USS ANUBIS - Mission 09
Crystals a Plenty
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Morningstar Crystal Quest
A small box is received with the first crystal
002 Shar'El Crystal Analysis
Shar'El looking into Prof Arken and INVERNIA II
003 Stark INVERNIA II
Jayson and Ya'Han discuss the mission
004 Ya'Han Crystals and Memories
Ya'Han recalls an early childhood memory
005 Maya One Crystal At A Time
Additional inforamton is discovered in the crystal
006 Shar'El Crysal Ball
The IGC narrows the search to two people
007 Ya'Han Crysals of the Past
Ya'Han and Jayson share a personal discussion
008 Stark Not So Crystal Clear
Jayson finds himself on the out with Ya'Han
009 Shar'El As Fragile as Crystal
Shar'El investigates Ya'Han's behaviour
010 Ya'Han Confusion
Ya'Han tries to understand what is happening to her
011 Morningstar Hidden in Plain Sight
Two away teams are sent to INVERNIA II
012 Maya Not Fully Understanding Why
Maya analyses the Invernian society
013 Ya'Han On Edge
Ya'Han, slightly on edge, observes the planet
014 Shar'El She Who Shall Not Be Named
The woman is found, but there may be complications
015 Stark Who's Following Who
Someone else might be after the crystals
016 Ya'Han From Above
Ya'Han tracks the unknown individual
017 Paquette Not One Bit
The away team finds IshDur Talkiir
018 Morningstar Understandings
Erik and Nicole have a friendly chat
019 Ya'Han Alone
Ya'Han, unable to sleep, contemplates her situation
020 Stark Solitary Confinement
Jayson tries to understand his own feelings
021 Maya A Whole Different Puzzle
Maya calls on Jayson to help figure out the clue
022 Shar'El Cold Blooded
Shar'El enlists Jayson's aid in Stellar Cartography
023 Stark No Pressure
Jayson speaks with Shar'El about 'Sam'
024 Ya'Han Detour
The ANUBIS goes to the rescue of a freighter
025 Shar'El Concerns
Shar'El speaks to Erik before setting up a new plan
026 Paquette Borderline
Working on the new plan, Sonja confronts Shar'El
027 Stark Artificial Intellect
Jayson offers a theory for the extra data they have
028 Ya'Han Keeping An Eye Open
Ya'Han watches the SPHINX as a freighter hads it way
029 Shar'El Surprises
The SPHINX makes contact with a freighter
030 Stark Different Ideas...
The SPHINX is attacked heading back to the ANUBIS
031 Paquette Complicated Thinking
Sonja and Ya'Han spend an evening together
032 Ya'Han Green, Eggs and Ham
Ya'Han speaks with Sonja about her pregnancy
033 Maya Some Puzzles...
Sonja and Ya'Han drop in on Maya
034 Ya'Han Alien to Alien
Ya'Han tries to tell Maya about her pregnancy
035 Paquette Really Complicated Thinking
Sonja, Ya'Han and Maya figure out the crystal
036 Shar'El All About Feelings
Ya'Han has a verbal run-in with Shar'El
037 Stark No Choices
Jayson starts on a research project
038 Paquette Hurry Up and Wait
Pushing the ANUBIS to its limit, the crew arrives
039 Morningstar Patience
Nicole speaks to Erik who goes to see Shar'El
040 Shar'El Headache
Contact is finally made with the surface
041 Ya'Han Not As Planned
The away team heads to the surface
042 Paquette A Bad Joke
The away team is escorted to the Grand Maestro
043 Ya'Han This Is No Room...
Ya'Han explores the room she was assigned to
044 Maya Impossible Forgotten...
Maya finds a book written by her father
045 Paquette Cutting A Deal
The away team completes the trade, sort of
046 Shar'El Returning Home
The away team returns to the ANUBIS
047 Ya'Han Grateful
Ya'Han is an emotional mess and Sonja comes to help
048 Stark Something's Afoot
Jayson wonders what happened while on the bridge
049 Morningstar The Price
Erik considers the events that have taken place
050 Paquette The News
Maya discovers the location of the next crystal
051 Shar'El Taking Proper Steps
The senior staff is placed on compulsory rest
052 Ya'Han Thinking
Ya'Han thinks back to her time on DOLBRA
053 Stark Pacing
Jayson asks a favour from Shar'El
054 Shar'El Plotting
Shar'El has Ya'Han remembering her past
055 Ya'Han Seeking
Ya'Han tries to understand how she feels
056 Maya Researching
Maya looks into the lack of pictures for the Dolbargy
057 Shar'El Contemplating
Shar'El reviews the data gathered on the Dolbargy
058 Paquette Resting and Laughing
Sonja relaxes by the warp core
059 Ya'Han Drinking
Ya'Han is relaxing in the Black Hole Lounge
060 Dima Drifting
Nicole meets with Erik to talk about the crew
061 Stark Talking
Jayson thinks back to why he wanted to see Nicole
062 Ya'Han Accepting
Ya'Han tells Jayson that she is pregnant, almost
063 Shar'El Confrontation
The ANUBIS deals with a Hirogen scout ship
064 Paquette Planning
Ya'Han is trapped by Sonja in Sonja's quarters
065 Stark Wondering
Jayson tries to understand what just happened
066 Ya'Han Accepting, Part 2
Ya'Han an Sonja accept their situation
067 Shar'El Understanding
Shar'El confronts Ya'Han and Sonja to learn the truth
Post # Character Title
068 Ya'Han Laughing
Everyone is on the bridge as things get complicated
069 Morningstar Arriving
The ANUBIS finally arrives in orbit of DOLBAR
070 Dima Avoiding
The bridge crew tries to figure things out
071 Shar'El Analysing
The puzzle thickens in regards to the Dolbargy
072 Ya'Han Trading
The team is shown around and obtain the crystal
073 Shar'El Investigating
Shar'El looks into memories to see what happened
074 Stark Hoping
Jayson is hoping all is well with Ya'Han
075 Ya'Han Understanding
The truth is discovered as to what happened
076 Shar'El Continuing
Nicole finds a way to help Tanith
077 Paquette Smacking
Sonja confronts Ya'Han
078 Dima Reckoning
Nicole deals with the situation
079 Shar'El Remembering
Shar'El deals with her own issues being in Command
080 Morningstar Meditating
Erik meditates and contemplate the universe
081 Stark Looking
Jayson is looking at Ya'Han as she sleeps
082 Ya'Han Dreaming
Ya'Han dreams while Jayson watches her
083 Maya Not Sleeping
Shar'El goes to see Maya who is still working
084 Shar'El Self-Guilting
Shar'El is having problem dealing with the memories
085 Stark Fixing
Jayson and Ya'Han try to return to their routine
086 Ya'Han Evaluating
Ya'Han evaluates the threat potential
087 Shar'El Compartmentalizing
Shar'El has problems dealing with Ya'Han's memories
088 Paquette Relaxing
Nicole and Sonja relax and enjoy a few drinks
089 Dima Arriving
The ANUBIS arrives at BREKKA
090 Stark Ridging
Jayson gets ready for the away mission
091 Shar'El Prepping
Shar'El, Jayson and Nicole beam down to BREKKA
092 Ya'Han Running
Sonja and Ya'Han head to a freighter in trouble
093 Paquette Fixing
Sonja and Ya'Han deal with the freighter issue
094 Morningstar Voicing
Erik discusses the situation with the bridge crew
095 Ya'Han Protecting
Sonja is experiencing some troubles with the repais
096 Stark Searching
The away team gets a lead to find Tianna
097 Dima Greeting
The away team runs into some trouble
098 Shar'El Reeling
Shar'El is having problems dealing with the Felicium
099 Morningstar Adapting
Complications as Shar'El escapes to the surface
100 Paquette Tracking
Sonja, Ya'Han and Nicole follow Shar'El to ORNARA
101 Ya'Han Huntging
Ya'Han is worried about Shar'El's state of mind
102 Shar'El The High Ground
Shar'El in a complete state of delusion
103 Stark Wandering
Jayson wanders back to the bridge
104 Ya'Han Surviving
Ya'Han recalls a similar event from her childhood
105 Shar'El Hallucinating
Shar'El falls deeper into a drug induced delusions
106 Paquette MacGyvering
Sonja finds and fixes a way to get Ya'Han free
107 Ya'Han Breathing
Ya'Han is freed from beneath the rubble
108 Morningstar Waiting
Erik deals with Jayson
109 Dima Shooting
The away team finds and secures Shar'El
110 Shar'El Realizing
Shar'El is brought back on board the ANUBIS
111 Dima Dealing
The trade with Tianna is completed
112 Stark Detoxing
The morning after the antidote was given
113 Shar'El Crashing
Shar'El goes to see Maya with a special project
114 Maya Multitasking
Maya discovers something and goes to see Sonja
115 Morningstar Hoping
Erik goes to see Shar'El for some Intel
116 Shar'El Chatting
Erik and Shar'El talk about the Ub-Hani
117 Maya Reviewing
Maya reads the reports on the Ub-Hani
118 Ya'Han Sparring
Ya"han and Jayson head to Sickbay
119 Paquette Computing
Sonja and Erik get an idea that involves ANI
120 Shar'El Fearing
Shar'El goes to see Sonja and Maya out of fear
121 Stark Dining
Jayson and Ya'Han share a heated dinner
122 Maya Upgrading
Sonja and Maya have a discussion about ANI's upgrades
123 Ya'Han Working
Jayson and Ya'Han have breakfast before duty
124 Shar'El Waking
Shar'El also makes it to the bridge
125 Paquette Beaming
Maya and Sonja take a quick nourishing break
126 Morningstar Preparing
Erik sends Shar'El to check on ANI
127 Maya Dying
ANI vanishes and returns with the crystal
128 Jones Getting Involved
Someone else is looking for the crystals
129 Shar'El Decorating
Maya reports to Shar'El where the next crystal is
130 Stark Bitching
Jayson allows himself to show his fear
131 Shar'El Scanning
Shar'El discovers some interesting facts
132 Jones The Cuckoo
Tanith has falshbacks of her time in the Syndicate
133 Morningstar Blinking
All crystals and found but at a cost
M09-P001: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 01 - 1130 ("Crystal Quest")
##########
"Crystal Quest"
Previous post "The Relative Merits of Planets"
##########

"The secret to a happy, successful life of paranoia is to keep careful track of your persecutors."
- Tyrone Hayes

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 32218.1130

"Here are the latest orders from Admiral Koniki," the First Officer stated as she handed over a PADD to the Native American sitting behind his desk, noticing only then that the Captain had not been alone. "Good day Counselor Dima, I hope that I am not interrupting anything important?"

Nicole simply smiled and shook her head. "We were just talking about our latest mission and debated as to how the Admiral would react to our findings."

He will probably react the same way that he has been as of late," Shar'El sighed. "Wonder what corner of the galaxy he'll be sending us to this time," the First Officer added while glaring at the PADD she had just handed over to the ANUBIS' CO.

"Am I to gather by your words that you suspect the Admiral is still angry at us for having returned Kai to his home world?" Erik teasingly inquired, glancing over the PADD he had just received from his First Officer.

"With all due respect Captain, we celebrated the 200th day of our exile from NEW ALEXANDRIA," Shar'El pointed out, in a clearly less than happy tone. "Every time we come close to completing the mission we were sent on, which just happens to be in a region as far away from our home base as possible, we get new orders sending us even father. You cannot in all honestly believe that the Admiral is not trying to keep us from returning home?"

"Has it really been 200 days?" The Native American asked, appearing honestly shocked by the number mentioned by his First Officer.

"Today makes 201 days," Shar'El clarified.

"We did disobey direct orders," the Captain countered with. "Being exiled from our base of operation seems to be a rather small price to pay for what we did."

"Are you teasing poor Shar'El or are you actually making it a point to ignore the facts we uncovered about where the data as to the actual location of Kai's home world came from?" Nicole jumped in with. "There is a great deal of evidence pointing to us having been set up by the Admiral, a conclusion that I believed you had come to agree with."

"That he agrees with that theory or not doesn't change the fact that we are not being ordered back to NEW ALEXANDRIA," the First Officer explained. "We are to set a course to rendezvous with the USS NILE. Apparently, they have a data transfer for us, one that could not be risked being sent over secured channels."

"Sounds like we are being sent somewhere dangerous," Counselor Dima noted with wide opened eyes.

"More so than dealing with the Nausicaans weapon smugglers," Shar'El agreed. Has potentially dangerous that their last mission had been, the orders concerning that matter had not been received in such a convoluted manner.

"It's not like we have any other option," the Native American pointed out. "Until such time as the Admiral sees the need, be it physical or emotional, to having us back to NEW ALEXANDRIA, we will continue to perform the tasks demanded of us."

"Does he sound like a man suffering from guilt?" Shar'El asked as she turned to face the sitting Counsellor.

Nicole knew better than to offer a reply at this time, and instead only smile once again.

"I will have Ensign Jones set an intercept course for the USS NILE," the First Officer confirmed. "Barring any unforeseen problems, we should rendezvous in just under 4 hours."

The Native American nodded his head in a clear sign of agreement, dismissing his First Officer without even having to say a single word. As soon as the door closed being Shar'El, Nicole shifting her position to sit forward on the couch where she had been this entire time.

"Erik, it's been over 200 days," the Counsellor reiterated. "I have said this to you before and feel the need to say it again, the crew is showing signs of concern."

"I know," Erik admitted. "Unfortunately there is little that I can do about it. Right now the best course of action is to carry out our orders and prove to the Admiral that we are what he needs us to be."

"A bunch of obedient mindless tin soldiers?" Nicole said in as a serious tone as she could, this despite the fact that she was in reality only wishing to tease the Captain.

The Native American simply rolled his eyes before shifting his focus onto the data contained within the PADD that he had been given by his First Officer.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32218.1515

"We are holding position 500 meters to the NILE's portside," Tanith reported.

"Thank you Helm," Erik acknowledge before turning his attention to his Chief of Security. "Are we cleared to make the data transfer?"

"We are," Ya'Han noted with a hint of surprise in her voice. "One problem though, the data transfer does not appear to be set up to be a computer to computer exchange,m but rather our receiving a small package."

"The mission hasn't even started and things are already going beyond expected parameters," the OPS Officer sighed. "Can't wait to see what this entire mission is going to take us."

"Bridge to Engine Room. Lieutenant Paquette?" The Captain called out after having opened a channel from the controls on the armrest of the central chair where he was sitting.

=/\= Go ahead, =/\= Sonja acknowledged without delay.

"Apparently we are to receive a small package from the NILE," the Native American explained. "We need to make sure that the transport beam is secured."

=/\= We are the only two ships in a dozen or so lightyears. Unless Shar'El fell asleep while at her station at the IGC, like she did during the last mission, or was that the mission before? Either way, she would have informed us of our not being alone, but since I don't have anything better to do at this moment, I will make sure that the transport beam is secured. Engineering out. =/\=

"I have the feeling that Sonja is not going to let that little incident be forgotten by Shar'El or anyone else," Nicole quietly chuckled.

"The link has been established and secured," Jayson Stark reported after a few seconds during which the redheaded Chief Engineer had done her magic.

"Initiate transport," Erik ordered as he cast an amused glance to the Ship's Counsellor in regards to what she had said.

Not having been entirely certain as to what to expect, the members of the Senior Staff present on the bridge were shocked to see what appeared to be a very small box materialize on the floor in front of the Captain.

"Little early for a Christmas gift," the Flight Control Officer pointed out, puzzled by the size of the item that had just been beamed over.

"Sensors are not detecting any sort of explosive or biological agent inside," the black and red haired woman in charge of the ship's security announced.

"If the Admiral had wanted us dead, I am sure he would not have sent the NILE to deliver *that*," Jayson exclaimed pointing to the small box in question.

"The sensors have picked up something unusual though," Maya added as she made her way to the central chair where the Captain was still sitting in. "It seems that there is a small crystal inside the box."

"Be my guess," the Native American offered as he invited the Chief Science Officer to pick up the small container and confirm what the sensors had reported.

Without hesitation, the Shillian reached for the small box and opened it with just as much scientific curiosity as she did everything else. "Most interesting," Maya announced as her eyes fell onto the item contained within the box. "It does appear to be an Hekaran memory crystal. They use these to store and transfer excessively large set of data."

"Think you can access whatever is inside that thing?" Erik inquired, very confident that his Chief Science Officer would be able to do that and much more.

"Give me a few minutes and I will see what I can find inside this crystal."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32218.1530

It had actually taken longer to gather the members of the senior staff than it had taken Maya to access the data contained in the Hekalan Crystal.

"Although the information was well encoded, it was meant for us to access so it did not take too long, but as you will see, what I did find is rather interesting," Maya explained before dimming the lights to allow a three-dimensional hologram to be clearly seen by all. "The man you are seeing now is Professor Elijah Arken, a brilliant man who had been working on several important scientific matters."

"It should also be mentioned that Professor Arken is considered to be quite mad by the whole of the Federation Scientific community," Nicole added, the man's name having been mentioned more than once in the field of Ship's Counsellors.

"I know him," Jayson explained. "His portrait is found right next to the dictionary definition of paranoia."

"And here I thought it was Koniki that had that honour," Sonja sighed.

"Our mission is to locate seven other similar crystals to this one," Maya continued, ignoring the banter of the others. "Apparently, the Professor was working on something very important, and to avoid his work to be discovered and used by others, he separated it into a total of eight crystals which he scattered throughout the Federation and even beyond. The data contained in a single crystal is useless without the others, and even if only a single crystal is missing, the others would proved to be equally useless."

"Not paranoid at all," Shar'El chuckled. "So, how do we find all of these crystals?"

"In order to insure that the location of all eight crystals could be readily found, there are clues in each crystal pointing to the next. This crystal seems to be telling us to go to INVERNIA II, where we will need to locate a certain IshDur Talkiir. It appears that he is in the possession of the next crystal."

"Great," Sonja sighed. "He is still getting even with us, and he is doing so by sending us on a wild goose chase?"

"Wild goose?" Ya'Han inquired not having been familiar with the expression.

"Ensign Jones," the Native American stated as he rose from his chair at the end of the table. "Please set course for INVERNIA II. It appears that we have a specific individual to locate."

"Once we get there we'll just have to hope that he still as that crystal in his possession," Shar'El added, obviously not sharing the Captain's abundant optimism.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M09-P002: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 01 - 1600 ("Crystal Analysis")
=-=
"Crystal Analysis"
[previous post was "Crystal Quest" by the well-rested Francois]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck A-4, IGC
Stardate: 32218.1600

The ExO / ILO had returned to the IGC to see what she could find on Professor Elijah Arken, the Ivernian named IshDur Talkiir, as well as his home world of INVERNIA II. As she scanned the data being displayed on her monitors, Shar'El was shocked to see just little data was available on their destination. Although diplomatic relations had been established with that world in the mid to late 2340s, 80 years later the Invernians were just as a complete mystery as the first day the Federation made contact with them.

Immediately, Shar'El believed the race to be extreme xenophobes, fearing any and all outside interference in their way of life, but the reports from visitors to that world painted a drastically different picture. In general, the Invernians were a welcoming and friendly people, what set them apart from others though was their distinct  loathing of talking about themselves, either as individuals or as a race.  To this race, history is any form, was looked upon as something sacred that could not be shared with others, especially not strangers. Even the most basic of culture differences had been kept out of sight of those visiting dignitaries, further fuelling the mystery that engulfed the race for the last 80 some odd years.

Realizing that this might prove to be a problem for them as well as their quest for the memory crystal currently in the hands of an individual by the name of IshDur Talkiir, the ExO / ILO turned her research onto the Professor, curious as to how the man had managed to develop the trust she believed would have been required to allow the Invernian to take on the responsibility of protecting the crystal.

According to the public records, Professor Elijah Arken had travelled to INVERNIA II several years ago claiming that he needed to personally pick up some local material essential for his research. Knowing how paranoid the man could be, those in charge had not seen any reason to deny the Professor's request, and had likely welcomed the opportunity to see their lives be free of the man's well documented madness.

"I am going to need to speak with Counsellor Dima about this guy," Shar'El noted to herself. "Doing a psychological analysis of someone is easy. It is always an advantage to know how someone might react to any given situation, but this Professor seems to be the perfect example of an over-the-top 'mad scientist'."  The ExO / ILO sighed in amused surprise as she read the lengthy list of events that Professor Arken had been implicated in since the moment he had become known to the Federation's scientific community.

To say that the man was a genius would have been a grave understatement, but as smart as he was, Professor Arken had proven himself to be equally unpredictable in his research and methods of performing experiments. Knocking planetary communication satellites because they were getting in his way while studying a spacial anomaly from the planet surface had not been something that required a second thought as far as the man had been concerned. Ejecting and detonating a starship's warp-core to test the strength of a magnetic bond between a flat surface and his experiment at the time had also been something that the Professor had not shown any remorse in doing.

"This might give us all a new appreciation for Maya," Shar'El quietly chuckled. "I can just imagine how chaotic life would be on the ANUBIS if our resident Chief Science Officer was but a small fraction as unpredictable as this man is documented being. Suddenly, having to listen to her go on for hours about some scientific discovery doesn't seem to be so bad now."

Thinking about Maya, the ExO / ILO decided to check in on what the Chief Science Officer had been doing. It was without the slightest amount of surprise that Shar'El found the woman in question working inside one of the labs scanning and analyzing the crystal that had been beamed over from the USS NILE. Given everything that she had read about the Professor, it was highly unlikely that the Shillian would be able to break the encryption to reveal the secrets hiding therein, especially given that they currently only held 1/8th of the complete puzzle. That said though, if there was something to be discovered in that simple, innocent looking crystal, the raven-haired woman was more than confident that their resident Chief Science Officer would be the person to find it.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P003: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 01 - 1615 ("INVERNIA II")
"INVERNIA II"
[previous "Crystal Analysis"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32218.1615

Here they were, heading into another mission set on the far reaches of the galaxy. If Admiral Koniki had not been trying to keep them from returning home, he sure was getting some sort of kick in having the crew of the ANUBIS bounce all over the cosmos.  As annoying as this might have been to some though, Jayson did not feel in the least bit bothered by their not having returned to NEW ALEXANDRIA since their departure some 200 days ago. Yes, the secret installation hidden inside a huge asteroid was their base of operation, but to him it was far from being their home. That title was reserved for the ANUBIS, this for no other reason that it was where he spent all of his time, not to mention that it was where the one person he cared most about could be found.

"What are you smiling for?" Ya'Han asked from the security station. The beaming grin on the man's face having been impossible to miss even from halfway across the bridge.

"Just thinking about our latest mission and the fact that we are being sent to INVERNIA II," he replied thinking it unwise to admit that he had been thinking about the ANUBIS being his home and how much his world had now been a single individual onboard that same ship.

"Finding this IshDur Talkiir is already going to be a challenge," she explained. "Although we do have all of the equipment we need to tap into their planetary data system. I am more concerned about dealing with the Invernians themselves. According to Federation records they are a very friendly and welcoming people, but they seem to have an extreme aversion when it comes to revealing details about themselves to anyone, that including members of their own race. That one fact may play a huge part against our efforts to find and even discuss the situation with the current holder of the second crystal. He may very well put up a fight in order to protect the item he was entrusted with from people he knows nothing about."

"Do you ever get tired of always expecting a fight of some sort?" Jayson asked in amusement.

"I would be a lousy Chief of Security if I did not think that way," Ya'Han pointed out in a quasi-serious tone. "That said; you have to agree that we do seem to be a magnet for trouble. We got lucky with those Nausicaans during our last mission, and the time before that, those Ruthian terrorists almost succeeded in blowing up that Risian embassy."

"We did stop them in time though," the OPS Officer argued back, believing that they had done a great job on that particular mission.

"Yes we did stop them but only after the fact that they rushed their timeline and made several crucial errors in the process. Luckily for us, the additional personnel they brought in proved to be more of a hindrance for them instead of us," Ya'Han confirmed adding some details. "My point is that wherever we are, whatever it is that we are meant to do, we always seem to attract more trouble than we were meant to deal with initially.  Our track record is more than enough to make me expect the worst possible outcome regardless of how simple a mission may appear to be, and this mission does not strike me as being anywhere close to easy."

He had been ready to argue this, pointing out that maybe she had been over reacting and exaggerating things, but as he recalled their mission on MARKALA PRIME, the OPS Officer quickly reconsidered. During that particular mission, their objective had been to locate and extract a missing Intel operative. By the end of the mission, they had uncovered a plot to assassinate the ruler of NYLA IV who also happened to be her estranged father. That Ya'Han discovered the existence of a half-sister she knew nothing about only to see her die shortly after had only proven the point that the Chief of Security was trying to make.

It did appear that the crew of the USS ANUBIS had a way of finding an abundance of trouble where none would have been expected beyond the expected hurdles of their missions.

"Alright, you win," he conceded with a sigh. "What kind of problem should we be getting ready for?" The question had been meant as a truthful acknowledgement as well as to show a willingness to accept what Ya'Han had been saying. There would be no harm in getting better prepared for the probably unexpectedness they might be coming up against while on INVERNIA II.

"Commander Shar'El and the IGC will already have a hard enough time locating the whereabouts of IshDur Talkiir to within a city or maybe even closer, this simply based on the unlikelihood that he will not be the only one with that name. So finding that specific individual will prove to be a sizable first challenge," she explained.

"First challenge? You don't think that it will be enough? Let me guess, you found something else."

"Nothing concrete," she clarified before continuing. "All reports point to the Invernians as being welcoming and friendly, so our beaming down to the planet surface should not pose any problems in itself. Our asking about the location of any specific individual though will likely not be all that well received by the general populace or local authorities. Without possessing more specific details about that individual, it will be difficult for us to locate him without any sort of assistance. As friendly as they may have been to previous Federation diplomats and visitors, I suspect that we will be finding more than enough trouble when we start pushing for information."

"Well, it does make sense that Professor Arken gave the crystal to someone who would not be all that easily found," the OPS Officer said with realization. "It would have defeated the purpose of scattering the data all over the galaxy if it had been that simple to bring the pieces back together. It is too bad that the Professor could not be here to help."

"Do you truly believe that it would be better to have that mad man here on board the ANUBIS?" She gasped. "You don't need to look all that far to see some near-catastrophe related to that man having tried or tested something that no one else would have ever dreamt of doing. The man is a dangerous menace and I for one am happy that he is not here. I can only imagine in fear the kind of trouble we would have to deal with had he been our guest on board."

"Imagine in fear," he repeated in shock. Knowing the black and red haired woman as he did, her using the word fear in relation to herself had been quite telling. "Alright, you made your point," Jayson agreed. "I guess all we can do is hope that we will be lucky in finding this Talkiir fellow."

"That will only be the start," she added. "The next issue after that will be to see if he is still in possession of the crystal," Ya'Han said in a less than optimist manner. "It has been a few years since the professor's visit to that world, so there is no telling what might have happened. For all we know IshDur Talkiir may be dead and the crystal lost, or worst, it could have fallen into the hands of someone who, after having disposed of the man, is now searching to put this puzzle back together as we are."

"I think I am starting to understand why you go and visit Counsellor Dima on a regular basis," Jayson said in stunned astonishment. "I don't think I have ever been around anyone as pessimistic as you."

"Expect the worst and you will never be disappointed," Ya'Han stated as if quoting some long-lost wisdom which of course left the OPS Officer to feel a little hurt given that they had shared a rather sizable amount of time together. Seeing the expression on his face, the Chief of Security offered a gentle smile before adding a small footnote to her previous statement. "There are a few exceptions, and yes you can count yourself amongst them."

Jayson returned the woman's smile before sending his thoughts back onto what the matter that had been at the center of their discussion. INVERNIA II would be an interesting first stop in their mission; one that Jayson could only hope would not set the tone for the other six crystals that they would need to find.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P004: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 01 - 1630 ("Crystals and Memories")
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"Crystals and Memories"
[previous post was "INVERNIA II"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32218.1630

**Expect the worst and you will never be disappointed, ** Ya'Han repeated in her mind following the discussion Jayson and her had just shared. The truth of the matter was that she had not always been that way, and the realization that she had become a person who by default looked onto the darker side of things actually bothered her. It was true that she was a far away from being the woman she had been meant to upon her birth as could be, but some aspect of her current persona had been just as distant to what she had hoped they would be.

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FLASHBACK
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Setting: NYLA IV, Imperial Palace, Courtyard
Stardate: 13027.0530 (Ya'Han is 6 years old)

Although the light from the rising sun had not yet made its way over the protective walls surrounding the Imperial Palace, the darkness of the night had already begun to give way to the advancing new day. As the daughter of the High Sovereign, the youngest of 13 children, Ya'Han had been expected to remain in her room until a servant would come to assist in her morning routine. Of course, being the youngest also meant that she was the last of the children to be attended to, and the one wishing the most to be out of her room as quickly as possible.

Several servants had come to call the little girl by nicknames addressing both her size and swiftness. Of course, at that age there had been no way for Ya'Han to realize that such nicknames had been highly inappropriate for someone of her station. She would actually grin, as any happy child should, when she overheard these cautiously whispered nicknames.

The escapes were always short lived, but even after being discovered in the Imperial courtyard and brought back to her room, the youngest of the High Sovereign's children still found it within her to be happy with the early morning game she enjoyed before the rigorous training of the day began. In some ways, these early morning unauthorized outings had been the highlight of her days.

As much as she wanted to make her father proud, the 6-years old Nylaan girl had been too joyous about life as a whole to let any opportunity to enjoy it pass her by. Even if she could not directly see the rising sun, the warmth of its light had been enough to make her happy for the start of a new day.

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End of FLASHBACK
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A trembling smile caressed Ya'Han lips as the distant memory of a happier childhood flashed through her mind. From the joyous little girl she had been, her relentless training to meet the expectations of a father's towards his children had quickly changed the youngest daughter into a much colder person. Her escape from NYLA IV and the hardships she had to endure during her travels through countless cold and filthy freighters had quickly replaced the happy memories with the harsh realities of her situation. To expect the worst had not been something she had come to do by choice, but rather something that she had been forced into for no other reason than to be able to survive another day.

The cruelty and demands of the majority of the crewmembers she encountered on these freighters had been more than enough to make her fear never again seeing the light and feeling the warmth of any sun, no matter what planet she might end up on. 

"Are you alright?" Counsellor Dima asked. Although Nicole had only been walking by, it had proven to be more than easy for the joint Trill to notice that darker clouds had swept through the mind of the Chief of Security. The fact that her hair had shifted back to being solid black had only confirmed the Counsellor's suspicious.

"I'm fine," Ya'Han quickly offered, realizing only then that both Nicole and Jayson had been staring at her as if some extra appendage had appeared on her body.

"Are you sure?" Nicole inquired, quickly casting her eyes up to draw attention to the Nylaan's hair before looking directly into the woman's eyes.

Ya'Han reached for her hair and pulled a single lock into view. Despite her continued efforts and counselling sessions, the Sec/Tac had still found it impossible to control the changing color of her hair when strong emotions surfaced.  As she drew in a long, deep breath, the black-haired Nylaan calmed herself and summed back the dark and crimson mix that had become her norm.

"My apologies Counsellor," the Sec/Tac politely offered. "I allowed certain memories from my early childhood to surface following my discussion with Jayson. The fault was entirely mine," Ya'Han added to make sure that should any blame be cast it would land on her shoulders alone.

"Relax," Nicole said with a reassuring smile. "There is nothing wrong with allowing our memories to surface; in fact I would be concerned if you or anyone else were actually able to completely stop that from happening. The only difference in your case is that the emotions that your memories trigger are, shall we say, impossible to hide. We still have some time before we reach INVERNIA II, so maybe you could drop by my office after you are done here on the bridge?"

"Of course," the Sec/Tac replied, understanding that she had greatly overreacted. "Thank you."

"There is no need to thank you Ya'Han," Nicole stated with a smile that in a way reminded the Nylaan of herself at a much younger age. "I would say that it's all part of my job as Ship's Counsellor, but that would make it seem like I only do this because I am required to, which is not why I am here and wanting for us to talk. I am here for you as a friend."

"Thank you," the black and red-haired Nylaan offered once more noticing a rather puzzled and concerned expression on Jayson's face. Although the two of them had spent a great deal of time together, Ya'Han had been far more willing to detail her past with Nicole than she had been with Jayson. Maybe in time she would tell him everything, but for now, she needed to better understand her own self before sharing some of the darker events that had filled her life, both before and after her escape from her home world of NYLA IV.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P005: USS ANUBIS: Maya: Day 01 - 1630 ("One Crystal At A Time")
---
"One Crystal At A Time"
(Previous Post: "Crystals and Memories")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Quantum Physics Laboratory
Stardate: 32218.1630

Using crystals for the storage of large quantity of data had not been something new, in fact thanks to the durability of that substance it was theorized that the data contained within could remain intact for several centuries even if the conditions were less than perfect. Those civilizations capable of utilizing such a method of storing data had done so and quickly saw their level of technology increase exponentially due to the fact that computerized devices could access an impressive amounts of data almost instantaneously.

As great as the technology was though, it proved to be out of reach for a large number of races, and those who could actually use it found themselves unwilling to devote the time and work required to make the process viable for everyday use. Obviously, that had not been a problem for Professor Arken, the proof of his success in using the method sitting right there in front of the Shillian Chief Science Officer. His success only increased her determination to get inside the crystal and get a better idea as to what kind of data they were dealing with. From there she would be able to figure out just how much of it there was in this first of eight crystals to be located.

Encoding a crystal with data had not been an easy task, and being able to retrieve that encrypted data had proven to be even more complicated as the information could not only be electronically encoded prior to being inserted into the crystal but also fragmented within the actual crystalline structure. This gave the additional protection of insuring that the data would remain unreadable unless the specific method used to install it into the crystal was also used to retrieve it.

In this particular case, Professor Arken had layered the data contained in the crystal currently in their possession in such a way that the basic information that had been shared with the rest of the Senior Officers had been easily enough obtained. The rest of the information contained in the crystal though had been set-up in such a way as to insure that all eight crystals had been required to decode and access the whole of the information.

At first Maya had wanted to try and break the encryption but after a little while, the Shillian had found herself more interested in understanding the mechanics used rather than the actual information. Based on her scans and comprehension of the process in general, the Chief Science Officer rapidly began to admire the mad genius behind the creation of this crystal, which was simple in appearance by any standard.

Given the intellect and obvious abilities of the Professor, the Shillian Scientist could not help but wonder if there had not been more secrets hidden within the crystal than those that they had initially been told about. Due to the immense data storage capacity of the crystal, it had no been impossible for data aside from the research material of the mad man to be contained therein. Of course finding such data, which had likely been meant to remain hidden from prying eyes, would be but the first of many difficulties the Chief Science Officer of the USS ANUBIS would have to deal with.

As much as she might have wanted to dedicate all of her time and efforts to this quest, the Chief Science Officer understood that her focus needed to remain on the mission and its objectives, at least for the time being. Maybe once this mission would be completed she would have the opportunity to better research these crystals, the data they contained as well as the method used by Professor Arken in storing and protecting the information as he had.

With her thoughts back on the encoded layered information, the Shillian began to isolate those parts of the data that she knew would be impossible for her to decipher at this time. Using a simple process of elimination, the Chief Science Officer had hoped to identify some data that she might be able to access beyond that which had already been. The hope was to find something that would help them in finding the Invernian IshDur Talkiir, a single individual amongst a planetary civilization that counted in the billions

Maya carefully reviewed and examined the data layer by layer, finding only a few bits and pieces that she was actually able to decipher. Unfortunately, these had been far too small to be of any use, appearing also as if this data had been there to act as a diversion. The more of these fragments of data she discovered, the more the Chief Science Officer believed that this had not been a random error, but in fact, a expertly designed way to again make sure that nothing contained within the crystal could be easily retrieved.

After having found hundreds of these bits of data, the Shillian decided to run the data collected through the computer to see if some sort of pattern could be detected. Maya knew that the odds had been against them, the computer having been given the task to formulate words after being given nothing more than letters without a linguistic base to work with.  Even before the results came back, the Chief Science Officer started playing the data, seeing that each bit retrieved possessed what appeared to be some sort of marker attached to it.

At first, these markers made little sense until Maya noticed something odd. The markers resembled the coding used by the medical department to identify the structure and progression of genetic strands. Using this discovery as the foundation for her work, the Shillian began to place the pieces of this latest puzzle together until she arrived with a complete genetic sample.

---
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32218.1700

"That should make things a lot easier," the Captain stated after having been informed that the description of a genetic sample had been found within the crystal.

"Not really," Maya amended. "The genetic data I was able to reconstruct seems to belong to a Risian, not an Invernian. I did think that it was strange so I ran the data through the computer to see if maybe I had made an error, but the markers left little room for that. Once you understood what the markers were and how they were to be read, the final outcome was inevitable. For some reason, Professor Arken incorporated the genetic data of a Risian with the information contained in the crystal. The genetic sample is not enough to get any sort of appearance or there was enough to identify the person as being a female."

"Why would the Professor put the genetic information for someone belonging to a race other than the one we are heading to the world of?" The Chief of Operations asked, unable to make sense of any of this. "Would it not have been easier to give us the genetic data for the man we are actually looking for, or did the professor put that genetic information only to confuse us?"

"The Professor may be smarter than we fully realise," Commander Shar'El said, he First Officer having come down from the Intelligence Gathering Center following the announcement from Maya that she had discovered something new. "Giving us a way to identify the specific IshDur Talkiir out of the over 29,000 who share the same name would have risked the safety of the man and the crystal he was entrusted with."

"So the data was added to allow us to narrow our search," the Shillian said, now even more than before in admiration with the Professor. "Whoever this Risian woman may be, she is our link to him. It does make sense as this way we will have to identify ourselves and prove our reason for seeking IshDur Talkiir and the crystal, doing so without risking the man's life or the item we are currently searching for.

"Genius or not, I am already dreading our having to look for the other seven crystals, especially if each one is as hard to locate as this one," Stark announced.

"Professor Arken wanted t make sure that his work remained safe," Maya explained. "We can only guess as to the importance of the research based on the length he has gone through to protect it. We should not be looking at these steps as obstacles but rather as a confirmation of just how important the completed data will be."

"There is only one way for us to know how important all of this is," the Captain added, trying his best to hide his uncertainty. "We need to find all of the crystals and reassemble the data. Until then, all we have are guesses and speculations, so I would rather we all focus on the mission, in this case one crystal at a time."

---
Jessica Solarik

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

&

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M09-P006: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 01 - 1800 ("Crystal Ball")
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"Crystal Ball"
[previous post was "One Crystal At A Time" by the investigating Jessica]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck A-4, IGC
Stardate: 32218.1800

With the ANUBIS about a full day out from their destination of INVERNIA II at their current speed, the ExO / ILO had returned to the IGC with the information provided by Lieutenant Commander Maya. It was hoped that the latest discovery would allow Shar'El and her team of Intel Techniciens to narrow down the search parameters for IshDur Talkiir.

Finding a single individual by that name in a population of several billion, where 13,857 of them had that particular name, would have been an already daunting task. When adding the fact that the Invernians were exceptionally shy about sharing information about themselves through any sort of media, that search became that much more impossible. Without any sort of description or data on that person, there had been no way to tell one IshDur Talkiir apart from any of the others.

Now, thanks to the discovery made by the Chief Science Officer, they search had shifted to be focussed on a Risian woman in a world of Invernians. This new search parameter would be an entirely different matter, one that the head of the IGC felt far more confident about. This increased optimism was quickly met with one massive obstacle; how were they to locate this Risian woman using the incomplete genetic data discovered by their Chief Science Officer?

As much as the ExO / ILO might have hoped that this woman would be the only Risian on INVERNIA II, the odds had been against them in that regards. That said, Shar'El suspected that those odds would still be far better than the 13,857-to-1 they had previously faced in finding the current owner of the crystal they were after.

"Commander," one of the IGC techs called out, drawing the ExO / ILO's attention. "The only available information we have to work with is from a planetary survey conducted by the Federation envoy to INVERNIA II. The data collection appears to coincide with the Professor's visit to that world, which meant that the data is a few years out of date."

"This just keeps getting better and better," Shar'El exclaimed. The planet and people selected by Professor Arken had been apparently been very carefully chosen to insure that his research remained as safe as possible. As much as she might have admired the man, the ExO / ILO found herself equally despising him for the nightmarish situation that he had created through his genius driven madness.  "Alright, do we have access to list and location of the planetary medical facilities?"

"That information was part of the census taken by the Federation envoys," the IGC Tech reported.

"My guess is that there won't be any planetary network for us to tap into in order to locate all of the Risians on INVERNIA II, so I want to get a head start and pin every medical facility for us to target. Hopefully we can access some sort of data that will allow us to locate this woman without having to resort to a full planetary genetic scan of every Risian on the planet."

"According to that census," the Tech nervously offered, "there were just under 10,000 Risian woman on INVERNIA II."

"Of course there were," Shar'El sighed in desperation. "Why would Arken make things in the slightest way for anyone? That said though, there had to be a reason why he chose to add the genetic data of that particular woman over anyone else's. What if we are looking at this all wrong? What if this Risian woman is not just an in-between contact to insure the safety of the man and crystal but is something more, much more? Maybe a life partner."

"N nearly half of the 10,000 Risian woman were married to Invernian man when the census was taken a couple of years ago, but there are only two who were married to someone by the name of IshDur Talkiir," the IGC Tech reported, certain that his words would make the ExO / ILO rejoice.

"Now, those are the kind of odds I like to be working with," Shar'El cheered. "Get as much information on those two Risian women. Once we reach orbit, we will have a 50-50 percent chance of getting the right couple right off the bat. A quick genetic scan of the Risian will confirm if we actually have the right one or not. From that point on, it should not be too complicated to introduce and explain ourselves in order to convince Mister IshDur Talkiir that we are here on behalf of Professor Arken and that he can without worry hand over the crystal to us." After having heard herself say those words, the ExO / ILO could not be certain if she had said this out of actual optimism or darker sarcasm. Given how many barriers the Professor had put into place to insure that the crystal and the data contain therein remained safe, she suspected that things would not be as simple as she had just stated them to be.

The simple fact that the census they were working from to get all of this information had been a couple of years out-of-date had been more than enough to hint to a great deal of problems they would likely have to address long before being able to come face to face with the man in possession of the crystal. The first and more troubling possibility was the unappealing chance that the crystal had for one reason or another changed hands.

As much as she might have wanted to tackle this matter right here and now instead of waiting for their arrival to INVERNIA II, Shar'El had been obliged to wait. With a society and people as shy or sharing information about themselves, the ExO / ILO had to consider how fortunate they had been in having as much data as they currently had. Without the discovery made by Commander Maya and the research performed by the IGC personnel, the ANUBIS and its crew would still be searching for a single man out of 13,857 with the name of IshDur Talkiir, and this without knowing anything about that specific individual.

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Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P007: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 01 - 2145 ("Crystals of the Past")
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"Crystals of the Past"
[previous post was "Crystal Ball"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 32218.2145

"How is it that you manage to keep your quarters so tidy?" Jayson asked from the couch on which he had been sitting, the cleared plate of the late dinner he and Ya'Han had shared still sitting on the living room table along with an empty glass.

"Because I clean up after myself," the off-duty Sec/Tac replied, a playful yet snarky tone was in her voice as she stood by the food replicator, the device having just turned off after having claimed her plate and glass.

Jayson sighed and stood, taking the plate and glass in the process. After a few steps, the OPS Officer had joined the Sec/Tac by the food replicator, the machine ready to recycle the other half of the serving plates that had been used for the meal.

"I find it funny," Jayson said laughing. "You would think that it should be the opposite? I'm the one who should be in a habit of cleaning up right after me and you should be the one expecting others to do this for you."

"Why do you think that?" Ya'Han asked, puzzled by the man's words and genuinely curious as to see what thought process he had used to reach that conclusion.

"When Leena died, I found myself alone and forced to take care of things on my own. So you'd think that I would have learned to do that, like cleaning after myself after dinner," he explained as he looked back at Ya'Han as if the mention of his deceased fiancee had been perfectly normal.

"Obviously you didn't," Ya'Han snarled back as she left the man standing there in order to return to the main living area, selecting to sit in the chair instead of the couch.

"Unlike you," Jayson continued, completely oblivious to the faux-pas he had just made, and apparently unaware that he had been about to make another, this one even more severe. "You would think that growing up in a castle with servants all around you would have made it second nature for you to have things done by others."

The black and red haired Nylaan had been more than willing to let the mention of his fiancee go by without her saying anything, but his last statement had proven to be far more than the self-exiled daughter of the High Sovereign could manage.  "Is that what you think? Is that how you see me? I am just the spoiled brat of some distant planetary ruler?"

"That's not what I meant," Jayson quickly offered, having only now realized where Ya'Han had chosen to sit and the fact that her hair had changed color, and not one of the pleasant ones.  "I was just thinking that when you were younger, you would have gotten used to having others do things for you. It's not like you talk that much about those days, so i have to guess quite a bit."

"I might have grown up in a palace," Ya'Han began, correcting the term used by her dinner guest, "but we all were expected to take care of our own things, especially the girls. Those required to remain by my side have very specific duties to perform, everything else was up to me and I would be the one punished if I did not perform my tasks to my father's high expectations."

"I'm sorry," Jayson offered, actually hesitating in stepping closer to the sitting Sec/Tac. Given her current fiery hair color, the OPS Officer had been certain that he would find himself on the losing end of a single rapid strike, this despite having the height and position advantage. "I just wanted to start a conversation; you were rather quiet during dinner. It was not my intention to say or do anything that you would find offensive in any way. In my defence, I would like to point out again though that you do keep your past to yourself, very much like the Invernians.  I have the feeling that you would fit into their society with far greater ease and any of the others."

Ya'Han had still been angry at him, but his final statement had been accurate. There had been only one person with whom she felt at ease discussing her past with, and right now Nicole had likely been in her quarters, relaxing, oblivious of the storm that had begun in these quarters.  Following a few deep breaths, the Sec/Tac brought her hair color to be what it had been during supper, a simple enough change that made Jayson instantly let out a sigh of relief no longer believing that his life had been in any immediate danger.

"Maybe I am like the Invernians, unwilling to share my past with others," Ya'Han admitted. "My reasons thought are entirely different. This silence concerning my past is not born of unwillingness to share, but rather due to a desire to not have to explain certain aspects of my life, an inability to talk about those times I only wish to forget.  Yes I was born into privilege, but that life was nothing but a prison sentence that would have continued after my wedding to that Ferengi troll Ardax.  Most of my sisters were happy with such a life, one without worries or concerns. All they needed to do was to be the obedient wife that our father required them to be. The problem was that it was a life that I was never truly certain I wanted, and when I was betrothed I was forced to make a decision, chosen between my father's expectations of what my life would be and what I wanted instead."

"That's why you ran away," Jayson said thinking that he had figured everything out, going as far as to wonder why it had taken Ya'Han so long to open up about this fact of her past.

"It was not that easy," the black and red haired woman clarified, a touch of sorrow lacing her words.  "I do remember some parts of my past being happy and carefree, but the reality of the life I had on NYLA IV was that brothers, sisters and myself were expected to train and master everything we did. While doing this, we were all expected to succeed and not embarrass our father by being anything less than what we could be, to be less than what we were told to be."

"Wow, sounds like you actually had a rough life," Jayson admitted, sitting on the couch as close to Ya'Han as he could.  "I'm sorry for not having understood this earlier and without you having to dot the I's and cross the T's."

"Like those crystals we are looking for, my life while inside the Imperial palace may have appeared to be great and privileged to outsiders, this was not an accident but rather done by design as per the desires of the High Sovereign. Like those same crystals though, there is far more than what can be seen, and even after taking a closer look, you are made to discover that there is a great deal more hidden within. I believe Commander Maya said it best when she described the multitude of layers she found in the crystal, each one more complex than the one found before it."

"I just hope that one day you will trust me enough to allow me to know what is in those deep inner layers of your past," Jayson said in a wishful and caring tone.  "There may be eight of those crystals out there, but there is only one of you, and that to me makes you far more important than anything or anyone else."

"It is not a question of my not wanting to share," Ya'Han admitted. "It is just that, like those crystals, I am unable to just simply reveal the secrets that have been kept hidden from everyone, and at times even from me."

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P008: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 02 - 0945 ("Not So Crystal Clear")
"Not So Crystal Clear"
[previous "Crystals of the Past"]

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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32219.0945

Another day, another shift, but today had started very differently from most others over the last 200 days or so since the ANUBIS had left NEW ALEXANDRIA with the shapeshifting being aboard. During those days, Jayson and Ya'Han had gradually fallen into a pleasant habit of sharing each other's' quarters. Most of the time, it was him who went to hers, the Nylaan having on more than a few instances voiced her dislike of the all-encompassing mess that had been a permanent state of his quarters. As annoyed as she might have been from time to time though because of this, the two of them seemed to have reached an understanding that this was how it would be. Therefore, by the next morning, things would return to normal and life on board the Intel cruiser continued as it had before.

This morning though, Ya'Han had come across as being overly quiet, cold and even physically distant, as if lost in a world of her own making. Every effort he made to breach the emotional force-field she raised around her failed beyond measure leaving the OPS Officer to wonder if she had been angry at him for some reason. The problem was that he had not been able to get her to say the slightest thing over breakfast or during their trip to the bridge to start their shift, so he was left with countless questions and not a single answer on the subject.

With INVERNIA II just about 7 1/2 hours away at their current speed and heading, Jayson quietly wondered if this troubling silence would extend all the way to their destination. Being in the proverbial dog house was not something that he was unaccustomed to, but still he would have liked to know why he had found himself on the out with Ya'Han.

Jayson was taken by surprise when he say Ya'Han heading for the turbolift. He was equally disappointed when she failed to even look in his direction.

"Where is she going?" The OPS Officer inquired of the First Officer who had chosen to be on the bridge this morning instead of hiding in the IGC as she so often did.

"She wanted to run a hands-on verification of our weapons' system," Shar'El replied. "She claimed that she wants to make sure we are ready for whatever we may come up against while in orbit of INVERNIA II, but given the memories from last night and this morning that you are broadcasting, I am doubting that this is actually the case. What happened?"

"Wish I knew," Jayson admitted in complete honesty. "Since we woke up this morning, I suspect that she has spoken more to you than she did with me."

"I would strongly suggest that you to get this matter resolved *before* we arrive at INVERNIA II," the Commander said in a firm voice. "Both you and Ya'Han have been given a very wide latitude in regards to your relationship. Normally, such behaviour would have been discouraged from he start, but as i am sure you are very aware, the ANUBIS is not a normal ship working under the banner of the United Federation of Planets."

"We both greatly appreciate your understanding Commander," he quickly offered back, not at all wishing to find himself on the wrong side of the line with the First Officer as he had someone found himself being with the Chief of Security. "As soon as I have an opportunity, i will speak with Ya'Han and resolve the situation."

"Good," Shar'El huffed before making her way back to the central chair.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 6, Upper Phaser Array maintenance access station
Stardate: 32219.1130

After having performed all of the verifications he could, Jayson had handed over control of the ship's Operations station to one of his underling in order to be able to track down Ya'Han.  Using the internal sensors, it had been easy to locate the Nylaan but the OPS Officer had not expected to find the Chief Engineer there as well when he walked in.

"I see what you mean," Sonja growled as she shot an unhappy glare in Jayson's direction. "Can we help you with something?" The Engineer asked, barely giving the OPS Officer the chance to find his mental footing.

"I was hoping to talk to Ya'Han," he replied, trying to catch the eyes of the woman in question.

"Sorry buddy boy, but this is a 'woman only' club," Sonja quickly shot back just as ANI walked in.

"She's not a woman," Jayson pointed out, trying anything he could to find a way to speak with Ya'Han.

"I may not possess the biological reproductive requirements to be officially classified as a woman by medical standards," the Avatar offered appearing almost upset by the man's earlier comment, "but the external appearance of this form was definitively given a distinct feminine appearance, and that by the greater majority of standards encountered throughout the Federation."

"There you have it," Sonja continued, not giving Jayson a single split second to recover from the burn he had just been made to take. "So, unless there is something about your physical layout that Ya'Han has failed to mentioned, I believe that you need to step back and let the women talk amongst themselves."

By the time the OPS Officer had regained enough of his wits to try and launch a counter argument, he had been pushed out of the room and the door closed and sealed right in his face. Although he had managed to get closer to the Nylaan than he had since leaving her quarters this morning, Jayson had been no closer to figuring out what had happened to cause him to be where he was now.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32219.1200

Jayson returned to the Bridge and was relieved in seeing that Commander Shar'El had not been there, Captain Morningstar having been sitting in the center chair instead. Confused beyond his ability to comprehend, the OPS Officer made his way back to his work station hoping that maybe someone would at some point clarify the situation had he had unexpectedly found himself dead smack in the middle of.


[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P009: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1300 ("As Fragile As Crystal")
=-=
"As Fragile As Crystal"
[previous post was "Not So Crystal Clear" by the puzzled Jayson]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 32219.1300

As the ANUBIS' ExO Shar'El needed to stay on top of a great many things, one of the more important had been the various matters dealing with personnel, this both on a professional and private level. Her earlier discussion with Lieutenant Stark had been required based on her responsibilities as this ship's First Officer, that she had wanted to or not. What she needed to do now though fell more under the requirements of an Intel Liaison Officer instead of an ExO.

There was little the ExO / ILO did not know when it came to what was happening on board the ANUBIS. With the IGC keeping a constant watch on every member of the crew, secrets had been hard to keep, and this one had not been any different.  Confronting Ya'Han seemed inevitable, but before doing so, Shar'El thought it best to speak to Sonja. A quick chat with the Chief Engineering Officer might confirm that her suspicions had been right and make the discussion with he Chief of Security that much easier.

"Commander?" The Chief Engineer found herself asking with surprise, not having expected to see the ExO / ILO down in the heart of the ANUBIS. Everyone knew that the IGC had been Shar'El's preferred location, so to have her come down 20+ levels meant that something was not quite right. "Alright, what did Jayson break this time?" The redhead sighed as she rolled her eyes in playful desperation.

"Funny you should ask," the raven-haired woman calmly replied, the seriousness of her tone again taking the redhead by surprise. "I am asking you as a friend, not as this ship's First Officer; what did Ya'Han say to you while you were both in the Phaser Array maintenance access station?"

"Why ask?" Sonja shrugged, "You could just scan my memories and find out for yourself." The Engineer seemed a little upset that the conversation had turned so quickly, but evidently Shar'El had not wanted to waste any time on pleasantries.  With that in mind, the Engineer willfully recalled the last words she said to the Chief of Security.

It was impossible for the Ullian not to pick up on the particular memory that the red-haired woman had made a point to broadcast as loudly as she could. The point had been perfectly made, but it was not enough to make Shar'El step down from wanting to know what had exactly been said. Actually, the term want might have been wrong and the ExO / ILO needed to confirm her suspicions while doing her best to maintain the promise she had made to the Captain as well as the rest of the senior officers of the USS ANUBIS.

"I understand that you promised her that you would not mentioned it to anyone," Shar'El acknowledged, the memory of Sonja's promise to Ya'Han having been beyond crystal clear. "I just want to help Ya'Han and in doing so Jayson as well. The man is a basket case right now and the fact that she won't talk to him only makes things that much more complicated. Both are exceptional officers and that is why I want to help. Whatever the situation is between them, I need to know so I can offer the right support."

"You could just send them both to speak to Nicole," Sonja suggested with a grin. "Bet our Counsellor would love to find herself in the middle of this. Not that I am saying that there is something for her to get in the middle of," the redhead quickly amended.

"I might have to call upon our Counsellor at some point, but if I do so it will have to be as this ship's First Officer," Shar'El explained. "I am here as a friend, trying to help Ya'Han and Jayson without having to make any sort of official report or recommendations," the ExO / ILO stated once more, this time with a little more emphasis. "So I will ask you again, please, tell me what Ya'Han said to you."

"I appreciate what you are trying to do for her, I truly do," Sonja offered with a clear show of sympathy, "but I can't. All joking aside, she told me what she did in confidence and I just can't betray her like that. Like it or not, you are going to have to ask her yourself.  Guess it would have been easier had Doctor Doyanne still been here, but without a Chief Medical Officer on board, you are going to have to rely on other methods to get the answer you seek."

"I hope that Ya'Han realizes how good of a friend you are," Shar'El offered, a soft yet understanding smile gracing her lips.

"I hope that this won't affect our friendship?" The redhead asked, actually sounding a little concerned. Although she doubted that this exchange would change anythig, the possibility had still been there and as such Sonja needed to make sure.

"Of course not," the ExO / ILO quickly and honestly replied, offering a genuine smile to her friend. "You might even have earned a little more respect from me."

"Respect?" Sonja repeated in a thick Scottish accent, having decided that the time for seriousness had come to an end. "Aye Lass, what am I suppose to do with that? You can't drink someone under a table with respect, or have 'em pass out on yer couch for that matter if they respect ya."

Shar'El giggled, shook her head in amused disbelief before making her way out of Main Engineering with her suspicions still unconfirmed. On the other hand, Sonja's desire to abide by her promise to Ya'Han had in a way only further strengthen the possibility of what the ExO / ILO had suspected, but without any concrete evidence, the search still needed to go on.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 7, Corridor
Stardate: 32219.1330

With about four hours left before their arrival to INVERNIA II, the ExO / ILO had begun to feel the pressure in getting to the bottom of this before then. Confronting Ya'Han seemed to be the only way that was available in order to accomplish this without having someone break their promise or go through the CMO, who unfortunately they did not have at this particular time. Speaking to a nurse had still been an option, but one that Shar'El would have better wanted to avoid, especially if her suspicions were proven to be true.

Walking down the corridor, Shar'El wondered as to how Ya'Han would react to the query. First the ExO / ILO would have to explain how she came about to suspect what she did. As much as all of the hints had been there for the raven-haired woman to pick up on, it would still be difficult to justify having done so without risking being accused of spying. Then again, what kind of an Intel Operative would she be if she did not act in such a manner, even towards the member of her own crew? Being aware of every detail, no matter how small, of her surroundings had been a standard job description for someone in her position.

Hopefully Ya'Han would understand that this query was for no other reason other than Shar'El having been concerned, not as the ANUBIS' First Officer but rather as a friend, something that the ExO / ILO had already explained to their Chief Engineer. That said, there was one other stop the raven-haired woman needed to make before actually approaching their Chief of Security.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counsellor's Office
Stardate: 32219.1345

"Good afternoon Commander," Nicole offered as Shar'El walked in. "How may I be of assistance?"

"Just wanted to touch base with you before our arrival at INVERNIA II," the ExO / ILO explained in a casual manner. "Have you been made aware of any issues that, as First Officer, I should know, issues that I need to be taking into consideration when figuring who should and should not go down to the planet surface?"

"That is a very specific question," Counselor Dima pointed out, unable to hold back her grin. "I have the feeling that you have something, or more accurately someone, in mind with this unspecified issue."

"Looks like I need to work on my poker face," Shar'El dryly chuckled, her attempt to be inconspicuous having obviously failed beyond measure.

"I would not take it too personally if I were you Commander," Nicole pointed out. "You are after all dealing with someone possessing multiple lifetimes of experiences. Beyond that, I would be a poor Counsellor if I were unable to read people who come into my office. Being able to know what they want or need before they even know themselves can be quite a time saver, not to mention a way to keep my own stress to a manageable level."

"Point taken," Shar'El happily acknowledged. "I will leave you to your work."

"Sorry that I could not have been of more help," Nicole offered, keeping her puzzlement of the situation in check. It was evident by the woman's evasiveness that she had not been willing or able to talk about this in more details, so pressing with questions would not have served any purpose other than to make this even more awkward.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32219.1400

Without any other course of action available to her, the ExO / ILO made her way to he bridge where she hoped to see the Chief of Security. Maybe Shar'El would be able to confirm her suspicions without having to interrogate Ya'Han or look into her memories without permission.

"Lieutenant Ya'Han?" Shar'El called out as she stepped onto the bridge to see the Chief of Security at her station. A quick glance in the direction of Lieutenant Stark made it clear that the two had yet shared any meaningful words.

"Yes Commander?" The black and red-haired Chief of Security replied, the woman appearing troubled if one knew what to look for.

Shar'El had hoped that maybe the Nylaan would allow something to slip from her memories, but luck it seemed had not been on the side of the ExO / ILO forcing her to carry on with her plan.  "I would like to discuss some tactical issues about our arriving to INVERNIA II, can you spare a few minutes and meet me in the observation lounge?"

"Of course Commander," Ya'Han acknowledged. Although she had found it strange that the ExO / ILO had wanted to have this meeting away from the others, the Chief of Security had not found it all that unusual, this not having been the first time that the tactical expertise of the woman with the changing hair color had been requested in a more private setting.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32219.1402

"How are you doing?" Shar'El asked the moment the two of them found themselves alone, behind the closed doors leading to the room.

"I'm fine," Ya'Han replied with hesitation, not sure what her condition had to do with the tactical review she had been called in for. "Shouldn't I be?"

