USS ANUBIS - Mission 15
Peace Negociations
IN PROGRESS
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Morningstar Time To Move On
The ANUBIS heads outfor its next mission
002 Shar'El Elasian Tactical Review
Shar'El reads the info on the Elasian factions
003 Lopez Professional Assessment
Adriana and Xana talk about the mission
004 Ya'Han Elasian Combat Training
Ya'Han trains and ends up in Sickbay
005 Maya Tears Can Be A Dangerous...
Maya researches Elasian bio-engeneered weapons
006 Bonviva Agita
Xana starts the search for Amanda
007 Shar'El Digging Up Dirt
Shar'El gathers intel on the Elasian
008 Bruxa Stomach Churning
Satella reads the Elasian's bioengineering work
009 Stark The List
Xana gives Jayson a list of items to get
010 Shar'El A Friendly Chat
Shar'El seeks out Ya'Han to speak to her
011 Paquette The Mother of All Talks
Ya'Han goes to see Sonja
012 Bonviva Who Is Rilliz?
Xana gets a call from her son
013 Lopez Counseling The Junior...
Adriana fights with Amanda
014 Bonviva Reveange
Xana talks to Adriana and then to Erik
015 Morningstar A Universe of Uncertainty
Two Elasian Destroyers rush in to intercept
016 Bruxa Rapid Modifications
Erik informs Satella and Shar'El of his plan
017 Bonviva The Biscotti Talks
Xana and Adriana contemplate their next move
018 Lopez Reachin Out
Adriana and Xana contact War Master Daanold
019 Shar'El Jumping Ship
Shar'El heads for one of the Elasian Destroyers
020 Ya'Han Tracking
Ya'Han tracks Shar'El and the Elasian Destroyers
021 Bonviva Who We Need You To Be
The Ambassadorial team received two calls
022 Shar'El Inside Intel
Shar'El makes contact with an Intel operative
Post # Character Title
023 Bruxa Unnerving Stillness
Satella waits in Sickbay for what may come to pass
024 Ya'Han Waiting
Ya'Han and Jayson banter on the bridge
025 Shar'El Plan B
Shar'El receives an update from her contact
026 Maya C is for Covert Approach
Maya offers a new plan
027 Lopez Deliberating
Adriana watches as the SPHINX gets ready to go
028 Stark Emotions
Jayson gets to speak to Ya'Han before she leaves
029 Bruxa Frightening Fragility
Satella meets the 2 Marines Rebecca and Grace
030 Ya'Han Grim
Ya'Han goes to see Satella for her cosmetic surgery
031 Bonviva Hidden
Xana and Adriana contact the Faction Leaders
032 Paquette Inconceivable
Sonja voices her concerns at everything going well
033 Shar'El Jolan-Tru
The SPHINX pickes up a coded Romulan signal
034 Lopez Killing Time
Adriana has concerns about their mission
035 Bruxa Last but not Least
Satella convinces Maya to undergo the procedure
036 Shar'El Madness
The extration team arrives at ELAS
037 Ya'Han Need To Know
Ya'Han ad Shar'El go to the tavern
038 Bruxa Obmutescent
Satella monitors te situation with Ya'Han and Shar'El
039 Lopez Pledge
Xana and Adriana arrive on ELAS
040 Bonviva Questions and Qualms
Adriana and Xana get searched
041 Shar'El Rescued
Shar'El and Ya'Han find Lujem
042 Lopez Sad Stinky Situation
Things turn ugly for Xana and Adriana
M15-P001: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34020.1400 ("Time To Move On")
##########
"Time To Move On"
Previous posts (ANU) "Loose Ends" / (BAS) "We Lost Paradise But Found Something Better"
##########

"The greatest challenge in any diplomatic negotiation is to actually get everyone to sit at the same table without them trying to destroy the building that it is in."
- Ambassador Karnakos, special Federation envoy to ELAS

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge 
Stardate: 34020.1400

The Native American Captain sat in his chair at the center of the bridge, leaning slightly forward with the weight of his torso resting on his left elbow which was firmly planted on the armrest. Seeing the man in this particular position could indicate a myriad of things dealing with the past, the present as well as the future, and the odds were good that it was all three. Their mission to OLTHAR PRIME had been an interesting one, to say the least, concluding in the most unexpected of ways. Some had died in the most horrific ways imaginable, some had sacrificed themselves for love, and some even managed to come back from death to once again stand amongst the living. One man had moved on and left the ANUBIS to be with the woman he loved so that the two of them could have a better future together while one woman decided to stay to help shape a better future for her protégé.
 
Now it was time for the USS ANUBIS to leave OLTHAR PRIME behind and head to their next mission, this one on a planet called ELAS, the homeworld of the Elasian who were facing the horrors of a civil war.
 
"Operations?" Erik demanded.
 
"All systems are showing ready, Sir," the recently promoted Chief of Operations replied.
 
"Tactical?" The Captain requested next.
 
"All offensive and defensive systems are at full battle readiness, Captain," the Chief of Security who had also been recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant stated.
 
"Bridge to Main Engineering, how are we doing down there?" The Native American asked next, realizing that he had just contacted the three officers who stood a little taller than before thanks to their promotions.
 
=/\= How do you think we're doing down here? =/\= The newly minted Lieutenant Commander shot back sounding rather upset. =/\= You are up there sitting on the bridge while I am down here working my fingers to the bone to get everything up and running because let's face it, I have to meet your expectations. Now, Captain, do me a favour and try not to break anything this time. It would be nice to be able to make it through just one mission without my having to replace half of the power conduits, shield generators or replace some control panel that exploded in someone's face. =/\=
 
"Does that mean we are ready to leave orbit?" the Captain asked, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. It was hard to believe that someone like Sonja Paquette could ever be on a Starfleet vessel, but as shown by her new rank, the woman was good at what she did and that granted her a fair amount of leeway with the rest of the crew including the Commanding Officer.
 
=/\= Of course we are ready to leave orbit, =/\= the Chief Engineer replied suddenly sounding hyper joyous. =/\= Warp and transwarp speeds are available at your discretion, Captain, and by that, I don't mean it in the USS EXCELSIOR kind of way. If I tell you that it is ready to work, it's because it's ready to work. =/\=
 
"Very well," Erik said understanding the obscure historical reference made by Sonja. "Helm set course for the planet ELAS, warp 8. Engage when ready." The curved azure horizon of the planet quickly slid to one side of the main view screen to be replaced by a magnificent field of stars that also vanished soon after replaced by the streaking multicoloured lines indicative of the ship traveling faster than the speed of light.
 
"At our current speed and heading, we should reach ELAS in four days," Lieutenant Stark reported.
 
"A lot of things could happen in four days," Counsellor Lopez said from the back of the Bridge. "I hope that we will arrive in time to stop the war before it starts."
 
"So do I Counsellor, but if you want this ship to go faster, you will have to take it up with our Chief Engineer," the Native American added.
 
"Four days will do just fine, Captain," the woman added making it known by her reply that she had been on the bridge long enough to have heard the earlier exchange between the Sonja and Erik. "Now that we are on our way, could I take a few moments of your time?"
 
"Of course," the Native American said as she stood from his chair and began to make his way to the Ready Room before suddenly stopping to look at the woman. "Just for the record, will this be as this Ship's Counsellor or as the ANUBIS' official Junior Ambassador?"
 
"If it is all right with you, I would like to speak to you on a personal matter, therefore, to answer your question, I would like to speak to you as Adriana Lopez," the woman replied taking the Captain and everyone else present on the Bridge by surprise.
 
"By all means," Erik said inviting Adriana to step into his office once the door opened.
 
=====
 Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
 Stardate: 34020.1410 
 
"Is everything all right?" Erik inquired. It was strange to have the Lieutenant JG in his office like this, especially after seeing her more assertive side in action.
 
"Everything is fine Captain and is part of the reason why I wanted to speak to you. I know that my recent actions have not been beyond reproach and I am also aware that this whole Junior Ambassador thing has not made things between Admiral Koniki and yourself any easier," Adriana said trying to work up to some sort of an apology.
 
"Let me make this easier for you," the Native American said with a reassuring smile as he approached the visibly nervous woman. "Things between Koniki and I have never been smooth at the best of times. The man has his way of doing things, which usually revolves around working in the shadows found behind the scenes without letting others know what he is planning. Me, on the other hand, I prefer a more direct and upfront approach. As for what happened on OLTHAR PRIME, I can give you the official statement, which is the same one that was entered in my Captain's log, or I could give you my personal opinion. Which would you prefer?"
 
"To be perfectly honest, I am not sure which of the two sounds scarier," Adriana said forcing a smile to appear on her lips.
 
"Officially, I had to state my disappointment in your performance, especially in taking matters into your own hands without checking with me or Commander Shar'El first. I also had to state that thanks to your being officially appointed as Junior Ambassador, there was nothing I could do as you made it abundantly clear to everyone that you were acting in that role and not as this ship's Counsellor," Erik explained.
 
"Unofficially?" Lopez cautiously inquired.
 
"Unofficially, I believe you did the right thing," Morningstar stated. "The artifact belongs on the OLTHAR PRIME, and I was concerned as to what Koniki would have done with the clone of the High Elder of that planet. Your solution might not have been the most diplomatic one, but it was the one that achieved the best result. Koniki was not able to get his hands on the clone, the artifact is no longer in play and as a bonus, and Ambassador Bonviva was given a new lease on life. All of that after we completed our mission objective which was to stop Mordana from doing any more harm than she had already done. So, as far as I am concerned, personally speaking, I do not believe we could have wished for a better way to end this mission."
 
"Thank you, Captain. That means a lot to me," Adriana said clearly showing signs of relief.
 
"The ANUBIS is not your typical vessel," Erik explained. "Our missions are certainly not the type of missions that were ever mentioned at the Academy and as for the crew, well we both know just how atypical we are."
 
"Our Chief Engineer comes to mind," the Counsellor said laughing.
 
"I am very happy that you are still with us," the Captain said. "Not only do I not have to break in a new Ship's Counsellor but the ANUBIS officially gained the services of an Ambassador and Junior Ambassador. I honestly feel like I came up on top this time around. That said, I would ask something of you."
 
"Of course Captain, anything," Lopez said feeling more than ever ready to help the man standing before her.
 
"Next time you plan something like what happened on OLTHAR PRIME, please, let me know first. At least that way I will have some time to prepare myself before Koniki blasts me into the next century and I might be able to make sure that a few pillows are waiting for you next time you do something that will land you in the brig."
 
"Very well," Adriana said grinning. "I will let you know, but I think I will be avoiding doing anything like that ever again. I got lucky the first time around and I am not entirely certain that my luck will hold a second round. Thank you again, Captain, for being so understanding."
 
"Don't go out there telling everyone," Erik joked. "I still have a reputation to uphold. Now, I am sure that you have things to do as both this ship's Counsellor and Junior Ambassador, and I have a stack full of reports to get through before we reach ELAS."
 
Adriana smiled and nodded her head before leaving Erik to his work.

