overview of decontamination protocol - which the Wind Demons did not consider too big of a secret anyway.) The Wind Demons live in earth-like conditions, which shouldn't be too surprising.


As the Jem'Hadar are doing more-than-basic scans of the Wind Demons scoutship, I made up some information for it. I'll leave it up to you to decide how much of this your sensors can determine.

I have placed this information on nswiki in the form of a very crude article, because that seemed like a good place to put it. Later, I might put a picture of it up, but that's not too bloody likely for a while.

The Wandering Dream (

Mist Badger class Scoutship (
Changeling Founders
16-11-2005, 15:14
Somewhat off-system

Menalis stared at the results the first, preliminary scans showed with regards to the craft he and his Jem'Hadar were facing. Then he shook his head, in disbelief. Can't be from all that far away. He couldn't possibly manage serious distances with this.

Computers started to act, comparing the - For know untranslatable - message with a near-infinity of possibilities, statistical likelyhoods, potential grammatical structures, eventually spitting out perhaps two dozen 'High Likelyhood' translations.

The ten most likely one of those - Essentially the actual text sent by the Vallar, though there were certain troubles regarding the interpretation of Vallar's attitude shining through - were then eventually relayed to Menalis, who read through them, with ever-growing amusement. "Why, yes, we can certainly be so kind..." he muttered, anticipating Vallar's reaction.

I'm Menalis, of the Dominion. You've entered Dominion space, and... I take it that you need some help? No offense, but your ship doesn't look like it's going to manage another hour.

Having finished this, Menalis smirked, motioning for his Jem'Hadar to prepare themselves for... well, one could hardly call it a battle. "I can't see this being a problem... It is a policing action, not a battle. Still, be careful - You'd have to be a lunatic to be way out here, in that kind of craft. Who knows what this - he - may do."


"No issues there. I doubt it's hostile. Just curiosity - We're vastly more invasive in our intentions."

"I see."

"Of course, it's their mistake..." Jadris decided to ignore Ren'Shre for a moment, supposing that he was slightly too much into blasting the Wandering Dream to pieces due to the continuing - But utterly harmless - scans. Of course, things weren't perfect - They had since figured out that there was too much interference to just beam over, which made this business somewhat more complex than Jadris' would have liked, but that was a minor nuisance at best...

And if she was honest with herself, she liked the toying around. After all, she wasn't a Jem'Hadar who just lived for that one thing... Disdainable, if useful creatures, they were.

She liked her 'guests' message, too. She wasn't sure if this people were naturally this polite or if it was fear - But it was certainly interesting to listen to them.

There were also definite hints of, well... She supposed that it was either childish amazement or indeed another hint of fear - And given her sitting in a (Small, but still) warship, she supposed that the letter was closer to the truth - and certainly a lot of caution. The latter being odd to the Dominion - Apart from the Founders, every life was expendable. And while genetic engineering had gone a long way (Rendering the Vorta and Jem'Hadar, if not entirely immune, at least highly resistant to the average disease the Founders believed they would encounter) they certainly weren't perfect.

Just, the death of a few (Million) Vorta and Jem'Hadar was nothing one would generally consider in any way important. Well, if millions were at stake, perhaps... It did take a few days to raise a new one.

In any case, it was time for her to reply, to get the thing going. Playing cat and mouse was nice, but it could be tedious, if done for too long.

I'm gladly accepting your greetings, and greet you similarly, people and nations of the stormsphere.

It's a somewhat complex issue - We're not one, but two species, and our mission is to... Restore security for the future.

And as you've offered it... What about you?

Oh, and of course, we understand your concerns - It was careless of me not to think about this issues. As you may understand, you're the first actual contact with an alien species we've made in a long time, and we're a little, lets say, unused to the situation.

Your environmental conditions are perfect for us, though - There are no serious issues regarding survivability - and decontamination should be possible to be taken care of. Nonetheless, a list with regards to our own environment is attached. We can also provide provisional - That is, not yet tested vs. your genetic code - means to avoid potential diseases of ours becoming an issue for your people, in addition to your decontamination protocols.

Would this be sufficient?

She'd been careful, of course, keeping the description of the environmental conditions on her ship on a basic level - Too much details could allow for an analysis going beyond those, and into the emissions of the machinery on board.

Which wasn't something she'd have liked.
17-11-2005, 07:57
Vallar simply sat in his seat, humming a tune to himself as he slowly spun around endlessly in the swivelling chair with his eyes closed. His lack of activity, however, belied the fact that he was putting much effort into his task at hand. The man's mind gently pushed outward, past his cockpit, past the hull, through the intervening space, and into the Dominion vessel. The brush of his mind was ever so slight, so that in the event that he should encounter another telepath, he could pull back to avoid being detected.

What he found were two types of vastly different minds. One, the most prevalent aboard that ship, was a warrior, a killer. The other was that of a diplomat, a poet.

He did not probe too much deeper at the time being, just deep enough to receive the Vorta's reply and fully understand it despite being in a previously unknown language, before the message itself was ever transmitted in electronic form.

Vallar absentmindedly put the Dominion transmission through the archaic translation program on his ship, just for the sake of pretense if nothing else, and went back to listening in on the minds of the crew on the other ship. The algorithms churned through the message, deciphering the alien tongue, before spitting out its best job a long time afterwards.Greetings again. Domino space, you say? Can't say I've heard of it, but yes, am I ever so glad to run into you guys. You're right in that my ship won't be lasting for much longer, and it won't be pretty when this thing falls apart before I can find a planet to land on. But...since you're here, and with your gracious offer to help, it looks like you're my savior. If you can scan my ship, you'll probably find my little engine problem. I've been trying to patch it up, but what it really needs is new parts...although, I don't see how you would magically have the right parts for my ship and all, unless you've met others of my kind. But anyway, I'll send you a schematic of what I need, and if you can help, that would be great. I don't have a whole lot to trade with, but I'll see what I can come up with. If nothing else, I'm sure I've got some stories to tell that you'll be sure to enjoy in exchange for the parts. Oh! Like that one time when I - wait, I'm getting off on a tangent here. Uh, sorry if I'm rambling, it's just been so long since I've spoken to anyone, you know. are the schematics, Menalis of the Domino. Again, I really appreciate the offer. Any help would be great.