"Sorry," the ExO / ILO continued. "Just wanted to make sure. It has been a few days since we have had the opportunity to just sit and talk."

"Life on board the ANUBIS is busy, even when nothing is happening," the Chief of Security said, dismissing the concerns displayed by the Commander as if they had been completely unfounded. Following a quick exchange of smiles, the two sat down and began speaking about INVERNIA II, the world's odd social unwillingness to discuss their past and personal lives, and the potential problems that the away team might face once on the planet surface.

Every attempt to have Ya'Han tip her proverbial hand had proven futile, the Chief of Security having been in perfect control of her thoughts and display of emotions.  That by itself though had been enough to make it evident that the woman was hiding something, but again Shar'El had not been in a position to press for more information. Even her query about how things had been between Jayson and her had not brought up any useful memories that the Ullian would have been able to pick up on.

With the meeting over, Shar'El returned to the bridge leaving Ya'Han to take care of a few additions to her list of items to be taken into consideration by the away team.  As she stood to follow the ExO / ILO, the Nylaan found herself looking out at the streaking stars, her right hand mindlessly rubbing her belly.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P010: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 1530 ("Confusion")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Confusion"
[previous post was "As Fragile as Crystal"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32219.1530

The planet designated as INVERNIA II was about 2 hours away, and now that Commander Shar'El had left the Observation Lounge, the Sec/Tac could not bring herself to focus on their destination for more than a few seconds at a time. How she had managed to keep her personal concerns and fears for the future from the Ullian woman had been a complete mystery, something that only added to the confusion she currently felt.

It was only after several moments of her looking at the streaking stars through the windows that the Sec/Tac realized she had been absentmindedly rubbing her belly. On several occasions, Ya'Han had witnessed this telltale sign displayed by expecting women, but this had not been her case, or at least she hoped it had not been. How could it? Jayson and she had not been bonded to one another nor had they even officially declared their intent to have a child to their friends and family. It might not have been the way things were done beyond the Imperial palace of NYLA IV, but that is how she would need to act when it would be time. This had not been such a time, far from it and yet here she was, rubbing her belly and wondering as to how all of this had come to be?

Ya'Han knew all too well about the physical *how* such a condition could have come to befall her, the physiology of Terrans and Nylaans having been remarkably similar. What the troubled woman had questioned in passing before now was the genetic compatibility of the two species, something that she had actually given little thought on since their departure from NEW ALEXANDRIA some 200 days ago. As long as Jayson and her were not bonded, there had been little need to be concerned by this requirement imposed on her by the culture of NYLA IV.

Before then, on those rare occasions when that specific question came up, Ya`Han knew that she could go to see Lillie without any worries. That was then, but with the CMO no longer aboard the ANUBIS, that option was no longer valid. This lead the Nylaan to dismiss those occasional thoughts without any real concerns. After all, even if they had been genetically compatible, she would need to make herself ready to receive him in that fashion, this only after they had bonded for life to one another. So again, how had this happened without any of the requirements having been remotely met?

Without Lillie in Sickbay, Ya'Han had not felt comfortable in simply walking in, asking for a test to be performed to confirm what her body had stated through the pains she had experienced upon waking this morning. As a friend and Doctor, the Sec/Tac would have hoped that the CMO would have found some other reason to explain what the Nylaan currently felt.  Never having experienced these sensations before, the black and red haired woman could only use what she had been told while growing up in the Imperial palace to explain what was happening to her.

Using a tricorder on herself had not revealed anything that would have confirmed the presence of an implanted fertilized egg within her, but the truth was that given the genetic differences between Humans and Nylaans, the Sec/Tac had not been entirely certain as to what to search for.  All of the training she had received while on NYLA IV on that subject had focussed on her being able to prepare herself to receive her one and only bonded mate. The pain she would experience afterwards would be her body's method of confirming that the mating had been successful and that she had performed her duties in sealing their lifetime bond.

Yes they had shared a bed on many occasion, and yes they had become intimate, but for a Nylaan woman, these things meant nothing in regards to bringing a new life into the universe. That is why Ya'Han had made sure that her hair remained green every time they found themselves becoming more intimate. Jayson had asked why this had always been the case, curious as to why the Nylaan had never become affectionate while displaying black, blue, white or even purple hair. The Sec/Tac had asked him one night why he had never wondered or asked about her going 'full red' as he called it. His reply was a rapid and definitive claim that he did not want to die, as pleasantly as it might have been, in order to see the next morning. Apparently, the man had learned to fear for his life every time that particular color appeared on her head.

As amusing as that memory might have been, it failed to make Ya'Han smile, even if only a little. The pain and continued discomfort she experienced indicated that something within her had changed, and every hint pointed to that change having been the one things she had been completely unready for, this despite her feelings towards the ship's Chief of Operations.

The youngest daughter of the High Sovereign had run away from her home and family, and yet the ways she had been instructed in still remained a large part of the person she was, even if only subconsciously. As enjoyable as the time she spent with Jayson was, and as strong as their feelings for one another had grown, Ya'Han had not been ready to take their relationship to the next level. Doing so would have required her to allow him to claim her body in a way that would lead to something that she had in all honesty not been ready for.

As an Imperial daughter, being offered to some foreign trade partner of their world as a gift and mate had been expected. From there, if it was biologically possible, the bonded woman had been required to seal their joining with a child, this insuring that the link between the High Sovereign and his trade partner would be undeniable and irrevocable. That had been one of the reasons why she had chosen to run away, the other having been for no other reason that she found the Ferengi Troll she had been betrothed to utterly repulsing.

To many of her sisters, the thought of having a child had been something that they had dreamt about for as long as they could remember. To Ya'Han though, that idea had never been a strong one and remained such to this day. As a Chief of Security, the Nylaan found that idea even more troubling, fearing that it would change how she would perform her duties and been seen by others.

As she looked down at the hand still drawing circles on her belly, Ya'Han found herself even more confused then she had been before walking into the room. Had she truly without realizing it allowed this to happen? Was the biological differences responsible for this having happened without her consent? Had this actually been what she feared it was or had the pain and discomfort caused by some other reason?

With just over two hours before arriving at their destination, there was no time to answer all of these questions, so Ya'Han believed it best to ignore the situation for the time being and do her best to focus on the mission at hand. Maybe after she would be able to figure out what had happened and how to go about things from then on.  One thing had been beyond certain though, Jayson was not to know about this, at least not before she could confirm that this was actually what had happened.

For the time being, this situation was hers to handle on her own with a select few aware of her condition which for now only included Sonja.  As much as Ya'Han might have wanted to have Shar'El involved in this, right now the Sec/Tac thought it best that the line between their professional working relationship and friendship not be crossed placing the First Officer in a possibly awkward position.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P011: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 02 - 1730 ("Hidden in Plain Sight")
##########
"Hidden in Plain Sight"
Previous post "Confusion"
##########

"If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself."
- George Orwell, 1984

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32219.1730

"We are now in standard orbit of INVERNIA II," Ensign Tanith Jones, the ANUBIS' Flight Control Officer and newest member of the ship's Senior Staff announced, the first stop in their wild crystal chase having been reached.

"Be sure to set us in a geosynchronous orbit of the lower most continent," the First Officer instructed. "That is where the two IshDur Talkiir who are married to Risian women are listed as living," Shar'El added before shifting to a clearly less enthusiastic tone. "They live in neighbouring cities, at least that is what we were able to get from the medical files we were able to get access to. It took some serious digging to even get that much."

"Altering orbit as requested," Tanith acknowledged. "It will be late afternoon to early evening down there," the FCO added as the ANUBIS was brought to orbit directly above the specific landmass.

"Given everything that we have been told and learned about these people, I would count ourselves lucky that we were able to narrow our search to within two cities," the Native American offered to his First Officer, trying to keep a positive opinion on the whole affair. "Are your away teams ready?" Erik inquired, the earlier discussion with his First Officer having made it clear that in order to speed things up, two teams would be sent to the surface to investigate each of the two IshDur Talkiir.

"Commander Maya will lead Alpha team to the Eastern city accompanied by Lieutenant Paquette and Lieutenant Stark," Shar'El detailed. "Lieutenant Ya'Han and Ensign Dima will be with me on Beta team. Both teams can beam down at the same time and the IGC should not have any issues keeping an eye on us," she added. "A communications channels will remain open at all times."

The way the teams had been formed might have appeared random to an outsider, but to the Intel Liaison Officer, a very specific train of thought had been used in the creation of the two teams. First, Shar'El had elected to keep Jayson and Ya'Han separate as this seemed only prudent given their current fallen out. Next, having the Chief of Security on her team would allow for them to maybe talk about the situation, this under the encouraging watch and assistance of the Ship's Counsellor whose presence by their side the Ullian hoped would help in making the Nylaan more talkative.

As soon as the members of the away team were announced, Sonja twitched and quickly sought a direct line of sight with Ya'Han. Doing her best to keep her reaction from being seen by others on the bridge, the Chief Engineering Officer shot a cold and piercing glare at her black and red-haired friend who quickly nodded her head in both understanding and acknowledgement.

"Commander Shar'El," Ya'Han began as if her next words had been perfectly normal. "If it is at all possible I would prefer to remain on board the ANUBIS."

"Why is that?" The Native American inquired, surprised that his Chief of Security had wanted to stay on board instead of taking the chance to stretch her legs and enjoy some fresh air, even if it was on a strange world of which they knew very little about.

Turning to the Captain, Ya'Han offered her reasoning. "The truth is that I do not feel comfortable in going to the planet surface," the Chief of Security offered. Having noticed a great deal of skepticism from not only the Captain but several others around her, the Chief of Security decided to expand on her answer. "Although the Invernians are part of the Federation, the lack of information on their culture, social behaviours and even political structure could be used to hide possible threats to the away teams and even to the ANUBIS. Given these uncertainties, I would prefer to be here, on the bridge, and monitor the situation allowing me to react accordingly should something unexpected happen."

"Commander?" The Native American said, having turned to look upon his First Officer to seek her opinion. "The request is valid, would it be a problem if the Lieutenant remained on the ANUBIS and Beta team found itself one member short?"

Shar'El had wanted to argue the matter. How was she supposed to speak to Ya'Han if the Nylaan was not on the planet with them? As much as she wanted to find a reason to deny the request of the Chief of Security, the Commander found herself at odds with herself. As a friend, she wanted to take this opportunity to get to the bottom of what had been troubling the black and red-haired woman, but as the ANUBIS' ExO, the dedication and attention to the situation displayed had been worthy of praise, not challenged.

"I am sure that we will all feel that much safer knowing that you will be up here keeping an eye on us," Shar'El stated, having turned to face the Chief of Security before returning her attention to the ANUBIS' CO. "I do not believe that there will be any problems with my team being short one. After all, we are going after a single man in possession of a small crystal, not an entire fleet of Jem'Hadar."

"Perfect," Erik acknowledged with a smile. "Report to the transporter room and beam down at your convenience."

As the officers made their way to the turbolift, Sonja took extra care to find a way to send an approving thumb up to Ya'Han. The redhead Chief Engineer had been glad that their earlier chat about the possible condition the Chief of Security had found herself in required the Nylaan to take several extra precautions, one of which being to avoid using the transporter system. Without any medical confirmation as to whether or not she had indeed been with child, Sonja had made her friend promise to take such precautions, and she was glad to see the woman keep her word.

=====
Setting: INVERNIA II, Eastern City
Stardate: 32219.1820

Leading the Alpha team, Commander Maya had taken point closely followed by the Chief Engineer and Chief of Operations, who actually appeared slightly nervous.

"According to the information provided by Commander Shar'El, the IshDur Talkiir we are looking for should reside somewhere in those buildings," the Shillian Scientist explained as she pointed to a dozen or so tall structures, each one easily capable of housing several hundred Invernians. Luckily for them, they were not looking for an Invernian man but rather a Risian woman, one whose DNA would match the readout they had also been provided.

"We are going to have to be close in order to run a proper DNA scan without any actual bodily fluids," the Shillian added. "So keep an eye on any Risian woman in the vicinity, we will most certainly have to alter our course several times to get the required scans without attracting too much attention."

"This should be easy," the Chief of Operations sarcastically offered.

"What are you so scared of?" Sonja questioned of the nervous man standing by her side. "These people seem afraid of their own shadows, so I doubt that we will have to fight our way through any riots in the foreseeable future."

"In all honesty," Jayson muttered back, "I am more concerned about one specific individual over the entire population of this world."

"She may be a shapeshifter," the redhead offered as she casually pointed towards Maya, "but I would not consider her to be that dangerous. Maybe in her wolf form she would be able to scare little children, so I see where you might be coming from, but don't worry, I will protect you. Might not be able to save both your arms and legs, but I will do my best and make sure that you can at the very least crawl your way back to the ship."

"Not funny," the Chief of Operations dryly shot back, evidently unimpressed by the woman's attempt at humour. "I don't know what Ya'Han said to you. I don't even know what it is I did to make her say what she did to you, all I know is that for some unexplainable reason she suddenly decided to completely shut me out and again in complet honesty, I am worried that you will take this opportunity to get revenge for whatever it is she believes I did to her."

There had been no questions in Sonja's mind that he had been the one responsible for the situation Ya'Han had found herself in, this according to her friends own account of not having been with anyone else. That along had been more than enough to have the redhead display what little she had learned from the other 'redhead' when it came to inflicting physical pain on an adversary. On the other hand though, Ya'Han had made it clear that she had feelings for him, and because of that, her friend and confident had decided to not hurt him. At least not right now. Depending on how things turned out, she silently reversed to herself the right to deprive him of the ability of ever doing the same again, be it with Ya'Han or any other woman foolish enough to want to be with him.

"This way," Maya said, drawing the attention of the other two towards a small park where several people had gathered. "Maybe we can get lucky and find a few Risian women to get close to and scan their genetic makeup to see if they are the one we need."

"I know what she meant," Sonja said shaking her head, "but what she said just wasn't right. It wasn't right at all and I hope that no one overheard her say that or we might find ourselves in a lot more trouble or a lot more people than we were hoping to find."

=====
Setting: INVERNIA II, Western City
Stardate: 32219.1830

Commander Shar'El and Ensign Dima made their way through the city, this one clearly having been a much less prominent metropolis than the one Alpha team had gone to. Although the population of the two cities had been nearly identical, the Western community had appeared to be far more relaxed.

"I gather that you are disappointed that Lieutenant Ya'Han chose to remain on the ANUBIS," Nicole pointed out, the joint Trill displaying once again her uncanny ability to read people.

"It is becoming painfully obvious to me that I have been an ExO for far too long now," Shar'El explained.  "As an ILO, I was able to travel through a crowded room without even being noticed; now it seems that I am unable to keep my thoughts private."

"Again Commander," Nicole said in a reassuring tone, "I do have several lifetimes of experiences to draw upon, not to mention that as an ILO you found yourself to be completely detached from those around you. As the ExO of the ANUBIS, you have developed both a professional and personal attachment to many members of the crew. Ya'Han is clearly one of the latter, so your friendship with her is amplifying your concerns making them that much more difficult to hide, especially from someone who, like me, knows what to look for."

"Thank you Counsellor," Shar'El grinned. "I believe you are trying to tell me that I am becoming too human in my display of emotions?"

"I would not go that far," Nicole quickly clarified, "but I fear that your days of being an unemotional Intel agent driven by nothing else than the completion of her mission are long behind you, a fact that I can reasonably say the rest of the crew is very grateful for."

"Speaking of completing our mission," the First Officer interjected, "maybe we should start over there. I see a few shops and restaurants and they may be a good place for us to start looking for a married Risian woman."

Nicole simply nodded her head and invited the Commander to take the lead with a motion of her hand. Whatever had been troubling Ya'Han, and in conjunction their First Officer, had truly begun to pique the Counsellor's curiosity. For now though, the Trill would have to wait until they would return to the ANUBIS to see if she would be able to find out more about what this had been all about.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M09-P012: USS ANUBIS: Maya: Day 02 - 1900 ("Not Fully Understanding Why")
---
"Not Fully Understanding Why"
(Previous Post: "Hidden in Plain Sight")
---

Setting: INVERNIA II, Eastern City, Park
Stardate: 32219.1900

As they wandered through the Eastern City in search of the Risian woman who would hopefully lead them to IshDur Talkiir, the Shillian Chief Science Officer and Alpha Team Leader tried to understand the reasons as to why the Professor had selected this particular individual on this particular world to safeguard the crystal they were after.  Being an accredited member of the United Federation of Planets, the Invernians had been easily reached by Professor Arken, but that alone could not explain why the scientist had selected this particular place over the thousands others equally accessible to him.

Without any indications that the Professor had known this IshDur Talkiir on a more personal level, the only possible reasons for the selection would have to be found outside of whatever relationship the two men shared. In this particular case, the clues seemed to be in the unique social attitude found on INVERNIA II whose native inhabitants were more than resentful in making any details of their everyday lives public, even amongst themselves. The most evident display of this was that even their largest cities had not been openly given names, as if such information had been highly guarded secrets.

It was not that the Invernians were xenophobes; in fact the opposite seemed rather true as the members of Alpha team were repeatedly greeted by smiles and welcoming gestures. It was evident that the general population of this world had no trouble seeing and dealing with non-Invernians, be them in Starfleet uniforms of not. This could explain why a visible portion of the public the away team had encountered had not been native residents, this world likely offering an odd yet friendly tourist attraction to curious travelers.

Taking all of this into consideration, the Chief Science Officer began to formulate a possible understanding as to why Professor Arken had chosen this world to protect the data crystal the crew of the ANUBIS was currently after. Without the help of the information they had been able to decipher from the first crystal, there would not have been any way for them, or anyone else for that matter, to even come close to identifying the general location of their objective. Even with the decoded data in their possession, the quest to locate IshDur Talkiir would prove to be quite a challenge given the idiosyncratic attitude and behaviour of the indigenous race of this world.

As friendly as these people appeared to be, it was impossible to not become rapidly aware of the extent of their aversion to divulge any information about themselves, regardless of how insignificant. No street signs and names of any sort could be seen, and while overhearing conversations between Invernians, it had been easy to pick up that no names or locations could be heard having been mentioned. All of this left the Shillian to question, on a purely scientific level, how such a race could actually function as they obviously did?

=/\= ANUBIS to Alpha Team, =/\= the voice of the Chief of Security who had remained on board came over the sub-dermal communication implant interrupting the train of thought of the Chief Science Officer. =/\= Any luck with your search? =/\=

"Negative," the Shillian replied in an atypical manner, Maya having been well known for her overly verbose answers and subsequent explanations. After what would have been considered to be a lengthy pause for the woman, the Scientist expanded on her report. "So far we have only come across three Risian women. None of them were a genetic match to the one we are looking for. As friendly as they are, the local population also does not seem overly interested in helping us."

"I doubt that the Professor would have gone through all this trouble to keep the information a secret only to have the person we are looking for have a giant neon-flashing arrow pointing down at here," the redhead Chief Engineering Officer stated in a matter-of-fact manner. "I am sure that the deeper we get into this wild mission, the more we will all agree that the Professor is as loony as it gets, and this even by my standards against which I judge others," Sonja added, casting a narrowed eyes glare at Jayson who had been walking right next to her.

=/\= Understood, =/\= Ya'Han quickly acknowledged, the secret code between the two women having been unintelligible to anyone else. =/\= We will check back in an hour. ANUBIS out. =/\=

"I thought that they were supposed to keep an open channel with both away teams?" Lieutenant Stark wondered out loud, thinking that maybe he would have been able to share a few words with the woman currently keeping a watchful eye on them.

"The channel might be open," the Engineer coldly explained, "but I am pretty sure that someone up there decided to turn down the volume so as to avoid having to hear your constant ramblings."

The possible explanation offered by Lieutenant Paquette was clearly not well received by the Chief of Operations who had still been completely unaware of the reason or reasons why the Chief of Security had begun to behave the way she had towards him. What made matters worse was the fact that the redheaded woman who clearly knew something had been on the same away team and that she had not been overly kind in her words and actions towards him. In fact, Sonja seemed to go out of her way to take various verbal shots at him whom the Shillian had noted with a few quick glances in the direction of the Chief Engineer.

"Looks like we have found two more on a 0-8-0 heading," the Shillian announced, indicating their next destination and targets with a movement of her head while at the same time trying to interrupt the conversation between the members of her team that had the risk of quickly degenerating into something that might hinder or flat out interfere with their current mission to find the Risian wife of the Invernian names IshDur Talkiir.

Whatever situation had been brewing between Jayson and Sonja, Maya could only hope that they found a way to quickly resolve it allowing the ANUBIS to carry on with their mission, this having been but the first of seven other crystals they were on a quest to locate and take possession of.

---
Jessica Solarik

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

&

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M09-P013: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 1930 ("On Edge")
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"On Edge"
[previous post was "Not Fully Understanding Why"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32219.1930

From orbit, the world of INVERNIA II appeared just like any other M-Class planet possessing a thriving culture, but upon closer scrutiny certain oddities could not be missed.  One such obvious difference was the complete absence of any orbital stations, forcing any visiting vessel to either land on the planet or remain in orbit as the ANUBIS had no other option to do.  It was clear to see that any such structure would have made the culture's desire to keep the details of their world hidden that much more difficult, providing a bridge that they would not be able to control to the extent required by their beliefs. 

Now, from a tactical aspect, the Sec/Tac would have strongly recommend that the ANUBIS not dock at any orbital station as this would reduce their ability to maneuver should something happen, but the lack of any such structure had been strange as far as Ya'Han had been concerned.  The technology had obviously been there and the federation would have more than likely offered any sort of assistance in establishing such stations should a request be made.

The next oddity that had drawn the attention of the black and red-haired Nylaan was the small number of communication satellites found in orbit around the planet. Obviously, the government of INVERNIA II believed that these had not been of a great necessity to a world that appeared to pride itself in keeping its own affairs out of reach. A few relay satellites could be seen on the tactical sensors, but all of them appeared to be unilateral in their communication purpose, allowing for signals to reach the planet surface and not the other way around. In fact the number of outbound signals had been negligible to say the least.

Although Ya'Han could imagine that this lack of data transfer network and minimal communication traffic would prove to be a bore for the IGC technicians, the Sec/Tac found it refreshing in that it allowed her to scan the surface of the planet without having to deal with an excessive number of obstacles and distractions. What this further solidified was the Invernian's deep-rooted desire to be as private a people as could be while still being part of an interstellar community such as the Federation.

The complex social balancing act seemed to be something that should have been impossible to accomplish, but a simple scan of the planet and its people indicated that INVERNIA II had clearly succeeded where other would have surely failed.  The attention of the Sec/Tac was drawn back to her instruments as one such outbound communication reached the ANUBIS.

"Beta team just reported in Captain," Ya'Han said, the report from Commander Shar'El and Counsellor Dima having just been received. "No luck on their end either. It looks like the search for the wife of IshDur Talkiir may take some time."

"I'm not complaining," the Flight Control Officer stated, Ensign Jones having been very much like the Invernians in that she had kept her comments and opinions to herself up until now. "The view is actually quite nice and relaxing."

Ya'Han found herself nodding in agreement. The scene as displayed on the main view screen had indeed been quite charming, the clouds floating over the blue and green surface of the planet appearing as a living painting that simply wished to be admired by anyone and everyone who cared to take a moment.

"I can see why this world attracts a fair number of tourists," the Captain voiced, he too having fallen under the spell of the planet's peaceful appearance. "Unfortunately, such traffic is only going to make the task of the away teams that much more difficult."

"Maybe not that much," Ya'Han countered. "I have been tracking the movements of the ships arriving and departing from the surface, although there are two landing stations on the continent we are in orbit over, the two cities currently being visited by our away teams are actually not that close to them. The traffic from tourists should be minimal and not play that much of a role in our reaching our objective.  I am sure that Commander Shar'El and Commander Maya will be able to find the Risian woman matching the DNA readout we have in no time."

"Feeling optimistic I see," the Captain said as he turned to look at the Sec/Tac, not trying in any way to hide his surprise at the origin of the statement. "Given that your argument to remain on the ANUBIS was to be ready to respond to possible unknown threats from a world that we actually know little about, I find it odd that you have suddenly adopted a more relaxed tactical posture. Has something changed to make you feel this way?"

Ya'Han found herself mentally scrambling, wondering if somehow the Captain had figured out what she had been trying to hide. It took the black and red-haired Nylaan a few seconds to calm herself, having realized that he had been referring to the scans of the planet and its surrounding as having changed, and not anything to do with her body.

"No Captain," the Sec/Tac confirmed as calmly as she could, realizing that she had almost allowed her fears to take control of her. "Sensors are not picking up anything unusual, but I do stand by my decision to remain on the ANUBIS. For all we know, the INVERNIANS might have an entire fleet of warships ready to pounce on the first vessel that they would perceive as a threat to their privacy."

"Now, that's the Chief of Security we all know and love," the Captain said laughing.  "Keep monitoring and immediate report any development."

"Yes Captain," Ya'Han acknowledged as the Captain made his way to his ready room, casting a glance and smile in her direction.

With the CO now off the bridge, Ya'Han found herself wondering if he had actually been looking at her or had been trying to see if the rumors of her conditions had been true. Quickly, the Sec/Tac dismissed those thoughts reminding herself that as of right now, only the Chief Engineer knew of the possibility. No one else even suspected that she might have been in the earliest most stages of being with child, and even Jayson had been at a lost to explain why things had changed between them.

It seemed that she would be her own worst enemy in this matter, letting her mind fabricate things that would actually lead her to reveal something that might not have actually been there.  After having taken a few lengthy breaths, the Sec/Tac refocused her attention on the peaceful and calming display visible on the main screen.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P014: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1920 ("She Who Shall Not Be Named")
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"She Who Shall Not Be Named"
[previous post was "Not So Crystal Clear" by the puzzled Jayson]
=-=

Setting: INVERNIA II, Western City, Cafe
Stardate: 32219.1920

Searching to a single Risian woman in a city, even one as quaint as this one was, presented the away teams with some rather several logistical issues. Now, the ExO / ILO could have made used the resources of the IGC to locate every Risian life forms in both cities, but that would have only provided the teams with *where* the women were, not *who* they actually were. As great as the sensors were on the ANUBIS, being able to discern specific DNA had unfortunately not been within their reach.

From what Shar'El had gathered, the other away team led by Commander Maya had opted for a more direct approach in their search, hunting down Risian women and performing a close-range scan to see if they matched the DNA sample they had on record. The Counsellor and ExO / ILO on the other hand had decided on a much different approach, one that had been less strenuous not to mention far more passive.

"How is the search going?" Nicole quietly inquired, sitting at a small circular table with a Risian sunrise in her hands.

"I have come across some very interesting memories," the Ullian admitted without breaking contact with the Risian woman whom she had been focussed on. "Unfortunately, none of them have anything to do with a man they are married with. What I do find interesting is the fact that I have yet to pick up on a single name being remembered. It is as if the entire culture operates without the use of individual names."

"When considering that the cities, streets and even the local establishments that we see around us have no signs displaying a name, it is not entirely unexpected to see the same in people," the Counsellor noted with interest. "For us, such a system would be perceived as an impossible way to function, but these people are a living proof that it can be done."

"If you like to refer to someone as 'that person over there' or 'what's his name'," Shar'El sighed finding the lack of a common personal identification to be quite a hindrance in her telepathic search. "Guess we should consider ourselves lucky that we have IshDur's name at all, now if only there was some way to use that information to help us locate him we would be half way home. The medical records we were able to have a look at did not contain any mention of an address, not even a general location within this city. How do they find one another like this?"

"Given what we have observed of this culture, you have to wonder how Professor Arken was able to obtain the man's name," Counsellor Dima said, thinking aloud about their predicament. "Then again, we are going on the assumption that IshDur Talkiir is in fact the name of the person in possession of the crystal."

"That is not at all a pleasant thought," the ExO / ILO sighed, this time actually lowering her head, breaking the telepathic link that she had been in the middle of. "I may not know this Professor Arken, but I can honestly say that I am starting to dislike him. Whatever these crystals contain better be mighty important for him to have gone through all that trouble to hide it."

"Admiral Koniki seems to believe it is," Nicole shrugged.

"Honestly, that does not make me feel any better about this," Shar'El said, shaking her head in unhappy disbelief. "Did you hear that Ya'Han?"

=/\= Yes, =/\= the Chief of Security replied through the subdermal communicator. =/\= The Captain had mentioned that possibility earlier but unfortunately that is all we have to go on. We have little other option but to hope that the name is a valid one and not some fake trail. =/\=

"Doubtful," Nicole commented. "Why would Professor Arken put a fake clue inside his own crystals that was meant to help locate the others? Given the difficulty we encountered to get the information, it is more likely that the name is accurate and just enough to put us on the right track leaving the rest to us."

"Anyone coming to this place and starting to ask for anyone by name would raise a lot of red flags, that much is certain," the ExO / ILO noted. "At least we were able to uncover a little more, allowing us to be a little more discreet in our search," the raven-haired Ullian said as she focused on another Risian woman who happened to walk by them.

"Is everything alright Commander?" The Counsellor inquired having seen a sudden change in the ExO / ILO's posture.

"I might have found her," Shar'El said with some hesitation. "The surface memories are those of a man she is married to, and I thought I saw him hold a small crystal in his hand. I need to dig deeper to confirm."

To anyone watching, it appeared as if the visitor had been interested in the Risian who was several meters away, the woman having for an unexplained reason stopped walking as if having suffered from some sort of vertigo.  As soon as the telepathic link was severed, the woman shook her head and dismissed the malaise she had just experienced before resuming her walk.

"So?" Nicole asked; glad to see that the Commander had also returned to a more natural appearance.

"You might want to finish that drink," Shar'El said in a rather serious tone. "Looks like we are on the move. Lieutenant Ya'Han, we have located the woman in question and are following. Please have Alpha team beamed to our location as soon as possible. It might also be helpful if the IGC made a lock on her, just in case we end up losing her trail."

=/\= Understood, =/\= the Chief of Security acknowledged.

"Are we expecting trouble?" Counsellor Dima inquired, not having seen any reason to have the other team join them in such a rush. "Did you see something in her memories that might indicate that there is more than we had expected to find?"

"I am not entirely certain Counsellor," the ExO / ILO replied. "Normally, when people are walking about like this, their memories are causal ones, drifting back and forth on people and places that they have just interacted with. In her case, the images and feelings I picked up on were far more emotional and specific. The man holding the crystal is her husband, but she is worried for him. Right now though I am unable to see why she would be so concerned, as if that memory is being kept away from her conscious mind on purpose."

"Could someone else be looking for the crystals and have gotten here before us?" The thought that this had somehow become a race sent a shiver down the Trill's back.

"I don't see how that is possible without there having been another crystal for them to use and decipher in order to locate this one, but it would explain why Admiral Koniki was in such a rush to see us take this mission," Shar'El noted. "Right now though, I have no proof to support that there is another player involved in this game of 'hunt the crystals', so the best we can do is to follow that woman and see what happens next."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P015: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 02 - 1955 ("Who's Following Who")
"Who's Following Who"
[previous "She Who Shall Not Be Named"]

[/\]
Setting: INVERNIA II, Western City, Street
Stardate: 32219.1955

The news that their search for the crystals might possibly turn into an all-out race made a few members of the away team look upon the mission in a different light. At first the OPS Officer had thought that this had been just another way for the Admiral to keep them from returning home, but now it seemed that the urgency, and accompanying dangers, had been real.

Thanks to the ANUBIS' transporters, the two teams had regrouped in a matter of minutes and now all five officers were tracking the Risian woman, being careful not to make their presence known. What appeared strange was the way the woman in question had been wandering the streets, as if she had no actual goal or destination.

"I smell a trap," Jayson said, aware that his words would be hard by not only the other members of the away team but also the Chief of Security and Captain who had been in orbit.

=/\= Her path is erratic, =/\= Ya'Han said on the open communications channel. Although the statement had not been meant for him, he found himself enjoying hearing the sound of her voice, even if it was only for a second or so.

=/\= There is something wrong, =/\= Commander Shar'El added. =/\= She is purposefully suppressing memories. =/\=

=/\= Do you think it is because she knows that someone might be looking in on them? =/\= Lieutenant Paquette suggested.

=/\= Doubtful, =/\= Nicole said, joining in on the whispered covert conversation. =/\= It is more likely that she is doing this to avoid falling into some sort of emotional collapse that would force her into a public display. If she is doing that, it does support the theory that we are heading into a trap, possibly because she is being followed by someone else than us. =/\=

Having heard this, Jayson decided to stop following the Risian and see if he would be able to identify the individual or individuals that were following her to see who would make contact. If they were listening in on their conversation, it made sense for him to remain silent and not inform the others of his intent. Although the odds had been next to impossible for whomever they were to have tapped into their encrypted communication channel, there were other ways to listen in on some.

Having pulled back, Jayson scrutinized the surroundings, trying to see if someone stood out. The more he looked, the more he found everything to be as expected for this world, everyone minding their own business in an annoying manner.  What had appeared to be permanent smiles on some proved to be a nearly fool-proof method to identify the locals, so the OPS Officer decided to focus on those people not displaying this exuberance of happiness.

When his survey of the surrounding people revealed no one that fit the bill, Jayson decided to further expand his search by pulling even further back, so much so that he could barely see the Risian in question.

=/\= As anyone seen Jayson? =/\= Commander Shar'El asked of the away team, having noticed the absence of the Chief of Operations.

=/\= Wasn't my turn to keep watch on him, =/\= Sonja replied as if referring to a lost child.

=/\= Lieutenant Stark, can you hear us? =/\= The Commander asked, knowing that under normal circumstances he would be aware of everything that was being said through the open channel.

He debated about answering and giving his location, but the possibility that those interested in the Risian woman had somehow managed to track them forced him to remain quiet. That was when he noticed a shadowy figure along the tree line. They had been set in a perfect row to provide a natural decorum to the street as well as provide some cover from the sun to the walking visitors, but they had also been in a perfect position to provide a good hiding place to someone wishing to follow another.  Not sure if this unknown figure had actually been interested in the Risian woman or those following her, Jayson decided to follow the follower to see what would happen next.

=/\= Away team to ANUBIS, we seem to have lost Lieutenant Stark, =/\= the Commander announced, a hint of concern in her voice.

=/\= Let me see if I can get a more precise sensor lock on the away team members, =/\= Ya'Han said forcing Jayson to make a decision. Either he needed to tell them what he had been up to, or he needed to act on his hunch and expose the shadowy individual for what he or she was.

=/\= Do you have his location? =/\= Shar'El asked, clearly not liking the idea that a member of her team had gone missing.

=/\= I did, =/\= the Chief of Security replied, her voice echoing far more concern that the Chief of Operations would have expected to hear given the way she had been behaving towards him. =/\= He was about 50 meters back from your current location on the walkway, but his signal just vanished. Something might have happened to him, =/\= she added, clearly upset and concerned as to his well-being. In fact, given the way she had spoken, Jayson believed that she would have beamed down had she been given the opportunity to do so to help deal with the situation of his disappearance.

As Jayson approached the unknown individual while rejoicing in the knowledge that she did still care for him, this despite whatever had happened, he noticed an odd looking box affixed on the shadowy individual's belt. Given the small visible lights, it was evident that the box was a device of some sort, one that the OPS Officer suspected might have been responsible for him having vanished from the ship's sensors.

As soon as he was close enough, Jayson reached for the box, yanked it off the individual's belt and smashed it onto the ground.

=/\= I have him on sensors, =/\= the Chief of Security announced seconds after confirming the OPS Officer's suspicions. =/\= His life signs are strong, and there is someone else with him. They are by the tree line some 45 meters ahead of your current location and heading. =/\=

=/\= We see him, =/\= Commander Shar'El confirmed as she and Lieutenant Paquette came running in his direction.

Obviously having been discovered, the unknown individual turned to confront the Starfleet Officer who had made them, but before Jayson to act further, the cloaked figure pushed him clean off his feet with a single, powerful strike against his chest.  By the time Shar'El and Sonja arrived by his side, the shadowy figure had vanished from sight.

"What happened?" Shar'El inquired of the man currently on the street, flat on his back.

"Don't you ever get tired of getting knock down by others?" The Engineer teased. "Are you injured?" She asked, not for her own benefits, as she actually did not truly care if he had been hurt or not, but Sonja knew that the woman listening in on their conversation would want to know.

"Someone was following us," He explained. "They had some sort of sensor shield device on their belt. The moment I destroyed it, Ya'Han was able to see both of us. I suspected that they would try to run, but did not anticipate that they would strike at me the way they did. I will admit that it was with a lot more strength than i thought the person had given its size and general shape.

=/\= Ya'Han, can you track the assailant? =/\= The Commander asked as she helped the man back to his feet.

=/\= I have him. They are heading for the residential buildings, and they seem to be in quite a rush to get wherever they are going, =/\= the Chief of Security reported.

"Looks like we need to step things up," the away team leader noted with dismay.  "Commander Maya, you and Counsellor Dima will need to make contact with the Risian woman and explain the situation. See if she can provide us with any information as to who this individual is and why it seems they were following her. Might be an idea to also fetch that broken device used to hide them from our sensors. A quick scan of the components might give us a clue as to whom we are dealing with. The rest of us will go after that individual and see where they are heading," Shar'El ordered, not wasting any time to start running after the individual who had been following them.

"Did you have fun scaring poor Ya'Han by not answering our calls?" Sonja said, giving Jayson a piece of her mind while not breaking her running strides. Although the Engineer had not been there by her side, she knew that her friend would be sickly concerned and would also not dare to let it show while on the Bridge with the Captain likely right there over her shoulder.

"I thought that our communications were being monitored," he said in his defence. "I didn't want to take the risk whoever they were knowing that we might be onto them."

"Well you did a wonderful job with that," the Engineer pointed out as all three officers ran as fast as they could to catch up with the individual who had attacked their Chief of Operations.

As much as he may have wanted to defend his actions and reasons for having done so, Jayson realized that whatever he would say would only make matters worse, not only as part of the away team but also as a man. It was easy to imagine that Ya'Han would use this to see her anger towards him jump by several points.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P016: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 2015 ("From Above")
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"From Above"
[previous post was "Who's Following Who"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32219.2015

She was happy to hear that Jayson was alright, but if Sonja didn't kill him after what he did, the Sec/Tac surely would upon his return to the ANUBIS. As the head of the security forces on board the ship, the now bright red-haired Nylaan could understand the way of thinking the man had used to justify his actions. In fact she could even find it within her to support his having remained silent to avoid being detected by the unknown individual he had been following. On a more personal level though, Ya'Han could not so easily forgive him for having scared her, and everyone else, the way he had.

The Sec/Tac would have to deal with him in that regards at some point following his return, if she could manage to actually face him. In the meantime, Ya'Han needed to focus on tracking the unknown individual who had followed the away team and given them the slip after momentarily taken Jayson out of the chase.

"What are the sensors showing?" The Captain asked, hoping to get an idea of what they were dealing with and who might have also been after the professor's crystals. What had started as a simple mission had quickly taken a turn towards something potentially more involving. It all depended on what race or organization had been on the quest to reunite all of the crystals.

"Thanks to Jayson disabling that sensor cloaking device, we are now able to track the individual. The problem is that the computer is unable to identify the species based on the readings we are picking up. Either their bio-signs have been modified in a way that we cannot identify or this is a race that we have never before encountered. What I can tell you though, through what I am seeing, is that whoever they are, they are quick and agile. I suspect that the members of the away team may not be able to actually catch up."

"Quick and agile," the Captain said to himself trying to narrow down the possibilities of those who might have had a reason to be involved in this search.

=/\= Don't forget strong, =/\= Jayson added to the description of the unknown individual who had knocked him to the ground with a single strike. =/\= That thing nearly crushed my rib cage with that blow. =/\=

"Are you in need medical assistance?" The Captain asked, seeing that one of his officers might be in some sort of trouble. "We can beam you back to the ANUBIS, the others can continue with the pursuit."

=/\= No need, I'm fine, =/\= Jayson quickly replied, sounding out of breath. =/\= Oh yea, they are quick. =/\=

"Then quit complaining and keep up with it," Ya'Han suggested, a hint of discontentment in her voice. "They just took a right into a narrow passage way, they may be trying to lose you although this will greatly reduce their ability to alter their course, this should help you gain some ground."

"Everything alright?" The Captain asked in a whispered tone of the Sec/Tac, curious as to why she had sounded irritated without having to broadcast it to the others listening in on the open channel.

"Just believed he needed some encouragement to focus," she explained without any hesitation. "He's endured worst during our sparing matches, and usually needs a push to get him to exceed what he believes to be his limits, which are much higher than he gives himself credit for," Ya'Han added hoping that this would prove to be a sufficient answer for their Captain.

The truth was that, has her hair color indicated, the Sec/Tac had shifted into her combat mindset and in so doing had allowed her anger about the situation she found herself in to be externalized, even if only a short time. Right now, Ya'Han needed to forget about her situation and dedicate all of her energy and thoughts on helping the away team catch-up and apprehend the unknown individual.

"Commander Shar'El," the Sec/Tac called out through the open channel. "The individual is back tracking using another passage way. Take the next right, you should be able to intercept. Jayson, stay on course to block them from using the way they came as an escape route. Them taking that turn was a tactical mistake that has given us the advantage we were hoping for."

Ya'Han watched with growing anticipation as the indicators on her tactical screen displaying the positions of each person closed in on one another. Thanks to the narrow passages, the outcome of this chance had been a near certitude in their favor. Shar'El and Sonja would intercept while Jayson would effectively block any possible retreat, that was if he was more ready than he had been the last time.

=/\= Stop! =/\= Commander Shar'El ordered as everyone came to meet at the same intersection of the passage ways. What followed drew concerns from both the Sec/Tac and Captain as the sounds of a physical struggle were clearly heard.

"Commander, report!" The Captain demanded as soon as the channel became quiet, but instead of Shar'El or even Sonja answering, it was Jayson whose voice was heard next.

=/\= They're okay. Looks like they both got the wind knocked out of them. Do you have a direction to point me in? I can't see where that individual went. =/\=

Ya'Han looked at her instruments with confusion. From the moment that all of the indicators had come together, none had left meaning that as far as the sensors had been concerned the unknown individual should have still he there.

"I can't explain it but it looks like they vanished," the Sec/Tac reported. "Sensors are not showing any indication that the individual has moved from your current location. Is there a door or some other access point they could have used to get out of the passage way?"

=/\= Not as far as I can see, =/\= Jayson reported.

"Make sure Commander Shar"El and Lieutenant Paquette are all right then regroup with Commander Maya and Counsellor Dima," the Captain instructed. "Let's hope we will have better luck getting some answers from our Risian guest."

Frustrated with the unexplained disappearance of the unknown individual, Ya'Han continued with her sensor sweeps of the area where Shar'El, Sonja and Jayson were. Certainly, there had to be an explanation as to how someone could have just vanished from existence without leaving any traces.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P017: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 02 - 2030 ("Not One Bit")
"Not One Bit"
previous post was "From Above"

=====
Setting: INVERNIA II, Western City, Street
Stardate: 32019.2030

Sonja had not been happy, not one bit. To see Jayson on his back, as he had a habit of being when sparring with Ya'Han, had been amusing and entertaining, but to be in the same position as he had been not that long ago had not been at all pleasant. Not one bit.

Having returned to her feet without having accepted the assistance offered by Lieutenant Stark, the redhead Engineer tried to work the soreness from her body, the one and only blow she received having been as powerful as earlier described. To make sure that the Chief of Operations would not get any ideas about saying something in regards to what had happened, the Chief Engineer was quick to meet the man's gaze with her own narrowed eyes making it crystal clear that should a single world escape his lips, he would find himself with his back to the ground once again. This time though, being unable to get back up as easily as he had done the last time, if at all.

"Shar'El to Maya, we are heading your way," the Commander reluctantly stated as she too shifted and stretched her body in odd ways to work the soreness out of her bruised muscles and bones. The description of the unknown individual had been understated in saying that he or she was quick, agile and strong. Their short-lived close-range encounter with it having been more than proof enough of that.

"No need Commander," the Chief Science Officer said, her voice having come not from the subdermal communicator but rather from a few meters away. "While you were given chance, Counsellor Dima and I thought it best to keep the distance between us as small as possible in case the developing situation required our being near to render assistance. Miss Allahi was more than happy to follow us once we introduced ourselves and explained the reason for our presence on INVERNIA II."

"What is even more interesting is that it appears that she was expecting us," the Trill Counsellor added, a tone of suspicion in her voice. Obviously, while the other three had been running after the individual who had been following them, Maya and Nicole had taken the opportunity to gather some additional Intel from the Risian woman.

"To be more accurate," the Chief Science Officer said, poising herself for one of her legendary lengthy descriptive explanations, "Miss Allahi was trying to make contact with the Federation ship and crew that had been expected to have been sent to search for IshDur Talkiir and the crystal in his possession. Her wandering the streets was nothing more than a ploy and trap set by those who are holding her husband captive in their apartment. Unfortunately, she is unable to provide us with any more information about who these people are, all four of them having gone through great efforts to keep their specific, as well as general identities a secret."

"That would explain the concerns that I picked up from you," Shar'El stated looking at the Risian, leaving the method of her having obtained this feeling a secret to the woman. The statement had also served to interrupt Maya before she got her second wind and continued her explanation on some barely relevant tangent.

"Can you give us the exact location of your apartment?" Sonja asked, an updated plan of action having formed in her mind. After having lost the only lead they had, it made sense to find a way to get to the destination as quickly as possible, and hopefully doing so before their missing spy got there to warn the other three of what had happened.

"We live on the fifth floor of the third building in the second row set in the first quadrant of the intersection where the statue of this city's founder is on display," Allahi explained, giving a hint as to how this culture went about identifying any specific locations.

"Ya'Han, is that enough for you to get us there using the ship's transporter?" Commander Shar'El asked of their Chief of Security.

=/\= Using the statue's forward orientation to figure out which is the first quadrant, then identifying the second row of buildings, and the third structure in that row, I can beam you to the fifth floor without any problems,  =/\= Ya'Han reported. =/\= Entering the coordinates into the transporter system. Stand by to beam six. =/\=

"Maybe it would be safer to beam us in front of that building instead," Jayson cautiously suggested. "We have no idea of what we are going to run into. As we discovered, whoever those guys are can shield themselves from our sensors."

"Will you just relax," Sonja sighed. "I realize that Ya'Han may not be here to protect you, but I am sure that the rest of us can handle things. If you are that worried, you can stay here and see how it's done. "

"That is not what I meant," the Chief of Operation said in his defence. "There might me traps waiting for us there. Let's not forget that she was sent to meet us and trigger a trap, it makes sense that they took into account the possibility that things would not have gone the way they had planned."

Sonja glanced at Commander Shar'El, not ready to openly admit that he had made a valid point.  With a nod of her head, the First Officer decided to make one small modification to their plan of attack. "Ya'Han, set the transport coordinates to a new location."

=====
Setting: INVERNIA II, Western City, Fifth floor of specified building
Stardate: 32019.2045

The away team along with the Risian woman materialized into the corridor of the fifth floor, as far away from any stairs or elevators detected by the ANUBIS' sensors.  With the team together, the Commander thought it best to maintain complete silence and instruct the others through military-style gestures.

Once Allahi figured out her bearings, she motioned to one corridor and indicated that the apartment they were aiming for was the third one on their left. With Sonja in the lead, checking for any signs of a trap, the away team carefully approached their destination, unable to know if they had managed to get here before the individual who had given them the slip back in the passage way.

With a quick motion of her hand, the redhead Engineer brought the entire team to a complete stop, having detected a small beam of light crossing the corridor a few centimeters above the floor. Showing her discovery to the others, everyone was silently instructed to step over the alarm trigger, thus maintaining the element of surprise that they hoped was still theirs to make full use of.

Seconds away from crashing through the door, Maya took on the form of a wolf. It was clear that she intended in jumping first and using her animal form to further increase the effect of the unannounced arrival, a decision that everyone seemed more than supportive of, with maybe the exception of the Risian woman who seemed to be in shock after having witnessed the transformation.

Timing their effort as best they could, Jayson and Sonja kicked in the door, allowing the wolf-shaped Maya to burst into the apartment followed by the rest of the team.  One by one the rooms were checked, both by Maya's heightened sense of smell and the rest of the away team's eyes. After an intensive search, no one was found other than a man tied to a chair and appearing to be in a rather rough shape.

"Are you all right?" Allahi asked with immeasurable concern as she rushed to who everyone else could only guess had been the man they were searching for, IshDur Talkiir.

"Where are those who did this to you?" Commander Shar'El asked.

"They're long gone," Sonja replied instead. "I've just discovered a set of long-range transporter enhancers. My guess is that the moment the trap failed, they high-tailed it out for fear that we would do what we did and possibly capture one or more of them, thus uncovering who they were and how they managed to find out about the crystals," the redhead explained, not at all happy that their assault had not been as successful as she might have liked. Not happy one bit.

"Did they get the crystal?" Shar'El inquired, fearing that their quest had come to an end. Without the second crystal there would not be any way for them to know the location of the next one in the sequence.

As the Risian woman, who also happen to be his wife untied the bonds, IshDur nodded his head yes, leaving the away team to understand that the crystal had indeed been taken by whomever these people had been. "I am sorry," he added using all of his strength to push himself up. "Professor Arken trusted me with the crystal but I could not hold its location secret against their torture."

"You have nothing to be sorry about," Sonja offered, the marks left on his face and body having been more than enough to hint as to the level of punishment he had endured to safeguard the crystal.

"Agreed," Shar'El confirmed. "We are just glad that you are alright. If you wish, we can beam you back to our ship and have our medical staff take care of you."

IshDur shook his head no and turned away, making his way through the room, staggering to such an extent that everyone feared that he would fall at any moment, which he eventually did sooner rather than later. Luckily, his fall was partially halted as he took hold of some sort of art piece, likely native to INVERNIA II.  Having been the closest, Sonja reached out and offered the man some help which he at first ignored for a few moments before turning to the redhead and taking hold of her hand with his to help him get back up.

"We both appreciate what you are trying to do, but I think it would be best if you all left," he sternly suggested.

"Please," Nicole pushed, "allow us to help in some way as a show of thanks for what you did."

"I believe that we have already gone through enough because of that blasted crystal," IshDur snapped, his anger having been completely unexpected, taking everyone by surprise.

"Counsellor, I believe that he is right," Sonja stated, glancing over to Maya to make sure that she had regained her clothing. "Ya'Han, as soon as you are ready, beam us back up."

Shar'El appeared puzzled but when the redhead quickly shook her head, the Commander knew that there had been more to this story than it appeared. 

Without anyone saying anything else, the away team waited for the transport sequence to begin and take them back to the ANUBIS, their quest having apparently failed.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room
Stardate: 32019.2100

As soon as the transporter sequence had been completed, the Commander turned toward the Chief Engineer. "What happened?"

"My guess is that there was still one of those guys there or the room was bugged," Sonja explained as she turned towards Maya and placed something into her hand.  "IshDur gave me this when he got back up, I'm guessing that it was hidden in that hideous art work of his. That is why he wanted us to leave right away; this may give us the advantage and allow us to stay ahead of whoever those guys are."

The Chief Science Officer kept her hand open, allowing everyone to see the crystal that had been placed there, a crystal that perfectly matched the first one they had in their possession.

"Commander Maya, if you would please decipher the crystal, we can move on to the next step of this mission," Shar'El happily said before returning her attention to the redheaded Chief Engineer. "Thank you. We were fortunate that IshDur trusted you with handing over the crystal."

"I was just at the right place at the right time," Sonja shrugged. "Trust I believe had no part in this. Not one bit."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P018: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 02 - 2200 ("Understandings")
##########
"Understandings"
Previous post "Not One Bit"
##########

"There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors."
- Jim Morrison

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 32219.2200

The Native American sat at his desk, his attention on the streaking stars visible through the window of his office.

"Captain's Log, Stardate 32219.22. To keep up the appearance that the mission to obtain the second crystal had failed, the ANUBIS has left INVERNIA II and set a course for the nearest Federation Starbase. As soon as Commander Maya deciphers the data contained within the new crystal to have come within our possession, we will alter course accordingly. That is right after we engage our cloaking armour to make sure no one can follow us."

"Based on the reports from my First Officer, Commander Shar'El, as well as the rest of the members of the away team, it is clear that someone else is after these crystals. Unfortunately, as of right now, we have no idea who they are or why they are interested in the work of Professor Arken, work that we ourselves have no idea what it involves.  What we do know for fact is that what had been believed to be a simple mission setting us on a quest in search for clues has turned into a race against an unknown adversary for a yet to be determined final objective. Although the mission is meant to seeing us gather all eight crystals, myself as many others on the senior staff, know that this will only be the first step in whatever this whole story is about. Computer, pause recording," the Captain said before adding a troubled sigh.

Erik leaned back in his chair, trying to make sense of what had happened on INVERNIA II. Thanks to the help of IshDur Talkiir, the crystal had been kept safe until it was covertly handed over. This seems to have given the ANUBIS and its crew a tactical advantage, but it also served to show that the content hidden within these crystals had been far more important than Admiral Koniki might have hinted to. As it was all too often the case in situations such as this one, there was a great deal of information missing to allow for the Native American Commanding Officer to fully understand what was going on. The Head of Starfleet Intelligence and senior most officer of the NEW ALEXANDRIA complex, it seemed, liked it that way.

"Computer, resume recording," the Captain said, having regathered his thoughts. "I have tasked Commander Shar'El, with the help of Lieutenant Ya'Han with, to review all sensor logs and try to identify who the individuals were who tried to appropriate the second crystal. Hopefully, a clue as to their identity or even possibly their reason can be uncovered. If not, the best we can hope for is for us to remain ahead of them as we press on with our initial mission objective."

Just as the Native American ended his log entry, the sound of the door chime echoed through his office. "Come in," Erik said, wondering who might be on the other side of the door, not having expected anyone and knowing that if something important had happened or been discovered, he would have been made aware of this in a far more direct and rapid manner.

"I hope that I am not interrupting anything Captain," the 5'5" Trill woman in charge of the crew's emotional and mental health offered as she stepped in.

"Not at all Counsellor," Erik promptly reassured. "I just finished a log entry about our current situation."

"Bet it was not one of those 'short and simple' entry," Nicole chuckled as she made her way to the couch to sit down, the Captain having always invited his Ship's Counsellors to make themselves as comfortable as possible, the Native American never having had any problems or hesitations in confiding in the person holding that position. "I saw Shar'El and Ya'Han meticulously looking over the sensor logs covering their time on INVERNIA II. Do you truly believe that they will be able to find something that might help us figure out who is after the crystal?"

"Do you personally enjoy asking questions that you know the answer to or is this just a professional way to get inside my head?" Erik teased from the other side of his desk.

"Well," Nicole grinned back, "as the ship's Counsellor, it is in my contract that I have to get inside the head of at least one member of the Senior Staff every day. With Shar'El, Ya'Han and Maya way too busy to even acknowledge my presence, and Jayson still overly preoccupied, I figured that you were my next best option."

"Why not set your sights and claws on Sonja?" The Captain inquired, expertly managing to balance seriousness and hilarity with his question.

"Main Engineering was too far," Dima dismissed with laughter.

"Actually, while I have you here counsellor," the Native American continued, but this time coming across as completely serious and professional. "You mentioned Jayson being overly preoccupied. Do you have any ideas as to why?"

"Now it's your turn to ask a question that you already have the answers to," the Counsellor pointed out, having easily noticed that look in the Captain's eyes that hinted that he knew, or at the very least suspected something.

"Ya'Han displayed a brief moment of what I referred to as an 'optimistic' opinion on her part when she made a comment about the outcome of the mission on INVERNIA II," Erik explained. "It took her no time at all to correct this and go back to her usual self, but I was still surprised by her unusually positive outlook. The woman seems to go out of her way to find conspiracies and danger wherever we are."

"I did notice that Jayson was preoccupied for the majority of the mission," Nicole stated. "Not enough to hinder his ability to perform his duties, but it was clear that his head was not 100% where it should have been."

"Well, looks like you have a couple of other heads for you to get into," the Captain said in a rather jovial manner. "That should give me some time to relax and not have to worry about you pocking in there too much," he added gently tapping the side of his head with his forefinger.

"Don't think that this gets you out of range of my claws," the Trill stated, gladly using the same term the Native American had used earlier to describe her counselling methods. "I will have a chat with both of them tomorrow," Nicole continued in a more serious tone just as the Captain had.

"Good luck, and good night Counsellor."

"Captain," the Counsellor acknowledged with a nod of her head, and with that the Trill woman exited the Native American's office with a quest of her own.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M09-P019: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 03 - 0215 ("Alone")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Alone"
[previous post was "Understandins"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 32220.0215

Following the away team's return from INVERNIA II, and their debriefing led by Captain Morningstar, Ya'Han had returned to her quarters, alone. Jayson had chosen to spend the night in his quarters, a decision that Ya'Han could hardly hold against him based on the way things had evolved between them. Granted, the way she had ignored him when he tried to get her attention after coming onto the bridge had more than likely helped him make that decision.

With all of the conflicting emotions that filled her mind, and the changes she anticipated in her body, Ya'Han believed that it had indeed been best for them to stay apart for the time being. She found herself struggling with the possibility of her being with child, and having to try and explain this to him would have only made things worse. Him being happy about this would leave the Sec/Tac to wonder if he had actually been truthful in his reaction or had only done so to be supportive accepting responsibility for his role in this. If he delayed showing any display of joy, she would interpret this as him not being keen on the possibility leaving her to figure out what she would need to do next. If he showed any signs of displeasure or maybe even fear, she would likely go 'full red' on him for not being man enough to face the reality of the possibility of them becoming parents. So no, being alone in her quarters right now had been best for both of them, in more ways than one.

Following a light dinner, the black and red haired Nylaan sat on the couch to relax, using the time to catch up on the reports from her department. With the ANUBIS in orbit of INVERNIA II and nothing much happening beyond the events that had taken place on the planet's surface, the activity had not lasted as long as the Sec/Tac would have liked it to.  Not wishing to go to the gym to train, in case she ran into Jayson and because she now needed to be more careful about herself, Ya'Han had decided to remain in her quarters.

It had not taken too long before she found herself pacing the full length of her quarters more times than she had managed to keep count of, her body quickly following the aimless wanderings of her thoughts. For fear of actually creating a path on the carpet of her quarters, Ya'Han decided to go to bed early and get some rest. If she was indeed with child, she would need to get as much rest as she could.

As great as the idea might have been though, it had proven to be a much more difficult goal to achieve. Her body might have been willing to indulge in this rest but her mind had been much less cooperative. By the time the sheets of her bed had found their way onto the floor of her bedroom, Ya'Han had come to the realization that rest would not be something she would be able to enjoy tonight, or more accurately in the early hours of the following day.

Having resigned herself to a sleepless night, she sat on the edge of the bed, catching herself looking back over her shoulder at the vacant other half. As much as she might not have been ready to admit it, Ya'Han did feel herself missing him, more now than ever before, not truly wanting to be alone at this time.

In a brief moment of weakness, she found herself looking down at her hands which had once again come to caress her belly. As she did so, she noticed that the locks of hair that had dropped to either side of her face displayed a much more royal hue, a color that as established by her training had needed to have been present during conception and during the entire duration of her pregnancy. It had been made perfectly clear to every daughter of the High Sovereign that baring a child had been their first duty to their husbands as well as to their father.

Ya'Han could only guess to the universe consuming rage her father would unleash on her and Jayson if the High Sovereign of NYLA IV came to learn of this situation, Ya'Han never having officially bonded with her mate. Then again, she had run away from him and everything he stood for, so it was another possibility that he would not even care about this child if he somehow even came to learn about it. Then again, given his overwhelming desire to control everything around him, it had been a much greater possibility that he would want this offshoot branch of the family tree cut down and burnt out of history altogether.

That thought sent Ya'Han into a crying fit, a reaction that she had never before had when thinking about her father or his all too frequent fits of rage. She hted him for what he had done to her, forcing her to leave as she did, yet she still found it in her heart to love him for being her father. As much as she might have fared him for coming after her, she always considered herself ready to fight for her freedom, but now her ability to live as she wanted had taken a backseat to protecting her would-be child.

The purple-haired Nylaan found herself looking at her full body reflection, her hands covering her belly in a loving and protective manner. Her motherly instincts had already begun to surface, which despite there not having been any proof of her condition other than the physical pains she had experienced earlier that morning and the stories that went with them. Such evidence would be easily obtained by someone on the medical staff, but Ya'Han had to admit to herself if anyone else, that this frightened her more than she had ever thought possible.

The worst part was that she was not entirely certain if this fear was based on the results coming back positive or negative.  As much as she might have believed herself to not being ready for this, part of her feared that this had all been some sort of biological mix up caused by the fact that never before had a daughter of the High Sovereign been with a Human.

