USS ANUBIS - Mission 13
IN PROGRESS
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Bonviva Tell Morningstar to Stock Up
Xana meets with Charles and Quint
002 Shar'El Time to Reflect
Shar'El faces a new year
003 Bruxa First Breakfast
Satella and Adriana have breakfast together
004 Morningstar New Business
Erik gives the mission briefing
005 Bonviva It's Personnal
Satella gives Xana her medical exam
006 Lopez Psychological Profile
Adriana goes to speak to Satella
007 Ya'Han Defence Mechanism
Ya'Han and Jayson have a discussion
008 Bruxa Medical Collaboration
Satella called Sofia requesting help
009 Shar'El An Eye On Everyone
Shar'El keeps watch on the senior staff
010 Paquette Not Enough Time
Sonja gives Satella a hard time
011 Bonviva There's A Sunny Side...
Xana goes to see Sonja, with lunch
012 Ya'Han Scars From the Past
Adriana visits Ya'Han who has a flashback
013 Stark Keeping Busy
Jayson tries to stay busy while Ya'Han is away
014 Shar'El Red Red Wine
Sonja's get together is in full swing
015 Bruxa The After-Party
Satella gets help from Adriana after the party
016 Morningstar Trying to Understand
Erik visits Xana before going to Stellar Cartography
017 Bonviva The Universe Only Feels Big
Ya'Han visits Xana in solitary confinment
018 Stark You Did What?
Ya'Han Tells Jayson where Xana is
019 Bruxa Minor Adjustments
Satella learns that Xana is in the brig
020 Lopez Why Is Nothing Ever Easy
Adriana speaks to Satella about Xana
Post # Character Title
021 Shar'El Emotonal Uncertainty
Shar'El keeps an eye on Xana
022 Ya'Han Threat Analysis
Ya'Han goes in a holodeck to review the attack
023 Bonviva Pain as Motivator
Xana learns of the attack on KTARIS
024 Morningstar Queen's Gambit
Erik briefs the team on their next move
025 Shar'El Playing Games
Shar'El speaks to Erik than Adriana
026 Paquette An Unexpected Question
Ani asked an unexpected question of Sonja
027 Ya'Han Last Minute Training
Ya'Han trains in the holodeck
028 Bonviva Play The Cards You're Dealt
Xana talks to Adriana
029 Stark That Had to Hurt
Jayson gets schooled by Tanith
030 Jones Always Wear an...
Tanith thinks and reviews the situation
031 Lopez Psychological Review
Adriana argues with Amanda about Xana
032 Shar'El It's Game Time
The team goes down to the planet
033 Bruxa The Antidote
Satella and Maya finally make progress
034 Morningstar Bishop to G5 - Check
Things are proceeding not quite to plan
035 Shar'El There's No Bluffing In Chess
Away team falls into a trap
036 Bonviva Your Reputation...
Xana speask to the Ktarian head diplomat
037 Ya'Han Chasing Shadows
Ya'Han gets some help in hunting Mordana
038 Lopez Heightened Stress
Adriana gages everyone's stress level
039 Bonviva One Hour or ...
Xana negitiates things her way
M13-P001: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34001.0800 ("Tell Morningstar to Stock Up")
=/\=

“Tell Morningstar to Stock Up”

Previous Posts:
(ANUBIS) “Life Continues”/ (BASTET) “To Boldly Go...Home”
(and for continuity purposes only):
(FRPG) “They Want You -- Epilogue”

=/\=

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live
Marcus Aurelius

=/\=
Location: NEW ALEXANDRIA - Section 3 -> Section 6
Stardate: 34001.0800

Allyson, who was on track to receiving “Most Likely to Help” (if such an award was given), stuck her head into the room where Cmdr. Quint and Admiral Charles Koniki were wrapping up a briefing.  “Apologies for interrupting,” she said by way of beginning, even though she had been told to do just that, “but *she’s* here.”

The Ferengi male groaned under his breath but Koniki stood up, motining for Quint to follow.  “We’ll go to her,” Koniki decided.

Quint would have raised an eyebrow at that but simply followed, as they went from Section 3 to 6.  “Sir,” Quint asked politely on the way, “I know I’ve met the Ambassador before.  But how do you know her?”

“We’ve worked together over the years.  She’s reported to me; I’ve reported to her.  It’s what happens if you work in the Federation,” Koniki answered brusquely without really answering.  “Various times our paths intersected; in just about every sector you can think of.”

Still in Section A, now on Level 6, the men made their way into an unused conference room where Aoriel was chatting with an azure woman with white hair that was stylishly pulled into a chignon. Despite her rank, she was dressed casually in blue jeans, a white button up shirt, black boots and despite the fact she was inside large black sunglasses perched on her head (usually it was to hide the dark circles under her eyes or the glare she got in most rooms); her Ambassador robes tossed over her bags.  “You know there are many herbal remedies that would work for that earache you have.  For example, licorice root with citrus peel and--”

“And a strong shot of Bolian firewater,” Aoriel finished off with a smile.  Turning to the men, the woman nodded and made her way quietly out.  

“Ambassador,” Admiral Koniki said.  Watching the woman he remembered once so full of life slowly get up he said, “You can stay seated.”

“It’s fine, Charles.  And I’ve told you to call me Xana,” the Bolian/Human woman said as she finally stood.  Turning her attention the Ferengi man she said, “I’m Xana Bonviva, I was summoned to assist with the War of Shadows.”

Cmdr. Quint blinked.  “Yes, I know.  We’ve met; about 10 or 12 times.”

“Really, I thought you were the manservant.  So I guess no bar then,” Xana said. 

“At 0800?” Quint asked.

“A little mimosa wouldn’t kill anyone,” Bonviva pointed out. 

Quint sighed.  “No, we like to be sober when we do work.”  

“WHY?” she asked.  Turning back to Koniki she asked more seriously, “How may I be of service?”

“We’re looking for your take on the situation,” he said.

“What’s your take,” she countered.

Koniki leaned against a table.  “There has to be an alternative.”  Frowning he said, “I am not going to continue to commit valuable lives and resources to a war that is seemingly without end.  That seems to be mass psychosis.”

The azure woman leaned against the opposite table, her legs shaking; not from fear but from exhaustion.  “Wars of this kind have torn apart planets.  It’s torn apart my own homes.  Conflicts continue on until there is a new element thrown in...or until everyone is just utterly exhausted.”

Charles looked over at Xana and said, “I know that you are very active in the Bolian religion but in a Terran religion there is a quote--”

“And I looked and I beheld a pale horse, and its rider was Death.  And Hell was behind him,” Xana quoted quietly.  Looking at the men and said quietly, “I thought the same.”  Looking over at them she said, “Yes, I’m scared as should you be too.”  

“But you think we can stop this war,” Koniki said.

“Yes,” Xana agreed.  

“Good,” Koniki nodded.  

As the men started to leave she yelled out, “But I will need a drink.  And chocolate.”  Pausing for a moment she added, “Lots of each actually.”

Koniki turned to Quint and said, “Tell Morningstar to stock up.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M13-P002: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34001.0001 ("Time to Reflect")
=-=
"Time To Reflect"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Tell Morningstar to Stock Up" by Sarah / (BAS) "To Boldly Go... Home" by Susan]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Shar'El's Quarters
Stardate: 34001.0001

As a Ullian, this particular date and time meant nothing to Shar'El, yet she could not escape its significance. Having witnessed the memories of so many Terrans over the years, the passing of one calendar year to the next had become something that despite her own background the ExO / ILO had grown to anticipate and even welcome.

For many on board the ANUBIS, this day marked the beginning of a new year, the rebirth of lost hopes, the redesign of abandoned goals. It marked a passing into something new, a reason to let go of the darkness that had dragged along to instead focus on the light that stood before them in the distant.  For the ExO / ILO, this single tick on the unseen clock of the universe meant nothing, yet in some ways, it held more meaning than anything else.  The year that had come and gone had brought with it a great deal of hardships and trouble for countless, both on a universal and personal level.

The continued war against the trans-dimensional invaders known as the Lokustaar had left its mark everywhere, causing some people to retreat onto themselves while others lashed out at those around them. Fear permeated everything including the dreams of the most optimistic of individuals. Everyone had been forced to deal with the cold and dark sting of death in one form or another, and that too had left scars that would take a great amount of time to heal. The problem was that there was no time for this healing right now as the universe cared nothing for this particular date or time. The war stopped for nothing, especially not a date on the calendar of a single world amongst thousands.

With those thoughts haunting her, the ExO / ILO made her way out of her bedroom and into the living area, noticing for the first time the relative emptiness of her quarters. Life on board an Intel cruiser such as the USS ANUBIS was hectic and demanding, allowing for little time for frivolity. The hunt for the Shadow agent had made that an inescapable reality, Mordana proving time and time again in being a skilled and elusive prey. Her capture would become Shar'El's priority mission in the coming New Year, a goal that the raven-haired woman knew everyone on board the ship would be more than happy to help with.

Shar'El drew in a long deep breath, ready to tackle the new day, the New Year. All she needed to do was to get dressed and report to her home away from home, the one place on the ANUBIS where she felt truly at ease.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34001.0800

The ExO / ILO sat at her station reading the latest reports on the Lokustaar. As always, the race of walking shadows struck unseen, spreading chaos and destruction everywhere they went without taking credit for the desolation they left behind. Officially there was no way to confirm that the trans-dimensional race was responsible for any of what Shar'El was reading, but she knew the clues to look for.

Following the review of the last report, Shar'El raised her eyes to look upon the vacant IGC. With the ANUBIS back home, her department was completely empty but that didn't bother her. Her team of dedicated technicians had worked beyond expectations during their hunt for the Shadow agent Mordana earning them a well-deserved rest. That it was the first day of a new year, as far as the EARTH calendar was concerned, did not come to play in this.

Shar'El's gaze fell back onto her screens following a smile chime indicating that a new file had been received. It was the service record and dossier of a new officer that would be joining the ANUBIS as per Koniki's request. The woman was a Bolian/Terran Ambassador by the name of Xana Bonviva. As a personal acquaintance of the Admiral, none of the standard background verifications were necessary but that only further pushed the ExO / ILO to dig even deeper into the woman's past in order to learn as much as possible. It was part of her duties to know everything there was to know about everyone, especially when they would have a role to play in their upcoming missions, whatever they may be.

As she read the extensive dossier, Shar'El thought of the fresh and unblemished year that stood before them. This would the year everyone hoped the War of Shadows would come to an end. The year where the galaxy would reclaim in part if not in whole the peace it so desperately wanted. It would be a year where wounds would finally begin to heal. This would be the year where people could start to look upon the future with a glimmer of hope instead of overwhelming fear.

The year was 2434 and the crew of the USS ANUBIS would do their best to make this the year the one where the light would push back the darkness once and for all.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M13-P003: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34001.0815 ("First Breakfast")
=-=
"First Breakfast"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Time to Reflect" / (BAS) "To Boldly Go... Home"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34001.0815

Satella walked into the two-level high common area and quickly locked in on her target. The woman was sitting alone at one of the tables on the main level. It was nice to see her relax, even if only a little. Following a quick detour to the bar to pick up a pitcher of iced Risian honey tea and two glasses, the CMO moved in.

"Good morning Adriana. Happy New Year."

"Happy New Year?" The Counselor appeared genuinely confused as she repeated the greeting.

"Isn't it today a celebration for you and your people?" As a Mikulak, this entire idea of such a celebration was alien to Satella. Still, as a friend, she wanted to make today something special, something memorable. After everything the crew had endured, it would be nice to commemorate something good.

"If by people you mean Terrans, then yes, today is a special day, at least for some. As for me personally, I was born on the EPSILON THETA colony. That means we didn't celebrate New Year's, at least not the one that took place on EARTH."

"I am sorry," Satella said placing the pitcher and glasses down.

"That's alright; it's the thought that counts. I do appreciate you bringing drinks though. I was starting to get thirsty after all that reading."

"Speaking of which, what are you reading?" Satella decided to change the subject. Clearly making a big deal of this particular day had failed.

"Trying to get a better psychological profile of this Mordana," Adriana said. As she put the PADD down on the table, she began tapping it with a single displeased digit. "We traveled to dozens of different worlds and spoke to countless people. Each gave us a personal account on the woman and we still know next to nothing about her." Adriana was not happy.  "We know that she has lengthy black hair, black eyes, white skin and comes across as exceptionally charming. Some said they felt a strange and eerie cold darkness when near her. Beyond that though, we have no idea of who she is. We don't even know what race she might belong to."

"I figured you would be more interested in her psychological profile. That is more in line with your duties as Ship's Counselor," Satella said. When an awkward silence formed between them, the CMO poured the pitcher's content into the glasses.

"I was just trying to look at her from a different perspective. We know that Mordana possesses a very dark personality. From what we have seen and heard, she cares nothing for the lives of others. All of the information we have on her shows her to be a dangerous psychopath. As an agent of the Shadows, all she wants to do is to spread chaos end death. Unfortunately for us, she's been very good at doing just that. This has left us with the unenvious task of picking up the pieces left in her wake."

"You were hoping that by getting a better physical profile we would be able to anticipate her next move?" Doctor Bruxa was doing her best to understand what was happening.

"Honestly, I am not sure what I was doing. I just got tired trying to look inside that woman's head. There is just so much darkness anyone can look into before it starts to affect them. I just got tired of feeling those chills creeping up my spine." Cns Lopez paused, sighed and then picked up her glass of iced Risian honey tea. "Let's change the subject. Happy New Year."

Satella studied the raised glass for a few seconds before understanding that she needed to reciprocate. "Happy New Year," the CMO chuckled as her glass was raised to match that of her friend. "I thought we weren't celebrating."

"We are not," Adriana said, confusing Satella even more. "I am just deflecting to a more pleasant subject matter. This way, I can focus on more enjoyable thoughts and share a drink with a valued friend."

"I will drink to that," the CMO said before bringing the glass to her lips. After a small sip was taken, Satella waved for a waiter to come closer. "Now, how about some breakfast? I believe that there are some customary foods for this special day."

"It depends on the culture, family or even specific individuals. Even if we were on EARTH, not everyone celebrates this day in the same way. There is no set food dedicated to this or any other Terran celebration. Plus, as I said before, we are *not* celebrating, remember?"

"Fine, we are not celebrating, but I am still hungry. How about a bowl of fresh fruits? As a vegetarian, I know that you like that sort of thing. I have seen you enjoy that dish more than once, and I feel like trying something new."

"I do like your suggestion," Adriana agreed before turning to look at the waiter. "Two bowls of fresh fruits. Please make sure that there is one whole strawberry placed on top." After the waiter acknowledged the order he made his way back to the bar.

"Why the whole strawberry?" Satella asked.

"Following the disappearance of my sister, it was something I remember my mother doing. It was meant to mark an important event. It symbolizes something whole, something beautiful, and something worth taking the time to enjoy."

"So we are celebrating!"

"Not the New Year," Adriana clarified. "I just want to note the fact that I am glad to have you as a friend. After all of the hardships we have dealt with, it is nice to recognize the good. When fighting the darkness, it is always a good idea to keep the light in view."

"I will never look at a strawberry the same way ever again," Satella chuckled. Moments later two bowls were brought to the table, a whole strawberry resting on top of the small mountain of fresh fruits. "To a great new year, the start of which we are not celebrating," Doctor Bruxa said lifting the small red fruit into the air. "To a great friendship," the CMO added drawing a smile from the Counselor. Could there be a better way to start a new day, a new year?

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M13-P004: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34001.0900 ("New Business")
##########
"New Business"
Previous posts (ANU) "First Breakfast" / (BAS) "To Boldly Go... Home"
##########

“Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts.”
- Ambassador Londo Mollari

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 8, Starboard Docking Port
Stardate: 34001.0900

Ya'Han waited patiently at the open docking port, her eyes scrutinizing everyone who stepped into the umbilical connection linking the secret base to the ANUBIS. Normally she would be monitoring the comings and goings from the bridge, but Captain Morningstar had requested that she be the one to greet their guest. It didn't take long for the Chief of Security to identify the individual in question, her pale blue skin and straight white hair making the Ambassador stick out from the regular crowd.

"Ambassador Bonviva," the red-haired Nylaan said as she greeted the woman. "My name is Ya'Han, I am the Chief of Security and I was asked to officially welcome you on board the ANUBIS. I am to escort you to the Observation Lounge where you will meet Captain Morningstar and the rest of the senior officers."

"Thank you," Xana acknowledged. "I am not sure if I should be touched or concerned by the fact that your captain decided to send his Chief of Security to meet me here."

"I am sure that the Captain did not mean any disrespect," Ya'Han quickly said. "I was not given any other instructions than to escort you to the Observation Lounge. No specific instructions regarding security measures were given to me."

"Good," the Bolian/Terran hybrid sighed trying to appear as troubled as possible. "Now at least I know what exactly I am to be upset about. Clearly, I am not considered to be a danger, which is a shame as I remember a time when I would have at least made people nervous at the mere mention of my name."

"I am so sorry," Ya'Han said, her mind reeling. It was true; Captain Morningstar had not given her any special instructions. All that the Chief of Security had been asked to do was to welcome the Ambassador at the umbilical connection and escort her up to the bridge and Observation lounge. Now the Nylaan feared that she had done a massive diplomatic faux pas. "Would you prefer if a full security detail was here and escorted you to meet the Captain and the rest of the senior officers?"

"I was just teasing," Xana said with a smile. "I can see that you do not have a great deal of experience with any type of ambassadorial staff."

"You are correct, our mission profile tends to keep us away from any sort of Ambassadorial personnel and related events," Ya'Han explained as she tried to calm herself down. Her only dealings with diplomatic figures were as the youngest daughter of her world's leader, and no good memories had ever been associated with those.

"Please, lead on," the Ambassador said, inviting the visibly shaken Chief of Security to take the lead and proceed with the task that she had been given.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34001.0905

"Welcome to the ANUBIS, Ambassador Bonviva. I am Lt. Jayson Stark, Chief of Operations. I have been asked to relay an important message to you," the man said as soon as the Ambassador set foot onto the command deck.

"An important message?" Xana repeated thinking of a thousand and one jokes she could use at this very moment, but after what had happened with the Chief of Security, the Bolian/Terran hybrid opted to keep her attempts at frivolity to herself.

"Yes, I was asked to inform you that Cmdr. Quint made sure that no less than two-dozen crates of the items you requested from Admiral Koniki have been transported and stored on board the ANUBIS. They are being held in a secured section of Cargo Bay 3," Jayson informed. The Chief of Operations would have normally inspected the crates in question but since they had been sent over by the NEW ALEXANDRIA's Chief of Base Logistics and Supplies, there were no concerns about their content. "Now if you will follow me, Captain Morningstar and the other members of the senior staff are expecting you."
    
With a smile on her lips, Xana motioned for the man to take the lead, suspecting that the Chief of Security who was now behind her preferred her new role and position.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34001.0907

"Ambassador Bonviva," the Native American said as she stood from his chair following the arrival of his Chief of Operations followed by their guest. "Welcome on board my ship. I am sorry that we were unable to give you proper diplomatic honours, but Admiral Koniki sent time-sensitive information pertaining to our next mission, one that I suspect you are already aware of at least in some level. So, if you would care to sit, we can proceed with the mission briefing."

Xana said nothing and simply took the first available empty seat at the table, quickly meeting the inquisitive gazes of the other officers already present. The ANUBIS was not like other vessels, its mission profile made that very clear, and it was evident that the crew was equally unique.

"We have received Intel that suggests Miss Mordana is currently on KTARIS trying to enlist support for the Lokustaar," Erik announced as a 3D holographic image of the planet in question appeared in the middle of the conference table.

"Are we sure she's there?" Sonja asked. "That woman is more slippery than a slimed Ferengi scum eel. I would hate for us to start yet another diplomatic affair for nothing."

"That is part of the reason why Ambassador Bonviva will be joining us on this mission," Cmdr. Shar'El said as she moved in with the mission briefing. "Political relations between the Ktarian and the Federation have never been overly smooth, and we suspect that this is part of the reason why Mordana decided to stop on KTARIS. it should be easy enough for her to locate people who share her dislike for the Federation, the only problem is that they are not aware that her loathing is not limited to the Federation and its citizens."

"As soon as this meeting is over, the ANUBIS will make its way to KTARIS where upon arrival Ambassador Bonviva will make contact with the local government. The goal is to make those in charge aware of how dangerous she can be and hopefully get them on our side."

"What if they choose to ignore our warnings and block our efforts to find that woman?" Xana inquired.

"Your orders are to establish a diplomatic avenue that will make things easier for us," Erik replied as the holographic representation of the woman's head replaced the image of the planet. "That you are successful or not will not change our orders."

"Locate and apprehend her," Ya'Han said with a smile, the stated goal being something that she had been looking forward to finally doing for quite some time.

"Let me guess," Satella joined in. "Admiral Koniki is going with the idea that it will be easier for us to ask forgiveness than permission."

"Actually," the First Officer continued, "it is hoped that the presence of Ambassador Bonviva on KTARIS will give us more time and maybe even cause Miss Mordana to make a mistake thus providing us with a better opportunity to locate and capture her."

"That is unlikely," Counselor Lopez sighed. "Based on all of our previous dealings with that woman, she is not one to make mistakes. Her plans, at least those that we have managed to uncover, have always been exceptionally well prepared and held several contingencies."

"That would be part of the reason why Ambassador Bonviva is here," Shar'El added. "It will be a variable that Mordana could not have anticipated."

"Please, call me Xana," the Bolian/Terran hybrid politely requested.

"I want Mordana in the brig by the end of this mission, so I need everyone to be ready before we arrive in orbit of KTARIS," the Native American ordered. "Cmdr. Maya, please continue on your work on identifying Shadow ships and technology. lt. Paquette, make sure that all support vessels are ready for field operation. As we have little data to go on as the moment, I would like for us to be ready for any and all situations. Counselor Lopez, we will need an updated psychological profile for Miss Mordana. Any insight into how she thinks could prove crucial to our being able to capture her.  Ensign Jones, get the ANUBIS on her way." Erik paused for a moment as he looked directly at their guest. "Xana, I would like you to report to Sickbay so that Doctor Bruxa can give you a complete medical examination."

The Bolian/Terran hybrid stared back at the Native American. She knew that he knew such a medical examination had been performed when she arrived at NEW ALEXANDRIA, but instead of making that open knowledge, the Ambassador simply nodded her head. Clearly, the Captain wanted to be kept up-to-date as to the progressive, degenerative, genetic disease she had been diagnosed with.

"If there are no questions, you are all dismissed."

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M13-P005: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34001.0930 ("It's Personal")
“It’s Personal"
Previous posts (ANUBIS) "New Business" / (BASTET) "To Boldly Go... Home"

=/\=

There’s not a word yet
For old friends who’ve just met

--Gonzo the Great - “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday”

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Sickbay
Stardate: 34001.0930

Lt. jg Satella Bruxa walked into Sickbay to find the Ambassador already waiting for her, seemingly engrossed in a PADD.  The Mikulak presumed that the Ambassador was reading up on the mission ahead; who could blame her?  As she prepared her own work for the physical exam, the CMO thought about how Mordana had eluded everyone and now by engaging KTARIS it was bringing another level of diplomatic imbroglio--

“May I ask you a question?” the azure woman asked without looking up from her PADD.

The CMO wandered over as she brought over her own materials, “Of course, Ambassador.”

“It’s Xana,” she said absent-mindedly.  Holding up a PADD with a combination of images and words in big white bubbles she asked.  “Can you tell me the appeal of this?”  As Bruxa looked over she explained.  “My son gave me this to read while I was traveling, it’s a comic book about a character called Ashix the Avenger.  But he’s not avenging anything; he just seems to run into walls while yelling.”  

Satella looked at the comic book/PADD then looked at the Ambassador.  “This is factual?”  