Vallar turned off the microphone and sent the message to the Dominion ship. He leaned against the console in a half-sitting position and began humming again.

They call themselves the Dominion. The leader is very different from the rest of the crew. Judging from what they call themselves, I'm guessing the crewmen are a conquered race, but there has to be more to this than that. A conquerer wouldn't surround himself with the conquered unless he can control them somehow, after all.

As in the rest of the crew had violent minds. More like blood-thirsty soldiers than starship crewmembers. The leader's, however, was nothing like his crew's. It was the mind of a...well, starship captain. Calm, collected, sharp. Neither of them are telepathic.

Yes, the leader implied that they could help me, and I jumped at the opportunity. I'll have to wait until their next message to know anything more.


OOC: I'm assuming here that your Jem'Hadar and Vorta are as untelepathic as the ones on DS9 (aside from the first Vorta we met on the show who could shoot energy balls out of her, but that wasn't telepathy). I'm also assuming that you didn't have any sort of telepathic dampening field that would block Vallar. If I'm wrong on any of these, just say so and I'll fix this post :)
Tailed Wind Demons
01-12-2005, 23:23
"This is a horrible idea." objected Dog-Barking-With-Foresight. The crew had now gathered at the back of the Wandering Dream's bridge. Touched-With-Fire had traded her bathrobe for a black and gold flightsuit that looked halfway like a thin bicycle suit and halfway like a suit of armor.

"Would you prefer that they dock with us? At least this way, they can only send a few over." answered Touched-With-Fire, strapping a pair of reserve atmosphere tanks to her back. In a few minutes, her and the ship's doctor would be the first two Wind Demons to step foot on an alien ship. If all went well, that was. The plan was to ferry the Dominionites over to the Wandering Dream, using the later's sublight launch. Their cryptic visitors would likely have no objections.

"But what if you fly over there and they stick a gun between your horns? Or do something worse?" Dog asked.

"That's why I have to go over." growled Touched-With-Fire in response "I can't ask anyone else to do something I'm not willing to do myself. And we take no more risk than if we were to dock to their vessel personally."

Dog-Barking privately wondered if the ship's captain had been reading too many sword-and-lord novels. "This is still a tactically poor decision. You're the one who's supposed to fly us out of here if something goes wrong?"

"Nothing will go wrong." Touched-With-Fire asserted. "And if something does go wrong, then You can fly us out of here, Barking-Dog. I've taught you to handle the controls just as well as I can."

"Please don't flatter me." Dog-Barking answered.

In the background, a musical chime sounded, indicating that the fuelling process for the ship's launch was completed. Touched-With-Fire stood up, and nodded to the ship's doctor. The doctor nodded in reply, then picked up a case full of quarantine scanner equipment as the bridge's hanger airlock wheeled open.

"I'll see you in a few minutes." Touched-With-Fire answered. With that, her and Tsunami-Alive marched out of the bridge, and into the hanger deck.

***** ***** ***** *****

It took the Wandering Dream a few minutes to reply to the Dominion's prior message, which was recorded in Touched-With-Fire's voice. As they transmitted it, a small craft detached from the Wandering Dream, and began to accelerate slowly toward the Dominion fleet. Painted the same as its mothership, it resembled a cross between a tadpole and rounded whiskey flask, a single airlock mounted at the end of its spout.

Your list and provisions are quite sufficient, thank you. We do not believe that there shall be a problem with decontamination, and are pleased that our suspicions were incorrect.

In response to your inquiry, our nature is likewise a complex issue. Suffice it to say, the denizens of Stormsphere are not one species, but two, though representatives of only one are currently aboard our ship. Our desires are many, our motivations manifold.

The crew of this ship accepts your offer for a person-to-person meeting, princibly to assuage our own curiosity. We have dispatched a single launch to ferry your representatives to our vessel. It is unarmed, and travels openly. Please direct it to a suitable airock when it completes its approach.

***** ***** ***** *****

Sorry for the massive, massive delay. I'll try to be a little less sporadic.

Rhinara, I like the added telepathic plot twist. And I was thinking Vallar was just crazy...
Changeling Founders
09-12-2005, 23:53

A few sensors perk up, quickly attended to by Jem'Hadar, but apart from some oddities being noticed, nothing specifically dangerous seems to be the case.

Still, the source is tracked. And while it'd usually be rather inaccurate, in this particular case - A single ship - it isn't too hard.

A few decisions are to be done... But so far, it - Whatever it might be - isn't doing any kind of serious damage, nor does it seem to be a specifically dangerous security risk, and eventually Menalis decides to leave it be, for now. Can't be more than some mildly exotic scanner, and given the ships' rather shoddy state, such a scanner being a threat is, well, a rather ludicrous idea.

Jamming it is another issue - Nobody knows how. Granted, in the sheer composition of whatever had just acted are hints, but in the time being, developing an effective counter is essentially impossible.

But then again, it seems to be harmless enough. It's an oddity, and an oddity that should be explored, too. But it remains as unthreatening as it can possibly be.

Well, either that, or Menalis and his Jem'Hadar are simply too arrogant to identify it as a more serious threat. Which wouldn't be surprising - How such a rusty tincan could contain anything resembling a threat would be rather beyond them.

Meanwhile, the reply is received, and Menalis wonders briefly if he should despise the person on this shoddy spacecraft, or just laugh at its expense.

Well, probably both.

I think we can discuss terms later, Vallar. And yes, according to your schematics - And our scans - Well... It wont be easy, as we're certainly not having the necessary parts available, but manufacturing them, or working replacements, should work well enough.

Of course, it'd be somewhat risky for you to stay on board. If you don't mind, you're free to appreciate our hospitality for the time being while we'll 'tow' your craft until we can do the necessary repairs.

Helping fellow spacers is after all the foremost of virtues.

Oh, and it's Dominion, not Domino.

Among the Jem'Hadar, a few discussions take place. Most of them are actually rather disappointed - Finally a first contact, but instead of the mighty and worthy enemy they had expected, they get this.

Sometimes, it's hard and frustrating to be a loyal servant of the founders.