Gently caressing her belly, Ya'Han fought back her tears. Although she had been alone in her quarters, the truth was that she would not be alone as the situation progressed. Even if Jayson was somehow not considered in all of this, the Nylaan woman knew that she would be able to count on friends such as Sonja and Shar'El. Oddly enough one of them had yet to be made aware of this possibility, something that she would need to address sooner rather than later.

After that, even if unfolding events would see both of them leave her side, not that she would ever wish for that to happen, the purple haired woman knew that she would not be alone, never again, not as long as she would be there to care for this child.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P020: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 03 - 0215 ("Alone")
"Solitary Confinement"
[previous "Alone"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Stark's Quarters
Stardate: 32220.0455

He lay on his bed, wide awake, thinking about what had happened on INVERNIA II amongst other things. The mission had been a success in that they had found IshDur Talkiir and recovered from him the crystal they had been looking for. So why had he not been happy?

Yes this had been only the second crystal in their quest to reunite the entire set and given how buried and distorted the information had been from the first crystal, it was natural to expect that things would not get any easier from this point on. As annoying as that might have been though, the OPS Officer knew that with the combined efforts of Commander Shar'El in the IGC and Commander Maya in the science labs, the secrets of the crystals would not remain hidden for very long. So his current mood had to have been caused by something else.

Thinking back to the encounter with the individual who had been following Allahi and the away team, Jayson felt his muscle start to ache once more. Whoever they were, their speed and strength had been quite formidable and he did consider himself lucky to have gotten away from that with only a few external bruises. Had the hit been slightly lower, or just a hint more powerful, the OPS Officer did not doubt that he would have never been able to get back up.

As intense as the sparring sessions with Ya'Han were, they had never left him feeling the way he had been made to feel after that one blow. The comments from the Chief of Security had only served to add a few emotional cuts to the physical bruises he had received.

He let out a long sigh as he closed his eyes. As much as he tried to force the reason for his feeling as he did onto something else, he always found his way back to the actual cause, the woman who from one day to the next had seemingly shut him out of her life for no apparent reason. Having Sonja aware of this reason, this being beyond evident by the way she was acting around him wherever they were in the same general vicinity only added to his feeling like everything had been his fault.

If he was to be made to feel like some sort of infectious leper though, Jayson would have appreciated having at the very least been told why by someone. Each time he had said or done something to incur the anger of Ya'Han, she had not hesitated to let him know why, usually seconds before slapping some sense into him, or flat out making him see the error of his ways as he looked up at her from the floor. This time though, not a single word had been said. In fact she had gone out of her way to avoid him and keep the wall of silence that had been erected between them untouched, even by a simple glance in his direction.

Whatever it was that he had done, he had truly outdone himself, not that he could find any pride or joy in that accomplishment. His reward of an emotional solitary confinement had been one that he was ready to do anything to break free from, but that decision had not been his to make. As long as Ya'Han felt it necessary to not speak to him, there was nothing he could do other than wait. He knew her well enough to understand that pressuring or pestering her on this matter would only make matters worse. So as much as he hated it, he had no other choice but to wait, doing his best to continue performing his duties as the Chief of Operations for the ANUBIS hoping that the CO or ExO would not come to investigate the rift that he was sure everyone had been more than aware of between the two lovers.

=/\= Commander Maya to Lieutenant Stark. =/\=

Jayson actually smiled; glad to see that at least someone had wanted to speak with him. "Go ahead Commander."

=/\= If you can spare some time from your duties, I would like your help and opinion on something concerning the crystal we obtained from IshDur Talkiir. Actually, to be more accurate, I would need your input concerning a particular encoding process used to safeguard the data, =/\= Maya explained.

"Commander, it's a little after 0500 hours, I am not on duty at this time," he stated.

=/\= I am so very sorry Lieutenant. I have been working on this crystal through the night and lost track of time. It was not my intention to wake you but given the unique properties of what i have come across I believed that you would be the person to ask. Please, disregard my earlier request; I will continue to work on this until such time as you are back on duty. =/\=

Seeing that the scientist had been more than ready to continue with her apologetic excuse, the OPS Officer quickly interrupted. "No need to apologies Commander, I was actually not sleeping, so you did not wake me. I just had too many things on my mind to be able to get any sleep, so I would be happy to lend a hand instead of being here, alone, with my thoughts. Give me a few minutes and I will join you."

=/\= Thank you Lieutenant. I personally enjoy reviewing and analyzing my own thoughts, but I guess that is something unique to me and sets me as the exception rather than the rule, although I fail to see why more people do not take part in this activity. It is a very enlightening and educational view into what makes us sentient life forms. Anyway, I am currently in the Quantum Physics Lab on deck 12, =/\= Maya said, again sounding as if there had been a great deal more she had been ready to say.

"I know where the lab is Commander; I will see you there shortly. Stark out."

He felt bad cutting the Commander short the way he did, but he had believed this to be better than spending the next half hour listening to her going on about anything and everything. Half hour if luck had been on his side, and given that had had been in his quarters instead of Ya'Han's, it was easy to see that luck had not been on his side at this time.

As he jumped out of bed, he instinctively turned to see the woman who had occupied his thoughts for the majority of the night. Instead of seeing her though, he saw the empty bed set in the chaos that had been his own room. The lack of order had never truly bothered him, but today he found it to be another reminder of how alone he felt without her in his life in some way.  Hopefully this situation would be quickly resolved, even if it meant for him to continue being this way, if he at least knew why.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P021: USS ANUBIS: Maya: Day 03 - 0515 ("A Whole Different Puzzle")
---
"A Whole Different Puzzle"
(Previous Post: "Solitary Confinement")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Quantum Physics Lab
Stardate: 32220.0515

The Chief Science Officer of the USS ANUBIS had unbeknownst to herself spent the entire night working on deciphering the encoded data contained within the crystal obtained from the Invernian IshDur Talkiir. Having already manage to decode the data from the first crystal, Maya had expected the process to be similar with the second one. It had not taken the Shillian very long to realize that this would not be the case as the expected data clusters did not appeared as they had the first time around. The more she worked on this puzzle, the more the head of the Science Department admired Professor Arken for his intellect, an exceptionally paranoid intellect, but a genius level intellect nonetheless.

The data in the first crystal she had been given to decipher was encoded using a multi-layered progressive password system. Getting through the first few levels had proven difficult enough, requiring some fancy decryption algorithms, but without any sort of key to understand the code used, there had been no way for the Shillian scientist to break through the deeper protective layers. Taking into account that the crystals had also been meant to work together, it made perfect sense that the main data hidden within could only be accessed when all of the crystals were finally brought together.

When Maya began working on the second crystal, she noted that the way the data had been protected was not the same as the first. Initially, she believed that this had been because of a shift in the orientation of the crystal or maybe because of a different molecular crystalline formation. Once all of the most likely possibilities to explain the discrepancies had been disqualified, the Chief Science Officer was left with the unpleasant realization that the encoding method used by Professor Arken for the second crystal had been completely different from the first. It took several hours for the Shillian to understand that this new process included some rather complex encoding at the quantum level, hence confirming that the man responsible for this had indeed been a paranoid and eccentric genius beyond what anyone could have believed him to be.

"You called?" The Chief of Operations asked as he walked into the Quantum Physics Laboratory where the Chief Science Officer had been forced to relocate to, in order to properly address the work done by Professor Arken.

"Yes I did," Maya confirmed, barely looking at the man while calling up a holographic display of the molecular structure of the second crystal. "I am in need of your assistance in order to figure out the line of thought used by Professor Arken to create the barrier he used to protect the data contained in the crystal. The man obviously thinks on a completely different level than we do and I find no shame in admitting that I am unable to understand the specific ideas he is using to accomplish the security barriers he has put into place in these crystals."

"So you need *my* help?" Jayson questioned with visible puzzlement, not able to figure out how he would be able to assist the Shillian. As the Chief Science Officer, her knowledge in this particular domain had been expected to exceed his, and her dedication to the field made that expectation a certainty beyond any reasonable challenge.

"The clue to breaking the encoding barrier was set-up at the quantum level within the molecular structure of the crystal," the Shillian Science Officer explained making the Terran Chief of Operations even further doubt his ability to being able to help in any way.  "It took me some time to make sense of what this quantum realignment was meant to do, but once I figured it out I knew that I would not be the right person to understand how to go beyond it. As much as I delight in all things found within the realm of science, there are still a great deal of things that are beyond my understanding and knowledge."

With a few press of the controls, the Chief Science Officer enlarged the holographic image to the point where the quantum fluctuations of each atom within the crystal could be visible.  Jayson stared at the image, trying to make sense of the chaotic sight, and after a few seconds, he shrugged and took a large step back.  "I am truly sorry Commander, but I am unable to see anything, let alone something that I would be able to help you with."

"I had the same reaction the first time I was looking at this," Maya admitted, almost overly happy in her words. "When I detected these unusual quantum fluctuations, I immediately focused in onto the smallest possible details, I mean why else alter the quantum fluctuation if that was not the intent? It was only when I decided to look at these odd oscillations on the larger scale, larger being relative to the size I was observing at the time. When dealing at the quantum level, anything beyond the atomic range becomes, for obvious reasons, a *much* larger scale. Anyway, it was when I reduced the magnification that I was able to see something I believe falls into your sphere of understanding, far better than it would ever be in mine."

The Chief of Operations resumed his scrutiny of the image as the scientist gradually reduced the extreme visual amplification until a certain pattern appeared; one that Jayson took a few extra seconds to recognize for what it was.  "That is impossible. How could he have forced the quantum elements to create that?"

"Professor Arken is a true genius," Maya admitted without hesitation. "I have no idea how he managed to accomplish this amazing feat, but it is clear that he did so to create a very specific clue for whoever obtained the crystal, and my guess is that he did so in order to show the observer as to how to access the identity of the owner of the third crystal. At least, it is the only explanation that I have and which makes sense given what it is we are seeing. I truly doubt that the Professor would have gone to all of this trouble to create something that was not significant to this quest and mission in some way."

Although he had not been ready to sing the praises of the Professor as Maya had repeatedly done since his arrival in the laboratory, Jayson had found himself silently admiring the skills of the man. The pattern he could not see within the quantum fluctuations becoming increasingly clearer the longer the Terran Chief of Operations stared at the image. "Not sure how he did it either, but he managed to have the layout of an isoleniar control circuit to be rather accurately displayed by the fluctuations."

"This is why I called you here," the Shillian Scientist explained. "The computer was unable to lock in on the pattern created due to the quantum fluctuations making any sort of automated recognition of that circuit impossible, which meant that I needed to have someone who would be able to identify the specific circuit by simply looking at it. As I said, Professor Arken is truly a genius, making sure by this unorthodox process that the clue he placed in this crystal could only be understood by someone possessing the proper knowledge. I suspect in this case that he was expecting a Starfleet Officer with the proper knowledge to be looking at this enlarged scene, or that the person performing the research would be able to call upon someone with the required technical expertise. Very much as I did. Anyone else, even if they did manage to identify the pattern as having been that of some sort of circuit, would not be able to properly identify it, even with the assistance of a computer which as explained earlier would not be able to help in the least thanks to the inability to lock in on the pattern created and camouflaged by the quantum fluctuations."

"The circuit is a very specific one," the Chief of Operations pointed out, still not willing to openly acknowledge the skills of the person who had thought of this and made it possible. "It is part of the communication interface between the core computer processor in Sickbay and the main diagnostic array right over the primary examination table. That is the only place you will find that particular circuit because of the specific type of data being transmitted through it."

"See," Maya happily grinned. "I knew that you would be able to help me. As the Chief of Operations, I suspected that you would be able to identify that circuit, which you obviously did. I know that it would have taken me hours, if not days, to visually scan through all of the similar patterns found within a Starfleet vessel, unable to use the computer to help. Now, all we need to do is to figure out how this particular information helps us to decipher the data we will need in order to locate the third crystal and obtain the identity of the person who has it in their possession."

"The medical array uses a very specific compression rate due to the unique nature of the biological data being collected," Jayson explained. "Given all that we have so far seen about the way Professor Arken does things, I would not be surprise that the compression rate is the key that you are looking for. Now, as to how this applies to you getting to the data inside that crystal is, I am afraid to say, well out of my field of expertise."

"Together, I believe that we can figure this out well before breakfast time."

---
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32220.0645

Not everyone had been thrilled with an early morning call requesting an urgent senior staff meeting, but when it was announced that the location of the third crystal had been figured out, the level of interest in most made them forget just how early it had been.

"Good morning everyone," the Captain offered to the gathered officers, seeing a wide mixture of expressions that made him believe it best to not stretch this unexpected any longer than it needed to. "I will make this quick. Commander Maya, with the help of Lieutenant Stark, were able to identify the location of the third crystal. It seems that we will be heading for DATHIS II, the homeworld of the Dachlyd."

"The name does not sound familiar to me," Lieutenant Paquette said, her inability to immediately recognize the race actually causing her some concerns. If she did not know them, or even about them, things would obviously not be that simple. "I am guessing that they are not members of the Federation, or even remotely involved in their affairs, be it good or bad."

"You are correct Lieutenant," the Shillian scientist confirmed. "The Dachlyd are an unaligned bipedal reptilian race possessing what would be considered to be average space travelling capabilities. The main source of income for the whole of their planet is based on gathering, refining and trading various goods and items gathered from the neighbouring world of GEMARIS V, this using remote ships and drones for both their collection and transport for trade."

"Remote?" Ensign Tanith Jones repeated, wondering why a race would use remote drones and ships to conduct trades with other species. Using remote drones on dangerous worlds made sense, but to conduct any kind of business transaction seemed to be a little excessive.

"The Dachlyd are considered to be a highly anti-social race," Commander Shar'El explained, her knowledge of races and worlds not limited to those directly involved with the United Federation of Planets. "They are right on the edge of xenophobia, disliking direct dealings with any other species, hence why they use drones to complete the trades they take part in. It is a small detail that I am sure will make our task of locating the crystal that much more challenging."

---
Jessica Solarik

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

&

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M09-P022: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 03 - 0700 ("Cold Blooded")
=-=
"Cold Blooded"
[previous post was "A Whole Different Puzzle" by the amazing Jessica]
=-=

Setting: ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32220.0700

The briefing had ended and everyone was making their way out of the Observation Lounge, their thoughts on DATHIS II, the reptilian Dachlyd as well as a well-deserved breakfast and for most it would not be in that particularly order. Commander Maya and Lieutenant Stark had done an amazing job in deciphering the surface data of the second crystal giving the crew their next objective. Although the details of their accomplishment had not been made public during the briefing, the ExO / ILO had been informed of the complexity of their success by the IGC techs who had been keeping a close watch on their work and progress.

Shar'El had been pleased to see that whatever issues had been present between the ship's Chief of Operations and Chief of Security had not hindered their abilities to perform their respective duties, at least that was the ExO's stand on this matter. As a friend to both Ya'Han and Jayson, and in her capacity as the ANUBIS' ILO, the raven-haired woman had been consumed with curiosity as to what it was that was currently not bothering them.

The way they had avoided each other's gaze hinted that he matter had not been settled, but both had made a conscious decision to not allow things to get in the way of their work. For that, both Officer needed to be praised.

"Course has been plotted and laid in for DATHIS II," Ensign Jones reported from the Flight Control station. Every time Tanith spoke, it took people by surprise as most seemed to forget that she had been there in the first place, despite performing all of the tasks her position required and more. "We should reach our destination in just over 26 hours."

"Good," Sonja exclaimed as she boarded the turbolift. "That will give me the chance to supervise the maintenance schedule I had prepared for my team," the redhead said as she turned to face those remaining on the bridge. "Canna wait to see their faces when I show up in Main Engineer this early in the morning," the Chief Engineer adding in  thick Scottish accent, the devious smile that had appeared on her lips making Shar'El almost feel sorry for her people.

"She can be scary that one," Jayson muttered as he walked by the ExO / ILO, not having expected the Commander to overhear his words.

"Something about the red hair I believe," Shar'El offered in a playful manner, hoping to see some sort of reaction from the man that would help her understand what it was that was going on between him and Ya'Han.

"If you say so," the Chief of Operations agreed, this without offering any additional input or even casting a quick glance in the direction of the other redhead on the bridge who Shar'El had been sure her comment would have caused him to look her way.

"Lieutenant," the ExO / ILO began as she stood next to the Chief of Operations. "In order to make it as easy as possible for us to find the current owner of the crystal, I would like your assistance in reviewing the data thus far gathered. A fresh set of eyes, bot in regards to DATHIS II and the crystals in general could prove useful."

"Of course Commander," Jayson acknowledged. "I have a few things to take care of here first, but I will be happy to assist in whatever way i can. Will you wish me to report to the IGC."

As strange as it might seem to some, the ExO / ILO had become rather possessive of that part of the ship, claiming it as her own and restricting access to those who were absolutely necessary to its continued functioning, "How about Stellar Cartography on Deck 13? I can have the IGC link in allowing us to use the large screen to get a better idea of just how we would need to effectively proceed."

"Stellar Cartography it is," the Operations Officer nodded. The way he had done that, Shar'El believed that she could have suggested the Black Hole Lounge or even the main gymnasium to obtain the exact same reaction. "I will be there, say in about an hour? If that is alright with you Commander?"

"Of course," the ExO / ILO confirmed. "We do have 26 hours before getting there."  With that, Shar'El made her way towards the turbolift, Captain Morningstar having taking charge of the bridge by sitting in the central chair. As the raven-haired woman was about to vanish inside the transport pod, she met the gaze of the ANUBIS' Chief of Security who gave the impression of being emotionally distant for a reason that had still managed to evade the Intel Operative's best efforts.

=-=
Setting: ANUBIS, Turbolift
Stardate: 32220.0715

Alone in the small pod, the ExO / ILO began to wonder if this ability to remain cold and distant being displayed by both Ya'Han and Jayson had in some way been her fault. Knowing that she could pick up on stray memories, maybe the two had made a conscious decision to insure that no such image would be picked up by the Ullian. This Shar'El found both impressive and disturbing at the same time, making it clear that the crew had grown accustomed to the natural abilities of their First Officer.

=-=
Setting: ANUBIS, Deck 13, Stellar Cartography
Stardate: 32220.0730

Wanting a head start, Shar'El stood on the platform that extended to the middle of the spherical room. Extending multiple decks above and below, Stellar Cartography had been an amazing area to be in, giving those inside the impression that they were part of the display in a way that could not be compared to the holodecks. Here, an observer was not meant to become part of the simulation, but rather to enjoy it from a perspective that made one feel far more than they were. If one's imagination was good enough, the feeling of freely floating through space could be achieved with little effort. A sensation that the ExO / ILO found rather soothing and calming.

Having instructed the computer to display all known locations where the Dachlyd could be found, the ExO / ILO was surprise to see several off-world trading stations in addition to the race's home planet. As Xenophobe as the reptilian race was, they had still managed to stretch their influence to nearby systems including the GEMARIS System where their primary source of trade material originated from.

"Computer," Shar'El began, "using long-range sensors, tracking transponders and any other means at our disposal, display the location of every Dachlyd ship found within the area surrounding both DATHIS II and GEMARIS V."

In a very rapid sequence, numerous dots appeared on the curved display of Stellar Cartography, showing just how extensive the trade industry and routes of the xenophobe race were.

"This could prove to be even more of a needle in a haystack search than the search for the second crystal was," the ExO / ILO sighed to herself, truly hoping that the information they had, as well as the input from Lieutenant Stark would narrow down the number of possibilities which at this time easily stood in the hundreds.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P023: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 03 - 0745 ("No Pressure")
"No Pressure"
[previous "Cold Blooded"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 13, Corridor
Stardate: 32220.0745

This would not be the first time he would work alone with the Commander, so why had he felt so nervous this time compared to any other time? Ya'Han's friendship with both Shar'El and Sonja had been well known by everyone on the ship, and the Engineer had already lashed out at him while on INVERNIA II. If the Commander had wanted to do the same in retribution for what he had done to Ya'Han, whatever that might have been, surely she would not do so like this. It would be nice is someone had the decency to inform him of what he had actually done to warrant the cold shoulder from the color-changing woman and the anger of her closest friends.

No, the odds were more in line with the Commander actually wanting his assistance in locating the Dachlyd who had the third crystal in his possession. Today seemed to be his day for lending a helping hand, a welcomed change from what had become an all too often recurring pattern of him finding his way on the wrong side of some attack.

Yes, it made more sense, and would be far safer for him in the end. As much as he found comfort in his own reassurances though, Jayson could feel his apprehension growing with each step that took him closer to Stellar Cartography. Ya'Han was a very passionate person and seemed able to enlist that same passion in others when it came to defending her from whatever might have been perceived as a threat.

With only a few more steps before he would reach his destination, Jayson stopped and quickly reviewed the information contained in the PADD that he had been carrying. 

The Dachlyd that they were looking for had an illegible name comprised of over 20 characters, some of which the OPS Officer could not even begin to guess as to how to be pronounced. The reptilian overtone though had been inescapable, nearly half of those characters looking and sounding like an 's'.

The rest of the information that had been found in the crystal had been an odd sequence of letters and numbers that were hoped to be some sort of coordinate that could be used to pinpoint the individual's exact location. Given their luck so far though, that possibility had been unlikely.

Glancing at the time displayed on the PADD, Jayson carefully timed his entrance to be exactly when Commander Shar'El had requested him to meet her.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 13, Stellar Cartography
Stardate: 32220.0800

"Commander Shar'El," Jayson offered to make his presence known, adding a greeting nod of his head as he walked in to find the First Officer standing on the platform leading to the center of the spherical room.

"Impressively punctual," the Commander noted. "Let's get to work. I took the liberty of starting, having the computer lay out a general geography of the proverbial terrain we will be dealing with. With the Dachlyd using remote drones and ships to conduct their trades, we have only a few possibilities outside of their home world."

Jayson's eyes widened as he glanced at the displayed image on the curved screen, guessing that each of the smaller dots indicated one of the remote crafts used by the Dachlyd while the larger ones likely indicated the location of control stations and worlds upon which members of the species could actually be found on. 

"Locating Sam may not prove to be that easy I'm afraid," the OPS Officer pointed out, joining the Commander at the control station located at the end of the platform.

"Sam?" Shar'El asked confused, not recalling having heard that name in reference to their search for the third crystal.

"I am sorry Commander, but that is the best way I can say *this*," he explained, presenting the PADD to he First Officer on which the lengthy hissing name had been highlighted.

"How did you get *Sam* from that?"

"With all due respect Commander, you tell me how to actually pronounce that name and I will be more than happy to refer to the current owner of the crystal by that name," he pointed out, actually handing over the PADD so that Shar'El could carefully study the name in question.

The Commander took the PADD and appeared ready to read out the individual's name, that was until she realized just how impossible the task had been. After several silent attempts to make some sense of that name, Shar'El handed the PADD back to Jayson. "So what do we know about Sam?"

"Aside from his name," he said holding back his laughter, "not a great deal. The data contained in the crystal gave us the name of the individual holding the next crystal, just as the previous crystal had with IshDur Talkiir. In this case though, the additional information was an odd set of numbers and letters that I can only guess are some sort of coordinates based on a local system. Either that or they refer to some specific location by means other than a name, one that we would likely be equally unable to pronounce.

"If these are indeed a set of coordinates, we will have to wait until we can scan one of the remote probes or actually be in orbit in order to have the IGC link in and figure out if we can work out where those numbers and letters point to," the Commander explained. "In the meantime, we could see if there are any similarities with what we currently know about the way the Dachlyd work. These numbers and letters might be some reference to a trade route or maybe even a point of origin for one of the remote probes and freighters."

"That is a possibility," Jayson agreed. "Professor Arken had to make contact with Sam in some way, and since the race appears to be highly xenophobe, it would make sense that the crystal was handed over using one of those remote ships. For all we know, Sam may not even have the crystal but is merely the one in charge of the probe or remote freighter on which it will be found."

"An interesting proposition, but I doubt that the Professor would have taken that kind of risks with his creation," Commander Shar'El refuted. "Far too much work and precautions have been invested into these crystals to have one of them simply be wandering through space on an unmanned craft. If anyone learned of its location, they could easily intercept and take possession of it. My guess is that somehow, Professor Arken actually managed to meet this Sam face-to-face to hand over the crystal knowing that anyone trying to retrieve it would have a hard time doing so."

"Yea, that fits perfectly with what we already went through once," the OPS Officer agreed. "I doubt the good professor is planning on making anything easy for anyone at this rate."

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P024: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 03 - 0945 ("Detour")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Detour"
[previous post was "No Pressure"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32220.0945

The morning might have started early and quickly, but so far the rest of the day looked like it would be a slow and easy one. With DATHIS II still over 23 hours away at their current speed, and with no signs that the ANUBIS was being followed or tracked by whomever had also been after the crystals, there had been no need for the Sec/Tac to be on high alert. Yet, the black and red-haired Nylaan felt a heightened sense of concern, her eyes constantly glancing over to the internal sensor display of the two officers working in Stellar Cartography.

As a friend, Shar'El had been understandably curious as to the division that had taken place between Jayson and Ya'Han. Because he actually knew nothing about the reason for it, the Sec/Tac did not fear the Terran revealing the specifics of her possibly being with child. On the other hand, Shar'El had been smart enough to put the pieces of that puzzle together if he allowed his memories of their last few nights together be picked up by the Ullian woman.

Ya'Han had confined in Sonja, the other redhead having been the obvious choice for this so as to not drag Shar'El into a situation that might force her to act as the officer she was. To be completely honest the black and red-haired Nylaan hated having to keep one of her friends in the dark, but until the possibility was confirmed beyond any doubt, this had been the best course of action.

=/\= Shar'El to bridge. Yahan? =/\= The voice of the Commander sent Ya'Han into an instant panic, certain that she had managed to get something from Jayson that had led her to suspect what this had all been about.

"Yes Commander?" The now full black haired Nylaan replied, wishing that she could have denied having been both on the bridge as well as her station.

=/\= We are picking up one of the Dachlyd remote freighter flying in an erratic way. The IGC sensors linked to Stellar Cartography are not picking up anything to explain this, what are your tactical sensors showing? =/\=

Ya'Han let out a quiet sigh of relief. The Sec/Tac would need to tell her friend and Commander the situation that she had found herself in the middle of soon or risk giving herself a heart attack each time the First Officer called upon her for ship-related business.

"The ship is pretty far, beyond the range of our tactical sensors," Ya'Han relayed while carefully studying the data that had been picked up by the more sensitive sensors linked to the IGC. "According to what I am seeing though, I would have to say that the ship is using basic evasive maneuvers. My guess is that it is either being followed or is already under attack."

=/\= Captain, this may be our chance to be in the local government's boog books, =/\= Shar'El stated. =/\= Could go a long way to make our finding Sam a lot easier. =/\=

"Sam?" The Captain and Sec/Tac asked at the exact same time.

=/\= Will explain later. Right now though, we need to figure out if we are going to render assistance, which would be my recommendation. =/\=

"Ensign Jones, set an intercept course. Lieutenant Paquette, we need emergency speed," the Captain stated before turning around to look at his Chief of Security. "Lieutenant Ya'Han, bring all tactical systems to battle readiness as soon as we are in range."

"There goes our nice and easy approach," Ya'Han whispered to herself as the ship jumped into high warp on an intercept course for the remote freighter.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32220.1115

Even with Sonja pushing the engines as much as she could, it had still taken several hours for the ANUBIS to intercept the Dachlyd freighter. Having been an unmanned craft, no one had been overly concerned about the potential lost of life, but still the general hope had been that they would make it there in time to save the ship and whatever cargo it was carrying.

"Long-ranger sensors are not picking up any ship other than the freighter in the area," the Sec/Tac reported. "Whoever or whatever was behind the attack left their mark on the freighter's hull before leaving. I have to admit that although small, those Dachlyd ships are though. Despite the pounding that it clearly received, the greater majority of the outer hull is still in one piece. I would guess that it would be able to be brought into active service in less than a day's worth or repairs"

"The outer hull of the freighter appears to be composed of an alloy very similar to the ablative armor we are currently using," Maya added, the scientist of course looking at the situation from the perspective that was truly hers. "The ship is clearly designed for durability over speed or maneuverability."

"It does make sense given that the ships are remote and might be carrying something valuable," Shar'El offered, both she and Jayson having returned to the bridge the moment the ANUBIS had changed course to intercept.

"Having unprotected freighters flying about like this has to present possible thieves with an opportunity that they simply cannot resist," Ya'Han theorized, finding the entire idea of unmanned vessels like this to be strange and highly ineffective.

"The value of the cargo is likely of lesser importance to the Dachlyd desire to avoid contact with other species," Counselor Dima offered, she too having come up to the bridge to see what all of the commotion had been about. "Races, like most individuals, make decisions based on what is most important to them, even if said decision may appear to be completely without logic to someone else."  The statement had been wise, and given that the Trill woman had made a point to glance in the direction of the once again black and red-haired Nylaan, Ya'Han felt targeted as well as informed by her words.

"The heavy armor could also be a deterrent to would-be thieves who do not possess the technology or firepower to quickly get through by making the rewards of their actions not worth the time and effort required," Jayson added, obviously not finding anything wrong with the system used by the xenophobe race.

"We have the opportunity to learn more about the race through their technology," Shar'El pointed out. "We could bring the freighter on board and resume our course for DATHIS II. The authorities hopefully will be happy to get one of their freighters back, and we might get to learn a few things about them in the process."

"The Dachlyd may interpret our actions as hostile, seeing our bringing the freighter on board as being no better than the thieves who attacked it," Nicole offered, stating basic opinions while still leaning towards the side of caution.

"Not being members of the Federation does reduce our options," the Captain added. "We are in no obligation to render assistance, but we are also expected to not interfere in the affairs of other words. Being a race capable of space travel does not mean that the Prime Directive is out of the equation here.

"Maybe so, but all Starfleet ships do have standing orders to help others whenever possible," Shar'El countered. "We would simply be extending a gesture of friendship to a race according to our own rules and perception of a need for said assistance in that we responded to an attack detected by our instruments and are returning to its rightful owner the property we discovered."

"Do you truly believe they will see it that way?" The Captain asked, voicing the question that many others on the bridge had.

"Only one way to find out," Shar'El grinned.

"Lieutenant Ya'Han, bring the freighter into Shuttle Bay 1 and have a security detail stationed around it. I want you to personally see to it that no one gets anywhere close to it," the Captain ordered instantly drawing the objection of his First Officer.  "Please have Lieutenant Paquette join you and Commander Maya. I would also like to make sure that there are no leaks or emissions that might prove to be hazardous to the ship and crew."

"Of course Captain," Ya'Han acknowledged, understanding what the man had planned. Sonja and Maya would be able to scan the ship under the pretence of confirming there being no danger for the crew while maintaining that the freighter had not been touched beyond the condition in which it had been found. This could be easily confirmed by the sensor data as well as the ship's own internal records, should either be required as evidence.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P025: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 03 - 1145 ("Concerns")
=-=
"Concerns"
[previous post was "Detour" by the overly kind Hanali]
=-=

Setting: ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32220.1145

The ExO / ILO requested a private meeting with the Captain, stating that she had wanted to discuss certain concerns she had about the way their mission had developed. Of course, Erik had been more than happy to accommodate Shar'El, even appearing a little concerned himself as to the request that had been made.

"What's troubling you?" He asked as the doors closed behind the raven-haired woman, the Captain sounding as friendly as he could, making it understood that right now he had been there as an equal and not as her Commanding Officer.

"Maybe I am simply being paranoid, but there is something about the attack on the Dachlyd freighter that is sending red flags all over the place," The ExO / ILO admitted right away, knowing that the man leaning against his desk disliked people 'beating around the bush' as the expression went. He was someone who respected and admired frankness and honesty, and Shar'El could not see any reason not to abide by his ways.

"Go on," Erik said adding a smirk, inviting the woman to freely make her feelings known, be they paranoid or not.

"We were sent on a mission to collect crystals that were scattered to every imaginable regions of the galaxy in order to keep them safe. We were also told that Professor Arken did this to safeguard the data contained in those crystals to make sure it would not fall into the hands of some undesirable group or individual. This means that in theory, no one even knew of the crystal's existence, let alone their location other than the Professor and those directly involved with him. So why do I feel like we are being played?"

"The fact that someone was following Miss Allahi, this to set up some trap to have IshDur Talkiir reveal the location of the crystal indicates that someone else is after them. That said, I think you may indeed be edging on the side of paranoia by claiming that this is a proof that we are being played," Erik pointed out in good humor, the Captain actually finding the ExO / ILO's idea interesting if not farfetched.

"The Dachlyd may be a xenophobe race, but the other races they trade with are not," Shar'El added. "I did some research."

"*Some* research?" The Captain repeated with emphasis on the first, clearly hinting to his skepticism as to how limited the woman's research had been. "How many dozen databanks did you and your IGC team have to break into this time?"

"Not that many," the ExO / ILO grinned. "The information was actually easy to get to, especially when you know where to look. Did you know that Dachlyd transports are considered to be amongst of the safest and most reliable in the quadrant? There are actually several mention of this reliability by neighboring governments. All of them sing the praises of the way this race conducts business, so much so that I am sure the Ferengi would be jealous. The heavily armored transports have proven to be far too difficult to breach for any would-be pirates or thief. It just does not make it worthwhile for them to even try, so they avoid them, opting instead for easier targets. The attack that we witnessed and rushed in to investigate was the first in over a decade."

As much as the Captain could see where the ExO / ILO had been leading to, Erik decided to play devil's advocate. "Maybe the Dachlyd are dealing with a new group of outlaws trying to cut their teeth on something that would have made a name for themselves?"

"That would be like the Boraalan going head-to-head with one of the Romulan's new War Birds," Shar'El said making a clear comparison. "Wanting to make a name for yourself is one thing; going up against an opponent that is certain to defeat you is pure madness. There is also the fact that it was *that* particular freighter that was attack, the only one that was within our sensor range to be noticed as being under attack. As of when this occurred, there were 112 freighters, so why attack that particular one over any of the others? From what Jayson has been able to extrapolate from the ship's manifest, there was nothing of any real value inside."

"I have the feeling that my trying to claim that it might have been the furthest away from any inhabited world is going to get shut down," the Captain theorized, still managing to be taking all of this in good humor despite the seriousness o the entire affair.

"You are starting to think the way I do," Shar'El teased. "There were five other freighters that were more distant from any planet or trading post, all of them would have offered a much more enticing target, but none of them would have been noticed by us until it would have been far too late to do anything about it. In fact, we might not even have noticed a powered down freighter figuring that it was there for a reason unknown to us. The one that was attacked was the only one that would have drawn our attention and forced us to divert from our flight plan."

"Alright, I am starting to see where you are coming from, but there is one major flaw with your train of thought," the Captain pointed out, surprised that the ExO / ILO had not noticed what he was about to say. "We had to increase speed to get here as quickly as possible, and even with the delay in bringing the freighter aboard, we are still going to make it to DATHIS II ahead of schedule. This detour is not going to delay us but will in fact make us arrive at our intended destination faster than we would have normally done."

"Yes we will reach DATHIS II ahead of schedule, but we will now have to deal with a xenophobic government because we have one of their freighters on board. The idea that this will make things easier for us to find *Sam* might be true, but I have the feeling that it will make our presence in orbit a very noticable one which could quickly be made to play against us," Shar'El explained in a much more serious tone. "Without our needing to contact the local government, we could have sent in a shuttle or the SPHINX, but now we have to arrive on a much larger and impossible to miss *uncloaked* ANUBIS. If whoever is also looking for the crystals figured out that the next one is on that planet, seeing a vessel like ours arrive might cause the inhabitant including Sam to panic, causing him to reveal his identity to the others searching for the crystals. If they are already on the planet, this will give the head start they need to get the crystal and force us once again to play catch up."

"So we have to find a way to bring the freighter back without making a spectacle of it," the Captain sighed. "You seem to have given this quite a bit of thought, so I am guessing that you have a plan."

"Don't start guessing," Shar'El grinned. "It doesn't suit you, but you are right. I do have a plan, one that would put us back on even level with whoever our adversaries are."

=-=
Setting: ANUBIS, Shuttle Bay 1
Stardate: 32220.1215

The ExO / ILO made her way through the imposing security detail stationed by the entrance as per Ya'Han's orders, and walked into the Shuttle Bay to find Commander Maya, Lieutenant Paquette and Lieutenant Ya'Han completing their thorough scan of the damaged Dachlyd heavy armored freighter.

"Commander," Sonja said, greeting the raven-haired woman with a smile. "Came to make sure we didn't scratch the paint, did ya?" The redheaded woman had mastered her Scottish accent, leaving one to wonder if maybe she had originated from that part of the world instead of the western most Canadian province as her Starfleet records showed.

"Lieutenant, the hull of the freighter did not display any signs of color additive, and given the highly resistant nature of the armored hull which we just finished analysing, you should be very aware that it would have been nearly impossible for us to scratch said hull, if that is what you were referring to," Maya quickly jumped in with. "Even using the most powerful tool at our disposal, it would have been highly unlikely that we would have been able to leave any sort of mark on the hull."

"Sonja was using a Terran expression," Shar'El explained, shooting a quick smile towards the Chief Science Officer before turning her attention back onto the Chief Engineer before rolling her eyes in amused disbelief.  "How difficult would it be for you to have the SPHINX appear as one of those freighters?"

"Being sneaky, are we?" Sonja asked, maintaining the accent that she had started with the moment Shar'El had stepped into the room.

"We believe that the attack on the freighter was meant to make sure our arrival in orbit of DATHIS II would be as noticeable as possible," the ExO / ILO explained.

"You are thinking that our arrival at DATHIS II could force the current owner of the crystal to reveal himself to someone other than us," Ya'Han said, the Chief of Security with the mixed colored hair having figured things out very quickly. "So making our arrival as unnoticeable as possible would hopefully counter that."

"Only if we are able to make the SPHINX appear as one of those freighters," the ExO / ILO specified. "The actual plan would be to allow us to have a small team get to the planet ahead of the ANUBIS and monitor the reactions the ship's arrival would create. From there, we would be able to find Sam before anyone else. Also, by the time we get there, I hope that the additional data we discovered in the crystal will further assist us in finding him first."

"Well, the holo-camouflage of the SPHINX will easily be able to take care of the appearance without any problems," the Chief Engineer offered, having returned to her normal voice. "We can have the Mobile Command Unit emit the needed sensor signature easily enough. What is going to be the hard part will be to mimic the actual weight and density of those freighters. That armor shell is nearly a full meter thick and any close-range sensor scan won't be fooled, labeling us as frauds."

"We also have no way of knowing how the freighters communicate with one other or with their central control system," Maya added. "Even if we did manage to make the SPHINX appear as one of those freighters, including all aspects, the arrival of an undocumented freighter might cause just as much of a reaction than the ANUBIS will."

"It is very likely that this situation has happened before and forced the Dachlyd authorities to be ready for such an occasion," Ya'Han continued. "We actually have no knowledge of the defensive forces and abilities of that world, and it would be foolish of us to base the entire planetary defence abilities on what we have been able to obtain from our scan of this particular freighter."

"Do your best, I have the utmost confidence in all of your skills and abilities. You have one hour to make this happen so that we have the highest possible chance of success," Shar'El said, the raven-haired woman sounding almost jovial about the whole thing. "We can't afford to give whoever was responsible for this detour to get too much of a head start on us, so the Captain and I are counting on you."

"Might be easier to change the laws of physics," Sonja sighed having reverted to her thick Scottish accent. "What you are asking for us is borderline impossible given the time frame stated."

"Borderline," Shar'El quickly repeated with a smile while pointing a single finger up, mimicking the gesture that Sonja had grown fond of using. "You did not say completely impossible, so there is way to do it, and I know that you three will have no problem finding it."

The three officers watched in stunned silence as the raven-haired Commander made her way out of the Shuttle Bay.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P026: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 03 - 1230 ("Borderline")
"Borderline"
previous post was "Concerns"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Shuttle Bay 1
Stardate: 32020.1230

How could she have done that? How could Shar'El believe that it had been all right for her to use *the* finger? How could the woman she considered to be not only a friend but a drinking partner use *HER* finger against its very owner?

In some cultures, that commanding single digit would have been revered as a sacred sign, the instrument of an all-powerful goddess whose unleashed wrath could lay waste to an entire continent in mere minutes. The gesture so carelessly used by the ANUBIS' First Officer belong to another and she would soon enough show the unworthy creature the price one paid for such blasphemy. That is of course as soon as Sonja figured out a way to meet the challenge that they had been given, at which time the finger would be thrown back right into the woman's face.

"We have scanned every centimeters of the outside of the freighter," Maya reported. "It should not be at all difficult to extrapolate the required information to account for the damaged section of the freighter to insure that the holographic camouflage that will be projected by the SPHINX is perfectly accurate. I should have the required algorithm figured out in five minutes, maybe even less."

"Good," the redheaded Chief Engineer nodded with delight. "That leaves us three with 55 minutes to figure out the rest."

"Is it at all possible that the Commander was not serious about the time frame she stated?" Ya'Han asked, the black and red-haired Nylaan sounding hesitantly hopeful, but the expression on Sonja's face quickly annulled that.

"Rainbow girl, this is Shar'El we are talking about," Sonja pointed out, appearing less than thrilled. "The woman would not be able to find a joke inside an overcrowded clown car if she tried. Unless she was drunk, then *she* would be the joke, but I think it is safe to say that the Commander is in full 'spy-girl' mode, which means that she is not kidding around. I will admit that she has gotten better with not being as serious, or having a stick-up her nether regions, but I am sure that the one hour deadline we were given was not an attempt at a joke."

"Why would the Commander try to wish to create any level of hilarity at this time?" The Chief Science Officer asked in all seriousness. "The facts stated by Commander Shar'El clearly show that we are dealing with a very tight timeframe, if the assumption that the attack on this freighter was actually an effort to insure that our arrival at DATHIS II be as visible as possible. even should the Commander's assumptions prove incorrect, our using extra precaution can only result in greater odds of our achieving our mission objective; which is to locate this *Sam* and retrieve from him the next crystal."

"With all do apologies Commander," The Chief Engineer offered to the Chief Science Officer, "I thought you said you would have the programming ready for the holo-emitters of the SPHINX by now."

Those words proved to be more than enough to send Maya into a rush to get the task she had stated accomplished as quickly as possible so as to not go over the estimate she had given.

"Guess that leaves us with figuring out the communication protocol used by the remote freighters and how to make the SPHINX appear to the Dachlyd orbital sensors as being a lot heavier than it actually is," the Chief of Security stated, their tasks appearing to be clear if not all that simple.

"Alright," Sonja nodded. "You take care of giving the SPHINX a few extra tons and I will see if I can get inside that freighter's head and figure out what language it speaks, all that without actually setting foot inside that armoured monstrosity."

"You want *me* to look at the *engineering* of making a ship appear heavier than it is?" Ya'Han questioned, not understanding why Sonja had decided on assigning the tasks as she had. As the Chief of Security, her expertise were far more in lines with the isolating and decoding of the communication protocol while the Chief Engineer had been far better skilled to deal with the other matter they needed to address.

"Fine!" Sonja exclaimed, throwing her arms up as if she had been forced into doing something that she had been completely unable to do. "The things I have to do for you people, you are lucky that you are my friend and that I know about... that," the redhead dramatically said, adding a grandiose gesture of her hands that encompassed all of the Nylaan woman just to make sure that no one would get any clues should they be watching. "You take care of the communication protocol, *I* will see what kind of high tonnage diet I can put the old girl through to make her fall into the ultra-heavy weight category for the next match."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 32020.1300

Sonja had enjoyed giving her friend the Nylaan a hard time, after all wasn't that what friends were for? From the start, the redheaded Engineer knew that she would be the one addressing the weight issue of the SPHINX while Maya and Ya'Han took care of the rest. Now all that the Chief Engineer needed was to actually figure things out.

"Altering the sensor emission to make the SPHINX appear heavier will not be sufficient," ANI announced, obviously having been listening in on the conversations which as the ship's Avatar she had been able to do from anywhere within the vessel.

"I know, do you think I'm new or something" Sonja noted with a tone of irritation while working at the Engineering Control Island located in the middle of the main diagnostic area. "I'm trying to see if I can modify the structural integrity field to actually make the SPHINX be heavier."

"Such a modification would cause those inside the SPHINX to be affected by the increased gravitational pressure," the Avatar pointed out, looking surprised. "Based on the readings collected by Commander Maya, Lieutenant Ya'Han and yourself, the required modifications to match the actual weight of the freighter would be fatal to anyone on board."

"I know, this is not my first rodeo," the Chief Engineer confirmed. "Every simulation so far has managed to turn Maya into a paper thin pancake under three seconds."

"Maya?" ANI asked, unable to understand why the simulations performed by the Chief Engineer had been so specific as to who needed to be inside the SPHINX. Did the Shillian possess some sort of resistance to higher gravity that had not been mentioned in the Officer's records?

"What? You didn't actually expect me to run these tests with *me* in there, did ya?" Sonja explained. "I have absolutely no intention of seeing myself be reduced to a puddle of biomatter, even if only as a simulation, plus I could hardly use Ya'Han for those simulations. I would have had to add an entirely new set of variables to account for..."

The Chief Engineer stopped herself before saying too much, especially after having realized that someone new had come to join ANI and her at the Engineering Control Island.

"Account for what?" Shar'El asked, obviously having heard more than the redhead had hoped.

"For her medical file being out of date," Sonja instantly said knowing that the best way to lie was to keep things as close to the truth as possible. "Since Doyanne's departure from the ANUBIS, none of us has had our medical files updated. Maya appears to be the exact same as she has always been, but thanks to some late night snacking, I am afraid that our resident Chief of Security might have put on a few pounds. I am sure that you have noticed her being less than pleased, now you know the reason. I am sure that you would feel the same way if you found yourself in that same situation."

Sonja made sure not to make eye contact with the Commander, using her working on solving the problem at hand as the best and only excuse to explain why she had not looked up. As an added bonus, the redhead could bring back in her mind the memories of the late night sweet snacks mentioned, the endless images of miniature cakes and pastries only serving to solidify her claim.

"It's all my mother's fault you know," Sonja added, summoning the woman's image and voice to mind. "Commenting that Ya'Han needed to *round-up* her figure to attract the proper man. She even managed to hack my replicator to create pastries every time wine was requested, and you know me... I's like me wine. So we ended up with a lot of extra pastries, which i have to admit weren't half bad."

Shar'El seemed unconvinced by the story given by Sonja, but unfortunately for the Ullian, the memories she had picked up from the redhead matched her claims to near perfection leaving her with nothing to use to claim that she was being deceived.  Abandoning her quest to understand what was happening with Ya'Han, at least for the time being, the Commander proceeded with the reason why she had come down to Main Engineering.

"You have less than 15 minutes to figure things out," the solid black-haired woman said, clearly unhappy with her inability to get more than she currently had concerning their Chief of Security.

"Would be easier if I wasn't pestered," the redhead snapped back causing the Commander to rise an eyebrow and pivot on her heel before walking out. An awkward silence filled the area as Shar'El walked away under the scrutiny of both the Chief Engineer and ship's Avatar.

"I believe that the Commander is less than happy with you," ANI pointed out once the woman in question had fully stepped out of Main Engineering, thus making sure that Shar'El would not overhear the comment.

"Less than happy?" Sonja repeated in a quizzical manner. "That would be the understatement of the century. I would be more inclined to say that she is flat out pissed. I hate keeping her in the dark like that, but Ya'Han is right, it would not be fair to force our friendly neighbourhood First Officer to have to make a decision between dealing with this matter as an Officer or as her friend. That would simply be borderline cruel."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P027: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 03 - 1345 ("Artificial Intellect")
"Artificial Intellect"
[previous "Borderline"]

[/\]
Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 32220.1345

=/\= Bridge to SPHINX, you are ready for launch. =/\=

This had been the unpleasant new norm for him as far as being able to hear Ya'Han's voice, and even then, her words had never been specifically addressed to him. How things had so quickly changed for reasons that he still knew nothing about.

"Shar'El here, we are almost ready to go." The Commander sounded hesitant, glancing over her shoulder to the Chief Engineer who had been part of the team dispatched to make their way to DATHIS II aboard the camouflaged SPHINX.

"I know you are looking at me," Sonja growled. "We can either take a few extra minutes or be all turned into two-dimensional mush cakes. Your choice."

"Just give us a few minutes," Shar'El said, informing the Captain and Chief of Security of the delay in their departure.

=/\= Is everything alright? =/\= The Captain's question seemed almost humorous as if he knew about the friction between the First Officer and Chief Engineer.

"Everything is fine," Shar'El confirmed. "Just making a few last minute modifications to make sure that everything is perfect."

Jayson had been ready to say something, but given the way he had been made an outcast, the OPS Officer thought it best to keep to himself. With both Shar'El and Sonja in close proximity, he rightfully feared that any comment might result in his finding himself in even less a desirable situation than the one he was already in.

"That should do it," Sonja said as a weight came pressing down on Jayson and the others as if the air itself had become a solid mass.

"Atmospheric pressure inside the cabin now reading at 131.5 kilopascals, and increasing" the Avatar announced, the artificial woman not at all appearing bothered by the sudden change.

"No worries," the Engineer noted as she found herself sinking into her seat. "You are built to be able to function in environments close to ten times that pressure.

"I was more concerned about all of you," ANI stated, the android actually sounding worried. "At the rate of increase, you will all lose consciousness in less than two minutes and suffer from internal organ damage a few minutes later."

"Thanks," the Engineer growled. "Did you make sure that the comm channel was open to the rest of the ship? Wouldn't want anyone to feel left out in not having been aware of this." Sonja paused for a moment as she allowed her body to adjust to the increased pressure. "The pressure should stabilize once the modifications to the inertial dampeners kick in."

"And if they don't?" Jayson asked, feeling the weight on his chest growing with each second.

"We pass out and ANI scrubs the mission, hopefully before our organs are turned into squished Jell-O."

"I am starting to understand why you chose to keep that part from us," Commander Shar'El said, finding it increasingly hard to swallow.

"Atmospheric pressure stabilizing at 163.8 kilopascals," ANI reported.

=/\= The modifications appear to be working. As far as the sensors are concerned, the SPHINX is nearly matching the weight and mass of the Dachlyd freighter, =/\= the Chief of Security reported from the safety and lighter pressure of the bridge.

"We were pressed for time, so I had to rush through the testing phase," Sonja explained. "Just hope the rest of you managed to get your parts done."

Jayson gave a nod of his head, confirming that the communication between freighters and the base of operation had indeed been figured out. What they had not been able to identify was how the ships navigated on their own, but given that the SPHINX had a crew, that part had not been a problem.

"We are ready to go," the First Officer reported to the Captain.

=/\= We will be taking the long way in, that should give you more than enough time to reach DATHIS II and take up position to observe the reaction to our arrival. Good luck, ANUBIS out. =/\=

As the channel was closed, he found himself wishing that Ya'Han had said something, anything. Even if she was not talking to him, he still enjoyed hearing her voice, but even that had been denied to him.

"As soon as we have cleared the ANUBIS, set a direct course for DATHIS II," Commander Shar'El ordered, through labored breathing thanks to the atmospheric pressure that was much higher than they were used to.

[/\]
Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 32220.1515

Matching the speed of a Dachlyd freighter, the SPHINX would take almost a full day to reach its destination, but that time would be put to good use by the team as they tried to better understand the reptilian race as well as trying to make sense of the rest of the data obtained from the crystal. Using the communication link between the freighters, it was also hoped that they would be able to make some sense of the additional data that had been retrieved from the crystal. So far though, the long string of numbers and letters seemed to be an unsolvable puzzle on its own.

It had taken a little while but after an hour or so of exposure to the heavier atmosphere, things had returned to pretty much normal with the exception that those aboard the SPHINX seemed more than happy to remain seated instead of wandering about. No one complained about this as everyone was busy with their own affairs, monitoring communications, freighter flight paths as well as some odd energy bursts coming from the DATHIS II.  The theory that seemed the most likely was that these burst were used as an echo location system to keep track of the freighters.

"Any luck with the additional data?" Commander Shar'El asked. It was easy to see that she missed being on the ANUBIS surrounded by her team from the IGC. He also missed being on the ship, but for an entirely different reason, one who seemed bent on ignoring him to the fullest extent of her abilities.

"The sequence appears to have no significance, even when compared to some of the data we have intercepted through the freighters' communication network," Jayson replied. "Whatever those numbers and letters are for, it doesn't appear to have anything to do with the freighters or the way they are controlled."

"It was worth the try," Shar'El hoped aloud. "My guess is that there is some sort of encryption key required to make sense of that data, a key that we are unfortunately lacking. Keep trying, who knows we might get lucky."

"Someone already got lucky. Once too many times if you ask me," Sonja muttered under her breath, but not loud enough for anyone to actually hear her words.

"Found something?" The First Officer asked, having turned to look in the direction of the Chief Engineer. Once again, Sonja found herself having to find a way out of the verbal trap she had walked herself into.

"Was only saying that luck has nothing to do with any of this," the redhead began as if that had actually been her words and thoughts all along. "All of the pieces of the puzzle are right there in front of us, we just have to figure out what the overall picture actually is."

"Easier said than done," Shar'El noted with a sigh, referring to her own inability to find the underlying cause of what had been bothering Ya'Han despite her repeated efforts. As Sonja said, the clues and hints had been right there in front of her but without a more specific picture, there had been little for the First Officer to base any guesses on.

[/\]
Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 32220.1630

Another hour had gone by and nothing new had been discovered about DATHIS II or the reptilian Dachlyd. Their complex language had proven to be a challenge unto itself and despite their combined efforts, the team on board the SPHINX had not been able to get any closer to even getting an idea of where 'Sam' could be found.

"Commander," Jayson started as he looked as the lengthy string of letters and numbers that he had been at the centre of everyone's efforts. "We have run this sequence through every thing we have been able to think of including some decoding system that I actually never knew existed. What if this was not some sort of code but part of the way the freighters communicate with one another?"

"We would have already noticed some similarities had that been the case," Sonja said in a dismissive manner. "Where have you been since our departure from the ANUBIS, asleep?"

"The possibility was explored early on when we were able to intercept the navigational signals between the freighters," ANI explained, siding with the woman responsible for her physical upkeep and maintenance. "We identified no parallels that would hint to the additional data found in the crystal as having anything to do with the freighters."

"I was not referring to the navigational data sent to the freighters," Jayson clarified. "I am referring to the ships actually talking to one another."

"Great!" The Chief Engineer exclaimed. "The higher atmospheric pressure has gotten to him and turned whatever brain he had into mush."

"I am being serious," he quickly countered, shooting an unhappy glare at the redhead.

"So was I," Sonja returned without any hesitation.

"Explain your idea," Shar'El requested. At the very least, the explanation he would give could prove to be a nice way to pass the time, and there was always the possibility that he might have stumbled onto something worth listening to.

"We suspected from the very start that the freighters possess some level of artificial intelligence based on how they make course corrections without receiving instructions from an outside source," the OPS Office explained.

"Referring to those things as possessing artificial intelligence is like comparing ANI here to a tricorder," Sonja said. "No insult intended," the redhead Engineer added looking up at the Avatar.

"None taken," ANI replied, even going as far as adding a smile. "My programing does not include such emotion, although you have threatened to create such additions on numerous occasions."

"I have been studying the flight patterns of the freighters. As we draw closer to DATHIS II, we are able to monitor more and more of them in more detail. Some of those freighters have displayed adaptive and even intuitive course corrections, things that would not be possible without the freighters possessing some level of artificial intelligence."

"Alright," Sonja shrugged. "Even if we do grant these heavy weight monsters out there any level of intellect, what does have to do with the extra data obtained from the crystal?"

"ANI," Jayson began after turned his attention to the Avatar. "I need you to answer me honestly. Do you find yourself ever speaking to yourself or even to the computer?"

The Avatar paused for an instant, searching through her digital memory in order to locate the mentioned events. "Technically, both are the same as I am an extension of the computer, but to answer your question, yes I can recall instances when i was speaking to the computer instead of using my internal communication link."

"All entities, be they living or artificial, when possessing a certain level of intellect will seek out to communicate with others for no other reason than to share thoughts or events. ANI does it and we have noticed the Exocomps do the same. I am suggesting that the Dachlyd freighters do the same, well at least some of them. Maybe this is due to a difference in their programming or even an electronic evolution that the Dachlyd themselves are unaware of, but based on what I have seen, I am sure that the freighters speak to one another."

"That's one farfetched idea," Sonja said, but instead of shooting the idea down, the Engineer glanced up at the standing Avatar next to her and smiled. "Still, we do have more then enough time to investigate this before we reach DATHIS II."

"So, how do we go about testing this hypothesis?"

"We send the string using a direct line of sight transmission beam and see if we get a reply," Jayson answered. "That way we will be able to identify which of the freighters have this artificial intelligence, but I am hoping that the code we were given will be accepted only by one of them."

"Not counting the one that is currently on board the ANUBIS, there are at least 111 others out ther," the Engineer gasped. "Are you really suggesting that we send a transmission to each and everyone one of them?"

"It is the only way to test if that part of the theory is right," he replied.

Sonja sighed and reached for the nearest tricorder, which she opened and pointed to the OPS Officer.

"What are you doing?" Shar'El asked.

"Sending a direct line of sight signal," the Engineer replied.

"The tricorder does not have the range to reach any of the other freighters," Jayson pointed out.

"It's doesn't have to. I am just testing my own theory, and so far the results are in line with what I expected. No intelligence on the other end, be it living or artificial."

Jayson let out a soft groan of despair, realizing that the device currently in the hands of the Chief Engineer had been pointing directly at him.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P028: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 03 - 1700 ("Keeping An Eye Open")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Keeping An Eye Open"
[previous post was "Artificial Intellect"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32220.1700

With the damaged Dachlyd freighter secured in their cargo bay, the ANUBIS had set course for DATHIS II using the scenic route to allow for the SPHINX to get there first. The plan had been a simple one; the team would reach the planet and observe the reaction to the imposing Federation ship's arrival and see if they could pick up clues as to where this 'Sam' fellow could be found.

Although they were on a separate path, the ANUBIS had kept a close watch on the camouflaged SPHINX and its crew, making sure that everything went according to plan. Officially, the Sec/Tac had been interested in the specialised craft, but personally the black and red-haired Nylaan could not help but think of the man aboard that ship.

Maybe it was because of her emotions, or maybe it was the hormone-induced uncertainty that seemed to claim her thoughts more and more, but she felt guilty about keeping Jayson out of the proverbial loop. His having been selected to be part of the mission had made things easier, giving the Sec/Tac the opportunity to think about her decision without having to deal with him being right there, silently questioning her with those puppy eyes of his.

Unfortunately, as much as Ya'Han might have wanted to explore this situation, her role as Chief of Security and her being on the bridge at this time meant that her thoughts and attention needed to be on something else. "Nothing new to report," the black and red-haired Nylaan reported from her station, "the SPHINX has made a few minor course alterations but nothing significant. My guess is that they were either avoiding or getting closer to another freighter."

The Captain had ordered a radio silence to make sure that nothing could compromise the SPHINX's camouflage, too much having been hanging on making sure that the recon-mission went without a hitch. Knowing so little about the Dachlyd meant that they needed to be that much more careful, especially given the situation that they were right in the middle of. This inability to communicate with the away team meant that the could not inquire as to he reason for the course changes, but given how insignificant they actually were, no one seemed overly troubled by them.

What suddenly drew the Sec/Tac's attention a few moments later was not another course change by the SPHINX but rather a change of flight path by one of the freighters. Unlike all of the other course correction done by by the remote ships, this one had been far more pronounced, so much so that it had completely deviated from its general heading to set a new course to intercept with the SPHINX.

"Captain," Ya'Han called out. "We may have a problem. One of the freighters has changed course and is now on an intercept course with the SPHINX." As son as she had said this, the Sec/Tac wondered as to what kind of danger the freighter might actually pose to the undercover Intel craft. The SPHINX was faster and more agile, and even if it was not armed, neither had the Dachlyd freighter, at least not as far as they had been able to tell from scanning the one that was on board the ANUBIS. "Actually, it might not be a problem," the Sec/Tac added with hesitation.

"Explain," the Captain requested.

"The SPHINX has not altered course," Ya'Han explained. "It appears that they are actually wanting to get closer to that freighter. I have not detected any fluctuations in the energy output of the ship that might indicate some sort of malfunction, so I have to assume that Commander Shar'El and the others on board are wishing for this meeting to happen."

"An unscheduled meeting with a remote freighter?" The Captain asked to no one in particular. "Leave it to the Commander to arrange something like that. Maybe they have discovered something, the best we can do is to keep an eye on them to make sure that this meeting does not end up being more than they are ready for."

"I am tracking the flight path of both the SPHINX and the Dachlyd freighter. If needs be we can be right on top of them in a matter of minutes," the Sec/Tac announced, drawing a faint smile from the Captain.

"Stand-down Lieutenant," he ordered in a friendly way, pointing to his own hair to indicate that the Nylaan had gone full red. "I am happy to hear that we are ready to jump in to the rescue if there is a need, but in the meantime there is no need to have the ANUBIS or its Chief of Security go on full battle readiness. I would like for this part of our mission to happen without starting an interplanetary conflict."