“Gods no, 10 year olds don’t read anything factual.  And this is not my first choice for reading,” Xana admitted as tucked aside the PADD.  “But a promise is a promise, I told Ben I’d read it.”  Looking over at the young doctor she asked, “So you’re here to see how close I am to dying.”  

The CMO gave a look at her patient; she wasn’t sure she expected that level of honesty right away.  Then again she appreciated it.  “Everyone gets a medical review upon coming on board.”

“I know,” Xana nodded.  Looking over next to her she pulled out another PADD and handed it over.  “I go for regularly for visits: SF Medical, BOLARUS IX, and VULCAN when I lived there.  It should be updated but the short answers are:  on a good day I take 7 hypos on a good day and upto 12 on a bad day to get me and keep me going.”

“And in a typical week, how many bad days and how many good days?”  Satella asked.  Looking over the PADD she said, “You were born on EARTH, and last living there, so let’s use their 7 days as a measurement.”

This was a typical question.  “The doctors told me I’m supposed to try and stay with with 7 hypos per day for as long as possible.”

CMO looked over her notes as she listened to that evasive answer.  “You mentioned a son.  Is he your only child?”

“No.  That son I mentioned, Ben, is the youngest.  He’s 10,” Xana mentioned.  “I have 4 children ranging in ages 22 to 10.”

“All living at home with you?” Satella asked. 

“No, the eldest two are on their own but the youngest two I share custody with my ex-husband,” Xana explained, tilting her head.  Even for a woman who was nimble with conversation, this confused her.  “No one else gave me comic books, they give me other headaches, but none I’ll bother you with.”  

Satella smiled at that.  “It sounds like you still are close with your children, regardless of where they live.”  The CMO swung her head around as she reached for something on the monitor around Xana’s head, making her silver hair dance.  “And the Ktarians, that sounds like a lively conversation.”

“That is one way of putting it,” Xana mused.  Looking over she asked the CMO who was hovering over her she asked, “Do you need me to move?”

“No,” Satella said softly.  “Because I know that right now you couldn’t; at least not easily.”   Leaning back from the readings she had been adjusting at the monitors above Xana’s head she said, “Your K3 indicator readings are high.  So if a conversation causes stress let me ask again...how often do you actually take more than 7 hypos a day?”

“Most days.”  With a smile playing on her lips she asked, “How did you know to press for the personal?”

Satella gave a small shrug.  “I have to; with medicine it starts with the personal.”

“Same with politics, we just like to pretend the policy is neutral but it’s not,” Xana nodded.  Her violet eyes lit up, “If you ever want a change in careers let me know.”

“I have no training in diplomacy or politics,” the CMO pointed out.

The Bolian/Human winked at the Mikulak.  “Neither did I and now people think...well they tolerate me at best but they think I do an okay job of politicking and negotiating,” she grinned.  

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M13-P006: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34001.0945 ("Psychological Profile")
-=-=-
"Psychological Profile"
[Previous post: (ANU) "It's Personal" & (BAS) "To Boldly Go... Home"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor's Office
Stardate: 34001.0945

The holographic image of the Shadow agent hung in the hair, rotating ever so slowly as Adriana studied every single detail. There was something mesmerizing about the woman, an aura of mystery that demanded closer scrutiny at one's own expense. One did not need to read the list of crimes accredited to her to understand that she was evil, just looking into her eyes was enough for that. As far as their research had uncovered, the woman had been responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths spread over three dozen worlds, and those were of the victims they knew. How many more had she been responsible for through her influence and manipulation of others?

Adriana felt a chill crawl up her spine as she gazed into the woman's dark eyes. This was nothing more than a holographic recreation and yet the cold aura of death that surrounded her was present. How would any of them react should they actually come face-to-face with this monster?

"Torturing yourself again?" An all too familiar voice said.

"At least it's not you this time," the sister said to her twin, ignoring the hallucination that had appeared on the couch.

"I think I should be jealous," Amanda giggled. "You have traded the unreal image of one person for that of another so that you could torment your waking hours. At least with me, you have the advantage of being able to have a conversation, with her, all you can do is look into those dark gloomy eyes. Although I will admit that there is an odd charm about her. I can see why people are willing to kill or even die for her."

"There is something unnatural about her," Adriana said as she tilted her head ever so slightly while looking into the hologram's eyes.  "I just need to figure out what it is."

"Death," the twin bluntly offered. "As a Ship's Counselor, you of all people should know how powerful death can be. Not as a force of its own, but as a lure to draw others closer. Some will run away only to stop halfway to where they wanted to go in order to turn around and look back. Others will just stand there, frozen by a fear that they do not truly wish to escape from, and then you have the rest who will be attracted to it. Being so close to death can be quite an exhilarating sensation."

"Being attracted to death is a psychological anomaly," the twin sister argued. "Most people will put as much distance between themselves and what it is they fear, and death is one of the universal fears."

"Maybe so," the hallucination of Adriana's sisters continued. "Think of it as a kind of natural selection. That woman uses fear to weed out those she considers worthy, or at least those she knows she can use with greater ease. If they run away, then become a victim is all they deserve, but if they are drawn by it, attracted by her own dark charms, they become worthy of being an instrument in spreading that same death. That they will share in the fate of the others doesn't matter as long as they are made to feel they are part of something greater as it happens."

"She's a pure psychopath without any links to this dimension, that is why she is able to do what she does without any remorse or hesitation," Adriana said aloud as if presenting the woman's profile to someone else. "To her, the people of this dimension are nothing but pawns to be used and sacrificed in order to reach her master's goal, to see the shadow of death and chaos spread to each and every planet and outposts in this galaxy and beyond. As important as it is for us to stop her, we have to keep in mind that she is only one agent in a war that threatens us all."

Having made and accepted this dark realization, Adriana left her office in search for someone who would help her better understand what it is she had come to see while at the same time making her feel a little less alone.

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34001.0955

"Satella, I need to..." Adriana's voice trailed into silence as the CNS noticed that the woman she had come to see had not been alone. "Ambassador Bonviva, I am sorry, it was not my intention to interrupt your medical exam."

"I believe the good Doctor was just about to tell me that the exam is over and that I will live, at least for a few more hours," Xana said in a lighthearted manner. There was no need to make her situation worse by casting a dark shadow over herself and everyone around her.  "What brings you here in such a hurry?"

"I just wanted to share some ideas about Miss Mordana."

Speaking of dark shadows, Xana knew that the woman in question had her beat in that regards, and maybe it was for the best. "I may not know a great deal about the woman, other than what I saw and heard in the mission briefing, but she does come across as someone who would not be on my 'want to know better' list."

"We do not have a complete account of what she has been responsible for, but according to the data we have thus far been able to collect, Miss Mordana was responsible for the Shadow Virus outbreak on GALEMAE; the destruction of the Andorian embassy and death of everyone inside creating an uproar in the Lurian government; as well as the renewed hostilities between inhabitant of the ALPHA and BETA moons of PELIAR ZEL," Satella detailed, the tone of her voice leaving no doubts in anyone's mind that she held no admiration for the elusive and deadly Shadow agent.

"Mordana seems able to spread fear and chaos on a world even before setting foot on it," Adriana added. "That is why she must be stopped, a goal that we would be best to accomplish while on KTARIS.

"I will do my best to help," Xana said, happy to focus on something other than her own medical problems.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M13-P007: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34001.1015 ("Defence Mechanism")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Defence Mechanism"
[previous post were (ANU) "Psychological Profile" / (BAS) "To Boldly Go... Home"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34001.1015

An alarm sounded at the tactical station which caused the Sec/Tac to quickly jump and fix the reason for it.

"Are you alright?" Jayson asked from the Operation's station.

"I'm fine," Ya'Han sternly dismissed, scanning her console to make sure that nothing bad had happened. It appeared that the warning alarm combined with her reflexes had been sufficient to avoid a major catastrophe.

"You may be fine," the man said knowing better then to argue with the woman, especially when her hair was as red as it currently was, "but you do seem somewhat distracted though. Are you sure you are alright?"

"I said I was fine," the Sec/Tac reiterated with force, the brightness of her red hair warning everyone on the command deck that the 'Red Dragon' was not in a good mood.

Jayson debated what to do next. It had taken them some time to return to where they had been as a couple. Her reaction to his gift the time before last they had been in NEW ALEXANDRIA had caused a rift between them that he feared would never be fixed. After a great deal of work, patience, and help from Counselor Lopez, Stark and Ya'Han had become a couple again. This left the Chief of Operations with a single although very important question; was figuring out what was going on worth risking their relationship?  "Ensign Jones, would you mind holding down the bridge for a few minutes?"

Tanith glanced back at the Chief of Operations and quickly figured out what was happening. With a reluctant nod of her head, the FCO accepted. With that said and done, Jayson approached the Tactical station and placed a gentle hand on the shoulder of the Sec/Tac. Nothing was said but Ya'Han understood that he wanted to talk.

"You are not going to let this go are you?" The Sec/Tac asked through narrowed eyes.

"We almost had a volley of photon torpedoes fired into open space for no reason," Jayson said. "I think it might be best if you and I talk now instead of you having to come up with some sort of explanation to Commander Shar'El or Captain Morningstar."

"You are getting better at using blackmail to win," the Sec/Tac said, a faint grin playing on the edge of her lips.

"Would be hard for me not to pick up a few tricks while on board the ANUBIS," he jokingly added.

"Alright, five minutes," Ya'Han agreed before making her way to the Observation Lounge closely followed by Jayson.

"It's just you and me and since we only have five minutes, I need you to tell me what's on your mind," he asked as soon as the doors hissed behind them. "You have not been yourself since that Bolian/Terran Ambassador came on board. Do you know her from somewhere else? Did she do something to you?"

"No!" Ya'Han quickly countered. "It's not her that's the problem, it's her title," the Nylaan explained, her hair gradually shifting from the bright red it had been to the purple of her royal lineage. "From the very first day I can remember, Ambassadors were people who came to the palace for business with my father. My sisters and I were under strict orders to be respected and even fear them, just to make sure we didn't get underfoot. When I was old enough, those same Ambassadors became individuals whom, as the daughter of the High Sovereign, I was expected to serve and entertain." The purple-haired woman paused and gathered her thoughts, forcing her hair back to the normal black and red mix that had become the norm for her. "While on board the ANUBIS, we have not had to deal with a great deal of Ambassadors, so this was never an issue, but Xana coming on board just brought back a lot of memories that I would have rather remained buried. I am sure that Shar'El picked up on a few of those memories but she has been kind enough not to confront me with them."

"Maybe you talking with her would help," Jayson suggested.

"Shar'El has better things to do than to deal with the issues of my childhood. I ran away so that i would not have to deal with all of those issues, so why would I want to make this one more than it is?" Ya'Han argued back.

"First, the fact that your hair turned purple is enough for me to know that this is bothering you more than you are willing to admit," Jayson pointed out. "Second, I did not mean to suggest for you to speak with Commander Shar'El, I meant that it might be helpful if you spoke to Ambassador Bonviva. The ability of you being able to see her as a person instead of her title could help you look at her without having flashbacks from your childhood."

"When did you become a Ship's Counselor?" Ya'Han asked rolling her eyes.

"You know my history," he replied crossing his arms over his chest. "I have logged more hours with counseling staff than anyone else on board this ship. Again, it would be difficult for me not to learn something through it all. There is no way I could ever claim to be qualified, plus I suspect that Lopez would toss me out the nearest airlock if I tried, but in your case, i think I have come to know you well enough to be able to offer a tiny bit of help."

"Alright, you win," Ya'Han said before giving the man a quick kiss on the lips. "I will find a reason to speak to her on a personal level. Maybe I could ask for Sonja's help. She tends to be good at getting people together and to open up."

"Great," Jayson sighed already half way to the doors. "That's just what we need, another one of her wine parties. Guess I'd better start allocating more energy to her replicator. Every time she has one of those get together there is a power drop somewhere on the ship."

"What can I say," Ya'Han shrugged. "The woman knows how to throw a girls-only party."

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

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M13-P008: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34001.1100 ("Medical Collaboration")
=-=
"Medical Collaboration"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Defence Mechanism" / (BAS) "To Boldly Go... Home"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, CMO's Office
Stardate: 34001.1100

Satella was alone in her office. Yet the shadow of her newest patient lingered, haunting her every thought. Everywhere she looked; there was something there to remind her of Bonviva. Every monitor in the Doctor's office displayed some aspect of the disease the Ambassador was afflicted with. Although it resembled Spinocerebellar Ataxia, what Xana had was worse, much worse. There was only positive thing Doctor Bruxa had found in all of her research. The degenerative illness appeared to only be affecting half of the hybrid's genetic makeup. As great as that distinction might seem to be, it was far from enough. Unable to live with only half her genetic material the woman had to face the only possible fate this terminal disease would lead to.

Wanting to do something about this was also not enough. The simple desire to find a cure was unfortunately just the start of the process. In this particular case, the options had been dreadfully limited and getting smaller with each passing moment. The initial diagnosis gave Xana 10 years, a respectable timeline for anyone to come to terms with their situation. According to the latest scan though, the initial timeline had been cut by a factor of 5. Since the prognosis had been given over 2 years ago, this meant that the Ambassador had little time left. Satella had to consider informing that Captain that their guest might not make it to the end of their mission.

The number of injections Xana was taking stood as proof of just how bad things were. Yet, the woman pressed on fighting through the exhaustion, weakness, tremors. Many would have given up long ago faced with such obstacles. Unlike them, the half Bolian, half Human woman faced each day with unparalleled courage. The Doctor had no choice but to admire the woman's strength. Xana did her best to keep a positive air about her despite knowing all too well how bad things were.

The woman who was in her Sickbay not that long ago did not seem to match the files Doctor Bruxa had read over and over again. Based on the medical data, the Ambassador should have been a weak woman barely able to move. Adriana might theorize that Xana was in the throes of a complete psychological refusal of her situation. That could explain the hybrid's sometimes odd sense of humor. Whatever the reason for the woman's current mental state, Satella knew that she needed to focus on the physical.  Surely there was something somewhere that could help stop or maybe even reverse this progressive genetic disease. All that was required was to find it before it was too late. This meant that the CMO would be working against the clock in a big way.

"Computer, open a communication channel to the BASTET, to the attention of Doctor Sofia Andersson."

=/\= Channel opened. =/\=

[/\] What can I do for you Satella? [/\]

"I need your help," Bruxa said, not trying to hide her disheartenment.

[/\] What is it about? The ANUBIS could not have already reached KTARIS, so what happened? [/\]

"It is not a *what* but a *who*. Xana Bonviva, the Ambassador and our guest."

[/\] I remember her, she is suffering from a progressive, degenerative, genetic disease as I recall. She likely has another 6 to 8 years if memory serves me right. [/\]

"Yes and no," Satella said. "The timeline of the disease has been greatly decreased. In fact, so much so that I am honestly concerned that she may not make it to the end of this mission."

[/\] Whoa. [/\] Sofia was stunned and could do nothing but blink several times. It took a few moments for the news to be fully processed. [/\] Does she know? [/\]

"She knows that she is sick. She knows the disease is terminal. She knows that the number of injections she is taking is far higher than they should be."

[/\] She's doing everything she can to distance herself from the inevitable. That means she will not fight you as you try to help her, but she won't be knocking at your door either. [/\]

"My problem is that I do not know what I can do to help. This genetic disease has been progressing increasingly faster despite all efforts. I am not sure if there is something that I can do beyond what has already been done. That is why I am calling you now. I need a fresh perspective. I need a set of eyes that can see beyond the normal limits of our medical science."

[/\] I completely understand what you are saying and I might have a couple of options for you. [/\] Sofia said attracting Satella's complete attention instantly. [/\] Do you think your Chief Engineer could recreate, on a smaller scale, of course, the BASTET's temporal drive? [/\]

"I have no doubt that Sonja could build anything she sets her mind to. How would recreating the Temporal Drive help though?"

[/\] It would not be a cure, but it could serve to slow down the progression of the illness. That would give us more time to come up with a possible cure. Based on what you have just told me, time is against us, so we need to change that. In the end, it might not make any difference. At least we will have tried everything we could. [/\]

"I will speak with Sonja."

[/\] Good, in the meantime, I will start looking into possible ways to treat this genetic disease. We might have to go deeper to figure out what it is we are dealing with. [/\]

"Deeper?" Satella repeated, her thoughts already forming on something new. "We need to go beyond the genetic, maybe all the way to the atomic. This would be just like what we did with the Shadow Virus."

[/\] I read your report on that nasty bit of work from the Lokustaar. You did well on GALEMAE. Wonder if they will name a hospital after you. [/\]

"Sofia, thank you for your help. I will get Sonja to work on a smaller scale Temporal Drive or at least something like it. In the meantime, I need to reread my notes on the Shadow Virus. There might be something in there that could help Xana. I just hope I can figure it out in time."

[/\] Let me know if there is anything else I can do. Good luck. Andersson out. [/\]

For the first time since the Ambassador had left Sickbay, Satella was smiling. There was a lot of work that needed to be done. Even if everything was completed in time, there were still no guarantees that any of this would work. Still, she needed to try.  "Computer, locate Lt. Paquette."

=/\= Lt. Paquette is on Deck 29 in the specialized craft storage area. =/\=

Before the computer had finished answering the Doctor's query, Satella had already exited her office. The CMO would do everything in her power to save another life. How ironic would it be if the Lokustaar's Shadow Virus proved to be the answer to this quest?

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M13-P009: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34001.1200 ("An Eye On Everyone")
=-=
"An Eye On Everyone"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Medical Collaboration" by Rachel / (BAS) "Hunting Shadows" by Jessica]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34001.1200

As the ANUBIS' ExO / ILO, Shar'El had a long list of duties and responsibilities that occupied her time. As the First Officer, her attention needed to be directed inwardly onto the ship and its crew while as an Intel Liaison Officer that same attention needed to be outwardly cast. This would have been impossible to accomplish for a single person but thanks to the skilled and dedicated staff of the IGC, the raven-haired woman could do both with remarkable ease and efficiency.

Although the ship was still more than a day away from its destination, the IGC technicians were hard at work in gathering and filtering through all available information originating from KTARIS in order to help locate the target of their mission. Miss Mordana had already been identified as a dangerous Shadow agent, a woman who did not hesitate to kill anyone who got in her way, be them friend or foe. Shar'El had found herself admiring the woman on more than a few occasions as she read reports of her activities. The agent was calculating and ruthless, which made it that much more important for her to be captured or even simply taken out as she had done so many others working on her behalf.

With her team working on finding the woman, the ExO / ILO decided to turn her attention back on the ship and its crew. Making sure that everyone was working at their best fell under her jurisdiction, that the officers targeted by her attention liked it or not.  The first two people to fall under the Ullian's prying eyes were the Chief Engineer and Chief Medical Officer whose at times heated conversation could be listened in on.  Following the talk between the CMO of the USS BASTET and their own Doctor, it had made perfect sense for Satella to visit Sonja and explain her plan to the engineer. Likewise, it had been understood that the redhead had been less than thrilled by the scope of the task suggested by the silver-haired medical officer.

With that discussion on track to last quite a bit longer, Shar'El shifted her scrutiny to another member of the senior staff, a woman who was easily found in one of the many science labs on the ANUBIS. As expected, Maya had been hard at work on the task given to her by Captain Morningstar, the Chief Science Officer diving completely into her work as she always did. It would not come as a surprise to the ExO / ILO if the Shillian would be found in the exact same lab upon their arrival to KTARIS, the woman not having exited the room or even slept during their journey.  **Good luck, Maya,** the raven-haired Commander thought, hoping that some good news would come from the scientist's work.

Next on the Intel Operative's list was Counselor Lopez who had selected to remain in her office to work through the data concerning Miss Mordana. In some ways the ExO / ILO felt sorry for the woman as more information was channeled her way by the IGC technicians. Every piece of information on the psychopath had been requested by the CNS and Shar'El had seen no reason to not comply with the request. Maybe had Adriana realized the volume of the data she would be dealing with, she would have formulated her demand with more restrictive parameters.

Miss Mordana could be considered an expert in evading capture, going as far as to suggest that she possessed some sort of magical abilities, but that did not mean she was an expert at hiding her trails. As a primary Shadow Agent, the death and chaos she would normally leave behind would have been sufficient to erase any traces of her passing through, but thanks to the ANUBIS having followed her on and off three dozen planets and outposts, the IGC as a team had quickly learned what they needed to be looking for. Unfortunately, this still meant that they were several steps behind the woman, a failure that the ExO / ILO hoped would be fixed with the Counselor's assistance and ability to create a more specific psychological profile.

Next on her checklist were those officers currently on the command deck of the ANUBIS. Ensign Jones expertly manned the flight control station, the woman keeping her thoughts to herself as she usually did. Although Tanith could not be counted upon to liven-up a room, her skills as an FCO could not be challenged. Maybe that explained why she seemed to delight in being at her station more than most.

With a grin dancing on her lips, Shar'El turned her attention onto their Captain, Erik Morningstar. The man was as good a Commanding Officer as anyone could hope for, possessing patience, wisdom and a will to do what needs to be done in order to complete a mission as long as it did not jeopardize the safety of his crew. More than once the two of them had chatted about their own future, and Erik had always inquired as to why Shar'El did not want to claim a central chair as her own.  The question always remained unanswered triggering her to ask why he had never mentioned a desire to further climb the chain of command. Even without looking into his memories, the Ullian could see that he was happy where he was, just as much as she was in the position where she currently had.

Moving further towards the back of the bridge, Shar'El's attention fell onto the couple with a troubled past, both as individuals and as an item. Following their little chat in the Observation Lounge which the IGC took notice of, the Chief of Security and Chief of Operations had returned to their respective stations, a plan for the evening having been formulated.

With that in mind, the ExO / ILO shifted her inspection onto their guest, Ambassador Xana Bonviva.  Shar'El was very aware of Satella's findings and wondered how the Bolian / Terran hybrid would react upon learning the news of her imminent death. All that could be done was to hope that what the CMO had in mind would be able to slow or even stop the genetic disease from reaching its fatal conclusion.

Fearing that things might not happen as quickly or simply as they needed to, the ExO / ILO decided to join in on the action, without of course revealing the extent of her knowledge on the situation. "I'm heading down to Deck 29 to the specialized craft storage area. Let me know if anything major is discovered as to Mordana's whereabouts."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M13-P010: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 34001.1215 ("Not Enough Time")
"Not Enough Time"
previous posts were (ANU) "An Eye On Everyone" / (BAS) "Hunting Shadows"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 29, Specialized Craft Storage Area. 
Stardate: 34001.1215

"Please Sonja," Satella begged once more. "I need your help. Xana needs your help. There is no way for me to build this thing without your assistance. I don't have the expertise to even start putting that contraption together and link it to our power grid."

"Well, aren't you in a fine pickle situation," the Chief Engineer said from beneath an open panel of the Underwater / Stealth Mobile Command Unit called BARRACUDA. "The Captain told me," Sonja continued, this time in a heavy Scottish accent, "nay, ordered me to make sure that all of the support crafts were ready for field operations. I simply dinna have the time to build whatever it is you are asking me to and I do not wish to piss him off since he was in such a mood."

"We are just over 24 hours away from KTARIS," the CMO argued, the debate had been going on for quite some time now. "Surely you have time to finish everything down here after you get this small-scale Temporal Drive built. You would be saving a life by doing so."

"Listen," the redhead huffed as she pushed herself from under the BARRACUDA. "I may have already checked all of the LOCUS but I still need to clean and test the air filters on this baby before I start working on the SPHINX which needs a complete system's check that will include the testing of the caterpillar tracks and their emergency replacement system. After that, I have to head up to the Array Section and give the VIPERs a full maintenance check. I will be lucky if I finish all before we reach the orbit of KTARIS."

"I am asking you to do something that might save a woman's life, doesn't that count for anything?" Doctor Bruxa pleaded almost in tears.