Tailed Wind Demons

I'm happy to hear that we could allay your suspicions.

In any case, I'm sure that once personal contact is established - We should be able to communicate quite well, the ships translation-capacities should take care of any problems, though using specific native proverbs and the likes might not be a good idea - we can exchange the more fascinating curiosities of both our societies in greater detail. I'm sure you'll get used to our society relatively fast, as we're composed of two species, not unlike yours.

We shall be prepared for your arrival, and hope that all goes well.

Jadris looked rather curiously through her link, watching the shuttle approaching. She, just like her Jem'Hadar, was fairly amused by the tentative approach of their intended long-term guests.

Slow, lacking transporters - Admittedly, she doubted that she'd use transporters if she was in the same situation the Wandering Dream[i]'s crew was facing, given the risk of someone beaming up a torpedo or something - Instantaneous teleportation is something to be done between (Very good) friends, not between unknowns - a generally harmless approach... Hadn't she been raised to feel neither pity, nor remorse, she'd now feel exactly that.

As it was, she was merely amused. Considerably amused in fact.


"Yes?" Ren'Shre's answer was spat out like a curse.

[i]Uh-Oh. Someone's getting angry. "As is the will of the founders... We'll wait for them at airlock #2, and..." She hesitated, smiling ironically, wondering momentarily if Ren'Shre was about to rip her head off.

Possibly yes. Ah well. "Welcome them appropriately."

Of the Jem'Hadar who remained on the bridge, the second eventually transmitted the necessary coordinates/ directions to the approaching shuttle, sweeping it a few times with some basic scans - Nothing fancy, as this was considered somewhat unnecessary - figuring that there was enough carbon for... Well, either one giant or two really smallish sentients on board.

The orders were rather rigid and harsh, certainly not of Jadris' somewhat more polite - If confident - style, but eventually, it worked out.

The ship itself, well... Everything was somewhat narrow - For Jem'Hadar and Vorta, anyway. For the Tailed Wind Demons, it'd presumably be relatively spacious - and quite obviously meant for military purposes, and nothing else, lacking decorations, seats, and just about everything that wasn't absolutely necessary to either make it fly or to kill people.

A group of Jem'Hadar, four of them, Ren'shre included, was waiting for their 'guests' to enter through the airlock, with Jadris among - Slightly behind, to be correct - them, smiling quietly to herself. She'd made sure that the Jem'Hadar would keep their weapons down - Ren'Shre had protested rather audibly, but he wasn't yet far enough to openly disobey - but as far as Jadris was concerned, the security risk the People of the Wind presented was negligible to unextant - An opinion she shared with the second who had scanned the approaching ferry/ shuttle.

Docking... Any moment now.
Tailed Wind Demons
11-12-2005, 12:56
The flagship of the Dominion squadron easily dwarfed the small launch that was now ambling beside it. The launch's small sensors wouldn't reveal anything of interest about the giant vessel that the Wandering Dream's array hadn't realized, but the bow viewport did afford an impressive panorama of the alien squadron. It wasn't quite what Touched-With-Fire had expected, (Where was their warp ring?), but nonetheless managed to whet her natural curiosity. She failed to recognize that it was a warship. The pilot had always imagined that space warships would have obvious gun barrels and missile racks sticking out of them, and this ship had none of those.

Switching to small plasma thrusters for final course adjustments, Touched-With-Fire spun the launch around, carefully adjusting her course to land squarely at the aliens' docking port. As it was designed to move both cargo, normal Wind Demons, and the gargantuan Rezh, the launch's circular airlock was much bigger than one would have expected for its occupant's size; in fact it was just slightly bigger than the alien starship's docking port. And, in a fortunate stroke of foresight, the launch's designers had placed magnetic clamps at the rear of the ship, which promptly activated, sealing the tiny blue shuttle to the exterior of the hulking Jem'Hadar warship.

In a quickened motion befitting an anxious squirrel, Touched-With-Fire snatched her clear-faced vacuum helmet and snapped it to her black and gold flight suit. The ship's doctor did the same.

“Whelp, we're here.” Touched-With-Fire spoke into the headset, her words relayed to the spectators aboard the Wandering Dream. Her hands were fiddling with a small floating sphere – a camera drone given invisible wings by the magic of gravity control. “I've patched the view from the camera drone to the comm array – so you can look at the aliens too.”

The slightly crackled voice of Racing-Justice replied to her. “Just hurry up and open the door', we want to see what they look like.”

“Patience, young hadrocodium.” Touched-With-Fire answered, waltzing into the airlock, followed by a doctor and a camera sphere. As it was, Touched-With-Fire was also wondering what this Jadris person looked like; she still had this picture in her head of a furry green sphere with tentacles.

The iris behind them locked and closed, an internal monitor confirming that the atmosphere inside the alien ship was breathable. Nonetheless, the two Demons stayed space-suited, and for good reason. Invisible beams of radiation zapped the outside of their suits, hoping to cleanse away any microbes that might be dangerous to their newfound hosts. A small volume of atmospheric gases siphoned in, equalizing the air pressure with the interior of the alien craft. And then, with two lithe humanoids standing at the door, tails perked in curiosity, the iris wheeled open.

***** ***** *****

Immediately, the visage of four greenish-gray humanoids towered over the visitors. Touched-With-Fire’s eyes popped wide for a split second. They look a lot like we do… only uglier. They even looked uglier than the legendary human-creatures were supposed to look, but not ugly enough to induce projectile vomiting.

She was careful to hide any expression of disgust; probably, they thought Touched-With-Fire was odd looking herself, if their dour expressions were any indication. The Dominion beings had no tails like proper beings should, but they did have horns… lots of little ones at that. Touched-With-Fire immediately sensed a bubble of hostility emanating from the ugly green critters, accented slightly by the devices carried at their sides, and she casually placed a hand on the inside of the airlock brace.

Don’t freak out. Touched-With-Fire told herself, as her eyes noticed another, pale, apparently female being standing behind the mob of spike-people. She presumed that this was a member of the second Dominion race. No horns here, just strange multi-channeled ears. Why do they look so much like us anyway? she asked herself.