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA (currently on OLTHAR PRIME with his fiancée)
M15-P002: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34021.0515 ("Elasian Tactical Review")
=-=
"A Few Concerns"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Time To Move On" by Francois / (BAS) "Personal Reflections" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34021.0515

In the world of Intel, there was no such thing as being too early to do anything. If something needed to be done, it is a safe bet to assume that it was already overdue by the time someone even started working on it. With the ANUBIS heading to the Tellun Star System and ELAS, the Elasian homeworld at the maximum speed allowed by the Chief Engineer, a great deal of information needed to be sorted through. This data was essential for the diplomatic and retrieval teams to be as ready as they needed to be to ensure the success of their respective missions. The whole thing might have sounded relatively simple to some, but the ExO / ILO knew better than to just sit back and assume that all would go as planned. Experience had taught her time and time again that life on board this vessel was just not meant to unfold that way.

Because of that experience, the Chief of Security had already been informed of a potential complication that the crew might be facing during their stay on the Elasian homeworld. Ya'Han requested to be given any available information as soon as possible, something that the ExO / ILO quickly figured would be used by the Nylaan as an excuse to be too busy to do anything else, be it with Jayson or anyone else. As this served the Commander's needs to properly prepare the crew for their mission to ELAS, Shar'El saw no reason to refuse the woman's request.

The reports provided to the Chief of Security regarding a bio-engineered weapon based on the tears of Elasian women was not something to be dismissed or ignored, and that was only one of several dozen potential problems the IGC team had already come across. Not being as technologically advanced as the Federation did not mean that the Elasians were unable to make things very difficult for everyone who dared to get in their way. In fact, this race of warrior-minded fighters could easily make things very unpleasant for others without giving their own safety a second thought.

Thinking back to the weaponized tears, the ExO / ILO thought that it was fortunate that their diplomatic team was made up of only members of the female gender, making the unorthodox weapon far less effective against them. Maybe that was part of the reason why Admiral Koniki had been so willing to see Ambassador Bonviva remain on board the ANUBIS to assist the newly appointed Junior Ambassador, Lt. Adriana Lopez. Whatever the plan was, the fact that the diplomatic team consisted of only women solved one problem out of several more.

To ensure that the retrieval team would not be a potential target of this weapon, the ExO / ILO made plans to see the male senior officers remain on the ANUBIS. As much as Lieutenant Stark might object to this, the Commander had more than enough work to keep him occupied while the ship was in orbit. What it did mean though was that Jayson and Ya'Han would once again be separated, not that it seemed to be that much of a problem at this time. The hints provided by the Chief of Security, consciously or not, pointed to her wanting it that way, at least for the time being.

"Commander," one of the IGC Techs called out from his station. "We have compiled the preliminary data on the two main Elasian factions."

"Transfer it to my station," Shar'El ordered, the ExO / ILO was genuinely looking forward to better understanding the reasons behind this conflict. Reading through the report, the Commander quickly identified the main points that would fuel hostilities between the factions. The 'Elasian Nationalist Puritans', led by a woman called Evaanku, believed that the only way their race could survive in the growing age of darkness that was spreading through the galaxy was to sever all liaisons with the Federation, its allies and anyone else the planet dealt with on a professional or personal level. The fact that her father was the War Master of the Elasian military only strengthened her position and credibility in the eyes of the general population.

Evaanku vowed to use her father's military resources to seek out and remove all of the undesirables from their world. This meant that anyone proven to not be 100% Elasian would be shipped off-planet on the first available transport without any considerations as to their current role in the planet's government or economy. That was as long as those found guilty of being 'unpure' did not simply vanish to never be seen again, that they made it to a transport ship or not. Her promises about this 'cleaning of the Elasian bloodline' would spare no one and separate any bastard child from their parents and family should they be found to have less than a pure Elasian ancestry. The second phase of the Elasian Nationalist Puritans' plan was to arm every citizen no matter their age or social status, claiming that this would be the only way to truly ensure the safety of their world.

Shar'El sighed with disbelief after reading that part of the report. Evidently, the apple had not fallen far from the tree, Evaanku's words and action closely echoing those of her father, the War Master Daanold. Nothing good ever came when fanatics were armed, this no matter what their reasons were, especially when those weapons came with the support and endorsement of a governmental figure. Chaos and anarchy were sure to follow close by, but then again was it not what the Lokustaar wanted to accomplish? At this point, there was no need for a conflict between factions as the 'Elasian Nationalist Puritans' possessed all they needed to destroy the home world's culture all on their own. With that unsettling thought in mind, the ExO / ILO resumed her reading of the report on the current state of the Elasian factions.

On the other side of this extreme political standpoint stood the 'Expansionist' led by Jeruun, a well known and highly respected Elasian businessman who believed that the survival of the Elasian people could only be assured if they reached out and strengthened their alliances with all Federation member worlds starting with the Troyians. Since there was still a sizable portion of the population who despised their closest neighbors for no other reason than because they saw them as being weak, these ideals of collaboration were not as popular as some might have liked them to be. Still, many supported the belief that the odds of survival would be much greater with the help of stronger, more prosperous and peace-oriented allies who would help curb the increasing oppressive ways of the Elasian military.

With these two factions standing on such opposing political platforms, it was easy to understand how easy it would be for a Lokustaar operative to bring the planet to the brink of an all-consuming civil war that would leave the planet in utter and complete ruins. After gathering her thoughts, the ExO / ILO continued reading the report, half wondering how any of this could be made worse.

The information compiled by the IGC techs showed several 'informational campaigns' distributed to the general population designed to polarize opinions to one side or the other of this rapidly growing conflict. This would ensure that people's fears were used in the best possible way to create distrust and chaos between the factions and even within their ranks. Several smaller factions were also involved but mostly in throwing their support behind one of the two main forces of this civil battle. Although smaller and not as influential, these lesser-known factions could not be simply ignored and required an eye to be kept on them at all time. Two such secondary factions were the 'The Dark Order', a group of elite warriors led by a skilled, seasoned and morally questionable officer by the name of Puunce who not surprisingly supported the faction of the War Master Daanold. The leader of the other smaller faction was a woman by the name of Anshaa, a remarkable Elasian beauty who made a name for herself as a charmer of man and trader of goods. Although there were no indications that she was responsible for turning tears into a weapon, the ExO / ILO did not put that possibility beyond the grasp of that woman. Her track record on her various trades made it clear that she was not a person to be taken lightly. Her supporting Jeruun's side most certainly gave him and his faction extra power in their corner.

"This gets better and better by the minute," Shar'El said to herself before taking a long and deep calming breath. "Xana and Adriana sure have their work cut out for them," the ExO / ILO added as she continued with her reading, which thankfully dealt more about the planetary logistics and respective assets of each of the factions instead of the lead players in this head-spinning political game. With roughly 3 days and 12 hours before reaching their destination, things would need to happen quickly if the ANUBIS and its crew were to be fully prepared to deal with growing civil unrest on ELAS and stop a bloody conflict from erupting.

Maybe one way to achieve this would be for the Ambassador and Junior Ambassador to reach out and communicate with the factions before their arrival. This would allow everyone to get an even better idea of what they would be dealing with while at the same time making sure that the diplomatic team remained perfectly safe.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve <sttr242526@gmail.com>

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P003: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34021.0730 ("Professional Assessment")
-=-=-
"Professional Assessment"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Elasian Tactical Review" & (BAS) "A Sorrow-Filled Farewell"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor Lopez' Office  
Stardate: 34021.0730

Adriana's office had been transformed into 'Diplomatic Central' with holographic displays now all over the room showing the leaders of the main factions, their closest allies, and the reach of their sphere of influence on the Elasian people and beyond. The task of getting a solid understanding of the unstable Elasian political situation was not going to be an easy one. Just looking at all of the faces and the colored links between them indicating who was a friend or foe was starting to give the Junior Ambassador a wicked headache. To make this a little easier to deal with, Xana replicated several small dishes making this a working breakfast claiming that the fruits were an excellent way to ward of the pain she was suffering from.

"This Daanold fellow worries me," the Junior Ambassador said reading for the third time the PADD containing the War Master's list of accomplishments before looking up at the man's holographic face. "He is ruthless and unyielding in his beliefs. In some ways, he reminds me of Khan Noonien Singh in the hay days of the Eugenics Wars. His policies in regards to others he sees as 'inferior' are a match to those Khan used as his rallying cry. The War Master clearly sees himself as being superior to everyone else and does not tolerate being surrounded by anyone he considers to be weak in the slightest manner. I just can't figure out why a man trained as he is and possessing all of the experience he has is not the one leading the Elasian Nationalist Puritans."

"It's all about the image," Xana said as she took a bite out of some unknown red-colored fruit. "By putting his own daughter at the head of that faction, he gives her and their political platform that much more credibility. Plus, the Elasians see women as natural leaders to be respected and even feared, a fact that Daanold knows and understands all too well. He knows that Evaanku will draw-in support just because of who and what she is without either one of them having to raise a finger."

"How are we supposed to deal with someone like that?" Adriana was visibly overwhelmed by the task that stood before them. "Even if we do manage to get the factions to talk, Evaanku and Daanold are capable all on their own to reshape ELAS to suit whatever the Lokustaar wanted. Even with the Shadows in full retreat throughout the galaxy, they are still managing to exert their dark influence on other worlds. How do we fight against that?"

"One battle at a time," the Ambassador said sitting down on the couch and taking a bit out of another fruit, this one yellow in color. "Think of it this way," Xana continued taking hold of an apple and tossing it to Adriana. "To conquer that fruit, you cannot just swallow it whole, you need to take one bite, then another, and continue until the fruit has been completely eaten. We are faced with a similar, although much less appetizing scenario. We have to take this one bite at a time while making sure that we do not sink our teeth into a section of the fruit that might be rotting from the inside."

"That is not a very appetizing, or comforting image," the Junior Ambassador said carefully placing the apple down on the table where the bowls were set.

"It was not supposed to be," the Bolian/Human woman said as she looked at the Hispanic woman with a sudden increase in interest. "Can I ask you a personal question?"

"Of course," Adriana said not at all having expected that question.

"Your sister, how do you see her?" Xana asked still looking at the woman as if trying to see something that was not there. "I mean, how does she physically appear to you? I know that you are twins, but do you actually see yourself when you see and hear her or are there physical differences that might reflect what you believe happened to her."

"Oh this should be interesting," Amanda said, the sister in question having appeared sitting right next to the inquisitive Ambassador. "How *do* you see me, sis? Am I better looking than you see yourself, or maybe you see me as having an air of smarts that you lack and could not live without?"

"I see her as I imagine my sister would be if she were here," Adriana firmly replied. This was bound to happen sooner or later, and it might as well happen now so that it could be dealt with and pushed out of the way. "I see my sister as an annoying and argumentative sibling who gets on my nerves more times than I would care for."