"What happens if the filters on the BARRACUDA crash while we are underwater? Those who are inside will die. What happens if the caterpillar tracks on the SPHINX break while we are climbing a steep hill? Those inside end up as scrambled eggs as the craft goes tumbling down. What happens to those inside a VIPER is the engines stall or one of the panels comes loose exposing the inner system? Those who are inside will die, well maybe not right away as the ANUBIS would be able to lock in on them and beam them back, but that's beside the point. If any of these support craft should fail while we are on a mission, more than one member of this crew could die."

"Those are all potential things that could happen," Doctor Bruxa continued, trying her best to keep her mounting rage in check. "There is 100 percent chance that Xana will die if we do not build this machine."

"I'm sorry but I have my orders," Sonja said, her voice as cold as ice and her facial expression as unemotional as a Vulcan Grand Master.

Furious and disappointed beyond words Satella stormed out of the room nearly knocking Commander Shar'El as she came in.  "Should I ask what that was all about?"

"Come on Spy Girl," the engineer grinned as she returned to her work beneath the BARRACUDA. "We both know that you already know what this was about. There is nothing on this ship that happens without you knowing about it."

"All right," the First Officer nodded in agreement. "So I am guessing that you flat out refused to build that Temporal Drive she asked for."

"I have my orders straight from the Captain. He wants..."

"I know what he wants," Shar'El interrupted. "I also know who I am speaking to. Where is ANI?"

"I am right here Commander," the Avatar replied as she stepped out of the SPHINX. "How may I be of assistance?"

"I only need you to answer a few questions for me," the First Officer explained prompting the Chief Engineer to quickly push herself out from under the BARRACUDA once again.

"ANI, you are not to answer her questions," Sonja ordered.

"You of all people know that I am bound by the same security and operational protocols as the ship's computer. Therefore, I am unable to refuse a query from Commander Shar'El even if you order me not to do so."

"Thank you ANI," Shar'El grinned. "What is there left to do on the maintenance of all of the support crafts currently on board the ANUBIS?"

"The diagnostic on the SPHINX is nearly completed. All of the LOCUS the VIPERs have been checked and are ready for field operations. The only craft still requiring major work is the BARRACUDA which I could do in less than two hours."

"Traitor," the Chief Engineer mumbled as she glared in the direction of the ship's Avatar. "I was going to build that contraption. I just didn't want Satella to believe that it was that easy. How am I supposed to keep my reputation as a miracle worker if I do everything everyone asks for right away?"

"You didn't have to upset her the way you did," Shar'El pointed out.

"You are right," Sonja reluctantly agreed. "Would not have been as much fun though. One gets their entertainment where they can when wine is not allowed." That last statement drew a narrowed-eye glare from the First Officer. "All right, I'm sorry. I'll get started on the small scale Temporal Drive right away. I will even use personal Holodeck 3 so that the Ambassador is close to Sickbay allowing for Doctor Bruxa to keep a close eye on her. Will that be satisfactory?"

"Yes, although it would have been nicer had you simply told her that in the first place," the First Officer pointed out while shaking her head in dismay.

"I'm an Engineer, not a clown meant for the amusement of others. That's Jayson's job, speaking of which I am going to need to transfer a large amount of power to Holodeck 3 in order to maintain the simulation as the equipment that will be in it are beasts. If I use actual building materials, it will take several days to get that thing built, and we both know that our grand and mighty Ambassador doesn't have that time."

"Just get it done as quickly as possible," Shar'El said. "I will let Satella know that there was a small misunderstanding."

"A small misunderstanding?" Sonja sighed. "Well, there goes my reputation, both as a miracle worker and a cold hearted bitch that cares for no one but herself." The CEO paused then sighed before continuing. "Built this Cinderella, fix that Cinderella, think of others Cinderella."

Shar'El rolled her eyes. "If it makes you feel better, I will make sure that both of those are permanently added to your personnel file. I'll even send a copy of it to your mother who I am sure will want to speak to you in order to discuss your new status and why they were added to your file."

"You are mean," the redhead said holding her chest as if mortally shot. "That's why I like you."

"Good, you can prove it by having a small get together for the ladies after everyone's shift is over. Make sure to invite our guest, that will be the perfect opportunity for you to apologize to Satella and give Xana a quick explanation as to how the machine you will have built works."

With that said Shar'El just walked away not giving Sonja a chance to say anything. Just before the First Officer stepped out of the room, the redhead CEO called up a specific memory which she forced to the forefront making it impossible for the Ullian to ignore.

"Don't even go there!" The Commander warned without even looking back.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 6, Personal Holodeck 3 
Stardate: 34001.1245

"ANI, let's get this thing built," Sonja said to the artificial woman who walked in with her into the bare holodeck. "First, we need a class 4 single occupant chamber, let's make sure that the mattress and pillow are as comfortable as possible. Don't want Shar'El to have something to tell my mother. We will need the chamber to be at least 50 centimeters from the deck in order for the temporal field to encase the entire structure without affecting the holodeck's emitters. Next, using the schematics based on the Temporal Drive found on the BASTET, create a temporal generator that will engulf the chamber. We will need a power converter as well as a secondary power generator in the far corner so as to not put too much strain on the holodeck's own system. It might be safer if we took holodeck 4 off-line for the duration of this little exercise."

"According to the data available, this will not cure Ambassador Bonviva of her genetic illness," the Avatar stated.

"I know," the Chief Engineer nodded. "The goal is to at worst slow down the degradation of the genetic material giving her enough time to complete the mission. At best, this little time machine will reverse the genetic damage giving her a few extra days, weeks and who knows maybe even months. That reminds me; let's make sure that we have a complete medical array installed into the chamber. I am sure that Doctor Bruxa is going to want to keep a very close watch on what this is going to be doing to her patient. Now, let's get moving on the temporal emitters and field stabilizers."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M13-P011: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34001.1330
("There's A Sunny Side To Every Situation")
"There’s A Sunny Side To Every Situation"
previous posts were (ANUBIS) "Not Enough Time" / (BASTET) "Hunting Shadows"

=/\=

Fear is going to be a player in your life but you get to decide how much.
-Jim Carrey

=/\=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 6, Personal Holodeck 3 
Stardate: 34001.1330

Xana had been reading up on the latest Ktarian government, none of which made her feel better.  There was a real concern about the stability of the leadership making the upcoming trip to KTARIS all the more precarious.  On one hand it made a macabre sort of sense; if true an unstable government would be ripe for dangerous, lethal operatives.  If it wasn’t true, then why were the Ktarians in the middle of this mess?

The azure woman was about to do some outreach to known contacts when Satella interrupted her, explaining her thoughts on the reconfiguring a drive and a bed.  That was as much as the Bolian/Human got out of the conversation.  Honestly, most of it went over Xana’s head.  Still it was very touching. 

Walking over to Personal Holodeck 3, Xana walked into the stark Holodeck with a basket in hand, in the middle of which was a red-headed Engineer cursing as she was sorting out various tools while talking with an impressive AI.  “There are still variances in the avidyne memory log,” ANI stated.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Paquette said.  “Crystal articulation with photonic conduits will fix that.”  The CEO, hearing footsteps looked over briefly at the white haired woman who had come in and said in no uncertain terms, “It’s not ready for it’s unveiling.  If it was I woulda told you.”

“Greetings and Salutations.  It’s lovely to meet you too,” Xana stated warmly as she walked in.  Placing the basket on the floor she said, “Here’s some food for you.”  

Sonja looked up, something between apprehension and disbelief emitting from her emerald eyes.  “I’m building a marvel of engineering and you think I can’t replicate a sandwich?”

Xana raised an eyebrow at that.  “You think *real* food can be replicated?  That’s just quarks in a Halloween costume.  I don’t care how smart you are, that’s not *real* food.”  Easing herself down she opened up the basket and said, “I didn’t con Charles out of food and drink so it could go to waste.”  

The Engineer sniffed.  It smelled good; but she was not going to be swayed; especially if it came from the Admiral.  Still… “You’re on a first name with the Admiral?  No one is.”

“He’s got a first name,” Xana shrugged as she went rummaging through the basket.  Finding a container full of pasta, she then got a fork as well.  Popping open the container she blissfully began to eat.  After several bites she finally said, “We all get up in the morning, get dressed, and all that.  We can all count pips, it’s not like anyone has gone soft in the head.”  

Sonja narrowed her eyes at that before taking a roast beef sandwich.  It was just good preservation to see if the Ambassador didn’t fall over and croak from food poisoning; since she didn’t it seemed safe to take some food.  “Soft in the head,” she scoffed as she unwrapped the sandwich while fiddling with the tetryon clamps.  “You should talk about that.”

Xana paused before poking at the food again.  “Ahhh...okay,” she nodded.  “Anything in particular I should know about?”  Placing down the pasta and looking for something to drink she asked, “Or is this about my general eccentricities?”

“Eccentricities?  That’s a good one,” Sonja snorted as she put down the sandwich.  “Is that what it’s called when you don’t know you’re dying?”

There was a heavy moment then when the Engineer wasn’t sure what was going to happen then; that sometimes happened both in engineering and in life.  Sometimes circuits bypassed the expected path or ionizers collapsed.  In life, people could shut down or emotions could bubble up to the surface.  

Then again...the woman across from her could tilt her head back and begin to laugh.  A real and true belly laugh until it seemingly bounced off the walls of the holodeck.

“Mi scuzi,” the Italian born azure woman said, wiping the tears from her violet eyes, “but you -- and others think -- that *I* don’t know that I’m dying?  And soon?”  Snorting and laughing she said, “Oh gods, that was good.”

“That!  You make no sense!” Sonja yelled.  Climbing back under the console she muttered, “Feel free to leave when you’re done.”

“I would but my legs aren’t cooperating,” Xana sighed. Looking up at the holodeck she sighed.  “There are worse things than dying.  There was an old Earth philosopher heard to say “There’s a sunny side to every situation”.”

“Not listening.  Some of us have work to do,” Sonja pointed out.  

Xana looked over.  “I know.  And you have to wonder how bad it is that they sent me.”

Sonja paused for a moment under the console.  She was *not* going to fall for this.  The Ambassador was maddening, exhausting, and...now Sonja wanted to know more.  “Excuse me?”

“When the Ambassadorial Corp reactivated me,” the azure woman said conversationally, “they knew I was dying.  *I* told them I was dying, I told them how bad it was, and they said they knew all that.  I warned them but they said it was dire. How bad is it that you need a dying woman?”  Sighing she said, “Still, I won’t die at home...that was my fear.  That one morning, my kids, who’ve had to hand over my medicines every day and watch me write out my will and euthanasia plans, would come into my room and find me dead.  This way now they’ll be with their father.”  Smiling wanly she said, “So think I’m crazy, it’s ok.  These are nicer quarters than I usually get on other ships, I serve the Federation once more, and I don’t haunt my children by dying out here.”  Even though the red-headed Engineer was under the console suddenly the Ambassador’s violet eyes were far away and glistening as her voice was soft.  “There are far worse things than dying, trust me.”  Clearing her throat several times she finally said, “So thank you, Lt. Paquette.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M13-P012: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34001.2100 ("Scars From The Past")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Scars From The Past"
[previous post were (ANU) "There's A Sunny Side To Everything" / (BAS) "Hunting Shadows"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Gymnasium
Stardate: 34001.2100

Her shift was over and the invitation to join the others in Sonja's quarters had been received, but instead of being there the bright red-haired Nylaan had come here to train.

Even on the best of times those present in the gym at the same time left the Sec/Tac alone for fear that she might injure them. The intensity of her training had been well documented and even experienced by some, namely Lt. Stark who kept returning for more. Today though, people had actually decided to leave the Gymnasium and not risk getting caught in the Nylaan's rage which had already claimed one punching bag.

"Ya'Han!" Adriana cautiously called out making sure that she remained well out of reach of the training Sec/Tac. "Is everything alright?"

"Of course," the fiery redhead replied, quickly calming her breathing. As intense as the physical display had been, it was but a fraction of what the Sec/Tac was capable of unleashing should the situation call for it. "Why do you ask?"

The Counselor glanced at the destroyed punching bag before meeting Sec/Tac's eyes and smiling. "I had a few people contact me with, shall we say, personal and professional concerns."

"Concerns?" Ya'Han chuckled, easily understanding where those sentiments could have come from. "Were they worried that I would injure them or damage the ship?" The Sec/Tac asked with a hint of amusement in her voice.

"Would you believe both?" Adriana answered; glad to see Ya'Han in good humor. "Want to talk?"

"Do I have a choice?"

The Counselor leaned back against one of the mirrors, still making sure to remain out of immediate reach of the Sec/Tac, just in case. "You know that I cannot force anyone to speak to me. Only Captain Morningstar or Commander Shar'El can order a member of the crew to have sessions with me. Since you have not received such orders; yes you do have a choice. I just thought that I would offer my skills as a listener to you as a friend. All I know is that something changed when Ambassador Bonviva came aboard."

"Was one of those *concerned* Jayson?" The red-haired Nylaan demanded, the color of her hair growing brighter as she made the inquiry.

"We did speak, but to answer your question no he was not one of the crew members who contacted me because of the intensity of your training. Jayson came to see me earlier to talk about his own affairs. You two are close enough that I am sure you are aware of his troubled past and need to speak about it on a regular basis. His being back in a serious and committed relationship is not something easy for him," Adriana explained.

Shame flashed on Ya'Han's face before her head dropped. "I know that I am not making it easy for me. We both have a lot of baggage we carry with us from our past."

"That is part of the reason why I am here, to offer you someone to talk to and maybe help," the CNS said before taking a few careful steps to bridge the distance between them. "I read all of the files Counselor Dima left behind as well as your own records of what happened following your escape from your home and Ferengi controlled space. I also know that everything I read is only the tip of the stories that have led you to be here with different hair color. My professional guess is that there is something about Xana being an Ambassador that triggered all of this."

"I can see why you are the Ship's Counselor," Ya'Han chuckled. "You are quite correct, I have nothing against the woman, and in fact, I admire her on a professional level for all that she has accomplished. My issue is personal and pertains to nothing else than her title."

The Counselor nodded with understanding. "It is a learned response like so many others. Some people have uncontrollable, even violent, reactions when they see or smell something specific because it brings back very traumatic memories. What I can tell you is this, with time and proper support, those reactions can be made to go away. It will not happen overnight, but if you are willing, I would be happy to help you confront those memories and find a way for you to not be powerless as they flood back into your mind."

The Sec/Tac hesitated, closing her eyes to face some of those memories the CNS had just mentioned. The Ambassadors who came to visit NYLA IV and her father the High Sovereign did so to hopefully establish diplomatic and financial links with her people. In many instances, those agreements were sealed and celebrated with grand banquets.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: NYLA IV, Banquet Hall
Stardate: 14074.2200 (Ya'Han is 7 years old)

This was not the first time the youngest daughter of the High Sovereign had snuck out of her room, but it would be the first time she would see one of her father's grand receptions. She had never before seen a Markalian and the knowledge that the Ambassador from their world had been here proved too much for Ya'Han to ignore. She needed to see what he looked like and to experience the glamor of these grand banquets that her older sisters had so often spoken about.

Hiding behind one of the support pillars on the second-floor balcony, Ya'Han could see all of the delegates, the servants as well as the green-haired entertainers. The sight was beyond mesmerizing and after a short while, the youngest sister even managed to pinpoint her oldest brother and sister in the crowd below. As the heir to the throne of NYLA IV, Ya'Kun sat next to their father, learning all that he needed to in order to one day take over. As the oldest sister though, Ya'Min's only task was to entertain their guests by dancing as only a member of the royal family could.

Ya'Han watched in awe as her sister moved with enchanting grace, her bright emerald-hair flowing through the air as if each strand performed a synchronized dance of their own. The youngest daughter wondered if one day she would be able to dance like that, a dream that she would all too soon come to wish she had never had.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
End of FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

"Thank you for your offer Counselor," Ya'Han replied calling back her tears before they could be seen by Adriana. "Maybe one day, but right now I believe that we have a party to attend to. I would hate to have Sonja believe that we did not want to be there."

Lopez laughed. "You are right; I can just imagine the hell she would unleash on us both."

"Go and tell her that I will be there shortly. I think it would be best for me to take a shower before joining the festivities."

"See you soon," Adriana said as she made her way out of the gymnasium leaving Ya'Han alone so that she no longer needed to hold back her tears as she rushed to the showers. There, the evidence of her grief, as well as the stench of her workout, would be washed away once again.

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

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M13-P013: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34001.2200 ("Keeping Busy")
"Keeping Busy"
[previous (ANU) "Scars From The Past" / (BAS) "Overthinking"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34001.2200

KTARIS was 15 hours away at maximum speed, everything was functioning as it should on board the ANUBIS so there was little else to do but wait. His shift had ended several hours ago but the OPS Officer had decided to return to the bridge.  When the Captain stepped out of his office, the man was surprised to see Jayson at his usual station.

"Is there a problem Lieutenant?"

"No Sir. I just did not want to be alone in my quarters. The 'girls' are enjoying themselves in Lt. Paquette's quarters, likely drinking and laughing, and I just didn't want to be by myself."

The Captain smiled. "I have heard some rumors about those parties. I can only imagine how this one will be with Ambassador Bonviva joining in on the celebrations."

"Speaking of the Ambassador, may I ask you a question which in some way falls under a professional query?" The OPS Officer asked causing the Captain to look back at him with a raised eyebrow.  With a movement of his head, Morningstar agreed to at the very least hear the question although no guarantees of a reply were offered.  "Why was Ambassador Bonviva assigned to this mission? I may not know the specifics of her medical condition, but following Lt. Paquette's requests for extra power in Holodeck 3 and the work she did for the Ambassador, namely installing a temporal field generator, I can only surmise that our guest is not doing well."

The expression on the Captain's face indicated that he was right and that as expected Morningstar was not at liberty to divulge the specifics of this matter. "Admiral Koniki assigned her personally to this mission. Our job is to comply with his order and for us to do everything we can to make her stay with us as comfortable as possible in order for her to complete her part of the mission."

"My apologies Captain, It was not my intention to be out of line," Jayson quickly said feeling bad that he had allowed his personal curiosity to take over.

"Relax Lieutenant," the Captain said. "I am not one to ask for blind obedience from those under me. I appreciate your curiosity and desire to know what you suspect might be an important aspect of our mission. Admiral Koniki wanted the Ambassador to be with us on this particular mission, the reasons for this were not divulged to me. All I know is that her presence here is an asset and we all need to help ensure that she is able to perform her part."

"Of course, Captain."

"Now, go back to your quarters and relax. I will need all of my senior officers sharp and ready for action once we reach KTARIS. Pick up a book, read, listen to music, do whatever you need in order to not worry about everything else. I am sure that we will have plenty to keep us busy once we reach orbit and start hunting for that Shadow agent. She has escaped us too many times already."

"Aye aye, Captain," he said before leaving his station once again.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Stark's Quarters
Stardate: 34001.2230

Jayson walked into his quarters and immediately realized his mistake. Yes, these were his official quarters but this is not where he spent his time when not on duty. Every so often Ya'Han would come by to make sure the place had not turned into a complete post-apocalyptic war zone, and he knew better than to mess up her quarters. As the OPS Officer looked around, he came to accept his unconscious decision as being the better one. Here he could wait for her return without making it appear that he was doing just that.  All he needed to do was to find something to occupy his time as the Captain suggested.

When he had a moment to himself, Jayson usually worked on building some sort of miniature model, usually a replica of an older class of starship, but tonight his head and heart were not where they needed to be for this. Going to the gym without Ya'Han there seemed pointless so he had few other options to consider.

"Wow," he sighed. "Never realized just how pathetic my personal life was. If I am not on the bridge working, in the gym looking up at Ya'Han after sending me to the mat for the nth time or talking to Counselor Lopez, I am usually in her quarters. I actually don't spend enough time in these quarters to justify my having them." Jayson carefully looked around studying the details that hinted to the person living here. What he discovered was that everything pointed to the occupant not being here a great deal. That is when he made what many would consider being a life-altering decision. As soon as he would have the chance, he would ask Ya'Han if she would be willing to have him officially move in with her.

All he needed to do was to figure out how to ask her, something that would likely keep him busy well past when she would return from her get together with Lt. Paquette and the other female officers of the ANUBIS

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M13-P014: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34001.2300 ("Red Red Wine")
=-=
"Red Red Wine"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Keeping Busy" by Jayson / (BAS) "Overthinking" by Moi]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Paquette's Quarters
Stardate: 34001.2300

As a member of the senior staff, Sonja's quarters were relatively spacious but never had they been meant to hold so many, a fact that did not seem to bother the Chief Engineer in the least at this particular moment. Actually and in all honesty, the woman appeared positively thrilled with the energy that filled the room, not at all concerned by the growing mess the gathering of women was creating.

Tall, oversized wine glasses could be found throughout the room, outnumbering the occupants nearly 3 to 1. Most were empty offering only a whisper of the crimson liquid they had been filled with while the others waited to be relieved of their content. Soft yet animated music mixed in with the conversations and amusement that reigned in these quarters. Sonja had proven herself to be just as good a host as she was an engineer, maybe even more so. That the woman had started with a quote that took many by surprise, because of its origins rather than the words themselves had set the tone of the gathering to be one of joy and happiness.

"As Plautus once said many many moons ago, let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words. For those of you who are not familiar with ancient Terran, it means to drink, have fun and speak only kind words. If you don't, you'll be answering to me!"

Those words may not have been enough to get everyone started on the celebration, but in time the glasses offered to everyone were gradually emptied of their intoxicating red liquid. One advantage of being aboard a vessel the likes of the ANUBIS was that synthehol was not the standard offering to those wishing to celebrate life. The wine, just as the idea of making the best of this moment, had been as real as could be.

From the corner of the couch where she was sitting, the ExO / ILO could see everyone as they drank, talked and even danced with merry abandonment. Memories flowed as easily as the wine did provide the Ullian with more than she could have expected or wished for. This had not been the reason for her being here, far from it, but as an Intel Operative Shar'El was not one to forgo the opportunity to learn a little bit more about people in general. One such individual was Xana Bonviva, the blue-skinned Ambassador and guest of the USS ANUBIS.

Shar'El noted after a little while that Xana seemed particularly entranced by Ya'Han's dancing, then again who could resist the woman when she decided to give in to the unique abilities and skills that her green hair vouched to. Looking at the increasingly sensual moves, which were made more public thanks to the free-flowing wine they were all sharing, the Ullian almost felt envious of their Chief of Operations who likely enjoyed such shows on a regular basis. As rough as their relationship could be at times, it was beyond evident that Ya'Han and Jayson shared a deep emotional connection. His loss, in that he was not here to see this show, would be their gain, and what a show it was turning out to be. 

If those present were not looking at the sensually dancing Nylaan, they were occupied by the small fury monkey that was scampering about, jumping from shoulder to shoulder. It was nice to see Maya be something more than a workaholic scientist, even if only for a little while, all because she had accepted to partake in the offered intoxicating beverage. It had not taken much to send the shapeshifter into joyous abandonment that led her to demonstrate her shapeshifting abilities to everyone else. With the Nylaan and Shillian acting as they were, the ExO / ILO began to wonder if maybe Sonja had added something to the wine to increase its inhibiting effects of her guests.

Scanning the room for indications that may prove or dismiss that theory, Shar'El noticed the CMO and CNS sitting one next to the other. Satella and Adriana were laughing without restraint, cheering on the green-hair dancer when they were not giggling uncontrollably as the Shillian monkey jumped across their shoulders. The ExO / ILO also noted the ANUBIS' FCO sitting alone in a corner of the room. Tanith appeared to be enjoying the gathering as much as could be expected from her, the woman is quite the solitary sort, which made it even more of a surprise that she had accepted to join the event.

"Would you like another glass Commander?" Sonja asked with a full large glass already in her hand. "As the senior most officer in the room, it is your duty to lead by example, although I would recommend for you to be careful. We would not want a repeat of the last celebration; it took me a week to get the couch cleaned."