Touched-With-Fire supposed that she should say something, preferably something that was not a native proverb. Switching on the speaker on the exterior of her suit, the red-skinned humanoid began…

”Hello. I am the pilot of this shuttle. Is one of you beings called Jadris?
17-12-2005, 05:53
Dominion? Oh, my apologies. The translator must've had some trouble with that word.

As for your offer to visit your ship, I'd gladly accept. I've been cooped up in this claustrophobic little coffin for a very, very long time, and could certainly use a change of scenery. There's a docking tube on the belly of this ship. Sending you the schematics to see if it can link up with your docking arms or whatever you may have. Also sending some information about my environmentals. I wouldn't want to breathe in any mustard gas, in cause that's what you guys breathe over there, for example. Mustard gas plus me equals bad.

Once again, I really appreciate your help. I'll let you look over the packet I just sent you. Vallar out.

The general message cut out, and the bridge of the heavily cloaked Rhinaran frigate ( fell into silence. The various military personnel just stayed quiet, watching to see if the Dominion offered any immediate response.

They all had pointed ears, but lacked the more pronounced forehead ridges that their long-lost cousins, the Romulans, possessed. They looked, in fact, very much like Vulcans, but woe to he who called one of these people Vulcans to their face, for the Rhinarans had rejected the ways of Surak and joined the diaspora that would one day lead the travelers to the world of Romulus. But these Rhinarans never reached that world. As was bound to happen from hundreds of years of sublight travel, the crude generation ships began falling apart. Vessel after vessel were lost to the void of space, its passengers frozen and forgotten in the frigid darkness. One of these ships, the Sbah Teresh-Kah, however, entered a previously undetected, and very unstable wormhole and was hurled to the other side of the galaxy before crashing on a nearby planet. With much of the ship staying intact, and without the internal fighting that the Romulans would face for centuries to come, the Romulan people's very own Dark Age, those of the Sbah Teresh-Kah managed to unite together from the very start; a small group of people in a wildly inhospitable world that was dominated by a large, winged predator that saw the new arrivals as a food source. In time, these people, no longer the Rihannsu, but the Rhinarae, once again returned to the stars to become a power that their cousins would even fear. Even with no contact between the Romulans and the Rhinarans, both cultures developed along parallel lines, seeking to work from the shadow, pulling the string from a distance. And so here they were. The single exploratory frigate, having found a temporary wormhole leading deep into the Gamma Quadrant, watched on as a potential new threat presented itself while using a small craft with vastly inferior technology as a decoy.

Keep talking like that and they'll get annoyed enough with you to just blow you up rather than have to listen to any more of your smart comments, Aravell thought to Vallar.

Naw, who would want to kill me? I'm too sweet, answered Vallar. But iiiiif that does happen, promise me one thing.


Come on, pleeeeease?

Aravell rolled her eyes, yet could not help but grin. What?

Tell my kids that I love them.

You don't have any kids.

Not my fault you keep ignoring my advances.

Sublieutenant! You are getting out of line. Any more of this and I will report it to the commander.

You wouldn't do that, would you? Ara? Vallar thought in a half-begging, puppy-like tone.

Just watch, mister. One of these days... Aravell shook her head and grinned again.

Commander Torhal glanced over at the motion and raised an inquiring eyebrow.

"Nothing, sir," Aravell said. "The sublieutenant is merely being himself again."

"Tell him he has a job to focus on, Sublieutenant Aravell," Torhal ordered. "I want to know the intentions of the Dominion and how much of a threat they are. I will not tolerate further delays."

Aravell nodded. "Yes, sir." She looked distant once again as she returned to her narrow-band telepathic communications, sent directly to Vallar and nowhere else to avoid detection and/or interception.

Torhal returned his attention to the viewscreen, showing the beetle-like Dominion ship facing the cylindrical one Vallar was aboard, vaguely reminiscent of the generation ship that those who rejected Surak left Vulcan in.

(OOC: Why, thank you, TWD. I was going for that very effect, actually. Oh, and if the image is too dark for any of you, just say so and I'll brighten up the ship. Sorry I don't have much info on the ship up. Not quite as diligent as TWD is ;) )
Changeling Founders
26-12-2005, 20:36
Tailed Wind Demons

On the bridge of Jadris' vessel, the Jem'Hadar remaining there made a variety of disparaging remarks regarding the slowly arriving shuttle-of-sorts, rather tempted to simply vaporise it - But Jadris had made her point, and while the discipline on her ship was lacking, it wasn't lacking that badly.

Not yet, anyway.

Further back and down on the ship, Jadris chuckled quietly to herself. They're taking their time... Must be anxious. Well. Hardly surprising. Or unwarranted.

As far as Ren'Shree and the other three Jem'Hadar were concerned, oddly strict, slightly arrogant looks - Like school teachers who despise their students. Only that in this case, the teachers had guns and didn't talk, because the principal was watching.

Jadris herself watched the (Short) arrivals carefully. Them and her own Jem'Hadar, whom she supposed were a little disappointed - Midgets didn't really make for the kind of opponent they wanted.

Not a bad thing, though - she'd probably be able to keep up discipline, this way. No irresistable urge to fight...

When Touched-With-Fire eventually began to address them, somewhat inexplicable - For anyone but dedicated engineer-linguists, anyway - machinery translated the words surprisingly accurate, if with a bit of lag - Grammar issues still required the entire sentence/ paragraph/ novel to be said before a useful translation was possible.

"Yes, I am." Jadris smiled - Not exactly an honest smile, but at least it wasn't a furry green sphere with tentacles screaming and assaulting Touched-With-Fire, which had to count for something - and stepped forward, hands slightly outstretched, and bowing a little.

A very little.

"Welcome aboard my ship, for the next few minutes, anyway. I hope we're not too scary-looking - We tend to be careful. Cultural thing. But anyway... You're? Oh, and while I'm at it... Will we actually fit into your shuttle?"

For a moment she looked at the camera drone, chuckling with a bit of amusement, and eventually she grinned in its direction. Must be a very special moment for them.


No offense taken. As far as environmental conditions are concerned, we should be vaguely comparable, and given present medical possibilities, contamination shouldn’t be an issue, though you might want to be careful, anyway. As far as docking is concerned, we’re versatile – It should work out.