"That is very unsisterly of you," the hallucination of the twin said pouting. "How about all those times that I helped you when no one else would or could? Face it, you may not *like* me, but you *need* me. As a projection of your mind, it is not like you can get rid of me, although you have tried, repeatedly."

"So, you actually argue with her?" Xana asked. Satella had defended the woman, but this admission concerned the Ambassador quite a bit. Seeing and hearing her missing sister was almost understandable, but arguing with her seemed to be pushing the envelope a little more than the Bolian/Human hybrid was willing to accept at this moment.

"Argue in the sense that, as a projection of my own mind, she offers me those options that I would not normally consider," Adriana explained trying not to look directly at the pouting hallucination sitting right next to the woman she was speaking to. "The greater majority of people debate courses of actions silently in their heads on a daily basis, most of the time never realizing that they are doing so. Should I have the apple or the orange? Should I go to the gym or the holodeck? Everyone does it and no one around them gives it a second thought. In some cases, these internal debates seep out into the real world as people voice those debates aloud. Again, most people don't give it a second thought, understanding that the person was simply listing options available to them at that moment in time. Look at Captain Morningstar, when the ANUBIS is faced with a dangerous situation and there is time to debate what is the best course of action to follow, he demands that his command staff openly give their opinion and no one questions his sanity or the sanity of those who complied with his request."

"You seeing and hearing Amanda is not the same thing," the azure-skinned woman said.

"I am very aware that Amanda is nothing more than a mental projection rooted in the pain of my having lost my sister at a young age," the Counselor said. "The psychological trauma has caused me to externalize those feelings through an audio-visual hallucination that allows me to deal with the fact that she is not here and that I have no idea as to where she is or even how she is. The *arguments* we have are nothing more than her, meaning me, presenting options and course of actions that I might not be overly comfortable with but that are as valid and any other option if not more. The only real difference is that I openly acknowledge her presence instead of brushing it off to others as me just talking to myself." Adriana stopped realizing that the tone of her voice had gradually gone up as her defense and explanation went on. "A long-distance runner will encourage himself throughout a race," the sister said having returned her voice to a more passive tone. "At the end of the race, they will credit themselves for having had the strength to push their body and mind to the limit. They might even offer thanks to someone close to them for inspiring them. The difference here is that I credit Amanda for helping me make it through those moments I thought I would never have been able to. She is my inspiration, my drive and she is the one I thank for my being here now. It was because of her that I joined Starfleet, and it was still because of her that I made it through some of the darkest times in my career. It was also thanks to her that I did not back down from doing what I believed needed to be done back on OLTHAR PRIME.  I am sorry if you believe that makes me less of a person or even unworthy of being your Junior Ambassador."

"You care," Amanda said with an exaggerated smiled. "You actually care about me. That is so sweet," the hallucination continued before suddenly turning completely serious. "Now, stop feeling sorry for yourself. If she really did not trust you, she would not have wanted this meeting with you, brought you fruits after you complained of a headache or asked about me. She would have tossed you and whatever hallucination you have out the nearest airlock for fear that you might jeopardize the mission."

"I do not believe that this makes you any different than anyone else," Xana quickly defended. "I was simply curious as to how your sister appeared to you. Is she taller, shorter, has the same curly hair or does she have green-skin?"

"Green-skin?" The twins said in perfect unison looking at the woman with the blue-colored skin.  "We are not Orion or Martian," the sisters said, again speaking as one, which in truth they were.

"The question was not meant to insult or even put your skills and ability in question," Xana further explained. I just thought that it would be nice for you to think of something other than the Elasians for a moment, and it was a perfect opportunity for me to address my own personal curiosity. I know how close sister can be, and I am sorry if my question upset you."

"I should be the one to apologize," Adriana said. "I overreacted."

"Good," the Ambassador said as she stood. "You can use this as a learning experience. Those people," Xana said pointing at the holographic images of the faction leaders. "They are going to do everything they can in order to prove their point and win, this means that they are most likely going to try an undermine our efforts in one way or another. Whatever is said, whatever is done, we have to remain calm and in control. Do not let them get the upper hand. You have to think as a diplomatic officer, not a Counselor. That means you have to anticipate their words and actions allowing only those that are beneficial to the talks to make it out in the open. You cannot let them take control, nor can you just sit there and passively listen to what they have to say. Doing so will result in people getting hurt. If they manage to say something, do not take it personally, and more importantly, do not let their words bait you into an emotional outburst. If you do that, we lose any hope of keeping control and getting them to talk peace."

"Are you sure that we can do this?" The Junior Ambassador asked. "More to the point, are you sure *I* can do this?"

"Of course you can," Xana laughed. "You brought me back from the doors of the great beyond, to me that means that there is nothing you can't do if you put your mind to it."

"She's right," Amanda said, the hallucination still sitting on the couch. "If you can keep a semblance of sanity while arguing with yourself the way you regularly do with me, it's the Elasians who are going to have their hands full, not you. Trust me on that, I'm your sister, that means that I know crazy better than most."

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M15-P004: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34021.0800 ("Elasian Combat Training")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Elasian Combat Training"
[previous post were (ANU) "Professional Assessment" / (BAS) "No Looking Back"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: ELAS, dark alley
Stardate: 34021.0800

This was not the first time the Sec/Tac found herself fighting against multiple opponents, her training both on NYLA IV and Starfleet Academy had prepared her for such situations, but this fight was proving to be a lot more demanding than the red-haired woman could have expected.  The fighting style of the Elasians was like most others, utilizing the same basic moves with a few flares native to that race. What made things more difficult for Ya'Han though was her inability to completely focus on the fight, her mind still managing to wonder off to somewhere it should not, to someone she could not.

The Sec/Tac managed to block the assault of one of the three Elasian fighters she was up against, quickly setting up for a counter attack against the second, but as she did so the third, whom she had lost track of for only a few seconds, landed a powerful blow against her jaw sending the Nylaan down to the ground.  Unable to properly defend herself, the other two attackers quickly landed shots of their own, kicking the red-haired Starfleet officer in the abdomen and head.  She Ya'Han saw a trickle of blood pouring from the corner of her lips, she understood that it was over.

"Computer, end program."

The three Elasian fighters vanished, quickly followed by the alley that served as their battle arena as the holodeck returned to its normal, inactive state.  Ya'Han remained on her hands and knees for a few moments, assessing the extent of her injuries. The cut and bruises on her face would be easily enough for her to deal with once she returned to her quarters, but the one or maybe two broken ribs she could feel would be a completely different matter.  Painfully forcing herself back onto her feet, the Sec/Tac surrendered to the inevitable as she slowly limp her way out of the room heading for Sickbay.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34021.0820

"Do you have a death wish?" Doctor Bruxa demanded. "You almost died on OLTHAR PRIME, so you would think that you would be more careful or at the very least more grateful instead of going up against some crazed holographic fighter with the safeties off."

"There were three of them," Ya'Han winced.

"That is not helping your case," Satella hissed. "I understand that you feel guilty for what happened to the clone," the Doctor said avoiding calling it by name. "That does not mean that you have to punish yourself like this."

"I was not punishing myself, Doctor," the Sec/Tac said in her defense. "The Elasians are a warrior race, that means that even if they give Ambassador Bonviva and Junior Ambassador Lopez the respect their positions call for, they will not hesitate to attack the rest of us, especially if we are out there wondering the streets looking for that Lokustaar operative."

"Making those guys invisible to sensors is just plain nasty," the Doctor said while taking care of the broken ribs the Sec/Tac had walked in with.

"Making them invisible to sensors was a brilliant tactical move by the Lokustaar," Ya'Han said. "As much as I might not like what it means for us, I have to admit that it is a sound tactical decision and it forces us to be on the planet to search for the operative. This means that one way or another we will have to deal with the locals, and I wanted to be ready. Reading about their fighting style is not enough; I have to experience it in order to come up with the best counter moves in order to avoid being beaten."

"How did that go for you?" Satella asked pocking her patient to make her point.

"Not as well as it should have," the Sec/Tac admitted. "I was distracted."

"You know, I should get Adriana in here. Clearly, you need to talk to someone about this."

"The Counselor is currently locked away in her officer with the Ambassador," Ya'Han stated. "My guess is that they are going over their strategies to figure out which will have the better odds for success."

"How do you know that?" Bruxa asked.

"Doctor, I was the daughter of the High Sovereign of NYLA IV and even though I might not have been trained to be an Ambassador or even a negotiator, the role that my sister and I had meant that we had to know how to read people and quickly find the best way to win their favors," Ya'Han explained. "Also, I am this ship's Chief of Security and that means I keep track of everyone's location at all times."

"Everyone? I find it hard to believe that you are able to keep track of everyone on board the ANUBIS. The only one who should be able to do that is ANI, but then again she can only do so because she cheats," Satella challenged.

"Alright, maybe not *everyone*, but I do keep track of the most important people on board to ensure that safety."

The Doctor slightly tilted her head to one side while looking back at the Sec/Tac clearly not believing her. "I will give you that you know where some of the members of the senior staff are, simply because that is where they usually are. Shar'El is in the IGC, Captain Morningstar is on the bridge or in his office, Sonja is in main engineering and I was, as I usually am, in Sickbay. What I believe is that you are going out of your way to keep track of Adriana. Officially, you can claim that you are keeping an eye on the ANUBIS' Ambassadorial team, personally, I believe that you are keeping track of her whereabouts to avoid running into her because if you did, she might force you to talk about what happened."

"Doctor, you are, I believe the expression is, fishing," the Sec/Tac sighed.

"Maybe I am, or maybe I am right. Either way, I know what I know. You coming to me injured the way you were shows me that there is something wrong. While we are on board the ANUBIS, you being distracted may not lead to issues, but once you are on ELAS, you and I both know that those mistakes can be unforgiving," Satella said trying her best to make Ya'Han understand that she was not alone to deal with any of this. "You are all fixed up. It might be sore for a few hours, so take it easy.

"Thank you, Doctor," red and black-haired Nylaan said, leaving it unsaid as to whether she was thanking the woman for her professional and medical assistance or for simply being an understanding and concerned friend.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M15-P005: USS ANUBIS: Maya: 34021.0830
("Tears Can Be A Very Dangerous Weapon")
---
"Tears Can Be A Very Dangerous Weapon"
(Previous Posts: (ANU) "Elasian Combat Training" / (BAS) "No Looking Back")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Science Lab
Stardate: 34021.0830

Being the Chief Science Officer of the USS ANUBIS was not an easy task and it kept the Shillian very busy, and because of that Maya spent the greater majority of her time locked away in some laboratory away from the normal hustle and bustle of the crew. Most of the time, this did not bother her, in fact, this was what she preferred doing as dedicating herself to science, in all of its aspects, had become her life. There were some days though, being few and far in between, when the shapeshifting woman felt a sting of loneliness as memories of the reasons why she was a scientist unwillingly came back to her. Accompanying those memories was also a unescapable reminder that she was the last of her kind, a reality that forced her to dismiss those feelings as they risked plunging her into a depression that she might never recover from. Her only solace was her work and the fact that she was part of a crew who, for all intents and purposes, had become her family in more ways than one. So it was with joy that she set out to work on whatever she could get her hands on ensured that her new family were as well informed and ready as could be.