"Let me ask you something," Shar'El said accepting the engineering's latest offering. "What is your opinion of our guest, Xana?"

"She has issues," Sonja said smirking as she glanced at the blue woman, "then again who doesn't, especially in this crew.  Ya'Han has family and identity issues, Maya as loneliness issues which anyone in her situation would have. It is not easy being the last surviving member of your race. You have issues thanks to you dealing with everyone else's memories, especially the ones that they don't want to know about. Tanith issues have issues of their own, at least that's all I have to go on since she is not one to open up to others, even with a few glasses of wine in her.  That leaves Satella and Adriana who have to deal with everyone's issues including Xana whose one main issue is that she is dying. Of all the things we deal with, her current issue is the hardest and easiest one to deal with."

"Easiest and hardest?"

"Of course," Sonja said as if this was as evident as the glass of wine in their hands. "Knowing that you are dying is a hard reality for anyone to accept, but it is also the easiest thing to deal with once you have accepted it. Once you know there is nothing you can do about it, death is something that you are no longer concerned about. That inevitable fact gives her the freedom to enjoy each and every moment to their fullest without a shred of fear."

"Without fear?" Shar'El repeated as a smile grew on her lips. "Could it be that simple? Is Koniki using that one simple detail to justify sending her on this mission?" The ExO / ILO whispered as she gazed at the blue-skinned woman in a way that she had never done before now.

"What are you mumbling about Spy Girl?" Sonja asked, sounding ever so slightly on the tipsy side, this after having been responsible for emptying the majority of the glasses scattered around the room. The redhead was known for drinking Klingons under the table.

"Just a theory," Shar'El replied. "The Lokustaar, as well as their agents, work on using people's fears to have them do things they otherwise would never have ever considered. We saw that pattern on every world we chased Mordana through. She uses fear to make people do her bidding and turn against their own countrymen and families. Now imagine what would happen if a truly fearless individual was added to this equation? Mordana would have no power over them or anyone else who would come to see the universe the way Xana does. This freeing lack of fear would completely drain the Shadow agent of her influence over others."

"Sounds like wishful thinking on your part," Sonja huffed before taking a large sip of her glass which nearly emptied the oversized clear container.

"Maybe it is," the Ullian agreed. "Then again, maybe that is exactly the reason why Koniki sent her to KTARIS with us," the ExO / ILO added, looking her eyes on Xana in order to search for that one memory that would confirm her suspicions.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M13-P015: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34002.0100 ("The After-Party")
=-=
"The After-Party"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Red Red Wine" / (BAS) "Hard Decisions"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34002.0100

The ambient lights were turned down to their lowest possible setting. This created a strange yet tranquil environment for the odd collection of equipment. The flashing indicators of the various machines brought together by their Chief Engineer made it seem like Christmas. All that was missing was a cover of snow on the ground.  The gentle darkness and twinkling lights helped to create a peaceful and tranquil environment. The relaxing atmosphere reflected in the face of the sleeping azure woman.  Satella looked upon her sleeping patient with satisfaction and relief. Oddly enough, Xana appeared not in the least bit troubled by her high-tech sleeping arrangements. The Ambassador had seemed more than happy to slide into the strange contraption.

"You did a good job," Counselor Lopez said in a whispered voice as she came to stand next to Doctor Bruxa.

"I can't take credit for this," Satella said vehemently. "Sofia gave us the idea and technical specifications. Sonja did all of the actual work in creating this. Jayson made sure that this pretzel looking machine has all of the power it needs. Even Maya deserves to share in the credit; it was her research and work on the Shadow Virus that made most of this possible. All I did was to get this project started."

"The first step is often the most difficult," Adriana said, giving the woman a friendly hug. "The last steps can be just as demanding. I am sure that Xana appreciates all that you have and are doing for her."

"All I am doing is standing here watching over her while she sleeps," the Doctor pointed out. "The machines are doing all of the work if they are doing anything at all. Right now, I cannot make heads or tails of what those monitors are reporting. I can hear a humming but could not tell you which of the equipment is responsible for it. Actually, I am not even sure that the sound I am hearing is coming from out there. For all I know it could be from in here," the CMO said gently tapping the side of her head. Forcing her eyes into focus, Satella looked at an amused Adriana. "Don’t you look at me that way. I am not drunk, but I may slightly be under the influence. To be honest, I am not sure I will be able to stand for much longer. That wine Sonja gave us packs quite a punch. We just had to look at Ya'Han and Maya to see a proof of that."

"Our Chief Engineer does not do things in half measures."

"I noticed," the CMO softly growled recalling a specific earlier confrontation. The verbal battle the two had shared back in the Specialized Craft Storage Area had proven that much. Good or bad, Sonja gave it her all no matter what the outcome might be. "I am still trying to figure out if her being that ay is a good or bad thing."

"I would say that it's a good thing," Adriana said. "We all needed that party. It gave us all chance to enjoy the moment instead of just reacting to things. We have been after this Mordana for so long that we have forgotten how to enjoy life. Being able to sit down, drink and enjoy the company of others was something we all needed."

Satella laughed. "It is somewhat ironic that it took someone on the edge of death to make us enjoy life."

"Nothing ironic about that," Adriana corrected. "It often takes something bad to make us appreciate the good. That psychological reality extends to most races. We only truly come to appreciate life when we are faced with death. In this case, we are appreciating life because we are dealing with someone facing her own mortality. Although the party might have been a little too much, it was something we all needed. Being together like that helped us all realize what we have as a group. It also served to put into perspective what it is we are fighting for. I think we lost track of that along the way while chasing that Shadow agent."

"I never realized that wine could make someone so wise," Satella chuckled. "Maybe I need to drink more."

"I think you had quite enough. As for me, I did not drink as much as most at the party. I thought it might be prudent to have at least one person with a clearer head. It was nice to see everyone forgetting about their problems, even if only for a short while. For me, that made it all worth it. We all needed that and I am sure that it will make our next mission a little easier."

"It will be easier only if I can get a supply of hangover pills ready for general distribution. That is as soon as I get some sleep," Doctor Bruxa said as the Counselor stopped her from falling over. "Thank you. Will need to tell Sonja to find a way to stop the ship from tipping back and forth. In the meantime, let us leave Xana to her dreams. Will you be coming back to check on her?"

"I will escort you back to your quarters and then I will head to my own. As for the rest, you have nothing to be worried about, not even as far as Xana is concerned. She is in good hands," Adriana explained, glancing over to the Avatar. Ani had received specific instructions to stay in the holodeck and monitor all of the equipment. The android linked to every system on board the ANUBIS was the best person to be watching over the Ambassador especially now that most were not as quick as they should be.

"If you say so," Satella agreed using Adriana to help keep her standing. With each passing moment, the effect of the wine was becoming more apparent. This forced the CMO to either leave the holodeck with the assistance of the CNS or request a cot to be created so that she could find a corner to sleep in. "Take me home, please."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M13-P016: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34002.0200 ("Trying to Understand")
##########
"Trying to Understand"
Previous posts (ANU) "The After-Party" / (BAS) "Hard Decisions"
##########

“Close your eyes, breath, and listen. Only when you hear your own heartbeat will you begin to understand the universe. It cares nothing of material needs or wants. It simply is, living through each and everyone of us.”
- Amber Satori to Elan Fairborn the night before she fell into a coma

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34002.0200

The Native American stood silently next to the sealed chamber, close enough to gaze upon the sleeping Ambassador through the transparent cover but far enough not to interfere with the temporal field that engulfed the machine and its occupant. As a former engineer, Erik was in absolute awe with the mechanical marvel that had been created, finding the gentle hum of the machine, which seemed to echo right through him, soothingly relaxing. As the Captain of the USS ANUBIS, he found an odd sense of comfort in seeing his guest resting so peacefully appearing to not have a care in the world.

"According to the latest molecular bio-sensor readings, the genetic disease killing Ambassador Bonviva is showing signs of slowing down. I believe that with some minor modifications, the damage could actually be reversed. Not completely mind you, but enough to give her a few extra months, maybe more," the ship's Avatar reported her voice no louder than a whisper as if her speaking might actually wake the woman in question.

"I am happy to hear this," Erik smiled, matching the soft-spoken tone of the artificial woman now standing next to him.

"Was there something you needed, Captain?" ANI asked, puzzled by the man's presence and general demeanour. The Captain had not said a word before she spoke to him, and he seemed to not be interested in her report. So why had he come to the holodeck?

"I just came to see... to listen... to understand," the Native American replied, never taking his eyes from the sleeping woman, his voice echoing alien wisdom that was not his own.

"I am sorry Captain, but I am not sure I understand what it is you are here for," the Avatar said. As sophisticated as she was, ANI was nothing more than an extension of the ANUBIS's computer, the ship made flesh, possessing an intellect equal to the gathered knowledge contained within the main computer, but lacking the ability to look beyond what could be seen. The android designed as a humanoid woman was smart, strong, quick, and could even manage to be funny at times but intuition and the ability to look at the universe beyond the physical realm was something that she could not do.

"I am here because this is my ship and she is my guest," Erik cryptically replied. The Avatar would understand the words and their basic physical significances but the reason and purpose behind them would remain well out of her reach. "Continue monitoring her vitals as well as the equipment," the Captain calmly, peacefully ordered. "Let her rest and be closer to understanding the universe then any of us may ever likely to be."

The Avatar blinked a few times before acknowledging the order with a nod of her head and several steps backward making her vanish into the relative darkness that ruled the outer parameter of the room. This would not be the first time ANI had been faced with a statement or action that she could not make sense of, and as in the times before, the android would simply log the incident in her memory for more in-depth analysis and review. Maybe one day something would be said or done that would enable her to understand all of this, but tonight would not be that day.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 13, Stellar Cartography
Stardate: 34002.0230

Stretching over 5 decks, this was the largest room on board the ANUBIS. Here the Native American could gaze upon the vastness of cosmos without actually being out in the vacuum of space. Since the ship was traveling at high warp, his walking on the outer hull as he liked to do was not an option, so he came here instead.

"Computer, bring KTARIS on the primary horizontal axis. Planetary magnification 5," the Captain ordered after a few minutes of enjoying the view he could never tire of. Following the order, the starscape changed to bring the requested planet to be in full view directly in front of him. Appearing no larger than a beach ball, the planet they would soon be in orbit of appeared as peaceful as any other. The Native American had almost expected to find the sphere visibly touched by cold and unexplainable darkness, a shadow spreading over the surface like some sort of disease, but that was not the case.  From space, the planet appeared like so many others, alone and vulnerable.

Erik studied the live image, his gaze darting from one detail to the next without actually knowing what it was he was searching for. When nothing out of the ordinary was uncovered, the Native American closed his eyes, took a deep breath and allowed his thoughts to flow freely. The Captain was not a telepath or even possessed any sort of external mental abilities, those had been the gift and curse of his first Officer Shar'El. All that he wanted to do was to calm his mind and open himself to the wisdom of the universe.

After several minutes Erik reopened his eyes. "Computer, access Lokustaar activity reports for the last year and show on this map all confirmed events involving the race."  Following the parameters provided by the Captain, only a handful of red dots appeared, scattered all over the holographic star map. "Computer, using the same reports and time frame, display all suspected confrontations with the Lokustaar using a yellow indicator." Joining the handful of red marks already there, hundreds of new markers appeared, transforming the map in a most frightening way. Morningstar exhaled as he saw one of the new yellow indicators in the middle of the sphere representing their destination.

Nothing had changed, Mordana was as good as she had been all of the other times before, never allowing anyone to confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that she had been there at all. Yet, KTARIS would be different this time, Erik was not sure how or why but he could feel it. He did not need to understand why he felt the way he did, all he needed to do was to ensure that they would make that feeling become a reality.

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M13-P017: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34002.0630 ("The Universe Only Feels Big")
"The Universe Only Feels Big"
Previous posts (ANUBIS) "Trying to Understand" / (BASTET) "Hard Decisions"

=/\=
If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude
-Amy Tan

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 19, Isolation Room
Stardate: 34002.0630

Lieutenant JG Ya’Han had received the message; she did not doubt its veracity.  However, she still had to see it for herself.  On the way she turned over in her mind if true then why.  Shaking out that thought, she reasoned that this simply could *not* be true.

Then she stood in the Auxiliary Security Office, outside one of the Isolation Rooms, and saw for herself it *was* true.  The Ambassador had taken up residence there.  Shooing out all the gawkers and wide-eyed officers, Ya’Han cleared her throat.  “Ambassador?” she said.

The azure woman, who was holding a steaming mug with one hand and reading a PADD with the other, looked up.  “Good Morning,” she replied.

Ya’Han paused for a moment, before trying again.  “Ambassador.”  When assured she had the other woman’s attention she asked, “Why are you here?”

“On the ANUBIS?  You know a lot of people are asking that.  Well not of me, but I hear the murmurings.  To be fair, I have the same question.  The only thing I can say for certainty is that I was assigned but as to *why* I don’t know,” Xana admitted.  Smiling carelessly she said, “They don’t even tell me that.”

Tapping her foot in her boot, Ya’Han tried again.  “Why are you in an Isolation Room?”

“Oh,” Xana replied, her mouth making an “O”.  “That’s a different question.”

“Yes.  Yes it is.”

Xana sipped from her steaming mug.  “Want some tea?”

“No,” Ya’Han replied.  

The azure woman sighed.  “You’re going to kick me out aren’t you?”

The Security Officer frowned as she looked at the sitting woman.  It was inconceivable that she’d kick out the Ambassador.  Then again about 10 minutes ago it was inconceivable that the Ambassador would be in an Isolation Room but here they were.  “No but I’m -- nevermind. If you want the Isolation Room, you can have it, short of an emergency.”

The azure woman sat back and watched the flummoxed Security officer.  As the red and black haired woman turned, the Ambassador called out.  “I wanted somewhere quiet to read.”  After a heartbeat she continued on.  “I couldn’t find a conference room and...well I started out many many moons ago in Security.  I feel safe here.  It’s quiet.  The materials I’m reading need to be in a secure location.  That’s why I sought out here if I couldn’t be in a conference room.”  Frowning as she looked at the materials she said, “I think there’s been a violation of Regulation 6.57 and once I’m on the ground I’ll need to invoke Tactical Directive 36A.”

Ya’Han turned back around, her face contemplative.  It was clear that the Ambassador was telling the truth.  Yet, it didn’t align with what she expected.  “You could go to the Observation Lounge,” she pointed out.  

Xana blinked at that, a shock mixed in with confusion on her weary features.  “On the Bridge?  Please.  This is probably my last assignment.  I’d prefer not to screw it up before I get on the ground.”

The Nylaan looked at the Bolian/Human, now clearly confused.  “How would going to the Observation Lounge be a problem?”

“I am well aware that I am not allowed on a Bridge.  I mean I went yesterday, but that was because the Captain called me there.  I’ll never go again, I promise,” Xana said in the same tone one of kids would have used to do a “pinky swear”.  Exhaling the Ambassador admitted, “Look, everyone here has treated me far better than I normally get treated on a ship, I mean unless I’m friends with the Commanding Officer which isn’t often.”  She lifted the mug to her lips in thought.  Once she brought it down she said, “I am deeply appreciative, please understand that.”

Ya’Han furrowed her brow.  “How do you normally get treated?”

“I usually look for my quarters about a step away from an airlock,” Xana said.  Smiling wryly she said, “I think it has something to do with I’ve divorced an XO and the CO and I aren’t exactly...friendly.”

The Nylaan thought about her own upbringing for a moment; this whole conversation was so very confusing and it showed despite her not wanting it to.  “You’re an Ambassador, though.”

“Yes, I am.  And that plus a replicator credit gets me my tea,” Xana said.  Looking at Ya’Han she narrowed in her violet eyes.  “Do you mind me asking where--”

The Security Officer was used to this line of questioning, even if it didn’t thrill her.  “I’m from NYLA IV.”

“I see,” Xana murmured.  Setting down the PADD and mug, she looked over at Ya’Han as if trying to puzzle something out.  “I’ve been an Ambassador multiple times.  On and off through the years.  The first time was 15 years ago.  I remember because it was when one of my daughters was born.  And you don’t know what you don’t know when you go out.  They just pick you and you go, hoping that you’ve learned previously is enough.”  There was a long silence before the Ambassador said, “The universe only feels big.”  Xana sipped her tea then.  “Let me know if you want to talk--”

“You can continue to stay here, that’s fine,” Ya’Han said, cutting off the Ambassador as she turned around to walk away.

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M13-P018: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34002.0650 ("You Did What?")
"You Did What?"
[previous (ANU) "The Universe Only Feels Big" / (BAS) "Hard Decisions"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 34002.0650

Jayson was recycling the dishes used for breakfast when Ya'Han returned, the woman appeared a little more flustered than she did when she left.

"So, what was the big emergency?" He asked not having been told anything after Ya'Han had received the message.

"She was there," she mumbled. "I can't believe that she was actually there."

"Who was where?" The OPS Officer demanded. He might have found this a little amusing at first but his patience was rapidly running out.

"The Ambassador."

"Alright," Jayson sighed, rolling his eyes. "That takes care of the *who*, now all I need is the *where*."

"She's in one of the isolation rooms attached to the Security Office on Deck 19," Ya'Han explained still trying to come to terms with the situation.

"Wait! What? Did you actually put the Ambassador in the brig?" His eyes were as wide as could be, and the expression on his face was one of pure shock and disbelief. He knew Ya'Han could be strict in matters of security but never would he have expected her to go that far. The Ambassador was a guest of the crew, a special envoy assigned to the ship's latest mission by none other than Admiral Koniki himself. "What did she do?" He continued trying to hold back his laughter. "That must have been one heck of a party last night. Why didn't you tell me about this earlier?"

"There was nothing to tell you about," Ya'Han strongly defended. "Nothing happened last night. I was not the one who put the Ambassador in isolation; she did that all by herself. As far as I was told, Sonja escorted her back to the Holodeck after the party. There she slept, at least that is where she was until earlier this morning when I received the message that our illustrious guess had walked into the Security Office and commandeered one of the isolation rooms."

He could not believe his ears, but as much as he wanted to know more about all of this, he knew that the two of them needed to be elsewhere. "Whatever the story is, we need to head to the bridge. Our shift is about to start and I do not think the Captain would look upon our being late too kindly. By the way, Doctor Bruxa came by and gave me these for you," Jayson said as he handed Ya'Han a couple of white pills.

"What are these?"

"I was told that these would help deal with what happened last night at the party, which according to you was nothing. I just find it interesting that this nothing somehow ended up with Ambassador Bonviva in the brig."

"She is not in the brig!" Ya'Han exclaimed as she walked out of their quarters, pills in hand, the bright red color of her hair warning Jayson that he'd better stop or risk calling forth the full wrath of the 'Red Dragon'.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34002.0700

"Good morning Captain," the two officers stepping out of the turbolift said in unison. Ya'Han had regained her normal red and black mix indicating that everything had returned to normal, at least as far as everyone else was concerned.

"Aren't you two cute," Counselor Lopez said smiling. She had several reasons to be happy to see them together; both had come to her privately and professionally to voice concerns about their relationship with the other. Adriana understood that their individual pasts were more than enough to create more than a few rough patches, but the two of them always seem to get back together afterward. It was almost enough to make the CNS believe in destiny. "How are you feeling this morning?"

The question was meant for Ya'Han but Jayson thought it would be amusing if he were the one to reply instead. "She's feeling great; after all, nothing happened last night."

"Don't mind him," Ya'Han sighed. "I am fine although I will admit that I am feeling some slight discomfort in my legs and back. Thanks to Satella though, my head is as clear as could be."

"I am not surprised you physically feel the way you do," the Counselor said nearly laughing as she did so. "I would have expected you feeling a lot more due to the way you were dancing last night. I think the Ambassador found your dancing very entertaining."

"Speaking of the Ambassador," the Captain jumped in with, clearly having overheard something of the conversation. "Do either one of you know where the woman is?" The man asked moving closer to the security station. "I would like to speak with her about a few things regarding our mission before we actually arrive, but when I passed by Holodeck 3, she was already gone."

"You might want to try the brig, Sir," Jayson replied from the Operations station, keeping his head down and eyes on his console.

"She's not in the brig," Ya'Han said through clenched teeth, exasperated by Jayson's insistence in using that particular designation. "Last I saw Ambassador Bonviva; she was in one of the isolation rooms on Deck 19."

"What happened? Why was she placed in solitary confinement?" The Captain demanded of his Chief of Security ignoring the OPS Officer who was trying his best not to crack up laughing aloud.

"I did not put her there, Captain. I assure you; she decided to go there on her own. According to the Ambassador herself when I spoke to her this morning, that specific location was the best place on board the ANUBIS for her to quietly enjoy a cup of tea while reading."

The man blinked repeatedly, the explanation making very little sense to him. "The best place on the ANUBIS?" The Captain asked as he slowly turned to look at the equally puzzled Ship's Counselor.

"I am sure there is a perfectly simple explanation. Let me speak with her," Counselor Lopez suggested before quickly making her way off the bridge glancing in the OPS Officer's direction as he tried as best he could not to release a burst of laughter that would likely be heard all the way down to the ship's engineering section.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M13-P019: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34002.0730 ("Minor Modifications")
=-=
"Minor Modifications"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "You Did What?" / (BAS) "Hard Decisions"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck 3
Stardate: 34002.0730

The first order of business was to check on the medical condition of their guess. The Avatar had provided a detailed report but the CMO wanted to see things for herself. The first surprise when she walked in was to find that the Ambassador had already left. Satella had never considered that the Bolian/Terran could be an early riser. Then again, after last night, Doctor Bruxa had not been able to consider a great many things. The second surprise was Sonja, or more to the point the way she entered the room.

"How did the equipment work?" The Chief Engineer asked bouncing into the holodeck. The woman was happy, overly so, as if skipping through a field of flowers. All that Sonja was missing was a couple of braids sticking out on both side and a woven basket. How the redhead could be so jovial was beyond the Doctor's grasp.

"You're in a super good mood this morning. Guess the pills I sent your way helped."

Sonja stopped and debated for an instant as to how to react. Would she chose to be angry or continue joyously? Once the decision was made, the redhead took one last skip in Satella's direction. "Pills?" the CEO asked with a Cheshire cat smile dancing on her lips. "What kind of woman do you take me for Doctor? Do I look like the kind of person who needs drugs to feel better? Do you believe me to be the type who needs a couple of white pills to undo the effects of my drinking the night before? I will let you know that I have left many Klingons passed out under a table. So much so in fact that they have named a drink after me. Well, at least I think they did, my name doesn't really translate well in their language."

"I'm sorry. I meant no disrespect." Satella was not sure if the woman was upset or not. Her smile pointed to one thing, her words seem to indicate the opposite. An apology was the safest course of action.

Sonja's smile grew even more. "No offense taken. It takes more than a few bottles to get me down. That said, may I ask if *you* took any of those pills? You look slightly under the weather. I would say green around the gills even."

"I am afraid that the pills are not as effective on me. There are certain unique differences between Terran and Mikulak physiology. I will be fine though, in an hour or so."

"I will keep that in mind for our next get together. I can give you your own pills before you leave."

"One day... one party at a time please." The CMO could not wait for the pills to actually take effect.

"Alrighty then!" No doubts about it, Sonja was in an excessively good mood. "Back to the reason why we are both here. How did the equipment work?

"According to the sensor logs and Ani's report, everything worked perfectly. The temporal field targeted Xana's nerves leaving everything else untouched. Looks like we were able to slow the progression of the disease. I believe that with a few minor modifications we could actually reverse the damage. There is no known way to cure the disease, but I think we are well underway to giving her more time."

"Never underestimate the marvels of modern engineering I am capable of creating. Now all you need to do is get Xana to spend more than a few hours in this." Sonja was looking at the small screen, showing that the machine had worked for less than 5 hours. "With the temporal field set so low, exposure is the only way this will actually work.