"Of course Captain," Ya'Han confirmed, a sheepish smile having appeared on her face. "Sorry, it was not my intent to over react to the situation."

"You have nothing to be sorry about," the Captain explained. "I appreciate your readiness and enthusiasm, as i am sure Commander Shar'El and the others will if this meeting of theirs requires us to intervene in any way."

Glad to see that the Captain had not taken her sudden jump into battle mode as a sign of emotional or psychological imbalance, the Set/Tac returned her attention to her tactical monitors, keeping a very vigilant eye on the two ships to see what would happen next.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P029: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 03 - 1715 ("Surprises")
=-=
"Surprises"
[previous post was "Keeping An Eye Open" by the dedicated Hanali]
=-=

Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 32220.1715

There was no harm in trying out Jayson's theory. Even if it failed, it had the potential of revealing some unknown aspect of the inner workings of the alien freighters. Therefore, it was with some disappointment that Shar'El watched as the first few Dachlyd ships completely ignored the line of sight signal sent to them. The process had even been repeated on specific ships to make sure that the signal had indeed reached the intended targets, but still no reaction.

Everyone was beyond surprised when one of the freighters actually acknowledged the signal. It was with even more astonishment that the team aboard the SPHINX watched as the alien ship changed course. It appeared that the Dachlyd freighter intended to rendezvous with the vessel responsible for sending the odd sequence of letters and numbers.

"Could it have been some encoded request for assistance?" The redheaded Engineer theorized, trying her best to make sense if what was happening.

"An unlikely possibility," the nearly human Avatar replied. "Why would all other freighters have ignored the signal? As far as we can tell, there is nothing setting that particular freighter apart from any of the others we attempted to communicate with."

"If we go according to Jayson's idea, maybe those freighters just didn't have the artificial brain power to understand the message," Sonja said before shooting a sideways glance at the man in question. "Then again, it's not like we have the brain power in here either."

"I have the feeling that the extra data was meant to attract the attention of that particular freighters," the Chief of Operations further theorized, completely ignoring the Chief Engineer's latest stab at him. "The professor likely expected whoever is looking for the crystals to just open broadcast the string to see what would happen. We got lucky with our finding the one it was meant for using the means we did."

"I don't believe in luck," the redhead admitted without restraint. "We have no clues as to why that freighter decided to turn and head our way. For all we know it might self-destruct the moment it is close enough to drag us down with it. This could be an embedded defence system used by the Dachlyd to make sure no one steps into their trade business."

"You sound like Ya'Han," Jayson pointed out in all seriousness. "She always looks at the worst possible outcome whatever the situation may be. You have been spending too much time with her and listening to her ways of seeing the universe. Both of you need to relax and see that not every single person out there is trying to hurt you in one way or another. In fact there are quite a few out there who would be more than happy to lend a hand if given half a chance."

Sonja shot a quick glare in the direction of the Chief of Operations, knowing that his words had been meant much more for the redhead who had not been here with them. Shar'El on the other hand could only use what Jayson had said to try and better understand the rift that had so suddenly appeared between the Chief of Security and himself.

"The freighters is slowing down," the Avatar reported, breaking the tension that had been created on the flight deck. "It appears that it is aiming to come along side us, on our starboard."

"If we all die in a huge explosion, I will personally hunt your ghost down and point out that we were right," the Engineer threatened leaving Jayson to actually believe that the woman would haunt him, but for an entirely different reason, one that most certainly involved Ya'Han and which he still knew nothing about.

The team on board the SPHINX watched in nervous silence as the freighter slid in next to the camouflaged Mobile Command Unit. The uncertainty grew with each passing second, everyone expecting something to happen, and at this point, the team might have actually settled for the earlier mentioned explosion.

"We are being hailed with a single question," ANI reported. "Who sent us?"

"A trick question?" Jayson wondered.

"A last effort to confirm the reason as to why we sent that signal," Sonja suggested, that possibility making more sense. "Give the wrong answer and we all go BOOM."

If the idea had not been troubling enough, the added hand gestures made by the Engineer only managed to make a tense situation worse.

"Koniki was the one who sent us on this mission," the ExO / ILO stated, believing that the Admiral name would be the correct answer.

"No one other than us would know that," Jayson pointed out. "Would make more sense to say that it was Arken who sent us. These crystals were after all his idea and creation."

"We could, in theory, also claim that it was IshDur and Allahi who are responsible for us being here since they were the ones in possession of the previous crystal," Sonja added, bringing the list of possible answers to three.

A simple question with multiple valid answers, only one of which able to be the right one. The problem now was to figure out which of the three would allow them to move forward with the mission, hopefully with another crystal in their possession.

"The question is being repeated," ANI announced, the Avatar having closely monitoring the freighter and any signals coming from it.  "I doubt that we will be given a third chance to answer."

For a machine, the artificial woman had been rather intuitive, and in this instance quite correct. An answer had been required in the briefest possible delay, and the ExO / ILO knew this. There had been no time for them to debate this forcing the senior most officer to make a final decision. She had already heard their arguments, as short as they were, and those would be what the Commander needed to use to make her decision.

"IshDur Talkiir," Shar'El suddenly said, instructing the Avatar to send those words as their reply to the question wit a nod of her head. Of the three options, the name of the last crystal's owner seemed to make the most sense. It proved in a way that they had made contact with the Invernian without directly implicating the professor or the Head of Starfleet Intelligence.

Everyone waited for a reaction, Sonja appearing as if she had actually been waiting to hear and feel the earlier mentioned explosion. After several eternal seconds, another communication from the freighter was received, this one on an open audio channel.

=/\= How is the professor? =/\=

Everyone clearly heard the reptilian intonations leaving no doubts in anyone's mind that no universal translator had been used or that the voice heard had been mechanically generated.

"Another test?" Jayson asked in a whispered voice, puzzled by how this encounter had evolved.

"What is more interesting is the lack of any other signal reaching the freighter," Sonja pointed out. "What we are hearing is not a bounced signal and by the sounds of things it is neither a pre-recorded reply. My guess is that there is an actual Dachlyd aboard that freighter and who knows, it could very well be Sam."

"Alright," the ExO / ILO nodded with understanding, obvious willing to accept what the Engineer had offered as a very likely possibility. "How do we answer?"

"Saying that he is 'doing well' seems too simple," the redhead offered, "and too vague. My guess is that Sam wants to make sure we know the professor and did not simply come to be in possession of the previous crystal by accident or through some deception."

"The fact that he is speaking common and asking about the professor would hint that he actually knows him," Jayson pointed out. "It is likely that the two spent some time together."

"It would explain why the professor chose him to safeguard one of his crystals. It also means that the answer will need to be much more personal, leaving no doubt in Sam's mind that we are speaking about the same man," the ExO / ILO said, thinking out loud.

"So, if we actually knew the Professor personally, which we don't, how would we describe him?" Sonja asked, summarizing the dilemma they were currently faced with. 

"We may not know him personally," Shar'El confirmed, "but we do know him through his work. He is without a doubt very smart, a genius in his own field. The level of protection he has put into place clearly makes him to be at the very least eccentric or flat out paranoid. So, how do we actually describe him? How do reply to the question of how is he?"

"Saying that he is 'smart' would be impersonal," Jayson pointed out.

"Claiming that he is a 'genius' would be feeding into the man's ego or showing us as being nothing more than some lovesick admirers," Sonja added thinking back to Maya and the way she kept referring to the professor in that manner.

"A friend would not describe him in such a way," Shar'El said with a grin, a better answer having come up to mind. Opening the channel to offer a verbal reply, the ExO / ILO stated what she believed to be the perfect answer without any hesitation. "Professor Arken is as crazy as he has always been," the raven-haired woman said, a tone of amusement intermixed in her words making it evident that her words had not been meant as an insult but rather as being the observation of a friend, or at least someone who knew him well enough.

Again, several seconds went by in silence, leaving the team to wonder if the answer had been the right one. On the bright side, the redheaded Engineer had remained somewhat frustrated in not having heard or felt any sort of explosion.

=/\= I am happy to hear this, =/\= the Dachlyd on the other end of the communication channel offered, and from that point on the conversation went on in a much friendlier manner, which of course took everyone by surprise given how the race had clearly been labeled as being a xenophobic one.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P030: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 03 - 1845 ("Different Ideas, Different Ways")
"Different Ideas, Different Ways"
[previous "Surprises"]

[/\]
Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 32220.1845

For being a member of a xenophobic race, 'Sam' had been quite the talkative sort. The transfer of the crystal, which should have happened in only a few minutes, had taken over an hour. Had the alien, whom they never actually saw, had not clearly sounded reptilian, Jayson and the others might have sworn that the Dachlyd had been some long lost relative of their Shillian Chief Science Officer.  At least there was one good thing that had come out of all this; they were heading back with the third crystal in their possession.

Having confirmed the flight path that would be taking them back to the ANUBIS, Jayson found himself enjoying the silence that filled the flight deck. Not that long ago, all that could be heard was the detailed accounts from Sam as to how he and Professor Arken had become friends. Before that, the Dachlyd had gone into an elaborate explanation as to how he had been exiled from his home, condemned to be inside a freighter for the rest of his natural life.  Apparently, accepting or seeking direct contact with any other life form had been a crime worthy of such a punishment.

"Still can't believe that they exiled Sam like that, just for wanting to see another life form, someone different from what he was," the OPS Officer thought aloud, the idea having been more than common for anyone even remotely attached with the Federation and Starfleet.

"Different world, different views, different culture," Shar'El explained in a few words. "The Dachlyd may be willing to trade with other worlds and races, but it is evident that they do not wish to see their culture in anyway influenced by the concepts of others. Although we may not agree with their ways, we do have to respect them."

"By the way Sam was endlessly going on, not everyone seems to believed the way their leaders do," Sonja pointed out, the Engineer unable to fully understand the reasons behind the race's stubbornness in remaining isolated from the rest of the universe while still wishing to do business with them.

"The Neo-Essentialists were in a way very much like the Dachlyd as a race," the Commander added. "Although aware that there are other races out there, their wish is to insure that their ways remain such and do not change or be tainted by the ideas and beliefs of others."

"You almost sound like you are supporting such a way of thinking," Jayson stated, finding it hard to believe that the ANUBIS' First Officer could support such an isolationist way of behaving.

"Understanding a way of belief and supporting it are two different things Lieutenant," Shar'El sternly pointed out, not wanting anyone to erroneously believe that she was in any way a supporter of the ideals of the Neo-Essentialists or of any other similar group or race.

Before the OPS Officer could comment or even offer an apology for what he might have implied, some sort of impact rocked the SPHINX violently.

"Report!" the Commander ordered as she scanned her console to identify the cause of what had felt like a weapon's impact.

"Hull integrity is intact, but we lost the holo-camouflage," Jayson reported.

"Looks like someone didn't buy in on our being just another Dachlyd freighter," Sonja added, her fingers moving quickly over her console to insure that they would be ready should there be another attack, and it took no time for that to happen.

"How are they managing to remain invisible to our sensors?" Jayson exclaimed in frustration.

"ANI!" Shar'El called out.

"The ANUBIS has already been notified of our situation and have set an emergency intercept course. They will be here in less than a minute," the Avatar announced as the SPHINX was rocked once again causing the artificial woman to actually lose her footing and go flying towards the back of the craft.

"My guess is that the ship attacking us is the same one that disabled the freighter we collected earlier," the Chief Engineer reported in a less than happy tone. "Unfortunately for us, the armor that surrounded us was only holographic unlike the weapons used against us. I have diverted all available power to the shields but it won't last."

"It only needs to last for a minute or so," Shar'El stated, knowing that the moment the ANUBIS would be in range, the unseen attacker would either have a much larger and more powerful target to deal with.

Another hit shook the ship, this one causing the lights to fluctuate and the team to reach for whatever they could to stabilize themselves.

"That's it, we just lost shields," the Engineer reported. There was no doubt that the ship attacking them had been far more powerful than they were. Given the damage that they had inflicted on the heavily armored Dachlyd freighter, it had not been a surprise to see them making short work of the SPHINX, this despite its state of the art defensive systems.

Another hit soon came, this one knocking the lights out and causing several of the console to explode. "Another shot like that one and we will lose the hull," the OPS Officer reported. "Those energy pulses are nasty, and I would go as far as to say that they may be a match for our own pulse cannons."

"How about you spend more time fixing it so that we don't die instead of admiring the power of the weapons of those who are trying to kill us?" The Engineer snapped. Even with the ANUBIS inbound, they needed to stay alive until then, and not being able to check on the fallen Avatar had not helped her mood any.

A steady hiss filled the flight deck following the next hit, indicating that the hull had been breached and the air was venting into space.  As maneuverable as the SPHINX was, especially after Sonja had restored all of the systems to their original setting, the small craft had not been a matched for the attacking vessel. The only thing they could do was to wait and hope that the ANUBIS would arrive in before it would be too late.

The pounding that they had been the target of had proven to be relentless and relatively rhythmic, so when the expected next shot was neither heard nor felt, hope began to reappear. With sensors off line and communications disabled thanks to the last few shots, there had been no way for those inside the SPHINX to know what was happening. The sounds of metal-on-metal had likely been from some sort of device being used to secure the ship; the problem was that no one could confirm if it was the ANUBIS or another ship responsible for it.

When the hissing sound began to subside, the team understood that they had found their way into a pressurized environment, but again unable to know if this was due to the efforts of a friend or foe.

"We are home," ANI announced, the Avatar having on her own returned. "Sorry, I had to perform a reboot, the unexpected fall and collision with the bulkhead caused a system error that I could not ignore."

"Just glad that you are back with us," Sonja admitted, the woman sounding far happier than she had not that long ago.

"Not as glad as I am to being back on the ANUBIS," the OPS Officer added, hoping that Ya'Han or someone else on the bridge had managed to hand over some well-deserved payback to the ship that had nearly destroyed them.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32220.2030

As soon as they had stepped out of the battered SPHINX, the away team made its way to the Observation Lounge for a quick debriefing. Judging by the expression on the faces of those they encountered along the way, the ship that had attacked them had escaped.

"Glad that you are all back in one piece," the Captain said as he took his place at the head of the table.

"Not as glad as we are," Shar'El offered in return, the First Officer meeting the grateful eyes of the other members of her team. "That attack came out of nowhere."

"We know," the Captain unhappily agreed. "Our sensors were unable to detect the ship. All we could lock on was the high-energy discharges that were being shot your way, and by the time we got close enough to act the ship was nowhere to be found."

"Could the ship have been cloaked?" Sonja asked.

"Commander Maya and Lieutenant Ya'Han are reviewing the sensor log, but as of right now all we have are guesses as to what that ship was," the Captain explained. "What we are near certain of is that they were after the crystal."

"They must have been watching us the entire time, waiting for us to have the crystal and be far enough not to draw too much attention," Shar'El theorized. "My guess is that they figured they would have enough time to destroy us, get the crystal from the rubbles and leave before the ANUBIS showed up for the rescue."

"The almost succeeded," Jayson said. "Our only advantage was that they did not know the configuration of the SPHINX to target with more accuracy our primary systems. In addition, Lieutenant Paquette managed some quick work to strength our hull. Without her, we would likely not be here."

The Chief Engineer looked at the OPS Office, not sure how to take the compliment that she had just received. As a friend to Ya'Han, Sonja needed to remain as angry as she could at Jayson, but right now, she would give him a few seconds respite for what he had just said.

"Any ideas as to who attacked you? Were they someone displeased with the Dachlyd or maybe Dachlyd themselves?" The Captain asked, their inability to lock on the attacking ship having left them without any answers as to the identity of the ship or its crew.

"Based on what Sam said about his own people, they look upon any physical or even visual contact with another race as a severe crime. The situation that Sam himself was in being proof of that, having been exiled to a freighter for the rest of his life for having simply wished to actually see someone belonging to a race other than that of his own people," the Commander explained. "That said, I doubt that the Dachlyd would have mounted such an attack. As far as their sensor net was concerned, it was two of their own freighters being one next to the other. My guess is that it was the same people who tried to obtain the second crystal on INVERNIA II."

"That's a stretch," Jayson offered. "From what we saw on the planet, they appeared as loosely organized thugs. Here, we had to deal with a heavily armed ship."

"In both cases though a sensor hiding technology was used," Sonja pointed out. "It would not be that much of a stretch to have the technology adapted either way, from personal use to hiding a ship or the other way around. What it does show though is that whoever else is after those crystals means business."

"You two get some rest," the Captain said to the Engineer and OPS Officer.

Understanding that the Captain wanted to have a more private discussion with his First Officer, Sonja and Jayson made their way out of the Observation Lounge and back onto the bridge where the Chief of Security greeted the with a heart-warming smile the Engineer. For a split second, that smile seemed to also have been directed to the Chief of Operations leaving him to believe that how ever angry Ya'Han might have been at him, she had still been happy to see him alive and well.

With that belief in his mind and heart, he made his way off the bridge and headed for his quarters in compliance with the orders he had received form the Captain. If he pushed, or even assumed that the smile had meant what he thought it did, Jayson risked making the situation between them worse, something that he truly wanted to avoid at all costs.

All he could do was to hope that Ya'Han would see that he was sorry for whatever it was that he was being blamed for and that he would be there to make it better in whatever way he could.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P031: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 03 - 2130 ("Complicated Thinking")
"Complicated Thinking"
previous post was "Different Ideas, Different Ways"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 21, Robotics Lab
Stardate: 32020.2130

Some might argue that the redhead Engineer had not been abiding by the orders to rest given by their Captain, but Sonja would obviously argue otherwise. To the Chief Engineering Officer of the USS ANUBIS, being in this particular location and checking up on the Avatar had been as much a relaxing activity as any others enjoyed by members of the crew. The Chief of Security enjoyed working out in the gym and repeatedly flipping the Chief of Operations onto his back, the Chief Science Officer enjoyed spending every available free second she had locked inside one of the many labs found throughout the ship, and the Captain had made it evident that he found a solitary walk on the outer hull of the ship relaxing. Tinkering on the android tasked with being a physical representation of the ship easily fell within that same range of 'relaxing activities'.

Of course, the fact that Sonja had been concerned for ANI had only made the Engineer's decision to come here a 'restful necessity'. Following the fall and self-reboot of the ANUBIS' Avatar while aboard the SPHINX, no one could claim having been surprised in learning that the Chief Engineer had decided to spend her time in this particular location.

"According to my latest self-diagnostic, I am functioning well withing my established base parameters," ANI reported, the naked form of the artificial woman standing inside the diagnostic chamber.

"Be quiet for a moment," the Chief Engineer ordered, the redhead clearly sounding irate. "Can't you see that I am trying to relax here."

"Might I suggest an alternate activity," the Avatar said, sounding oddly playful and maybe even a little concern given that the Engineer's bio-readouts had not shown any indications to confirm that the woman was in a state of physical or mental rest.  "It would appear that you working on me is not achieving the state you claim to be aiming for."

"I am as relaxed as I can be," the Chief Engineer argued back, sending an unimpressed glare in the direction of the Avatar. "Don't think because you have access to the ship's medical and psychological databanks that it makes you an assistant to the Chief Medical officer or Ship's Counsellor. Back on the SPHINX you fell and were forced to perform a self-reboot. As the ship's Chief Engineer it is my duty to make sure that you are not injured."

"As the Chief Engineering Officer, I should not have to remind you then that I am an artificial entity incapable of suffering from an 'injury' as you have just stated," the Avatar said having apparently decided to go full Vulcan on the redhead. "The best, or in this case worse, that I could display the signs of would be some sort of malfunction."

"ANI!" Sonja snapped, clearly the woman having reached her limits in dealing with the Avatar in such a way.

"Sorry. Maybe I am suffering from a programming error that I was unable to detect during my earlier self diagnostic. You may proceed with your relaxing work."

"Thank you," the redhead Engineer said, not sounding in anyway pleased, or relaxed.

Just as Sonja resumed her work on the Avatar, someone entered the room unbeknownst to the Engineer, at least that was until the visitor spoke.

"Sonja?"

"Jesus H Roosevelt Christ, what the frozen balls of hell is wrong with you?" The redhead exclaimed immediately after having let go of the tool that had been in her hand causing it to fly clear across the lab to impact against one of the control panels. Quickly turning to look at the person who had frightened her so, Sonja saw the all too familiar face of her friend. "You rainbow-headed fool, are you actually trying to give me a heartattack?"

"Sorry, I did not meant to startle you," Ya'Han apologetically offered, not having expected to find her friend in such a wound-up state. "I was just hoping that we would be able to talk a little."

"That would be a good idea," ANI stated. "Lieutenant Paquette is actually trying to relax while performing a system diagnostic, and I am afraid that I am proving to be more of an irritation than a relaxing influence on her at this time."

"You," Sonja snapped after having turned to look at the Avatar once more, waving the infamous finger in ANI's face. "Don't make me deactivate your vocal processors. I am not in the mood for you commentaries right now."

"Is everything alright?" Ya'Han cautiously asked, causing the redhead Engineer to once more turn her attention back ono the Chief of Security.

"I'm fine," she said, trying to convince all those within hearshot of the truthfulness of the statement. "Being shot at, seeing ANI go flying back like a rag-doll, nearly dying and having Jayson actually pay me a compliment might have been a little more than I was ready to deal with at that time."

"Jayson paid you a compliment?" Ya'Han repeated with surprise.

"I like the way I just finished saying that I almost died out there but *that's* the part that you focus on," the Chief Engineer said in as much a serious tone as she could but unable to hide the fact that she had been teasing her friend. "Yes. He was kind enough to give me credit for making the SPHINX able to weather the assault long enough for the ANUBIS to come to the rescue."

"Why is that bothering you?"

"I am mad at him, remember?" Sonja angrily explained, pointing to the woman's belly with a rapid gesture using both hands. "You know that I am on your side, but the guy is actually concerned about you. I can't even get a rise out of him now, he just takes whatever I send his way as if he was a defeated mass of goo. Tell me, where is the fun in verbally abusing and beating up goo?"

"So you are suggesting that I tell him?" Ya'Han asked, the question taking the Chief Engineer off guard.

"Are you completely mad woman? I think all of those colour changes are starting to affect your ability to think," Sonja said, pointing to the woman's now solid black hair.  After a few seconds, the Engineer calmed herself and took hold of the visibly troubled friend.  "I'm sorry, I guess I am more on edge than I realized. I need to rest and you need to talk, so there is only one way to address this."

Before Ya'Han could say anything she was being dragged out of the Robotics Lab towards an undisclosed location, one that the Chief of Security suspected she knew rather well.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 2, Paquette's Quarters
Stardate: 32020.2200

"Now, this is much better," the redhead Engineer offered as she deposited two 'Sonja' sized wine glassed on the living room table right in front of her guest. "This way I can actually relax and you can talk."

"I don't need the wine anymore," the Chief of Security admitted, recalling the first few times she had been here. Sonja had discovered rather quickly that the intoxicating effects of the beverage allowed the Nylaan to not be as reluctant in sharing the parts of her life that haunted her, be them from her past or present.

"I never said that *you* needed it," Sonja smiled. "It's for me so that I can relax, and frankly I really hate drinking alone, so while you talk I will drink and if for one reason or another you have not touched your glass by the time I am finished mine, I might have to resort to another, more physical way to relax."

Ya'Han playfully tilted her head to one said, both the Engineer and Chief of Security knowing that in a physical confrontation the Nylaan would have the upper hand. That said though, Ya'Han had not wished to insult her friend in any way, so she reached out for the glass that had been placed in front of her and allowed a small sample of the  crimson liquid to pass by her lips.

"Good rainbow girl," Sonja smiled. "I would have truly hated hurting you," the redhead jokingly added before taking a sizable gulp from her wine glass. "And you have nothing to worry about, I would not have given you the real stuff while you are in *that* condition," the Engineer said again pointing to the woman's belly using a dramatic two-handed gesture. "Now, let's talk."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 2, Paquette's Quarters
Stardate: 32021.0615

Sonja rolled off the couch and forced her eyes open, actually finding the brightness of the already low illumination in the room to be painful. "Computer, reduce lighting intensity by another 50%."

As the lights further dimmed, the Chief Engineer scanned her surroundings, easily recognizing the room as being hers, the half dozen empty wine glasses resting on the living room table a further indication that this had in fact been her quarters.

"Ya'Han?" Sonja called out, unable to recall if her guest had still been here or if she had retreated to her own quarters at some point during the evening.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you," the green haired woman said as she stepped out of the bathroom obviously just having enjoyed a shower.

"Green?" The redhead inquired, the one word question carrying with it a few hundred more through the silence that quickly followed.

"You drank, I talked and in the end we both enjoyed some relaxing time. I truly hope that you remember what we shared last night?"

Sonja froze for a moment, desperately trying to recall the events of the previous evening while making sure that she was still fully clothed. Was the green-haired Nylaan entertainer hinting to what the redhead feared she was? Certain that this had been some sort of mistake the host started in complete disbelief at her guest until she saw it. It was small, barely noticeable but it was there, hinting to a universe of possibilities.

A faint smile danced in the corner of her Nylaan's lips.

"*That* was mean," Sonja sighed, adding a smile of relief.

"You fell asleep on the couch and I stayed to make sure you would rest," Ya'Han admitted sounding rather pleased with herself for having managed to frighten her friend the way she had. "I used the time to think about what we talked about, and not being in either my quarters or his made it a little easier."

"No memories or feelings getting in the way of your thinking," Sonja nodded with understanding. "So why the green hair and the second attempt at giving me a heart attack? I am truly starting to think that you wish me I'll," the Engineer concluded in a thick Scottish accent.

"I was in the shower, heard you waking up and the thought came to mind, nothing more," the Nylaan admitted, now displaying an ear-to-ear grin.

"I seem to be a bad influence on you," the redhead added, shaking her head in disbelief.  "I think even Shar'El would have been proud of you on that one, you have me going for a few too many seconds."

"Maybe you are right," Ya'Han offered. "You are a bad influence on me," she added with a smile.

"Let's try to start the day on a better note, How about we can have some breakfast before returning to our normal lives. We could always drop in on Maya, who I am sure spent the whole night in one of the labs and see if she has made any progress on the third crystal that we were able to secure."

"That sounds like a wonderful idea," Ya'Han agreed as her hair changed from the entertainment green to the more customary black and red mix that everyone had come to know her for.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P032: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 04 - 0645 ("Green, Eggs and Ham")
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"Green, Eggs and Ham"
[previous post was "Complicated Thinking"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 2, Paquette's Quarters
Stardate: 32221.0645

For the Sec/Tac, breakfast had always been a small meal, one meant to give you the energy to start the day without being weighted down. That had been the way back in the Imperial Palace and Ya'Han had not seen the need to change this after having made her way out of Ferengi controlled space, and especially not after having joined Starfleet. In fact, her morning routine had proven to be exactly what had been required by the Academy.

With that in mind, the black and red haired Nylaan watched with bemused wonder as the Chief Engineer put plate after plate on the table, having requested from the food replicator what Ya'Han could only describe as being an elaborate morning feats.

"Isn't that a little too much?" The Sec/Tac inquired while standing next to the table as another plate was forced onto the table's surface requiring a few others to me shoved out of its way.

"This?" Sonja chuckled looking at the numerous plate scattered on the table. "This is a light breakfast. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and given how some of our days go, it tends to be more often then not the *only* meal we get, if we get that much. Plus you have to think of your new dietary needs," the redhead pointed out, shooting a quick glance at her guest's belly which Ya'Han had once again been absentmindedly rubbing.  "Your little bowl of fruit is not going to cut it anymore."

"But I don't feel hungrier than I usually do," the woman said in her defence.

"You can't play both sides of the fence on this one," the Engineer said, not accepting the argument of the Sec/Tac in the least. "You claimed that you felt different the morning after, that you knew that it had happened even if you didn't recall how. I blame Jayson for that for not making that night as special for you as it should have been, but that is no longer important, what is important is that you take care of yourself and of that little rainbow girl or boy that is growing inside of you."

Ya'Han suddenly felt dizzy and light-headed; the words of her friend having hit her like a runaway shuttlecraft. Up until now, she had managed to convince herself that this might have all been an error, a biological oddity caused by the differences between Humans and Nylaans. As adaptive as her biology was in that regards, there had never been a case where one of the daughters of the High Sovereign had been given as a life mate to a Terran. In fact, as far as she could remember, no Nylaan, be them of royal or common blood had ever been with a native of EARTH.

The exiled daughter had used all of this along with whatever else she could think of to downplay her situation, going as far as to almost completely manage to convince herself that all of the changes and feelings she experienced had been solely in her head. What Sonja said though had turned everything upside down forcing the Nylaan to consider, even if only for a short period of time, that this had been as real as could be and that in 10 months of so she would be giving birth.

"Are you alright?" Sonja asked as she helped her friend to reach the nearest chair. "I know that you can change your hair color, but I was not aware that you could do the same with your facial skin. You look almost as green as one of those Orion slave girls."

"I'm fine," Ya'Han said, stuttering through the simple two words as if she had been about to lose consciousness at any moment. "I'm... I'm pregnant."

"Wow, took that long for you to come to terms with that?" The Engineer chuckled. "Can't wait to see how hard its going to hit you when you actually accept the identity of the father."

"No," the now fully black haired woman said, her voice having been filled with a fear that had never been there before, for *any* reason. "I can't raise a child. I have no one to guide me through this. As the daughter of the High Sovereign I would have had maids and servants to help me, not to mention whoever my mate would have assigned as a tutor to insure that any child be properly brought up in the ways of their world as well as mine. I am no longer that."

"You may no longer be the daughter of that sorry excuse of a father, but you are a full fledged member of this crew, and as such you have friends who will give you all of the help and support you could ever wish for," Sonja reassured. "Think of all the games Shar'El will be able to play with rainbow junior. Maya will be a wonderful teacher, which is as long as she manages not to bore the child into an eternal slumber. Then there is Nicole, as a joined Trill, she must have more than a few lifetimes of experiences to share. You are not alone," the Engineer continued, kneeling next to her shaken friend. "The moment you came on board the ANUBIS you became part of this crew, part of this family and as such you will never be alone, no matter what may happen."

"I'm going to be a mother," Ya'Han mused aloud, her thoughts evidently a million light-years from where she was at the moment.

"Congratulations," Sonja said, appearing a little stunned by the fact that her friend had managed to detach herself from the situation to such an extent. "Now, are you ready to have a real breakfast?"

Ya'Han turned her head every so slowly, eventually meeting Sonja's gaze with her own, the realisation of her condition having taken solid root. The advantage was that now the Sec/Tac would actually conduct herself accordingly, taking care of herself and her unborn child. The disadvantage though would be that the same woman would conduct herself according to her condition making it that much more difficult for her to keep it hidden from the rest of the crew. The reality of the situation was that Ya'Han would not have been able to keep this a secret forever, but for now at least she no longer tried to hide it from herself.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P033: USS ANUBIS: Maya: Day 04 - 0730
("Some Puzzles Are More Difficult Than Others")
---
"Some Puzzles Are More Difficult Than Other"
(Previous Post: "Green, Eggs and Ham")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Quantum Physics Lab
Stardate: 32221.0730

Another crystal had been obtained which led the Shillian Chief Science Officer to spend another night in the Quantum Physics Laboratory trying to access the information hidden therein. So far, Professor Arken had used a different method to keep the information in the first three crystals from being easily retrieved and this latest puzzle appeared to be no different. Of course, for Maya, this was not a source of frustration but rather an enticing challenge that she had been more than happy to tackle as well as dedicate however many hours or days it would require to be solved.

"How are things going Commander?" The Chief Engineering Officer of the USS ANUBIS joyfully inquired as she walked in, closely followed by the Chief of Security.

"The configuration of this latest crystal is completely different from the others we have, which has made it much more difficult to access the surface information. Given how impossible the task of reaching the deeper data was for the other crystals, I have not even tried with this one, focussing instead on the primary upper levels." Maya paused for a moment before continuing, "The man is a genius," the Shillian said, once again singing the praises of the man she knew nothing about aside from his work to protect the data within the crystals safe.  "I believe that I will have figured out how to proceed with this particular crystal in a few minutes at which time I will take a few minutes to rest. I might indulge in a bite or two as well as maybe even catch a short catnap before resuming my work. My guess is that breaking the surface encryption will only be the first part of this latest puzzle, but if I have to, I will spend the entire night working on this until I can identify our next destination as well as the identity of the holder of the next crystal."

"The whole night?" Ya'Han repeated in a quizzical manner, not having understood that the scientist had lost track of time and that she had already done as she had claimed her readiness to do.

"Excuse me, Maya?" Sonja interjected, trying to no avail to pry the focus of the Shillian away from her work. "Commander!" The Chief Engineer continued, this time with a much stronger tone, which proved enough to get her attention. "You have already spent the night on this. Not only having you probably skipped dinner last night, but you worked through the night and are about to go right through breakfast as well.  If Doctor Doyanne was here, I am sure that she would be less than happy with how you are taking care of yourself."

"I agree, you do need to take care of yourself," Ya'Han added in support, recalling very similar instructions spoken to her not so long ago by the red-haired Engineer standing by her side. It was true that the reasons for this were entirely different, but the wisdom still applied.

"I will," the Shillian reassured in a dismissing manner, returning to her work, "that is as soon as I manage to figure the upper level encoding of this crystal."

"Why do I have the feeling that you have already said that to yourself more than once?" The red-haired Engineer sighed with frustration. Sonja politely forced her way next to the working scientist to insure her next words would not be ignored nor dismissed. "Alright, let's make a deal. You let us help and if we have not found anything new in say the next 15 minutes, you come with us for some breakfast and rest. That or I unleash rainbow girl here who will goes full red on you."

Ya'Han gasped in horror as she glared wide-eyed at her friend. The fact that the expression of 'going full red' had been spreading through the ship had been bad enough, but to imply that the Chief of Security would actually do so against a superior officer had been something the Nylaan would never have considered.  Sonja quickly reassured her friend with a shake of her head and a similar motion of her hands. The friendly threat, called upon by the situation they faced, had only been meant to show the Shillian that this had been a serious matter, nothing more.

"All right," Maya reluctantly conceded, the hunger and fatigue she could no longer simply dismiss having made the point much more than the threat uttered, although the idea of being on the receiving end of the skills and strength of the Chief of Security had proven to be a close second as far as reasons for the scientist to comply. "Professor Arken as displayed an uncanny habit of encoding the surface data pointing to the owner of the next crystal using a wide range of encryption system. So far, I have been able to break these with relative ease, but this latest lock is proving to be beyond my ability to comprehend. Maybe it is the fatigue or hunger, but I fear that I may not be able to break through this time."

"Well, let us have a look at it," Sonja suggested with reassurance. "A fresh set of eyes might be just what is needed. After all, you have spent the entire night looking at this, so by now I am actually surprised that you can seen anything at all. When I get like this, working on the warp core or even on ANI, after a few hours I find myself unable to tell which way is up. So, taking a break or getting someone else to have a look could make a huge difference." With that, the Chief Engineer and Chief of Security began to scrutinize the three-dimensional holographic enlarged recreation of the encoded surface data contained in the fourth crystal."

"If there is some sort of pattern in this mess, I am unable to see it," Ya'Han admitted after a few minutes of intense scrutiny. As much as she had been willing to help, the fact of the matter was that this was well outside her usual skill set which tended to be far more physical than scientific.

"There is something in there," Sonja quietly countered, the Chief Engineer focusing with an unmatched interest on the way the crystalline alignment appeared. "I know it may sound weird, but although I am unable to actually point out what it is that I am seeing, I can tell that there is something in there, something almost familiar."

"Maybe you could instruct the computer to focus on that particular aspect," the Chief Science Officer suggested, finding herself more than eager to see some sort progress being made with this puzzle.

"I have a better idea," Sonja smiled before spinning on her heels and bolting out of the laboratory to the stunned surprise of both Ya'Han and Maya.

---
Jessica Solarik

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

&

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M09-P034: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 04 - 0745 ("Alien to Alien")
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"Alien to Alien"
[previous post was "Some Puzzles Are More Difficult Than Others"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Quantum Physics Lab
Stardate: 32221.0745

Sonja had left in such a hurry that the Sec/Tac never had the chance to say something. Ya'Han had not minded being left alone with Maya, but still the black and red-haired Nylaan would have preferred not to be in this particular situation. Still, this offered the nervous Lieutenant with an opportunity that she needed to take advantage of.

"Commander, could I have a world with you? From one non-Terran to another?"

"Of course," Maya answered, still trying to solve the puzzle that she had been working on through the night. "Terrans do have some strange and peculiar ways, both as a race as well as individuals. As a scientist I have noticed this on many occasions and I can only imagine that you have done the same while on the bridge."

"I was thinking on a more personal level," the Nylaan clarified, gently rubbing her belly as she tried to find the words she would use to bring Maya into the group of those who were aware of her condition, which for the moment only included Sonja.

"Interspecies relationships can be a difficult thing," the scientist said, obviously believing that the Sec/Tac had wanted to discuss her relationship with the Terran Chief of Operations.  "I am not sure how much help I would be, I mean I am like you a non-Terran but that would be where the similarities and knowledge end. In regards to relationships, I have to sadly admit that you have more experience than I. Color-changing hair may be attractive to some, maybe even alluring, but being able to shapeshift into a small monkey or toothy wolf is unfortunately not looked upon with the same admiration, not even close, especially in private."

As informative as this discussion had been, the Sec/Tac wished that the Chief Science Officer would stop rambling on and grant her the chance to say what she had tried to for the last several minutes. After all, how difficult could it be to say that she was pregnant?

"Have you even thought about motherhood?" Ya'Han asked, the statement she wanted to make having transformed into a distantly related question. Hopefully the answer the Sec/Tac would receive would make divulging the information a little easier.

"Every female, no matter the species, has those thoughts at one point or another. I mean, that is as long as it is the female of the species who is burdened with the biological complexities of reproduction. Not every race falls within that pattern, and examples of this can easily be found within the Federation. If you are asking if I have ever had such thoughts though, I have to sadly admit that I have not. Being the last of my race, you would think that I would be driven to have a child, to somehow keep my race alive, but without access to a viable genetic Shillian male counterpart, the best I could hope for would be to create a clone of myself, and somehow I find that idea less than appealing. You would think that as a scientist I would be the first one to embrace that idea, but my knowledge and experience in that domain have actually done the opposite. The possible complications, both during and after the gestation period have also made the prospect a less than attractive one. I mean, there are already countless things that can go wrong when two people of the same race choose to have a child. Those possibilities multiply a hundred fold when the parents are from different species. So much so that Starfleet Medical created a list showing the numerous incompatible genetic matches, this to save would-be couples the pain of discovering this on their own after several failed attempts. Based on all that, I have happily dedicated my life to science and accepted harsh truth that I am the last of my race."

Thinking of everything that had been said from a purely scientific perspective relating to her condition, Ya'Han's hair turned blue, a color that she rarely displayed. Up until now, the Nylaan had not considered the possibility that something bad might occur as the fetus within her grew. However much Ya'Han might have wanted to keep her condition secret, it became increasingly evident that she could not afford to do so for her sake as well as that of the child within her.

That she liked it or not, she would have to tell the others if for no other reason than to enlist the help and expertise of everyone to insure that everything regarding the pregnancy went as smoothly as possible. All that the Sec/Tac needed to do now was to break the news to Maya, the Chief Science Officer being the first of many she needed to inform.

"Commander?"

"Yes?"

"What if I were to tell you that I was with child?"

"I would say that you need more rest than I," Maya coldly replied, not having flinched in the least, her attention still more than focused on the three-dimensional holographic display. "I am observant enough to know that you and Lieutenant Paquette were the only ones to enter this laboratory. In addition, had there been a child with you, I am sure that I would have heard or seen them by now. As I have mentioned before, I do consider myself to be quite observant, and I am sure that I would not have been able to miss a child, regardless of age or size, had they been with you."

"Of course," Ya'Han sighed while still rubbing her belly. The Nylaan found it almost impossible to believe that the Scientist could be as smart as she was, as observant as she claimed, and yet be unable to see that was there right next to her, easily within arm's reach. Maybe informing other would prove to be much more complicated than the Sec/Tac had expected, especially if she was to use this attempt as a guide to what would be her success.

For the time being, the Nylaan thought it best to momentarily abandon her quest, at least until the return of her friend Sonja. Maybe with the redhead Engineer by her side, the Sec/Tac would have better luck in accomplishing what she had thought would be a simple task.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P035: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 04 - 0745 ("Really Complicated Thinking")
"Really Complicated Thinking"
previous post was "Alien to Alien"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Corridor
Stardate: 32221.0745

"You could have simply instructed me to join you and the others in the Quantum Physics Laboratory," the Avatar stated as she was being led by the Chief Engineer who had come to fetch her without offering any sort of explanation.

"I needed to disconnect you from the diagnostic platform, plus, if I said for you to hurry and join us, I feared that you would skip getting dressed before making your way through the ship," Sonja explained with a smile. "I did program you to be as efficient as possible."

"My programming also includes a complete set of modesty protocols," ANI pointed out.  "According to the ship's own engineering and robotics work log, you were the one who created and added these specific subroutines to my base personality."

"Alright," the red-haired woman sighed in defeat. "I just thought it safer to be with you then with Maya. The odds of her going through some long winded explanation about something or rather would have driven me clean up the wall and down the other.  Also, I thought that Ya'Han could use the practice."

"The practice?" The Avatar questioned a la Vulcan, raising a single eyebrow to display her puzzlement. "What could Lieutenant Ya'Han be able to practice on Commander Maya? Aside from being officers on board the ANUBIS, there is little the two have in common. The obvious differences in their respective fields of knowledge and expertise leaves them with little to share on a professional level, and although both do possess some cellular transformation abilities, the differences between the two are again far too great to allow for any common ground."

"I wanted Ya'Han to practice speaking to someone who is not listening as closely as they should," Sonja grinned.

---
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Quantum Physics Lab
Stardate: 32221.0750

The plan had been simple. If Ya'Han could inform Maya of her situation and actually have the scientist acknowledge the news in any way, the Chief of Security would be able to easily inform anyone else, drawing on the recently gathered experience in order to do so. At least that had been the plan, a plan that had appeared to have failed miserably by the looks of things.

"Maybe you are right, I do need more rest," Ya'Han confirmed, based on the words spoken by the Chief Science Officer who had managed to completely miss the purpose of their talk as well as the visual hints that had been right there for her to see.

"I am," Maya reinforced without hesitation. "I do consider myself to be quite an observant person, after all it is somewhat of a prerequisite given my field of work. Simply based on your words and claim, I do believe that a good night's rest would do you, as well as myself, a great deal of good."

Ya'Han sighed. In the field of science, or even anything remotely touching on it, the Chief of Security was certain that the Shillian had been more than observant, but when it came to more social aspects of life around her, the same could hardly be claimed.

"Is everything okay?" Sonja asked as she and the Avatar approached the stunned Chief of Security, the Chief Engineer quickly having noticed the new hair colour of her friend, which she pointed out by pulling a single lock into view.

"My mind went onto a different aspect of my condition," the Nylaan with the blue head of hair replied, a worried tone in her words.

"Guessing you tried to tell her and things didn't go quite as planned?"

"Not as easy as one might think," the Chief of Security replied, her hair having returned to the black and red mix that everyone knew her by.

"ANI," the Chief Engineer said turning her attention onto the Avatar, the matter of her friend's condition would have to wait for the moment; after all they did have a little while before things really began to show forcing their hand.  "Can you have a look at this holographic image and tell me if it means anything to you?"

The Avatar did as instructed and even leaned in closer to display the interest and fascination she expected had been required from her. "This is very interesting. The alignment of the crystalline structure is a nearly perfect recreation down to the tricenary accompanying harmonics. I am detecting less than a 0.01% diviation from the original piece."

"Recreation of what?" Sonja and Maya asked in frustrated unison, Ya'Han having remained silent, still finding herself somewhat distraught by her recent failed attempt to tell the Shillian that she would be an aunt soon.

"The Infinite Symphony," ANI stated as if this should have been identified and known by all present. "It was composed by Gadrelf Ix Rowshesh, the renowned Zobral composer," the Avatar further explained. "It is said that out of the 3165 instruments required to play this, 1886 of them are impossible to play by non-Zobral hands, feet or lips. The symphony itself requires a minimum of five conductors to insure that every instrument follows the proper cadence and rhythm, which at times can reach in the excess of 480 beats per minutes."

"That's why it looks so familiar," Sonja exclaimed with disbelief and amusement. "I remember comparing that monstrosity to one of my instructor's evaluation grid back at the Academy. Both made absolutely no sense whatsoever no matter how much anyone tried to understand it. I think I had nightmares about that piece of music trying to assimilate me back in the days."

"So this was not some sort of encoding?" The Shillian inquired, clearly not at all happy by the fact that she had not been able to identify the mess for what it was.

"No, only a recreation," the Avatar confirmed. "A very accurate one that must have required a great deal if work and patience to create on a scale as small as what would have been required to place inside one of these crystals," ANI added. For an android, the artificial woman could from time to time sound and appear almost human in her reactions.

"How does this information give us a clue as to the location of the next crystal?" Ya'Han inquired, voicing the question that had been on the lips of everyone in the room.

"If the pattern was meant to be the clue," Maya offered, "one that was evident for someone who knew what to look for, it would be fair to consider that the significance of the presence of this symphony is just as equally obvious."

"ANI, access all of your databases and find out everything you can on that cacophony," the Engineer ordered.

"The Infinite Symphony of Gadrelf Ix Rowshesh," the Shillian Scientist corrected, obviously holding the musical creation in higher regards than the Terran Engineer.

The Avatar momentarily closed her as she complied with the order given by the Chief Engineer. "The musical masterpiece was composed by Rowshesh some 750 years ago, the exact date of the creation not having been recorded. The piece gained increased fame as the Zobral stretched their influence to other planets. The original music composition was traded and sold over those years, going from merchants to musicians to collectors."

"Who is the current owner of that *masterpiece*?" Sonja inquired, reluctantly using the term to appease the Chief Science Officer.

"According to the planetary official records, the original composition was brought back to its home world following the expert dealings of an eccentric collector known only as the 'Grand Maestro'," ANI reported. "He owns an island continent where he keeps all of his collected items safe and out of reach of would be thieves and prying eyes."

"Sounds like it would be the perfect place to keep one of those crystals safe," Ya'Han pointed out.

"Great," Sonja sighed. "Looks like we will be heading to ZOBRA PRIME and that I am not done dealing with that blasted wannabe musical composition." The redhead paused for an instant before adding, "Wonder how professor 'Loony Toon' came to know the Grand Loony Maestro and trust him enough to give him one of his crystals?"

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P036: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 04 - 0830 ("All About Feelings")
=-=
"All About Feelings"
[previous post was "Really Complicated Thinking" by the imaginative Lorraine]
=-=

Setting: ANUBIS, Observation lounge
Stardate: 32221.0830

"We started with a Federation member, went to an unaligned world and now we are heading back to another Federation world?" The ExO / ILO rhetorically asked after having been informed of the findings made by Commander Maya, Lieutenant Paquette and Lieutenant Ya'Han who had come as a group to the bridge to give the good news. "This professor Arken sure got around quite a bit for a recluse scientist."

"Those he worked with and knew him might have considered him as such," Counselor Dima pointed out. "Being considered as a recluse could have easily been by design in order to keep his research and work safe. The less people around him there was, the safer his work was, at least as far as he saw things. It is very possible that once out of his normal work environment, the professor sought out people with similar interests or even social attitudes believing that he could trust them more than others."

"It does seem to fit the pattern with the selection of Sam and this Grand Maestro, both are outcasts from their own people, but IshDur Talkiir was just a normal Invernian, living in an apartment along with his wife like countless others." Ya'Han pointed out, finding it strange that the first person to have a crystal seemed so normal when compared to the others.

"IshDur was not a member of the majority on INVERNIA II," Shar'El explained, the ExO / ILO having had some time to have her IGC team do some research on the man. "It is actually uncommon for Invernians to marry outside of their race, so that fact that he was legally wed to Allahi made him an exception to the social rules of that world. Maybe it was enough to have the professor look upon him as a kindred spirit."

"Maybe," Jayson chimed in. "Either that or he saw something he liked in Allahi. Being a recluse as he is said to be, it is not unlikely that he felt the need for companionship. To feel the soft touch of a woman, even if only for a short period of time. As much as we might all hide behind the veil of evolution, we are still slaves to our most basic needs, and feeling loved has to be up there amongst the most basic and needed of feelings."

Although the gaze of the Chief of Operations had been directed towards the ANUBIS' Trill Counsellor, his words had clearly been meant for the Nylaan Chief of Security, a distinction that only those directly involved in the current matter had been able to notice.

"We might be able to confirm or refute this theory as to how Arken selected these people once  the mission has been completed, but for now it might be best for us all to focus on the task at hand," the Captain stated, not wishing for the attention of his officers to be split amongst multiple ideas and theories.  "Ensign Jones, set course for ZOBRA PRIME, best possible speed. Last time we needed to not make our approach to evident and it looks like we might have given those after the crystals the opportunity to get ahead of us, I would like t avoid that from happening again."

"Best possible speed, aye aye Sir." The FCO acknowledged, the woman keeping her presence in whatever situation she was in to an absolute minimum, something that Shar'El, as the ExO had found a little troubling but as the ILO found endearing. Should Tanith ever wished a transfer to another department; the Commander would be more than happy to welcome her into the IGC's family.

"Since we are going to be pushing the engines, I better get back to my department and crack the whip," The Chief Engineer noted. "All of this wandering space at normal speed was getting boring anyway," the redhead added with a smile.

"In the meantime I would like for you two to review all that we have on the Zobral," the ExO / ILO said as she looked at the Chief Science Officer and Ship's Counsellor. "The data collected may not be required during our visit, but it might be nice to know what is socially accepted and what is not. There is no need to antagonise this Grand Maestro for no other reason than to prove our ignorance of their world and customs."

"As a member of the Federation, this should not be too much of a problem," Nicole offered, glancing to Maya who appeared to be in complete agreement with the statement.

"All right then," the Captain said as he rose from his chair. "Let's get to work!"

=-=
Setting: ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32221.0900

Normally the ExO / ILO would have returned to the IGC given that the Captain had been on the bridge. During their journey to ZOBRA PRIME, even at the highest possible velocity they could manage, there had been no need for both the CO and ExO to be here. In this particular instance though, Shar'El had wanted to stick around and see if she would be able to get to the bottom of the situation that had developed between the ANUBIS' Chief of Operations and Chief of Security.

"How are you doing?" Shar'El asked of Ya'Han, the tone of the question making it evident that it was meant to be a personal and not a professional query.

"I'm fine," the black and red-haired Nylaan replied, even adding a smile to confirm her condition.

"Glad to hear it," Shar'El joyfully grinned. "Spending the night in Sonja's quarters can have a very tiring effect, especially when she breaks out the wine. We both know that for a fact, some more than others."

"Are you having the IGC keep track of my travels or do you actually have one of your spies following me and report to you directly?" Ya'Han asked, looking at the woman not as her superior but as a friend who had gone too far.

Shar'El actually took a half step back, shocked by the animosity in her friend's voice. After a few seconds of gathering her thoughts and feelings, the ExO / ILO returned to the exact position where she had been, appearing to those looking as having taken on a much more official posture. 

"The IGC keeps track of every single member of this crew, including myself, not because I or anyone else needs to know where everyone is but for the crew's general protection and safety," Shar'El coldly clarified. "This allows us, as the crew of the ANUBIS, to better react in the case of unexpected internal issues. The Captain himself suggested this idea and it was made possible thanks to the IGC and its personnel. I can assure you that I have not singled you out to be followed, be it electronically or physically. I would never invade yours, or anyone else's, privacy in such a way, and you know that I can do much, much worse should I truly wished to," the Ullian added, narrowing her eyes indicating that she had taken direct offence to the accusation of wrongdoing made by the Nylaan.

"Then how did you know?" Ya'Han asked, having realized to her great dismay that she had overreacted and that through that might have lost a very good friend at a time when she needed them the most.

"I might not be looking into your memories, but you did broadcast that particular one rather strongly," Shar'El sternly replied as she took in long deep breaths, forcing herself into a calmer state than the one she was rapidly heading towards. "I am glad that you are feeling well, and I am equally glad to know that I am not the only one who passes out on Sonja's couch. Now, if you will excuse me, we have a long trip ahead of us and I have several other stations and departments to visit."

Ya'Han was powerless to act. She had hurt Shar'El's feelings and based on the way the Commander had left, the person who had approached the black and red-haired woman as a friend had left as a superior Officer and the ship's ExO. Trying to explain why she had reacted the way she had would require the woman to reveal the details of her situation, but that was something the Chief of Security had not wanted to do, not like this. The announcement needed to be in a more private setting and be a celebration, not in the open and offered as an explanation and excuse

After the quick and unfortunately cold exchange they had just shared, Ya'Han wondered if she would actually get the opportunity to share the news with Shar'El. The best the Nylaan could hope for now was that learning about the pregnancy would restore their friendship, at part if not in whole, and that all would be forgotten in time.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P037: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 04 - 0915 ("No Choices")
"No Choices"
[previous "All About Feelings"]

[/\]
Setting: ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32221.0915

Over the many days he had spent with her, at least before he was kicked out of her private life without any warning or explanation, he had become verse in identifying the emotions she felt simply by looking at her face and posture. The color-changing hair helped quite a bit, but while on duty, Ya'Han made sure to control this visual indicator as best she could. That was one of the reasons why Jayson had taken the time to study the various telltale signs that the Chief of Security could not hide or control when feeling a certain way.

When she was happy, the corner of her lips always twitched, as if Ya'Han had subconsciously wanted to smile but knew that this had not been the place or time to do so.  If she were sad for one reason or another, she would press her lips together as if holding back tears, not that he had ever seen her cry.  When troubled or worried, the Chief of Security had a habit of biting her lower lip, not much, but enough to be noticed if you knew what to look for. When she was angry, and her hair had not gone full red, that emotion could be identified on the Nylaan woman by simply looking at her eyes and perfectly straight body posture. That was when you knew to avoid her, as she looked ready for a fight to end all fights.

After her chat with Shar'El, a discussion that he had not heard a word of, Ya'Han had not appeared happy, sad, troubled, worried or even angry. The only emotion Jayson could associate to the way she appeared was the rarest emotion for the Chief of Security to display, and the hardest one to identify. The unfocused stare, the barely visible twitching fingers and the slightly more shallow breathing could only mean one thing; she was scarred. What could the two women have said to one another to lead to this?

"Lieutenant?" The First Officer asked, actually having come up to the Operations' station without Jayson seeing or hearing her.

"Sorry Commander," he quickly apologised. "My mind was elsewhere."

"Your mind, as well as your attention need to be on this mission and nothing else," the First Officer sternly said, taking the OPS Officer off guard. However scared Ya'Hay might have been, Shar'El had been 10x angrier, and the fact that he had been distracted would insure that he would not feel part of that now. "I know that Commander aya and Counselor Dima are working on the social aspects of the Zobral, it might be useful to have a technical overview of the race as well, especially surrounding this Grand Maestro. What kind of obstacles can we expect in trying to contact him or even reaching the surface. What kind of defences might we encounter? Let us face it, this eccentric collector has an entire island continent to call his. It would be nice to know what we can expect."

"Of course Commander," Jayson said, considering himself lucky to have made it through with nothing more than a standard research on a single individual and his properties, as extensive as they may be. "I will have a report ready for you by the end of the day."

The Commander said nothing more, only glancing quickly in the direction of the Chief of Security before staring straight into the soul of the OPS Officer. For a moment, Jayson wondered if maybe the telepathic woman had been scanning his memories to figure out something about Ya'Han, unfortunately for her, he likely knew less about any of this than anyone else on board the ANUBIS.

[/\]
Setting: ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32221.1100

He cared for her, there was no denying that, and he wanted nothing more than to be able to reach out and comfort her. The fear he had earlier seen had vanished from sight, but he could tell that it was still there, gnawing away at her from the inside. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about it.

Ya'Han had made it clear that she wanted her space from him, that whatever the reason was, it was something bad enough that she did not want to have to deal with him as well. That might have been a hard pill to swallow, but it was something that Jayson had started to accept. If they would even have a chance to get back together, it would have to be on her terms. Anything else would doom him to endure this solitude permanently.

On the other side of this story was Shar'El who had come across as meaning business, more so then she had ever did before. That alone had been enough to almost explain the fear that he saw in the Chief of Security. As nice as the First Officer / Intel Operative could be at times, the woman was a terrifying person when you took a moment to consider who and what she was.  Being the First Officer of the USS ANUBIS was intimidating enough, but to have her perform the additional duties of an Intel Liaison Officer elevated her to a completely different level. When she looked at you, one could never be certain if whether she was doing so as the ExO or as the ILO, and being a Ullian who could scan your most private memories didn't help matters any.  To say that no secrets were safe from her was an understatement, so it was with a small amount of relief that the crew was glad that she was on their side.

In order to avoid summoning the wrath of the First Officer upon him, Jayson focussed all of his attention onto his research. Although Ya'Han had been right there, he needed to distance himself for both of their good.

Thanks to the Zobral being a member of the Federation, accessing the information had been relatively easy. What had been the problem was that there was not a great deal of useful data in regards to this Grand Maestro and his island continent. According to official records, the continent was originally part of a disputed are between three major planetary political powers. Over the decades that followed, ownership of the landmass shifted from one power to another.

According to those same records, all who had been fighting over it suddenly abandoned the island, as if something terrible had happened leaving the land open for claims. Within a few days, the entire land mass was purchased at a ridiculously low price by an anonymous individual whom the OPS Officer could only guess had been the same person who currently held the title of Grand Maestro. Since no other names appeared on any files in relation to the island continent's ownership, it seemed to be a logical conclusion to make.

That is where things started to get weird as Jayson pressed on with his research. With the island continent under the undisputed control of a single individual, the entire landmass was made inaccessible to everyone else, visitors requiring special permission to even be in orbit over it. Whoever this Grand Maestro was, he certain appeared to enjoy his privacy.  Of course, this also meant that getting specific information on him was proving to be quite the challenge, everything having been secured or classified. In some cases, the information had been so vague that it might as well have been classified for all the good it did.

Frustrated with another dead-end search, Jayson dared to raise his eyes for a brief moment, glancing at the Nylaan who still appeared as he had last seen her two hours ago. Seeing her this way was breaking his heart, but to say or do anything about it might shatter whatever she had left intact of his feelings. As much as he hated it, he had no other choice but to wait and be patient. At least the work he had been assigned should keep him busy enough over the rest of the day to avoid him fighting with himself over this.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P038: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 04 - 1330 ("Hurry Up and Wait")
"Hurry Up and Wait"
previous post was "No Choices"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 22, Main Engineering
Stardate: 32221.1330

The redhead Engineer watched the heart of the ship as it beat. With the ANUBIS trying to break every speed record ever recorded, the warp core was pulsating at a dizzying rate, enough to have the Chief Engineer actually be concerned.

"You can do it girl," Sonja lovingly whispered as she gently caressed the edge of the nearest warp control station. "Don't mind the big bad man sitting on the bridge. I know you can do this."

=/\= Bridge to Main Engineering, =/\= the voice of the Captain was heard echoing through the room.

"Speaking of the devil," the Chief Engineer muttered to herself before reaching for her communicator to open the channel. "Go ahead Captain."

=/\= Ensign Tanith is reporting some speed fluctuations and Lieutenant Stark mentioned that the sensors have reported some sort of vibration from the main deflector dish. =/\= The report from the Captain had not been news to the Chief Engineer, in fact the list of *issues* had been much longer than the one he had called her for. Sonja had not been ready to admit that *her* ship had not been capable of performing to the limit and beyond those given by the man sitting in command on Deck 1, so the redhead remained calm keeping her thoughts in check, at least for the most part.

"We are pushing the transwarp drive to an extent that we have never even come close to," the redhead pointed out with a sigh. What did he expect? Those limits were so named for a reason, and going beyond them was sure to cause some problems. The engineer team had managed to address the majority of the problems before they would show up on one of the bridge's displays or be felt by someone like the FCO, but there was just so much they could do.  "The speed fluctuations are due to the deflector dish vibrations, we are having a few problems maintaining the integrity of the conduit. Maybe if we dropped out of transwarp for an hour or so, we could get the systems back to normal."

=/\= Can the work be performed while we are at transwarp speed? =/\=

Sonja slouched forward in despair as she closed her eyes. What did he think the engineering team had been doing for the last three hours or so?  "We can patch up some of the problems but the vibrations of the main deflector will require a full realignment, which can only be done while we are not rushing through space as if trying to outrun the devil himself."