From researching the bio-engineered vessels used by the Lokustaar to the life-force transferring device brought back from, and soon after returned to, OLTHAR PRIME, Maya had moved on to looking into the use of biological weapons by the Elasians. Most races tended to stay away from such tools of warfare as they could not only prove dangerous to their opponent but also for the people using them. Despite not being as technologically advanced at the Federation, the Elasians moved forward with their research into bio-engineered weapons not letting the prossibilities of their work mutating into something that the designers could not expect, entificate and, of course, had no way to protect themselves from.

Searching through all available data concerning the use of this type of weapons by the Elasians, the Chief Science Officer discovered that these people were no stranger to bio-engineering and the problems generated by this kind of work. On ELAS, there were several smaller islands dedicated to this type of research, some of them having been permanently quarantined following undisclosed incidents claiming the lives of all those who were working there. Being isolated from the main land provided a natural defense mechanism should there be any such problems as the effects would be contained, but according to some of the records the Shillian was reading through, this had not always been the case.  One such example was the attempt to create a viral infection that would only target the Troyians which backfired and created instead a virus that saw thousands of Elasians die in a most horrific manner before a cure was created. Other attempts at creating biological weapons with specific targets in mind proved equally ill-conceived and forced all of the research teams to eventually change their methodology.

Instead of focusing on what could kill a loathed adversary, the Elasians shifted their research to improving everything they considered as a strength for their people. From bio-engineered weapons, the race of warrior began tinkering into bio-engineering of their own people with the aim of increasing strength, endurance, skill and speed. The parallel with the historical records of EARTH and the Eugenics Wars was impossible to miss, and even more so where the similar consequences involving the newly created members of the warrior race who saw themselves as superior to the rest. The main difference between EARTH and ELAS was that the Elasians were able to overcome their creations before it was too late, thus putting an end to the threat as well as that particular type of research.

With their efforts in bio-engineering people having failed so completely, the Elasians, instead of abandoning all work in the field of bio-engineering, returned to their initial work of creating a weapon that would give them the edge they sought against their adversaries. Using the failures of the past as guidelines, they eventually managed to create something that proved to be as successful as it was strange. The concept and weapon used the tears of Elasian women.

Looking back at the long list of failures from the Elasians in this field of work, the Shillian Scientist had to admit that she was impressed by the success of this latest work. By simple design, half of their own population would already be immune to the effects of this weapon, and the other half, if affected by it, would simply fall hopelessly in a state of deep admiration with the first woman they saw. This meant that as long as a woman was in charge, the men would continue to fight, maybe with even more passion than they had before, no longer caring about anything else. The problem with such a weapon was that it could only target half of the people it was meant to be used against, but of all the weapons at the disposal of the Elasians, this one was by far the one they would use with the least amount of concerns.  Used in small quantities and in specific areas, such a weapons could prove to be exceptionally effective in giving the Elasians the advantage they needed.

Maya was actually thankful that she belonged to the gender that could not be affected by this weapon and quickly confirmed how this bio-engineered weapons functioned. According to the research and test notes on this weapon, the tears of Elasian women were a pure, liquid form of pheromones that would affect a target immediately upon contact. This meant that the final weapon would be 99.9% effective against males regardless of species as this natural substance was common throughout the galaxy. Simple and effective, turning pheromones into a potent weapon made the Chief Science Officer fear that there was little they could do to protect the male population, be them of the ANUBIS or anywhere else in the galaxy.

It was easy to see and understand why Commander Shar'El and Lieutenant Ya'Han were so concerned about this weapon and how it could be used on friends and foes alike to ensure that some gained control over others.

---
Jessica Solarik

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

&

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

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M15-P006: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34021.1000 ("Agita")
"Agita”
(Previous Posts: (ANU) "Tears Can Be A Very Dangerous Weapon" / (BAS) "No Looking Back")

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Corridor
Stardate: 34021.1000

“What am I making for ya now, Ambassador?”

Xana looked over at the CEO and smiled.  “I didn’t say you had to make anything for me, Sonya,” she said as she walked down the corridor.  “Did I?”

Sonya was rolling her eyes.  “All I know this *was* supposed to be a simple discussion now I’m hearing weaponized tears and that means I’ve gotta make a miracle.”  

Xana smiled at that.  “I love that my work is “simple”.”

“There’s probably something there in talking so much that people just give in--”

“That might be the most accurate description of my job I’ve ever heard,” Xana agreed.

The engineer gave a look.  “But are ya making a marvel of engineering to save the day?” 

The azure woman raised an eyebrow.  “Tell me, what are you making to help save the day.”

“I canna tell you as I haven’t made it yet!” Sonya fussed.  Looking over she said, “Aren’t you sassy since you’ve gotten better?”

Xana smiled at that but she felt the churning in her stomach again when she thought about getting better.  “I’ve always been sassy--”

“That’s a way to put it,” Sonya quipped.

The Ambassador chuckled.  “But you have me thinking about what’s been bothering me.”  Smiling she said, “Thanks, Sonya. I appreciate it.” Winking she said, “I won’t tell Adriana that you’re now a backup Counselor now!”

“Ya, ya, I’ll add that to the other jobs I’m doing!” Sonya grinned.

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Xana’s quarters

She was supposed to be doing outreaching or researching…instead her stomach was in knots.  Drumming her fingers on her desk she mindlessly scrolled through the notes on the Elasians wondering about what type of people would put their kids at risk and why she was living for this.  She also had a job to do, she also had to help Adriana…

“Computer, reach out to Bonviva, Gavrosh,” she tried first, thinking to reach out to her eldest son.  Getting a message, which wasn’t unusual for the far-flung places places her son found himself in, she left her son a message knowing this was going to be ping pong.  

“Computer, contact Captain Siobhan Reardon,” she tried next, expecting the same reaction.  Much to her surprise the computer changed from the symbol of the Federation to the redheaded Captain she knew so well.  

[/\] Xan… do you have any idea what time it is? [/\] She looked a little groggy, but otherwise the same.

“Siobhan!” Xana said, relief pouring into her as she saw her long time friend.  “I have so much to tell you!”

It took a few seconds for the azure woman’s enthusiasm and urgency to rub off on the Captain of the BHUTTO, but she managed a more alert response. [/\] Wait- where are you? [/\]

“Except that,” the white-haired woman said. The two women were no strangers to need-to-know privilege and all that entailed. 

The former Counselor mentally shrugged. [/\] Okay, I’m listening. [/\]  

Xana explained about her recovery, how she never had to worry about the illness again.  “Siobhan...I should be thrilled. I am thrilled! Why am I feeling this agita every time I think about getting better?”

[/\] Obviously something is bothering you about it… [/\] Sio remembered Xana’s need for control in all aspects of her life. Why would her death be any different? [/\] There was a part of you that was ready to go, wasn’t there? [/\]

The Bolian/Human thought about it.  “I made all the arrangements,” she said quietly.

[/\] That’s not the same as being ready, [/\] Sio pointed out.  She looked sympathetic across the light-years.  

“It wasn’t like how I thought it would be...at the end,” Xana said quietly.  

[/\] Very few people, anywhere, get the death they think they will. Or the death they deserve. Even you don’t get to control that, [/\] Siobhan said.  

The Ambassador sat quietly looking off to the stars.  “Am I terrible if I say I was ready?” Looking back at the screen she said, “Nothing was how I planned it but...no one asked me how I felt, my family wasn’t there, but some small part of me was….ok.  I had several Bolian firewaters, I was level with the stars again and I thought to myself, “You know, this isn’t such a bad way to go”. My kids were safe. I did my job. I was...at peace. And it was good.”  She was really quiet for a moment; then she shook her head. “A few hypos later, flash, bam, boom, I’m saved. I don’t even remember being asked if I wanted to be. I know that sounds horrific, childish...I mean obviously yes, living is wonderful but...I was *ready*. “  There was a pause before she finally said what she had long felt but hadn’t said all this time. “I was at peace...I was ready to die.”

Siobhan looked troubled. She was getting a lot of information, amazingly good news, really, but it still didn’t seem like it was all there. Like there were important things missing. Maybe if- [/\] Can you come visit? I’m sure I talk Admiral T’Sen into having you aboard. There aren’t many places that couldn’t use an Ambassador these days. [/\] It seemed foolish to ask the question, but the pain that Xana was still feeling was palpable, even on a comm link. The only good thing about it, is that it wasn’t physical anymore. But her friend was still in some kind of distress.

Xana smiled sadly.  “I’d like to but I’m needed here.  I actually pulled some strings to say here with my Junior Ambassador.”  Tapping on the keyboard, she said, “Actually, that's the reason why I was reaching out before I just started venting…you have gone to all sorts of places.  I’m sending you information on a missing persons case, a kidnapping actually. Let me know what if anything this matches for you.”

 [/\] Telling me you’re alive and well is *not* venting. It’s the best news I’ve had in quite some time. So stop it. [/\] Sio scanned the data, which was for a woman named Amanda Lopez. She’d been missing since she was a little girl. The case looked pretty cold, but her occasional foray into Intel told her there could easily be more there than met the eye. She wondered what the connection was between the case and Xana. [/\] Did you know her? [/\]

“No but I know the family,” Xana said.  “I figured I’d reach out to those that I know who go to unusual places and I can trust.”

The Captain nodded at that. [/\] You tried Gavi, didn’t you? [/\]

“And knowing my son, he’ll call me back at 0300 sometime,” Xana sighed.  

[/\] I wonder where he learned that from, [/\] Sio yawned.  The CO looked over the file. [/\] You know who could be helpful-- [/\]

Xana sat up straight in her chair.  “I recognize that tone, Siobhan Reardon.”

[/\] -- he would probably help you if you asked -- [/\]

“Absolutely not.”

[/\] --I’m just saying, he does go to a lot of places, different places that I go to.  Jake would probably be useful here. [/\]

Xana glared across the universe. “I am NOT calling my ex-husband.”

[/\] Your friend, your decision, [/\] Siobhan said, holding up her hands in surrender. [/\] Speaking of friends, you know if you need to just talk, I’ll be here, right? You don’t need a reason. [/\] 

“I do, thanks,” Xana smiled.  “You too. Bonviva out.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501

With Guest Appearance By 

Susan Ledbetter
Writing for 

Captain Siobhan Reardon
USS BENZAIR BHUTTO
M15-P007: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34021.1100 ("Digging Up Dirt")
=-=
"Digging Up Dirt"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Agita" by Sarah / (BAS) "Asking A Few Questions" by Karen]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 34021.1100

In missions such as the one they were heading into, Intel on the groups as well as the individuals were of the utmost importance as the slightest detail could change the landscape of the negotiations. It was expected that each side had something to hide and that they would have done everything in their power to uncover the secrets of their counterparts. What the ExO / ILO needed to was to find those pieces of information that stood beyond these hidden gems, the ones that no one else knew about but the selected few.