"You are right," Satella agreed looking at the same data. "For this to work, she will need to spend no less than 8 to 10 hours in the machine. We may need to make it more inviting. I will have to speak with her on that matter. She will not be able to just walk away when bored or feeling uncomfortable. All I have to do is to find her."

"You hunting her down might explain why she escaped to a security isolation room. As an Ambassador, I am sure she is well aware of how dangerous a single-minded Doctor can be." Sonja paused for a few seconds before continuing. "Luckily for her, you don't have a wibbly wobbly, timey wimey, thingny in your possession. At least not yet."

"What? What are you talking about? Hunting down Xana? I am not hunting her down. By the way, where did you say the Ambassador is?" Satella was confused beyond measure. That the Ambassador had not been here when the CMO came in was one thing. That she might be hiding from her was something completely different. To add insult to injury, Sonja was not making things any easier.

"The Ambassador is in one of the security isolation rooms. Ani followed her there when she left here."

"What is she doing in the brig?" Satella was beside herself. It was bad enough that her patient could not be in Sickbay for observation. Not that it would have helped that much due to the condition. To have Xana in prison was unimaginable. That she was an Ambassador only made all of this even more unacceptable.

"First, I am sure that Ya'Han would take offense at you calling the isolation rooms the brig. They are not the same thing. Second, Xana went there of her own accord. No one forced her to be down there."

"That's not an explanation!" Maybe it was the pills or her hyperventilating, but Satella was feeling light-headed. "I need to go down there and check on her."

"You do that. I will be right here quietly, peacefully recalibrating the equipment."

"Where am I going?" Satella was flustered to a point where she could no longer think straight.

Sonja smiled. This was proving to be quite entertaining, and without wine being involved. "The security office on deck 19. Should I ask for Ani to escort you there?"

"NO!" Was all that Doctor Bruxa said before running out of the holodeck, almost tripping over her own feet as she did so.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M13-P020: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34002.0730 ("Why Is Nothing Ever Easy")
-=-=-
"Why Is Nothing Ever Easy"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Minor Modifications" & (BAS) "Hard Decisions"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 19, Corridor
Stardate: 34002.0730

Adriana was given a single task; to create a psychological profile of the Shadow agent known as Mordana. All that the Counselor had to go on was the chaos and death the woman left in her wake, never involved in anything directly. Her modus operandi was to enlist the help of local individuals who were usually people with shady pasts or a desire to see a rapid elevation of their current position, status or power. Part of the problem was that most of these pawns would soon after be found dead or not found at all following the agent's departure from that world. The woman was good, making it that much more difficult for them to lock in and capture her.

Creating the profile by itself had not been as easy as it should have been and having to deal with the eccentricity of their guest on top of things had not helped in the least. Standing in front of the door to the Security Center, Adriana gathered her thoughts, mentally readying herself for what was to come. Xana was a friendly woman, there was no denying that, but the Bolian/Terran was not what would normally be expected of someone in her position

"What are you doing, sis?" Amanda asked. "Waiting for the Ambassador to escape from her cell?"

If it was not enough, there were the hallucinations of her missing twin to ensure that things could never be as simple as they could have been. The CNS quickly looked down the ends of the corridor to make sure no one would hear or see what was about to happen.

"I need to think things through," Adriana said in an exasperated manner. "I can't just go barging in and ask what is wrong with her, now can I? I have to be diplomatic."

The mental projection of the twin laughed aloud, not concerned about anyone else hearing her. After all, being a hallucination meant that Amanda knew Adriana was the only one that could interact with her. "You? Diplomatic? That I have to see. Being a Counselor is one thing, being a diplomat is something entirely different. You will be lucky if you do not end up locked away in some distant and forgotten stockade. The woman in there is not your run-of-the-mill officer; in fact, she is levels over the First Officer or Captain. With a simple call to Koniki, she could have you scrubbing the waste manifolds for the rest of your life."

"The Ambassador may have issues, but I believe her to be a decent person," Adriana said in the woman's defense. "Being eccentric is not a sign of her being mean or even unreasonable. The fact that she is dying is not helping either. As much as she might have come to terms with the reality of her situation, it would still be playing on her mind in some level, maybe even only subconsciously."

"Came to see our prisoner?" Satella said as she walked down the corridor, announcing her presence to the twins recognizing the way Adriana was mumbling to herself as another confrontation with the hallucination of her sister.

"Xana is not a prisoner," the Counselor clarified. "According to Ya'Han, she went into an isolation room of her own free will seeking peace and quiet."

"Sonja said the same thing," the CMO said. "Apparently, Ani followed the Ambassador when she left the holodeck. Guess the humming of the machine was too much for her to handle."

"It might not be that simple," Adriana sighed. "You are working on the medical aspect of her disease, trying to find a way to make this mission easier for her, to extend her life and maybe even find a cure. Sonja is working on the mechanical aspects of what you established to be her needs in order to accomplish your goal. As the Ship's Counselor, I have to deal with her thoughts on not only her rapidly deteriorating condition but the mission as well not to mention the possibility that she may not die as quickly as she was told due to what you and Sonja and doing. She is dealing with all of those as well as whatever else is haunting her thoughts. Her seeking refuge in an isolation room might have been nothing more than an unconscious need to remove herself from everything."

"Wow," Amanda gasped rolling her eyes. "That is one massive load of pshyco mumbo jumbo. Do you actually believe all that? I think your friend the Ambassador is nothing more than a crazy diplomat who likes to see just how much she can get away with."

Adriana's shoulders slumped letting Satella know that something had happened. Knowing what she did about the Counselor and her sister, it didn't take long for Satella to figure out what had transpired even is she had not heard or seen any of it.

"Don't let her get to you. Amanda is nothing more than a projection of your fears and insecurities. What you just said makes perfect sense, so don't start doubting herself. Psychology, just like medical science, were never and are still far from being a perfect way to deal with anything. We all do the best we can with the information and technology available to us at the time."

"Thank you."

"Don't thank me yet," Satella said with a grin. "We still have to go in there and speak with her. I have to convince her to speak more time in the machine Sonja created. That alone might prove to be an impossible mission."

"You and I make a great team, so I am sure we will find a way to make it happen. If you are ready, let's go."

The two women moved forward towards the door causing it to open and allowing them inside the Security Center where they would be able to see and speak to Ambassador Bonviva, this without paying too much attention as to the reason why she was there in the first place.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M13-P021: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34002.0800 ("Emotional Uncertainty")
=-=
"Emotional Uncertainty"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Why Is Nothing Ever Easy" by Marissa / (BAS) "Hard Decisions" by Karen]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34002.0800

The ANUBIS was about 4 hours away from KTARIS, which under normal circumstances would be more than enough time to get everything ready for a search and retrieve mission like the one the ship and crew were currently involved in. Unfortunately, there was absolutely nothing normal about any of the facets of this particular mission which had for objective the capture of a woman working for the Lokustaar.

There was nothing remotely ordinary about the individual they were after. As a Shadow Operative, Mordana had proven herself to be exceptionally skilled in evading her pursuers and equally talented in recruiting people to do her bidding. This made tracking and following the woman's trail that much more difficult, calling upon all of the resources and expertise of the IGC personnel.

The ANUBIS had traveled to three dozen locations and each time they arrived too late to be able to corner the agent. It was hoped that this time would be different thanks to the help Admiral Koniki believed Ambassador Bonviva would provide, either through getting support from the local government or offering some sort of diversion to distract the Shadow Operative. The problem was that as their target, there was nothing normal about the Bolian/Terran woman either.

As an experienced Ambassador, the ExO / ILO was inclined to believe that Xana being on board the ANUBIS could prove helpful in the completion of their mission. The problem was that since the woman was dying of a rapidly progressing degenerative, genetic disease everything had been spun into the realm of the unknown and unpredictable. Instead of focusing on their mission, many members of the crew were obliged to deal with Ambassador Bonviva in one way or another to ensure her being able to take part in the mission.  Everyone worked on the assumption that the presence and assistance of the Bolian/Terran would actually help them in their quest to apprehend the Shadow Operative.

As much as the ExO / ILO wanted to believe this as well, the Ullian had seen certain rather troubling memories during her scan of the Ambassador's mind.  While watching a green-haired Ya'Han dancing to the best of her physical skills and training, Xana allowed her mental defenses to drop enough to permit Shar'El to easily gain access to the Ambassador's memories. What she found made Shar'El question the woman's ability to participate, let alone contribute, to this mission.

Had it only been her finding images of the Bolian/Terran having been raped, not once but twice, it would not have made Shar'El question the woman's emotions stability.  Adding to those memories Xana's being labeled as a Federation traitor, acknowledging her first husband's death in a rather horrible way, dealing with her second mate's sudden disappearance leaving her to raise two children, and dealing with the brutal incursion of the Romulan Star Empire on BOLARUS IX, was more than enough to put everything into question.

From the IGC, Shar'El could keep an eye on Doctor Bruxa and Counselor Lopez as they talked with the Ambassador. Xana appeared comfortable in the isolation room although there were the occasional display of annoyance from the Bolian/Terran that made it evident not all was well. After all, she had gone to the Security Center and commandeered an isolation room in search of a quiet and peaceful location, a quest that had epically failed beyond anyone's wildest expectations.

Shar'El carefully listened to the conversation between the three women. Adriana was doing her utmost to make Xana feel secure and safe, going as far as to claim some level of understanding as to what she was going through. This made the ExO / ILO chuckle as there was no way anyone could truly understand what the Bolian/Terran woman had endured during her tumultuous career. She had faced the death of a husband; the disappearance of a wife; multiple children to care for; several troubling and demanding planetary intrigues as well as a fatal genetic disease. Any one of these would be enough to send a sane person over the proverbial edge, and here was a woman who had gone through all of those and more. In a battle of who could deal with what, there were no doubts that the odds were clearly in Bonviva's side.

On the other side of this three-way affair, Satella was trying to convince her patient that more time needed to be spent in the machine constructed by their Chief Engineer. The logic was simple if Bonviva wanted to slow down the progression of her disease but Xana's reaction seemed to indicate some level of hesitation and even maybe apprehension. Since she had made her peace with what was to come to pass, even if earlier than initially expected, it made perfect sense that the Bolian/Terran would have difficulties living beyond that point.

For many, the idea of dying was something they would never be able to accept, fighting again the inevitable to the very end. For a select others, the idea of living once the idea of dying had been accepted would prove to be even more difficult to deal with. The question was; was Xana Bonviva one of those people?

"Commander," one of the IGC Techs called out. "We are receiving a transmission from KTARIS, it would seem that someone just attempted to kill the leader delegate of the Bolian trade delegation. Local security forces were able to intervene in time to avoid any casualties, but the person who made the attempt was able to escape. According to the official report, the authorities are searching for a humanoid woman with long black hair."

"Looks like our guest the Ambassador is going to have her work cut out for her," Shar'El said as a grimace formed on her face. "It would also appear that our Shadow Operative is slipping. Why would she not only try to kill the lead trade representative but actually fail in achieving her goal? I can't accept that Mordana could become so inept after giving us the slip through three dozen locations scattered throughout the quadrant. Some is not right. I need to brief the Captain on this, after that i am sure he will want to speak to Ambassador Bonviva, that is if she is willing to get out of her not-so-isolated and not-so-quiet room."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M13-P022: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34002.0900 ("Threat Analysis")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Threat Analysis"
[previous post were (ANU) "Emotional Uncertainty" / (BAS) "Hard Decisions"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34002.0900

The Sec/Tac had three hours to determine if it was safe for the Ambassador to beam down to KTARIS following the attempted murder of the head of the Bolian trade delegation. By default Ya'Han would say yes, this being an isolated incident targeting a single individual who at first glance had nothing to do with their mission, but the more she looked at the case, the more she found her concerns grow.

The location of the attack was on the steps of the building the Ambassador would be visiting. The government officials Xana would be meeting were the same that the head of the Bolian trade delegation had just finished speaking to. As far as the Sec/Tac was concerned this was not a coincidence that could simply be dismissed.

Another point to be considered by the Sec/Tac was the description of the would-be murderer which resembled far too much to the woman the crew of the ANUBIS had been after. Although not a lot of details had been gathered on the attacker's appearance, what had been seen matched perfectly the description of the Shadow Agent known as Mordana. Tall, dark, female humanoid with long black hair who seemed to appear and disappear straight from the shadows themselves. The only thing that didn't match was the fact that the attempt on the man's life had actually failed, something that seemed to be well out of character for the Lokustaar operative. Again though, there were too many details to dismiss this as just another coincidence.

Commander Shar'El was still investigating the case from the IGC, but as the ship's Sec/Tac, it was Ya'Han's responsibility to ensure the safety of the members of the crew which now included Ambassador Xana Bonviva. Providing the woman with a full security detail while on the planet would be the most basic course of action but the full red-haired Nylaan hesitated in making that recommendation to the Captain. According to earlier reports and accounts, similar attempts on political figured credited to Mordana had been rapid and deadly, this regardless of the security measures that were in place.

This bothered Ya'Han as the failed attempt against the head of the Bolian trade delegation stood as an anomaly and a mark against the otherwise perfect record of the Shadow Agent. Something about all of his didn't sit right with the Sec/Tac and she needed to get to the bottom of this mystery before their arrival.

"Where are you going?" Jayson asked surprised by the unexpected departure of the Sec/Tac from her station.

"I need to check something out. If someone needs me, I'll be in one of the holographic simulation chambers."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck A-5, Holographic Simulation Chambers 1
Stardate: 34002.0930 

This room was more than a holodeck, much more. It allowed the occupants to interact live with any environment contained in the ship's computer or accessible to the ANUBIS' state-of-the-art sensors. Even though the ship was still two and a half hours away from KTARIS, the data collected by the long-range sensors combined with the information held in their computer allowed for the simulation to be as the Sec/Tac needed it to be.

She stood right where the attack had been said to have happened, permitting Ya'Han to see the layout of the area exactly as it was. The Sec/Tac scanned her surroundings trying to identify the exact place from which the attack would have originated from.

"Computer, using all of the data collected and processed by the ICG relating to the attempted murder of the head of the Bolian trade delegation, recreate the scene."

=/\= The recreation will have a 16.8 percent error margin as to the flow of events for the specified time period. =/\=

"I don't have much of a choice," Ya'Han softly said to herself. "Proceed."

The physical layout remained the same but the light from the sun changed to reflect a later hour of the day, covering most of the ground and area with dark and suspicious shadows. Soon after, the Bolian trade delegation appeared coming down the stairs of the government building.  Ya'Han gave her immediate surroundings a quick scan in an effort to identify where the attack would come from.  As the holographic delegation approached, the Sec/Tac took a few steps back as she was standing exactly where the action was about to take place.

As soon as the head of the delegation stepped where Ya'Han was, the man screamed before collapsing to the ground. As the rest of the delegation surrounded the fallen Bolian the Sec/Tac saw a dark feminine form rushing away from the crime scene. This meant that according to all of the testimonies no one had seen the attacker before or even during the assault, seeing the woman with the long black hair simply running away.

"Computer, what was the weapon used against the head of the Bolan trade delegation?"

=/\= No weapon was identified and no wounds were discovered on the victim. =/\= The computer reported. =/\= The attack was classified as an attempted murder due to the fact that a poisonous chemical was discovered in the delegate's bloodwork. The chemical analysis was identified as a neurotoxin that is only harmful to Bolians.  Further medical analysis of the chemical showed that the composition was altered making it non-fatal in this particular attack. =/\=

"The poison was altered, why?" Ya'Han inquired aloud but to no one in particular. "Why would Mordana alter a chemical deadly to a single species only to make it non-lethal against the intended target of the same race? it makes no sense whatsoever."

With more questions than she had come here with, the Sec/Tac decided to speak with Xana hoping that maybe the Ambassador would be able to shed some light on this mystery. After all, she was the only Bolian on board, well at least half of her was.

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

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M13-P023: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34002.1000 ("Pain as Motivator")
"Pain As Motivator"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Threat Analysis" & (BAS) "Still Asking Why"

=/\=
People acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 19, Isolation Room
Stardate: 34002.1000


Satella Bruxa and Adrianna Lopez were in front of the Isolation Chamber where the Ambassador was making notes and whistling.  For a woman in the Isolation Chamber, she was in good spirits.  

“You haven’t spent enough time in the chamber!” Satella pointed out.

Xana sorted out her PADDs in various piles.  “I disagree, I’m making remarkable progress,” she pointed out.  Pointing to the pile to her left she said, “This is the pile of humanitarian and Federation issues.”  Gesturing to the pile to her right she said, “These are the resources that are potentially needed.”

Adrianna looked at a third pile that was haphazardly thrown to the side.  “What’s in that pile?” she asked.

“Totally unnecessary,” the Ambassador admitted.  “I’m not proud of it but it was necessary.”

Satella was besides herself.  “Wonderful progress.  Couldn’t you have done this from Holodeck 3?”  

“I wiggled my toes this morning when I woke up,” Xana said, seemingly absentmindedly.  “I haven’t done that in 2 years.”

The hallucination of Adrianna’s missing twin said (thankfully only to her), “You’re on the hunt for a dangerous operative, there’s only hours left until it’s boots on the ground, and you’re sitting in here because of a *toe wiggle*?  Well then let’s call out the Starfleet Marine Band!”

Adrianna’s shoulders sagged for a moment, and as Satella gave her a comforting look as she directed her question to the Ambassador.  “But think, if you got a toe wiggle from a few hours, what then would happen if you spent more time in the chamber?”

The Counselor brightened up, and shook off the mental image of her twin, as she remembered something.  “You have some pain but your intellect is high too,” she asked.  “You haven’t taken that many hypos have you?”  When the azure woman shook her head she counted the PADDs she encouragingly said, “You found your inspiration again, and combined with some small progress, you pushed yourself forward.”  Smiling gently she said, “It’s McDougall’s theory.  He found when his intellect was the most inspired was when his pain was most intense.”

“Pain as motivator, I’ve heard that.  You know what else motivates.  Life.  Life, as in what’s in Holodeck 3,” Satella said in her motivating voice.  

Ya’Han came into the room and quietly observed the trio for a moment.  “Ambassador,” she said in a clear voice after a moment.  “Earlier you mentioned Tactical Directive 36A which is when Starfleet Captain will not engage with a hostile force without the protection of a security force.  Of course this directive is expanded flag officers other high ranking personnel such as yourself.  Tell me, were you invoking that earlier because of a potential threat or because of you knew of an imminent threat?”

“My life is often on the line.  I usually invoke Tactical Directive 36A when I’m on the ground somewhere that’s not considered a safe territory.  Given the political instability over the last several official, and unofficial, reports coming out of KTARIS, it seemed to be prudent to ask for that now,” Xana pointed out gesturing to the pile on her left.  Raising her white eyebrows she asked, “Did something happen?”

Ya’Han appeared to consider the Ambassador and if she wanted to make the arrangements where she was sitting more permanent.  “There was an an assassination attempt made on the Bolian trade delegation,” she said.  Passing over to the Ambassador a small 3D rendered holopic she asked, “Do you know this man?”

Xana held up the imaging as she watched some of the earlier footage of the crime scene on a smaller scale.  “It’s Bamix Drass,” she said quietly.  “He’s the Chair of the Bank of Bolias.”  Looking up she said, “I’ve met him a handful of times.  I headed up an investigation into banking irregularities after the Incursion of BOLARUS IX and post-war funding.  It turned out that they were funneling the credits as part of a black-market scheme that involved a child labor camp on ACAMAR III and several trade businesses owned by Councilmembers.”

The Bank of Bolias was an old Bolian institution; credits often survived wars.  Merits, Dilithium, Credits, Chronitons and any other currency you wanted were all accepted, stored, sold and exchanged (for a reasonable rate).  Most Bolians, and many off-worlders, had accounts there; just because EARTH had gone to a society beyond credits didn’t mean that the rest of the Federation had.  

Ya’Han looked skeptical.  “The Chair of the Bank of Bolias is the head of the trade delegation?” 

“The Bank of Bolias has the most to gain, or lose, in any trade agreement.  The Incursion of BOLARUS IX left the planet decimated,” the azure woman said softly, her voice heavy with painful memories.  “We survived but at a cost.  There aren’t many of us who serve.”  Looking at the picture she said, “The Drass family has always survived and served.”  Passing back the holopic to Ya’Han she added, “For a price.”

Whatever else might have been said was punctured by the voice of the Commanding Officer.  =/\= Morningstar to Senior Staff, report to Observation Lounge. =/\=  

There was a pause before the CO added as if he knew this was a necessary (for some reason).  =/\= Ambassador Bonviva, please join us. Morningstar, out.=/\=

The Ambassador stood up slowly, and patted herself down, ensuring that her black slacks and white tunic hung appropriately along with all the items she had to carry; there would be time to put on the formal white robes before they got to KTARIS.  Slipping her feet into her red flats she said to the others with her violet eyes sparkling. “I told you, I wouldn’t go to the Observation Lounge unless absolutely necessary.  And now, it’s necessary.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501

M13-P024: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34002.1030 ("Queen's Gambit")
##########
"Queen's Gambit"
Previous posts (ANU) "Pain As Motivator" / (BAS) "Still Asking Why"
##########

“Time is fluid, like a river, always finding a way to move beyond whatever confinment we try to put in its way. The key is not to build better barriers, but to find ways to better predict how and where the water will flow.”
- Admiral Charles N. Koniki

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34002.1030

The Native American sat at the end of the long table watching as the members of the senior staff came in one after the other as per his request, and in compliance to that same request, the Bolian/Terran Ambassador had come.  As soon as everyone was in and seated, the Captain started the briefing.

"As I am sure you have all heard by now there have been some unexpected developments on KTARIS that are directly affecting our mission. It would seem that our target, Miss Mordana, attempted to kill Bamix Drass, the Chair of the Bank of Bolias and head of the Bolian Trade Delegation. The most interesting part of this at the moment is that the attempt failed, and according to all gathered Intel, it would appear that this failure was on purpose."

"Why would Mordana purposefully fail in trying to kill that man?" Counsellor Lopez asked. "It makes no sense."

"I am sure it makes sense... to her," Shar'El sighed wishing that she or anyone else sitting at the table knew what the reason for the failed assassination attempt was.

=====
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Section A, Level 6, Admiral Koniki's Office
Stardate: 34002.1030

"Admiral," Allyson said, the secretary to the Admiral walking in with a stack of PADDS as well as her customary beaming smile. "Here are the reports from ARGELIUS II, CAMOR V, and TILONUS IV. Also, the sisters are ready with the analysis of the information from KTARIS."

"Thank you," the Commanding Officer of the NEW ALEXANDRIA complex replied, accepting the PADDs and putting them on his desk before moving to one of the large mural paintings displaying a clearly of Egyptian motif of six female figures.  With a simple touch of his finger against a hidden control panel, the intricate artifact receded into the wall and lifted up to reveal a large and very modern screen. "What have you found?"

A figure hidden in the near complete darkness of the room the screen was looking into stepped forward. The outline clearly appeared feminine but the features of the person could not be made out, yet the Admiral knew exactly whom he was speaking to. "There is an 89.7 percent chance that the attack against Bamix Drass was meant to ensure that Ambassador Bonviva beams down to KTARIS," the female said in a soft-spoken voice.

"There is a 72.6 percent chance that the attack is a precursor to an attempt against the Ambassador herself," another voice added, the intonation and cadence of the words making it clear that the two women who had just spoken were closely related in some way, like sisters. "It is still a possibility that the Ambassador is not the intended target."

"If she is though, the crew of the ANUBIS has an 84.9 percent chance of figuring this out. If they do, Lieutenant Ya'Han has only a 48.2 percent chance of actually stopping the attempt against the Ambassador and saving her life," a third voice, equally similar to the previous two, added.

"The murder of Ambassador Bonviva on the steps of the Ktarian government building will have a 73.7 percent chance of leading to a complete breakdown of any diplomatic liaison between the Federation and KTARIS," a fourth sister added.