While Menalis and four Jem’Hadar went down to ‘greet’ their ‘guest’ – All in all, it was rather similar to the procedure on board of Jadris’ ship – the remaining Jem’Hadar on the bridge resumed doing their work – Some basic scans, general overview of the local environment…

Nothing specifically important, really. Although there were some oddities they didn’t have notes of, despite having had a hold (Sort of) of the system for quite some time.

Well, perhaps they’d figure out what this somewhat blurred readings were, later.
Tailed Wind Demons
05-01-2006, 05:13
The red-skinned being curtsied slightly in response to Jadris, raising a thin lipped smile at her hostess' reaction to the camera drone. She's having a little fun, I think... Strange that this alien smiled and chuckled the same as Wind People.

"I accept your greeting, Jadris of the Dominion." said Touched-With-Fire with a smile; she was doing her best to emulate a mildly bouncy flight attendant.

"I am the shuttlecraft pilot, of course. While on duty, my name is Pilot. I am quite sure that your party will fit within my shuttle. However, the Vessel Commander, will not be pleased with me if I were to bring an armed party aboard her vessel." she eyed the weapons the spikey beings were carrying Were they weapons? They certainly look like guns to me.... Her own crew was unarmed, except for knives. "We tend to be careful too." she added.
09-01-2006, 08:31
Vallar was no longer chatting with Aravell, having been told quite sternly by Commander Torhal to focus on his job and to keep communications silence unless otherwise necessary. At least, that's what Aravell relayed to him. Most of the time, he could get away with this kind of thing, being a childhood friend of Aravell's and all. But some times, he would take it a tad too far, especially in tenuous situations such as first encounters, and would need to be put back into his place. This was one such time.

There was the hiss of pressurization, inaudible behind the hatch that would momentarily unlock and open up the same time the Dominion's airlock released to reveal the people behind.

"Uh...hello," he said in greeting when facing the Dominion entourage, holding onto a bulky-looking PADD that acted as his translator. He was otherwise dressed nondescriptly, with rounded ears rather than the pointed ones of his people, for first-encounter personnel were genetically modified to resemble humans - the most numerous of species in the galaxy - in order to hide the true nature of Rhinaran physiology and identity from strangers.

He looked from one figure to another, acting as if he was not expecting to see a sight quite like this, then asked in an uncertain voice, "Menalis of the Dominion?"
Changeling Founders
21-01-2006, 16:33
Tailed Wind Demons

Well, the ice seems to be broken... Right now, Jadris' head was rather filled with thoughts, ideas, and potential opportunities. Of course - The apparent naivity of her counterparts was rather helpful with regards to that, too.

"Pilot? Witty... And of course..." Think. Their ship is small - They're few, and they certainly don't look strong... Or advanced. Besides, perhaps violence isn't even needed - Although my Jem'Hadar might involve it, anyway. "We'll be your guests, and it'd be impolite not to respect your wishes, so..." A mixture of a nod and a slight bow followed - As far as Jadris was concerned. The Jem'Hadar looked rather unhappy, though (But then, they always looked unhappy. Came with the job and the genetic predetermination). "Well," Jadris straightened up again, and clasped her hands in front of her. "That'd be me and my, ah, 'Honour Guard', first and fifth." Ren'Shre and another Jem'Hadar - Ka'Ahni - stepped forward, looking vaguely aggressive (Of course, it was somewhat hard for a Jem'Hadar to look peaceful...) - But then, the two of them with their bare hands against this... Midgets. Well, perhaps a bit of honour could be gained.

If Jadris gave the go-ahead. Ren'Shree was thinking of mutiny - But he was still a step or two away from doing it.


Menalis stepped forward, bowing slightly, no different from the way Jadris' had acted towards the People of the Wind - Dominionese diplomacy training didn't exactly focus on individuality. "That'd be me... Vallar, I seem to remember? Welcome on board-" He smiled inwardly. Well, that was easy. And there's a certain neatness in taking people prisoner without them noticing. He knew that the Jem'Hadar wouldn't like it, per se - However, Menalis himself had a reasonably well developed sense of irony. "- and to being our guest." The Jem'Hadar did once more look unhappy - But discipline on board of Menalis ship was notably better than on Jadris' vessel, this avoidign a number of issues. "We'll need to return to our base before we can start with serious repairs, of course - But I'm sure we'll do so within the next few days. For now... Is there something specific you desire, or...? For that matter, I'm quite curious about your journey, and where you came from - But I'm sure we'll be able to converse later."
21-01-2006, 22:25
"The one and only," Vallar said while giving a deep, superfluous bow in return to Menalis as the Vorta welcomed him aboard.

If there was one thing that Vallar noticed in his various first-encounters, it was that bowing seemed to be a universal trait amongst many of the cultures in the galaxy. Of course, for the Terungans, bowing to another meant the same as giving someone the middle finger in Earth culture, but Terungans were a rare exception. For most other species, it was a sign of respect, or a kind of greeting. Vallar considered writing a book about it. "My Experiences in First Contact with Strange New Species of the Galaxy and the Importance of Bowing in the Diplomatic Fallout of These Encounters to Ensure Good Footing for Future Relations with Said Newly Encountered Culture of People or Peoples," he would call it. Or maybe something shorter, as his friends have mentioned that he had a tendency to ramble. People did not like to spend an entire minute just to read the title of a book, after all.

"And I'm quite alright for now, thank you. Like I said, a chance to stretch my legs in some new scenery would do wonders for me; I've been cramped up in that ship for several years now after being woken up. The last time I ran into someone was maybe a year ago. A little less. So, as you can probably tell, it's been a while since I've met another person, and I've been running low on replacement parts and provisions lately. It wasn't meant to have run as long as it has, you know. My ship, I mean. But yes, I can tell you and your...guards?" he looked at the menacing Jem'Hadar soldiers, "all about my journey. I am trying to find my way home, though. So if in the next few days I can take a look at your starcharts to see if I can recognize any star patterns, that would be very much appreciated. Unfortunately for me, my ship's sensors were badly damaged and don't work very well anymore, so I can't get much of a scan of the nearby stars to figure out where I am in relations to my homeworld."