Normally, doing this kind of in-depth search required an agent to be on location, but thanks to the Elasians being members of the Federation, a lot of this information was already out there buried in the public records. All that was required was to find the links that had been purposefully omitted or removed from those details to protect those who did not want this information to be known by others.

Due to War Master Daanold's rank and position, Shar'El decided to skip him for the time being as an in-depth search of military records of this 52 years old Elasian might prove to be more timeconsuming than she could afford at this point. Therefore, the ExO / ILO decided to instead focus her initial focus on his daughter, the leader of the Elasian Nationalist Puritans, Evaanku.

The 26 years old woman grew up enjoying all of the privileges afforded by her father's high ranking position within the Elasian military. Evaanku attended the most prestigious schools, followed rigorous extra-curriculum activities and accompanied her father in many of his troop inspections. Every second of her life appeared to have been planned, monitored and closely followed by people of the highest level. Knowing all that, it made perfect sense that the young woman followed her father's lead in regards to the way she perceived the world around her. A harsh and demanding government, very much like the one in charge of their military was the only way to ensure the safety and compliance of the population.

For a brief moment, Shar'El actually felt sorry for the young woman who had known nothing other than the life her father had laid out in front of her. According to everything the ExO / ILO had seen so far, Evaanku had never enjoyed any sort of freedom or the intimate company of another. Her existence was devoted to upholding the ideals of her father in any and every way she could, and that was why she created the faction she now led.

As clean and straight forward as Evaanku's life had been, the opposite could be said about the leader of the Dark Order. Puunce had grown up in one of the harshest districts forcing him to fight for survival on a daily basis. Abandoned by his parents at an early age, he had to rely on his cunning and ruthlessness to take full advantage of whatever presented itself. As soon as he came of age, he joined the military and volunteered for some of the most demanding campaigns in order to prove himself worthy. During the five years that followed, he was brought in front of a disciplinary committee seven times to address charges of gross misconduct towards superior officers and insubordination. Apparently, he knew better than his superiors when it came to striking a quick and decisive blow against their enemies. The fact that his service record noted him as being one of the most ruthless of his battalion played in his favor during sentencing. The Elasians did not abide by any universal rules of conduct when it came to warfare, so he was spared the full extent of his punishments in acknowledgment of his prowess in action. Such reward normally reinforced the man's already twisted psychology and view on how he should behave.

It was when he fell under the command of Daanold that his life took a turn for the better, finally being recognized and rewarded for what he did best. The high ranking military officer often sent him on missions without any specific course of action to follow, only a goal that he had to accomplish if he wanted to be accepted back into the ranks when he returned. This drove the man to become even more unforgiving and heatless, ensuring that he would be welcomed back with open arms, which he was, time and time again. Of course, this chain of events secured Puunce's loyalty to the War Master making him an exceptionally dangerous and unscrupulous 38 years old man ready to do whatever was necessary to get the job done. and please his 'master'.

Shar'El made a quick mental note to keep Puunce in sight at all times. Of all the people who would be at the peace talks, he certainly was the only to be the most cautious of since, according to his list of accomplishments, he would not hesitate to do what was asked of him by the War Master, even if it ended up costing him his own life.

Moving on to the next person on her list, the ExO / ILO started looking into the past of the respected 44 years old Elasian businessman. Very much like the leader of the Elasian Nationalist Puritans Jerrun had grown up in the lap of luxury and never wanted for anything making him appreciate the benefits of prosperity. As soon as he was of age, he followed his father out onto various trade routes learning the skills of the trade hands-on. Within a few years, he took on his own trade routes which soon grew into a full network that accounted for nearly 20% of the planet's global trades. More than once he forwent profit to hire more Elasians so as to 'spread the wealth' to his people knowing that through the prosperity of some, many more could come to live better lives.

During one of his trade expansion efforts, he met a very attractive Elasian woman by the name of Anshaa who although gave him quite a hard time at first grew to respect and even admire Jeruun for what he was doing. This is why the 32 years old trader offered her support to his cause, agreeing that prosperity for their people could not come as a result of endless conflicts and even wars.

What Shar'El found especially interesting was the fact that there was a period of two full years during which time the stunning Elasian trader seemed to have stopped all commercial activities. In fact, for those years there were absolutely no records of her doing *anything*. As this was the kind of anomaly the ExO / ILO could not ignore, she started digging a little further. What the Ullian uncovered was a list of ship manifests that covered the week before the woman's sudden disappearance. What was truly interesting was that those records indicated that the ships operating under Anshaa's control had ventured into the domain of the Orion Syndicate.

"What were you doing there," Shar'El asked of the screen, now more than ever resolved to discover the reason for this two-year hiatus. "Computer, access all available Intel on the Orion Syndicate for the period coinciding with the two years Anshaa was inactive. List all occurrences of an Elasian woman."

=/\= Initialting search, =/\= the Computer acknowledged. =/\= There is one mention of an Elasian woman found within the specified time parameters. =/\=

"Show me the report," the ExO / ILO ordered. Whatever she went through so much effort to hide from her own people was certainly not going to be enough to stop Shar'El from getting to the bottom of this. As soon as the report appeared on her monitor, the Commander began reading it, getting a completely new impression of the Elasian beauty. "Rilliz? What were you doing talking with that sorry excuse for an Orion smile? More important, why try to keep it a secret from your own people? That guy could not convince a Ferengi to accept free latinum if his life depended on it, so why would Anshaa go all the way to an underground Orion trading outpost to see you? What were you selling that she needed so badly, or was it that she was trying to sell you something? Either way, this could prove to be very interesting, not to mention potentially damaging if it fell into the hands of Evaanku. Let's face it, Rilliz may not be the best, but he sure one of the most versatile dealing in everything the Orion Syndicate manages to get their hands on."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P008: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34021.1300 ("Stomach Churning")
=-=
"Stomach Churning"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Digging Up Dirt" / (BAS) "Far-Reaching Implications"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, CMO's Office
Stardate: 34021.1300

Cmdr. Shar'El was an amazing First Officer. The woman always seemed to be there to lend a hand or answer whatever question came up. As the ANUBIS' ILO, she was a force to be reckoned with day or night. At her best, there was nothing out of her reach, and in some ways that fact scared Satella. What would the raven-haired woman find if she ever decided to go digging into the crew's past? Bruxa had nothing to hide, but still, maybe there was something in her past that was better her not knowing about it. Luckily for everyone, the woman in charge of the IGC was currently too preoccupied to worry about such trivial things.

The moment the news of a bio-engineered weapon reached the CMO, she inquired about getting more information. Shar'El was more than accommodating and provided the Doctor with pages upon pages of data. Obviously, the Elasians were a race that enjoyed risking their own lives. If any of their previous work had become an airborne contagion, everyone on the planet could have easily perished. What was truly scary was that this could have happened several dozen times over the last century or so. These people were either more skilled than they let on, or they were the luckiest race in the galaxy.

Satella had set herself up to eat her lunch in her office while reading the files provided by Cmdr. Shar'El. The moment she began reading though, the CMO instantly lost her appetite. That was why her bowl of Mikulak Vegetable Stew was now cold and likely to remain so for quite some time. Nightmarish visions filled the Doctor's mind as she read some of the work done by the Elasians. What were they thinking?

The list of ideas for a bio-engineered weapon quickly went from bad to worse as Satella read the list. A neuro-toxin meant not to paralyze anyone expose but instead to kill them by liquefying the nervous system. A flesh eating genetically engineered bacteria that could devour a full-grown man in minutes. A modified strand of the Ruthian plague, capable of ending all life on a planetary scale within days of its release. There were even plans to attempt a genetic merger of some of the most deadly viruses known int he galaxy.

"Weaponizing the tears of Elasian women is nothing compared to these abominations. How did these people ever manage to be accepted into the Federation?" The Doctor was clearly shocked and in total disbelief. "These people are monsters."

"That is not fair," Adriana said. The CNS had apparently come to join her friend for a late lunch. "You are judging them by their mistakes, not their accomplishments."

Doctor Bruxa threw herself back into her chair. "What accomplishments?" She demanded. "How many people did those bioengineered weapons kill? Is that the accomplishments you are referring to?"

Adriana smiled and pulled a chair to sit across from her friend. "The Elasians were able to create a stable planetary government, something that not every race is capable of doing. For a time, they also managed to have peace with their neighbors the Troyians. Keep in mind that at one point in their history, all they wanted was to kill every one of them. They have a thriving trade industry and have a few social aid programs. All of those is enough to make them valid Federation members. I am sure that keeping an eye on their bioengineering work was part of the decision. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer."

Satella just shook her head. "Everyday you sound more like an Ambassador than a Counselor."

"Is that such a bad thing?"

"Maybe," Doctor Bruxa said, concern for her friend appearing on her face. "I don't trust the Elasians. The fact that they are on the brink of a civil war is not going to make them reasonable. I believe that it will be quite the opposite. They have come to a point where they re ready to turn their weapons against their own people. That is never a good sign/"

"If they truly wanted to do it, they would already have," Adriana said. "This internal conflict was brought on by the interference of the Lokustaar. They are the ones who want to see war break out on ELAS. Our job, meaning Xana's and mine, is to remind them of this. We have to get them to realize that they have the same enemy."

"What if they don't listen? What if they decide to use any one of those nightmare bioengineered weapons on you to make a point?"

Adriana shrugged and smiled. "I am not worried."

"Why are you not worried? Have you read this report from Shar'El? I feel like I am about to throw up. Just reading about all of those things is enough to make me ill."

The CNS laughed ever so gently. "I am not worried because I know that you will be there to save the day."

"Save the day? I am not even sure I would be able to save your life. I understand the need to restore peace on ELAS. Trust me, that is the one thing I am in full agreement about. I just don't like the idea that someone will have to be down there to do it."

"I guess I should inform Cmdr. Shar'El and Cpt. Morningstar in a change to our plan."

"A change in your plan? What plan are you talking about?"

Adriana was actually finding this very amusing. "I requested that you and Maya be part of the diplomatic away team. That way you would be able to keep an eye on us while the discussions proceeded."

"Me on ELAS?!?" Satella felt a knot growing in her stomach. "Now I am really going to be sick."

=-=
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]
M15-P009: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34021.1400 ("The List")
"The List"
[previous (ANU) "Stomach Churning" / (BAS) "Far-Reaching Implications"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34021.1400

They were still over three days from ELAS and their next mission but the OPS Officer was already experiencing a lot of misgivings about what was to come.  Every report the senior staff was told to read painted an increasingly troubling picture of the planet and its people. By the looks of things, the Elasians were a race with a level of technology that far surpassed the wisdom required to properly use it. Their unhealthy and persistent tinkering with bio-engineered weapons was proof enough of this, confirming just how dangerous these people could be to everyone including themselves.

Jayson certainly did not envy the task the Adriana and Xana faced, easily imagining numerous ways for the peace talks to turn ugly in the blink of an eye. What made it worse was that he, along with every other male crew member, would have to remain on the ANUBIS to avoid them falling victim to the Elasian's latest weapon.