"Once this happens, there is a 78.4 percent chance that the Bolian government will demand that the trade delegation returns without completing any trade agreement," yet another feminine said as she emerged from the darkness to join the other four figures barely visible on the screen.

"Those are not the odds that I wanted to hear," the Admiral lamented. "What can we do to shift the odds back in our favour?"

"As you anticipated," the sixth and last sister offered, "Doctor Bruxa with the assistance of Lieutenant Commander Maya and Lieutenant Paquette were able to find a way slow down the Ambassador's illness. Unfortunately, there is only a 52 percent chance that this will actually play in favour of Xana not taking a reckless course of action that will end her life and start the chain of events that will lead to KTARIS becoming completely isolated from the Federation making it a perfect target for the Lokustaar."

"The odd drops to less than 10 percent if Ambassador Bonviva learns of the fate of Commander Crichton before she beams down to the planet surface," the first of the six women said, the sisters performing to the best of their skills and gifts.

"No worries there," the Admiral grinned. "I was not planning on letting her or anyone on the ANUBIS knows about that, at least not yet. Sending Xana to KTARIS was a carefully calculated gamble and so far things have proceeded as plan, although as I said before, I do find the odds you have provided me here to be less than what I had hoped."

"These are only speculations," the sisters said, each one saying only a few words before another jumped in to continue as if sharing the same mind and thoughts, which the admiral knew to not be the case. "The odds are fluid, depending on the thoughts and actions of everyone involved, including the Shadow Agent Mordana. Her goal is to destabilize the economic and political foundations of KTARIS, and she could find another way to accomplish this in the next hour. The odds are slim of this happening, but there are still possibilities that the Ambassador will survive the mission."

"Keep analyzing the information from the ANUBIS and our operatives on KTARIS. Keep me up-to-date on any changes," Koniki ordered.

"We always do," the six sisters said as they retreated into the darkness of their domain before the mural returned to how it had been before the discussion had started. The Admiral trusted them implicitly because he knew just how precise their predictions could be. Furthermore, there was no reason for him to doubt them, the sisters had been his creation, just like so many others operating out of this secret base.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34002.1045

"Yes," the Native American agreed with his First Officer's latest assessment, "it is highly possible that this is a trap aimed directly at Ambassador Bonviva, hence why I want alternate options."

"Knowing that the trap is there only means that we can be ready for it," Xana offered, the Ambassador had been adamant about her beaming down regardless of the dangers.

"Capturing Mordana is no longer our only objective," Ensign Jones said.

"She's right," Lieutenant Stark agreed, supporting the FCO's take on their mission. "Capturing her has been made to be a secondary objective. Protecting the Ambassador's life so that we can avoid all hell breaking loose on KTARIS has to be our primary objective."

"I will make sure that all measures are taken to protect the Ambassador," Lieutenant Ya'Han stated with absolute certainty. "We do have to keep the security detail small as to not scare Mordana away as we do need to capture her, but with a few well placed officers, I am sure that this is doable.

"We could send Ani down," Lieutenant Paquette suggested.

"I can even work on creating an antidote for that chemical we found in Bamix Drass," Doctor Bruxa added. "Knowing what we do, that the chemical was more than likely a test run on a way to quickly and efficiently kill a Bolian/Terran hybrid, I am sure that I can get that done in the one hour or so we have left before we arrive. It will be even easier if Maya helps." The Shillian nodded her head, agreeing to shift the focus of her research from being able to detect Lokustaar ships to instead making sure a valid antidote for the Bolian/Terran hybrid was ready for use in the time they had available.

"I will have all of the IGC resources locked on that area," Shar'El added. "There will not be an ant able to move without us knowing about it."

"With Ani and the D.R.O.N.E.s on the planet surface with the Ambassador, we would be able to react even before Mordana thinks about doing anything," the CEO offered, again suggesting that the ship's Avatar should be part of the security detail. "I don't care how sneaky that woman is, she won't be able to move a finger without us snapping it back and shoving it where the sun doesn't shine."

"I will say," Xana smiled. "I do feel somewhat overwhelmed by all this support, not to mention that I am rather glad that I am on this side of whatever hell will be happening once I beam down.

"We do seem to have everything covered," Counsellor Lopez softly pointed out to their Captain who was still reluctant to going ahead with this plan.

"My orders are to make sure that Ambassador Bonviva remains safe," the Captain offered as his last objection, but before he could continue the Bolian/Terran woman interrupted.

"With all due respect, Captain," Xana said, standing up and putting her hands flat on the as she glared back at the Native American, "We all die. Sooner or later we fall down and never get back up. At least here and now I can do something good, and if I fall, at least it will have been because I tried, not because I waited for my time to come. There is more at stake here than just my life."

"As I was saying," Erik continued, matching the woman's posture although in a much less dramatic and confrontational manner. "My orders are to make sure you are safe, but I am satisfied that with everyone working together on this plan we can accomplish our mission objective with minimal risk to your safety, a risk that is worth the possible gain."

"Oh," Xana gasped, slowly returning to her seat. "Sorry."

"We have one hour before we establish orbit around KTARIS," the Captain said, tugging at the bottom of his uniform shirt. "You all know what is required, so get to work. This is going to be a chess match against the Lokustaar and more specifically Mordana, let's make sure we have all of our pieces where they need to be and ready to move if needed. Dismiss."

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M13-P025: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34002.1100 ("Playing Games")
=-=
"Playing Games"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Queen's Gambit" by Francois / (BAS) "Still Asking Why" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34002.1100

"Do you have a few minutes to talk?" The ExO / ILO asked after she had followed the Captain back to his office, not giving him the chance to make it around his desk and to his chair.

"Of course Commander," the Captain replied understanding that something was not quite right. "What can I do for you?"

Shar'El looked over her shoulder to make sure the door had closed behind her before explaining the reason for her being here. "I was just curious as to the reason why you did not tell the senior staff about the reason why Ambassador Bonviva is a more-than-likely target?"

"I did not believe it to be necessary to inform them that Mordana was tipped as to the Ambassador's arrival on KTARIS," the Captain replied as he sat down. "Especially when that information originated directly from Admiral Koniki. I did not want to risk the crew feeling like Xana is being used as an unwilling pawn to draw out the Shadow Operative that we have been after for far too long. I need them to be focused on their respective tasks, not on hating the Admiral for his unfeeling ways. There will be plenty of time for all of us to do that after we have Mordana in the brig."

"Xana knows that she is being used in this manner," Shar'El explained. "Here memories on that matter are very clear, she agreed to go on this mission and be the bait. We just did not expect Mordana to set a trap that she would herself spring instead if following her usual M.O. In a way, this may be better for us as we might be able to grab her right there and then."

"I agree that this development may play in our favor, but I am still sworn to Xana's safety as well as everyone else's on board my ship. We are taking a huge risk with going down to the planet's surface knowing that Mordana will get expecting her, but I agree that this will be our best chance of finally take her out of commission, one way or another."

"You have never been one to like the Admiral's plans," The ExO / ILO dryly snickered. "You have always held on to the belief that there is a better, safer way to accomplish our goals while the Admiral is more of the mindset that sacrifices are necessary to ensure the rapid and successful completion of a mission."

"That is true," the Captain agreed. "Koniki likes the quick and dirty method while I prefer the slower and more careful approach. Guess I prefer playing the longer game if it means there is less of a chance for us to suffer casualties."

"You are both experts in playing this Intel game we find ourselves in each and every day. You Captain, I would describe as being more of a 'go' player while the Admiral tends to be more of a 'chess' player," the ExO / ILO said before taking a few seconds to think of the comparison she just used. "Granted, the Admiral is playing chess using a 3D board with trapped squares, but that does not change the fact that he is a chess player. To him, sacrificing a piece to gain an advantage that may lead to winning the game is acceptable is not expected."

"That would be where he and I differ in our playing style," the Captain said continuing with the game analogy. "The problem in this particular game is that I have to concede that he is likely correct. How many people have already died because we have been unable to stop Mordana?  Playing by my rules, it is evident that she is a better player than I am, so we need to change the game. Therefore, as much as I might dislike it, we have to change our tactics and hope that the Admiral's way is a better one. I would just like for us to do everything we can to see us win without having to sacrifice any of our pieces."

Shar'El smiled. "Under normal circumstances, I am sure that the Ambassador would be touched by your thoughts and efforts, but you have to understand that she willingly volunteered because she knew that, as a piece in this game of chess, she was already dead. Going to KTARIS was her last chance to do something before it was too late, that is why she agreed to be the bait in order to draw Mordana out. Whatever the Admiral did or said, it evidently worked better than anyone could have expected."

"Which makes it that much more important that we do not waste this opportunity," the Captain said. "We now have less than an hour to make sure everything is in place."

Understanding what the Captain was saying, the ExO / ILO nodded her head. "I will return to the IGC and make sure that the area is completely covered. I will also coordinate with Lieutenant Paquette to make sure that Ani and the D.R.O.N.E.s are ready for planetside operation and check in with Doctor Bruxa and Lt. Cmdr. Maya to see how their work on an antidote is going. I will keep you informed of any changes." With that said, Shar'El exited the office confident that this time they would win the game against Mordana.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34002.1115

"Commander," Counselor Lopez called out wanting to make sure she intercepted the ExO / ILO before she left the bridge. "I would like to ask you a question about the Ambassador."

Shar'El smiled. It didn't take a telepath to know what question Adriana had on her mind. "You and I know that Xana accepted to be on this mission because she wants to do something good, something that will shine a light on what she believes to be the last part of her life. That Doctor Bruxa has managed to find a way to slow her disease may or may not actually change that. Unfortunately, I can only see people's memories, not their future. As Ship's Counselor, it may be up to you to convince her that there is still a great deal for her to accomplish beyond this mission."

"I am not sure that I can," Adriana said, the task feeling too big for someone with her limited experience.

"You fail 100 percent of the tasks you are too afraid to try," the ExO / ILO said. "The worst you can do is not to try, so speak to her and take comfort that whatever happens, you did your best."

"I thought I was the Counselor on this ship?" Adriana grinned.

"Then I suggest that we both get busy with our respective tasks. We will be in orbit of KTARIS very soon."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M13-P026: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 34002.1115 ("An Unexpected Question")
"An Unexpected Question"
previous posts were (ANU) "Playing Games" / (BAS) "Still Asking Why"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 21, Cybernetics / Robotics lab 
Stardate: 34002.1115

Time was running short, but that's the way Sonja liked it. What was the use of doing something in a rush if there was no reason for it? The greater the pressure was, the better she performed, likely because it forced her to deal with only one thing instead of the several dozens that were always competing for her attention and time.

"I am still unable to access the D.R.O.N.E.s," the Avatar reported standing motionless in the diagnostic frame located in the center of the Cybernetics / Robotics laboratory.

"I know!" Sonja snapped. "I needed to take them off-line in order to upgrade their software and add a few extra tools to their arsenal. We are only going to get one chance to take Mordana down, and after losing her three dozen times, I want to make sure that everything is ready."

"The woman is rather a difficult person to capture," Ani said while she continued searching for the Dynamic Remote Operated Nanotech Explorers through her link to the ship's main computer.

"Saying that she is a difficult person to capture has to be one of the worst understatements of the century," the redhead Chief Engineer said with unescapable frustration. "Hell, we used the ship's phasers to stun an area over a square kilometer and she still managed to walk away. We had to deal with a lot of unhappy people, but the fact that she was able to shrug off a full strength stun setting made it clear that she's a lot more than a simple black-haired pain in our aft section. At first, I thought that the locals calling her a witch or even an agent of the devil was a little over the top, but now I agree with them and more. She may appear humanoid but there is no doubt in my mind that we are dealing with one of those walking nightmares. That is why I have to make sure that both you and the D.R.O.N.E.s are at peak operating level."

"I understand," the artificial woman acknowledged. "May I ask you a question?"

"As long as it is not about the D.R.O.N.E.s or my upgrading your physical frame and articulation to allow you to dance like Ya'Han, than yes you can ask me a question."

"What does it feel like to die?"

"WHAT?" Sonja exclaimed nearly falling off her feet. Of all the possible questions the Chief Engineer could have anticipated, this one had not been anywhere on any lists and as such took the woman by complete and utter surprise. "Where the heck did that come from? Wait, let me guess, it has to be because of that blue-skinned, white-haired Ambassador. You spoke to her?"

"There was no need for me to speak with her," the Avatar clarified. "I have direct access to all information on her as well as the entire medical and sensor data collected since her arrival. I also spent several hours observing her while she slept in the machine you created in Holodeck 3. I am sorry if the question is inappropriate."

"It was not inappropriate, just extremely unexpected," the Chief Engineer said trying to regain her mental footing. "Of all the people on board the ANUBIS, you are the one who is the least likely to die, to pass on, to expire, to become a stiff bereft of life, to kick the bucket, to push up daisies, to cease to be, to end up as a portrait on someone's wall. Even following a complete shutdown of your primary systems, you can still be fixed and restored to full operational capabilities. Whatever could happen to you, we can rebuild you; better; stronger; faster."

"I am aware of this," Ani said again surprising the Chief Engineer. "I was not referring to myself, knowing that physical death would not mean the end of me. My question was an inquiry as to what it feels like for a biological life form such as yourself to die? As your body begins to fail, what types of thoughts, emotions, and feelings are experienced?"

"Why are you asking me?" Sonja loudly exclaimed glaring at the Avatar. "I'm not dead yet, nor have I ever been, and frankly I don't plan on being dead for quite some time. If it does happen it will likely be due to a warp core breach, and my last thoughts at that time will be 'Oh fu...' or 'shi...'  Now, there was that one night after several hours of heavy drinking with a group of Klingons. By the way, and for the record, I was the only one to walk away, well mostly. I had to crawl the last few meters to the nearest bathroom. Once there I do remember wanting to die, but after praying to the great ceramic God and finding myself the next morning cuddling said God, I got over it. So if I do die, Doctor Bruxa and you can always bring me back to life. Once that's done I will be more than happy to answer your questions, but if you don't want to wait that long, we could always run a few experiments. Do you know where Jayson is? We could try a few different ways of dispatching him and see if the final results are all the same."

ANI just looked at Sonja, silent and perfectly stone-faced.

"Fine," the redhead Chief Engineer sighed. "If Mordana manages to get to Xana despite everything that we are doing to stop that from happening, you will get your chance to ask her, that is if the good Doctor can get that antidote to work. That all said, and to be perfectly honest, I hope you don't get to ask her or anyone else for quite some time." Sonja paused in order to bring herself back on task. "Now, be quiet and let me work. I need to get these emitters installed and tested on the D.R.O.N.E.s before we reach orbit."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M13-P027: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34002.1115 ("Last Minute Training")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Last Minute Training"
[previous post were (ANU) "An Unexpected Question" / (BAS) "Still Asking Why"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck A-5, Holographic Simulation Chambers 1
Stardate: 34002.1115

Becoming as familiar with the area as possible was crucial in ensuring the Ambassador's safety. As much as the Sec/Tac trusted Doctor Bruxa and Lt. Cmdr. Maya to come up with a working antidote, Ya'Han pushed herself to do everything she could to avoid the remedy being needed. This meant training as hard and fast as she could.

"Computer, reset simulation and increase assailant's speed and strength by another 10%."

Thanks to the IGC's sensors, the environment was exactly as it would be once they arrived. Every step, every wall, every light post were where they needed to be to make this simulation as perfect as possible. The only variable was Mordana, a woman they knew very little about despite the crew hunting her through three dozen systems. When the holographic Ambassador appeared, the Sec/Tac knew that it was time to start another simulation.

With hair as red as could be, Ya'Han stood guard next to the walking Ambassador, her eyes trained on anything and everything that could present a threat. During the previous simulations, the computer made the Shadow agent attack from every possible angle and using a wide range of tactics that kept the Sec/Tac on her toes. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, the strength and speed of the attacker were increased each time making it more difficult to keep Xana out of harm's way.

Like all previous simulations, Mordana literally appeared out of nowhere giving the Sec/Tac mere seconds to react. With the poison specifically designed to kill a Bolian/Terran, the Nylaan did not hesitate to place herself in between the attacker and her target. Every time before, Ya'Han had been able to block the attack without being injured herself, but this time the speed and strength of the holographic attacker proved to be too much.  The simulation ended when the hypospray held by the Lokustaar operative made contact with the Ambassador's bodyguard.

Although no poison was actually injected into her arm, Ya'Han felt the need to rub the area where the attack had landed. "I have to do better. All reports point to Mordana being fast and skilled, so I have to go on the idea that she will do everything she can to reach her target. That is what any assassin would do."

"Are you sure that all of this is necessary?" It was Xana, the Ambassador having apparently walked in without Ya'Han noticing.

"I am," the Sec/Tac replied with absolute confidence. "We are walking into a trap that Mordana has had plenty of time preparing. This means that although we know of the trap, we will still be at a tactical disadvantage. Not knowing the extent of her skills makes it that must more difficult to prepare, so I need to push everything to the highest limits if I am to ensure your safety."

"Let me ask you this, is your mission to keep me safe or to capture Mordana?" The tone of professionalism used made Ya'Han wonder that this was all about.

"Can't we do both?"

"Not if one gets in the way of the other," Xana said. "Charles was clear when he explained to me the goals of this mission. Capturing Mordana is the top priority, the woman is already responsible for hundreds if not thousands of death and that doesn't take into account all of the political hell she has unleashed on every world she has visited. So, I'll ask you again, is your mission objective to keep me safe at the possible cost of letting her escape, or to capture her at the possible cost of my own death?"

Ya'Han knew what her answer needed to be. As Xana said, capturing Mordana was their top priority, and allowing her to escape once more would place the lives of countless others in danger. They needed to stop the Shadow agent now and that at any cost. "I am not answering that question," the Sec/Tac sternly said.

"I appreciate your dedication to my safety, but you need to keep the larger picture in mind. Saving me and letting her go means more will die. Capturing her means that only one will die. The math is simple."

Ya'Han turned to face Xana and took a few steps towards the Ambassador before speaking. "I have learned a great many things from being an officer on board the ANUBIS. Everyone one has helped me in in their own individual ways to understand the universe a little more. Captain Morningstar taught me that as important as what we do for the safety of the Federation and its citizens, we would lose too much if we started going by the numbers. I don't mean lost of lives, but lost of integrity and everything else that makes us the civilization that we are."

"Ever thought of becoming a politician?" Xana laughed. "Maybe even an Ambassador?"

"I am quite happy where I am, doing what it is that I do. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to complete my training before I have to return to the bridge. I am sure that the Captain will want to have me there before we reach orbit."

"Very well," the Ambassador said before simply vanishing making the Sec/Tac realize that she had been speaking with a holographic image of the woman. =/\= All I ask is that you keep what I said in mind. =/\=

"At least it explains why I didn't see her come in," Ya'Han muttered to herself before turning back to face the simulation of the steps leading to the Ktarian government building. "Computer, reset simulation and increase assailant's speed and strength by another 10%."

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

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M13-P028: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34002.1135 ("Play The Cards You're Dealt")
“Play The Cards You’re Dealt”
previous post were (ANUBIS) "Last Minute Training" / (BAS) "Shattered Identity"

=/\=
Hope is a dangerous thing.  Hope can drive a man insane.
-From Stephen King’s “Shawshank Redemption”

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 7, Counseling Office
Stardate: 34002.1135

Lieutenant JG Lopez walked into the Counseling Center to find the Ambassador with a deck of cards, shuffling them as she appeared to be in thought.  

“Xana?” she asked, not sure if she was interrupting something.

Looking up the Bolian/Terran smiled at the Counselor.  “I procured a deck of Terran cards, but clearly these are new; too stiff.  So I’m trying to--”

“Break them in,” Adrianna nodded. Sitting down across from the Ambassador she asked, “What do you like to play?”

“I play all kinds of things,” Xana smiled, still shuffling in an attempt to break in the cards.  “All kinds of Poker, War, Egyptian Rat Screw--”

Adrianna chuckled at that.  “On a ship called the ANUBIS, the last one should be popular.”  Looking over she said, “You didn’t answer the question.  The question is what do you *like* to play, not what can you play.”

“I’m a politician ultimately.  What I like is secondary to what I can do,” the azure woman replied.  

Adrianna sat back.  “Somehow I doubt that,” she said with a thought.  Holding out a hand for the cards to help shuffle she said as she squared the deck, “I don’t know of a lot of politicians, or anyone else really, who’d voluntarily go into an Isolation Chamber.”

“It was quite lovely.  In the future I think everyone will be going in there,” the azure woman said cheekily as the Counselor cut the deck.  The Ambassador tapped the cut, so the Counselor could pick up the stacks and resume the shuffle.

Adrianna placed the two stacks in front of her, with the two corners pointing at her.  Placing her thumbs against the corners, and her index fingers against the opposite corners.  She used her thumbs to draw the corners upwards, drawing the corners upwards, the two halves of the deck closer and closer together, letting the cards fall.  During the rhythmic shuffle she said, “I think you do what you like but it’s not the same code as Starfleet’s, or the Federation's.  I think you have your own moral compass.  If I were to make a Venn diagram, it would overlap a lot, but there would be a portion that it wouldn’t.  And you’re ok with that.”

Xana leaned back in her chair and watched Adrianna’s nimble fingers.  “More importantly the Federation and Starfleet have figured that there’s a portion that doesn’t overlap and they’re ok with it too,” Xana pointed out, not disagreeing with the Counselor’s analysis.  

“I suppose that’s true,” the Counselor agreed as she neatly tapped the cards.  Placing the cards down said, “So why go through with this?”  There was a pause when she clarified, “You know that this is a suicide mission.  You heard it with us, and you knew it before then.  Is it for legacy?”

“Gods no,” Xana scoffed as she held out her hand.  Taking the cards from Adrianna she began shuffling the cards herself she said focusing on the cards but her mind long lost on far away memories. “My first husband died in a suicide mission and I hated him for it for years.  Trust me, of all the ways I thought I’d die, this was not it.”  Sighing she said, “I loved my first husband but he wanted to be a hero.  He lived to jump in first and save people.  My wife, before she went missing, she had some of that hero complex in her.  My ex-husband is like that too, even as much as we wanted to be together.  But that’s never been me.  I’ve always talked my way out of every situation.  Yet, here I am.”  

There was a long moment where the silence was only punctured by the shuffle of the cards.  Finally looking up she smiled wanly.  “So if anyone here tells people that I’m hero after I die, I will haunt all of you.”

Adrianna nearly rolled her rich chocolate eyes.  “No heroics will be said about you, got it.”  Leaning in she said, “But you know Ya’Han is training, I heard you talking to her.  Satella and Maya are working on an antidote.  Sonya is working overtime on all kinds of gizmos.  Shar’El probably is reaching out to all kinds of people.”  Leaning in the Counselor asked, “What if it all works?”  The Ambassador looked up.  “What if you don’t die?  What if everyone saves you?  And you go back to the Holodeck and we extend your life?  What will you do then?”

Xana tapped the cards into a stack, flipped them over so they all lay face up in a fan on the table.  “You play the cards you’re dealt.  And not one of those cards is hope,” she said softly.  

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond 

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M13-P029: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34002.1135 ("That Had To Hurt")
"That Had To Hurt"
[previous (ANU) "Play The Cards You're Dealt" / (BAS) "Shattered Identity"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34002.1135

KTARIS was about 25 minutes away and everyone was rushing like mad to get everything done in time. As much as he understood the reason why Ya'Han was in the Simulation Room, Jayson would have preferred to have the Chief of Security at her station on the bridge. This was not because he feared the ANUBIS not being tactically ready once they reached the planet's orbit. He knew that she could get the entirety of the ship ready in less than 60 seconds. What concerned him was the beating she was taking, a beating that came at her own request and which grew increasingly more severe each time the simulation was reset.