Vallar looked around a little more. Though he was already welcomed onto the Dominion vessel by Menalis, the four Jem'Hadar did not looking too inviting as they stared him down. "Uh...hi. How're you guys doing?"
Changeling Founders
16-02-2006, 12:54
"I'd be devastated if there were more than one of you, really..." Menalis answered, with a hint of humour in his voice. Not that there wasn't an underlying truth in this, of course - But still. "Anyway. Well, this ship is a bit cramped - But I suppose that it's still vastly more spacious than your shutt- ship. Although..." He hesitated, wondering briefly - Distances, velocities, etc - "Less than a year? Not as lonely as we thought, then." Ought to check closer - Seems like the region's slowly populating. "But yes - It's rather obvious. Be happy that we noticed you - Could've ended rather badly if not." Well, technically, no, it couldn't. But he can learn about that... Later. A sly grin followed. "Yes, guards - This is a military vessel after all." As much as Menalis smiled, the Jem'Hadar looked, well...

Depending one ones' point of view, either 'Unpleasant' or 'About to eat their guest'.

"I'm sure we can arrange for that - If possible, we'd like access to your computers, to speed up the process. Knowing where you come from, and which way you took would help a lot in figuring out where we'd have to, ah - Deliver you. In any case..."

Menalis looked somewhat curiously at Vallar and the Jem'Hadar - Who didn't even give a nod, although they did regard Vallar quite curiously - He was of a new species, and learning about this species could only be helpful for future endeavours - and chuckled quietly to himself - He found the Jem'Hadar quite amusing in their mixture of malevolence, arrogance, curiosity and obedience. Still, all Vallar received as a reply were he few more-or-less grunted 'Meh''s.

"Well... If you'd follow me? I'm sure you need some sleep - We've nothing quite comfortable, but it should do. Oh... And do you have any questions?"

While they were walking down the narrow corridors of the ship, Vallar had plenty of opportunities to watch the spartan interior, clearly crafted without any kind of aesthetics in mind - it was all very practical, slightly claustrophobic and lacking any kind of comfort.

On the other hand, assorted means to conduct quick security-measures, repairs and the likes were plentyful - The Dominion didn't care particularly much about survivability, but sometimes, Founders would be on board, and such transports required a modicum of such measures.

They'll stay a day or two with, erm, not much happening, apart from analysing star charts, looking through Vallar's computers etc. - After that, a trip to home base would follow, arrival at which would eventually include Vallar's 'Official' imprisoning (Assuming that nothing extraordinary happens, anyway). Feel free to proceed as far as you consider reasonable.
Tailed Wind Demons
17-02-2006, 10:16
Touched-With-Fire nodded at the apparent acquiescence of Jadris. Honor Guard, eh? Can’t particularly blame them… she thought to herself. They weren’t especially friendly looking, but hopefully, they wouldn’t be much of a threat in the cramped quarters of the Wandering Dream. Then again, maybe the tall green guys simply lacked facial muscles.

"Very well, then. This honor-guard should be okay, if our medic approves.” She said with a smile. Hopefully, we won’t have to flush them out an airlock. The ship’s doctor (still encased in a space suit) produced a small medical scanner from his kit, which buzzed like a hummingbird as it checked the three gargantuan passengers for the short voyage. He seemed satisfied with the results.

“Come this way please, being-known-as-Jadris…" Touched-With-Fire directed them with a gesture, and darted off into the interior of the soon-to-be-cramped launch.
Changeling Founders
18-02-2006, 22:38
Jadris - And her Jem'Hadar, come to think of it - wondered briefly how much the scan had revealed - After all, some things could be too much, and not everyone would find certain physical characteristics of Jem'Hadar reassuring - but apparently, there wasn't much of a problem.

So far, so good.

Incidentally, Ren'Shree and Ka'Ahni were quite curious about the medical scanner - It hummed quite interestingly, and they weren't particularly used to medical equipment (They were expendable, after all). Still, they kept their curiosity in check - Not yet ripping the scanner from the Doctor's hands.

Being-known-as-Jadris? Odd language... Jadris thought while motioning for her two 'Honour Guards' to follow, making it vaguely clear that she didn't want to see any violence (Not yet, anyway), and followed Touched-With-Fire into the rather tiny (But suitable) shuttle, still keeping a mildly amused attitude - All of this was amusing, and it was considerably interesting - She was curious and wanted to learn more about the 'People of the Wind'.

Of course, she also wanted to imprison them, to give them to the Jem'Hadar for training, but, well, nothing's ever perfect, and niceness or compassion hadn't been required for her position.

"Well, your shuttle, pilot - We're all yours," she said, once they were inside.

The two Jem'Hadar just glared.
19-02-2006, 00:07
In the couple of days that Vallar was aboard the Dominion vessel, he spent as much time as he could with the Vorta, who was by far more talkative than the Jem'Hadar were. He chatted mostly about his travels, which were all false memories implanted into his mind, and other meaningless things, interspersed with the occassional question for Menalis about himself or the ship or the Dominion in general, when the situation allowed for him to innocuously slip such a question in. From the starcharts, he would work backwards from their current location to figure out where he was "from," and in doing so got a very rough idea of the borders of the Dominion. Of course, he was not able to figure out where his home star system was, as everything in the starcharts looked too unfamiliar to him. After all, he had been in stasis for who knew how long before the antiquated computer realized that it was way off course and awoke him from his slumber. At least, that was what his story was.

All the computer records from Vallar's ship, the flight charts, and whatnot for the past several years were extremely limited, on account of the badly damaged sensors. Everything before those several years were just a jumble of nonsense, the digital storage devices being scrambled beyond all comprehension. Whatever caused the ship to go so far off course and damaged the sensors so much must have been behind why all the older computer files were corrupted and unretrievable, Vallar suggested. He said he had tried to fix the files for a long time, but had finally given it up for lost.

At the end of the day, before Vallar would retire to his uncomfortable and poor excuse for a bed, he would telepathically relay his findings to Aravell, going through all the important details he discovered about the Dominion for that day. Otherwise, he kept strict communications silence. The cloaked Rhinaran starship, meanwhile, followed along but still stayed some distance away from the Dominion vessel, minimizing movement to avoid giving any signs of their presence away, but still changing position relative to the Dominion ship every once in a while to keep from being triangulated on should the Dominion somehow be able to do that.