"Is everything alright Lieutenant?" Ambassador Bonviva asked, the azure-skinned woman having made a straight line to the Operations station as soon as she stepped onto the bridge.

"Yes, Ambassador, I was just..."

"Good," Xana interrupted; apparently, her question was misinterpreted as one of concern instead of a simple gesture of politeness to make sure that she would have his complete attention. "Here is the list of items that both Junior Ambassador Lopez and I will require before we reach the orbit of ELAS." Jayson had barely had time to take hold of the PADD being handed to him before the Ambassador continued. "As the Chief of Operations for this vessel, I presume that there will not be any problem for you to fill this list before our arrival, and by you filling the list I do mean *you*. I need you to personally ensure that each item is exactly as described, no exceptions, no substitutions."

"Why do you need..."

"If you have any problems procuring any of the items listed, let Junior Ambassador Lopez know as soon as possible," Xana said interrupting Jayson once again. "As a newly promoted Lieutenant though, I suspect that you will not have any issues with any of the items on that list, well, maybe one or two, but Adriana said to trust you, so here I am." Whatever schedule the Ambassador was on clearly did not afford her the time for idle chat, that or she simply did not want to speak to the OPS Officer any more than she absolutely had to. In either case, Xana was already boarding the turbolift by the time he realized that she was leaving without answering his question.

With the Ambassador gone as quickly as she had come, Jayson had no other choice but to reread the list Xana handed to him. Some of the items listed made sense, in some ways, but several others seemed to be completely out of place. "What are they going to do?" The OPS Officer asked aloud rereading the items on the PADD to make sure that he had read them correctly. Once he reached the end of the list and confirmed that all of the items were as he had read them to be, Jayson laughed. "Maybe I should just throw in a couple of Quantum torpedoes, given some of the items on this list; I doubt that she would even notice that they are there." Following a short pause, he checked on his console the location of a specific member of the crew. "Might as well get this over with."

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 34021.1420

Jayson walked in and made his way to where he knew the CEO was. "Lt. Commander, may I have a word with you?"

"What do you want?" Sonja asked, not happy to see the OPS Officer, not that she ever was happy to see him. The woman took a perverted pleasure in taking shots at him whenever she could for no other reason than because she could.

"Ambassador Boniva gave me a list of items that she needs for the away mission to ELAS and she requested that I be the one to procure each item personally. No exceptions and no substitutions," Jayson said handing over a PADD listing those items that Sonja would be able to provide.

"Ambassador Bonviva asked you to get this?" The CEO asked, looking down at the list with puzzled curiosity. "What does she want to do with any of this equipment?"

"She did not tell me," the OPS Officer said. "She just exploded onto the bridge, handed me the list and rushed back out as if the devil itself was after her."

"Even if the devil itself was after her, it would not explain some of the items on this list," Sonja quipped. "Which brings up an interesting question, do Bolians believe in the devil or something like it? Then again, I guess it does not matter as she is half-Human, so trying to avoid half a devil would still be bad enough.  Alright, so let me see what I can do, but in the meantime, I need you to answer one question. Why ask you to do this? What did you do to tick her off?"

"I don't know," Jayson shrugged. "The closest I got to an answer on that is Adriana trusts me. So I can only guess that my landing this task was thanks to her."

"Obviously, Adriana becoming a Junior Ambassador has dulled her judgment," the CEO said rolling her eyes.

Jayson was not in the mood for this kind of dealings, but right now he needed Sonja on another matter. "Can I ask you a personal question, Sir?"

"Oh, this should be good," the redhead grinned evilly.

"Is Ya'Han alright? I have barely seen her over the last 24 hours and I am worried about her."

"Listen," Sonja hissed. "She's a big girl and does not need you playing Boy Scout. Whatever is troubling her, and I am not saying that there is something, she will work it out without you hovering over her every move. Now, leave Ya'Han alone, go back to your work, and I will take care of this list for Xana."

As much as he did not like the answer he got, Jayson had little choice but to do what he was told.  As soon as he left Main Engineering, Sonja turned to the ship's avatar. "Find Ya'Han. She and I need to talk."

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M15-P010: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34021.1600 ("A Friendly Chat")
=-=
"A Friendly Chat"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "The List" by Jayson / (BAS) "Code Black" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Holodeck
Stardate: 34021.1600

Watching Ya'Han move was mesmerizing. The way her movements effortlessly flowed one into the other made it seem as if the Nylaan was performing some magical ballet that the ExO / ILO could not help but admire. The best part of this was that their Chief of Security was not sporting the green-colored hair of an entertainer but rather the full bright red of her warrior training. To Shar'El, the dance of the entertainer and the fighting style of the warrior were very close, but the final results were worlds apart.

The Ullian started clapping her hands as soon as the lastest fight sequence was completed leaving a single person standing, surrounded by more than a dozen computer-generated opponents. "I think you have the fighting style of the Elasians figured out to perfection. I took the liberty of checking the settings of the program before walking in. Do you truly believe that you or any members of the retrieval team will be attacked by a full dozen of expert, military-trained, highly trained members of the Crimson Blade Order?"

"It never hurts to be prepared," Ya'Han replied while trying to catch her breath. "The situation on ELAS is likely to be volatile and dangerous, and as much as I am sure that the ANUBIS will be keeping a transporter look on every member of the away team at all times, we both know how easily that lock can be interfered with of straight out interrupted. We are being sent to apprehend a Shadow operative, and we know from experience how difficult that can be."

"Agreed, but Mordana is gone," the ExO / ILO clarified. "She was the worst of the worst, in every way imaginable. This one should not be anywhere as complicated or difficult to get our hands on."

"Commander, with all due respect, it is not like you to down-play a situation," the bright red-haired Chief of Security said as she moved in closer to the woman.

"Granted," Shar'El nodded. "Just like it is not like you to question your combat skills to this extent. No one could expect someone to do what you just did, this regardless of their combat proficiency. You are pushing yourself beyond even your limits, and that is not good, not for you and certainly not for the mission."

"I am not pushing myself any harder than I usually do," the Nylaan challenged in a tone that Ya'Han quickly realized was much more confrontational than it should have been, especially when addressing a superior officer.

"Ya'Han, I am not here as the ANUBIS' ExO or the ILO, I am here as a friend," Shar'El said, keeping her voice down to help make the Chief of Security feel a little less threatened. "You are pushing yourself harder than ever before, we both know it and we both know why." The Nylaan narrowed her eyes in a distinct show of displeasure but the Ullian did not give the woman the chance to voice her rapidly mounting anger. "I did not scan your memories, I did not have to. When anyone trains to this extent, they lose the ability to control their thoughts and memories. Each time you punched one of them down or flipped them into the air, you rage towards yourself came loud and clear. So much so that I was able to feel it from the IGC."

"Really?" Ya'Han gasped in horror.

"No, not really," Shar'El chuckled. "No matter how powerful a memory may be or how strongly it was projected, I still need to be in a line-of-sight to pick it up, but your reaction indicates that you know I am right. You are angry at yourself for what happened to the other Jayson, you are angry at yourself for the way you felt for him and you are angry at yourself for not being able to just go back to the real Jayson as if nothing happened."

"Sounds like you have been speaking to Adriana," Ya'Han sighed. As much as she wanted to argue all of the points made by the ExO / ILO, she knew that there was no point because everything said was true.

"I did not need to," Shar'El admitted. "I am the ANUBIS' ExO, this means that the well-being of the crew, be it physical, mental or even emotional, falls under my responsibility. The moment we came back from OLTHAR PRIME, I suspected how difficult things would be for you and hoped that I was wrong." The ExO / ILO stopped and looked at the dozen bodies scattered on the ground left there by the Chief of Security following her latest training exercise.

"Computer, end program," the Nylaan ordered, erasing the evidence being used against her, but that, of course, changed nothing about what Shar'El saw and how Ya'Han felt. "I guess my saying that I am alright is not going to change anything, right?"

"Right," Shar'El confirmed. "As your friend, I have to tell you that you need help. You need to talk to someone, and if it is not me, then talk to Adriana or Sonja. Honestly, I would suggest you stay away from Maya though unless you plan on spending a few hours being lectures as to the biochemical imbalances that your feelings are causing throughout your body."

Ya'Han actually laughed even if not for very long. "You are not going to tell me to talk to Jayson?"

"No," the raven-haired woman sais shaking her head. "Right now you owe it to yourself to get your thoughts and feelings straight first. Jayson cares a great deal for you and we both know that he will wait as long as it takes. He understands, at least in some part, what you are going through and he cares enough to not push you to resolve your feelings overnight."

"Thank you," Ya'Han said, "for being my friend."

"Do not thank me too quickly," the Commander added. "As the ANUBIS' ExO / ILO, I have to add one more thing. Until I get a clean bill of emotional health from Counselor Lopez in your regards, you will remain on restricted duty, this means that you will not be permitted to beam down to ELAS and take part in the hunt for the Shadow Operative."

Again Ya'Han was ready to challenge Shar'El but following a few long breaths, the Chief of Security simply nodded her head. "I understand."

"You have three days before we reach ELAS," Shar'El pointed out. "Speak to Sonja, speak to Satella, heck you can even speak to Xana. Get all of the help you need before going to see Adriana. I am not doing this because I don't believe you to be capable of performing your duties, you have proven yourself more than physically capable. I am doing this because I am worried about you and I would hate for the ANUBIS to lose you."

"Are you saying that as a friend of the ExO / ILO?" Ya'Han teased.

"Both," Shar'El replied. "Now, go take a shower and put on a fresh uniform. I do not think Captain Morningstar would appreciate having his Chief of Security look like she just came back from waging a war on some distant planet."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P011: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 34019.1630 ("The Mother of All Talks")
"The Mother of All Talks"
previous posts were (ANU) "A Friendly Chat" / (BAS) "What's In The Box"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Paquette's Quarters
Stardate: 34019.1630

After making her presence known and being granted access to the Chief Engineer's quarters, Ya'Han carefully entered to find Sonja sitting at her desk speaking to someone on her desktop console.

"Hang on, I have a visitor," Sonja said as she muted the conversation in order to speak more freely with her guest.  "Are you done beating people up?"

"What?" Ya'Han said not having expected those to be the first words out of her friend's mouth. After realizing what she was talking about, the Nylaan sighed, holding her head down. "I am, but how did you know?

"Just a little over two hours ago I asked ANI to find you, which she did, in the holodeck. I went to talk to you then and walked in on you beating up half dozen Elasians into the afterlife only to bring them back and do it all over again, so I said to myself 'screw that, I am not talking to her like this'." Sonja explained. "I was not going to get in the middle of your Nylaan-style therapy session and I figured that when you were ready you would come to see me, which seems to be right now."

"I'm sorry," the woman with the now solid black hair said. "I did not mean to interrupt your conversation with whomever it is that you are talking to."

"Relax," the redhead said waving the woman's concerns away. "I'm just talking with my mother, and it's about you anyway."