=/\= I would like us to reach ZOBRA PRIME before whoever else is after those crystals, =/\= the Captain explained. =/\= We made that mistake once which lead to the SPHINX being attacked. I would like to avoid a similar situation occurring again. I am not sure how they are managing to keep up with us without knowing what the crystals hold, but we have to take control of this situation and get ahead of them. =/\=

"We will do what we can Captain," Sonja offered as she recalled one of her engineering professors back at the Academy claiming that starship Captains always asked for the impossible and it was the job of the Chief Engineer to make that impossible a reality.  "Engineering out."

"Should I stop hiding the warp core instabilities from the bridge consoles?" ANI asked, the Avatar had doing this as per the redhead's request. "Maybe that would convince him to allow the ship to return to normal space so that the engineering staff can perform the required repairs and realignment."

"Nooo," Sonja replied, elongating the sound for emphasis. "If anyone on the bridge sees this, it will be my fault that we had to drop out of transwarp speed and I am not ready to accept having the blame for us not getting to ZOBRA PRIME as quickly as we could fall on my shoulders or on anyone in this department. Keep the bridge from seeing what we are dealing with here; I will go take care of the main deflector dish myself. Maybe I could reinforce the structural integrity field with an inverse sonic vibration to offset the one detected by the bridge."

"But that would not solve the problem of the fluctuating speed we are experiencing and which Ensign Tanith detected," the Avatar explained.

"I know that," Sonja snapped back. "I can always blame some unseen and undetected field variation in the transwarp conduit for the shifting speed. At least that way, and without the instruments on the bridge showing all of the error messages we have been dealing with, it will be the Captain's fault if we return to normal space causing us to not reach ZOBRA PRIME within the timeframe set."

"I am unable to understand the different in what you are explaining," ANI pointed out. As great as her programing was, the reality was still that she was a machine, an extension of the ship, an artificial entity that struggled on a daily basis to understand the finer subtleties of human emotions and behaviours.

"I force us to return to normal space is bad. The Captain telling us to return to normal space is good. It's really not all that difficult," the Chief Engineer explained before grabbing the nearest engineering repair kit and making her way to Deck 24 where the Navigational Main Deflector Control Room was located.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 1, Bridge
Stardate: 32221.1930

To say that the last six hours had been hell would have been beyond an understatement. From the vibration in the main deflector dish, the Chief Engineer had been forced to deal with a coolant leak in engineering; a unexpected misalignment of the coils in the starboard nacelle caused by the fluctuating transwarp speed; a power failure in the waste management system of the ship as well as a power surge in the secondary computer processor. This last issue from the computer sub-processor, which was dedicated for the IGC, had caused the department to deal with a tidal wave of false data to display on their consoles. By the looks of things, Shar'El had accepted the excuse given by the Chief Engineer, but there was something in the First Officer's voice that hinted to her having been less than pleased.

Arriving at ZOBRA PRIME could not have happened soon enough, but at least the Chief Engineer had been happy that the ordeal had finally been done and over with. Not only had they arrived, but also they had done so in one piece, well mostly.

"Well done Lieutenant," the Captain said, greeting the redhead who had just walked onto the bridge. "You look like you had a rough time down there, but you did it."

"What he means is that you look like hell," the Chief of Operations whispered to the Chief Engineer. Jayson had not wanted to miss such a golden opportunity to strike back at the woman who had taken more than her fair share of shots at him since his relationship with Ya'Han had begun. The fact that Sonja had enjoyed that pastime even more since the relationship had been put on hold had only made the revenge that much sweeter.

The redhead glared at the man with an intensity that threatened to rip right through him. Had she not been so exhausted, there was no doubt that the Chief Engineer would have done more than simply glare at him.

"Helm, set up in a geosynchronous orbit over the island continent belonging to this Grand Maestro," the Captain ordered. "Lieutenant Stark, open a communications channel. Lieutenant Ya'Han scan the surface and report on anything that might prove to be a potential problem to us."

"Captain, there is an energy field surrounding the *entire* continent," Jayson reported. "The power is nearly off the chart making it impossible to send any sort of transmission to the continent."

"Sensors are also unable to penetrate this field," Ya'Han added. "Our scans are being deflected back to the upper atmosphere."

"Now I understand why we had such a hard time gathering information on this individual," Shar'El joined in with, not sounding in the least bit impressed. "The Grand Maestro is said to enjoy his privacy, but I never expected that it would go to this extent."

"Sensors cannot reach beyond the field, but with a few modifications we should be able to scan the energy barrier itself," the Chief of Operations reported as he made the modifications in questions. "Based on these readings, the generated field is as powerful as that of a space station, and it seems to have several added subharmonics resonances covering pretty much all of the known spectrum. I don't even think that a telepath would be able to scan beyond that shield."

"Well isn't that just a wee bit excessive," Sonja noted aloud in her Scottish accent.

"So how do we get in to negotiate for the crystal?" Ya'Han asked, not sure what they would be able to do, the power readouts of that shield making it evident that it would easily counter an attack from a starship, even one as powerful as the ANUBIS.

"I guess there is little else for us to do but to wait and hope that our presence will cause someone down there to reach out to us.

After having nearly killed themselves getting here as fast as they could, the crew of the ANUBIS found themselves stuck, having to wait for the Grand Maestro or some else on that island continent to acknowledge their presence and make contact.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P039: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 04 - 2200 ("Patience")
##########
"Patience"
Previous post "Hurry Up and Wait"
##########

"To a trained warrior, there is scarcely a more potent weapon than patience."
- Gideon Jura

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 32221.2200

The Native American had returned to his Ready Room to take care of a few matters concerning his ship, but mostly because he had wished to spare his officers the unpleasantness of his pacing about the bridge as they waited as patiently as they could. Erik had thought that someone would have noted their presence over the island continent by now and made contact, but that had not been the case. Even after contacting the planetary authorities and informing them of their intention and need to speak to the individual only known as the Grand Maestro, the Captain was notified that the Zobral eccentric never responded to requests for communication. The man it seemed always initiated any type of exchange, and that was when he felt ready or inclined in doing so.

Every effort to contact the surface had been made, but as expected following the reports from the planetary authorities, nothing had worked. Either their attempts had simply failed thanks to the impenetrable energy barrier surrounding the continent or whoever was there had ignored the ship in orbit over them. In either case, the results were the same, the ANUBIS and its crew would have to wait and be contacted by the individual they sought.

Maybe this had been some sort of show of power, a way to set the tone between the owner of the island continent and the outside world. What it did do was to test the patience and resolve of those wishing to speak to this unconventional character, and after over an hour of waiting, everyone's patience had been put to the test.

When the door chime announced someone at his door, the Native American smiled with hope, thinking that something had changed and that someone had finally decided to acknowledge the presence of the ship and its crew. The moment Nicole appeared in the doorway, the expression on Erik's face flickered for a split second, but as short lived as the disappointment was, the Counsellor had been more than experienced to recognize the shift for what it was.

"Sorry to disappoint you," Dima offered in a serious tone while still managing to add a grin as she walked in to allow the doors to slide close behind her. "It was not my intent to cause you any sort of dissatisfaction."

The Native American Captain knew that this had been a ploy by the Trill Counsellor to have him open up and discuss what was on his mind, and in all honesty, he had been more than willing to indulge.  "It is I who should apologise for my reaction. Getting here as fast as we could only to be made to wait is proving to be far more frustrating than I had expected it to be."

"It does seem that lady luck has taken her leave from us, at least for the time being," Nicole said as she made her way to the couch. Although she had not been told to do so, the Counsellor knew that she had a standing invitation and that the Captain had always been more than happy to have her counsel, no matter what the situation was.

"Honestly, I doubt that luck would help us in this case," Erik unemotionally noted. "Even the planetary authorities of ZOBRA PRIME seem to know very little on this Grand Maestro and are just as powerless to contact him as we are. For someone as active as the records show him to be, the man is a near complete mystery outside of his business dealings and transactions."

"The man has obviously gathered a deal great of wealth and power," Nicole pointed out. "In doing so there is also the possibility that he drew upon himself the disapproval and maybe even hatred of others. One only needs to look at the defensive system in place to protect the island continent to see that. His being a very private individual might be a side effect of his being where he is today.  Based on all that, it is not entirely unexpected to find out that the Grand Maestro is on the upper rung of the eccentric ladder."

"To be honest, that is something that also concerns me quite a bit," the Captain voiced from behind his desk. "Being rich, powerful and eccentric, the man may not be overly willing to part with the crystal entrusted to him by Professor Arken. As a collectible, the crystal is only 1 of 8, making it exceptionally rare and possibly very valuable, especially to someone trying to complete the set."

"I would not worry about the others who are also after the crystal getting this one before us," Nicole reassured. "When those in charge of this world are unable to reach the Grand Maestro, I doubt that anyone else would be able to get to him, especially with us as an imposing presence in orbit over the continent. It is more likely that they will try to do as they have done before, which is to let us get the crystal and try to take it at that point."

"Point taken," the Native American agreed. "So it's going to be a challenge getting down there as well as coming back up. That is not counting on the difficulties we may be faced with in trying to obtain the crystal."

"If he is as much of a collector as the limited data we have on him indicates, all we need to do is to offer him something that is more valuable as a collectable," the Trill Counsellor casually noted as if the entire matter had been as simple as stated. "Now, if you have a moment, there is something else that I would like to bring to your attention."

"Go ahead," Erik offered, giving Nicole his complete attention while welcoming the opportunity to focus his thoughts on something other than the Grand Maestro and the game of patience that had forced upon them.

"Normally I take care of inter personnel issues and coordinate with Commander Shar'El when there is a need to do so," the Counsellor explained.

"More issues between Ya'Han and Jayson?" The Captain inquired with a chuckle, their rollercoaster relationship having been anything but secret or private.

"Actually, it seems to have evolved to include Shar'El herself," the Counsellor explained. "I received a few reports showing that the two had a disagreement on the bridge and that since then our First Officer has been more distant and cold when dealing with other members of the crew."

"Shar'El *more* distant and cold?" Erik half grinned. The woman had grown quite a bit from the dark ILO he had welcomed on board the ANUBIS to become a much friendlier First Officer, but still the shadows of her past still lingered on. As much as this darkness made her the dedicated and skilled Intelligence Operative that their mission profile required her to be, her dual role as the ANUBIS' ExO also required her to keep such coldness out of her dealings with the rest of the crew.  "I'll have a talk with her."

"Good luck," Nicole said, adding a playful grin suspecting that the discussion would be an interesting one, but still one that needed to happen to avoid something simple to grow into an issue that would not only affect a few members of the senior staff but the crew as a whole.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32221.2230

The Native American exited from his Ready Room and made his way directly to the station of the Chief of Security, a fact that quickly concerned the woman with the colour changing hair.

"Lieutenant, after speaking with Counselor Dima I was made to realise something," Erik began, further worrying Ya'Han who had been sure that his conversation with Nicole had been about her conflict with Jayson and more recently Shar'El. "We may have to deal with those who are also after the crystals once we manage to secure this one. I would like to see the ANUBIS at its highest battle readiness. We have been caught off-guard too many times for my liking and want to avoid a repeat of what happened to the SPHINX."

"I will make sure that no one gets even close with the idea of getting in our way," Ya'Han quickly stated, glad to have not been on the receiving end of her Captain's displeasure with her performance as Chief of Security.

"Good," Erik smiled before turning to the Chief of Operations. "Is Commander Shar'El in the IGC?"

"Yes Captain," Jayson promptly replied.

"Have Commander Maya report to the Bridge," the Native American ordered. "She will be in charge. I'm heading up to the IGC, if there is a problem or the Grand Maestro decides to look up and see that we are actually here waiting for him, you know where I'll be."

Stunned by the announcement, the members of the senior staff who had been on the bridge watched in silence as the Captain headed up to the IGC, something that he rarely did.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M09-P040: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 04 - 2245 ("Headache")
=-=
"Headache"
[previous post was "Patience" by our one and only lead writer Francois]
=-=

Setting: ANUBIS, Deck A-4, IGC
Stardate: 32221.2245

Since their arrival in orbit of ZOBRA PRIME, Shar'El and the rest of the IGC had been turning the planet's databases inside-out in search of information about the man only known as the Grand Maestro, but aside from a long list of transactions and deals, the man was a complete mystery. Nothing about him, about his appearance, or even about his general likes and dislikes was known. The list of open and public trades he had been involved with covered every possible area, from rare experimental medical devices deems too hazardous to be used to the most unique and rare of items. It seemed that nothing was outside of the man's sphere of interest.

As an individual, the man was an extreme recluse who held onto his privacy with every cell in his body, that is if he even had a body. Without any medical files attached to his preferred alternate identity, there was no way to even confirm that he was Zobral. The Grand Maestro had gone through a great deal of effort to be only known for his name and deals, and by the looks of things he had more than succeeded in that aspect.

The man had been an enigma long before taking possession of the island continent he now called home. He had come out of nowhere to scoop up this prime real estate deal, a style that he had employed on several previous occasions to secure the rights of some truly remarkable artifacts and collectible. The full extent of his wealth and possession had been unknown, but given the extent with which he had gone to protect the content he resided on, it was easy to imagine that the reality of his belonging went far beyond the list that had been pieced together by the ExO / ILO and her team.

"Commander," one of the IGC Techs called out. "The Captain is on his way here."

The relationship between Erik and Shar'El had been a good one, the CO and ExO having reached a very effective work dynamic. It was rare that the Captain would inquire about decisions made by the First Officer, and in turn she made sure to consider his point of view of the cosmos in everything she did. So to have him coming up to the IGC had been an unexpected turn of event, one that normally would not have been an issue. Unfortunately, today was not a normal day for the raven-haired woman.

"Captain Morningstar," Shar'El said as she welcomed the man into her domain. "What can we do for you? If you are here wondering about what we have been able to discover on the Grand Maestro, I am sorry to say that we have little more than what my earlier report contained. The man is more secretive than the Tal'Shiar and just as good in behind the scenes dealing as the Orion Syndicate. I might even start looking into the list of known operatives for both organizations to see if there are any mention of this Grand Maestro."

"Shar'El," the Captain said, his almost whispered voice indicating that he had wanted to say something meant for the ExO / ILO alone. "I'm here t talk to you about something else."

The raven-haired woman turned to look at her Captain and instantly saw the man's most recent memory involving a discussion with the ANUBIS' Ship's Counsellor, Nicole Dima. "The technicians of the IGC are sworn to the highest level of confidentiality in regards to personal matters they encounter on board the ANUBIS. I trust them all implicitly and would prove myself to be a hypocrite if I withdrew myself from their presence for any reason."

The Captain nodded his understanding, respecting the woman's integrity and beliefs. "What's going on between you and Ya'Han? I know that you two are friends and that she is having some issues with Jayson, but to hear that you had an open disagreement with her while on the bridge is troubling. To be informed that this has made you to be less than the First Officer I have come to admire is honestly bothering me more, hence why I am here. What's going on?"

The ExO / ILO met the Captain's eyes with her own for several seconds. As his First Officer she needed to be honest and truthful, but as a friend to Ya'Han Shar'El found herself conflicted in what she could and should reveal, not that she had as much as she wanted to say. As an ILO, that bothered her just as much as the conflict that had erupted between the Chief of Security and her had troubled the Captain.

"I have been trying to help Ya'Han and Jayson," Shar'El began with, thinking it best to stick to the truth as much as she could while not making the situation worst for anyone involved. "Something has been troubling her, enough that she completely distanced herself from Jayson and so far the only person she has confined in about this is Sonja."

"You you trying to tell me that you are jealous of our Chief Engineer?" Erik gasped in disbelief.

"No," Shar'El quickly said setting the record straight. "I was simply setting the scene. It was only later that I was able to identify what happened, not that I am trying to justify my actions, but at least I am able to explain why."

The expression of concern on the face of the ExO / ILO made the Captain understand that this went far beyond any interpersonal friction common between two people. With a nod of his head, Erik encouraged Shar'El to continue, which she did.

"Do you remember when we arrived in orbit and Jayson reported the presence of subharmonics in the energy field protecting the continent?"

"Of course," the Captain acknowledged. "He even said that he suspected that even telepaths would be unable to breach the barrier because of them."

"He was only partially right," Shar'El clarified. "I have found myself affected by the energy field. Not through any active method, the field is not reaching out in any way, but our proximity to it has caused me to have more and more difficulties concentrating. It would be like you being next to a room with music so loud that you cannot focus on what you are supposed to. At first I thought that being here in the IGC, where the shielding is more effective, would help, which it did but not as much as i would have liked it to. There is something about those subharmonics that is affecting me and I believe that it was the cause for my unacceptable behavior with Ya'Han on the bridge."

Yes, the subharmonics had been discovered and had indeed affected the ExO / ILO, enough so as to give her a throbbing headache, but that had not been the reason for her outburst with Ya'Han. The reason had been an entirely different one, but for the time being it had been best for the Captain to believe that this had been the cause.

"Can anything be done to help?" The Captain asked, not at all liking the idea that the ExO / ILO had not been able to operate as her usual effectiveness and standards.

"Anything that could help would render me unable to perform my duties, so it is best for me to remain here and wait for this part of the mission to be over with so that we can leave," Shar'El explained.

"We could always move into a higher or different orbit," the CO offered, wanting to have his ExO / ILO back.

"I appreciate the offer, but it would place us in a position of great disadvantage," the raven-haired woman said. "With us no longer being directly over the island continent and forcing our presence to be known, both for the Grand Maestro and those also seeking to gather the crystals, our negotiating position and advantage would be lost," Shar'El countered, actually allowing her pain to be visible for a split moment. "The ANUBIS has to remain in low orbit and be as close as possible to the energy field, asserting ourselves as being the ones to be dealt with first. I will remain here in the IGC and monitor the situation but I am afraid that I will not be able to lead the away team. If this headache is only a sign of how those subharmonics will affect me, I would be unconscious long before reaching the surface."

"Are you sure?" The Captain asked more to see if there had been any other possibilities to handle the situation as it had been presented. All in all though, Erik had to admit that the situation could have been worse, and having Shar'El restricted to the IGC had not been such a bad deal.

"Fine, I will lead the away team," Captain Morningstar conceded, but before he could say more, the ExO / ILO jumped in with an argument against his decision.

"There might not be a great deal that we have been able to discover on the Grand Maestro, but we do have a few things that will prove useful," Shar'El explained. "The first is that it should be a woman to lead the team. According to all of the transaction records we were able to find and link to him, the Grand Maestro has a soft spot for exotic women. According to certain reports and accounts, he has even been known to accept trades that were clearly not in his advantage."

"Are we dealing with a Zobral or a Ferengi?" The Captain chuckled before adding a long sigh. "This is not leaving us with a great deal of choices."

"We do have a bargaining ace up our proverbial sleeve," Shar'El pointed out. "We actually have two women who many would consider to be exotic. A Shillian and a Nylaan, hopefully one of them will be able to negotiate the trade of the crystal without having us give up some distant moon rich in rare minerals."

"Think Koniki would mind if we traded NEW ALEXANDRIA for the crystal?" Erik suggested in good humor. "Who else would you recommend for the away team? I would feel better knowing that there are more than two of them down there, everyone keeping an eye on the others."

"You could send Sonja and Nicole," the ExO / ILO suggested. "Both have skills and abilities that could prove useful while the away team is on the surface, that is if we actually receive permission to be there. So far, the Grand Maestro appears not to be overly welcoming to visitors."

"You are right, but the information you have just given me has given me an idea," the Captain said. "You stay and keep an eye on everything, I will take care of getting the away team to the surface."

=-=
Setting: ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32221.2315

As the Captain returned to the bridge, he was very pleased to see Maya sitting in his chair.

"Captain," the Shillian offered as she prepared to vacate the chair, but Erik quickly cancelled that idea with a motion of his hand.

"Open a hailing frequency to the surface and introduce yourself personally," Captain Morningstar said. "The Grand Maestro needs to see that you are the one making this deal. Since the automated hails are not working, and with what Shar'El said, I now believe that a more direct and personal approach will be successful."

"Captain," Jayson began, an expression of puzzlement now in his face. "We are not even sure that our communication attempt are reaching the surface."

"As eccentric and reclusive as this man is, I strongly doubt that he is the type to not have more than one way to listen in on what is going on around him," the Captain countered. "When you are ready Commander," Erik added as he gave the go ahead to the Chief Science Officer while removing himself from the central part of the bridge so that he would not be seen should a channel be opened.

"This is Commander Maya of the USS ANUBIS. We are here to negotiate for the trade for the trade of an item that we know is in your possession."

The silence that followed seemed to indicate that the latest effort had met with the same result as all previous one. That was until a strange booming voice suddenly filled the bridge.

=/\= An interesting proposition, =/\= a distinctly male voice said, the volume used having likely been amplified to insure that those on this side of the conversation knew that he was still the one in charge. =/\= To be honest I have had dealings with Trills before, are you joined? =/\=

"We are transmitting both audio and video but we are only receiving an audio reply," Jayson reported in a whispered voice meant to the Captain who acknowledged with a nod of his head followed by a quick movement of his hand instructing the Counsellor to step forward. After a second or two of hesitation, the Trill woman did as ordered this even without knowing what the plan had been all about. "No, I am a joined Trill. My name of Nicole Dima."

=/\= Dima? I am not familiar with that symbiotic, but if you are a Trill, to what species does the other lady standing by your side belong to? =/\=

Hesitant to reveal her true lineage, Maya glanced at the captain who nodded his head in silence. This was the ace he believed they needed to use in order to secure their ability to reach the surface and carry out the trade for the crystal.

"I am Shillian," Maya stated. "The last of my kind."

Again a lengthy silence spread, leaving some to wonder if this admission had not actually been a hindrance to their efforts. Like before though, the pause was followed by a booming voice, this time showing a much greater level of interest. =/\= You may take one of your shuttles down to the surface. The protective energy done will be opened long enough for you to pass through. =/\=

With some rapid and fancy motions of his hands, the Captain instructed his Chief of Security to jump in on the conversation in order to have herself and their CEO be also included in the away team.

"Grand Maestro, my name is Ya'Han. I would like your permission for myself and one other whose name is Sonja Paquette to be permitted to accompany Maya and Nicole to the surface."

=/\= What species are you? I do not recognise your features. =/\= The man inquired, clearly more interested in the Chief of Security than the other woman mentioned by her.

As before, the Captain motioned for his officer to reveal her true lineage, his reaction to Maya's announcement almost insuring that he would be more than happy to hear what the woman with the black and red hair would say.

"I am Nylaan."

=/\= Nylaan? I was not aware that a Nylaan had made it out of Ferengi controled space, let alone into Starfleet. This must be my lucky day, =/\= the voice seemed more than thrilled. =/\= By all means come and visit me, I am most anxious to meeting you all. =/\=

"The channel has been closed," Jayson reported, not entirely certain as to what had just happened.

"Well, that worked," Nicole pointed out in surprise. "Maybe we should open up like that from now on?" The Counsellor added, trying to break the general dazed mood that had taken over the command deck.

"I just hope that this is not his regular voice," Tanith offered from the Flight Control station. "I think I am starting to develop a headache. Aside from being loud, that voice was actually quite annoying."

"Just wait," Ya'Han quietly sighed. "I have the feeling that those of us heading to the surface might all end up with a lot worse than headaches by the time this *trade* is done and over with."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P041: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 04 - 2345 ("Not as Planned")
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"Not as Planned"
[previous post was "Headache"]
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Setting: Runabout ISIS, Forward section
Stardate: 32221.2345

One moment the Sec/Tac had been on the bridge, scanning the Zobral system for any ship that might prove hostile. The Captain had made it perfectly clear that he did not want anything to happen once the away team obtained the crystal and were making their way back to the ship. Ya'Han understood that he wanted to no longer be on the defensive, and she agreed wholeheartedly.

Suddenly, the Nylaan found herself to be part of said away team, on board the ISIS heading for the surface along with Commander Maya, Lieutenant Paquette and Counsellor Dima. The sequence of event that had led to this had happened so fast that the Sec/Tac still tried to get a grip of it all. From waiting patiently for the silence from the surface to end, they had all of a sudden made contact and immediately afterwards jumped into the runabout. Within minutes, the craft had left the ANUBIS and was heading straight for the energy field protecting the continent that was home to the Grand Maestro.

As they were making their way to the planet surface, the Sec/Tac could not help but think back as to the way she had been dragged into this story. To enjoy or even seek out exotic items for a collection had been one thing, but to react the way the Grand Maestro had upon learning that a Shillian and Nylaan had been wanting to see him had been an entirely different matter. What exactly had he planned to do with them? At least with Nicole and Sonja by there side, the odds of them falling to some foul play had been reduced, but that still did not answer the question of the collector's sudden interest.

"Hold on everyone," the Chief Engineer said from the co-pilot's station. The opening in the energy field is just wide enough to allow the ISIS to make it through, but we are going to be passing close enough to feel our fair share of turbulence."

"You would think that he would have opened the door a little wider knowing that a Shillian and a Nylaan were heading his way," Ya'Han stated, unceremoniously making sure that she was properly secured in her chair. In the condition that she had found herself to be in, the Sec/Tac could not afford to take any risks with her safety as well as that of the child growing within her.

"As eager as he may be to seeing you and Maya," Nicole said, presenting her theory to the rest of the away team. "My guess is that he is more concerned about protecting his privacy. The allure of meeting a couple of women belonging to races he would not have normally been able to see was enough to have him open the door, but his fears are still very much there. We will need to keep that in mind once we reach the surface as we all know how powerful fears can be."

"Just something else for us to keep an eye open for," Ya'Han said with a sigh, liking this less and less with each moment that passed. The mission objective had been to seek out and collect all eight crystals, but so far, this one had been her least favorite for no other reason that she had been singled out for being Nylaan.

"Everything will be alright," Nicole reassured, having noticed an expression of concern on the face of the Sec/Tac. "With your combat skills, Maya's shapeshifting and Sonja's ingenuity, I really don't think we have anything to worry about.  In fact, I feel like the outsider in this group."

"Having several lifetime's worth of knowledge and experiences should not be so easily dismissed Commander," Sec/Tac offered, surprised by the words of the Ship's Counsellor. Why had she downplayed her own value and importance on this mission?  Then, after a few seconds, it dawned onto the Nylaan; the Trill had wanted Ya'Han to realize the full extent of their collective strengths and resources. With everything they knew and could do together, it was the Grand Maestro who should have been concerned, and not them.

The smile that appeared on Ya'Han's face indicated to Nicole that her trick had been discovered, but it had still managed to achieve its intended goal.

The discussion between the Counsellor and Sec/Tac was put on hold as the runabout began to shake even more than it had before, the ISIS making its way through the narrow opening of the energy field protecting the island continent and the man residing there.

"Ya'Han, we are through that blasted energy shield, see if the tactical sensors can pick up anything worth while," Sonja suggested, the Engineer appearing more than busy in keeping the runabout on a controlled approach this despite the turbulences caused by the energy barrier they had just made their way through.

"We are receiving a set of landing coordinates," Nicole announced, the Counsellor having been put in charge of the communications station. "There is also a very detailed flight path that I am guessing we are meant to follow."

"I would suggest that we do just that," Ya'Han quickly added. "Tactical sensors are picking up several high energy guns locking in on us. Passing through the energy field polarized the hull and is making it impossible for us to raise shield, and judging by the power output of the defence batteries, there is more than enough firepower down there to blow us clear out of the sky."

"Not exactly the warm welcome you two were expecting I wager," Sonja said as she glanced at Maya and Ya'Han, taking a few extra seconds to point out to the Sec/Tac that she had been holding onto her belly as if trying to protect it from whatever hell they were about to go through.

Ya'Han quickly removed her hands from where they had been; not having realized that she had instinctively protected her child the moment the ISIS had passed through the heavy turbulences.  The Sec/Tac understood the power of a mother's instinct to protect their child, but she had never expected that she would display such behavior, then again, she had never been in such a situation before nor had she ever been as a child in a predicament that required her to be protected by her mother.

As a daughter of the High Sovereign, Ya'Han had been protected from all outside dangers thanks to the imposing walls that surrounded her while she was in the palace.  The countless guards when they ventured beyond those walls provided the same protection, insuring that noting got close to any of them.

Her child would experience an entirely different early childhood, one that stood in complete contrast to he one the exiled Nylaan experienced. As great as the differenced were though, the black and red haired woman could not find it in her to be disappointed, in fact, she found herself looking forward to giving the child in her the childhood she had never been permitted to have.

Of course, long before being able to do this, the Sec/Tac needed to focus on the immediate requirements of their current mission. The away team needed to confront this mysterious and eccentric Grand Maestro in order to secure the 4th of 8 crystals. A task that Ya'Han silently believed would be far more difficult than she had just made is sound to be.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P042: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 05 - 0030 ("A Bad Joke")
"A Bad Joke"
previous post was "Not As Planned"

=====
Setting: Runabout ISIS, Forward Section
Stardate: 32222.0030

A Shillian, Nylaan, Trill and Terran woman rush into a runabout and take off.

As much as it might have sounded like a joke, this had been the reality of their situation, at least it was as of half an hour ago. Now, the joke would have started with a slightly different line.

A Shillian, Nylaan, Trill and Terran woman land their runabout on a heavily guarded platform.

No doubts about it, this was the making of a joke, a very bad one.

Slowly, cautiously, the away team comprised of Commander Maya, Lieutenant Ya'Han, Counsellor Dima and Lieutenant Paquette exited the runabout to set foot onto the landing platform. A cool breeze welcomed them onto the foreign soil, making them forget for a brief moment that they were now beneath an energy dome that for all intents and purposes isolated them completely from the ANUBIS.

"Based on the way this Grand Maestro reacted upon hearing that we had a Shillian on board, I was half expecting there to be a fanfare to greet us," Sonja said as she look around the landing platform that they had been directed to. "At the very least there should have been a red carpet waiting for you," the Chief Engineer added, glancing over to Commander Maya who did not appear overly thrilled by the fuss that was being made about her and her race.

"I think we can add severe paranoia to the list of descriptors for our host," the Chief of Security added, pointing to the high power energy weapons currently aimed at the runabout. Although they were relatively far away, Ya'Han suspected that they possessed more than enough firepower to turn the runabout into scrap metal, leaving only dust as a proof of the away team having been here.

Nicole nodded in agreement, the psychological profile of the man who had permitted them to come becoming more complete and complex, not to mention disturbing.  "We need to be careful," the Counsellor quietly offered. "It might be in everyone's best interest to avoid upsetting this man."

"Way ahead of you there Counsellor," Sonja chuckled dryly. "I have not met this guy but I can already tell you that he is the type that I would not turn my back to. I would not be surprised to find that he is going to meet us behind a bullet-proof pane of energy-resistant transparent aluminum."

"The continent is huge," Maya pointed out as she too looked around to see what appeared to be an endless land mass. "I find it hard to believe that this Grand Maestro would be the only one living here. As eccentric and a recluse as he may be, it would be impossible for him alone to manage this entire continent. Maybe he does want to be alone with his belongings, but the requirements in maintenance alone make that unrealistic. Based on that alone there has to be more people than him here."

"There are," an unexpected presence announced, a distinct tone of reverence in his voice. "Although every building is maintained by robots, there are workers entrusted with the supervision and protection of everything on this continent. Now, if you would be so kind as to follow me, the Maestro is waiting to meet for you in the audience chamber."

"It might not have been the fanfare I was expecting or even hoping for, but it will have to do," Sonja sighed in mocked frustration as she followed the oddly dressed muscular man as he led his master's guests into the nearest structure.

=====
Setting: ZOBRA PRIME, Maestro's Island Continent, Primary Public Building, Welcoming Area
Stardate: 32222.0100

A Shillian, Nylaan, Trill and Terran woman walk into a strange building.

It was easy to see that Maya was fascinated by everything that surrounded them. Ever the true scientist, she took in and analysed everything that her eyes fell upon. Ya'Han, being the Chief of Security, had made a point to look around every corner they came across, as if expecting something to jump out at them. Nicole, on her end, was interested in the style of the building and its corridors, hinting to the Grand Maestro being someone with more refine tastes. As for Sonja, she had been content to keep her eyes on their escort, the medievalesque white shirt he wore not in the least hiding the rippling pectorals the Herculean man displayed without a second thought.

"I would love to see some of the robots you mentioned earlier," Maya requested, again the Shillian proving that she was a scientist first and above all else.

"You will have the opportunity to see some of them at work," the man explained as they moved into another room, this one as large as a grand hall surrounded by imposing windows . "If you will look over there," he stated pointing to his right, "you will see a group of maintenance robots taking care of the eastern rampart which werr slightly damaged during a recent land-quake."

Everyone had been quick to follow the man's direction although the redhead Engineer found herself returning her attention back to the man rather quickly, or more specifically to his arm. "I think I am feeling some aftershocks of that quake as we speak," she muttered to herself prompting Ya'Han to gently elbow her friend.

As they arrived at the other end of the immense room, the away team was greeted by two more men, these ones dressed in far more militaristic attire, which to Sonja's not entirely silent delight still allowed for their impressive physique to be observed. With a nod of his head, their escort gave the two guards the all clear, causing them to step aside to allow the visitors to enter into the next room.

"This is the main audience chambers, the Maestro is waiting for you at the end," he stated, inviting the four women to step in.

"You will not be accompanying us?" The redhead asked, trying her best to hide her disappointment.

"Remember why we are here," Ya'Han whispered as she pulled on her friend's hand so that she would follow the others who had already stepped in.

=====
Setting: ZOBRA PRIME, Maestro's Island Continent, Primary Public Building, Audience Chamber
Stardate: 32222.0115

A Shillian, Nylaan, Trill and Terran woman walk down a long elegantly decorated corridor.

This would be where the punchline of this joke would certainly happen. As they made their way further down the corridor, everyone found themselves enthralled by the various pieces of art that were discovered in the protected alcoves lining the two walls.

"The Grand Maestro likes things on a large scale," Nicole pointed out, the corridor they were in easily measuring several times the size of any of the ANUBIS' shuttle bays. "It is odd that someone who is such a recluse appears to enjoy displaying such exuberance."

"Maybe he is not as much a recluse as we were led to believe," Ya'Han countered, the eyes of the Chief of Security still darting from location to location as if trying to locate something that could be considered as a threat to them.

"Possibly," Nicole agreed. "People who display their possessions and wealth in such a matter are usually doing so to impress others and make it clear to them that they are of a higher status or class than those invited in."

"I do not know the reason or reasons for his wanting to make such a display," the Shillian Commander began, "but I cannot deny being impressed by the extent of the man's collection of ancient artefacts. Most, if not all of the ones here belong in museums across the Federation and beyond.

=/\= I am glad that you approve of my collection, =/\= a booming voice said, startling the away team who had not expected to hear anything given that they had not seen any signs of someone else having been present in the corridor with them. =/\= It has taken me several decades to gather the items on display in this hall. The rest of my collection has taken me a lifetime to put together and I am afraid that I may still be missing some unique pieces by the time the coldness of space comes to claim by body. =/\=

With a motion of her hand, Ya'Han pointed to the end of the corridor where a set of large stairs could now be seen. Atop the dozen or so steps, a large throne-like chair could be seen, but still there was no sign of the Grand Maestro.

"If that throne is made of metal swords, I swear I'm leaving right there and then," Sonja sighed in discontent before continuing in a whispered voice. "Guess I should be glad that there are no dragons around, although there seems to be plenty of room for one," the redhead added as she looked at the distant ceiling overhead in somewhat of a panic.

"That would be highly uncomfortable," Maya pointed out as she led the away team closer, hoping that maybe they had failed to notice the Grand Maestro or that he would be joining them as soon as they arrived at the base of the elevated platform.

Sonja sighed as she shook her head. One day she would have to get the ladies all together and teach them all about some of the finer entertainment available in the early days of the 21st century.

"Grand Maestro," Maya announced as the away team reached the stairs which now appeared to be far more imposing then they had a few minutes ago. "We are here to negotiate the trade of the crystal which was placed in your care by Professor Arken."

=/\= Why in such a rush? =/\= The same booming voice inquired, the loudness and echo not giving any hints as to where the man actually was or even if he had been in the room with his guests. =/\= Surely you can spend a moment to enjoy my hospitality. I do have quite a few possessions that I am sure you would find most interesting. =/\=

"Thank you for the offer, but we are on a mission and time is of the essence," Maya explained, trying her best to be as diplomatic as possible. The Shillian shot a quick glance in the direction of the Ship's Counsellor, silently requesting her help in this particular matter.

"No disrespect is meant Grand Maestro," Nicole offered. "It is only that we are not the only ones after the crystals and it would be safer for all of us to be able to complete this trade and return to our ship with haste."

=/\= I assure you that you are as safe as can be here, =/\= the man announced, still not having displayed any signs of his physical presence. =/\= If no disrespect is intended, then you will accept my invitation. According to the internal clock in your ship, it is the early hours of the day for you, so please accept my hospitality and rest. After breakfast we can discuss the details of the trade that will allow you to leave my home with the item you so anxiously desire. Consider your accepting my invitation as a condition leading to the trade. =/\=

"See! I knew we could not trust this guy," Sonja exclaimed before finding herself in a three against one stare-down.

"Ladies," another Herculean man dressed in the same manner as their earlier escort said as he appeared from an alcove hidden in the far corner of the hallway. "If you will be so kind as to follow me, I will take you to your rooms."

"It looks like we have little choice in the matter," Maya said, inviting the other members of the away team to comply. Given their current situation, there was little else they could do, and with the knowledge that they needed the crystal to complete their mission, the four women had been forced to accept the invitation.

A Shillian, Nylaan, Trill and Terran woman are taken to rooms in order to rest, this against their wishes.

No doubts about it, this was the making of a *very* bad joke.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P043: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 05 - 0200
("This Is No Room, It's A Space Station")
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"This Is No Room, It's A Space Station"
[previous post was "A Bad Joke"]
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Setting: ZOBRA PRIME, Maestro's Island Continent, Primary Public Building, Guest Room 2
Stardate: 32222.0200

Ya'Han had been in the room for several minutes now and she had yet to move from where she stopped. It had taken a few steps for her to feel the full impact created by where she had been. As the daughter of the High Sovereign, people would have expected her to be used to being in rooms such as this one, but the fact was that she had never seen or even imagined anything like this.

The room was immense, gigantic, incredible, overwhelming, in short, it was huge. Like the previous rooms and hallways the away team had passed though, this location had been large enough to house multiple shuttles side by side and stacked one on top of another. How a single person was expected to occupy the space made available seemed an impossible task. After several more minutes, the Sec/Tac finally managed to put one foot in front of the other once again, venturing into the expanse that had been assigned to her for the remainder of what would have been the night.

Although the members of the away team had been instructed to rest, Ya'Han found it impossible to do so at this time. The fact the giant bed appeared to be quick a walking distance away, the Sec/Tac found herself studying the numerous features of the room she was in.

One wall was completely dedicated to old style hardcover books which easily numbered in the hundreds if not thousands. If the sheer number of these had not been enough to amaze, the intricate carvings that had been made into the wooden shelves and ladder had been by themselves enough to have someone stop in their tracks. Very much like she did after having entered the room.  For a moment, the Sec/Tac studied the imposing ladder, thinking that a single climb to the top would prove to be a formidable exercise in strength, endurance and height management. 

The second wall had windows that stretched from floor to high ceiling, providing an astonishing view of distant mountains reaching up to touch the sapphire sky. The scene appeared as a living tapestry capable of losing anyone within its charms and beauty. It was only after a few moment that Ya'Han realized that she had once again been rubbing her belly, this time looking at the enchanting scenery and thinking how nice it would be to raise a child in such an environment.

Forcing her thoughts back onto the task at hand, the Sec/Tac resumed her visual scan of the immense room. Ya'Han had no idea what it was that she was looking for, but the Nylaan was certain that there had to be more about this room than books, a view beyond description and a bed that appeared to be increasingly more comfortable and inviting with each step she took towards it.

Childhood memories filled her mind as she approached the bed. Although nothing in this room appeared familiar or even similar to what she had known, the Nylaan found her mind wandering back to those distant days. By the time she reached the bed, her hair had changed to display the symbol of her imperial heritage, this despite knowing that showing that particular color outside of the ANUBIS could lead to a great deal of trouble.

As she reached the bed, Ya'Han noticed a beautiful vanity, very much like the one she had always dreamt of having back when she was a child. Again, as one of the High Sovereign's children, the demands placed on them meant that they had not been permitted such luxury, not that their father could not afford it. The only indulgence she had been permitted back then was a single hairbrush that she used every day to keep her hair in the manner her station demanded. To the Nylaan's surprise, an exact copy of that brush sat on the vanity.  At first, the purple-haired woman believed it to be the same, but that possibility was quickly pushed aside as she clearly remembered having left it behind the day she ran away from the only life she had known.

Even knowing that this could not have been *her* brush, Ya'Han approached thinking of nothing else. When her hand wrapped around the handle of the item, very specific memories flooded her mind, the Nylaan remembering how it felt for her to brush her purple hair. Driven to do the same now by forces she could not understand, she sat at the vanity and reached back around her head to have her hair cascade over her shoulder in order to be able to brush it.  As she did so, thoughts of the child within her surfaced, leaving the would-be mother to hope for the first time for her child to be girl.

Away from NYLA IV, a daughter would be able to enjoy the life that had been denied to her mother, and be able to enjoy the wonders of this universe like the one that Ya'Han had been delighting in as this very moment.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: ZOBRA PRIME, Maestro's Island Continent, Primary Public Building, Unknown Room
Stardate: 32222.0220

The attention of the Grand Maestro was on eight large active screens amongst countless others in this room, four of them displaying a live feed of one of his guests. On the one focussed on the Nylaan, the camera had zoomed in onto the woman as she carefully brushed her hair, the memories she experienced at that time being displayed on a nearby screen for the observer to see and study.

The offer for his guests to get some rest had been genuine, if not somewhat misleading, allowing the host to get a better idea of who he was dealing with in this trade for a simple crystal. To the Zobral, any advantage had been worth taking and exploiting, and dealing with these four women had not been any different, no matter the reason for them being here or the item they wished to have in their possession when leaving.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P044: USS ANUBIS: Maya: Day 05 - 0200 ("Impossible Forgotten Memories")
---
"Impossible Forgotten Memories"
(Previous Post: "This Is No Room, It's A Space Station")
---

Setting: ZOBRA PRIME, Maestro's Island Continent, Primary Public Building, Guest Room 1
Stardate: 32222.0200

The Grand Maestro had not given them a choice, not if the goal of their mission on ZOBRA PRIME was to be met. Reluctantly, all four members of the away team retreated to the individual chambers that had been assigned to them under the pretence of getting some rest.

When Maya stepped into the more than spacious room, her first thoughts were of Stellar Cartography back on board the ANUBIS, a room that shared many aspects with this particular location simply by the sheer size it occupied. Compared to her quarters back on the SCARAB-Class Intel cruiser, the room provided to her by the Grand Maestro had been worthy of a ruler of some galactic empire.

As curious as the scientist was, the Shillian wasted no time in approaching the hard-covered book-filled wall wondering as to what kind of literature the Grand Maestro had been interested in. Had the unknown individual decided to place these books here for nothing more than show or had he had an actual intellectual reason for having them here?  As Maya scanned the various titled displayed on the bindings of the books, the Chief Science Officer of the USS ANUBIS found herself surprised by the subject matter that every book appeared to be about.

'Inside Quantum Fluctuations by the Gallamite Besail'

'A Brief History of Time by the Terran Stephen Hawking'

'Matter and Mind by the Jorelan Yenaw Grihix'

Those were but a sample of the book titles the Shillian had perused, each one appearing more impressive than the previous. Each had been written by renowned experts in their respective fields but what truly surprised the scientist was the fact that the books all gave indications of being original prints in their respective languages. The more Maya scanned the titles of the volumes on display, the more she found herself thinking of the one person who had instilled in her an admiration and love for all things relating to science.

It had taken the last daughter of SHILLIA PRIME several years to bring herself to stop thinking of the man who had taught her so much, but from that moment on she had dedicated herself to the field of science, acknowledging the memories of her father through the skills of transformation he had passed on to her. Maya had made a point to never think of him aside from that in order to avoid being distracted by a past that no longer served any purpose. She was the last of her people and the implications of that harsh reality had long ago forced the woman to keep her gaze and thoughts to the future.

Maya suddenly stopped reading the titles of the books, her eyes having locked on a particular volume, one that she had never actually seen yet knew of its existence all too well. Sonah had spoken of writing this book for as long as she could remember, this having been an ambition of her father, a goal that he had unfortunately never had the chance to complete due to the calamity that had befallen their world and civilisation. So if he had never had the chance to complete this manuscript, how could have made it here in this library along all of these other books?

The Shillian hesitated to reach out and retrieve that one book over any of the others, uncertain if she feared the possibility of the book having been some sort of forgery or it actually being the genuine article. Could her memories have been wrong? Could she have, through stress and psychological barriers meant to protect her mind and emotions, blocked the knowledge that such a legacy from her father had been out there? If this was indeed a book written by his own hand, about the unique transformation skill of their people, could she forgive herself for not having known of its existence and done everything in her power to seek it out?

The hand of the Shillian woman hovered in front of the book for several minutes, the last few centimetres separating her fingers from the leather bound covers stretching far more than the physical distance between them. Images of her childhood flashed in her mind as the gap grew ever so smaller, the memories that she now relived having been so deeply pushed back that Maya believed even Shar'El would have been incapable of reaching them.

Gently, fearing that the book might crumble as her world had so many years ago, the Shillian retrieved the volume without daring to open it. Instead the Scientist carefully studied the markings on the cover, trying to find some proof that this had been an elaborate hoax, but instead Maya found herself confirming that this appeared beyond doubt that it was the genuine article.

Taking the still unopened manuscript firmly in her hands, the Shillian made her way to the bed, ignoring everything else in the room. Without any visible chairs or tables, Maya had opted to take the book back with her at a location where she would be able to sit and properly study the content of this mystery.  Holding onto her scientific philosophy with every bit of mental resolve she possessed, Maya refused to fully accept what her hands and eyes were claiming to be true.

Sitting at the feet of the bed, the Shillian slowly ran her fingers over the title and intricate seal that had been branded into the leather cover, a common practice of her world to indicate the status of the book by displaying the family crest of the author. This had been another memory that Maya had forced to the farthest recesses of her mind, her family name having vanished along with her world on that fateful day.  Every line and markings had been as she remembered them to be further indicating that the book within her hands had been written by her father.

From distant memories long ago forgotten, the Chief Science Officer recalled a far more recent sequence of words that had been repeated many times during her Academy days by one professor of science.  **Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.**  The words had not been his own, but the quote had been one that he delighted in using to prove his point; that in the world of science one needed to keep an open mind regardless of what the evidence might indicate.

The book had been by itself a physical impossibility, the last physical remnant of a world and civilisation long gone, but so far everything she had seen pointed to that being wrong. The book was real as confirmed by the weight she felt in her hands. The engraving had indeed been Shillian as verified by the last living member of that race, and the branded family seal had indeed been that of her own family as Maya clearly recalled having seen it every day as a child on the door of their home.

As she opened the book to read the first page, the Shillian woman was shocked to find a inscription appearing to have been written by her father in his own handwriting. The dedication of the book had been to his one and only daughter whom he hoped would one day become a scientist who not only studied the stars but also travelled amongst them.

Maya closed the book and held it tightly against her chest as tears flowed from her eyes. Even if this had been some sort of skillful forgery it had been enough to undo the years of work the Shillian had done to distant herself from a world and people who no longer existed.

---
Setting: ZOBRA PRIME, Maestro's Island Continent, Primary Public Building, Unknown Room
Stardate: 32222.0230

The Ferengi who still followed the ancient ways of seeking profit had several rules pertaining to trust, and the Grand Maestro followed them all as well as several others of his own making.  'Hear all, trust nothing,' was one of his favourites, although at this precise moment it was more about the owner of this continent *seeing* all that mattered. Through his review of the most repressed memories of his guests, he had already learned a great deal. The Nylaan was more than twice whom as she had claimed to be while the Shillian had proven herself to being exactly who he had hoped her to be.

As interesting as the hidden memories of the Trill and Terran women would be, they would pale in importance to those he had already uncovered, and those memories would set the tone for his upcoming negotiations with them all.

Thinking of what he would be able to obtain in exchange, giving up the crystal seemed a small price to pay for what he would get in return.

---
Jessica Solarik

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

&

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M09-P045: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 05 - 0800 ("Cutting A Deal")
"Cutting A Deal"
previous post was "Impossible Forgotten Memories"

=====
Setting: ZOBRA PRIME, Maestro's Island Continent, Primary Public Building, Dinning Area
Stardate: 32222.0800

The night had been relatively short. After retreating to the rooms they had been assigned and agreeing that it had been safe enough to go their individual ways, the away team had managed under six hours of rest. That is if they had not wandered around their colossal room or spent the entire night reading books as one particular Chief Engineer had done.

Although tired, the redhead Engineer had considered the time well spent, not allowing her fatigue to show as she regrouped with the others for breakfast. She could always catch up on her sleep once they returned to the ANUBIS, but for now the redhead seemed to be riding a high created by the knowledge and expertise she had gathered over the hours spent in the technical library that had been her room.

"Good morning ladies," Sonja joyfully announced as she walked into the dining area where a sumptuous breakfast waited for them, a distinct bounce in her step.

"You seem to be in an exceptionally good mood," the Trill Counsellor pointed out from the other side of the table where she was already sitting. "Looks like you and I were the only ones to get any sort of rest," Nicole added, casting a glance in the direction of their fellow shipmates who clearly appeared exhausted.

"To be entirely honest, I didn't sleep a wink," the Engineer admitted as she pulled out a chair. "There was just too much to read about the technical specifications of the equipment found all over this continent. There was an entire line of books completely dedicated to the water reclamation and purification system which is part of the weather control system.  Even the Risians would be jealous of this place, and I am not referring to the library part either.  That said, I will admit having been more than taken aback when I found the exact same technical encyclopedia grandpa loved to show me when I was a little girls to teach me about the wonders of engineering. Sure brought back some cherished memories."

Hearing this, both Ya'Han and Maya turned to look at Sonja but neither said a word. Although very different and unique to the individual, the memories they had experienced had been of a very personal and private nature as well, hence their decision not to share at this time. Still, the mention of these memories by the Chief Engineer had not gone unnoticed by them.

"The only memories I experienced were those of my joining with the Dima symbiont," the Counsellor noted aloud. "As interesting as it was in my finding all of the known books on Trill joining, I was not overly interested by them since I had already read every single one well before I applied to Symbiosis Commission."

"I didn't pay attention to the books," the Chief of Security admitted without revealing the reason why. Although she had woken up without the brush being anywhere to he found, the black and red haired Nylaan could still feel its presence in her hand, which only partially distracted her from listening in on the ongoing conversation.

As for Maya, the Shillian remained completely silent, a state that by itself had been a rather strange yet oddly welcomed change for everyone else sitting at the table. Evidently, something had been occupying her thoughts but no one dared to ask what it was for fear of triggering a extensively long-winded and overly detailed explanation.

"We better get moving and have a bite to eat before heading back to see the Grand Maestro," Sonja suggested, reaching for a handful of pastries. "I can just imagine how our Captain and First Officer must be going bunkers right now not being able to make sure we are alright."

"Are we sure this food us safe?" Nicole asked, not entire certain that they could truly trust their host, especially given the way Maya and Ya'Han appeared to be this morning. As a Trill possessing several lifetime of experience, it had been easy for the Counsellor to recognise the signs that indicated the women had been in an entirely different reality of their own making.

"I got to read all about the multi-environment hydroponics that operate on this continent," Sonja stated sounding like a kid in a candy store. "Did you know that this entire land mass is completely self sufficient? The hydroponics make more than enough food for everyone; the solar and thermal generators pump out nearly twice the required power to maintain the energy done at its highest setting. The best part is that these are cleaner and more efficient than anything I have seen before, be them real of theoretical. Then, there is the Master Control computer that monitors and regulates everything on this continent including all of the robots and automated factories. I think ANI would be jealous if she was down here seeing that thing in charge of so many other peripherals. The Grand Maestro also built a state-of-the-art medical research facility here that would put all of Starfleet Medical to shame. This place is beyond belief," the Chief Engineer said, only now realising that she had been going on for quite some time, making herself sound like the Shillian scientist.

"That could explain your verbal exuberance as well as Maya's silence," Nicole chuckled as she shook her head. "Maybe part of your brains were switched while you two were in your rooms."

"Funny," Sonja huffed in a less than amused manner before continuing, but this time displaying far less exuberance. "The scary part is that I am pretty sure that based on what I read, the medical facility here has both the equipment and technology to make than happen."

"I believe that it is time for us to leave this room and complete our mission," the Shillian woman suddenly said as if she had not heard or paid attention to anything that had been discussed up to this point. A feeling that was clearly echoed on the facial features of the dazed Nylaan woman.

=====
Setting: ZOBRA PRIME, Maestro's Island Continent, Primary Public Building, Audience Chamber
Stardate: 32222.0830

The journey to the audience chamber proved to be just as impressive as it had been the first time, the corridors still as spacious and grandiose as they had been the last time they had seen them.

"I hope that you all were able to get some well deserved rest," a cloaked figure sitting on the throne stated. Although he had not been introduced as such, the posture and location of the man hinted that this was none other than the Grand Maestro himself.

"We did," Sonja said, not entire certain that Maya or even Ya'Han had been in a state of mind to lead this trade negotiation. "There are people back on our ship waiting for us, so can we get on with this?"

"Of course," the man agreed, sounding rather eager as compared to the last time they had spoken with him. "I can appreciate that your Captain will be worried despite my having contacted your ship to reassure him that you were all quite safe and well taken care of.  Now, let's discuss the details of this small exchange."

"We are curious as to what we can offer you in exchange for the crystal," Nicole stated, trying her best to make sure that all the proverbial cards were displayed from the get go.

"There is nothing that either you or your Engineer friend can offer me that I would find interesting," the Grand Maestro bluntly admitted. "But there is a great many things that I would love to ask for in exchange from the Nylaan and Shillian."

"I was afraid of that," Sonja muttered under her breath.

"Alas," he continued. "In this particular case, one of these previous items I would have requested is worth nothing to me as a collector because of it being tainted as it is. It is truly a shame though as it would have become one of my most cherished possessions, but I will have to make due with the other which will be my crowning achievement."

"And that would be?" Nicole and Sonja inquired in unison, Ya'Han feeling a certain sense of injured pride as well as relief understanding that the Grand Maestro had likely been referring to her unborn child as having been *tainted*, due to the fact that half of its genetic code had come from its Terran father.

"Miss Maya, I would be honoured if you accepted to stay with me here as my guest. I can assure you that your every needs will be instantly met and that you will discover a new joy and purpose in life, one that would make your father proud."

The members of the away team quickly looked at one another, uncertain if they had heard the proposition correctly. Had the Grand Maestro actually offered to trade the crystal that had been placed in his care in exchange for their Shillian Chief Science Officer?

"Are you out of your blooming, over-inflated, egotistical, sick and twisted mind?" Sonja snapped as she moved to stand in front of Maya as a display of unity and defiance.

"We cannot accept such unreasonable terms," Counsellor Dima added, joining the Chief Engineer to shield the Shillian, not that either one of them expected their gesture to make any real difference other than to show that they had all been in this together and not as separate entities.

"No," the man sighed, "I guess you would not. You cannot begrudge me trying to make this deal the best possible one of my career and life."

"Let me get closer to you and I can assure you that I will make you feel a lot more than begrudging," the redhead claimed, clearly sounding ready for a fight.

"There is no need for you to be upset," the Grand Maestro said. "The crystal is yours. It has never been my intention to hold it for any sort of ransom, after all it was entrusted in me to safeguard, not to make any sort of profit on. Still, I do consider myself to have ended up with the better end of the deal thanks to you all having been my guests. I shall cherish this for the rest of my life."

"Lonely little troll ain't he?" Sonja said, once again muttering under her breath. "Can we have the crystal now?" The Engineer added, this time voicing her demand at full volume.

"Of course," he replied as he made a motion with his hand. A few seconds after this, a small robot appeared, carrying what appeared to be a set of five delicate glass boxes. "Please accept these as thanks for your having spent some time here as my guests," he explained as the automaton came to stop right in front of the four women.

Each box appeared to be made of some sort of crystal that reflected light in such a way that a rainbow of colours was created. Four of the boxes, which contained what appeared to be computer memory chips, had been inscribed with the individual names of the members of the away team while the fifth and last one simply contained their mission objective.

"What are those?" Sonja inquired, Maya and Ya'Han appearing to be in too much of an emotional shock to voice the question themselves, while Nicole attempted to ease the concerns visible on their Shillian friend.

"Copies of some of the books you had the pleasure of reading in your rooms as well as information that I hope you will find interesting," the man explained. "Nothing grandiose, just my way of saying thank you."

"Fine," Sonja said, not in the mood to try and understand the man's motives or reasons. The redhead Engineer quickly reached for the box containing the crystal as well as the one with her name inscribed on it. This prompted Nicole, Ya'Han and Maya to doing the same.  When the Shillian took hold of the box it shattered into a multitude of sharp, pointy shards which cut or embedded themselves into the woman's hand.

"I am so sorry," the Grand Maestro quickly offered. "I will summon a medical droid right away."

"No need," Sonja spat as she quickly removed the blood stained shards from the Shillian's flesh. "We will head back to our runabout and take care of this matter there. We do have access to a medical kit."

"As you wish," the Maestro said, not pressing the matter further as he ordered with a movement of his hand the robot to exit as quickly as it could.

"Time to go," the Chief Engineer suggested as she ushered the others out of the room, making sure that Maya applied as much pressure as she could to her injured hand.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P046: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 05 - 1000 ("Returning Home")
=-=
"Returning Home"
[previous post was "Cutting a Deal" by the amazingly talented Lorraine]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck A-4, IGC
Stardate: 32222.1000

Despite the medication obtained from the infirmary and her repeated attempts at meditation, the throbbing headache caused by their proximity to the energy dome protecting the island continent on ZOBRA PRIME had not subsided in the least. As much as she hoped for the away team to return quickly for their own safety, the ExO / ILO had begun to wish for their speedy return for no other reason than to see the ANUBIS warp out of orbit as soon as possible.

Shar'El might not have known anything about this Grand Maestro, but her dislike of him had gradually grown into fully blow hatred for no other reason than because he had subjected her to the adverse telepathic effects of his protective energy done.

"Sensors are picking up an opening in the dome," one of the IGC Techs reported to the now nearly cheering ExO / ILO.  Shar'El quickly scanned her console and screens to confirm what she had hoped was happening. After a few seconds, everything checked out leading the raven-haired woman to contact the Captain.

"IGC to Captain Morningstar, the ISIS is heading back up, and sensors have confirmed that the entire away team is on board," the ExO / ILO announced, already looking forward to seeing the ANUBIS leave orbit as soon as the runabout docked. "Nothing out of the ordinary is showing up on tactical sensors, so it looks like we will not be encountering any problems this time."

=/\= Great news, =/\= the Captain noted. =/\= We will keep the ship on battle readiness just in case. Have the away team report to the Observation Lounge for debriefing as soon as they disembark. After that, we will set a heading to our next objective, of course that is as soon as Commander Maya deciphers the data on the new crystal. =/\=

Shar'El hesitated for a few moments. "We will not be leaving orbit right away?

=/\= The ANUBIS will remain in orbit around ZOBRA PRIME for the time being, =/\= Captain Morningstar stated to the ExO / ILO's great chagrin. =/\= Distant orbit, =/\= the man added a few seconds later as if actually teasing the woman. =/\= As soon as the ISIS is on board, have the ship take a high orbit over the planet, one that will avoid us going over that continent. =/\=

"Will do," Shar'El said with a smile. "Thank you."

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 29, Ventra Access Bay
Stardate: 32222.1030

From the nearly top of the ship, the ExO / ILO had come down to the lowest deck to greet the returning away team. Although the Grand Maestro had contacted them to report on his guests' condition, Shar'El had wanted to see for herself, and it gave her an excellent excuse to see what memories the four women had come back with for the Ullian to pick up on.

Instead of images or feelings from the negotiation debate, or even some interesting sights that had stayed on the forefront of their thoughts, all four women had been remembering the incident that led to the Shillian's injured hand. It was easy to see that the injury had been taken care of already, but the thoughts and concerns that it had created in the members of the away team lingered on still. What seemed even stranger was the way Maya kept looking at her hand, as if it held some never before realized significance.

"What happened?" The ExO / ILO inquired. As much as the memories from the other three women had been vivid, those of the Shillian had only been about her injured hand. Regardless of whose memories the Ullian was picking up on, they lacked a certain level of context that Shar'El needed to better understand what it was that caused the Chief Science Officer to be injured and be so fixated.

"Our benevolent host decided to offer us gifts after playing some nasty mind games with Maya," Sonja explained, making it abundantly clear that she held no affection or admiration for the man in question. "He wanted her to stay with him in exchange for the crystal. Can you believe that? The nerve of that man to ask for something like that."

"He claimed that it was only a lighthearted offered," Nicole quickly amended. "He did say that he was not intending to keep the crystal."

"You cannot tell me that you actually believed him when he said that?" The Chief Engineer countered. 