Then the trip to the Dominion home base began - just what the Rhinarans were trying to gather information on.
Changeling Founders
07-03-2006, 13:18
Technically, Vorta in Menalis' position were supposed to be trained not to give any important information - For example about the technology, or the Dominion's political structure - away, but of course, well...

The Dominion was very new to outside contacts, and as such, this precautions proved to be less than perfect, with Menalis tending to be little too talkative on several occasions - Mentioning a few not-quite-technical details about the weapons when Vallar feigned overawedness, or at one point mentioning the three components of the Dominion - Rather than two.

At other times, they were working with the star charts - Obviously, Menalis wasn't quite careless enough to have the star charts they were using display any holdings of the Dominion (Though they were of course displaying the general region they were in, but such could be gathered by simply using common sense), but regardless of this, it was supposedly somewhat helpful for Vallar to figure out some things.

As far as Vallar's computers were concerned... Well, it was vaguely disappointing (And Menalis was having his doubts. Several years in space, in stasis, in such a craft? The idea of having a spy on board struck him, but that was all for the better - A vastly more valuable acquisition, this was), but they could work without it, too.

Indeed, encoded transmissions back to base already mentioned these things, and suggested covert reconnaissance in the general area the shuttle was suspected to have come from (Neither Menalis nor his superiors believed that it had actually come from the direction it had come from when it had first been spotted, assuming that Vallar was indeed a spy, rather than uterly deranged, but still...).

And then there were, of course, this other things. Of course the Dominion's sensors weren't quite capable of interpreting the telepathic messages Vallar sent - Or, for that matter, to figure out the exact source, or their destination - but (Once again assuming that Vallar was indeed a spy, and not an overenthusiastic adventurer) a few particularly skilled Jem'Hadar were working on it - And to Menalis, this odd, uninterpretable transmissions that had started the moment Vallar came on board were quite a bit of usable 'Evidence'.

He just wished he knew what they were. Given that the (For a lack of a better word) 'signal' was far too complex to be a simple marker for Vallar's position, 'Transmission' seemed to fit...

Well, he'd have to be careful, and not say too much. Perhaps homebase would know more.

'Homebase' was, in its essence, an assortment of complex orbital structures in a system about sixty lightyears off, and perhaps fifty lightyears away from the Omarion nebula the Founders resided in, a relatively thinly spread structure at that (The Dominion's manufacturing capabilities were still relatively limited, especially considering the Founders' intentions), but nonetheless significant.

The sun, a K-class star, was orbited by two small, hot and atmosphereless inner worlds, two gas giants that'd make Jupiter feel inappropriate, and an iceball curiously called a 'planet' further out, furthermore by an asterid belt located between the two gas giants, and a smallish comet cloud with rather less than a hundred billion objects extending up to about a lightyear out of the system. All in all, the system was considerably lifeless (Though microbes had developed on two of the inner gas giant's moons, in one case actually resulting in primitive multicellular lifeforms enjoying a consistantly high mutation rate on their 1.02g moon, courtesy of the gas giant's exceedingly high radiation levels. Sadly, they had never quite managed to develop beyond this stage, frequent asteorid impacts preventing such with considerable efficiency) and enjoyed an exceedingly high degree of metallicity - Which was the reason for the Dominion setting up shop, using the system's resources to boost its not-quite-sufficient (For its actual goals, anyway) manufacturing capacities.

Orbiting the two gas giants were several dozen constructions in the multi-cubickilometre range, shipyards, manufacturing centers, refineries, and a roughly equal amount of defensive installations (This ones were considerably smaller, though), as well as a fair number - almost a hundred - of ships.

Admittedly, this ships were rather smaller than the ships the Rhinarans were most likely used to.

The asteorid belt on the other hand was filled with bits and bytes of seemingly random ordnance, small weapons platforms, missile racks, the likes, and was used by a number of resource-gathering and refining ships (Larger than warships, though again, not necessarily up to Rhinaran standards).

As far as smaller moons around the gas giants were concerned, these had apparently been used up, already consumed by the hungry industrial machine the Dominion had set up in the system, thus leaving only the three large (1112, 11413 and 12980km/diameter) moons of the inner, and the two (3412 and 5024km/ diameter) moons of the outer gas giant as 'existing'. Curiously, none of them seemed to be used for any economic activities - For the time being, harvesting asteorids seemed to be easier.

One thing the Rhinarans following the Jem'Hadar warship were most likely noticing quickly were the vast sensor arrays stationed in the system - Their cloaking did certainly work agains the sensors of a single Dominion ship (It'd probably be able to figure out that someone was nearby, but pinpointing the source, no chance), but with this sensor arrays, detection was a different matter altogether - Proper long-range analysis should tell them to stay about ten billion kilometres distant in order to remain undetected.

> Dominion Fleet Base 02 to incoming Craft, what is your purpose
< Menalis to Dominion Fleet Base 02, returning from basic patrol; First Contact Situation achived, we've a guest
> Ah, yes, we've been informed beforehand. We're ready to receive you
< Perfect. Arrival within five minutes.

On board of the ship, Menalis turned to Vallar, looking curious. "Well, we're about to arrive. I suppose you're curious about it?"
26-03-2006, 07:58
Five years. That was how long Vallar had been doing these kinds of first contact missions on his own. It was not very long compared to the years in one's life, or the age of a planet. But when every mission came with high risks, along with the chance that he may never return from it, well, five years was a rather long time. But then someone had to do it. Someone had to personally gauge what threat a new alien race posed to the Star Sovereignty. The life of one given over to protect the lives of billions was, strickly in a mathematical sense, well worth it. Yet, numbers could not decide everything. Letting it do so would take the fire, the soul, out of a person. Vallar knew this, and it was this very thing that led him to his job. He was a risk taker, and being some engineering or science officer instead would have bored him to tears. Being able to potentially protect billions of Rhinaran lives was a side, albeit still major, bonus.