"About me?" Ya'Han demanded before moving closer to confirm that it was indeed Sonja's mother on the other end of the communications channel. "What are you two talking about me for?" The woman with the black hair asked to which Sonja only unmuted the channel as a reply.

[/\] There you are sweetie, wait, weren't you a redhead last time we spoke. Black really doesn't suit you, it makes you seem sadder, anyway, Sonja told me everything, poor you, but you have to realize that you had more than this one, [/\] the older Terran woman said nodding towards her daughter. [/\] You had the love of two men, yes they were nearly identical, but you have to embrace their differences because although they might have appeared to be the same to you, I am sure that they saw you in a completely different manner as compared to the other. Even if they did share the same memories, they saw you from a completely different perspective. Your problem is that you are trying to look back at them from only one. [/\]

It was Ya'Han's turn to mute the conversation as she turned to look at Sonja with utter dismay. "You revealed the details of our last mission to your mother?"

"Will you relax," Sonja said again dismissing Ya'Han's concerns with a flamboyant wave of her hand. "Clones, transporter malfunctions, they are all the same to her and by tomorrow she won't even remember any of the details save those of your love life. As long as she is focussed on your love life, she'll leave me alone. As for the rest, don't you start accusing me of breaching our security protocols. Your situation is a lot more problematic than my talking to my mother could ever be." Having said this, the engineer unmuted the channel once more. "Mother, I have to go. We can talk about this later; right now Ya'Han needs my help."

[/\] Speaking of help, did you know that your sister managed to get to the ruins on ALTAR SIGMA all by herself? Those idiots at the museum actually pulled her funding away and she still managed to get a fully equipped team there to start digging. There is a lot you both could learn from her. [/\]

The daughter rolled her eyes with frustration and reached for the controls to the monitor. "Good bye, mother," the redhead engineer said just as she terminated the conversation. Now looking at Ya'Han, Sonja gave her friend a careful study before speaking. "I hate to admit it, but she is right."

"She's right? About what?" Ya'Han asked.

"Let's start with the fact that black really doesn't suit you. It might have been who you were once, but that is not who you are today. As for anything else, I am not admitting to my mother being right about anything without at least two full glasses of wine in me. At least that way I have enough ground to claim that it was not really me speaking but rather the wine."

"Would you rather us talking at a later time?"

"Absolutely not," Sonja fired back as she got up and went to fetch two large wine glasses and a bottle of red Chardonnay from her personal wine cellar located in a bottom cupboard. The Chief Engineer was not one to use replicated wine in a situation like this, or any situation come to think of it. "You are not leaving my quarters until you have drank enough that you hair will actually have forgotten what black is."

"I do not need to drink wine to change my hair color," Ya'Han said as her hair went from solid black to the more customary red/black mix. "I can do that all on my own."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Lt Commander Sonja Paquette [Access Character BIO for Sonja Paquette]
Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M15-P012: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34021.1915 ("Who Is Rilliz?")
Who Is Rilliz
previous posts were (ANU) "The Mother of All Talks" / (BAS) "What's In The Box"

=/\=
The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand 
-Frank Herbert

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Counselor’s Office
Stardate: 34019.1915


Adriana was sipping her water as she leaned back in her seat.  “There are many ways to respect the image but get what we want.”  Tilting her head, she said, “On the surface we need to ensure we are being friendly in a way that the Elusians will recognize and respect.”

Xana thought about that.  Skimming through the notes on her PADD she nodded,  “I agree.  This will be very tricky.  We’re going to have to be monitoring their body language closely.  I’m concerned that what they’re saying is not going to match what how they really feel.”

The Junior Ambassador/Counselor nodded at that.  “That’s true in so many areas of our lives; what we say and how we’re acting don’t often align.  It would take a true actor to not be able to show their feelings while saying another thing.”

Xana paused for a moment and just stared at Adriana, wondering how to bring up her missing twin.  She desperately wanted to ask how could Adriana have interactions with her deceased twin and everyone else around her not be aware of it.  

A sound trilled through the air.  =/\= Message for Bonviva, Xana, Ambassador =/\=

Xana sighed as she looked over at Adriana; she was loathe to interrupt their conversation.  “Computer, unless this is a priority message--”

=/\= Priority message,=/\= the Computer confirmed.

The azure woman closed her eyes.  “I brought that on myself.”  Rubbing her left temple she asked, “From whom?”

=/\= Bonviva, Gavirosh of F.I.E.R.C.E. =/\=

“I love my children...they’ve all mastered the art of ‘How To Send A Priority Message’.  This is only off because he’s not calling at 0300,” Xana admitted.  Pointing to a console she asked, “Do you mind?”

“Go ahead,” Adriana nodded.  

Xana moved over to the desk and tapped the screen so the images changed from the Federation to that of a man with long black hair, the beginnings of a beard (or more likely as Xana would have explained -- he just simply hadn’t shaved today), high cheekbones, and dark almost sleepy eyes.  Wherever he was it was daytime and they could see the desert vista behind him.  

It was clear, to Adriana, that despite the shared name, Gavrisosh Bonviva was not biologically related to the Ambassador.  However, when he opened his mouth, he certainly sounded like the woman sharing the room with her.  =/\=Hey Ma.   I got the note on you getting better but I know that’s not why you told me to call.  So what is this wild goose chase?  And who am I doing this wild goose chase for?  And news flash, I have a job. =/\=

Xana waved her hand as she changed the subject.  “First of all, it would not kill you to clean up. Shave your beard--”

=/\= I like my beard.=/\=

“You look like an uncivilized mountain man,” his mother shot back.  Sighing dramatically she said, “Adriana, meet my son, the Mountain Man.”

Adriana leaned over and looked at the screen.  The Ambassador’s eldest son looked to be about her age; nodding at him from she said, “Hello.”

Gavi threw up his hands, and Adriana noticed for a brief moment that Xana’s son wore black gloves on his hands.  =/\= Gods, woman, I’d tell you to stop interfering but that would be like telling you not to breath, =/\= he shot back.  Looking over at Adriana he said, =/\= And hello and welcome to our family drama. =/\=

Adriana looked vaguely amused.  “Not the first one I’ve been involved in.”

Gavi rolled his eyes.  =/\=Not shocking. =/\= Leaning in he said to his mother, =/\= Listen, do you want to know what I know or not? =/\=

Xana tapped her fingers on the desk.  She thought about the rounds of negotiation that she’d have to deal with and decided to cut to the chase.  Sighing she asked, “What will this cost me?”  

=/\= To be determined at a later date and time, =/\= Gavi shot back with a grin that transformed his usual serious face into something that was near charming.  Leaning back in his chair he said, =/\= After talking to the usual drifters and grifters that come into these camps, I found someone. =/\=  Seeing his mother open up her mouth a warning finger came up, =/\= Don’t even, Ma -- stay focused. =/\=

The Ambassador rolled her eyes.  “Get to the point, Gavi.  You found someone and….?”

Gavi sighed.  =/\=Right about that.  I found someone for your friend who lost her twin. =/\=  Pausing for a moment as he asked seriously, =/\= I’m surprised you didn’t just tell her about Aunt Corina.  That seems like it would be more appropriate here.=/\=

Xana paused for a moment, a ton of emotions playing on her face.  “Gavi, honey, what do you have?”

Gavi leaned in towards the screen.  =/\=All I got you was a name, Ma.  They said to find Rilliz.  I even tried to find out more info from my source but they upped and vanished.=/\=  The man across the universe looked questioning back at his mother, =/\=Who is Rilliz? =/\=

Xana looked over at Adriana who also looked confused. “Good question, I don’t think we know.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M15-P013: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34023.0830 ("Counseling The Junior Ambassador")
-=-=-
"Counseling The Junior Ambassador"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Who is Rilliz?" & (BAS) "Patient vs Patience"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor Lopez' Office  
Stardate: 34023.0830

The idea of being made a Junior Ambassador by Xana Bonviva was actually exciting. How many people could claim to have been given such an opportunity in their lifetime? The problem was that the work matched, and most of the time surpassed, the expected demands of the position leaving Adriana to feeling seriously overwhelmed. Not seeing the inside of her quarters or even feeling the comfort of her bed for over 24 hours straight was not helping matters.

The ANUBIS was less than 36 hours away from its destination, the Elasian homeworld of ELAS, a planet torn by conflicting political ideas that threatened to plunge the inhabitants into a civil war at a moment's notice. As a result, the pressure was on the diplomatic team to find an expedient way to resolve this situation as quickly as possible before things turned ugly making their mission that much more complicated, if not impossible.  The Counselor knew that the two Ambassadors would not only have to face the difficulties of the negotiations but that they would also have to keep an eye open for the Lokustaar operative responsible for this mess. With the retrieval team hunting the instigator, it was a likely possibility that the Shadow Agent might turn his attention on the diplomatic delegation to ensure that war did break out, one way or another.

The Lokustaar were not after any political gains, they were not even after making claims on lands, territory or people. The only thing the race was interested in seemed to be to spread chaos and destruction as far and wide as they could, going as far as to doing so beyond the confines of their own dimension. This changed everything as normal conflict resolution methods and techniques would prove ineffective in this situation. What Xana and Adriana needed to do was to make the Elasians understand that they were being played by an outside force that cared nothing about them, their ideas or even the outcome of this conflict. All they truly cared about was to see things unravel to the point where the streets would be covered with blood.

With that lovely thought dancing in the back of her mind, Adriana forced herself to study the dossiers of the faction leaders he diplomatic team would be dealing with. Evaanku was a dangerous woman who followed her father's footsteps in his views of cleansing ELAS of the influence of others. How ironic that the push for this had come from a being who himself was being influenced by creatures not even of this dimension?  Jeruun was the kind of businessman that could be found on countless outposts and starbases; a man doing his best to secure prosperity for himself and those who believed in him.  It was Anshaa who struct the Junior Ambassador as being a little on the odd side. Given her looks and skills, at least as they were listed to be on her dossier, the Elasian woman appeared to be somewhat out of place in the role of a trader. Either she was forced to work in this field for a reason not mentioned in the report of the well-known and attractive trader was using this as a cover for other, darker purposes.  One thing was certain, Lopez would have to keep a close eye on that woman.

"So," Amanda said, the mental projection of the missing twin sister having appeared sitting on the couch directly across from where Adriana was. "Figured out a way to fix this mess?"

"You know I have not," the sister sighed. "Why come now? You left me along throughout the night, so why appear now?"

"You are the Counselor," Amanda laughed. "You tell me. Maybe it's just because you felt lonely or you are seeking a way to get out of this. Let's face it, this is your first official stint as an Ambassador, and it is certainly not as glamorous as you might have hoped it to be. No grand banquet or fancy state dinner. You are heading into a room with people who are bent on ripping each other to shreds. Even if you do manage to get them to talk and realize that they are being played for fools, nothing will change unless the other team gets their hands on the Lokustaar agent. You guys are fighting an Intel war on two separate fronts in the hopes of stopping a civil war from starting."