The Trill Counsellor eventually shook her head. There had been no reason to deny her feelings and opinions, and since the crystal had been in their possession, trying to keep the reputation of the Grand Maestro to be anything other than the truth was no longer an issue.

"Alright then, so we have the crystal and all four of you are back safe and sound with the exception of a few cuts," the ExO / ILO pointed out still a little confused. "Why the long faces?"

"You are going to have to ask Maya on that one," Sonja said as she looked at the dazed Shillian. "Since our departure from ZOBRA PRIME, she's been oddly quiet, and for her that's saying a lot. After getting the crystal, we returned to the runabout and took care of her injury while making our way back. Maya was looking at her hand and just went dead silent. Nicole and I ran every tests we could think of using the equipment we had, but we found nothing physically wrong with her. Even the Counselor's Jedi mind tricks failed to get anything out of our resident brainiac, so it is all up to you spy girl."

"I will need the Captain's permission for that," Shar'El explained, keeping to the promise she made to not invade the memories of any members of the crew without their express permission or emergency need.  "In the meantime, she can be escorted to Sickbay."

"There is nothing physically wrong with her," Nicole reiterated. "It might be best for Maya to be escorted to my office; there I can try to get to the bottom of this while you inform the Captain of the situation. The atmosphere in Sickbay may prove to be a hindrance in finding out what happened. I believe that my office is more conducive to reaching her in her current state.

"Point taken," the ExO / ILO agreed with a nod of her head. "I will take the fourth crystal to the bridge while you and Sonja take care of Maya. Maybe we can get luck and break the base encryption without her expertise, but I would feel more confident in our chances if she was back to herself."

"I will see what I can do," the Counsellor said, taking Maya by the arm and leading her out of the ventral access bay with Sonja following close by just in case another set of hands was required.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P047: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 05 - 1100 ("Grateful")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Grateful"
[previous post was "Returning Home"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 2, Corridor
Stardate: 32222.1100

Ya'Han felt bad for Maya and the way she had been made to feel, but in some ways the Sec/Tac had been grateful for the distraction that this had created, allowing her to exit the ventral bay without being scanned by their First Officer and her personal friend Shar'El.  The way the Nylaan woman had been feeling following her time on ZOBRA PRIME, it was a surprise that she had managed to maintain her now normal red and black hair color. She knew that given her current thoughts and emotions, memories of time spent brushing her hair and rubbing her belly would be openly broadcasted for the Ullian to pick up on, and that Ya'Han had not been ready to share, at least not yet.

With Sonja and Nicole escorting Maya to the Counsellor's office, Ya'Han had taken the opportunity to return to her quarters. Heading straight to the bridge for the debriefing session as instructed might have again left her vulnerable to her own feelings and memories, so the Sec/Tac was again grateful for this chance to get a hold on herself.

With the door to her quarters in sight, the Sec/Tac picked up the pace, almost running into a fellow crewman in the process. Up until now it had already been difficult for her to keep her emotions in check, but with the privacy of her quarters in sight, the task had grown increasingly more difficult with each remaining step. By the time she reached the door, her self-control had all but left, tears already slipping onto her cheeks.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 2, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 32222.1110

She collapsed onto the floor, her back sliding against the wall next to the door as it hissed closed. One hand pressed against her mouth in an attempt to muffle the sounds of her crying while the other carefully cradled her belly thanks to the motherly instinct growing within her.  Without knowing why, Ya'Han felt the need to protect the unborn child she was carrying, a primal drive made irresistible due to her heightened emotions.

Dark purple locks of hair fell to encase her face, hiding the rain of tears she could no longer hold back. It had been difficult enough for the Nylaan to accept the fact that she had been with child, and that said baby had come from an unofficial bonding, but to have this innocent life be referred to as being *tainted* had been just too much for the would-be mother to deal with.

According to everything that she had been taught about this required biological event for a woman of her lineage, Ya'Han believed that the child would be born possessing every genetic aspects of her species. Although the bonded mate did contribute some genetic material, the mother would see her contribution far surpassed that of her partner according to the Imperial medical experts. At least that was what the daughter of the High Sovereign had been told, and this only when dealing with a partner with whom she had been properly bonded to. The rest, the Sec/Tac believed, had been nothing more than scare tactics use to frighten defiant little girls like her, but what if it was all true?

Beyond the question of how the Grand Maestro had come to know of her condition, could the mysterious man have actually been able to identify a genetic flaw in her unborn child? Could this unexpected deformity be enough for the use the hurtful label, as far as the exotic collector had been concerned, tainted? This of course raised a whole different set of questions, such as what did that particular word mean? Was it just a reference to the child's genetic identity not being pure Nylaan or was is about something more, something that might actually affect the child's ability to be born and live?

There was no way for Ya'Han to ask any of this of the Grand Maestro, at least not without making it public that she was with child and that Jayson was the father. This had truly not been the way she wanted to inform the others, not that she had a specific method in mind at this time, but calling upon the Zobral collector had certainly not been it.  All that the purple-haired woman could do right now was to give in to her emotions and cry until she could no longer do so.  Fighting this would only further delay the Sec/Tac from heading to the bridge as report as ordered.

Ya'Han ignored the door chime the first time it rang, desperately trying to regain enough composure to answer the door, but by the time the sound echoed through the room a third time, the Nylaan knew that there was no hope for her to achieve this goal. The emotions she had finally allowed to break free would not be so easily returned to the confinement of her mind. That was when the door opened causing the Sec/Tac to scamper in fright along the wall in a way that no one had every seen before.

"I figured that what he said got to you," Sonja offered, looking down onto the woman with sadness and disbelief. "I just had not realised how much of an effect his words had," she added, kneeling down next to the still crying Nylaan.

"How did you know?"

Sonja smiled as only a friend could in times such as these. "If you mean about your feelings, it was not all that difficult knowing you and that you were likely as hormonal as could be. The deafening silence you maintained during the journey back to the ANUBIS was also more than a hint. I figured that you were trying to keep control to make sure Shar'El would not be bowled over by one or more of your memories." The Engineer paused for a moment, gently brushing the purple hair away from the woman's face to get a better look at her. "Now, if you mean how I knew that you were here," the redhead continued, pointing with her thumb over her shoulder to the Avatar who appeared puzzle at the display she was currently witnessing.

"I'm sorry."

"You can be sorry later," Sonja said pulling Ya'Han back onto her feet. "Right now we have to get your  uniform cleaned up, your eyes and face dried up, and your hair fixed up to a less obvious color. Captain Morningstar will be waiting for us in the Observation Lounge, and I suspect Shar'El will be curious to see if either you or I will give her a hint as to what happened to explain our delay."

Ya'Han tried to smile, grateful that she had such a great friend in Sonja and wondering if maybe, just maybe, it had been time to let Shar'El in on this little secret that seemed to be increasingly more difficult to keep hidden from everyone else.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P048: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 05 - 1200 ("Something's Afoot")
"Something's Afoot"
[previous "Grateful"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32222.1200

It had been a while since Captain Morningstar had vanished inside the Observation Lounge for the post mission debriefing. The OPS Officer had heard the instructions given very clearly; the away team was to report to the bridge immediately following their disembarking the runabout ISIS. Commander Shar'El had gone down to greet the team and as far as he had been concerned, Jayson had expected the First Officer to escort the other four women to the command deck.

The plan it seems had change between then and now. According to internal sensors, Commander Shar'El, Commander Maya and Counsellor Dima had detoured by the Nicole's office while Ya'Han and Sonja had also made an unexpected stop, this one in the quarters of the Chief of Security. The best Jayson could do was to guess that something happened during the time the away team had been on ZOBRA PRIME or during their journey back to the ANUBIS. Either way, he had no way of knowing what happened, and all he could do was to wait as the Captain was.

The advantage of being the OPS Officer was that he could keep tabs on *where* everyone was from his station. The disadvantage was that he could not know *what* they were doing there. The computer was for obvious reasons programmed to maintain some level of privacy for the crew, so anyone looking could tell that a specific was in a general area, like their quarters without knowing exactly where in that area they were. It made sense when considering his own habit of spending the night in Ya'Han's quarters, at least before she had shut him out.

When Jayson noticed that Ya'Han and Sonja had exited from the quarters, the OPS Officer half wondered if they would be heading to the bridge or make another unscheduled stop. Without knowing what this was all about, the possibilities were endless. What made things even more strange was that seconds later the other half of the away team accompanied by Commander Shar'El exited the Counsellor's office. Was this some weird coincidence or had they planned this from the start?

Again, there was no way for him to know.

With Sonja and Ya'Han having been the closer ones to the bridge, it was not surprising to see them walk out of the turbolift and onto the bridge first. The OPS Officer met the cold glare of the Chief Engineer, making it clear that he was not to ask any questions, or even wonder about anything regarding their lateness. Following that, Jayson silently followed the two women with his gaze, keeping any question that he might have had to himself, going as far as to push them out of his mind when he could.

Ya'Han appeared troubled, almost sad, but within the caring hold of her friend, the Nylaan also seemed to accept the fact that she was safe. Jayson wondered what could have happened to cause her to be like this, but again those questions never came out into the open. Sonja had taken on the role of protector and there was little doubt in his mind that should the engineer ever wished to explore working in another department, the field of Security would be a natural fit for her.

Within a minute or so after Ya'Han and Sonja joined the Captain in the Observation Lounge, Commander Maya and Counsellor Dima stepped out of the turbolift closely followed by the ANUBIS' First Officer, Commander Shar'El. Unlike the Chief of Security who appeared emotionally distraught, the Chief Science Officer gave the distinct impression that she had been rattled to her very core. Even as they walked from the turbolift to the Observation Lounge, the OPS Officer could tell that the woman had been struggling with some inner demon.

"Are Lieutenant Paquette and Lieutenant Ya'Han already in the Observation Lounge?" Shar'El asked, looking straight at Jayson knowing that the question would trigger those memories to be brought to the surface.

"They came in not too long ago," he replied, noticing a hint of disappointment on her face, as the memory she saw did not give her anything new to work with in regards to what had happened on ZOBRA PRIME that would explain why the away team had returned in such an unravelled state.

With the entirety of the away team now with the Captain in the Observation Lounge, the OPS Officer was once more left to wait. At leas Captain Morningstar would get some sort of answers to his questions during the debriefing while Jayson would be left in the dark with the exception of whatever detail he would need to be made aware of to facilitate the completion of their mission.

With four crystals now in their possession, the quest to reunite all of the pieces of this puzzle had been halfway completed. As great as that achievement might have been though, the OPS Officer suspected that their problems had only started and that the remaining four crystals would prove to be even more challenging to get then the first ones had been.  With an unknown set of individuals also after the crystals, it was easy to imagine that they would be that much more determined to obtain them, resorting to increasingly more desperate methods to achieve that goal.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P049: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 05 - 1330 ("The Price")
##########
"The Price"
Previous post "Something's Afoot"
##########

"I think it's because it was an emotional story, and emotions come through much stronger in black and white. Colour is distracting in a way, it pleases the eye but it doesn't necessarily reach the heart."
- Kim Hunter

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32222.1330

The Native American sat at the end of the conference table, his thoughts not only on the meeting that had just ended but also on the events that had led the ANUBIS and its crew to be where they were now. The information gathered and shared during the mission briefing, as little as there was, had proven to be very interesting, more so in the fact that most of what was said had little to do with the fourth crystal.  Erik might not have been a Counsellor, but he knew enough to see that what had happened during the away team's time on the surface had severely rattled his Chief Science Officer and Chief of Security to their individual foundations.

Being invited to remain on ZOBRA PRIME in exchange for the crystal could not have been easy for the Shillian, but did not explain the Nylaan's current state.  As much as both women tried to hide the implications of what had been said, the hints of their troubled thoughts had still been evident. For Maya, her silence during the meeting had been all that the Native American required to know that something was not as it should be. For Ya'Han, it was the way she appeared focused onto something else, something far beyond the confine of the room they were in that showed the Captain that something was wrong with his Chief of Security.

In both cases, the troubled officers had been given support as well as an avenue to deal with whatever the core of their respective situations was. The Trill Counsellor had barely taken her eyes off the Shillian while the Terran Engineer had held the Nylaan's hand throughout the debriefing. As the Commanding Officer, Erik believed that he had been entitled to know what all of this was about, but in the end the Captain thought it best to allow his officers to deal with their issues on their own. The fourth crystal was safely in their possession and despite some interference from an unknown group of individuals; their mission was still well on track.

At least that was what the Native American told himself as he gazed at the stars visible through the large windows of the Observation Lounge. They had successfully gathered four of the eight crystals scattered throughout space by Professor Arken, but at what price?

Of the first four crystals, this latest one had relatively been the easiest one to get. No complicated search, no struggle or even armed conflict had taken place, yet Erik suspected that the quest for this latest crystal had been the most demanding and damaging one so far. Although a few of his officers had walked away from INVERNIA II with a few physical bruises, those had quickly been medically dealt with. The battle near DATHIS II had left the team on board the SPHINX a little out of breath, but again there had not been any lasting scares of their conflict. This was not the case now as both Maya and Ya'Han showed distinct signs of emotional scars that would remain with them for quite some time. The words and offer made by the Grand Maestro might have been innocently made, but their sharpness and aim had been beyond damaging to half of the away team.

The attention of the Native American shifted back onto his First Officer as she walked back in, Shar'El having escorted the away team out of the Observation Lounge following the end of the meeting.

"Were you able to get anything more from either one of them?" Erik inquired, knowing all too well that the unique skills of his First Officer might provide them with answers that would have been otherwise unreachable.

"Whatever happened on that Island Continent has affected them so much that they are actively not thinking about it," Shar'El replied. "They are suppressing the memories of those events making it impossible for me to know what happened, that is unless you authorise me to dig in."

As curious as I might be," the Captain began. "As much as I want to know for sure that whatever happened down there is not going to be an issue for our mission down the line, I have to respect them, their privacy and their professionalism. I cannot start doubting my officers at the first sign of trouble. Ya'Han has Sonja to help her through whatever happened, just as Maya has Nicole, and in both cases I have to concede that they are in good hands. We just need to be patient, at least as far as it does not interfere with our mission."

"Agreed," Shar'El noted with a nod of her head. "Since we did not detect any signs of those who are also after the crystal in the vicinity, I gave Ya'Han the task of helping Maya decipher the data contained in the fourth crystal. Counsellor Dima is accompanying them to the lab, so maybe while working on breaking the surface encoding of the crystal they will talk their way through whatever happened on ZOBRA PRIME. I suspect that Sonja will also be there to offer assistance as well as be a sounding board, and I do believe that leaving them alone for a while will be conducive to resolving whatever the situation may be. The journey back on the ISIS was likely too short and the event far too fresh for them to properly address the impact of what happened and to figure out how to deal with it. I am confident that giving them a couple of extra hours won't do any harm and may even make a huge difference in the long run."

"Alright, keep an eye on them though," Erik suggested. "We are still dealing with a hostile force trying to gather these crystals and we have no idea how they are managing to keep up with us, this despite no having access to the data contained in these crystals.

"I was planning on doing so," Shar'El confirmed. "I will keep you up-to-date with any developments, be them in regards to the crystals of our officers."

"Good, in the meantime, the ANUBIS will remain in high orbit of ZOBRA PRIME while making sure that we avoid being anywhere close to that energy barrier," the Native American explained. "We already have two members of our Senior Staff dealing with issues; there is no need to put ourselves in a position to add another to the mix."

"Thank you," the Ullian woman said, again adding a nod of her head, this one reflecting gratitude before exiting the room leaving the Captain alone in the room once again.

Returning his gaze to the distant stars visible through the windows of the Observation Lounge, Erik quietly offered a few words to the Great Spirit, something that he did only in occasions when others than himself needed a little extra help from the universe. "Spirits of life, Spirits of water, grant my friends your blessings and help them through this time or personal hardship. Like the water of the sacred river, allow their thoughts to flow around and over their problems. Grant them the clarity to see that there is nothing they cannot overcome and that they are not now, nor ever will be alone in their struggles."

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M09-P050: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 05 - 1430 ("The News")
"The News"
previous post was "The Price"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 11, Science Lab
Stardate: 32222.1430

With the latest crystal in hand, Commander Maya had made her way to the science lab on deck 11 followed by Lieutenant Ya'Han who had been asked by Commander Shar'El to lend a hand. Counsellor Dima had tagged along under the pretence of wanting to make sure that both women had not been overly tired, but the truth was that she was concerned for them both given the extensive silence they had been the source of during their return to the ANUBIS.  Something had happened on ZOBRA PRIME, something that the Trill knew beyond a doubt had been caused by the Grand Maestro, the only problem was that Nicole was unable to figure out if this was solely due to the man's invitation or something else. The odd request might have been enough to explain the behaviour of one of the two women, but failed to account for the reaction of the other.

The mystery was as puzzling as it was when they had left the planet surface and Nicole had been at a lost to fully understand what it was that had happened. Hopefully that and several other answers would be discovered in the Science Lab where the three women had just stepped into.

"Is there room for one more in this little party of yours?" Sonja asked as she squeezed between the closing doors of the science lab. As grandiose as her entrance had been, only the Counsellor had taken note of it, the other two officers so lost in their own thoughts that they had failed to realise that someone had unexpectedly joined them.

"I am actually glad that you are here," Nicole replied, letting it known without actually saying so that she had been more than happy to have someone else here to help get to the bottom of what was troubling the Shillian and Nylaan. With the Chief Engineer present, the Counsellor would be able to dedicate her attention to better understand the Chief Science Officer while the Engineer worked her magic on her friend the Chief of Security.

The two women acknowledged their role with a nod of their heads and moved to their respective objectives. Maya had wasted no time in getting to work allowing for the officers with similar hair colour to take a few steps to be more out of the way. After having placed a hand on Ya'Han's shoulder, Sonja tilted her head in a concerned manner that left her friend unsure as to what to say or do.

"Are you alright?" Sonja asked of Ya'Han, not actually voicing the words but only mouthing them. Right now there had been no need to advertise to anyone else the fact that the redhead knew exactly what had been troubling her friend. A quick glance over the shoulder of the Chief of Security was enough to see that the other pair had been far too busy with their own conversation to pay any attention to the one happening here.

Ya'Han offered a weak smile and nodded her head, confirming that she had been as *alright* as could be given the circumstances. After all, they had obtained the fourth crystal, made it back to the ANUBIS without any incident and were now working on breaking the surface encryption to discover the location of their next target. Well, to be more accurate, Maya was working on that part while Nicole tried to talk to the scientist leaving the other two women to quietly whisper to one another without any risk of being interrupted.

"Thank you," Ya'Han quietly offered to her friend. Without Sonja's earlier intervention, the Nylaan knew that she would not have been able to make it to the debriefing on time, something that would have led to a great many questions being asked, questions that she was not ready to fully answer at this time.

"There is no need for you to thank me," the redheaded friend playfully dismissed with a smile as well as a waving gesture of her hand. "What are friends for if not to be there to help when someone close to them becomes a complete crying mess on the floor of their own quarters?"

"I'm Sorry," Ya'Han quickly added, her eyes opening to their widest. Although she knew that the position in which she had been discovered by Sonja had been a less than prestigious one, the Chief of Security had not considered the extend of how the display had been such an unexpected display that stood well outside of what would have normally been expected from the Nylaan.

"Listen," the redheaded Engineer playfully snapped at her friend. "You need to stop saying that you are sorry or I will have no choice but to file a legal motion with the Captain and Starfleet to have you officially declared as being a *Canadian*. No one else in the whole of the Federation is allowed to apologise that much and right now you are pushing the limits even for them."

"I am sorry," Ya'Han quickly followed up with, sounding in somewhat of a panic. "I had not realised that there was some sort of legal restriction on your world as to how much someone who is not Canadian can apologise. You would think that such information would have been mentioned at the Academy."

Sonja sighed, and shook her head in disbelief. "Aside from proving my point by *again* apologising, I was only kidding. Canadians are known for being sorry for everything, even when it is not their fault, just as you have been doing, but there is no law that governs that aspect of our over-friendliness."

"But it is my fault," the Nylaan quietly countered as she rubbed her belly. "This is my body, my hormones and more important, my inability to control said hormones that is causing me to be the mess that you described earlier. I have to apologies for that and need to find a way to be in better control of my emotions." As a Canadian, Sonja found this humorous but had not expected the joke to have such an impact on her friend

"Good luck with that," Sonja grinned dismissing the previous attempt at hilarity to instead focus on this latest one. "It may not be the same throughout the universe, but the general rule does seem to be that when someone is like that," the Engineer said pointing to the other woman's belly, "any control of emotions tends to go right out the nearest airlock.  As I recall, the only women able to still maintain some semblance of control are those pointed ear Vulcans, but that is likely because they are major control freaks in that domain. So, again, you have nothing to be sorry about, at least not yet, give it time."

Ya'Han froze as she glared at her friend, silently asking for an explanation which the Chief Engineer had been more than ready to provide.

"By the time rainbow-junior is ready to make its grand entrance, I am sure that you will have come up with one or two valid reasons to apologise to me as well as the rest of the crew. I just hope that it won't be while you are on the bridge manning the tactical station after having fired a volley of torpedoes on some poor sap who just happen to say the wrong thing at the wrong time."

"That is not helping," Ya'Han pointed out appearing somewhat discouraged by the scene presented by her friend.

"How are you two doing?" Nicole inquired as she joined the Nylaan and Terran.

"We are fine," Sonja snapped, not at all pleased to see the Counsellor unexpectedly getting involved in the chat that Ya'Han and she had been in the middle of. "Shouldn't you be taking care of Maya?" The redhead asked, trying to politely tell Nicole to turn around and go back from where she came.

"Maya is in full research mode," the Trill pointed out, glancing over her shoulder at the woman in question. "She is not hearing anything that I am saying and seems completely lost in her own world. Right now the only thing she cares about is to decode the data contained in that crystal.

"Guess I can't really be angry at her for doing that," Sonja admitted. "She and I react pretty much the same way when something is troubling us. She just loses herself in whatever science puzzle is available while I tinker with ANI or the ANUBIS."

"We all have our own ways of dealing with troubling situations," Nicole explained. "The invitation made by the Grand Maestro to Maya had to be something very traumatic to her, but I am not convinced that it is the only thing responsible for her silence during our journey back. My guess, given that she will not speak to me beyond what she already mentioned in my office, is that something happened in her room while we rested."

"It must have been hard for her to be considered as a *collectable*," Ya'Han pointed out. "It just made the fact that she is the last of her kind that much more real."

"Agreed," the Counsellor offered. "I also came to the same conclusion but everything that I saw and heard does not explain why the offer made by the Grand Maestro caused you to shut down in the same manner as Maya."

It seemed that Counsellor Dima had decided to change her game plan and gone for the kill shut against the Nylaan without informing or even warning anyone else in the science lab. It made sense to believe that the element of surprise and shock could turn the table on this situation and cause Ya'Han to reveal something that she would not have otherwise, but Nicole could not have expected what followed.

"I'm pregnant."

The entire room became as silent as space itself, all three women now appearing to be frozen in time.

"Pregnant?" Nicole repeated, not sure if she needed to welcome the news with joy or with concern.

"Relax," Sonja said having noticed the uncertainty in the Trill's face. "It's Jayson's, hence the use of the word *tainted* by our ever so sensitive Zobral host."

"I am guessing that he does not know," Counsellor Dima continued, now understanding the personal friction that she had noticed between the Chief of Operations and Chief of Security.

"No, I have not told him," Ya'Han confirmed. "Not yet at least. In fact I am not even sure how to tell him. There are so many questions that I need answered first."

"No one else but you and I know," Sonja pointed out. "Can you imagine Jayson finding out? The last thing the ANUBIS needs right now is to have a crazed Chief of Operations," the Engineer added. "The man is already having enough trouble focusing on his work now, what would it be if he knew that there is a rainbow junior in there," the redhead concluded as she pointed to her friend's belly.

"Congratulations," Nicole eventually said with a beaming smile, having decided to address the news instead of its implications on the Chief of Operations and the rest of the ship. "You are going to be a mother."

"YES!" Maya exclaimed, startling the others so much that everyone actually jumped from where they had been standing. "I knew it. All of the clues were right there in front of my eyes."

"Well, guess Maya knows too now," Sonja playfully sighed. "Come on," the Engineer added inviting the scientist to come closer. "Bet you two want to give Ya'Han a huge."

"Why would I want to give her a huge?" Maya inquired, appearing genuinely puzzled.

"Because of the news," the redhead pointed out in a matter-of-fact tone.

"The news? You mean my having deciphered the directional data of the fourth crystal?"

"Sonja was just overly happy and surprised that you were successful in your work so quickly," Ya'Han amended, understanding that the number of people now aware of her condition had gone up by only one and not two as earlier expected. "Where are we heading next?"

"According to the decoded data, the next crystal can be found in the Dolbargy system," Maya announced, the smile on the woman's lips appearing rather out of place given that not so long ago the Shillian had appeared beyond sad to the point of being depressed.

"The Dolbargy system?" Sonja gasped. "Isn't that..." the Terran Engineer's question trailed into silence as she turned to look straight to the Nylaan Chief of Security.

"Yes," Ya'Han confirmed with a lengthy sigh. "The Dobargy system is inside The New Ferengi Alliance."

"Well," the Engineer said as she threw her arms up in the air, "Ain't that just peachy. Of all the gin joints in all the sectors in all the universe, that's the hole in the wall that we have to go into... *again*."

"I can only imagine that the Captain is not going to be any happier about this," the Counsellor added, wondering who amongst them would relay the news of their discovery to their Commanding Officer, and if that announcement would be joined by a far more personal announcement from their own Chief of Security in regards to her being pregnant.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P051: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 05 - 1515 ("Taking Proper Steps")
=-=
"Taking Proper Steps"
[previous post was "The News" by the super amazing Lorraine]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 32222.1515


The ExO / ILO stood in front of the sitting Captain, the man visibly troubled by the news that his First Officer had just given him. Commander Maya had been beyond thrilled at having made the discovery so quickly, but that was where the excitement ended.

"Are we sure?" Captain Morningstar asked, trying to find some way to avoid them returning into Ferengi controlled space.

"Maya was very adamant and according to the others who were there when the encoding was broken, there is no reason to doubt the validity of the information," Shar'El confirmed. After having been told about the location of the next crystal, the ExO / ILO had gone through the same questions the Captain had asked. The ANUBIS had been more than equipped to deal with this matter, able to fly into and back out of the specified region of space without being discovered, but still it would be better for everyone if they did not have to do so.

"How much of a resistance can be expect to encounter?" Morningstar asked, forcing himself to face the fact that there had been no way around this. The mission to gather all eight crystals had been classified at the highest possible level of importance and there was simply no way that the Captain could justify to the Admiral abandoning the mission because of where the fifth objective had been located.

"Do you mean resistance from possible hostile forces we might encounter along the way or from our own Chief of Security?" Shar'El asked in return, trying to bring some level of lightheartedness to the current situation.

"Both," the Captain replied, not at all sounding amused. The fact that Ya'Han had been itching to return to her home world to see how the conflict between her father and brother had unfolded only added to the complexity of the latest portion of their current mission.

"From what I was able to gather from Ya'Han, she genuinely appeared concerned," the ExO / ILO reported. "When it was discovered that her brother Ya'Kun was planning to assassinate their father so that he could ascend to the throne of NYLA IV, she had wanted nothing more than to return home to warn the High Sovereign, this despite her having run away from the man in question. Today, after learning that the next crystal was within Ferengi controlled space, she gave the distinct impression of not wanting to cross the border."

"What changed?" Erik wondered, the reaction from the Chief of Security having been contrary to what it had been.

"I have not figured that out yet," Shar'El unhappily admitted. "I know that something has changed, the coldness between Jayson and herself making that abundantly evident, but she has managed to keep the reason for this from me."

"If we have to look on the bright side of things, at least the crew has learned to better control their thoughts and memories," the Captain offered as a possible silver lining.

"Maybe so," the ExO / ILO offered. "To me though, it appears that this control is very specific on that particular subject."

"Whatever the reason or reasons may be for Ya'Han to have changed her position on the political situation of her home world, and that it or may not include her relationship with Jayson does not change the fact that we have to go to the Dolbargy system. What is our best ETA?" The question made one thing clear, the Captain had been focussed on their mission and that was just fine for the ExO / ILO.

"Using the most recent Intel data on the patterns used by the Hirogen patrols as well as the standard Ferengi Alliance border patrols to create the safest possible flight path, we can reach the Dolbargy system in 35 and a half hours," Shar'El reported. "That is of course as long as we don't run into any unexpected problems."

The Captain understood right away what his First Officer had meant by her last words. It was within Ferengi controlled space that the ANUBIS had encountered and confronted the ship of the shadowy race known as the Lokustaar. Based on that race's ability to have their ships remain undetected from sensors, the risks of running into them once more while in that region of space increased exponentially.

"Set course and take all necessary precautions to insure that we don't run into anything," the Captain instructed. "I would like this part of the mission to go without incident if at all possible."
"Aye aye Captain," the ExO / ILO acknowledged before making her way out of the Captain Ready Room in order to take care of the task she had been given.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32222.1530

Ensign Jones had set the course and heading according to the instructions given by Commander Shar'El which meant that if everything went according to plan the ANUBIS would reach their destination by Stardate 32224.0445. Unfortunately, that was but the first of several more obstacles they would need to deal with. While inside Ferengi controlled space, the ship would have to remain under the protection of its cloaking armor making staying in orbit of the planet that much more complicated.

An away team would have to be sent down, that is as soon as a more specific location of the crystal was provided by Commander Maya who was still working on getting all available data from the crystal. From there, those selected to be planet side would have to be as inconspicuous as possible in order to avoid drawing any attention onto them.  Not only were they fighting against an unknown adversary to retrieve all of the crystals, but in this particular part of their mission they would also be going against the Ferengi, Hirogen and Lokustaar, placing the odds of them making it through this part undetected a near impossibility.

Having confirmed that the ANUBIS was on course for the Dolbargy system, the ExO / ILO turned to look at the members of the away team who had been present on the command deck.  "The next part of this mission is going to be a difficult one in a multitude of ways, therefore I would like for all of you to get some rest, and that includes you as well Lieutenant," Shar'El said aiming her last words to the Chief of Operations.

"Commander? I was not part of the away team," Jayson pointed out.

"No, but the Captain and I do need our senior most officers to be as clearheaded and rested as possible," Shar'El countered. "Going back into Ferengi controlled space is not going to be an easy task, and given the problems we encountered the last time, we believe it best that everyone gets as much rest as possible. As of right now, you are all off-duty until further notice."

Shar'El could see the conflict in the eyes of some of the officers. Some, like Jayson, wanted to stay on duty and work their way through, others, like Ya'Han, appeared almost relieved in having been given time to rest and sort whatever issues they had been dealing with. Based on what the ExO / ILO say, she believed it best if she went to see Maya herself and inform her of the compulsory rest that had been imposed on the whole of the senior staff, that they had been part of the away team or not.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 11, Science Lab
Stardate: 32222.1600

The official reason of her visit here was to inform Maya that she had been placed on indefinite leave from her duties in order to get some well-deserved rest following their away mission to ZOBRA PRIME. Unofficially, the ExO / ILO had hoped that the Shillian would be taken by surprise by the news and allow some memories of her time with the others to flow out freely.

As Captain Morningstar mentioned, the crew had become far more efficient at keeping their thoughts and memories from being openly broadcaster, but Shar'El suspected that this improved skill had been due to a very specific necessity to keep a particular piece of information hidden from her. Normally, knowing that something had been hidden from her would have been enough to motivate the Ullian to rip the information out of someone's mind, but these had been her fellow shipmates and friends, so alternate methods needed to be employed.

"How is the deciphering going?" Shar'El asked as she walked into the science laboratory to find the Shillian hard at work, as she usually was.

"A few more minutes and I should have the name and specific location of the individual Professor Arken entrusted the next crystal to," Maya replied. "I do find it fascinating that the professor managed to make it all the way to the Dolbargy system located deep inside Ferengi controlled space. So far the professor had selected people and places easily accessible to Federation personnel, but this is a feat onto itself. As the man we believe him to be, I find it hard to believe that the professor would have been able to make his way into Ferengi space claiming to have been anything else but a scientist. Now, maybe that was enough to convince someone that he had something valuable to trade, but in the end the fact that he made it there is no longer important. What is important is for us to identify the person he gave the crystal to and find a way to get it back, not only onto the ANUBIS but back into Federation space."

Shar'El grinned. Given the lengthy reply, it appeared that the Shillian had been back to her usual self; namely a very dedicated, long-winded scientist who seemed to be completely taken by the intellect of the man responsible for the mission they were all on.  "Commander, I wanted to inform you that the Captain has ordered all senior staff members to get some rest. Given that we will be heading into Ferengi space, both he and I believe it best for everyone to gather their thoughts and strengths beforehand. Do you believe that Ya'Han, Sonja and Nicole will have a problem with that?"

The question had been nothing more than a bait, a ploy meant to trick the Shillian to think back to when all four of them had been here in this room. Surely the Chief Science Officer had been part of whatever conversation had taken place, or at the very least overheard something that the ExO / ILO would be able to use to finally put the pieces together as to what was happening with their Chief of Security.

To Shar'El's great disappointment, the memories that came to the surface of Maya's mind had been on her initial breaking of the crystal's primary encryption and of her informing the others of her discovery. Nothing in the memories of the Shillian indicated that she had been part of any such conversation or that she had been in any way aware of what had been troubling Ya'Han.

It seemed that the ExO / ILO had lost her touch. Taking on the role and responsibilities of a First Officer on board the USS ANUBIS had dulled her skills as an investigator, and having allowed herself to become friends with those keeping this secret from her had made things even more complicated.  As much as she hated it, it was evident that Shar'El would have to take more drastic measures to get to the bottom of this matter while trying her best to maintain her friendships intact in the process. As a Friend, she could accept that certain things had not been meant for her ears. As a First Officer, she understood the need to keep one's private affairs out of the ship's official business. As an Intel Operative though, Shar'El found it exceptionally difficult to accept that something had been kept from her, and that she had been unable to breach the walls of silence that surrounded it, this regardless of the reasons those involved might have been holding on to in order to justify their actions.

One way or another, she would get to the bottom of this mystery.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P052: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 05 - 1830 ("Thinking")
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"Thinking"
[previous post was "Taking Proper Steps"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 32222.1830

The meal that had been replicated almost an hour ago sat on the dining room table untouched. The Sec/Tac had returned to her quarters to rest as ordered but the task had proven to be more difficult than the expecting Nylaan woman could have imagined. The moment she had set foot back into her quarters, her mind jumped into high gear making the woman think of everything she was directly or indirectly involved with, that she wanted to or not.

It was nice that Counsellor Dima was now amongst those who knew about her being with child. It had not been easy for Ya'Han to make that information known but in hindsight the Sec/Tac was happy and somewhat relieved that Nicole was told. Things might have been easier had Commander Maya heard the announcement instead of being buried in her work, but that would be another obstacle to deal with at a later time.  Right now, the Nylaan woman needed to figure out what to do next so as to not lose her mind by thinking too much about everything.

Sitting on the couch and rubbing her belly, Ya'Han's thoughts locked in on the one person who had been directly involved in this situation.  Sooner or later she would need to speak with Jayson, letting him know the reasons why she had distanced herself from him. Then, Ya'Han would have to deal with his reaction, one that the Sec/Tac figured could and likely would be somewhere between silent stunned surprise and agitated angered disbelief. Which ever way he would choose to acknowledge the news of his being a father, she expected his one question to her to be this: Why had she waited so long to tell him?

What Ya'Han found troubling was that she could not easily answer that particular question, at least not in a few simple sentences. The reasons had been numerous and seemed to multiply with each passing day that the Nylaan delayed informing him of the situation. Irrational fears combined with unsettling hormonal changes made the task nearly impossible.  Now that Counsellor Dima was aware of the situation, the Sec/Tac hoped that she would be able to call upon her for advice, that is as soon as the purple-haired woman knew what exactly what to ask for guidance on.

A chime rang from the communication station announcing that a message had arrived, this caused the Sec/Tac to lower her head in defeated exasperation. As if there had not already been enough things bouncing in her head, it now seemed that something else would be added to the mix. Due to her position and responsibilities on board the ANUBIS, the Nylaan made her way to the desk to see what the message was about. As the Sec/Tac she could not ignore her duties, this regardless of her having been put on compulsory rest or that she was with child.

When Ya'Han noticed that the message came from Maya, the Nylaan smiled knowing that this was what many of them had been waiting for; the information as to the specific location of the fourth crystal. Rest or no rest, it was expected by all that the Chief Science Officer would continue her work until the data was decoded.

Reading the report, Ya'Han quickly noted that the earlier statement made by the Chief Science Officer was confirmed; the crystal would be found on the homeworld of the Dolbargy, an EARTH-like planet known as DOLBAR. The more the Nylaan read the Shillian's report, the more she found her thoughts drifting to the world that the former daughter of the High Sovereign of NYLA IV had visited earlier in her childhood.

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FLASHBACK
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Setting: DOLBAR, Botanical Garden
Stardate: 15314.1130 (Ya'Han is 9 years old)

While their father, the High Sovereign and his sons discussed the new trade agreement between their two worlds, the daughters enjoyed the colorful displays and aromas of the flowers that had been gathered from all over this world. As daughters, they had no need to being involved or even learning about the ruler's political dealings, their task being nothing more than to follow their father where he went and to make him proud by becoming a perfect mate for whoever was selected for them.

"It is hard to imagine that a people like the Dolbargy are capable of creating anything this beautiful," Ya'Jun said, the second youngest daughter said as she scrutinized the extensive flowery display stretching as far as the eyes could see in every direction around them.

"Watch your tongue," Ya'Rin, the next elder sister after Ya'Jun venomously spat, the two sisters holding polar opinions as to what they believed their roles in Nylaan society should be. "You would be wise to keep that offending appendage were no one can see or hear it unless you truly wish to have father cut it out once and for all."

Ya'Han instantly coward back in fear, all too easily imagining the scene as described by her older sister. The High Sovereign, their father, had never been known to be a patient or forgiving man, especially when dealing with his own daughters. His son's were granted an unparalleled level of leeway while the daughters where forcefully held to the strictest set of rules and expectations.

"I meant no disrespect," Ya'Jun quickly offered in hopes of calming her angered sister, her voice as gentle and sweet as could be. If anyone would report back to their father about what had been said or done by someone else, Ya'Rin had been the one to do it, but she also was the more gullible of all the sisters. "I was merely stating my observation in the fact that I find it difficult to comprehend how a race without any official gender classification is capable of seeing any sort of beauty. Would you not agree that our brothers are completely unable to appreciate any sort of beauty, this not counting the physical attributes of a woman showing off her skills or batting her eyes in a suggestive manner at them? I am making reference to being able to see beyond what is directly in front of them, to see beauty within and in something that has not yet been created."

Ya'Jun paused, trying to ascertain as to whether or not her explanation was being actually accepted or dismissed by her sister. Seeing some hesitation in the eyes of Ya'Rin, the 12th child of the High Sovereign decided to add some more.

"It would take an exquisite understanding of the unseen beauty of these plants to create the visual masterpiece that we are currently standing in the middle of. Something that in my observation can only be accomplished through the vision of someone who is either a woman or a man who considers himself to belong to that classification. Since the Dolbargy do not have any such official gender classification, I was stating my surprise that such true appreciation of beauty, as it would have been required for this display, is very unexpected from this remarkable and puzzling people. Do you not agree?"

"Can you imagine Ya'Kun or Ya'Del trying to create something like this?" Ya'Han joined in, adding her support, as little as it may count, to her sister's opinion. Over the years, the youngest daughter had learned to listen carefully to her next older sister who had a way of presenting the universe in a way that all too often challenged their father's views while still managing not to enlist his wrath, something that seemed reserved for the youngest and most vulnerable amongst them.

"You are right," the High Sovereign's 10th child eventually agreed, having accepted the explanation offered by the 11th child as an acceptable explanation for her earlier statement. "We do have a much better sense and appreciation for what true beauty is," Ya'Rin confirmed.

"Ladies," a gentle, almost whispered voice said calling the attention of all the sisters upon her. "You should never judge anyone by their appearance, by the color of their skin, by the texture of their scales or fur, and not by their gender or lack thereof. The universe is filled with endless wonders and to judge anything in this way will close your mind to the unique hidden charms that are all around you."

Ya'Han smiled, this trip had been one of the very few occasions where their mother had been permitted to come along. Maybe it was because the Dolgarby were a genderless race that the High Sovereign had allowed her to come, or maybe it was because he had not seen any need to keep her away in order to hide his after work and late night celebrations. Whatever the reason was, the youngest daughter had been very happy to have her mother here with them, even if she chose to remain on the outskirts, barely visible or noticed by anyone.

It did not take too long for the sisters to return to their individual scrutiny of the surrounding flora. After all, this was what their father had required of them. They were to remain in this location and entertain themselves as best they could through admiring the various colorful flowers. This had been easy enough to accomplish for most of the daughters, but to some the call for adventure had simply been too great to be ignored. The youngest daughter had been able to fight back the urge to wander off, at least that was until Ya'Han felt someone taking hold of her arm to pull her down a small, unpaved path.

"Come," Ya'Jun said as she urged on her younger sister to venture down onto the pathway which seemed to lead to a distant building.

"Where are we going?" Ya'Han demanded, fearing that this course of action would land them both in trouble.

"Exploring of course," the older sister replied. "There is just so much I can take of colorful flowers that smell like our brother's shoes at the end of a long day. Come, wherever we end up has to be better than this place is, and I know you want to go just as much as I do."

As scared as Ya'Han might have been, she had to agree that the visit to the garden had quickly become boring, so despite her fears, the youngest daughter followed without offering any other objections.

Following some sneaking around the local patrols, the two sisters found their way in what appeared to be a hatchery of some sort, dozens upon dozens of eggs neatly and carefully cradled in individual nests. The size of the eggs, along with the medical equipment that accompanied each station, made it evident that these had not been for nourishment.

"Are these Dolbargy eggs?" Ya'Han gasped.

"What did you expect from a genderless race?" Ya'Jun chuckled back in a whispered voice.

The sisters quietly wandered through the aisles, taking special care not to touch anything, at least that was until one particular egg caught the full attention of the youngest daughter. The markings were unique, leaving the Nylaan girl to wonder if maybe this egg held some sort of special significance as compared to all of the others.

"Wonder why this one has different markings on it," Ya'Han asked as her hand slowly, carefully reached out towards the ovoid.

"You should not be here," a thundering voice said, startling both girls into quickly retreating back the way they came. As great a hurry as they were, the two girls still made sure not to touch anything as they rushed for the exit. To their great dismay, as soon as they once again crossed the door that had earlier attracted the attention of Ya'Jun, the two sisters collided with one of their father's Imperial guard tasked with their safety.

Although this meant that they no longer needed to fear whoever had been after them, the two youngest daughters of the High Sovereign would now have to face the wrath of their father for having left the location they had been instructed to remain at for the duration of the diplomatic talks.

Escorted back to their mother, the sisters remained as quiet as they could, trying not to draw the attention of one particular member of their family. If Ya'Rin was to learn of their escapade, it would be a foregone conclusion that their father would learn of this insuring his fullest wrath on all those he would consider as having been responsible.

"Where have you been?" Their mother asked the moment her eyes fell upon the two terrified looking girls, concern the likes of which only a mother could have for her children clearly visible on her features.

"I'm sorry," both Ya'Jun and Ya'Han said at the same time. "We wandered of and got lost," the second youngest added, having noticed their snitching sister in the corner of her eye.

"Please tell me that you did not touch or break anything," the mother begged, knowing that should they have actually broken something it would have made their little adventure an impossible one to hide, and only insured the severity of the punishment they would all receive.

"You have nothing to be concerned about your Imperial Highness," a Dolbargy dressed in scientific robes said. Althouh neither Ya'Jun or Ya'Han had seen the man who had called out to them, it was a safe bet that he had followed them all the way back. "I can assure you that the girls have not caused any harm or damage."

"Thank you," Na'Rin gratefully offered, relief now visible on her face. "I am sure that the girls are also very grateful for your assistance in seeing them back where they belong."

"I am sure that their youthful curiosity has been more than fulfilled, at least for today," the alien offered smile before adding a low and respectful bow.

"May we have the honor of knowing your name in thanks for all that you have done on this day?" The mate to the High Sovereign inquired. Although she had no power in bestowing any sort of reward, knowing the name of the Dolbargy who had secured her daughter's alibi would go a long way to insure that the girls would remain safe. Plus, the mention of his name to the High Sovereign might lead to some sort of recompense to be given depending on how the situation was presented to him by his wife.

"My name is Soturemol," the Dolbargy replied, again adding a low bow to show his respect. "The honor was mine to have met such adventurous girls. May your stay here continue to be a safe and enjoyable one."

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End of FLASHBACK
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Ya'Han was surprised to see the same name listed as the current owner of the crystal they were after. At least, the Nylaan knew him to have been a honorable man, but that was 16 years ago, surely the guardian of the incubation chamber had changed over those years, but at least it would give the crew of the ANUBIS a starting point as to locating the alien's whereabouts.

"Ya'Han to Commander Shar'El," the Sec/Tac said after having tapped her communicator.

=/\= Go ahead Lieutenant. =/\=

"When you have a moment I would like to speak with you," Ya'Han began. "I have read the information provided by Commander Maya and have additional data to provide."

=/\= Additional data? =/\= The First Officer repeated sounding surprised.

"Yes," the off-duty Sec/Tac confirmed. "I know who this Soturemol is and where we can start looking for him. He was in charge of an incubation centre near a botanical garden some 16 years ago. Unfortunately I can't give you more as I did not know where exactly we were then."

=/\= I am heading down to see you, =/\=Shar'El stated. =/\= Looking forward to hearing more about this Soturemol and how you came to knowing him. See you soon, Shar'El out. =/\=

The Nylaan woman actually found the enthusiasm in the woman's voice somewhat disturbing. Why had the Commander been so delighted in coming down here to talk about this Dolbargy?  Had there been another reason for Shar'El to want to come and visit Ya'Han? Gently caressing her belly, Ya'Han wondered if maybe this would be a good opportunity to add Shar'El to the still very short list of shipmates who had been made aware of her situation.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P053: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 05 - 1845 ("Pacing")
"Pacing"
[previous "Thinking"]

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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 2, outside Ya'Han's quarters
Stardate: 32222.1845

From the bridge he went to his quarters where he paced from one end of the room to the next, stepping over whatever mess had been left unattended. Although he had been spending a lot more time there since being kicked out by Ya'Han, the quarters had not improved in their appearance in the least. In fact, Jayson was ready to admit that things had gotten worse. At this point, he might even have to call upon ANI to help clean things up, but for now his mind had been on something else.

After about an hour of aimless wandering through his quarters, the OPS Officer stepped out, tired of tripping over the same things. The idea of actually cleaning up his own quarters had crossed his mind, but doing so would lead to him thinking about the person who was always on his case to do just that, the person he was trying his best not to think about, the person that his thoughts always returned to no matter what he was doing. This was the curse of being off-duty and not having anything official to occupy his thoughts.

Now in the corridor, Jayson found himself doing the exact same thing that he was doing before. At least this time there was no mess for him to step over or trip on. Each time he walked by Ya'Han's quarters, his steps grew shorter, not that he was debating making his presence known to the occupant. The best he could hope for was to have her step out and find him there. Surely, she would ask for an explanation for his being there, but the OPS Officer could only think of telling her the truth. He missed her. A lot.

He had discovered first hand that the old saying had been as true as could be. You don't know what you have until it is gone, and in this case he had come to find a new appreciation for how much Ya'Han had come to fill his life. Jayson missed her so much that he even found himself wishing that she had been there to flip him onto his back, without even sparing. At least in doing so she would acknowledge his presence, even if only for a few seconds.

Jayson must have passed in front of her door several dozen times before he actually stopped in front of it, looking at the closed and sealed doorway. How easy would it be for him to just reach for the chime and let her know that he was there? How easy would it be for him to look into her eyes and state how much he missed her? How easy would it be for him to ask what he did to warrant being here, on this side of the door instead of in there with her?

The more he thoughts about all of that, the more he realised that none of it would be easy. Making his presence known by using the door chime might not be a physically demanding task, but it was something that he could simply not bring himself to do, as it would place the ball squarely into her hands as to how the discussion he hoped would follow unfolded. From there, he would likely not get the chance to ask what he did wrong, being on the receiving end of whatever angered blast she would unleash in his direction. Of course telling her that he missed her so much at that point would only make things worse, not to mention make him appear as some lovesick puppy, which in all honesty he knew he was.

"Lieutenant Stark, is everything alright?"

The question took the OPS Officer by complete surprise. He was so completely focussed on the door and the person beyond it that he had forgotten that he was standing in the corridor, likely looking lost and confused, feelings that he had become more than familiar with over the last little while.

"Commander Shar'El," Jayson acknowledged after having turned to see the person who had called out his name. "What are you doing here?" He asked, only realizing the tone of his words after they had been spoken. "Sorry Commander, I did not meant to imply that you are not allowed to being here, or anywhere else on the ANUBIS for that matter. I am just surprised to seeing you here at this time."

"Just came to see Ya'Han," Shar'El informed the clearly nervous man, easily picking up his memories of having been pacing through his quarters and corridor. "Commander Maya finished deciphering the location data of the latest crystal and after having read the report our Chief of Security contacted me to inform me that she has additional information to provide."

"What possible additional information could she have?" Jayson asked, genuinely unable to think as to how Ya'Han could have anything to add.

"We were told that the crystal would be found in the Dolbargy system which is located inside Ferengi controlled space, do you not recall this?" The Commander asked in return.

"I remember," the OPS Officer quickly said in his defence, still not making the obvious connection. "How does that explain Ya'Han having additional information?"

"Maybe it would be best for you to return to your quarters and get some rest instead of creating a path in the floor plates," Shar'El grinned. "That way you will be able to clear your mind and avoid enlisting the discontent of our Chief Engineer would will have to replace said floor plates."

Jayson stared at the Commander for a few seconds, still unable to make sense of anything until it hit him like a runaway shuttlecraft. Ya'Han was Nylaan, which meant that she was born on NYLA IV, a world also located inside Ferengi controlled space, a fact that he knew as well as everything else, but something that had slipped his mind at this precise moment.

"I am truly sorry Commander," Jayson sadly stated. "I just can't think straight."

"I understand why," Shar'El offered. Since the entire Senior Staff had been off-duty, the lack of focus from their Chief of Operations had not been something that needed to be noted or even officially addressed by the First Officer.

"May I ask a favor of you Commander?" He asked, trying his best to regain whatever composure he could manage.

"You can ask but I cannot make you any promises," the woman replied, suspecting that the favor in question would focus on the Nylaan woman she had been about to see.

"If Ya'Han should mention anything about why she has locked me out of her life, or if some stray memory should make its way out for you to see, could you please tell me," Jayson pleaded. "I need to know what I did wrong so that I can at the very least try to make amends."

"As much as I would like to help in that regards," Shar'El explained, "this situation is a personal matter between you and her. As much as I doubt that she will say anything about it, or even permit her memories to betray her current silence, I would not be at liberty to tell you this. What I can do though is to mention your need to speak to her, at least that way you will not have to wait out here for her to come out so that you have an excuse to run into her and start the conversation."

"Thank you Commander," the OPS Officer said. Although it was not what he had wanted, the offer made by the First Officer had been far more than he current had, which was a step in the right direction.

"Now, go back to your quarters and focus on something else," the Commander suggested. "You might want to straighten up your quarters; I truly doubt that Lieutenant Paquette would appreciate having the ship's Avatar asked to help with such a task, a feeling that I have to admit I am sure both the Captain and myself would also find less than appropriate."

"Of course Commander. Thank you," Jayson said. With that, the OPS Officer quickly made his way back to his own quarters, a glimmer of hope in his heart at the possibility of getting some answers in regards to the situation he had so suddenly found himself in the middle of.

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Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P054: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 05 - 1900 ("Plotting")
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"Plotting"
[previous post was "Pacing" by the slightly preoccupied Jayson]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 32222.1900

Jayson might have been surprised to see Shar'El there in the corridor, but the ExO / ILO had not at all been surprised to find the Chief of Operations where he was. The IGC Tech tasked with keeping an eye on the Lieutenant had already reported back on the officer's pacing up and down the corridor, having noted the change of pace every time he would make his way across the doorway leading into the quarters of the Chief of Security.

Shar'El watched with interest as Jayson made his way back to his quarters, a distinct hope present in his steps. The Chief of Operations asked for a favor that the ExO / ILO had already been ready to do, although not for the same reasons. Like him, she had been curious as to why the couple had so unexpectedly split, especially considering that the decision had been unilateral and forcefully imposed by the Nylaan. Going to see the woman under the pretence of receiving the new information, she had mentioned provided the Ullian with the excuse she needed to ask questions that would hopefully trigger some memories. Now that Jayson had provided her with the excuse to mention his name, those memories would almost certainly be dragged to the surface.

As soon as the Chief of Operations vanished from sight, the ExO / ILO made her presence known by pressing the controls on the wall next to the door. The door hissed opened almost immediately, the Nylaan having expected this visit, a fact that Shar'El found amusing given that the occupants of these quarters had nearly been surprised by an entirely different guest.

"Come on in Commander," Ya'Han said, inviting the woman in.

"Commander! Really?" Shar'El said. Aside from the fact that the senior staff had been put on leave until further noticed, the ExO / ILO had found the use of her rank instead of her name a little disturbing. Had whatever been bothering Ya'Han made it so that she no longer considered her guest as a friend?

"I'm sorry," the Nylaan smiled, brushing back the black and red-colored hair over her shoulder in a way that hinted that this had not been the color her hair had been before the door was opened. "It's a force of habit. Please Shar'El, come in and make yourself comfortable. Can I get you something to drink?"

"I'm fine," the Ullian stated, noticing with ease the untouched meal still sitting on the dining room table. "I hope that I am not interrupting anything? You seem to have been about to sit for dinner.

"That was about an hour ago," Ya'Han admitted as she scooped the plate and returned it to the food replicator so that it could be properly disposed of. "I replicated something out of habit but I just wasn't hungry."

"My guess is that you were thinking about our heading back into Ferengi controlled space," Shar'El said while making her way to the couch in order to sit. "Don't worry," the Ullian quickly added, "I was not picking up on any memories, just using common sense. With what happened on MARKALA PRIME, you are more than the right to feel apprehensive in our heading back, but when we add to this your own personal history, I can only venture a guess as to how difficult it must be for you to cross back the border that you spent so long doing everything you could to escape beyond."

"I will agree that it is not entirely easy," the Nylaan admitted, casting her gaze onto the streaking stars visible through the nearest window, "but I am not the scared little girl that I was back then."

"No you are not," the raven-haired woman confirmed with certitude. "I am sure that many of those you knew you back then would now find you to be a force to be feared."

"Feared?" Ya'Han asked with puzzlement, uncertain as to how to take the statement made by her guest.

"Not feared in he way your father is," Shar'El clarified. "You left this region of space as a girl under the constant shadow of your father and his influence, but now you return as a trained warrior, a Starfleet Lieutenant and the Chief Security and Tactical Officer of a ship that, should its full combat potential be known to outsiders, would send many scrambling to get out of our way. Maybe I should have used the word *respected* instead of feared in this case, I am sorry."

The truth was that Shar'El had not been sorry, in fact her words had been very carefully selected to set the groundwork for certain specific memories to be summoned, be them intentionally or not. From there, it would only be a matter of finding the right words say, the right questions  to ask, to link one memory to another allowing the Ullian to reach those that would provide her with the answers she sought.

Shar'El knew that this was not the way a friend should act, but as a counter argument the Ullian believed that as a friend, Ya'Han should have been able to step forward and discuss whatever had been on her mind. It was evident that the Chief of Security had problems looking upon the ExO / ILO as a friend for this particular matter, so the raven-haired woman had no other choice but to use her training as an Intel operative to get to the bottom of this.

All Shar'El could do beyond that was to hope that Ya'Han would understand that this had been done to insure that she was alright. Whatever tricks used to have her finally divulge what was bothering her had been done for her own good, at least that was what the Ullian kept repeating to herself as the justification for the process the Intel Operative had already started.

"I was 9 years old when my father took us to DOLBAR on a diplomatic mission," Ya'Han explained, taking a seat opposite to the one Shar'El had taken. "My sister Ya'Jun and I ended up venturing beyond where we were meant to and we met one of the caretakers of a Dolbargy hatchery. His name was Soturemol."

"Ya'Jun?" Shar'El asked, forcing the Nylaan woman to reach into her mind for more memories. "Wasn't that the sister whom we encountered on the MASQUERADE DREAMS?"

"Yes," Ya'Han confirmed, images of the woman in question now flashing through her head, spanning decades of shared moments together including the unpleasant meeting on board the Risian luxury cruiser.

"Alright," Shar"El continued, not giving the woman sitting in front of her the time or chance to find some sort of mental footing that would enable her to stop recalling memories as freely as she was currently doing. "So you suspect that this Soturemol may be the same individual as mentioned in the decode data found by Maya?"

"There is no sure way to know, but it does give us a starting point," the off-duty Chief of Security proposed, recalling her meeting with the Dolbargy. "What I do remember of him is that he was very kind, something that I would not be surprised attracted Professor Arken into befriending him to the point of trusting him with the next crystal."

"The professor does seem to have a way about making friends," Shar'El said keeping the conversation bouncing from subject to subject.  "You said that this Soturemol you met when you were 9 was the caretaker of a hatchery?"

"Yes," Ya'Han confirmed, her memories returning to that time where the two sisters had barely escaped the consequences of their escapade. "It was almost two decades ago, and the worst part is that I cannot even tell you the exact location of the hatchery, other that it was located a few hundred meters away from an impressive botanical garden. Back then, I followed, as well all did. without asking questions and considered ourselves lucky to see any part of the worlds we went visiting."

"Think back to that garden," Shar'El suggested, moving her plan into the next phase, which required the subject to dig deeper into their own past, focusing on specific memories, images and feelings. "Can you remember any details; anything that might help us set that particular garden apart from any other that is surely on that planet?"

"I was young," the Nylaan admitted while remembering a time that seemed to belong to another life. "I remember the brightness of the colors, the strange shapes of the flowers, but other than that I was just happy in being out of the Imperial Palace and trying not to get into trouble. The one thing I due clearly remember is how kind Soturemol was to both Ya'Jun and myself. Of my trip to that world, he is the one thing I remember the most."

"A single show of kindness can have a lasting effect on someone," her hypnotic words were meant to lure the Nylaan into a deeper emotional state, one that would make it that much more difficult for the Chief of Security to block the memories the ExO / ILO had been searching for. Again Shar'El felt a twinge of guilt gnawing at her soul but as she had told herself before, this was for Ya'Han's own good that she was doing this.

As planned, Ya'Han began to recall the instances when someone had shown her kindness above and beyond what she had expected at the time. As a runaway who had encountered more hardships than she could have ever expected along her journey, those pleasant instances had remained with her even if she had lost track of them over the years.

From the Federation Starbase PARASIDIO, the Nylaan's memories quickly travelled to her time at Starfleet Academy and to the ANUBIS to finally land on the person the investigating Intel Operative knew had been at the centre of this affair. Jayson had shown a unique type of kindness to Ya'Han, so it was no surprise when memories of his involvement in her life surfaced.

"It is unfortunate that at times, this kindness leaves us vulnerable," Shar'El added, ready to read the memory she expected to follow, the one that would explain what had happened between the two lovers to result in the current state of their relationship. What the ExO / ILO had not expected was the mental resolve of the Nylaan who quickly shutdown her thoughts and emotions from not only the Ullian, but from the universe as a whole.

"I'm sorry," Ya'Han offered in a cold and distant tone. The controlled breathing of the Nylaan was proof that the efforts of the Ullian had been successful in triggering the emotional response she had desired, but alas the now purple-haired woman had proven to be more capable at controlling her mind than the ExO / ILO had anticipated.

"It is I who should be sorry," Shar'El offered, accepting that this would not be the time she would break through to discover the reasons for the distance between the two officers. "I forced you to relived memories that I am sure you would have rather not. I have images of the garden as well as the hatchery and their surroundings from your memories, enough for me to have the IGC run some comparative searches. I am sure they will be able to find something, especially when we add in the name of the caretaker, even if he held the position some time ago. In the meantime rest, you earned it."

"Thank you," Ya'Han acknowledged, the emotional fatigue she felt clearly visible on her features. "Shar'El?" The still purple-haired Nylaan added, as if she had been about to say or ask something of her guest.

"Yes," the Ullian replied, silently hoping that this would lead to the personal reason why she had ventured here and why Jayson had been pacing through his quarters and corridor.

"Just, thank you," the Chief of Security stated, her hair gradually returning to the mixture of black and red that indicated the return in full force of the woman as well as her control of her emotions.

"My pleasure," Shar'El confirmed. "You know that I am here for you should you need me, no matter the reason?"