From the Operation stations he could watch her fight one assault after another, each attack demanding more and more out of her as the strength and speed of her adversary increased. According to the Simulation Room's own data, the last Mordana that had been created possessed strength nearly that of two full-grown battle-ready Klingons while her speed and reflexes were several times that of the most agile humanoid race known to the Federation. The Shadow Operative might have been good, but Jayson strongly doubted that she was *that* good.  At this point, the Chief of Security risked suffering injuries that would make it impossible for her to actually beam down to the planet surface with the Ambassador.

"She knows what she's doing," Tanith said from the Flight Control station, the FCO sounding completely unimpressed. "You worrying about Ya'Han is nothing more than a waste of time."

"I'm allowed to worry about Ya'Han," he said in his defense. Maybe his personal feelings for her or even his moving in with her did not grant him that right, but as a member of the same crew, he believed that his concerned were more than warranted.

"You are allowed to worry about her, just as much as you are allowed to worry about a star gone nova. You worrying about it won't change what will or will not happen. Worrying about it, as I said, is nothing more than a waste of time."

Jayson wanted to argue. He wanted to justify his feelings, his concerns, but he remained silent instead. As much as he hated to admit it, Ensign Jones was right; worrying about something was not the best way to deal with that situation or any situation for that matter. He could have been worried about the ANUBIS running into a Lokustaar cruiser before reaching KTARIS. He could have been worried about the transporters experiencing a catastrophic malfunction just as the away team was beaming down. He could be concerned about a million other things, all of which he would be powerless to do anything about. His being worried for Ya'Han was not a matter of professional concern as he tried to convince himself of. His feelings were nothing more than him not wanting anything to happen to the woman he loved.

The Ops Officer glanced at his control panel and saw that the simulation had been terminated and that the Chief of Security was on her way back to the bridge. According to the internal sensors, Ya'Han was walking, favoring one leg over the other. The last simulation, which he had missed thanks to his talking to Tanith, must have not gone as well as the others, but seeing her heading back made him realized that his concerns had served no purpose. It was much better for him to focus on his work, to make sure that everything went as smoothly as possible instead of worrying about something he could not control.

When the doors of the turbolift opened, Jayson held himself back from rushing to her side and making sure that everything was alright. "Did you have fun in the Simulation Chamber?"

"If you are asking, it's because you already know the answer," Ya'Han replied, clenching her teeth as she limped to the Security station, her bright fiery red hair cascading over her shoulders. "I need to come up with a better way to keep Xana safe. The last two simulated attacks actually reached her. I simply cannot allow that to happen, no matter what she says."

"You do realize that you stacked the deck against you from the start," the OPS Officer pointed out. "You had the computer increase the speed and skill of the attacker to a point where she would be able to defeat an entire army by herself. On top of that, you set the simulation to be only you against Mordana when in reality Ani and the DRONEs will be there with you."

"Maybe so, but I cannot take any chances. Xana may be ready to die, but I am not ready to let that happened. I will not allow this to turn into a suicide mission. I'm just worried that I am not doing enough to make sure that it doesn't turn out that way."

"Worrying about something you cannot control is a waste of time," Jayson said drawing a quick over-the-shoulder glare from their FCO. "You have done more than anyone could have asked. You went through every possible and imaginable scenario, some of which I am sure Mordana herself would never consider because they are just too crazy. You forced yourself to face opponents faster and stronger than anything alive out there. You prepared to such an extent that you actually injured yourself."

"I'm fine," Ya'Han brushed aside. "One quick hypospray from Satella and I will be back to normal, but even before that I am well enough to toss you on your back using only one hand."

"I believe you," Jayson quickly said, scared that she would actually do as she had just said to prove her point. "I know firsthand how well you fight, but that doesn't change the fact that you are worried about all of this for nothing. You are ready, more so than anyone else could have expected you to be. You will not be alone on the surface and we will be keeping sensor and transporter locks on everyone. The rest is beyond anyone's control, so stop worrying about it. We will all do the best we can, after that we will just have to see what happens."

"When did you become so wise?" Ya'Han smiled, her hair gradually returning to the black and red mix which Jayson found much less threatening.

"I learned a few things of my own," he grinned while glancing at the FCO who seemed more than happy to ignore the two bickering lovers who were too busy arguing and debating instead of working on any final preparations before the ANUBIS reached its destination.

"We will reach the orbit of KTARIS in 15 minutes," Tanith announced. Maybe, she hoped, saying that would prove to be enough to get them back on track.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M13-P030: USS ANUBIS: Jones: 34002.1150 ("Always wear an appropriate hat")
"Always Wear an Appropriate Hat"
[previous (ANU) "That had to hurt" / (BAS) "Shattered Identity"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34002.1150

Tanith focused her attention on the helm, after her short conversation with Jayson, resuming her silent default state. Silence was best. People never really understood how much of themselves they gave away in idle chitchat, lots of little clues, little throwaway lines that, aggregated, created a far more complete profile than the talker would have imagined.

Unfortunately for Tanith, all these little tidbits of information lodged in her mind whether she wanted to or not, whether it was a conversation she'd had, or something she'd overheard. The counselors had told her it was something like PTSD, a constant state of heightened awareness due to the years of undercover, but try as she might, she couldn't just let all those bits of information go. So, for the sake of politeness, she tried to ignore the conversation between the Operations officer and his- girlfriend? Love interest?- Tanith was never quite sure *what* to classify them as, and she didn't care to ask. Whatever it was, it was volatile. Jayson seemed in turns in awe of the woman, and vaguely terrified of her, which made a certain sort of sense to Tanith, who counted fighting the Nylaan to be near the top of the list of ways she didn't want to get hurt.

She stared hard at the helm, focusing on the countdown on the distance gauge, and the gentle beeping as the computer made some course corrections. The Anubis was top of the line, and if she was honest with herself, it basically flew without her most of the time, especially in deep space. Deep space was basically day after day of her staring at the controls and the blur of the warp field out the view screen. Getting into orbit around KTARIS would be a nice change of pace.

She'd get to take the ship to manual for the approach, she'd have some chit chat with the local traffic control, make a few turns, then put on the parking break.

Easy peasey, at least until the last, inevitable need for some last minute heroic flying.

Tanith's lips turned up into a slight grin as she remembered the last time she'd gotten to do some fancy flying- it had involved smuggling a case of Saurian brandy, seventeen purebred dachshunds, and some very gratuitous nudity in green housepaint- Tanith's smile vanished as she realized Shar'El was behind her. Tanith quickly clamped down on the memory, possessively, it was hers, and besides, the aftermath had been less cheery than the hijinks that had happened on the way.

The XO gave her a somewhat bemused look, and then gestured to the console.

“Everything ready?”

“Yes ma'am. I've started procedures to drop us out of warp,” Tanith said with a satisfied nod. “Once we're there, I'll be ready to make my way down to the shuttle bay to be the Ambassador's chauffeur. I've even got the appropriate hat, won it in a poker game last leave we had.”

Tanith pulled the aforementioned hat from under her seat and held it out for the XO's inspection. The woman gave her another searching look, a slight smile of amusement on her lips.

“It is a very appropriate hat. Excellent, Ensign. As you were. Take us in.” 

[/\]
Alix Fowler

Flight Control Officer
USS ANUBIS NCC-18501
M13-P031: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34002.1150 ("Psychological Review")
-=-=-
"Psychological Review"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Always Wear An Appropriate Hat" & (BAS) "Shattered Identity"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 7, Counseling Office
Stardate: 34002.1150

The moment the Ambassador left, the Counselor flopped back into her comfortable armchair, exhausted. Counseling sessions were rarely easy, and some required a great deal more work and effort to achieve the smallest level of progress. Playing cards with Xana had opened a path for a casual discussion that quickly turned on point, allowing both to reflect on the difficult situation the Bolian/Terran woman was facing.

"I don't think it worked," Amanda said, the mental projection of the long lost twin sitting exactly where the Ambassador had been mere moments ago. "She's accepted her fate and won't do anything to change that. Why should she? Once you have accepted that you are dying, why allow yourself to hope and find yourself in a lose-lose scenario anyway?"

"Life is not a lose-lose scenario," Adriana argued. "Holding on to life or even the simple hope of it can create opportunities that would never have been there otherwise."

"You really are naive," Amanda sighed with exaggerated exasperation. "I guess that is why you are still hoping to find me, but you do realize that if you do, this hallucination will have nothing in common with the person you will be standing in front of. She will not have spent all of her days by your side, pointing out each and every error you made, or pushing you when you were about to give up. This can also be true of Xana. She has accepted her fate, but if she changed that and held on to even just the hope of life, she would no longer be the same person, both to herself and to everyone around her. Beyond that, if she Satella did cure her, that poor woman would have to face death all over again at some point, and that time may not be on her terms."

"That's too negative an attitude even for you," the Counselor snapped moving to sit on the edge of the armchair. "Life is its own reward, not just for the individual but for all those around them. Life encourages, life inspires, even if only as hope. It is my hope of one day finding you alive that brought me to Starfleet. It was that same hope that saw me through the attack on the KROGEN and gets me up every morning even as we face the darkness that the Lokustaar represent. Now, imagine what Xana could accomplish with just the hope of life. She is an accomplished diplomat with experiences and knowledge that I could not even hope to match by the end of my career. Going down to KTARIS does not have to be the last step she takes; in fact, it should be the first step into a new life in which she would be able to help countless others."

"As I said, you are naive," the twin moaned.

"Maybe I am naive," the CNS smiled. "Maybe I am looking at the universe in a far too positive light. Not only do I believe that one day I will find you, but I also believe that we will find a way to stop the Lokustaar from casting their dark, cold shadow over every world we know. I also believe that there is something inside Xana that understands the value of life and that her time with us on the ANUBIS might have made her realize that life, or even the simple hope of it, is more powerful than any weapon out there."

"Xana is not your standard person suffering from some sort of depression and needing someone to give them a motivational speech," Amanda said as she mimicked the twin's posture. "She is a woman who had a long and productive life faced with the reality that she has a fatal disease that could not be cured. When she was informed that the illness was progressing much faster than expected, she had no choice but to put her affairs in order before it was too late. Koniki gave her a way to go out with a bang instead of a weak whisper lost in the wind. Come back from something like that is not going to be easy, and that is *if* she wants to. As far as she is concerned, she might have decided that her time is done."

"What about her kids?" Adriana asked. "No parent wants to just go; they all want to see the next step and achievement in their lives. What about love? Obviously, this was a rocky road for her, but since she has been married three times, there is a possibility of a fourth, or fifth, or even sixth. Then there is her professional life. How many more people would she be able to help? How many lives would she influence and change for the better? To give up on herself, especially when the hope she has been presented with is much more than a simple dream, is to give up on everyone else."

"She won't change her mind. You and I both know that," the hallucination said with a tone of certainty followed by a smile

"Remember, I'm naive," the Counselor said, matching her sister's smile. "It means I believe that all of the talks we had, all of the help she was given, all of the encouragements she received made their mark. She may have accepted her fate, but I am sure that there is something in her that is wondering what life could be after this mission. There is one thing I know for sure," Adriana added, glancing at the time displayed. "No one on board the ANUBIS is going to make it easy for her, and like it or not, she's dealing with it as we speak."

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M13-P032: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34002.1220 ("It's Game Time")
=-=
"It's Game Time"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Psychological Review" by Marissa / (BAS) "Shattered Identity" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34002.1220

"Is everything ready?" Captain Morningstar asked from his chair at the center of the command deck.

"Not quite," the ExO / ILO reported coming to stand next to him. "Doctor Bruxa and Commander Maya have not finished with the creation of an antidote. According to our resident science expert and all around super smart Shillian, the molecular composition of the poison is far more complex than they initially expected and this is making things a lot harder for them. They both said that the poison has distinct Shadow properties."

"Nothing is ever easy when dealing with the Lokustaar or anything they create," the Captain sighed. "We can't wait for them; if we delay Mordana may suspect something." With a quick press of a button on the control panel on his chair, a communications channel was opened. "Morningstar to Ensign Jones, are you ready to go?"

=/\= Yes Captain, =/\= the FCO promptly replied. =/\= We are ready to launch. =/\=

=/\= Ready but not happy, =/\= the Ambassador could be heard objecting in the background. =/\= You said that I was beaming to the planet surface, not being taken down in a shuttle. Why was the plan changed and more importantly, why was I not informed? =/\=

"The decision was made for your own safety Ambassador, and at the time you were in a session with Counselor Lopez," Shar'El interjected, trying her best to spare the captain from the brunt of the woman's anger. "You have nothing to fear though, you are in good hands with Ensign Jones, she's an excellent pilot and you will have a full VIPER escort to make sure that your journey is as uneventful as possible. So just sit back and enjoy the ride."

=/\= It is not as if I was given a choice, =/\= Xana vehemently complained. =/\= Guess I should be grateful that Doctor Bruxa did not force me to be in a hover chair, just to make sure I would not suddenly run away. =/\=

"No one believes that you would run away Ambassador," Shar'El said shaking her head. "All of this is to ensure not only your safety but the completion of the mission. All you have to do is concentrate on meeting the Ktarian government representatives while we take care of Mordana. Ensign Jones, you may leave," the ExO / ILO concluded before closing the communications channel to make sure that they did not have to continue with Xana's objections.

"VIPER squadron has been launched," Lt. Stark reported from the Operations station. "Doors to the shuttle bay have been opened and the craft is on its way. Sensors are showing no signs of any craft in their flight path."

"Phase one completed," the ExO / ILO said. "I'd better head back to the IGC and keep a close watch on everything."

The Captain nodded his head before opening another communications channel, this one to the transporter room. "Morningstar to Lt. Paquette, you may proceed with the beam down at your convenience."

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room 3
Stardate: 34002.1225

Ya'Han and Ani stood on the transporter platform, a small case resting on the floor in the area reserved for materials.

"I hope this works," the Chief of Security said, her full bright red hair showing that the Nylaan was as ready as could be for a fight. After all of the training she had submitted herself to, not actually getting into a fight seemed like a huge waste.

"Just remember to release the D.R.O.N.E.s the moment you arrive and give them at least 20 seconds to spread out before making your way to the government building. This will allow them to get into position and set up a sensor parameter that will give you both several extra seconds when Mordana decides to strike. You will arrive out of the general public's sight about 250 meters away from the standard beam down location, so you will have ample time to ready yourselves. From there just make your way as if everything was as it should be and let that soulless shadow demon attack."

"That is if she actually shows up," Ya'Han said sounding a little concerned. "All of this hinges on her going after the Ambassador between the beam sight and the government building. What happens if she realizes that we have set a trap of our own?"

"By the time she realizes that we tricked her, it will be too late," Sonja said with a distinct air of pride about her. "Trust me, everything has been worked out and tested. Nothing will go wrong, I am willing to stake my reputation as the best engineer in the Alpha Quadrant, There's that one guy in the Beta Quadrant that is good, but I'm sure he cheated off of my own work on that last project."

Any comments the Chief of Security might have had were held back as the Ship's Counselor walked into the room. "Just wanted to wish you good luck and to remind you to keep an eye on the Ambassador. I believe that she will not do anything rash, but I have been known to be wrong at times. I did everything I could to make her understand that this does not need to be her last mission."

"If everything works as planned, Mordana will have been captured and beamed back to the ANUBIS before Ambassador Bonviva even sets foot on KTARIS," Ya'Han said looking at the Avatar standing next to her. "Whenever you are ready."

Ani turned her head to look at Sonja who seemed more than anxious to see just how well the latest addition to her creation would work. After a few seconds, the android was covered by a shimmering effect, and when it dissipated the Avatar's had been replaced by a perfect likeness of the Bolian/Terran woman."

"Sensor readings are spot on," the Chief Engineer happily chimed. "There is no way Mordana can tell that you are not Xana, well at least from afar. The moment she gets close enough, I am sure that the two of you will delight in showing her just how wrong she was."

"This might just work," Adriana said with a beaming smile, her hopes for everything growing with each passing second.

"Only one way to find out," Sonja added as she reached for the transporter controls. "Energizing!"

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M13-P033: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34002.1230 ("The Antidote")
=-=
"The Antidote"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "It's Game Time" / (BAS) "Quick Changes"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34002.1230

"You know, at this rate, none of this will actually matter." Doctor Bruxa was visibly upset at their lack of progress. "Xana is already on her way to the planet's surface. We were supposed to get this done before the ANUBIS established orbit around KTARIS. We had a few extra minutes to play with when they changed their plans. Using a shuttle to bring the Ambassador to the surface played in our favor. However, it was not enough for us to create the antidote. Now she is gone without what she needs to save her life should Mordana succeed. Because of that, she could be cold dead, face down in the dirt, by the time we figure this thing out."

"I will agree that there is still work to be done," Maya said. With the CMO in such a state, the CSciO needed to be the voice of reason. "We still have to confirm the molecular makeup of the poison. Once that is done, we will need to synthesize the actual antidote. It would also be prudent for us to test the counter poison's effectiveness. That said I doubt that the Ambassador will be dead by the time we finally accomplish this. We are just one team among many others. Each is working on their own part of our current situation. Our part is the antidote while others are changed with the Ambassador's safety. We must remain confident that they will succeed as I am sure they are doing about us."

Satella raised an eyebrow as she glared at the woman working next to her. "So in short, you are telling me to stop worrying and start working."

"I would never be so blunt," the CSciO said. "I just believe that it is to everyone's best interest for us to continue working on our assigned task. Giving up and letting frustration take over will not result in anything good. Everyone is counting on us."

"Well, maybe not *everyone*. I am sure that Xana would agree that she has more at stake than anyone else. That is, of course, pending on whether or not Adriana was successful in convincing her that life is a better option."

"Life is always a better option," Maya said, a deep sadness echoing in her voice.

"I agree, but I would venture that you have a truly unique perspective on that matter. Being the last living member of your race, your life holds a lot of importance. Xana may not share that opinion, especially in light that her legacy is secured by her children."  It was Maya's turn to stop, the words that Satella had said hit home with an unintentional sting. "I am so sorry. I did not mean to upset you. I simply wanted to point out the difference in your perspective as compared to hers."

"That is quite alright. Very much like Ambassador Bonviva, I have made peace with my personal situation. I have accepted that I am the last of my people, just as she has accepted the end of her life."

"The only difference is that there is something she can do about her situation." The twitch on Maya's face indicated that the CMO had again said something wrong. If anything, this would serve to make Satella better appreciate what Adriana did on a daily basis. Cheering people or simply talking about their lives compared to others was not as easy as it might seem to be. "I am so sorry, again. I think it would be best if I stopped talking and resumed our work. At least that way, the odds of there being two dead bodies will be greatly reduced."

"I could never hurt you, Doctor. I respect you too much as a fellow shipmate to ever think of doing anything that would harm you."

"I will admit that I am very happy to hear that," Satella said with a smile. "But I was not thinking about you hurting me. I was more going along the lines of what I would do to myself for hurting you the way I did."

"You do not have to be concerned with that. In fact, I believe that there is something much more important that requires our attention." Maya was no longer looking at Satella. The attention of the CSciO was focussed instead on one of the monitors.

"What did I say?" The Doctor had not noticed the change in her partner's attention.

"It is not what you said."

"Alright, what did I do?" Satella sounded a little annoyed with herself.

"It has nothing with what you did. It is about what we should be doing."

"I get it, let's get back to work. We need to figure out this shadow chemical." Satella was frustrated, but at least this time it was not because of their lack of progress. This frustration, unlike the other, actually allowed her to smile.

"Actually, we have." Maya decided to help Satella by bringing her attention to the data being displayed.

"We did?" Doctor Bruxa was beside herself, looking at the screen to confirm their findings. "What are we waiting for? The antidote is within our grasp. If we hurry, and luck is on our side, we might be able to beam it down before Xana steps out of the shuttle."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M13-P034: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34002.1230 ("Bishop to G5 - Check")
##########
"Bishop to G5 - Check"
Previous posts (ANU) "The Antidote" / (BAS) "Quick Changes"
##########

“Chess is the struggle against the error.”
- Johannes Zukertort

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34002.1230

The Native American watched with great interest the four images being displayed on the split main viewer. There was simply too many 'pieces' to keep track of on a single view screen, so this simple yet effective system was used. Many times during his youth, Erik's father had compared life to a game of chess, trying to convince his son of the need to think ahead, to plan for several moves and counter moves. The analogy more often than not failed to apply to everyday situations, but since his assignment to the ANUBIS, Morningstar had to admit that his father's wisdom had come in handy more often than not.

On the upper-left portion of the main viewscreen, the progress of the shuttlecraft and therefore of the Ambassador could be followed at a glance. On the upper-right, a composite aerial view of the landing party based on sensor data was displayed, showing Ya'Han, Ani and the four D.R.O.N.E.s as they prepared to make their way to the Ktarian government building.  In the lower-left corner was a tactical view of the ANUBIS tracking any and all objects in orbit around them. In the lower-right end-side, the fourth and last quarter of the main viewscreen showed a less than happy Bolian/Terran woman who, for obvious reasons, had not been informed of the change of plan that would have seen her beamed to the planet surface.

"Bridge to IGC," Erik said, the channel linking the two sections of the ship was opened the moment Commander Shar'El had left to return to her domain. "Report."

=/\= Showing everything as clear, Captain, =/\= the First Officer reported. =/\= As you can see on the bridge's main viewscreen, we are receiving telemetry and signals from everyone. The away team had arrived and the shuttle should land in about 10 minutes. So far, everything is proceeding according to plan. =/\=

The debate as to whether or not to have the shuttle and away team land at the same time had actually not lasted very long. Although both scenarios offered advantages and disadvantages, the scattered landing was in the end deemed safer for the Ambassador without jeopardizing the mission's objective. If Lt. Ya'Han and Ani made contact with Mordana, the Ambassador would be able to disembark safely without any issues. If on the other hand, the landing party failed to lure the Lokustaar operative into the open, the shuttle could always be ordered back, again ensuring the continued safety of the Ambassador. Even if the landing party did confront the Shadow agent unsuccessfully, there would be ample time to recall the shuttle or at worst case beam both Bonviva and Jones back on board the ANUBIS.

As Shar'El pointed out, these scenarios covered only the top most likely possibilities, but in order for the trap to have any chance of working, they could not take the time or commit the resources to address all other contingencies. The only near certainty in the scenarios they chose to be ready for was the high likelihood that the Ambassador would be less than happy that she would not be directly part of the action.

"Morningstar to away team, you are 'go' to proceed." The Native American said, his attention diverted from the main viewscreen momentarily as Lieutenant Stark stepped back on the bridge just in time to see Ya'Han making her way to the governmental building.

"Is there any sign of Mordana or any other suspicious individuals?" Jayson asked while making his way to the Operations station from where he would be able to follow the action more closely, should anything actually happen.

"No," the Captain replied, "then again we were not expecting her to appear on our instruments as some sort of flashing red icon. The D.R.O.N.E.s will provide us with an advance warning, but no one is expecting that to be more than a few seconds. That said, I suspect that thanks to the intensive training our Chief of Security subjected herself to before beaming down, those extra seconds will be more than enough for her to make Mordana regret ever going up against her."

"That is my hope, Captain," Lieutenant Stark said glancing down at his console to confirm the distance that separated the landing party to the steps of the government building.  "Ya'Han and Ani are now at 200 meters from the steps. If Mordana is out there, she sees them, unfortunately, the D.R.O.N.E.s have not yet identified anyone that matches her description."

"Again, that was expected. All of the accounts from the three dozen planets and stations we chased her through were the same, she is a ghost.  This was the first time Mordana actually took matters into her own hands, and even with that, the eyewitness accounts could only identify a mysterious black-haired woman running *away* from the scene.  My guess is that she possesses some sort of personal cloaking technology allowing her to appear and vanish at will."

"Like the Jem'Hadar during the Dominion War," Jayson nodded in reluctant agreement knowing that this would only make things more difficult for the away team. As unwelcome as that possibility as it was, this particular matter had been taken into account thus why both the D.R.O.N.E.s and Ani had been ready for that specific eventuality. Not only were they scanning for visual cues of a would-be attacker, but they were also scanning for distortions, motions beyond the visual spectrum and out of place heat generation.  "Doctor Bruxa is reporting the antidote is nearly ready. Also, the away team is now a little less than 150 meters from the steps."