Whenever there was a lull in the conversation with Menalis, Vallar would fill in the gap with some additional chatter. Some times he would talk about his original mission, of how his ship was originally intended to only go to star systems near his home system, keeping him in cryogenic stasis until it arrived at the destination, where he would then begin in-depth scans of any planets that may be there. His home world had overmined and was running out of resources, you see, not to mention the rising pollution levels and the melting of the icecaps that led to a demand for more land, even if it meant off world. Once done with the scans, he would again go back into stasis as the ship went home to report the findings. Given the importance of the task, the little ship was manufactured using only the best equipment available on his world and stocked with years of freeze-dried food. Vallar had mentioned a few times how grateful he was for that fact, or the ship would have shook itself apart years ago - unless he died of starvation and thirst first.

Sadly, the ship had to go and get itself lost. Vallar would reminesce about various places back home, like this one waterfall he liked to visit that offered the most breathtaking of views during summer sunsets. Or about this girl he though he was going to marry - speaking of which, did Vorta and Jem'hadar marry? There did not seem to be any women on the ship, military or otherwise... - but, as Menalis could probably guess, did not work out.

As they approached the base and Menalis appeared to be open to questions about it, Vallar nodded to the Vorta, mouth a little agape. "My people have a space station orbiting over my world. But it only holds several dozen people. Yours must hold...I can't even begin to guess how many! How is something so big possible? I mean, it took decades making and putting just our space station together..."

Meanwhile, the cloaked Rhinaran starship trailing the Dominion vessel slowed to a halt just outside of the sensor array's cloak-busting range.

Aravell, at a free-standing console near the commander's seat, said to Commander Torhal, "Sir, I won't be able to stay in contact with the sublieutenant much longer; the range will be too far. Passive sensors would have a hard time tracking that ship should it get mixed into the masses."

"Ops," Torhal said, "search for any weaknesses in the sensor array that we can exploit. Any blindspots caused by the sun, the planets, their own facilities, anything. Any natural anomalies in the system, say, a comet moving at relativistic speeds. Ways to jam those sensors, such as by flooding subspace. Anything and everything."

"Yes, sir."

The commander leaned back in his seat. The Dominion doesn't know we're here, yet we can't do anything without alerting them to our presence. But a stalemate is not an option when they have one of my officers. Time to see who makes the first mistake...

(OOC: Gone for a week for spring break. Ta.)
Changeling Founders
29-03-2006, 14:21
Dominion Fleet Base 02

Menalis chuckled a little at Vallar's (Faked or real, he didn't know, but it didn't really matter) amazement. "Oh, it isn't easy as such... It just takes time and efford. And we have both. But well, you'll see the interior soon enough. It's rather less impresive once you're inside."

He hadn't lied, and after a few minutes of docking - Menalis had decided not to use the transporters, just in case - they - Menalis, Vallar, and two Jem'Hadar - entered one of the orbiting stations, apparently a production-biased one - a shipyard.

Once on board, another two Jem'Hadar, and a Vorta who introduced herself as 'Erin' (Thus answering Vallar's question about Vorta-females) were already waiting for them. Erin and Menalis had already discussed the matter - Neither one was sure if Vallar was what he claimed to be, and just in case that he was backed by a big, bad star empire that'd raise issues...

Well, they wouldn't start right now. If what they believed to be 'transmissions' coming to and from Vallar seemed to stop, though, well... Then they'd presumably be safe to do some in-depth 'Interrogation'.

And, possibly, a little trick... A founder was present on the station, monitoring the new arrival from several decks above, curiosity embedded in its expressions.

Vallar wasn't of a species it remembered.

"Welcome on Dominion Fleet Base 02, Vallar." Eris bowed, smiling sweetly, her Jem'Hadar seemingly indifferent - discipline on the Fleet Base seemed to be rather more effective than on board of the ships of the Dominion. "I hope you've had a satisfying journey? Please, follow me... We've prepared for your brief stay. Our technicians will take care of your ships' present state of repair, as I believe you already gave Menalis all the relevant information regarding it."

She turned, leaving no space for further discussions. "As you might already have gathered, this is a military installation, so comfort isn't particularly common, here, but then, given your journey..." She chuckled. "Well, you should be used to it. In any case, is there anything we could do to make your visit more interesting? I'm sure you're curious..."

When Eris asked this, they were already walking through assorted corridors, a labyrinth-esque system of corridors in fact, heading for Vallars' temporary quarters (Which they'd indeed be, one way or another). Somewhat creepily, from behind some of the doors they crossed, screams and the sounds of fighting could be heard.

And, just like on board of the Jem'Hadar ship, the corridors were devoid of ornaments (Though not quite as narrow), radiating practicality on a scale that suggested the Dominion to be utterly incapable of creating, yet alone appreciating, things like 'Art'.

One really got the impression that the Dominion's sapients were actually a little bit... Soulless.

Especially considering the screams.


As far as the effords of Vallar's 'Shadow' - That is, the cloaked Rhinaran ship's - went, it was arguable if they were worth it.

Comets at relativistic velocities were, of course, not something that occured naturally, and as such, didn't exist in the system. Blind spots were perfectly well covered by the multitude of layers, and, well...

No chance there.

Jamming on the other hand was a possibility, of course, though the local resources would be capable of compensating rather quickly, not to mention that they'd know that someone was out there.

Hell, with proper backtracking, they'd even know where.

So far, so bad. There were other options, though. Full-band as the arrays were, they weren't perfect (As the Rhinaran passives would surely notice, sooner or later), featuring inconsistencies that could be used to stay hidden, sadly irregular inconsistencies, certainly, but it should be doable, if risky. A bit of reconfiguring the cloaking to take advantage of the inconsistencies and what could be described as somewhat 'Naive' bands - as far as their analysis was concerned, anyway - and a somewhat closer approach should be manageable, for a while, anyway.

Somewhat closer, as in slightly less than a third of the former limit, perhaps three billion kilometres away from either gas giant.

The Dominion was, admittedly, 'young' in the grand scale of things, but it wasn't exactly incompetent, if rather inexperienced.

That, and despite its expansionist intentions, it was quite thoroughly frightened by the rest of the galaxy, remembering the past, and therefore fearing the present.

There are only two forms of paranoia. The emissions of the Dominion's local sensor arrays seemed to broadcast the message, albeit only in proverbial form.