"Again, thank you, you are a good friend," the Nylaan said. Whatever reason Ya'Han had used to convince herself that this had not been the time to reveal her secrets had been powerful, enough to frustrate the Ullian on a professional level, but yet her last words had been sufficient to make the raven-haired woman smile.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P055: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 05 - 2000 ("Seeking")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Seeking"
[previous post was "Plotting"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 32222.2000

Ya'Han had wanted to tell Shar'El, to bring her into the small group of friends who knew about her being with child, but the more she considered that possibility, the more the Nylaan found reasons not to do so. As the ship's First Officer, the Commander would have to officially address this matter to insure that everyone was safe and not a potential liability to the ANUBIS or its crew. As a friend, the Ullian might find herself becoming protective of the mother-to-be, especially given the role and duties the expecting woman help. How guilty would she feel if the unborn child was lost because of some security emergency?

Knowing Ya'Han as Shar'El did, the only way to insure the safety of the child within her would be to remove the woman from active duty, but that risked sending the Nylaan into a tailspin from which neither might come out alive. So by keeping this knowledge from the Commander, she would be saved making a difficult decision and possibly shouldering the consequences of said decision. She hoped that in time, the Ullian would understand that this had nothing to do with them being friends, but rather because it would put the First Officer in an undesirable and awkward position. The continued silence on that subject had been for her benefit, since it was certainly not for the mental comfort of the pregnant woman who now found herself desperately needings someone to speak to.

First though, the Nylaan needed to actually rest a little. The guided journey through those distant memories of her time on DOLBAR had proven to be quite draining, and somewhere in her mind, Ya'Han could not help but wonder if Shar'El had not been fishing for more than she had stated. The black and red-haired woman had felt her mind slipping towards other, far more recent emotional events. That it had been intentional or a simple side effect of her remembering the kindness shown by Soturemol, the Sec/Tac was quick to end things before it was too late and the unwanted memories surfaced to be seen by the other woman in the room.

As much as Ya'Han wanted to bring Shar'El into the know, the Nylaan would do so only when she deemed the time right, and would not do so through broadcasting memories but rather with her words. That, her friend deserved, especially after having been kept out. So in the meantime, since the Sec/Tac.

With a renewed wish and need to rest, the Nylaan woman sat onto the couch, closed her eyes, slowed her breathing and allowed her hands to once again caress ever so gently the home of the growing child within her. Having spent so much time by herself while traveling from freighter to freighter as she did her best to escape from the grasp of her father, Ya'Han found comfort in no longer being alone. That said, the resting woman managed to find her quarters to still be missing something, a presence that she had grown oddly accustomed to, despite its source having been more than annoying at times.

Ya'Han could easily justify her reasoning for not telling Shar'El, but the expecting woman found it much more difficult to do the same in regards to Jayson. As the father, he should have been the first to be told the news, but something had held her back. Maybe she feared his reaction, that he would not be happy in the way their lives would certain be made to change. Maybe she was concerned that he would use this as an excuse to leave her, or maybe this was just her hormone driven fears talking. Maybe what she feared the most was that he would be happy beyond her understanding, which would change the way he looked at her, from the strong and self-assured warrior to a simple woman needing his protection.

To be entirely honest Ya'Han was not sure what she feared, but the end result remained the same, Jayson had not been told nor would he be, at leas not until there was no way for her to hide it from him.  With that certitude in mind, the Nylaan realized that she would not be able to get any rest, no matter how tired or desperately needed it became. She needed to speak to someone, to voice her concerns, that they made sense or not. She needed to not be alone but with someone who would listen and accept that she was, for the moment, emotionally unhinged.

The first person to come to mind was of course Sonja who had been there, supporting her through everything since the very beginning of this new chapter in her life. The problem was that the Nylaan woman knew she needed rest and that it would likely be the last thing she would get while in the company of the redhead engineer.  Being the energetic type that she was, the concept of rest for the Chief Engineering Officer of the ANUBIS usually involved some sort of tinkering or partying. At worst, the dancing and general enjoyment of life would be put on display in the ship's Black Hole Lounge, and at best it would be contained within the limits of her quarters. Either way, actual rest would not be part of the equation.

Considering this, Ya'Han realized that she now had another choice, another friend who would be there for her during this unusual time of need. Nicole might not have been as much of a friend as Sonja was, but at least the Trill would not find some way to drag the expecting woman into some sort of activity that would more than likely involve drinking, dancing or both. It was far more likely that the Counsellor would offer exactly what the Sec/Tac needed; a place to sit, rest and talk about whatever came into her mind, no matter how strange or off topic it might all seem.

"Ya'Han to Counselor Dima," the Sec/Tac said, right after having tapped the location on her chest where her communicator should have been. The absence of a metal presence beneath her fingers and the lack of any sort of mechanical chirp afterwards quickly reminded the Nylaan woman that the small device had been removed earlier.  "How I manage to continue performing my duties on board the ANUBIS is proving to be a rapidly expanding mystery," Ya'Han giggled in amused disbelief as she continued to rub her belly. "Very much like what I will be doing at some point."

With this little humorous interlude behind her, Ya'Han returned to her feet and went directly for the small table upon which the communicator had been placed. As soon as it was locked back into place, the Nylaan woman took in a long, deep breath.

"Computer, please locate Counselor Dima."

=/\= Counsellor Dima is currently in her offices on deck 7, =/\= the computer promptly replied.

"Guessing that I am not the only one that is finding it hard to just rest," the Nylaan woman laughed thinking of the other members of the senior staff who, for the most part, appeared to have great difficulties in just taking a seat and putting up their feet for any amount of time, herself included.  With that, the Sec/Tac exited her quarters and headed straight for the Counselling department to see Nicole. Even if the Counsellor was busy, this would give Ya'Han an excuse to stretch her legs and go for a walk instead of sitting in her quarters trying to find some way for her to actually get some rest.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P056: USS ANUBIS: Maya: Day 05 - 2000 ("Researching")
---
"Researching"
(Previous Post: "Seeking")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Maya's Quarters
Stardate: 32222.2000

The Shillian had become a near expert at breaking through the surface encoding of the crystals, this despite each of the four she had worked on utilizing a completely different system to keep the information within concealed. With each crystal came a new exhilarating challenge, and with each also came a renewed sense of admiration for the man responsible for their creation. Professor Arken was a genius in more ways than the Chief Science Officer of the USS ANUBIS could describe, and for that, she was grateful to him.

As long as she worked on the puzzles the crystals presented her with, Maya did not have to think about anything else. The details of her earliest shattered memories could remain hidden in the further recesses of her mind. The inescapable fact that she was the last of her kind could be ignored for the time being and pushed aside allowing more important and relevant matters to take priority. As long as she remained busy, the Shillian could forget for a short period her journey to ZOBRA PRIME and the offer made by the Grand Maestro.

For some, being elevated to the status of a rare collectible might have been something to instil pride or even bolster confidence, but for Maya it had only served to remind her of how alone she truly was. As an officer in Starfleet and as a member of the crew of the USS ANUBIS, Maya understood that she would never be alone, not in that definition of the word, but as the last surviving member of the Shillian race, her solitude would be guaranteed until her final days.

In order to avoid slipping into a depression of her own making, the Chief Science Officer had focussed, as she always did, on her work, on her scientific research of whatever seemed to be most urgent. At this time finding out everything possible about DOLBAR and the Dolbargy had been her goal, explaining the countless number of PADDs scattered all over her quarters.

With the world located so deep inside Ferengi controlled space, the Federation possessed very little information, but that did not mean the details of DOLBAR and the Dolbargy were inaccessible through other means. The team of highly skilled technicians working in the Intelligence Gathering Center under the supervision of Commander Shar'El had already begun to put many of the puzzle pieces together. Added to this their ability to tap into the Imperial communication network of NYLA IV, a feat made possible thanks to the insight of their own Nylaan Chief of Security, the veil of secrecy surrounding that world were being gradually removed.

Some of the pieces of this exo-cultural puzzle that had been discovered included the knowledge that the Dolbargy were a genderless race, reproducing through oviparous means. What remained a mystery to date was how these eggs become fertile given that every single member of this race seemed to lack the ability to do so. If the process was entirely self-contained, the hatchling should be noting more than a perfect genetic clone of the parent, but so far, nothing pointed to that being the case. This single mystery amongst countless others was more than enough to have the Shillian Scientist anxious to seeing this world and its inhabitants.

Information concerning the global political landscape of DOLBAR could be found on many of the scattered PADDs, Maya having taken some mental notes on the subject. As much as one might claim that political sciences could be as interesting as anything else the Chief Science Officer dealt with, the Shillian had always been far more fascinated by the pure and applied aspects of the universe and the endless multitude of life found therein.  Still, she could not escape the fact that the planet was ruled by one of eight regional government that rotated as the main power each solar rotation; a system hat was as intriguing as it was unique.

The advantage of such a political system was that each region would become the center of attention once every eight years, insuring that no segment of the population would be suppressed or ignored knowing that retribution would come sooner or later. The same system held some drawbacks, as any others did none being perfect, this one being that the accomplishments of one region could be halted or even reversed once their time in control came to an end. However strange and alien as this system was, it had functioned for countless centuries meaning that it needed to be studied and not criticized.

Another aspect of the Dolbargy and their culture, one more along the interests of the Chief Science Officer, dealt specifically with their eggs and the markings found on them. Although the data was incomplete, the information reviewed by the Shillian pointed to there being a very specific significance assigned to these darker spots and blotches. Understanding biology as she did, the Chief Science Officer found it odd that such randomly created patches could be looked upon as having any sort of significance beyond the health and possible exposure of the parent to possibly harmful chemicals, be them naturally occurring or otherwise.

Without more data on this particular subject, there was little more that the Shillian could do other than speculate as to how these markings were being looked upon by the genderless race. Had this trend developed over time out of superstitious beliefs or had there been another reason, one buried in the political foundation of the current Dolbargy way of life? Again, Maya found herself anxious to reach their destination so that she would be able to learn more about this race, their culture and everything that made them unique as compared to the rest of the universe.  What also piqued the curiosity of the scientist was that no images of individual members of this race could be found. It was as if every member of the race had decided to be camera shy.

Aside from the fact that this made it impossible to know what a Dolbargy actually looked like unless standing before one, it also meant that there would be no way for the away team to alter their physical appearance to be less noticeable while on the surface. This unexpected aspect of the race could prove to be an important obstacle for the crew to overcome as they searched for the fifth crystal.

"How can a race able to travel from one star system to another manage to keep their appearances unknown," Maya noted to herself, being alone in her quarters. "This makes no sense. I would be willing to entertain the possibility that they refuse to engage in visual communications, but there are no indications in any of the data collected that DOLBAR is made to be off limits to visitors and traders alike. Therefore, it should be an accepted fact that many have dealt with the Dolbargy and could have reported on their appearance even if a direct image was never actually be taken. This of course opens up an entirely new set of possibilities to explain this, but there is no way for me to research those here," the Shillian added, giving her quarters a quick glance over. "I should clean up first before someone makes a report to the Captain as to a sudden shortage in PADDs. Then again, I suspect that Captain Morningstar and everyone else on the senior staff would know where to start looking should such a report actually be made."

---
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 7, Exo-Biology Laboratory
Stardate: 32222.2200

Normally, the Chief Science Officer would have passed on this specific research to the Chief Medical Officer, or at the very least asked for their assistance given the unusual details of this mystery, but with Doctor Doyanne currently stationed on NEW ALEXANDRIA, Maya had decided to tackle this by herself. Enjoying being as busy as she could meant that this was not an issue for the Shillian Scientist who appeared more than at ease as she moved from one station to another.

"Maya?" The voice of the First Officer echoed through the room, prompting the woman in question to look up so that Shar'El could see where exactly the scientist was.

"Yes Commander? How may I help you?" The Chief Science Officer replied having returned to her research.

"Are you not supposed to be resting?" Shar'El asked, the rhetorical question made to be as obvious as possible.

"I am. I mean I was. Actually, you could still consider this my resting as I am only working on a single aspect of a much greater mystery," the Shillian explained, or at least tried to. "Did you know that there is no picture or image anywhere that could give us an idea as to what a Dolbargy actually appears like? I mean, as the head of the Intel Gathering Center and the First Officer of the USS ANUBIS I am sure that you already knew this, but I meant to say that despite some excessive research, I have not been able to find anything. As far as images of that race are concerned, those people might has well be invisible. Now, I have already dismissed that possibility as I have come across many written accounts of merchants and diplomatic envoys to DOLBAR claiming to have *seen* the Dolbargy. What is odd is that none was able to give any sort of description, be it specific or general, on their appearance, which leads me to believe that there may be some unique biological element at play. The Federation is already aware of certain xenophobic races who generate memory-altering fields around them to insure that no one can remember even having encountered them. Other races go through a great deal of work to hide their presence through technological means. Again, based on some of the written counts I have come across, that explanation does not fit here, as there are many accounts of merchant transactions. That led be to wonder if maybe the race was just that visually unappealing. Most humanoid races tend to enjoy looking at something or someone they consider to be pleasant and avoid things and they deem to be less attractive. It could make things difficult when dealing with other races, but even that explanation seems lacking on many points. Why would Dolbargy hide their own appearance from one another? Somehow, I doubt that an entire race could be so physically unattractive that they manage to scare each other into hiding. Of course, that would go a long way to explain how the species developed over time to be genderless."

As interesting as the exploration of the numerous possibilities was, Shar'El thought it best to interrupt before the Shillian found her second wind and went into another lengthy explanation.  "Maya, as much as we all appreciate you being so dedicated to your work, the Captain and I need everyone t be well-rested. Our being back into Ferengi controlled space, even under the cover of the ablative cloak, is likely to be a less then tranquil journey. We need everyone to be sharp and ready to act quickly, not fighting off mental or physical fatigue."

"Of course," Maya agreed. "You are correct. I was just in my quarters and one thing led to another. When I realized there was not a single visual account of the Dolbargy I just had to come here to look into some of the biological possibilities to explain such a strange phenomenon. I thought that it would be useful for us to know this about them before arriving at the DOLBAR system."

"Maya," Shar'El said, walking around one of the laboratory workstations in order to be right next to the Shillian. "We all appreciate all that you do. Your dedication to all things scientific has never been in doubt, but I also know why you are doing this right now," the black-haired Ullian said, gently tapping the side of her head.

"Speaking with Counsellor Dima following our return from ZOBRA PRIME did help quite a bit, but it does not change the fact that the Grand Maestro is correct," Maya said, jumping from one subject to the next without any hesitation showing that this particular matter had been on her mind even if she had not been actively thinking about it. "I am something of an oddity, a creature that should studied for what I am; the last specimen of a race that no longer exists."

"You are being far too harsh on yourself Maya," the Commander said, thinking that another visit to the offices of Counsellor Dima might be in order.

"Just being realistic," the Chief Science Officer said, even adding a faint smile to show that her words had not been born of some misplaced despair or depression. "Maybe overly so, but as you can see I have been thinking about this, but not in the manner you might believe."

"All right," Shar'El grinned. "How exactly have you been thinking about this?"

"Thought I would write down the details of what I remember of my time on SHILLIA PRIME. Sort of a personal historical account of the last days of a world and the civilization that called it home," the Shillian said, unable to hide the sadness in her voice. "The problem is that right now, I am unable to clearly focus on that task, not with so many other things happening, namely our quest for the crystals and more specifically the mystery that the Dolbargy are proving to be. I can only guess that after having forced myself to look ahead for so long, that I am ill prepared to look back with the objectivity required to accomplish what it is I wish to do. Maybe in time, but for now, occupying my thoughts with work is, as Nicole mentioned, a valid and productive method of dealing with my personal issues. That I may be able to solve parts of the mystery of this peculiar race would only be a bonus, but I will take your concerns into account and make sure that I get as much rest as needed so that I can be as ready and alert for our travels through Ferengi space."

The Commander paused for a moment, looking at the Shillian and carefully considering her words. As the First Officer, Shar'El could easily order Maya back to her quarters, going as far as to make sure that she had no access to anything or anyone beyond the limits of her walls, but that would have been more than excessive. The scientist had done nothing wrong other than to deal with her own issues as best she could, which actually proved to be beneficial for the ship and crew.  How could anyone fault her for that?

"Keep up the good work, but do take it easy," Shar'El said, her words more than a suggestion but just below being an order. "I will admit that it would be nice to know more about the Dolbargy and their culture, but not at the expense of having any member of the senior staff being in the slightest way tired."

"Thank you Commander. I will make sure that my research into the race and there being no images of them does not interfere with my ability to perform when we cross over into Ferengi controlled space."

---
Jessica Solarik

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

&

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M09-P057: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 05 - 2230 ("Contemplating")
=-=
"Contemplating"
[previous post was "Researching" by the workaholic Jessica]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 7 Corridor
Stardate: 32222.2230

Shar'El understood all too well how difficult the situation could be for Maya. As much as the Shillian had done her best to keep her emotions and memories in check, both had come out loud and clear for the Ullian to pick up on. How could anyone ask of someone to not be emotional when dealing with the reality that the Chief Science Officer faced every single day?

The fact that Maya used this defining moment in her life to push herself to be whom she was today was a credit to her character and dedication. In the same position, many would have simply given up and embraced their sadness as excuse to not finding any reason to keep going. The Shillian on the other hand had made it her goal to seek out anything and everything that gave her purpose. Any reason to challenge herself as an individual and as a scientist was quickly accepted and enjoyed to its fullest in ways that no one else could have. The search for an explanation as to the lack of any image of the Dolbargy being a perfect example of this scientific drive.

Now, if only Ya'Han had been so easy to understand. Unlike the Shillian, the Nylaan had been an impenetrable fortress when it came to her emotions and memories, which was also a credit to her character. The woman's strength was remarkable making it clear as to why she had become the Chief of Security for a ship such as the ANUBIS. As frustrated as the ExO / ILO might have been with the black and red-haired Nylaan, the raven-haired Ullian had to admire the level of self-control that she displayed to hide the reasons for her current behavior.

Making her way down the corridor, the ExO / ILO returned her thoughts on the Shillian and the work that she had accomplished despite having been told, like the other members of the senior staff, to get some rest.  Combining the information obtained from Ya'Han and the cultural details uncovered by Maya's research, the Dolbargy began to step out of the shadows of the unknown to be seen as the complex race they were. The enigmatic race, which the crew of the ANUBIS would have to deal with soon enough if they wanted to take possession of the fifth crystal on their quest to reunite all eight pieces of a much larger puzzle, could prove to be a very interesting diversion or a more than demanding obstacle to overcome. 

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 32222.2245

Sitting at her station, the ExO / ILO scanned the displayed information on the Dolbargy. The single-gendered race, which laid eggs as their means of reproduction, had created a rather unique planetary governmental system that saw the ruling power shift from one group to the next every solar rotation. Although this still left a lot to be uncovered about the eight groups who shared this power, the ExO / ILO could see the benefits of such a balanced system. Should any one group decide to lash out at any of the others, be they in power or not, they would risk drawing the wrath of the remaining seven and forever lose their chance to return to power when their time came.

The only political drawback that Shar'El could see in such a system was that any suggested idea, any proposed change, and any expansion on the ways things were being done required a small and progressive implementation. To make any grandiose changes would risk upsetting everyone else, or even risk being undone by the next group when it was their turn to take over as the planetary ruling body.

Had their mission be one with a more political undertone, knowing more about the groups and their respective focuses and style while in power would have been a top priority, but this was not the case. Their immediate goal was to locate Soturemol, secure the trade of the crystal and have the ANUBIS leave Ferengi space before being discovered. Thanks to the specialized equipment on board the SCRAB-Class Intel Cruiser, doing so should not prove to be overly difficult, unfortunately, the Hirogen patrols that could now be found around NYLA IV and in the neighboring systems added a far more dangerous set of variable.

As sensitive and fine-tuned as the Ferengi sensors might be, they could not compare to those of found on board the Hirogen hunting party. Designed and calibrated to find even the most elusive of preys, they enabled the hunters to track down anything and everything they set their sights upon.  Of course, this would make the task of keeping the USS ANUBIS undetected that much more difficult, and even more imperative. The unrest that had been created with the assassination attempt of the High Sovereign of NYLA IV by none other than his own heir had sent shockwaves throughout the entire sector. To have a Starfleet vessel discovered within their border would only add fuel to the fire and drag all of the Federation into a story that they had been best to remain as far away as possible.

The one advantage the crew of the ANUBIS had was that the Hirogens did not seem overly preoccupied with keeping their presence a secret, patrolling in medium to large sized groups that could be seen more than full light-years away. This would allow the Intel Cruiser to make any necessary course changes to insure that the ship, under the cloak of its protective armor, would remain unseen and undetected. The real test would be while the away team was on the planet, forcing the ship to remain nearby in order to quickly respond should an emergency arise.

"Commander Shar'El," one of the IGC techs called out. "We are about to enter within maximum sensor range of the New Ferengi Alliance border markers."

Shar'El smiled. This had been another reason why she had returned to the IGC, knowing that this moment was coming. "Full sensor sweep and confirm that there are no other ships in the area.  As soon as this is done, secure all stations, place the ship on yellow alert and engage the ablative armor. Make sure that our power signature is brought down to absolute minimum and lock down all communications. We are going in dark, at least that way the Admiral will be able to deny any knowledge of our activities should we run into trouble."

=-=
Setting: Space
Stardate: 32222.2300

The silver-gray hull of the modified NEBULA-Class Cruiser, which appeared like so many other science vessels in Starfleet, was in the span of mere seconds cloaked from view and sensors as the ablative plates were replicated over the entirety of the external hull. From a single distant blip on whatever long-range sensors might have been aimed in their general direction, the ANUBIS became an unseen ghost. Only the fact that some of the stars had become hidden through some unexplained spatial anomaly hinted as to the ship's presence and heading, the later having been changed the moment the it was confirmed that the ablative armor had been fully operational.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 32222.2310

"Ghost protocol is now in effect," another IGC tech reported. "Helm as acknowledged the new flight path and will confirm each course corrections as they are implemented. The revised ETA to entering Ferengi space at our current speed and heading is 50 minutes. We are still on track to reach DOLBAR by stardate 32224.05."

The raven-haired woman gave an acknowledging nod before clearing the information from her screen and standing. She had hounded nearly every member of the senior staff to make sure they rested, and now it was time for her to listen to her own advice. As well planned as everything might be, there were simply too many variables to account for in order to insure that nothing happened. So it was best for the ExO / ILO to get the same rest she had prescribed to everyone else.

Under the guidelines of Ghost Protocol, both the Captain and ExO would be notified the moment something unexpected was detected, be it inside or outside of the ANUBIS.So there was no need to remind her team as to what they needed to do should something come up, instead Shar'El took the current stillness in the IGC to make her exit.

At best, she would be able to get a good night's rest, waking refreshed and ready to tackle the next day.  With their destination just under 30 hours away, there was still ample time to continue the research into the Dolbargy without to many concerns.  At worst, the ExO / ILO would be called back in less than an hour as they flew into Ferengi controlled space, their crossing the invisible line between the two powers having triggered some unexpected response.

Based on what she knew of the Ferengi, of their way of working and even taking into account the presence of Hirogen patrols, the raven-haired woman was more than confident that she would get the full night's rest. The USS ANUBIS had been built and equipped for such perilous missions, and it crew trained for just the same. Nothing in this universe was ever certain, but had Shar'El been a betting woman, she would have placed the odds well in their own favor.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P058: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 05 - 2315 ("Resting and Laughing")
"Resting and Laughing"
previous post was "Contemplating"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 32222.2315

Yes, the redhead Engineer had been told to rest, in fact she had been ordered to do so as every other member of the senior staff had. To Sonja though, just being near the beating heart of the ANUBIS was as relaxing an activity as it got. She found the steady rhythm of the warp core to be exceptionally soothing, and if she allowed it, there was no doubt in the mind of the Chief Engineer that with such a pleasant lullaby, her ship would be able to lure her into an angelic sleep in only a few moments.

"Lieutenant?" The Avatar asked, sounding almost concerned as she came to stand next to the entranced woman who had been at that exact spot for sever hours now.

"Yes ANI?" Sonja softly replied, the woman sounding far more relaxed than anyone could have expected her to be, or ever heard her to be before.

"I thought you should know."

"Know what?" the Engineer offered back as she extended her hand to actually touch the core's outer casing. "That the ablative amour has been deployed? That the ANUBIS is currently under Ghost Protocol? That all of our systems are currently working in *whisper* mode as I like to call it, or that my hair is currently standing on end?"  The smile on Sonja's face made it evident that the questions had been irrelevant, and that using the warp core's electrostatic field to cause her red hair to stand on end had been for nothing more than a show.

As the Chief Engineering Officer, the redhead knew things about the ship without having to see any consoles or be told by anyone else.  The vibrations of the deck plates and the subtle changes in the pulses coursing through the matter / antimatter reaction assembly had been all that she needed to know what was happening beyond the confines of the ship's Main Engineering. That she could also tap into the static field with such precision so as to avoid suffering a severe electrostatic jolt was yet another indication that her connection to the ANUBIS had been unlike any other crew member on board.

"My apologies," the Avatar sincerely offered. "I believed that in your current state you would have been less perceptive as to the actions around you as well as the state of the ship, obviously I was mistaken."

"You were only mistaken about me my dear," Sonja casually clarified, having withdrawn her hand from the core allowing for her hair to return to a more natural style. "Most humanoids become detached of their immediate physical surroundings when they allow their thoughts to wonder to another place, to another time. Take Maya for example, when you find her completely lost in her thoughts, you could actually move her to an entirely different section of the ship without her realizing it."

"I do not believe that she would find such a move amusing in the least," ANI pointed out, suspecting that this would be true of everyone, not only the Shillian scientist.

"Of course not, and I would never do that to her, not unless she decides to ask me to re-calibrate the Astrometrics sensors again," the Chief Engineer sighed just as her right eye twitched ever so slightly. "If she asks me to do that again, which would make it the twelfth time inside a month, which I will admit would push me over the edge, I would not hold back.  I would right there and then transport that skinny shapeshifting body of hers clear off the ship and have her sit on the outer hull where Captain Morningstar can, at one point or another, find her while he enjoys one of his lost-in-space Native American spiritual walk."

"Of course," the Avatar said, understanding that the woman had not at all been serious but in fact was joking, a contempt that the artificial woman was becoming increasingly more adapt with thanks to the constant and repeated efforts of the ship's Chief Engineer.

"As for you making a mistake," Sonja continued with a smile dancing on her lips. "Just think of me as another you. When I stand here, looking as lost as you believed me to be, it is because I am communing with the ship, listening to her, to her stories and needs. I used to do this quite a bit more but as of late things have been just too hectic for me to take the time to just stand here and listen. So, we've been catching up."

ANI looked at the redhead woman with puzzlement, unsure if this was another joke or if Sonja had actually been serious. Judging by the intonations in her voice as well as her biological readings which the Avatar could easily monitor through the ship's internal sensors, everything pointed to the Chief Engineer having been quite serious in her latest claim.

"You will have to explain to me how you are able to accomplish this link as well as why you choose to do so," the artificial being said, clearly appearing perplexed. "As I am the physical extension of the ANUBIS, you could just as easily speak to me and ask me to relay to you any mechanical requirements needing your attention or to answer any questions you may have as to the status of any system on board."

"Yes you are an extension of the ship," the Chief Engineer confirmed, "and yes you are directly linked to every system on board, that is how you were designed, but to me you are a separate entity in your own right. You are ANI, she is the ANUBIS, the two of you may share a great many things, but to me you will always be my two girls needing my individual time and attention."

Although she was an artificial being, the expression on the Avatar's face hinted to something that would have normally been only expected from an entity possessing feelings. As faint as it might have been, the confusion displayed by ANI was as real as she was.

"No need to fry any of those sensitive neuro-circuits of yours," Sonja said, reaching to take the Avatar by the shoulder. "I really don't have the time right now to replace them, so you will just have to wait until we get out of that dead zone known as Ferengi controlled space to have your system meltdown. It's either that or you get to spend the next few days in the robotics lab with your brain directly linked to a descrambler."

ANI hesitated for a moment as she tried to figure out how she needed to react to the latest statement made by the Chief Engineer. It was only after several seconds that she understood that this had been yet another joke and that no reply or acknowledgement had been required.

"Come, you can escort me back to my quarters. That way I will have an alibi should Maya suddenly finds herself in another section of the ship," Sonja said before starting to laugh, a reaction that the Avatar acknowledged with nothing more than a smile.  "Remind me to add a laugh-track subroutine to your programming. It will make my telling you all these jokes a lot more fun for everyone."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P059: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 06 - 0500 ("Drinking")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Drinking"
[previous post was "Resting and Laughing"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge, Upper Level
Stardate: 32223.0500

The night had not been as restful as she might have wanted it to be. The discussion with Nicole had helped, that there was no denying it, but Ya'Han still found herself burdened by thoughts, both from her past and would-be future.

The Nylaan kept looking out the nearest window, expecting to find familiar stars and constellations, but with the ablative armor active, the only thing she could see was the cold darkness of the inner plating. The strangest part of all this was that it did not bother her nearly as much as she expected it to. Most would have felt some positive feeling associated with returning home, or in this case in the general neighborhood, but her past and the events that had taken place on MARKALA PRIME had made certain the Nylaan would not experience such feelings.

"Will you want another?" the waitress asked of the pensive woman, the empty glass cradled in her hands as if she had wanted to make sure it would not suddenly escape.

"That would be lovely, thank you," Ya'Han replied, releasing her two-handed grip on the glass.

"Isn't it way too early for you to be drinking?" Sonja scowled her friend as she pulled out a chair. "You know me, I am all for a good drink, but you being the way you are, you should not be indulging in such a way. At least, please tell me that it was synthehol?"

The Nylaan shook her head, making it perfectly clear that the drink she had enjoyed had not been the synthetic alcohol mentioned by the Chief Engineer. The redhead had been ready to launch a verbal beating that would have left the pregnant woman with no other choice but to never again touch the now offending substance, but just as the infamous finger was pointed to he Sec/Tac the refill was placed onto the table between the two women.

"Would you like me to bring you something Lieutenant?" The waitress asked of the second woman, figuring that if one had been drinking, the other might be inclined to do the same.

Sonja sighed as she retracted the finger, the weaponized digit having no longer been required. "No, thank you," the Engineer replied, "I think I am going to have enough to swallow for a while."

Ya'Han smiled as she reached for the glass and brought it to her lips, taking a rather sizable gulp of the white liquid it contained. "Told you, it was not synthehol," the Sec/Tac confirmed, a clearly visible milk moustache gracing her upper lip.

"Yes you did," Sonja reluctantly agreed, "but I am not sure this is any better. Why not advertise to the entire ship that you are pregnant. No one gets up at 0500 to come here for a glass of milk, especially not the Chief of Security."

"Relax," the Sec/Tac suggested before taking another large gulp of her non-alcoholic drink. "Aside from the staff of two, there are only four people in the Black Hole at this moment. You and I make the first two, the other two are on the primary level well out of sight. We are alone here, so no one will see me enjoying my drinks. Plus, Nicole said that it would do me good, both physically and emotionally."

"Well," Sonja playfully huffed, "who am I go contradict the Ship's Counsellor. Still, you need t be careful, anyone could have come in the way I did and seen you drinking this vile white concoction. Unless you suddenly decided to go all Jem'Hadar on us and drink ketracel white, someone would see this and be asking a lot of questions."

"Because they would not ask any questions if I was drinking ketracel white?" Ya'Han laughed, downing the remainder of her glass of milk.

"That is not my point," Sonja dismissed with an exaggerated gesture from her hands. "What if it was the Captain who had walked in instead of me? Could have also been Maya or heck even Jayson. What would you have said to them?"

"That I felt homesick?" The Sec/Tac replied as serious as could be.

"You! Homesick?" Sonja challenged, not giving the slightest hint that she believed the woman's claim.

"It is possible," Ya'Han proposed, again sounding as serious as could be. "After a lengthy discussion with Nicole, I could have been made to see my past in an entirely different way which led me to feel homesick, and drinking milk is helping cope with those feelings."

"They don't give milk to Nylaan babies, certainly not those of the High Sovereign," Sonja argued back. "You yourself told me that. Babies are given some weird mixture of proteins and vitamins that would make a Klingon sick."

"No one else knows though," the Sec/Tac grinned. "I appreciate you wanting to make this as easy and simple as possible, but the rest of the senior staff will need to find out at some point. Each time I see Shar'El I am torn between telling her that I am with child and knowing what that knowledge will force her to do. Not telling her now is just delaying the inevitable and risks my losing her friendship, and I don't have that many friends to gamble with their feelings."

"Shar'El will understand," the redhead Engineer reassured. "I will make sure of that. As for friends, you have me. Do you truly need any more?"

"I guess not," Ya'Han giggled.

"Good, because it would have made this awkward," Sonja said as she fetched a PADD from beneath the table and slid it towards her milk-drinking friend. "I had ANI do a full passive scan of the communication network, the same thing that the IGC always does when we enter a different region of space. The difference is that I had her focus on any mention of your homeworld. This is what she was able to find."

Ya'Han stared at the inactive device, not complete certain that she wanted to see the information contained within.

"Relax," Sonja said, trying her best to imitate the Nylaan when she had said that exact same word to her. "According to the chatter out there, your father is safe and sound and appears to be doing quick well with his new personal guards."

"Personal guards?"

"I can't tell you more than what ANI was able to intercept," the Engineer specified. "Seems that he enlisted 150 elite troops to make sure nothing would happen to him. The Hirogens are just providing air support making sure that no one gets any ideas and tries to attack the whole planet. Right now, your father is one of the better protected individuals in this galaxy."

"Thank you," the exiled daughter of the High Sovereign said, placing her hand on the still inactive PADD. As much as she might have detested the man for all that he had done as well as what he had forced her to do in order to keep some level of self identity, not to mention not having to marry that Ferengi troll, she still found it in her to miss her father.

"Don't mention it," Sonja said, placing her hand over that of her friend. "ANI was also able to get some additional information on that Soturemol fellow. There was a planetary announcement made a few months ago, and by the looks of things, he has been doing well and was promoted to the rank of Chief Master Supervisor for all of the hatcheries for the southern region. If this is the same guy who Arken gave the crystal to, finding him may not be as difficult as we expected."

"One can hope," the Sec/Tac said. As great as the news about Soturemol was, it still failed to get the Nylaan excited, her thoughts having lingered on the previous news concerning her father, something that Ya'Han truly would have rather avoided. Aside from her own personal issues, the ANUBIS being inside Ferengi controlled space made things far more dangerous and unpredictable. Therefore, she needed to keep her wits about her and focus on the only thing that mattered. The now Chief Master Supervisor Soturemol and the crystal that was said to be in his possession.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P060: USS ANUBIS: Dima: DAY 6 - 0800 ("Drifting")
“Drifting”
(Continued from “Drinking” by the patient Hanali)

=/\=

“No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

=/\=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Morningstar’s Office
Stardate: 32223.0800

The new day had broken with the ship carefully cloaked in its armor, running silently into an area of space where they wouldn’t necessarily have wanted to go, except for the promise of the next crystal that resided there. The senior staff had been ordered to rest, but those orders were more easily said than followed. As much as the Dolbargy were a potential danger, the people also held fascination. It was this, as much as the away team’s dealings with the Grand Maestro, that had prevented compliance.

“Good morning, Nicole,” the CO of the ANUBIS said with his customary authoritative friendliness. “I took the liberty of getting the coffee this morning.”

“Thank you,” she said, taking a sip of the caffeinated drink, willing the aroma to make her more alert than she currently was. “Mmm.”

“I hope you slept well,” he prompted, a glimmer of concern in his eyes.

Nicole shifted awkwardly in her seat. It hadn’t been a blissful amount of sleep, but she guessed it had to have been more than Ya’Han or Maya.  “I got enough rest.”

Erik Morningstar may or may not have been satisfied with the answer, but he chose to let it drop, letting his observations lead his judgement rather than his words. “Let’s begin with Shar’El’s latest report. As you are aware, the ship entered Ghost Protocol due to the possibility of Hirogen…”


=/\=

Setting: Counsellor’s Office
Time Index: Yesterday evening about 2005

Ya’Han was unexpectedly quiet. Nicole had replicated some tea and scones, and the Sec/Tac appeared content to sample both, while examining her surroundings with a forlorn look. It was like she’d never been in Dima’s office before.

“When are you planning to tell Jayson that you’re pregnant?” Not exactly a soft opening question, but Nicole felt it was one of the most important ones. As far as duty was concerned, the little one’s existence didn’t need to be disclosed until it became a concern or a danger to either the ship or the mission. The tiny, growing collection of cells in Ya’Han’s stomach wasn’t a threat to anyone. Even then, since it was a personnel issue, Shar’El would be privy to that announcement before the Captain. But the child’s father was a different story in Ensign Dima’s mind. The times her other hosts had children, there was no subterfuge, and frankly, the Trill woman was finding Ya’Han’s secrecy difficult to understand.

“I don’t know,” she answered honestly.

“You *are* happy about this, right?” Nicole asked as she raked her hand through her short crop of dark brown hair. Maybe that was the question she should have led with.

“Oh, yes, of course.”

“Then what’s holding you back?”

Ya’Han touched her mid-section instinctively, though there were no outward signs of the life inside her... yet. “Everything’s going to change.”

“It’s a little late to be worried about that, isn’t it? Weren’t you thinking of the possible consequences?”

“I’m not in the mood to be scolded,” Ya’Han said.

Nic frowned. “That’s not my intent. But the truth, is your world and your life as you know it has already changed. Refusing to say it out loud doesn’t make it any less so.”

Ya’Han set the cup of tea down, her eyes narrowing. “I came to you expecting compassion. Perhaps I have made an error in judgment.”

Dima’s face softened, her large blue eyes growing wider as she regarded the Nylaan woman with caring wrapped with frustration. “There are times when compassion requires honesty. Since you aren’t being honest with yourself, it falls to me. Where is your mind going that you can’t share this joy with Jayson? That you don’t seem to be expressing this joy for yourself?”


=/\=

Setting: Morningstar’s Office
Time Index: Present

“Ensign?”

Nicole suddenly became aware of the Captain’s prompt. “Yes sir… I was just wondering how a genderless race could procreate by laying eggs.”

Her comment proved she had been paying attention somehow, but for a minute it seemed like she was light-years away. “You seem preoccupied.”

**Cornered is more like it** she thought, glancing down at the carpet.  “Maybe I am. What do you think about families?”

“Without them, none of us would be here. So in that sense, I’m in favor of them,” Erik quipped.

Nicole smiled. “No, I mean having children of your own, becoming a family.”

Erik Morningstar leaned back in his chair. “There was a time when that exact thing was something I wanted and worked for. Relationships take as much work as starships do- possibly more.”

“I know.” It felt odd to hear such gravity from the young woman, but it was easy to forget the lifetimes of experience that dwelled within the Dima symbiont.

“It was a chance. A chance for that kind of happiness. And chances are for taking. Don’t let anyone tell you any different,” he said wistfully.

“What happened?”

“Things don’t always work out the way we want or the way we planned. And that’s what happened. It didn’t work out.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I wouldn’t call it a blessing in disguise, but I consider my calling to be on the ANUBIS a cause worth the sacrifice. I couldn’t go back now. Nor would I want to.”

“It doesn’t make the loss of opportunity any less difficult.”

“I think it does,” Morningstar said with relative ease. “Not many know the feeling of finding a family of sorts among a crew as dedicated as you all are.”


=/\=

Setting: Cns’ Office
Location: Last night

“I feel… traumatized.” It was hard to come up with any words for the black and red haired officer to express herself, and this was the closest she could manage.

“By getting pregnant?”

Ya’Han struggled. “Not exactly.”

“Let me try to make this clear to you. Being treated the way we were in the Grand Maestro’s presence was a trauma. The danger you faced in escaping your homeworld to give yourself a better life was a trauma. The extremes of training and discipline your father subjected you to, those were a trauma. Making a baby with someone *isn’t* a trauma.”

Ya’Han nearly interrupted. “Don’t speak ill of my father. I still love him.”

Something clicked in Nic’s head. “Just because you love Jayson doesn’t mean he’s going to mistreat you. Shutting him out of this child’s life before he has the chance to prove that to you isn’t fair to either of you.”

The newly pregnant woman shook her head. “That’s not what I’m doing. This... isn’t the right time.”

For as small as she was, Nicole possessed an adamant determination. “There is no right time. There never will be a “right” time. And just because you love your father, doesn’t mean you have to accept the way he raised you. He might not ever understand that but it’s not your job to make him understand. It’s your job to make peace with it.”

Ya’Han sighed. As far as she had come, as emotionally strong as she was learning to be, she still had far to go before everything was sorted. “What’s the next step?”

“We all have pasts and we all have futures. And we have right now, this moment. You have a choice to make. Where do you want to live?”


=/\=

Location: Morningstar’s Office
Time Index: Present

“So, would Mister Confirmed Bachelor, married to no one other than his vessel, be able to handle the pitter-patter of little feet aboard the ship? Would the croup and dirty diapers prove to be the true nemesis of the ANUBIS?” Nicole teased.

“And how do you childproof a warp core? Hopefully Sonja knows.” Erik thought out loud, amused but wondering how a morning briefing had gone from DOLBAR to this. He then had an odd hunch and decided to play into it. “Counsellor, might I ask when you’re expecting?” he asked with a laugh.

“What?” she asked, nearly inaudibly, her voice almost squeaking.

“More importantly, perhaps I should ask who the father is?”

Nicole’s face turned beet red everywhere her Trill spots weren’t, and she struggled to drink another taste of coffee without sputtering. “No,” she uttered, trying to formulate a coherent sentence that didn’t betray Ya’Han’s secret. After a couple of deep breaths she got an idea. “I was just... reminiscing about childbirth experiences that I felt through the symbiont’s former hosts.”

“I see,” he replied simply but with mischief.

Nicole stood up. “If there isn’t anything else, I’ll be on my way... Good day, Captain.”

Erik smiled. Even if they weren’t finished, she hadn’t given him a chance to say otherwise before heading towards the door at the equivalent of warp eight. “You as well, Ensign.”


=/\=

Location: Bridge

Jayson Stark looked up to see the petite form of Nicole Dima exiting Morningstar’s ready room with a strange but unfathomable facial expression. He inwardly berated himself since he hadn’t noticed her arrival in the first place.

The Ops officer had busied himself with preparations for the hunt for the next crystal, making sure his console was properly calibrated and he was up to date on any information coming from Maya, but the many unknowns associated with Ya’Han were still a painful preoccupation. It was this feeling that made him feel compelled to follow the joined Trill.

Jayson practically leaped into the turbolift with her. “I need to talk to someone,” he bluntly confessed. “Are you busy?”

After a lengthy pause, Dima answered, trying to push the awkwardness from her meeting with Erik out of her mind. “Not at all.”


=/\=

Location: Cns’ Office

“I’m worried I’ve made a terrible mistake,” Jayson blurted out as soon as they crossed the threshhold into Nicole’s office. It sounded as though the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Ensign Dima began to speculate the reasons why, but realized Stark was more than willing to explain- all she had to do was ask.

“What’s wrong? What do you think you did?” She eased behind her desk and sat down while Jayson continued to pace.

“It’s about Ya’Han.”

Nicole’s mouth drew into a thin line. She felt stuck in the middle, needing to keep both parties’ interests at heart without sharing details. Had she come clean with him? The struggle for balance was real. “Did something happen?” she tried to ask innocently.

“That’s just it. She’s broken off contact with me, other than the bare minimum needed to perform our job duties responsibly. Which leads me to only one conclusion.”

“Which is?”

He hung his stubbled head. “I have done something to offend or anger her.”

Nicole considered this, careful to keep her expression neutral, and Jayson continued. “What’s worse is that I can’t come up with a way to approach her to begin to ask why.”

“I apologize that this is causing you to be stuck.”

“That’s a good way to put it.” After nearly wearing a hole in the floor, the Operations Officer sat on the couch. “I need a way to get un-stuck.”

“First, try not to be so hard on yourself. You and Ya’Han have come together through many cultural differences. You’re still learning how to communicate with each other. Think of how different your family lives were. How’s your relationship with your father?”

Any implication Nicole was trying to make sailed over Jayson’s head.  Regardless, it seemed to bring back happy memories judging by the grin he had. “When I got old enough to understand, he would take me on trade runs with him. I learned about merchandising, alien races, and eventually  got comfortable behind the helm of the different types of ships he would use. He taught me a lot of things that I use day-to-day without even thinking about it.” His face fell again. “Ya’Han’s father taught her to be Royalty. Those skills have been useful, too, but completely different. Maybe too different for us to see eye-to-eye.”

Nic got up and walked over to Jayson, putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Remember, it takes two people to have and build a relationship. You can’t always place the blame on yourself.”

Stark wanted to believe what Nicole was saying, but he wouldn’t feel better until he heard it from Ya’Han.

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS NCC-18501
M09-P061: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 06 - 0900 ("Talking")
"Talking"
[previous "Drifting"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counsellor's Office
Stardate: 32223.0900

He sat there scared, hoping, remembering. As much as the Counsellor was trying to make him feel better he could not help himself. He had spent too much time analyzing and thinking about this from every angle.

After a while Jayson had returned to the bridge to keep busy and stop thinking instead of doing. Although still off-duty he had come here to 'clean house' as it were, all this in keeping in line with what he had thought about earlier, what he had decided to do.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Stark's Quarters
Stardate: 32223.0500 (Four hours earlier that same day)

They were one day from DOLBAR, 24 hours away from the next stop which just happened to be located deep inside Ferengi controlled space. He turned in his bed, reaching around to cuddle the woman he had expected to be there, suspecting that she might need some comfort. Instead of finding someone next to him though, the off-duty OPS Officer found nothing more than a tear-stained pillow.

"I hate dreams like that," he muttered to himself as he realized that nothing had changed, he was still alone, in his quarters, unable to speak or even touch Ya'Han other than in a professional manner, and even then she did everything she could to make sure he had the shortest possible moments to do so during the more than rare occasions that she granted him.

After speaking with Commander Shar'El and asking for her help, Jayson had returned to his quarter and gone straight to bed, at least as straight as he could manage while stepping around the messes that had seemed to multiply since the last time he had been in his quarters.  It took him some time to fall asleep, but when he did the heartbroken hope-filled man dreamt that the Ullian had come to see him, to explain what the situation was and to tell him that she had been in her quarters waiting to see him.

That is where he should have realized that this was nothing but a dream as he found himself in her quarters less than a heartbeat after. If that had not been enough, the way that Ya'Han had welcomed him with open arms should have been another glaring hint that he had been nothing more than a flight of fantasy.  Still, the physical sensations he experienced had felt so real, so much so that the passionate kiss she had greeted him with still lingered on his lips.

"I can already hear Counsellor Dima now," Jayson sighed as he turned onto his back and looked up at the ceiling. "I am falling into an emotionally induced fantasy world that I need to get away from before I am no longer able to tell the difference between reality and dreams, or some psycho mumbo-jumbo like that.  All this dream means is that I miss her, aren't I allowed to?"

Being alone in his bed, no answer came to address the question he had asked. Maybe the universe might have decided to take pity on him and answer his query, but figuring his luck to be what it was, Jayson suspected that it would have been some big-eared Ferengi that would have appeared to tell him what he already knew. In short, that he needed to get a hold of himself and stop being the emotional basket case he seemed to be most of the time.

Trying his best to accept this realization, Jayson turned to look at the time display located on the side table. 0510 was the displayed time, a sequence of number that the off-duty OPS Officer found rather offensive. After all, was he not ordered to get some rest? Certainly getting up at this ungodly hour would be a violation of said order.

That excuse managed to work for the next 15 minutes or so until Jayson could no longer bare being in bed and fully awake. Reluctantly, he tossed the blanket off and swung his legs to the side. "I need to find a way to rest," he noted to himself. "If i am seen by the Commander or the Captain looking anything less than well rested, I am going to be on the receiving end of yet another blast."

As he tried to come up with some sort of relaxing activities, the OPS Officer got up and made his way to the dining area. If he was not going to get some rest sleeping, at least he would be able to get something to eat. From experience he knew that his mind worked much better with a full stomach beneath it.

The journey to the replicator was unfortunately not as simple as the man had hoped it would be. From trying to avoid stepping on an unknown mess on the floor right in the middle of the bedroom's doorway, Jayson lost his balance as he tried to kick a plate that had somehow found its way directly in his way. With it being so early and his not having obtained nearly enough sleep, it was easily to understand why the off-duty officer had been unable to navigate the expert-level obstacle course that his quarters had become.

By the time Jayson had stopped to move all together, he had found his way to the floor in front of the couch, one arm pinned beneath him while the other seemed to desperately be trying to grab hold of whatever would be in range. Having abandoned all efforts to affect his fate, he just laid there, his eye closed and oddly enough finding the position he had fallen into to be not all that uncomfortable.

"This is where I actually say that I am glad Ya'Han is not here," he muttered to himself. "This would be more then enough of a reason for her to give up on me." With that thought in mind, Jayson finally decided to return to a more presentable position, which in this case was nothing more than him sitting on the floor, his back against the front of the couch.  "How the mighty have fallen," he added, surveying the shamble mess that his quarters had become.

If something should happen and Ya'Han did find it in her heart to at the very least explain what had caused them to drift apart as they had, how would she react to seeing him quarters in such a way? He had never hidden the fact that he was not the best at keeping things clean, hence why they spent the greater majority of nights in her quarters instead of his, but this was a far cry from what things were then.

Not knowing what he had done wrong had bothered him more than he could say, but as he looked around Jayson realized that he had only made a bad situation worse. How could he claim being ready to change and fix whatever it was that had happen if he was unable to take care of what anyone could see was wrong?

He knew that cleaning his quarters would not bring her back, but at the very least it would give him something to do and show that he could learn from his mistakes instead of letting them pile one on top of another until he was unable to walk through a room without crashing down. Maybe Nicole would be proud of him for this self-discovery, and maybe she would be even appreciate seeing that he was not as much a basket case as he believed himself to be.

With that, Jayson jumped to his feet and began cleaning his quarters. With him being off-duty until further notice, he had plenty of time to dedicate to this task, and he might even have the time to invite the Counsellor for a friendly visit. By now is was a foregone conclusion that she knew he was having issues dealing with the breakup, and he believed that her seeing him picking up the mess that his life had become might win him some points, the news of which in a perfect might even make its way to Ya'Han who would allow him to know what had happened.

"Keep your head in the world of the real boy," Jayson said to himself. "Cleaning up this place is not going to have her running back into your arms. The best you can count on is at least not tripping over plates and splitting your head open. I have to do this for me first and above all else, the rest will just happen as it would have any other way. At least with clean quarters, I might not be so down on myself each and every time I walk back in here."

Having found a new purpose for the time being, Jayson grabbed whatever dirty dishes had been scattered around and made his way to the food replicator to dispose of the unsightly plates and glasses. Once that job was completed, he would move on to the dirty clothes and then to the those messes he was not entire certain of their composition or origins.

After an hour or so of non-stop cleaning, straightening and disposing of things that he could not recall having ever asked for while it its untouched or unspoiled state, the quarters of the OPS Officer were actually looking livable, at least for the most part. There was still a lot of work to be done, but the first steps had been taken.

All that remained was for him to manage to continue the task he had started while not driving himself completely nuts with thinking about what had happened and how he had come to be in his quarters, alone, and cleaning a mess that appeared to have been created by a group of drunken teenage Nausicaan who had been at the time fighting an equally incapacitated group of Klingons while a third set of rambunctious Cardassians were taking bets on who would cause the most damage to the room.

Yes, there was a lot of work for him to still get done, but the more he dedicated to the task, the more Jayson came to realize that he needed to start with himself. The quarters had only been a reflection of his inner self, and that is where he needed to truly start working.  It was now clear to him that he had done something wrong, something beyond description and that he needed to do whatever he needed to fix it, not for him, but for Ya'Han.

Fixing his quarters would be the easiest part, but he also needed to fix himself and in order to do that he needed help, and there was only one person on board the ANUBIS who could help him with that.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32223.0700 (An hour before Nicole walks into the Captain's Office)

Cleaning his quarters had been only the first step, and as much as he had managed to do, the cleaning had been only been on the surface. Jayson needed to cleanse the every system attached to his quarters, some of them having been damaged or become filled with substances that again he could not identify, or wished to. He had made a decision to accept that everything had been his fault, and that in order to rectify the situation he had to fix *everything*.

In order to convince Ya'Han that he had changed, this regardless of what it was he had done, he needed to show her that his decision had not been like his initial cleaning -- nothing more than a surface job. From the bridge he would be able to get everything as it needed to be and from there he would seek out the Counsellor when she came in for the usual morning briefing with the Captain.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counsellor's Office
Stardate: 32223.0915

He sat there with the Counsellor by his side, scared and confused.

Jayson wanted to believe everything that she had told him but he knew that the ultimate test would be to actually speak with Ya'Han. There was so much for them to say, all he could hope is that he would have the opportunity to do so before reaching DOLBAR.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P062: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 06 - 1000 ("Accepting")
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"Accepting"
[previous post was "Talking"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Block Hole Lounge, Upper level
Stardate: 32223.1000

Ya'Han sat at the exact same table where Sonja had earlier found her, but instead of a non-alcoholic white-colored drink in her hands, the Sec/Tac was holding the PADD that her friend had given her.  The news that her father was safe triggered a wide range of mix emotions that made the Nylaan think back to her conversation with Nicole.

The Counsellor had brought a great many things to the surface, things about the relationship she had with her father, the fears that this had created and that had now been instinctively transferred onto Jayson. Granted, the Chief of Operations was not perfect and had his fair share of issues and troubles, keeping his quarters remotely clean being but one of many, but he and her father could not be compared.

Jayson was attentive, caring, loving, things that her father could never have been. As the High Sovereign of NYLA IV, the man's responsibilities were to his people, not to his family, although his demands and expectations were far higher for those of his lineage. At least that was the way it felt for Ya'Han, growing up in the Imperial Palace fearing that each day could be her last should she disappointed him.

A tear made its way down her right cheek as Ya'Han recalled defending her father to Nicole. The Nylaan held onto the hatred that had driven her to run away, not only from the world she called home, but as far away as she could taking her beyond the boundaries of Ferengi space. So why had she said that she loved him when the Trill Counsellor had pointed out the truth?

There were so many things to consider, to think about and try to fit neatly into the small box that was her life. Being a Starfleet officer was a large part of what her life was thanks to her having run away, but as different as things had come to be, she still found herself seeking for his approval. Something that she would never obtain as an officer on board the ANUBIS and certainly not as the unbond mother of what the High Sovereign would certainly consider to be an abomination and insult to their bloodline.

Again, Ya'Han recalled what Nicole said, more specifically in regards to 'Where do you want to live?'  The question was not about a location, but rather a time. Did the Nylaan wish to live in the past or accept the course of events that had led her to be here and move forward? Carefully considering the options, the Sec/Tac closed her eyes and slowed her breathing as well as her heart rate, calming her body and mind as she had learned to do as a child. She needed to make a decision and waiting to do so would not help in anyway.

When her eyes reopened, the intense look in her eyes showed that a decision had been made and that she would see it through to the bitter end. Without any delays or hesitation, the now bright red-haired Nylaan woman reached for her communicator.

"Ya'Han to Jayson."

There was a notable delay in his reply, likely from him trying to make sure that he had not been dreaming. She had denied his every effort to speak to her, so Ya'Han could easily understand the confusion that the man must have been experiencing at that very moment.

=/\= Ya'Han? =/\=

"Yes Jayson," the Nylaan replied, sounding more serious than she would have liked to, but given the situation and what she wanted to say to him, the tone had been expected. "Can you meet in in the Black Hole Lounge, upper level. We need to talk."

=/\= Oh, =/\= the one word reply came through the open channel, filled with fear and sadness. That was not the way she had wanted to make him feel, the matter they would be discussing was serious but certainly not one that should have triggered such a reaction. That was when the Nylaan understood that it was not the subject that was the problem but the way she had presented their need to speak. Jayson had likely gathered by the tone of the unexpected call that Ya'Han was about to break his heart as only she would be able to.

"It's not what you think," she gently reassured. "We just need to speak, and I have to explain a few things to you that I hope will make everything clear as to why I have been acting the way I have."

=/\= I will be right there! =/\=

The channel closed before Ya'Han could even think of saying anything else, the Sec/Tac easily imagining the Chief of Operations forcing the doors to the turbolift open so that he could jump in to freefall the 16 decks that separated them. The Nylaan smiled as she thought of the man as well as some of the odd things he did. Yes, he might have some issues, but in the grander scheme of things his paled in comparison to her own, but hopefully together they would be able to make things better for the family the three of them would come to create.

When Jayson exploded into the upper level of the Black Hole Lounge, Ya'Han had been caressing her belly. Maybe she had hoped that he would notice this gesture and pick up on the hint, but given the emotional state of the man, the Sec/Tac had to be content with the fact that he had made it here without injuring or even killing himself along the way.

"Have a seat Jayson," she stated, inviting him to take the chair where Sonja had been not that long ago.

"I am so sorry," he immediately began with, seeing the bright red colored hair as a confirmation that all of this had indeed been his fault. "I know I did something wrong, but I am doing everything that I can to make things better between us, which is not easy given that I don't know what I did wrong, but still I am trying."

Ya'Han sighed, closed her eyes and instructed the man to calm down through slow and gentle gestures of her hands. Doing so also caused her hair to revert back to the black and red mixture everyone had come to know, a simple change that made Jayson understand that this had not been as simple as his having done something wrong as he had convinced himself.

"Let me speak," she said, her eyes still closed fearing that she would not be able to go through everything she needed to say if her eyes met his to see whatever fear and confusion would more than likely be discovered in them. "We come from very different backgrounds and upbringings, but that is not a reason why things cannot work between us."

"I know," Jayson said, recalling his own session with the Counsellor, only now realizing that she had been guiding him along a path that had been presented by Ya'Han and whatever discussion the two women had shared before his meeting with Nicole. "You are a daughter of the High Sovereign, ruler of an entire planet while my father is nothing more than an interplanetary trader. I mean I am not ashamed of who he is or what he does, but your father is an important figure."

"Jayson!"

"Yes Ya'Han?"

"Have you been speaking with Maya recently?"

"No. Why do you ask?"

"Because you sound awfully like her right now," Ya'Han pointed out clearly irritated. "I asked you to come here so that I could explain things to you, and in order for me to be able to do that, I need you to be quiet. That means no talking, no commenting, no sounds what so every. Understand?"

"Absolutely," he replied, instantly drawing an angered glared from the woman sitting across the small circular table from him. "Sorry," he added in a whispered voice as his shoulders visibly slouched down.

"As I was saying," Ya'Han resumed, "we come from very different backgrounds and went though very different upbringings, but beyond that we also come from very different cultures and biologies."

"We seemed to be doing quite well on the biological aspect of things," Jayson said, unable to hold back the comment, Ya'Han's words having flooded his mind with memories of their nights together.

"Maybe too well," Ya'Han sighed as she rolled her eyes, realizing that it would be impossible for him to remain quiet while she tried to explain everything.

"Too well?" He asked in a way that made the expecting mother hope that maybe, just maybe he would be able to understand what this had all been about without her having to literally spell it out for him.

"Yes, Jayson," Ya'Han calmly confirmed. Unfortunately, the confused expression on the man's face showed that he was not anywhere close to linking all of the hints he had been exposed to. She eventually sighed, accepting that this was another of his quirks and that all she needed to do was to say three simple words - I am pregnant.

Nicole had made it perfectly clear, there would never be a right time. Something would always get in he way and to avoid this Ya'Han needed to embrace the moment and jump in without hesitation. As the Sec/Tac of the USS ANUBIS, this should not have been a problem, the Nylaan having trained long and hard to confront and overcome obstacles no matter their shape and size.

"Jayson?"

"Yes Yahan?"

"I'm..."

=/\= RED ALERT! All hands to battle stations. All senior officer are to report to the bridge immediately. =/\= The urgency in Shar'El's voice made it beyond clear that this had not been a drill and that the ANUBIS was facing a grave situation.

Nicole might have been right that there would never a right time, but in this particular moment the time had been as wrong as could be. Both Jayson and Ya'Han looked at one another and nodded their understanding, they would need to continue this discussion at a later time, but in the meantime the two of them needed to act as the officers they were.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P063: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 06 - 1045 ("Confronting")
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"Confronting"
[previous post was "Accepting" by the masochist Hanali]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32223.1045

The flashing red lights of the alert condition filled the bridge, confirming to everyone on board that the situation had been real and that everyone needed to be at their stations and ready to act and react accordingly.

"As the ship changed course again?" Captain Morningstar eagerly asked, trying his best to avoid a confrontation that would very likely reveal the presence of a Federation ship inside Ferengi space.