"All the pieces are in place," the Native American whispered to himself. "The most logical tactical moves have been considered and every single one of them has a counter move ready for us to use. All that is needed is for Mordana to make her move."

"Captain!" Jayson cried out. "The D.R.O.N.E.s have locked on a woman dressed in black that appears to match Mordana's description. There is just one problem."

"What is it?" Erik demanded as he studied in a hurry the computer-generated aerial view of the area in front of the Ktarian Government building, unable to see what the D.R.O.N.E.s had reported.

=/\= It appears to be Mordana, Sir, =/\= Ya'Han reported. =/\= We cannot be sure but the woman is just standing there, watching us. She's not even trying to hide from us. If it is Mordana, she has made drastic changes to her mode of operation. =/\=

"Could she be onto our plan? Does she know that it is not the Ambassador down there in front of her?" Jayson asked, concerned that their plan had failed and that Ya'Han was in greater danger than they had expected her to be in.  "Should I instruct Lieutenant Paquette to beam them back?"

"No," the Native American quick ordered. "Ya'Han, you are to proceed as plan. We need to know for sure what she is up to, and if in fact, the woman is Mordana. This could be nothing more than a test to see if there is a counter trap in place. The woman could be a decoy to draw your attention away from where the attack will originate from. We have to wait and see what she does not." Erik's heart was pounding in his chest as he watched and waited. The opening moves had been done, now the only thing they could do was to see what would happen next.

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M13-P035: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34002.1240 ("There's No Bluffing In Chess")
=-=
"There's No Bluffing In Chess"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Your Reputation Precedes You" by Sarah / (BAS) "Quick Changes" by Karen]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34002.1240

The key for any trap to work is the bait. Without an effective means to draw in the intended target, the entire process quickly becomes useless. In this case, it was the Ambassador who played the role of bait, well, initially that had been Xana's who had been cast in that role but for safety reasons, that plan was changed and the ship's Avatar took over as a stand-in.

The Bolian/Terran woman had not been happy about this, not one bit, her blue skin showing clear shifts towards the other end of the color spectrum. That much could be seen on the image being relayed from the shuttlecraft. With the way the situation was developing on the steps of the government building though, the ExO / ILO was increasingly happy that the switch had been made. Ya'Han and Ani had made contact, seeing the woman standing there, quietly waiting as they approached. Captain Morningstar had made his position clear, the mission was to proceed so that the trap could be triggered and the Shadow agent captured. At least that was the plan, and as most of their plans, things did not go exactly as expected.

"IGC to Ya'Han, please confirm hat Mordana is there on the steps of the governmental building."

=/\= Confirmed, =/\= the Nylaan Chief of Security replied sounding a little confused by the question. =/\= She is on the second step from the bottom, roughly 80 meters away and to our right. Is there something wrong? =/\=

"Ani, what are you seeing?"

=/\= The individual Lt. Ya'Han is referring to is actually a sophisticated holographic image, =/\= the Avatar explained. =/\= Initial scans did show a physical form there, but following a closer analysis, I can see that the heat signature is too uniform to be an actual living entity. In addition, I am unable to detect any signs of a heartbeat, breathing or any other biological functions. Adding all of these clues together would lead us to believe that we have been set up. Mordana is not here. =/\=

=/\= I thought we were the ones setting up a trap! =/\= Ya'Han exclaimed, understandably upset.

"She's good," Shar'El sighed. "Annoyingly so." The ExO / ILO looked at the multitude of screens in front of her, trying to figure out what was happening.  "Ani, do me a favor and scan the area, I doubt that Mordana went through all that trouble to not be there to see if her trap worked.

=/\= Repositioning the D.R.O.N.E.s. =/\=

=/\= Shuttle to ANUBIS, we are starting our final approach, =/\= Tanith reported. There was no reason to call the craft back although the fact that they were not certain as to the operative's actual location did bother Shar'El. It appeared that all of their planning had been for not.

"Ani, Ya'Han, I need one of you to confirm that Mordana is there, somewhere in the vicinity. If you are unable to do so, the captain may have no other choice but to recall the shuttle or worst have Sonja beam the Ambassador back." The options were not the best, far from it, but if Captain Morningstar were to stay true to his desire to keep Ambassador Bonviva safe, he would have little choice as long as the Shadow agent was unaccounted for.

=/\= The hologram had been deactivated, =/\= the Chief of Security reported, the ExO / ILO seeing her standing on the second step of the building, likely where the image had been. =/\= The device appears quite sophisticated and I would not be surprised that we find out it has shadow technology inside. =/\= Shar'El nodded, figuring that Ya'Han was right but before either could say anything, one of the indicators on the screen showing the away team began to move, quickly. For a yet to be determined reason, the Avatar was rushing to her escort's location. The two indicators became one before a strange noise was heard coming through the open channel.

"What happened? Is everyone alright?" Shar'El asked fearing the worst.

=/\= The holographic emitter was trapped, set to implode after being picked up, =/\= Ya'Han reported, the stunned expression on her face could be heard by the ExO / ILO.

=/\= The D.R.O.N.E.s and I picked up a sudden increase in localized graviton emission. I ran to knock the device out of her hand before it triggered. No one was injured but I believe that I may have located Mordana. The D.R.O.N.E.s observed a woman matching her description and appearance running away following the device imploding. =/\=

"Our sensors are unable to follow her, you will have to pursue on foot," the ExO/ILO said. "We will keep track of your movements but you're on your own as far as tracking her."

=/\= Understood, =/\= the Chief of Security said as she and the Avatar exploded in a mad dash to catch up with the escaping woman.

"ANUBIS to shuttlecraft, proceed to the government building with caution. It would appear that the away team is in pursuit and heading away from the area, but since we are unable to track Mordana from up here, I recommend that you be careful."

=/\= We will, =/\= the FCO acknowledged.

=/\= Tell Doctor Bruxa that I received her little gift, =/\= the Bolian/Terran hybrid added, evidently referring to the antidote that the CMO and CSciO had managed to create. =/\= Now, I have Ambassador-like things to do, can we get moving? =/\=

=-=
Setting:  KTARIS, Shuttle Landing Platform
Stardate: 34002.1305

Ensign Jones stepped out and looked up to see the VIPER escort flying overhead. Their appearance might have been strange but the fact that they were there seemed to make the entire situation a little less stressful.

"Stop daydreaming," Xana said in good fun. "As of right now, you are my entire Ambassadorial staff."

Tanith rolled her eyes and starting to walk in pace with the Bolian/Terran woman as she made her way to the government building with a brisk and purposeful step.

=-=
Setting:  ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34002.1310

The ExO / ILO watched with a certain amount of trepidation as Ambassador Bonviva and Ensign Jones made their way up the stairs of the Ktarian Government building. Lieutenant Ya'Han and the ship's Avatar were nearly a full kilometer away; still trying to catch up to the Shadow agent, but this did not make Shar'El feel any better. There was still a possibility that Mordana had turned back or never had actually left, but by now, it was too late do to anything more than what was being done.

The trap they had set had failed, thwarted by a trap within a trap set by the Lokustaar operative who had once again proven just how slippery she could be, no matter the situation.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M13-P036: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34002.1315 ("Your Reputation Precedes You")
=/\=
"Your Reputation Precedes You"
Previous posts (ANU) "Bishop to G5 - Check" / (BAS) "Quick Changes"

=/\=
Diplomacy is saying "Nice doggie" until you can find a rock
-Will Rogers

=/\=
Location: Ktarian Government Building
Stardate: 34002.1315

“Ambassador Bonviva, we weren’t expecting you now but your reputation precedes you and KTARIS is honored to host you,” Alus Pami, the head Ktarian diplomat, said.  Looking around he said, “Is this your entire attaché?”

Xana smiled at that.  It was unheard of, both for her personally and for most Ambassadors, to come onto a planet with such a small party.  In this case it was just her and Tanith; and it wasn’t like the pilot was saying much.  

Ignoring the question she said, “We have important matters to discuss.  Let’s get down to business.”  Looking around she found what appeared to be a seating area and sat down across indicating that the diplomat should sit too.  “After speaking with and reading reports from various officials, here’s what I’ve come to understand.  You are being negligent in your duties to your own people,” the Ambassador said.  Leaning back in her chair as she said, “Now you’re looking to be bought, in order to be brought back in line.”

“We reject that line of questioning.  Ktarians don’t look for bribes,” Alus Pami sniffed.  

Xana looked over at the man.  “You think Bamix Drass was here because he wanted a vacation?  The head of the Bank of Bolias and Bolian Trade Delegation was here because it was profitable to you, to him, to BOLARUS, to KTARIS, and to the Federation,” she pointed out.  

Alus Pami, ever the diplomat, kept his voice calm.  “Many business leaders come to KTARIS.  We’re always open to new ventures.”

The azure woman did not roll her eyes, although that took great effort.  “Yes, I know, I’ll be sure to note your benevolence next time there’s a humanitarian crisis.”  Looking over she asked, “If you were open to a trade with BOLARUS IX -- out of curiosity -- what would you be getting?”

“Infrastructure materials and building materials for shipping,” the government official said after a moment.  “If such a deal materialized.”  A long pause settled as the two diplomats considered each other.  “I didn’t know that the Federation paid off people,” Ktarian official said.

Xana shrugged; she didn’t care for that term.  On the other hand she couldn’t ignore that or history either.  “Terrans have been paying off other governments since their Industrial Age, if not earlier.  Countries would make new leaders and pay tributes to another to quote unquote keep them in line.  Bolians were not much better, they did it back to their Medieval Age.  So yes, it’s been done.”  Leaning in she said, “If you want, it’s the price we pay for being alive, free, and atone for the sadly the criminally negligent behavior of the Federation Council.”

“Which you had been a member of until recently,” the government official pointed out.  Giving her a look he said, “As I said, we know who you are.”

“Well I don’t brag that I was a member of the Federation Council.  It wasn’t that exciting except for the day drinking,” Xana shrugged.  Looking around she said, “You know you mentioned my lack of attaché, but you also have a lack of attaché.  Where is everyone?”

“Elsewhere,” Pami said vaguely.

“That’s helpful,” Xana countered.  “Are they looking for deals with other organizations...or other people?”

“KTARIS is unaffiliated.  We reserve the right to do business wherever our best interests may be,” the diplomat pointed out.

The azure woman kept trying to wiggle her toes in her shoe as a reminder of why she was here, as a reminder why she kept pressing forward.  That little action, which she had been unable to do for 2 years, gave her more to dream about for the future than anything else.  That dream had to keep her going; even when the person opposite her was annoying.  It just had to remind her to take another tactic.  

Leaning back, Xana reached into her pocket and took out the cards she had been playing with on the ANUBIS. “I like games, and it’s my understanding that there are some parlor games popular on KTARIS.  Want to play a game?”  

Alus Pami said, “I don’t know Terran or Bolian card games.”

Xana smiled then.  “Good we’ll bet and make it interesting then.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M13-P037: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34002.1320 ("Chasing Shadows")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Chasing Shadows"
[previous post were (ANU) "There's No Bluffing In Chess" / (BAS) "Quick Chnges"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: KTARIS, City
Stardate: 34002.1320

By now, Ambassador Bonviva was likely speaking to a Ktarian government official, safe and sound, at least that was as long as Mordana was busy running away from the Sec/Tac and the ANUBIS' Avatar. That is what Ya'Han kept telling herself so s to not think about the operative's agility and speed the like of which the Nylaan had never seen before. Although they had chased the dark woman through countless worlds and environment, never before had they been so close to catching her, and never had they been for far.

"How can she move that fast?" Ya'Han asked aloud while using every trick she could to just maintain the distance between them. The only advantage the team of two had was the Avatar who thanks to her speed had on a few occasions forced the operative to take an unexpected detour.

=/\= She is heading down the alleyway to the left; I will try to intercept on the other side. =/\=

This could be it. There would be no escape route out of the alleyway, not unless the woman had some sort of wall-climbing ability, which would not have completely surprised the Sec/Tac at this point. Ya'Han turned into the narrow passageway and saw Mordana nearly half way through it. If Ani could not reach the other end in time, the pursuit would continue and judging by the operative's stamina it could last for quite some time.

Ya'Han allowed a cautious smile to appear on her lips as she noticed Ani blocking the other end of the alley. They had her! She had nowhere to go so all that was left to do was to grab her and return to the ANUBIS. The smile quickly vanished though when Mordana plowed through the Avatar as if she had not been there, sending the android flying backward to crash into a nearby wall.

"ANI!" Ya'Han screamed as she ran to the mechanical woman's side. "Are you okay?"  The question was nothing more than a reflex, after all, the Sec/Tac was speaking to a wonder of mechanical engineering created by Sonja to be as indestructible as could be. When no reply was offered though, the Nylaan's concerns became real. "Ani, are you alright?"

"Failures of primary and secondary power systems. Cascading failure of cognitive processing in progress. Unable to correct..."

"Ani!" the woman with the bright red hair pleaded, but the sound of the four D.R.O.N.E.s suddenly falling to the ground made the Sec/Tac understand the severity of what had happened. "Ya'Han to ANUBIS. Emergency beam up for Ani, she's hurt, badly."

=/\= What did you do to her? =/\= Sonja asked, her voice like that of a mother concerned for a child.

"Mordana just pushed her out of the way and into a wall. The impact might have caused some internal damage or the physical contact between the two of them caused something else to happen. Beam her back up, I'll continue the chase." Ya'Han immediately started running, taking only a split second to look over her shoulder to see the Avatar and her D.R.O.N.E.s vanish in the shimmer of a transporter beam.  As she ran, the Sec/Tac considered the possible futility of her actions. If Ani was unable to stop Mordana, what chances did she have, especially now that she was alone?

With each turn and jump over whatever obstacle they came across, the Sec/Tac saw the distance between them increase, not by a great deal but it was still enough to make Ya'Han understand that she would never be able to catch up on foot. The Shadow operative was just too quick.

=/\= Don't give up, I'm on my way down with all of our Marines. In addition, the VIPERs have been redirected to your location. Maybe they can help by providing visual tracking. =/\=

It would have been nice for Ya'Han to be able to claim the capture of Mordana but right now there was no place for her ego. That Jayson was coming down along with 50 Marines meant that the odds might have at the very least returned to be even. The Sec/Tac scuffed at that though realizing the mathematical equation she had just considered to provide a balanced formula. It took 52 warm bodies as well as three fighters/interceptors to even out the odds against a single Shadow agent.  Was this a sign of just how outmatched they had been all along?

"Ya'Han, wait up!" Jayson said.

"We don't have the time to *wait* or *chat*," Ya'Han snapped, her frustration with the situation overflowing.

"Relax, take a moment to breathe. The Marines have the area completely sealed. Might cause a diplomatic issue to see Federation troops on KTARIS but the Captain made the call. He wants her captured and right now I think he doesn't care what we have to do to make it happen. We have never been so close, so take a moment to take a breath and let's go in clearheaded. Whatever political issues this causes will be handled by the Ambassador, that she knows it or not."

The Sec/Tac took a few seconds to take a long inhale as suggested by Jayson, but once that was accomplished, she looked straight into his eyes. "There, done. Now let's go and get that woman. We can't underestimate her in the slightest, so make sure that their weapons are set to the highest possible stun setting and even then I have my doubts that it will work. We may have to use something stronger."

"Way ahead of you on that one," the Chief of Operations grinned as he rushed after the already running Sec/Tac. "The Marines came down armed for war, which in hindsight might make Ambassador Bonviva's task even more difficult, but as I said before, the Captain authorized the action. I'm guessing that the Captain, the Admiral or the Ambassador have some sort of ace up their sleeves to offset the hell we are about to raise."

"Then we better get this done and over with as quickly as possible. I am sure that Xana will appreciate all of us being off this world when she as to explain why we had to do this," Ya'Han explained already several meters ahead of Jayson. "Come on! Keep up, we have a Shadow agent to capture and put into isolation."

"Might not be so isolated if the Ambassador goes back there after the mission."

Ya'Han was not entirely sure how to react to that statement. As far as the Sec/Tac knew, there were still some very large questions about whether or not Xana would even return to the ANUBIS, and if so in what state. After all that the crew had done, it would be a shame if she did not embrace the opportunity that had been placed before her, but right now the most important matter to anyone to be focussed on was the capture of Mordana.

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

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M13-P038: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34002.1330 ("Heightened Stress")
-=-=-
"Heightened Stress"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Chasing Shadows" & (BAS) "Quick Changes"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34002.1330

With everything that was happening, it was expected that everyone`s stress level would jump up, and it had, so much so that Adriana could feel it. It was as if the gravitational constant of the universe had suddenly increased, weighting on everyone like an inescapable force. Although every situation was different, the results were the same, stressful situations surrounded them on all sides.

Although she could not see Sonja, the exchange between the CEO and Captain had been clear enough to explain why the Engineer had been in an aggravated state. Whatever had happened to the Avatar had caused a great deal of damage which Lt. Paquette needed to fix while at the same time dealing with her own emotions. As much as Ani was for all intents and purposes nothing more than a machine, the crew responded to her a fellow shipmate and Sonja looked upon the android as much more than that.

Leaving the CEO to her work and looking at the main viewscreen instead, Adriana could see the circle of Marines slowly closing in on a central point. The CNS could only imagine how stressful this was for the Chief of Security and Chief of Operations as they had never been so close to the woman they had been hunting for so long. They were literally only steps away from completing their mission, but that did not ease their stress. The memories of all their previous failed efforts were surely haunting them as they grew closer, wondering in silence if this would be just another repeat.

Far away from the action displayed on the viewscreen, there was Bolian/Terran woman dealing with a completely different kind of stress. On one side, Xana had to manage her personal thoughts, fears, and hopes in regards to her condition and what the future held. On a professional level, the Ambassador had to not only be careful of her exchanges with the head Ktarian diplomat Alus Pami, but she also needed to explain why a group of heavily armed Federation Marines had landed on this world. A single one of those things was enough to drastically increase a person's stress, and currently, the single woman on KLTARIS was facing with both.

Then there was Captain Morningstar, sitting in his chair, looking at the main viewscreen, taking in everything that was happening around him without allowing himself to react in any way. The CNS knew that he felt the stress of those under his command which added to his own. As long as Sonja worked on repairing Ani, the ANUBIS would have to do without the skills and knowledge of their Chief Engineer, unless some sort of catastrophic emergency come to light. He also had to figure out what he would say or do should the Ambassador fail in smoothing things over with the local government following the beaming down of armed military troops. It was his decision that saw the 50 armed men and women beamed to the surface and he could not just depend on the Bolian/Terran to make it all better. Above and beyond all of that, the man's thoughts were beyond any doubts on the unfolding situation concerning their mission. Capturing Mordana had been anything but easy and to make matters worse, it had not yet happened. Although they were closer than ever before, the final move in this game had yet to be made.

As the Ship's Counselor, Adriana wanted to offer a few words of reassurance, something that would ease the man's stress if not that of everyone else, but she knew that this was not the time for it. Even if she had in her possession the perfect words to make everything better, it was more likely that the Captain would ignore those magical words if he heard them at all. His attention was solely on the planet surface and the action taking place there. That was the only way he could manage the tidal wave of stress that had and continued to wash over him. The bast Counselor Lopez could do was to stand by his side and be ready to offer support when he would permit it.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M13-P039: USS ANUBIS: BONVIVA: 34002.1340
("One Hour or One Hour and One Minute")
=/\=
"One Hour or One Hour and One Minute"
Previous posts (ANU) "Heightened Stress" / (BAS) "Quick Changes"

=/\=
“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”
--Theodore Roosevelt


=/\=
Location: Ktarian Government Building
Stardate: 34002.1340

Alus Pami, the Ktarian diplomat, went to the door to talk to someone who came in to get a message.  He turned twice to watch Xana, as if he expected her to disappear, but in the end he nodded a few times and came back into the room.  He squinted his eyes at the Bolian/Terran Ambassador eyes, making the frontal lobe more pronounced.  “Show me your game,” he demanded.

“All you have to do is look at 3 cards and follow 1 of them,” Xana said as she lazily played with the cards.  Digging out three cards, she put aside the rest of the cards.  Flipping them over, the Ktarian noticed that two of the cards were red and one was black.  “I have 2 red cards: Queen of Diamonds and Queen of Hearts,” she said pointing to each.  “This final card is the Joker.”  Tapping the black Joker she said, “Follow this once I flip over these cards.”

“Follow the Joker?” Alus asked.

“Follow that black card; that’s it,” Xana promised him, tossing down the cards from right to left.  With that she flipped the cards over so that the slightly bent cards were showing their backs, but the Ktarian still watched what he knew to be the black card.  He watched as she shuffled the cards.   They did two practice rounds, betting 25 credits each time where the azure woman tossed around the cards in a steady manner but both times the Ktarian was able to pick out the black Joker.  

“You owe me 50 credits,” Alus boasted.  

Xana nodded.  “So I do.”  Shuffling the cards she said, “Let’s do a real game.  Playing for credits is child’s play.”  

“You want to keep losing that’s fine with me,” Alus agreed.

Tossing down the cards from left to right, Xana once again shuffled the cards, this time going faster.  Finally she stopped the shuffling to ask, “Where’s the black card?”

Alus tapped the middle card.  “There.”

Flipping over the card, Xana revealed the red Queen of Diamonds.  

“You cheated,” Alus accused.

Xana smiled wanly.  “No,” she replied shaking her head as she flipped over the other cards showing the other Queen and the Joker.  Leaning back she said, “This is a popular card con game on EARTH known as Three Card Monty.  Simple game really, anyone can do it.  The con is that you got so used to me throwing down the Joker first that’s where your eyes went to.  So when it was time to bet, I threw down the Queen of Diamonds first and you didn’t realize it.”

The Ktarian diplomat still was displeased with the azure woman.  “It was still trickery.”

“I took what I knew about you and used it against you.  It’s no different than trade or politics, except it was a game,” Xana shrugged leaning back.  “I didn’t know if it would work.  You know why?  Because of the first thing you noticed, I didn’t come with an attache; which tells me you’re perceptive.  Now do you want to know why I didn’t?  Because that’s a con too.”

“You have other people on KTARIS,” Alus said on an exhale as he leaned back.  It was clear he had known this, through his own network, and had been waiting to share the news.  “That’s why you came by yourself.”

“Yes,” Xana nodded.  Tapping the Queen of Diamonds she said, “And that’s who we want.  Turn over Mordanna and we’ll go.”  

“Or what?  You can’t just stay here; the Federation would be trampling on the sovereignty of the Ktarian people--”

“Mr. Ambassador, you are harboring the criminal known as Mordanna.  Now, we said we were playing for real so here we go.  I’m going to direct the Federation to take your airspace, then we’ll take your capital.  Strictly speaking, we’ll take your planet without the paperwork,” Xana said.  

Alus’ eyes bulged.  “Is this why there are reports from my capital of disturbances?”

Xana smiled at that.  “I wouldn’t know,” she said, hoping that the ANUBIS was close to catching Mordanna.  “But here is what I do know.  I hate paperwork.  And I was able to wiggle my toes this morning.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” the Diplomat exclaimed.

“It means that KTARIS is looking like a lovely place for another villa for me,” Xana said.  Leaning in she said, “I don’t know what you were promised but she won’t give it.  You’ll be forever known as the Diplomat who gained 50 credits but lost a planet in 3 card monte.”  She dropped her voice as she became serious.  “You have 1 hour to turn over Mordanna to us.  Direct your resources to assist us or get out of the way.  At one hour and one minute, I tell them to run up the Federation flag.  Clock starts now.”

“How do I know this isn’t another con?” Alus asked.

“Check in again 61 minutes from now if you don’t believe me,” Xana shrugged.  “Then again as you said...my reputation precedes me.”  ”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501

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