"Yes," Ensign Jones, the Flight Control Officer, quickly confirmed. Three times the Captain ordered the ANUBIS to change course, the first time thinking that the heading of the Hirogen scout that would intercept their own was a mere coincidence. After the second change of heading, and the subsequent corresponding change by the other ship, the possibility of this having simply been a fluke had quickly vanished. Following the third change in heading by the cloaked SCARAB-Class cruiser and the near immediate course correction by the Hunters, there was now no doubts in the CO's mind.

The Hirogens were tracking the ANUBIS, this despite its cloaking armoring armor being active and all of the systems on board being at their absolute lowest working power levels.

"Reporting as ordered," the Chief of Security and Chief of Operations said as they both stepped onto the bridge before heading for their respective stations.

"We have a Hirogen scout apparently able to track us," the ExO / ILO explained to the two new arrivals. "According to the IGC there is nothing out there to explain how they are managing to see us, but the fact remains that they have so far altered course three times to stay on an intercept course with us."

"The Hirogens do have very sophisticated sensor technology, but at this distance I can't imagine them being able to see us, let alone be able to know who or what we are," Jayson stated as he sat at his station. To say that he was glad that all of the maintenance work had already been done to insure that every system would be operating at their highest possible level would be a huge understatement.

"The Hirogen scout is closing in with weapons fully armed," Ya'Han reported, ready to have the ANUBIS respond in kind. Although the ship heading their way was quite smaller, the power signature of its active weapons had been a near match for those of the ANUBIS

"As the trigger happy hunters they are, the Hirogens always have their weapons armed," Shar'El countered, her research into the race having made that point abundantly clear. "That is not an indication that they perceive us as anything more than something worth investigating. Personally though, I am more concerned with them being able to track us as precisely as they have been doing. We have no intel concerning any improvements made to their sensors that would account for this."

"Commander," the bright red-haired Chief of Security called out from the tactical station. "At their current speed, the Hirogen will be within optimal firing range in 1 minute 40 seconds."

"We may not have a choice," Shar'El said as she looked at the Captain sitting in front of her. "It is either we destroy that scout ship and avoid as best we can the others that will be coming to investigate or we turn around and head back to Federation space as we try to figure out a way to be better cloaked from their improved sensors."

"Their ability to track us may not be due to improved sensors," the Chief of Operations announced. "According to the sensor logs, the ANUBIS managed to barely miss running into an small ionized energy cloud at 0344. According to our instruments, the ablative armor was not touched or affected, but the Hirogen sensors might be picking up some residual ionization that was transfer to the outer plating. This would explain how they are able to track us and make corresponding course changes in order to get close enough to see why an ionized field, as small as it may be, is moving erratically at warp speed."

"Bridge to Lieutenant Paquette!" The ExO / ILO called out, hoping that the Chief Engineer would be able to work her magic to save them from a confrontation that would expose their presence, if not their identity and purpose, in Ferengi space.

=/\= ANI told me what's going on and I have been listening in. It will take me at least 20 seconds to send a polarize pulse through the ablative armor that in theory should rid us of whatever ionized residual energy we came in contact with. The problem is that there is no way for us to know if it worked as our sensors cannot detect whatever it is the Hirogens are currently locked on. =/\=

"Do your best, Lieutenant" the Captain ordered. "We are running out of time."

"The hirogens will be in optimal firing range in 60 seconds," Ya'Han reported. The Chief of Security suspected that their ablative armor would be more than enough to ward of the scout's attacks, but it would confirm beyond contestation that the ionized particles they were tracking was attached to a cloaked ship. As suggested by Commander Shar'El, they could engage the scout ship, but this would require the ANUBIS to retract the ablative armor in order to allow the use of weapons. Even if only specific parts of the ship were to no longer be covered by the armor, the sudden rise in the ship's energy signature could alert many others as to their presence making a bad situation worse

All eyes were on he main view screen as well as the countdown that had been added in the upper right corner to make sure everyone understood the restrictive time frame they were faced with. The number, which had started at 60 seconds, went down faster than everyone would have liked this despite the reality that the rate time passed had not changed in any way.

"Lieutenant!" The Captain abruptly said as soon as the countdown showed there only being 50 seconds remaining.

=/\= Listen, =/\= the Chief Engineer replied in her best Scottish accent. =/\= I said 20 seconds, and that's how long it will take. You calling me like this only slows me down. If you wanted a bloody miracle, ya should have asked for one in the first place. Right now, give me another 10 seconds and change course. =/\=

An awkward silence filled the bridge as everyone watched with growing trepidation the numbers on the displayed countdown drop below the 40-second mark. The Captain had to fight back asking what was happening when the displayed showed 30 and when 35 actually appeared on the screen, a general sense of panic was added to the already eerie silence that had taken over the bridge.

"Helm, new heading. 3-2-4 mark 1-4," the Captain ordered causing Shar'El to tighten her already solid grip on the armrests of her chair. The heading provided by Morningstar placing the ANUBIS on a near collision course with the quickly approaching Hirogen scout ship.

To her credit, Tanith did not seem at all phased by the heading she was given to follow, in fact the always quiet Ensign proved to be the one most relaxed on the bridge having understood perfectly what the Captain had intended to do. As Shar'El looked in the direction of the Flight Control Officer, she caught a very quick image of a memory that placed the woman in a very similar situation.

In order to remain hidden from sensors, the ANUBIS had not made any of its offensive or defensive systems active, this with the exception of the ablative armor. This would remain so as the two ships crossed path hoping that the scout would simply follow the course it was on as it tried to figure out what happened to the lost sensor signal. This maneuver would also permit the ANUBIS to test the full extent of the effectiveness of their cloaking armor against the more sensitive sensors found on the hunt dedicated Hirogen ships.

"Hirogen scout is now at point blank range," Ya'Han nervously announced. "If they see us, there will be no way for them to miss their shot." As much as she had absolute confidence in the ANUBIS being able to survive this confrontation, the Nylaan woman could not help but wish that she had told Jayson what she had wanted to say. Now, should something unexpected happen to either one of them, the woman might never be given another opportunity to share the great and happy news. One of the problems in being on board a vessel such as the ANUBIS was that things always seemed to happen and get in the way of plans, delaying some and fully cancelling others.

The command deck was again plunged into a complete silence as the view screen showed the Hirogen ship flying directly below them. The reverse angle, which was brought onto the screen immediately after, showed the ship continuing along the course that it was one, not given any indication that it could actually track the ANUBIS, which apparently no longer displayed any signs of having encountered any type of ionized energy cloud.

"Looks like it worked," Shar'El said with a sigh of relief as the Hirogen ship grew increasingly smaller on the main view screen. "It can't see us."

=/\= Yar welcome, =/\= Sonja chimed in from Main Engineering still sounding as if she was a trueborn Scottish lass, obviously the communication channel having been left opened. Given the absence of frantic screaming and the ship shaking and rocking thanks to whatever weapons the scout ship had at its disposal, the Chief Engineer knew that all had gone as planned.

"Stand down from red alert, and bring us back to Yellow alert and on course for DOLBAR," the Captain ordered, allowing himself to let out a sigh of relief as the ExO / ILO had done. "Thank you all for your quick responses. Given this unexpected turn of event I am sure that you will all agree that it would be best for all *vacations* to be cancelled effective immediately. I hope that we can all enjoy some R&R once this part of the mission is completed, but until then, I want everyone back on full duty."

"Of course Captain," Jayson joyfully complied, the odd cheerfulness in his voice drawing the attention of several people including the Ullian who quickly understood what had happened thanks to the man's memory of his interrupted chat with Ya'Han. He might not have known why she had wanted to speak to him, but the simple fact that she had done just that was more than enough to have him be on cloud nine. Due to this latest change in he two officers' relationship, Shar'El quickly turned her attention onto the Chief of Security hoping that her broadcasted memories would reveal more than those of the Chief of Operations.

Her mind being far more disciplined than that of Jayson, the current memories coming from Ya'Han did not deal in any way with the Chief of Operations. Instead, the Nylaan was happily recalling some of the Academy starship tactical training she had gone through, none of them having offered what the Captain had selected to do as a valid option. It seemed that the ExO / ILO would have to wait in order to uncover what it was that had kept the two of them apart as well as learn what had changed to see them back together, if in fact this was what had happened. With all due respect to the Terran man, his perception of this particular situation might not be entirely based in reality or facts, opting instead to desperately hold onto hopes and dreams. Still, the Nylaan did appear to be calmer, more relaxed, going as far as to allow a faint smile to appear when she would glance in his direction. 

"Commander," Captain Morningstar said, pulling the ExO / ILO out of her current train of thoughts. "I would like for you to return to the IGC and make sure that our little encounter with the Hirogen ship is not causing too many people to wonder what happened. Our journey to DOLBAR is already dangerous enough without risking running into an entire fleet of hunters trying to find what the scout might have reported on."

"Of course," Shar'El acknowledged from ExO / ILO's station located directly behind the Captain's chair. Truth be told, the Ullian would have preferred to stay on the bridge, keeping an eye on the couple to see if one of them would allow some useful hint to escape their thoughts. Now that they apparently reunited, the mystery as to what this had all been about had only grown thicker which of course meant that the Intel Operative had been that much more driven to discovering what it had all been about.

Solving that mystery, it seemed, would have to wait to another day.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P064: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 06 - 1900 ("Planning")
"Planning"
previous post was "Confronting"

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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 32223.1900

Following the too close for comfort fly-by with the Hirogen scout that had been tracking them earlier that day, the senior staff was drafted back into active service, something that the redheaded Engineer had, in all honesty, not been entirely against.  Those who knew Sonja had no problem describing her as an overly active individual, always striving for perfection and not shy to put in the time and work required to achieve it.  The Chief Engineering Officer of the USS ANUBIS was also someone who was known for keeping herself busy with all sorts of work and tasks, be them directly related to her duties or not.

One such project that stood well outside of her duties and responsibilities as Chief Engineer was the exiled Nylaan whom Sonja had taken under her wing. Ya'Han had been a force of nature in many aspects, able to easily best the strongest and fastest of them, but alas the poor lass had been rather naive in the affairs of the heart, not to mention on how to really have a good time.

It was due to this wanting to protect her friend that Sonja enlisted the assistance of the ship's Avatar. With the android fully integrated into the systems of the ANUBIS, it was child's play for ANI to keep track of the Nylaan and insure that nothing bad happened to her, or the little growing rainbow sprout within her.

"May I ask you a question?" ANI said, a puzzled expression visible on her face as she slid next to the Chief Engineer.

"I always cherish these moments when I get to bestow my knowledge and experience to you my dear," Sonja replied, severely overacting the overbearing joy she felt.

"I have been keeping watch on Lieutenant Ya'Han as you requested, monitoring her actions and reactions throughout the day," the artificial woman explained. "What I am puzzled by is that you clearly stated that she was keeping her distances from Lieutenant Stark, thus making sure that he would not be able to ask too many questions pertaining to her continued silence towards him."

"A little blunt but accurate," Sonja smiled. Despite all of the additional subroutines and effort to teach the Avatar about emotions, the task had truly proven to be a work in progress. "So my dear, what has you so puzzled?"

"Internal sensors showed an increased rate in her respiratory and cardiovascular systems every time she turned to look in his direction," ANI explained. "According to my understanding of humanoid physiology, this kind of biological response does not fit the description of someone who is attempting to keep any sort of distance between themselves and someone else. In fact, all of the data collected from Lieutenant Ya'Han over the last several hours seem to indicate that she is more than considering reducing this gap instead of keeping the status quo or even increasing said distance."

"Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap," Sonja unleashed as she prepared to scramble out of Main Engineering only to stop dead in her tracks after a few steps to turn around and look at the Avatar who had been left behind. "I don't even know where she is. Are they still on duty or have they finished their shift on the bridge?"

"Lieutenant Ya'Han and Lieutenant Stark are currently in a turbolift heading to Deck 2, their bridge shift having indeed ended a few minutes ago," ANI relayed, sending the Chief Engineer into an even more frantic outburst.

"What in the name of the darkest pits of hell are you doing rainbow girl? I can't believe that you fell for whatever charms that guy thinks he has. Must be those out of control hormones, yes that has to be it. I need to get there now before she says something that she is going to regret," Sonja blurred out, quickly running back to the Avatar who had not moved an inch. "Site-to-site transport. Get me as close to Ya'Han as possible. NO! Get me in *between* Ya'Han and that lovesick puppy. Every second wasted is just another opportunity for her to spill the beans."

The Avatar looked back at the agitated redhead, still trying to make sense of all these conflicting emotional displays.

"ANI? NOW!"

"Initiating site-to-site transport."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 2
Stardate: 32223.1915

The Avatar did the best she could to comply with the order she was given, but thanks to the two Lieutenants holding hands, ANI had been unable to materialize the Engineer directly between the Chief of Security and Chief of Operations. Although unable to comply to the exact specifications given, Sonja was still made to appear close enough for her to break their hold on one another with a rapid chop of her hand before grabbing the Nylaan by the wrist.

"Sonja! What are you doing?" Ya'Han argued but to no avail. As for Jayson, he found himself suddenly alone and completely flummoxed by what had just happened, the hand that the Nylaan had been holding still opened and now stinging from the Engineer's forceful chop against his wrist.  By the time the Chief of Operations had regained enough of his wits to react, the two women had already vanished inside the quarters of the apparently crazed and clearly frantic Chief Engineering Officer.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Paquette's quarters
Stardate: 32223.1916

"Computer! Engage emergency containment seal. No one comes in or leave these quarters," Sonja ordered as the door slid shut behind the Engineer.

"What are you doing?" Ya'Han demanded, the Nylaan not in the least bit appearing impressed by her friend or the fact that she had, for the lack of a better term, abducted the Chief of Security.

"I am making sure that you do not make a mistake that you will end up instantly regretting," the redhead explained to the other bright red-haired woman, the Nylaan appearing ready to verbally and physically lash out at her friend in a most unpleasant of ways.

After insuring that the door had been sealed as ordered, Sonja shifted her fullest attention to her guest, who it appeared, would also be an unwilling prisoner.

"Ya'Han," the redhead pleaded, not liking the fiery glare being sent her way or the flowing extra bright red coloured hair framing the visibly pissed off woman standing in front of her. "I had to act. ANI was monitoring your vitals and from what she reported to me it was clear that you were going to tell Jayson everything."

"I was going to tell him," the Chief if Security confirmed through clenched teeth.

"See," Sonja cheered feeling vindicated in her quick actions. "What would you have done without me there to help?"

"I would have told him," Ya'Han stated in a slow and controlled manner. "Just as I was about to tell him when we were in the Black Hole Lounge, at least that was before the red alert was called."

"Wait! You actually *want* to tell him?"

"Yes," the Nylaan confirmed adding an unimpressed look.

"Just so that there are no further misunderstandings here," Sonja started feeling rather uneasy. "We are talking about you telling Sir Lovesick Puppy that you are 'with child', right?" The Engineer asked using the exact words the Nylaan had grown fond of using in describing her condition.

"Yes Sonja," Ya'Han confirmed. "I want to tell Jayson that I am pregnant with his child, and that I want us to be a family, no matter what this will mean to my career."

"Oops," the redhead Engineer said, the full scale of her mistake having become painfully evident.

"Now, just unseal the door so that I can get back to Jayson and share the good news with him," Ya'Han instructed, but instead of seeing Sonja comply, the Chief Engineering Officer appeared increasingly more troubled. "What's going on?" Ya'Han asked, her anger mounting rapidly.

"I wanted to make sure that lover-boy was not going to find a way to barge in an interrupt us," Sonja sheepishly explained. "Remember, I thought you were going to just tell him everything because you had foolishly fallen for whatever sap excuse he sent your way whiles the two if you were working on the bridge. I didn't want to take any chances and it is not like I had a whole lot of time to come up with a plan."

"Sonja," Ya'Han softly growled. "Unseal the door."

"I can't," the Engineer said not having any other option but to admit to the flaw in her plan.

"Fine, then just beam me out of here," Ya'Han suggested. "Make it my quarters, or even just to the other side of that door. Just get me out of here."

"Can't do that either," Sonja sadly announced. "The emergency seal completely isolates a specific section of the ship from everything else. No one can come within the specified area or leave it for as long as the proper authorization is not given.  No transporter, not even the food replicators will be operational for as long as the seal is in place. Since I called for my quarters to be the specified area, we are stuck in here and there is only one person who is authorized to release an emergency containment seal, and unfortunately that ain't me."

"Then contact whoever it is who can unseal this door," the Chief of Security instructed having moved to the specified locked passageway to tap it with a single, demanding finger.

"The only person who can do that is the Chief Medical Officer," Sonja pointed out, actually taking a small step back to increase the distance between the brightly red coloured woman and herself. "The emergency seal was designed to stop any type of biological contingent to spread through the ship."

"Wait! What? Since Doyanne disembarked to NEW ALEXANDRIA, the ANUBIS has been without an official Chief Medical Officer," Ya'Han pointed out, stunned and in complete disbelief.

"Now you see my problem," the Engineer cautiously said. "There is one advantage though; the seal will only last for 8 hours. After that, any command-level officer will be able to unseal the door. I am sure that Shar'El will be more than happy to do this for us, that is as soon as we explain what happened to her. Hope you don;t mind her knowing as well."

"So I'm stuck in here? For 8 hours?!?"

"Yup. Sorry," Sonja offered, adding a beaming smile. "Hey, it could be worse. At least I have a few bottles of wine in the cupboard for such an emergency, and I am sure I can find some crackers in there as well. They might be a little old, but the wine will make it all better, it always does."

Ya'Han glared back at her friend and pointed to her belly, reminding Sonja that she could not indulge in such beverages due to her being pregnant.

"Oops," the redhead Engineer gulped. "I really didn't think this plan through did I?"

The fiery haired Chief of Security began to walk towards the Chief Engineer, the intensity in her eyes along with the way her combat-red hair flowed being more than enough to have Sonja truly and honestly fear for her own life.

"Listen, all I wanted to do was to help. If you decided to tell Jayson you should have told me. How was I supposed to know? When I am left to my own devices I come up with plans, granted not entirely thought out plans, but plans none the less. After all, a plan is a plan, no? It is better than not having a plan and letting your friends make a mistake that they would regret, which apparently was not the case here. I just wanted to help, that has to count for something, no? Ya'Han? You are still walking. Ya'Han!"

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M09-P065: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 06 - 1915 ("Wondering")
"Wondering"
[previous "Planning"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 2, Corridor
Stardate: 32223.1915

Today had been a day of surprises, that much was certain. Starting with the call from Ya'Han to the ANUBIS going to red alert and playing chicken with a Hirogen scout, things had moved from one unexpected to another. To see her smile each time he looked in her direction had been an equally unexpected surprise, but one that the OPS Officer had been more than happy to experience.

It felt like an eternity that they had held hands. Heck, it felt like an eternity that they had been in the same general area without feeling this awkward distance between them. Therefore, when their shift on the bridge ended and the two of them found themselves in the same turbolift, the unexpected surprise of the kiss that followed as soon as the doors were closed was again a more than welcomed experience.

As strange as the day was, as unexpected as things came to be, there was no way for Jayson to expect the attack from the Chief Engineer. It was clear that Sonja had taken more than a few things from the pages of Ya'Han's combat training manual, the woman having appeared out of nowhere to slash at his wrist to break his hold on the Chief of Security. The entire attack had taken place in only a few seconds, and left him completely stunned and lost as to understanding what had just happened.

=/\= IGC to Lieutenant Stark. =/\=

He heard the call but was too stunned to reply, his gaze locked on the door through which the two women had so unexpectedly vanished as if the end of the world had been upon them.

=/\= Jayson! This is Shar'El. Are you alright? =/\=

"Yes," the OPS Officer hesitantly replied. As much as his wrist might have hurt due to the precise hit he had received and the mental confusion he was dead in the middle of, Jayson had to confirm that he was actually 'alright'."

=/\= What happened? We just received a report that an Emergency Containing Seal was triggered in Sonja's quarters. Internal sensors did not pick up any signs of a contingent being present anywhere on board the ANUBIS, let alone in her quarters. We have no indications of any type of trouble up here. What's going on? =/\=

"I wish I knew Commander," he mumbled, shaking the stinging sensation from his wrist. "Sonja just appeared out of nowhere, grabbed Ya'Han and rushed into her quarters like a crazed lunatic. I was not even aware of a containment seal being requested. Maybe our Chief Engineer has finally lost it, her mind that is."

=/\= There has to be more to this than someone having a breakdown, =/\= Shar'El commented. =/\= Why would Sonja call for an Emergency Containment Seal, this *after* having run into the location she sealed? Grabbing Ya'Han and dragging her in with her makes even less sense, something strange is going on. Ya'Han has been acting weird and so has Sonja, more so than usual. =/\=

"You don't need to tell me Commander," Jayson said, not having the slightest clue as to what this was all about. Had Sonja's unexpected attack out of nowhere been in some way related to what Ya'Han had wanted to tell him earlier that day? Was there something between the two of them that no one else knew or were suppose to know about? If that were the case, it would go a long way to explain the manner with which the Chief of Security had been behaving when around him. This possibility though failed to explain the sudden change that Jayson had experienced first hand with Ya'Han. Why would she call him to speak and why would she smile the way she did throughout the day if this was what was going on between the two women? Had something happened between them, was Sonja caught in the throws of a jealous rage? If so, why had she spared his life? This would have been the perfect excuse for the Engineer to put actions to words having made it clear numerous times that she held no special affection for him.

No, this made even less sense than the sudden end to his exile to a world of silence by Ya'Han. There had to be another explanation, one that would sense of everything he had endured and experienced. Somewhere in this wild universe they were in a reason for her acting the way she had while still feeling for him had to be found. He could still taste the sweetness of her lips on his, a sensation that was far from hinting to whatever he had been thinking of at that precise moment. The answer had to be something else, either that or Ya'Han was suffering from a severe case of split personality causing her to switch sides without even realizing it.

Whatever had happened, Jayson was now alone, again, more confused than he had ever been. He would need to return to his quarters with the added bonus that they had now been cleaner than they had ever been, but that achievement would remain unknown for the time being. He could only hope that this matter with the Emergency Containment Seal would be resolved before they reached DOLBAR so that they could continue with their mission. At best, he might even come to learn what all of this was about, not that the OPS Officer actually expected it to make any sort of sense.  After all, the Chief Engineer was clearly involved in this, and that alone made it a near certitude that he would never anywhere close to understand either woman's reasoning behind their respective and collective actions.

Maybe Counsellor Dima would have some time to give him. This would not be his first visit, not by a longshot, nor did he expect it to be his last. At the very least, the OPS Officer would be able to share his confusion with Nicole and find some comfort in the knowledge that he would not be the only one baffled by the unexplainable events that had just taken place.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P066: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 06 - 1920 ("Accepting, Part 2")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Accepting"
[previous post was "Wondering"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Paquette's Quarters
Stardate: 32223.1920

The bright red-haired Nylaan took a single slow step forward, followed by another, and another, each time cutting down the distance that stood between the Sec/Tac and Chief Engineer who had gone as far back has her quarters permitted. Sonja appeared scared, terrified even, and judging by the way Ya'Han was clenching her fists, there was ample reasons for the natural redhead to feel the way she was.

"I only wanted to help," Sonja said, pleading with her friend. Not knowing that Ya'Han had decided to tell Jayson about the child within her had led to a sequence of misunderstanding that led to the two women being locked inside the Engineer's quarters for the next 8 hours. It was easy to see that the Sec/Tac had not at all been pleased about this and sought some sort of retribution against the one responsible for doing this. "Coma on Ya'Han, it was nothing more than a misunderstanding. You know that I would never do anything to place you or little rainbow sprout in there at risk."

Sonja pointing to Ya'Han's belly proved to be enough to instantly stop the forward progress of the Sec/Tac and divert her attention there. With both hands cradling the area where a baby bump would soon appear, the Nylaan rose her head and met the nervous gaze of her friend.

"I'm sorry. I know that you are only trying to help," Ya'Han said, the anger and rage that had been present in her eyes having all but completely vanished, even her hair had forgo the bright red to return to the purple of the woman's lineage. "I was just so focused on telling Jayson. We spent the entire shift on the bridge, exchanging glances without being able to actually speak. When my duties permitted it, I was trying to come up with the exact words I would use to tell him, but it seems that Nicole was right."

"Nicole?" Sonja repeated, trying to understand how the Counselor had found her way into this discussion. "You failed to tell me that you were going to tell Jayson, which led to my acting as I did to protect you and somehow the credit of being right goes to Counselor Dima? How did that happen?" The Engineer asked, having playfully placed the blame for this entire misunderstanding squarely onto the shoulder's of the Sec/Tac.

"Something always happens," Ya'Han seriously replied. "No matter our intentions, no matter what we do or what we plan on doing, something always gets in the way."

"Welcome to life in Starfleet," Sonja giggled. "Imagine how boring things would be if nothing unexpected ever happened. I will agree that we could all actually get our work done if this was the case, but you also have to think about all of the adventures we would not have been a part of. Our training mission to the moon of PI ALPHA III would have been just that, a training exercise instead of our finding ourselves stuck in the middle of an inter-dimensional war. Our trip on the MASQUERADE DREAMS would not have led to you running into your sister and us stopping a terrorist attack. We would not have been. We certainly would not have met Kai and helped him return to his home. Along that same train of thought we would also not have fallen in disfavor with Admiral Koniki and exiled to every corner of this universe," the Chief Engineer listed, glad to see the murderous red-haired Nylaan having been replaced by the much gentler runaway daughter of the High Sovereign.

"I know," Ya'Han noted with simplicity, her attention having once again dropped to her belly and the hands that were gently caressing it.

"Of all the unexpected things that this universe could have chosen to add to that already lengthy list or yours, you have to be at least a little happy that *this* is what happened to you," Sonja added, smiling as she pointed once more to the belly of her friend.

Ya'Han smiled as she looked down, considering how much her life would change, how much all of their lives would change. "So," the Nylaan said, looking up at the Terran woman, the smile that had appeared on her lips still very much there, "what do we do for the next 8 hours or so?"

"Wine is obviously out of the question, and with all systems cut-off with the exception of the bare essential power and life support,, we could always play cards. I hope you know *fetch* and *goldfish*?" Sonja suggested.

"With 8 hours to kill, I actually believe that it might be better if I do not know those games and you teach me," Ya'Han playfully smiled.

"Or you could teach me some of the games you played as a child," the redhead Engineer offered in return.

"I was the youngest daughter of the High Sovereign of NYLA IV, remember?" Ya'Han teased. "Games were not something that was on my list of things to learn, and even less on my daily schedule of things to do."

"Well," Sonja grinned=, rubbing her hands together vigorously. "We are going to have to change that, aren't we. Can't have little rainbow sprout in there grow up without his or her mother knowing how to have fun, now can we?"

"I have the feeling that all fun activities will be amply taken care of by a certain aunt," Ya'Han pointed out, casting a pleased look at Sonja.

"You really think we will be able to track Ya'Jun and that she will actually want to play aunty?" Sonja teased back. Upon seeing the expression on the Nylaan's face change to something far less pleasant, the Engineer quickly corrected herself. "Oh, you mean me! I may not be all that good with playing 'peekaboo' or 'where's your nose', but I can play a wicked game of hide and seek through the Jefferies tubes of the ANUBIS. Either that or I could teach the little rainbow sprout how to play jump frog over the magnetic coils in the warp nacelles. Bet that would make everyone hair stand on end," she continued breaking out into full blow laughter afterward.

"I think I would like that," Ya'Han said, her smile having actually grown larger. "Thank you for being such a good friend, at least when you are not keeping me locked in your quarters for an 8 hour stretch."

"Only 7 hours and 40 minutes to go," Sonja corrected. "In between my teaching you how to play cards and finding more ways to bestow my knowledge and expertise onto mini you, I am sure that we won't see the time pass."

Ya'Han simply smiled and shook her head. The universe might always sent things to get in the way of plans, but it also seemed to find a way to send along with those obstacles a way to make them more interesting and acceptable, at least that was the way the purple-haired Nylaan was seeing things at that moment.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P067: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 06 - 2010 ("Understanding")
=-=
"Understanding"
[previous post was "Accepting, Part 2" by the accommodating Hanali]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 32223.2010

Every indicator showed that all was as it should be throughout the ANUBIS, that is with the exception of the Emergency Containment Seal being in effect, isolating the Quarters of lieutenant Paquette from the rest of the ship. The account of Lieutenant Stark as to what happened had not been helpful in the least, raising more questions than it answered. One thing was certain though, Sonja was at the center of whatever it was that was going on, and would be the one to give the ExO / ILO the answers she needed, one way or an other.

"Can we talk now?" Shar'El asked, her previous several attempts to get any sort of information from Sonja or even Ya'Han having been flat out denied.

=/\= I am sorry, but the party you are trying to reach is not available at this time, =/\= a very bad imitation of a computerized voice said, the tone of the voice hinting that it was the Chief Engineer trying to be funny.

"Sonja!"

=/\= Come on Shar'El, we are stuck in here for another 7 hours, at leas let us have some fun, =/\= the Chief Engineer proposed, clearly indicating that there was no need for the Emergency Containment Seal that she had herself called for.

"I will be more than happy to grant you those hours of tranquility and peace, that is as soon as you tell me why you called for an Emergency Containment Seal of your own quarters," Shar'El offered, the sternness of her voice hinting that this was much more than a friendly request. As the ANUBIS' ExO / ILO she was *required* to know about every situation taking place on board the ship so that she could report back to the Captain with any pertinent details that could possibly affect a mission, even in the slightest possible aspects. In this case, having both the Chief Engineering Officer and Chief of Security locked up in quarters without any way to get out for the next 7 hours certainly qualified as having more than a possible impact on their current mission inside Ferengi space.

=/\= Can't a girl want to spend some quality and quiet time with a friend? =/\= Sonja asked, trying to sound upset, as if this had been something that was, for one reason or another, owed to both her and Ya'Han. Now, there might have been an actual valid reason for this, but since Shar'El knew of nothing that could justify this, the ExO / ILO had no other choice but to play the game without mercy.

"If you two wanted some private time together, you could have asked," Shar'El said in all seriousness.  The ExO / ILO knew that this was not the case, neither women having given any hint of a possible affection towards the other beyond that of being friends, but this was the best way to force Sonja and Ya'Han to reveal the true reason behind this increasingly puzzling behavior of theirs. "I am sure that you are well aware that neither the Captain nor I discriminate or enforce our personal opinions on the crew when it comes to personal life choices. That said though, I truly hope that you have taken Jayson's feelings and position in your decision as he is clearly upset and confused following what happened in the corridor."

=/\= What? =/\= Sonja gasped, her sentiment quickly followed by an equally outraged expression from her fellow cellmate.

=/\= That is not what is happening here, =/\= Ya'Han frantically exclaimed. =/\= Come on Sonja, tell her. =/\=

=/\= Tell her what? =/\= the Chief Engineer continued, her voice having shifted back to being as serious as could be. =/\= That Jayson is not the *man* you need, the one who can take care of you the way you have always wanted to be? That as soon as this mission is over you and I are planning on stealing a shuttlecraft and make our way to the nearest habitable planet and create a life of our own there, away from the judgemental glares of the universe? =/\=

=/\= SONJA! =/\= The sound that followed the Nylaan's screaming the other woman's name in clear discontent left no doubt in anyone's mind in the IGC that the Chief Engineer would have more than her hair show a distinct red hue.

"I should not need to remind you ladies that you are on an open channel and that everyone here in the IGC can hear you," Shar'El continued, further forcing the women locked inside the Emergency Containment Seal to consider clarifying the situation with the truth. "Although I trust each and every one of my techniciens implicitly, I cannot control what they do or say outside of the IGC."

=/\= You don't play nice, you do know that right? =/\= Sonja stated, the serious tone of her voice having drastically shifted to reflect a more submissive one. =/\= Fine, but understand that we cannot just say it. So, stand-by, you should be getting something on your monitor shortly. =/\=

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Paquette's Quarters
Stardate: 32223.2030

"She truly did not give us any choice," Ya'Han said, coming to the realization that Shar'El would be the next member of the senior staff to know about her pregnancy.

"She's the Intel Operative for a reason," Sonja noted, rubbing her shoulder where the Chief of Security had hit her earlier. "She can hit as hard as you, although her weapon of choice is her mind instead of her fists. Either way, I seem to be the one with the bruises."

"Sorry about that," Ya'Han said, apologising for the rapid strike hit she unleashed against her friend for what she was saying, the Chief of Security not having held back as much as she maybe should have, but in some ways Sonja had deserved it for all that she had done and said up to this point. "How were you planning on having me tell Shar'El without letting everyone in the IGC know? I think that writing a note is a little impersonal, don't you think."

"I agree, that is why I was thinking along the lines of something that would challenge her in a way that an Intel Operative would actually appreciate while at the same time making it perfectly clear as to what is happening," the Chief Engineer explained, a devious grin planing on her lips.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 32223.2045

Shar'El waited patiently for whatever it was that Sonja had mentioned to appear on her monitor. It would be easy enough for the Chief Engineer to request a secured transmission to this particular station, but that did not give any additional hints as to what the ExO / ILO should be expecting.

Would Sonja chose to send her a written message explaining the situation? Would she try to be funny as she always tried to be and send some sort of image that might or might not easy detail the specifics of this story to clear away the veil of mystery surrounding it?  Knowing the Engineer as she did, the ExO / ILO knew that there was nothing that could be classified as being outside of the woman's range, so she waited.

A few minutes later, an image created by a tricorder scan appeared on the central monitor of the control station of the IGC. The image appeared blurry at first, without any distinguishable details, that was until Shar'El was able to identify the colors and shapes as being found within the humanoid body, more specifically a woman in the earliest stages of pregnancy.

It actually took the ExO / ILO several moment to let the significance of this image sink in. One of them was pregnant but the tricorder scan had not been details enough to reveal the identity of the mother-to-be. Obviously, both had been biologically capable of becoming pregnant, so the answer would have to be found elsewhere. With Ya'Han being in a relationship with Jayson, the odds had quickly shifted in her favor as being the one, but Shar'El had not been ready to so quickly dismiss Sonja's candidacy.

Whoever had taken this scan had been hyper careful to hide any details that might identify the person, likely to insure that the secret remain that should the image find its way to the general population of the ship. That by itself hinted the need for the mother-to-be in wanting to keep this a secret, and between the two possibilities, Ya'Han's name once again came to the top. As the Chief of Security, it would make sense that she wanted to keep this a secret, not to mention that fact that this festive news might draw some less than desired attention onto her from people whom she had distanced herself from many years ago. Now, the odds of anyone beyond the ANUBIS finding out that she was pregnant had been next to nil, but Shar'El could understand the psychological need to insure that possibility never came to be.

Reviewing all of the hints that she had gathered over the last few days, the ExO / ILO narrowed the possible candidate to a single woman. It explained everything including the isolation the poor Chief of Operations hd been subjected to without knowing why.

"Ya'Han?", Shar'El called out after having reopened the communications channel.

=/\= Yes Shar'El? =/\= The Nylaan replied, sounding a little nervous, wondering what kind of reaction the ExO / ILO would have to the news.

"I will see the both of you as soon as the Emergency Containment Seal is removed," the ExO / ILO said in a mildly joyous tone, letting it know that she knew and was happy for her friend without revealing anything to the staff of the IGC.

Ya'Han and Shar'El would be able to discuss this further in a more private setting then, so for the time being the ExO / ILO had been more than content with leaving things as they were. This simple image allowed the Ullian to understand why their Chief of Security had been acting so strangely as well as explaining why their common friend had been in such a high geared protective mode.  The timing for the containment's unleashing would make it tight as they would likely be near or already within the DOLBAR system, but that would hopefully only delay by a few hours the chat they the two of them would have.

What Shar'El needed to remind herself was to speak to Ya'Han as a friend first before shifting the discussion onto the more serious and official matter of how this would come to affect Ya'Han as the ANUBIS' Chief of Security?

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist
USS BASTET
M09-P068: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 07 - 0320 ("Laughing")
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"Laughing"
[previous post was "Understanding"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Paquette's Quarters
Stardate: 32224.0320

The echoes of the laughter from the evening before could still be heard, having stretched into the night and early morning hours of the next day. Captain Morningstar had wished for his officers to get some rest, and that was exactly what Sonja and Ya'Han had done. The method in which they accomplished this might not have been what the Commanding Officer had expected, but the final result would be the same. The two women locked in these quarters had made the best of a bad situation and would not find any reason to complain by the time it would come to an end.

Sonja had set up a small timer on the edge of the table. At first, it was meant to show them how much time they had left, but the slow countdown had turned into a game with rules changing every time they glanced at the lowering numbers. Feeling more relaxed than either had in a long time, the women eventually fell into a restful slumber that would be unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of a third woman inside the sealed quarters.

"Good morning ladies," Shar'El said, looking down at the two sleeping women who had passed out on the couch, a strange collection of blankets, feathers and shredded pillows covering the near entirety of the room's floor. "I hope you *all* survived the war that I am guessing took place here last night," the Commander said, adding the emphasis to confirm that she did understand that there were more than two people in the room before she stepped in.

"We had to shift to pillows," Sonja muttered still in the process of waking. "My shoulders couldn't handle any more of the abuse they were being subjected to by the 'Mad Mother' over there."  The accusing finger that was directed towards the Nylaan was suddenly retracted as the redhead Engineer realised what she had done. Ya'Han being pregnant was a secret, the knowledge of which was highly restricted to a select few.

Sonja was the first to be trusted with this secret, followed by Nicole, and now the Engineer feared that her statement and gesture made while half-asleep would see another to be added to this very small list. That was when the redhead looked up and her vision cleared enough to identify the person whom had been a witness to this little display.

"Shar'El? What are you doing in here?" Sonja asked, recalling that the woman had also been informed of the Nylaan's condition thanks to a small little picture that no one else could have understood the significance of. "We are locked inside my quarters for 8 hours due to the Emergency Confinement Seal."

"I know," the Commander laughed as memories from the night before were broadcasted by the Trerran for the Ullian to see. "It's been 8 hours and after that time elapsed, a Command Level officer such as I myself was able to break the seal, which I did. So, here I am."

"Is it morning?" Ya'Han groggily asked, the discussion between the Chief Engineer and First Officer having drawn her out of her slumber.

"The time is 0330," Shar'El announced. I would have left you two sleep in longer but the Captain wanted an update on the situation and would like all senior officers at their post by 0500, which is when we will be entering the DOLBAR System."

"Does the Captain know?" The Sec/Tac asked, having fully woken up in the blink of an eye.

"Know what?" The Commander teased, "That the Emergency Containment Seal was triggered by mistake or that it is becoming increasingly evident that we are in a desperate need to have a Chief Medical Officer on board the ANUBIS?"

"You convinced him that this was all a mistake?" Sonja giggled, a little shocked that the Captain would not have pushed the issue more than he had. Over the course of the previous evening, the Chief Engineer had plenty of time to realize the scope of her actions. Having so little time to act, not knowing that Ya'Han had intended to tell Jayson of her condition, the redhead Engineer had gone with the first thing that came into her head to meet all of the specifications she had wanted to enact. The Emergency Containment Seal had been at that time the perfect method to insure that Ya'Han would not be able to leave and to make sure Jayson, or anyone else for that matter, would be able to come in.

"I might not have *convinced* the Captain of anything," Shar'El clarified. "What I did do was to reassure him that all was under control and that I would see it personally that every member of the senior staff would be ready for duty before we enter the DOLBAR system, which now gives you ladies about an hour to freshen up and report to the bridge."

"An hour?" That's not a lot of time." Sonja argued.

"It's the best I could do given that your entire quarters were sealed just as tightly as Ya'Han's mind," Shar'El said, sending a smile to the Nylaan. "Once this latest crystal is in our possession, you and I will need to talk."

"I know," Ya'Han sighed. That had been the main reason why she had decided to delay telling Shar'El about being pregnant, but after what happened there was no other choice. "Before then, please know that I wanted to tell you, that I wanted to share this with you, but I knew that it would put you in an awkward situation being not only my friend but also the First Officer. After telling Jayson we were going to go and see you together and accept whatever decision you deemed necessary."

"You should have trusted me to be your friend first," Shar'El said, actually finding it strange to hear herself say those words. Up until she had come on board this vessel, friends were a luxury that the ILO could never indulge in, being as she believed, at the time, a waste of time and a weakness that could be exploited. Oddly enough, that way of thinking had so gradually changed over her time on the ANUBIS that she had no even realised just how precious her friends had become to her.

"I'm sorry," Ya'Han said, hoping that this would not change the way their friendship had evolved.

"Don't be," Shar'El smiled. "You reacted as a mother, wanting to protect yourself and your child to the best of your abilities. I cannot fault you with that; no one could, not in the least. I can only hope that my recent actions and reactions will prove to you that I am here for you as a friend first. We will figure out the rest after."

"Thank you," the Sec/Tac said, grateful once again to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32224.0500

The Captain welcomed the Sec/Tac back onto the bridge without any fuss. Evidently, as far as he was concerned, the matter of two of his officers having been locked in a room had been a 'done and over with' issue.

"Our journey to DOLBAR proved to be far easier than expected," Shar'El announced. "For reasons that we are not yet aware of, the Hirogens are clearly avoiding this system. This meant that we did not have to play hide-and-seek with their patrols and were able to take a straight line in at maximum speed. This allowed up to make up the time we lost after that first scout ship was able to track us."

"Confirmed," the Sec/Tac announced. "Tactical sensors are not detecting any Hirogen ships anywhere in the vicinity of the DOLBAR System."

"I'm not sure if this a good thing or if it is something that we should be concerned about," Jayson said, glancing over to Ya'Han who simply smiled.

She wanted to tell him, but again now was not the time. Maybe it would have been easier if Ya'Han made a ship-wide announcement, but that would certainly cause more commotion than the ANUBIS needed to deal with at this time. There would be plenty of time after they obtained this crystal for them to talk and celebrate, that she would make sure of.

"Captain!" Ya'Han exclaimed, something having appeared on her tactical console. "We are being scanned."

"The planetary system appears to be surrounded by numerous small satellites no larger than a half a meter in circumference," Jayson reported. "Our sensors did detect them earlier but given that there was no energy output noticed coming from them, it was assumed that these were nothing more than inert markers. One of the reasons we suspected would explain why the Hirogens are avoiding this area."

"Helm, full stop!" The Captain ordered, wanting to figure out what was happening before heading deeper into the star system.

"Our problem is that we know very little about the Dolbargy or their technology," Counselor Dima noted. "Those small satellites could have easily been nothing more than the markers we thought them to be, placed there to warn outsiders that they are about to enter a restricted region of space."

"From what I can recall of this race, they are not the xenophobic or isolationist type, in fact I clearly remember them having extensive trade and tourism industries," Ya'Han said, clearly puzzled by what they just encountered.

"Well, whatever they are and whatever they are meant to do, they know we are here," Shar'El noted with great disdain. "I don't think that even a cloaked vessel would be able to cross this border without being detected. That might be the reason for this, and it would explain why the Hirogens are staying away."

"Should we go to red alert Captain?" The Sec/Tac asked, her fingers already hovering over the controls. After having made it this far without being detected, this latest unexpected turn of event was sure to make things more difficult than they already were for them, Ya'Han easily envisioning every Hirogen ship in Ferengi space rushing in to intercept.

The Captain shook his head no, waiting to see what would happen next. Seconds grew into minutes and still their instruments showed nothing new.

"The IGC has confirmed that no transmissions were sent to alert the Hirogens as to the presence of an unknown ship at our current location," Shar'El reported. "Those ships that our long-range sensors are able to track have not shown any indication of changing course or in any way responding to some emergency. The fact that we were scanned and detected might be nothing more than an early warning system to let the Dolbargy know that they are about to have visitors."

The Captain sighed, clearly unhappy with this latest bump on their journey to retrieve the fifth crystal. Why had Professor Arken made things so complicated? Their orders though had been very precise; they were to get those crystals, no matter what.  "Wouldn't want to keep them waiting," the Commanding Officer said, not hiding his discontent that the ANUBIS was scanned and detected but having little choice in what they could do about it. "Ensign Jones, resume course for DOLBAR, but take us in at half impulse. If something is going to be there waiting for us, I want to make sure we see them before they have a chance to act. Lieutenant Ya'Han, hold on to that red alert for the moment. Let's see how this plays out first."

"Yes Captain," the Sec/Tac confirmed, glancing at the Operations Officer for a brief moment. The more things got in their way, the more driven the Nylaan was becoming in telling Jayson about her situation in the quickest possible way so as to avoid something else interrupting her. Maybe the rapid reveal would take away from the sweetness of the moment, but judging by the endless sequence of things happening, she would need to make the best of whatever few seconds she would get. Those seconds though would not be for a while as everyone on the bridge was on edge as they pushed further into the DOLBAR System without knowing what would happen next.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M09-P069: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 07 - 0530 ("Arriving")
##########
"Arriving"
Previous post "Laughing"
##########

"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth."
- Patti Smith

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32224.0530

Since the ANUBIS discovered the first set of sensor satellites at the outer edge of the DOLBAR solar system, the ship had encountered two more such detection net making it impossible for the Federation vessel, or any other one for that matter, to make it to the inner system without being thoroughly tracked. The best the Native American could hope for was that the cloaking armour would still hide *who* they were if not *where* they were.

"We will be in orbit of DOLBAR in just under 4 minutes," Ensign Jones reported from the Flight Control station, breaking the silence that had taken over since they forced their way through the last sensor net.

"I will admit that with all of the sensor scans we have gone through to get here, I was expecting some sort of welcoming party," Commander Shar'El said, the sarcasm in her voice loud and clear.

"Getting scanned as many times as we did is more than enough for my liking," the Native American unhappily stated, clenching at the armrests of his chair. Being in command of a ship designed to be as stealthy as possible given its size and tactical capabilities had made the Captain somewhat uncomfortable with the reality that they had been scanned and tracked all the way from the edge of the system to where they were now. Experience told him that this could not end well.

"Captain," Lieutenant Ya'Han called out from the Tactical station. "It appears that we have one more sensor net to go through before we can actually reach the planet's orbit."

"For a race claiming to welcome outsiders, as their extensive tourism industry would indicate, they are sure coming across as being on the far side of paranoia," Erik pointed out, rolling his eye, thus further displaying his frustration with the whole situation.

"As friendly as they may be," Nicole chimed in. "You do have to keep in mind that they are inside Ferengi space, and that should be more than enough to make anyone a little paranoid."

As humorous as the comment was meant to be, in the hopes of lifting some of the stress felt by everyone, Ya'Han readily nodded her agreement confirming the statement as being genuine and correct. As a Nylaan, she had experienced such feelings and reactions first hand in her youth when dealing with the Ferengi. What followed next proved to cancel whatever levity was created by the Counsellor's comment as a powerful energy wave swept through the bridge causing some of the officers to actually feel a sense of extreme dizziness.

"What happened?" The Native American quickly inquired certain that all of his misgivings were about to be proven true.

"It appears that we have been scanned, again, but this time the sensor beams actually went through the ablative amour," the Chief of Operations reported with astonishment. "That said, it appears that the energy wave had no effect on any of our systems. According to our own sensors, the sweep was more along the type used for medical scans than anything else, although it did travel through the entire ship as if we had not even been there."

"Confirmed Captain," the Chief Science Officer continued. "The amplitude of the energy wave that was used for this most recent scan covered the full spectrum used to complete a medical examination, a thorough one at that. The energy used though was tachyon based, which explains how it managed to pass through the ablative armor and the ship's hull without any difficulty. I would suspect that based on the range and complexity of these readings, the scan, as short as it might have been, likely has provided whoever created it with very detailed information as to the full crew's physical and medical condition."

Shar'El and Nicole simultaneously glanced at the Chief of Security who could do nothing more than shrug her shoulders, the two women being two-thirds of those who were aware of the woman's condition. That the Nylaan might have liked it or not, it seemed that someone else had possibly become aware of her pregnancy.

=/\= Main Engineering to bridge, =/\= Sonja's voice came over the channel, the Chief Engineer sounding more than a little upset. =/\= What the heck was that scan that went through the ship? I have several people down here saying they feel dizzy and can barely stand straight, and this is without my giving them any wine. How did that energy wave get passed the ablative cloak and all the way down here? Are we under attack? =/\=

"This was not an attack," Maya quickly pointed out, the scientist making an observation in order to not risk some sort of misunderstanding that would led to this turning into an armed conflict. "Although the scan was thorough, as mentioned by Lieutenant Stark, none of our systems were affected in the slightest. All computer functions show to be exactly as they were prior to the scan. It is possible that due to the strength and amplitude of the tachyon-based sensor sweep, some of the crew were made to experience a sense of dizziness, nothing more."

"I for one can vouch for the effects of that sensor sweep," Shar'El said, having reached out to whatever was closest to steady herself, the dizziness she experienced having nearly caused her to tip over.

"Captain," Jayson called out once more. "We are being hailed."

"There goes the idea of us being up here in orbit incognito," the First Officer sighed thinking, as best she could due to her dizziness, that the ANUBIS might has well have not bothered using the cloaking armour in an effort to keep their presence in Ferengi space a secret.

"I guess our trying to deny that we are actually here would be pointless at this time," the Native American said, reluctantly accepting the fact that all of their efforts at stealth had failed to a never before imagined level. "Fine, put them on main view screen. Our only way out of this mess is to get the crystal as quickly as possible and limit our exposure while within Ferengi borders."

With a nod of his head, the Chief of Operations acknowledged the order given before opening the communications channel. A second or so later, a humanoid figure appeared on the large screen located at the front of the command deck.

[/\] Welcome to DOLBAR, we do apologies for any discomfort our sensor sweep might have caused any members of your crew. It is meant only as a precautionary measure to insure that everyone who visits our world is without any sorts of contaminants or anything that could be harmful to our ecosystem. Now, how may we help you today? [/\]

"At least they do sound like a friendly bunch," Jayson noted under his breath.

"My name is Erik," the Captain began making sure to keep his last name, rank and ship he commanded out of the conversation. "I would like, if at all possible, to set up a meeting with a gentleman by the name of Soturemol. According to my information, he was some time ago the supervisor of a hatchery but as we understand it, may have recently been promoted to the position of Chief Master Supervisor. We would require only a few minutes of his time to discuss a business exchange."

[/\] I will see what I can do. Please stand by and keep this channel open, [/\] the man pleasantly replied before the image switched to the orbital view of the planet.

"You do have to admit that not needing for us to hide is making this a lot easier," Nicole pointed out, trying her best to keep a positive spin on their current situation.

"Short-term gain as compared to the long-term hell we and the Federation might very well end up facing," Erik countered with. "Imagine the uproar from the New Ferengi Alliance the moment they learn about a Federation ship having not only breached their border without permission but made it to orbit of one of their worlds under the pretense of conducting a business transaction. They would likely be less upset if we had come here looking to start a fight, but this is going to rub those overgrown ears of theirs in every wrong way imaginable," the Captain paused for a moment, considering the full extent of what he had just detailed. "Whatever is in those crystals better be worth the war we might have just started by being here."

"Captain," Jayson called out. "We are being hailed once again, this time by Soturemol himself."

"See," the Counsellor grinned, showing off the main view screen a la Vanna White. "This is a lot easier than if we were sneaking around. Stay positive and the universe will provide."

Ya'Han could not help but briefly chuckle. "That's an interesting twist on the Ferengi's belief of the Great Material Continuum."

"If it works," Nicole giggled back, glancing at the Captain as she did so.

"Ladies," the Native American said, calling order back onto the bridge. "On screen," Erik instructed as soon as he was satisfied that the command deck had returned to display a more proper protocol.

[/\] Welcome to DOLBAR Erik, I am Chief Master Supervisor Soturemol, how may I assist you? I was informed that you are seeking a meeting with me in regards to a business exchange. [/\] the humanoid asked, his eyes scanning the members of the crew he could see to stop on the Chief of Security.

"If possible we would like to meet with you and discuss your terms in regards to the transfer of a certain item that was placed in your care by a scientist and common friend of ours," Erik explained, doing his best to be as vague as possible in case the communication was being listened in on by others."

[/\] You have nothing to worry about Erik; this communication is secured as is your ship. No one knows that you are here. All of the sensor nets you encountered are only for the protection of this world and are not monitored by any outside forces including the Ferengi Alliance. You, your crew, and your ship are safe. [/\]

"Thank you for your reassurances, but I would still prefer if we took care of things quickly," the Native American clarified. Despite the claims made by the Chief Master Supervisor, the ANUBIS was still deep inside unfriendly territory without any authorization.

[/\] You are Nylaan, are you not? [/\] Soturemol asked, his attention having remained on the black and red haired woman.

Ya'Han quickly checked with her Captain to make sure she could answer truthfully, which the Native American agreed to, again reluctantly but seeing any deception as a possible hindrance to the successful completion of their mission. They had simply come too far to be delayed or even stopped by something so simple.

"Yes I am," the Chief of Security confirmed.

[/\] You have grown from the little girl I saw back then, and your hair, not the colour I would have expected from a daughter of the High Sovereign, [/\] the Dolbargy announced, clearly showing that he had recognized the Nylaan for who she was, or at least whom she had been when he had last seen her. [/\] I would be honoured to have you come down. We can discuss this exchange you mentioned over dinner. [/\]

With a gesture of his hand, Captain Morningstar instructed his First Officer to get an away team ready but before Shar'El could even start to move, the Dolbargy jumped back in.

[/\] Erik, I would much prefer if it were you who came down, along with your Nylaan friend. I would feel far more at least discussing this exchange with people I have become familiar with, even if only by a few quick moments. If you wish, you can bring down one other, say the lady sitting right there at the front. [/\]

"Tanith?" The Native American said, not having expected the Flight Control Officer to have been selected

"Me?" The Ensign said, echoing the Captain's surprise.

[/\] Yes, [/\] Soturemol happily confirmed. [/\] I promise that no harm will come to any of you. You will be my honoured guests and will be delighted in having such grand company. I understand that you are in a hurry, but please, indulge this old man in his simple and innocent request. It will make our discussion of the exchange of the item you seek that much quicker for you, and pleasant for me. [/\]

"Very well, we will beam down shortly," the Native American reluctantly agreed.

[/\] Wonderful! I will transmit the beam down coordinates shortly. I anxiously await your arrival. [/\]

The moment the main screen returned to the orbital image of the planet, Shar'El immediately voiced her objection. "I don't like this."

"Neither do I but we have no other option," the Captain pointed out. "Lieutenant Ya'Han, do you believe we can trust him?"

"I met the man once many years ago," the Nylaan woman replied. "My first impression of him was that he was kind, but as we all know, time has a way of changing people."

"Ensign Jones, Lieutenant Ya'Han, you are with me," the Captain said motioning to the two women to follow. "Commander, the ship is yours. Keep your eye open."

"We will," Shar'El acknowledged before turning to the Chief of Security who was walking right by her. "You take care of *everyone*," the Commander said as she glanced down at the woman's belly. As the First Officer of the ANUBIS, she had been clear in her instructions to safeguard the other members of the away team, but as a friend she had also wanted to make sure Ya'Han knew to take care of herself and protect the life growing within her.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M09-P070: USS ANUBIS: Dima: Day 07 - 0535 ("Avoiding")
“Avoiding”
(Continued from “Arriving”)

=/\=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32224.0535

Ensign Dima watched as the three-person away team left the Bridge. As much as she had tried to keep the mood light, the ANUBIS was in a very tenuous position. They had successfully avoided the Hirogen, an obvious military threat, only to find their presence and actions heavily tracked and documented by DOLBAR, a Ferengi Alliance world. Morningstar’s assessment that the Ferengi would not take kindly to this intrusion was spot-on. If she were a gambler, Nicole would put their chances against the Ferengi as better than those against the Hirogen, but the reality was she would prefer not to face either of them.

Soturemol, their apparent host on the planet below, had not acted in any way other than similar to the the old memories of Ya’Han’s description of him, but that could been merely a display, designed to lure the Captain and others into some kind of trap. It seemed clear that all of the senior staff were thinking that in their own ways, but those misgivings could not prevent them from seeing their duties through.

Shar’El had said something to Ya’Han before the Nylaan entered the turbolift. The Counsellor observed the connection between the two women. It was clear to her now that the Intel operative was in on the secret, that before Sonja’s little lockdown stunt, was only known to Nicole and the Engineer.

The joined Trill’s heart sank when she realized that Jayson was still unaware of the life growing inside of the woman he loved. Nic also remembered Ya’Han stating she had been waiting for an opportune time to inform him. And even though Dima believed there was no such thing, there was a certainty that the during the middle of a crystal gathering stop was most definitely *not* a good time.

It was then that she noticed Stark staring at her. She was not especially good at hiding her feelings, and the facial expressions throughout her inner narrative had caught the man’s attention. “What’s wrong?”

She stiffened. Professional confidentiality was one of the tenets of her position. She looked to Shar’El and Maya with a concern that she was able to voice. “Is there any way to scramble the scanning technology, or render it inert, so we can make a quick escape if we need to?”

The dark haired ExO nodded slightly at the young woman. “Is your optimism being traded for realism?”

“Maybe,” Nicole admitted. “I am hopeful with the away team’s experience they can obtain what we are seeking, but there is a saying I’m reminded of also: ‘hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.’”

The Ullian agreed that caution was the word of the day. “Trust from these people is not a guarantee, and they currently have the crystal *and* the upper hand.”

The Shillian Scientist chimed in, eyes focused on a stream of information at the console. “I have been studying our readings of their readings and scans and compiling all the data. Their quantum field mechanics are advanced, but perhaps there is a way to generate a competing signal or field to distort the information they are getting. I will continue to analyze.” The abalative armor was usually infallible, but the full vessel sweep had passed through it like a knife through butter.

Shar’El looked somewhat reassured, knowing they had Maya’s intelligence and resourcefulness on their side, as the Science Officer continued to manipulate the energy signatures and explain.

“I must warn you: besides deciphering the beacons and coming up with a solution to resolve them, we must be mindful of any emanations coming from the ship, as the Hirogen could potentially use that as a tracking mechanism.”

Jayson was grateful that Ya’Han wanted to have him in her life again, even though the frustration of seeing her leave for DOLBAR was just setting in. “We’re caught between a rock and a hard place,” the Ops Officer confirmed.

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter

Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS NCC-18501
M09-P071: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 07 - 0545 ("Analyzing")
=-=
"Analyzing"
[previous post was "Avoiding" by the talented Susan]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 32224.0545

The ExO / ILO let out a lengthy sigh as the report from the transporter Chief came in to her console. The coordinates had been received, confirmed and the away team transported down without any problem. With Captain Morningstar, Lieutenant Ya'Han and Ensign Jones on the planet surface, all they could do was wait for their return and plan for a speediest exit possible. With that in mind, and still feeling somewhat dizzy, Shar'El decided to also investigate something that had struck her as strange and unnatural during their chat with the Dolbargy.

"Lieutenant Stark, when you have a moment, can you playback both transmissions we received from DOLBAR, side-by-side if you would please. You can mute the audio, I am more interested in the visual," the ExO / ILO requested.

"Saw something that bothered you?" Jayson asked, doing his best to focus on his work as he had done as of late, this being his one and only escape. Things had changed for the better, there was no denying that, but still he needed to keep himself busy so as to not dwell on the Nylaan being on the planet surface with their Captain without having told him what she had wanted to say.

"I'm not sure," Shar'El replied. "There was something about the way everything looked, maybe it is the way that this sensor sweep made me feel dizzy, unable to stand, but I need answers." The ExO / ILO paused for a moment, thinking through the mental cloud that had so suddenly debilitated her. "Shar'El to Lieutenant Paquette."

=/\= Yea, what do you want?. =/\= The Chief Engineer replied in a quasi-humorous tone.

"You reported that some of your people had suffered from dizziness following the Dolbargy sensor sweep. Can you tell me what species those affected are?"

=/\= Species? =/\= Sonja repeated, clearly sounding confused. =/\= I never pictured you as the racist type, =/\= the Engineer added in jest. =/\= What's going on spy-girl? This is not one of your routine questions. =/\=

"I have a theory that I need you to confirm, and at the moment everyone is busy trying to find a way for us to get out of here without drawing the attention of the entire Hirogen fleet currently patrolling Ferengi space," the ExO / ILO bluntly explained.

=/\= Hang on... Well that's interesting. I had not noticed this before, but now that you mention it, every single Vulcan and Betazoid down here nearly went down for the count. That's not saying much since I can have at least those overly serious Vulcans become dizzier than a spinning top with a few well-placed joke, but still, that is odd to say the least. Why do you think... =/\=

"Thank you Sonja, bridge out." Shar'El said, closing the channel before the engineer could finish her counter question.  "Commander Maya, I know that what you are currently working on is of the utmost importance, but I need you to please compile a list of all crew member who reported feeling dizzy immediately following the Dolbargy scan. I am suspecting that you will discover that everyone affected in this manner is a telepath, or is at the very least more susceptible to telepathic contact than others."

"You are quite correct," the Chief Science Officer confirmed, her skills in multitasking allowing her to run several complex jobs with relative ease. "This could be a simple side-effe