"Do you truly think I do not know that?" Adriana snapped, her being tired making it impossible for her to think clearly. "I am trying to prove myself worthy of the honor Xana has given me, and I am not just talking about her officially making me a Junior Ambassador but also for protecting me when she could have just left me to rot in the brig."

"Yeah," Amanda chuckled. "Wanting to leave the person who saved your life to rot in jail is the usual reaction."

"That is not what I meant," Adriana fired back. "She could have looked at me and decided that I was too impulsive, too emotional, too undisciplined. All I wanted was to get her help in finding you and I was ready to sacrifice my career to accomplish that because I knew that her resources would go a long way. I knew that if I asked Shar'El of the Captain they might agree to help, but I was just a small, insignificant part of this crew. By saving Xana's life, I would make sure that she owed me a debt and that way I could rest knowing that someone was truly pulling out all of the stops to find you."

The Junior Ambassador paused and just stared at her sister for several seconds as the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. her back was to the door to her office but somehow she knew that someone had walked in during her conversation with her sister. That meant that whoever that person was had been given a front-row seat to the madness that was hers.  

Scared to discover who the person was, Adriana slowly turned to face the doorway, half hoping that she was imagining the presence of someone there. After seeing and hearing her missing sister, having to deal with another imaginary presence would not be all that strange. That possibility was quickly dismissed when the Junior Ambassador's eyes fell onto the azure tones of the Bolian/Human woman standing there, looking back at her with more than a hint of confusion and concern.

"Xana... I can explain."

"There is no need."

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M15-P014: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34023: 0840 ("Vengeance")
“Vengeance”
[Previous post: (ANU) "Counseling The Junior Ambassador" & (BAS) "Patient vs Patience"]

=/\=
The song is ended, but the melody lingers on
-Irving Berlin

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor Lopez' Office  
Stardate: 34023.0840

Xana watched Adriana, the Counselor’s dark eyes wide and unsure.  The Ambassador moved across the room and sat down on a chair in front of a console.  She typed something into the console as she said, “It’s hard.  I think even though we think we understand grief, we don’t allow for it.”  Pausing as she looked up she said, “Not really.”

Adriana just looked at the Ambassador.  “What do you know?” she asked, her voice wavering between defiance and curiosity.  

“It’s interesting.  Twins begin their identity in the womb.  Doesn’t matter if they’re identical or fraternal, it begins there.  And when the loss occurs there are the natural steps,” Xana said naturally.  

“I know what the steps of grief are,” Adriana grounded out.  Ticking them off she said, “Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance; the stages are not linear nor progressive.”  Pacing she said, “The Kubler-Ross theory is centuries old, and has been built upon, tore down, and expanded upon in more ways than I can count.  Furthermore, Kubler-Ross wrote it as a way to help people understand how people understood the dying, not grief.”  Giving a pointed look to the Ambassador she said, “Know anything about that?”

The azure woman crossed her legs, appearing to be studying the Counselor.  “You know I do.”  Pausing the Ambassador thought through her next words, “After the initial shock, there’s a sense of vengeance after a loss of twin….it never leaves.  There are lots of reasons, from the cliche of having to live for two lives in one to the sense of survival to that ever presence echo in your soul...whatever the reason or reasons, that vengeance will be there.”  Standing up she walked over to the Counselor.  “But that vengeance can either drive you or kill you.  Only you can decide what to do with it.”

“I can’t control it,” Adriana snapped.  

Xana shook her head.  “I don’t believe that and I don’t think you do either.”  Touching Adriana’s arm she said, “If that were true, then Amanda’s image wouldn’t come to you when you were upset, she wouldn’t goad you when you were contemplating something.  She’d come to you at other times too.  That she *only* comes to you then means you are controlling it.”

There was a long pause before Adriana wrenched herself away.  “You don’t understand.”

The azure woman just looked at the Counselor before saying softly.  “If you say so.”  Without further word, she turned and walked out of the office.  

Adriana exhaled and collapsed on the couch, rubbing her brow.  After some time, she had a thought to get something to drink, perhaps find someone to see if they wanted something to drink or eat too...and only then did it occur to her to turn off everything in her office.  

Walking over to her console did Adriana see what the Ambassador had brought up on her screen.  Sitting down, the Counselor studied the two pictures.  It didn’t take a huge leap to figure out these were family pictures, but unlike the previous pictures Adrianna had seen these were of Ambassador with (what Adriana guessed) her siblings.  The first picture, judging from the age of it, Xana was young, perhaps just before a teenager with a twin sister, a younger brother, and much younger sister.  All four siblings were smiling, and judging from the location, Adriana guessed it to be on EARTH.

“Oh no,” Adriana murmured as she scanned down to the next picture.  

As the next picture was several years later judging from how much older everyone was but there were only 3 siblings: Xana with her brother and the much younger sister...but her twin sister was gone.  

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34023.1100

Xana stood at the large windows, staring at the stars, when she heard the doors open.

“Ambassador.”  

It probably was the height of rudeness but she didn’t turn around right away.  She held her tea, desperately wishing for something stronger, as she greedily stared at the stars.  “You know, before Adriana bargained for my life, I had the realization that I missed the view.”  Turning around she addressed the person in the room, “Captain Morningstar.”

The Captain looked at the Ambassador questioningly.  “You asked for a meeting to discuss the view?”

Xana smiled at that.  “I wish,” she said.  Pausing she weighed her words.  “You’ve had enough time to review my record--”

“You’re record for Ambassador stands for itself--”

“Before that.”

There was a weighted silence in the Observation Lounge for the space of several minutes as the Ambassador and the Commanding Officer took measures of each other.  “You’re still here,” Erik Morningstar said finally breaking the tense silence.  

“I’m worried about someone on the crew,” Xana said quietly.

Erik studied the Ambassador.  Why was she being cagey?  “If you have a concern then bring it to--”

“I’m bringing it to you for a reason,” the Ambassador pointed out.  “Watch them.”  Walking over to stare at him she said, “Just watch.  You know better than I, there’s been a lot of stress.  It would break even the strongest person.”

“Regulations are clear here, either they can handle it or they can’t.  If they can’t, then they are removed from duty,” Morningstar pointed out.

Xana smiled wanly at that.  “Regulations are the only thing that are black and white; the rest of the universe operates in the gray.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M15-P015: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 34023.1120 ("A Universe of Uncertainty")
##########
"A Universe of Uncertainty"
Previous posts (ANU) "Vengeance" / (BAS) "Patient vs Patience"
##########

"Part of being a captain is knowing when to smile, make the troops happy even when it's the last thing in the world you want to do. Because they're your troops and you have to take care of them."
- Captain Benjamin Sisko

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34023.1120

“Regulations are the only thing that are black and white; the rest of the universe operates in the gray.”

The Native American Captain smiled as he joined the Bolian/Human Ambassador in her admiration of the starscape beyond the windows of the Observation Lounge. Erik knew all too well that Xana was right and that without him taking into account the specific field in which the ANUBIS and its crew operated in. Absolutes were not a part of life and even less so in the world of Intel. A life-long adversary could become an ally overnight, just as much as a trusted friend could turn into an unmatched enemy. Nothing about any of what they did was certain with maybe one single exception -- uncertainty.

Thinking back to recent events, Erik could easily see how everything fell under this banner. The way the situation with the clone of Lt. Jayson Stark, the subsequent undercover mission undertaken by their Chief of Security Lt. Ya'Han. The journey to OLTHAR PRIME and the battle in the underground ruins. No one could have predicted how any of this came to pass, just as no one could have imagined the way the lives of the Ship's Counsellor and Ambassador would be forever changed following what transpired on the planet.

Refocusing his thoughts on the warning he had just been given by Xana, Erik considered the uncertainties that laid before them. The mission to ELAS was uncertainty-given-form as there was no way to even begin to predict how things would unfold, especially when taking into consideration that the situation was being manipulated by an agent of the Lokustaar. Was this what the Ambassador was referring to when she offered her cryptic warning or was there something else? Was the azure-skinned woman's concern a general one or was it more specific, targetting one member of the crew above everyone else?

The Native American was about to ask, in a diplomatic manner, for some clarification when the voice of of the First Officer was heard =/\= Commander Shar'El to Captain Morningstar. You are needed on the bridge. =/\=

"That does not sound good," Xana pointed out.

"It never is," Erik agreed. Whatever discussion the Captain and Ambassador were in the middle of would have to wait.

=====
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34023.1135

"Report," the Native American ordered as he stepped onto the command deck closely followed by the Ambassador.

"We have two Elasian destroyer-class vessels heading our way on an intercept course," Ya'Han reported. Erik was happy to see her back at her station but this was not the time to make that sentiment known.

"They are refusing to identify themselves or state the reason for their rapid approach," Jayson added.

=/\= Captain, I recommend that we do not take any chances. They might have been sent to escort us to ELAS but they could also have been sent to stop us from reaching the planet. There is no way for us to be 100% certain at this time, =/\= Shar'El said. Despite the First Officer not being on the bridge, the woman was more than involved with what was happening, partially thanks to her access to the resources of the IGC.

"Even with two ships, they are no match for the ANUBIS," Ya'Han pointed out. "We do not even need to deploy the ablative armour to ward off their main weapons."

"Captain," Xana interjected. "I should not need to remind you that we are here on an official diplomatic mission. Any action we take here could have negative repercussions on what we have been sent here to do."

"You are right, you do not need to remind me," Erik sad shooting a quick glare back at the Ambassador before returning his focus to the main view screen. "I am pretty certain that this is exactly the reason why they have been sent on this suicide mission. Whoever is behind this is expecting us to see those ships as a threatening move that will force us to act accordingly. Even if our actions are purely defensive, we will be portrayed as being the ones who used excessive force. How long before they are in firing range?"

"Based on what we know about this class of ship, optimal firing resolution will be in 45 seconds," the Chief of Security reported. "They could fire within the next 25 seconds, but the odds of them hitting us would be insignificant.

=/\= Captain, =/\= Shar'El jumped in. =/\= The Elasians are aware that a Federation vessel is being sent with a diplomatic team on board, but they do not know the ship or its tactical capabilities. =/\=

"Revealing any of our strengths is going to weaken our position later on," the Native American said thinking aloud. "We need to get out of this without tipping our hand. Helm, turn us around," Erik ordered before tapping his communicator. "Morningstar to Paquette, I need emergency warp speed in 5 seconds."

=/\= WHAT?!? =/\= Sonja blasted. =/\= Are you out of your cotton-picking mind? What do you think I am? A miracle worker? =/\=

"Sonja!" The Captain sighed making it clear that he was not in the mood for one of her flamboyant displays.

=/\= All right, just for the record, you certainly know how to take the fun out of this. Emergency warp speed at your disposal now. =/\=

"Lt. Stark, as soon as at the edge of sensor range of those Elasian destroyers, launch a Mark IV decoy probe. Let them think that we are heading back the way we came. Lt. Ya'Han, as soon as the probe is launched, engage the ablative amour. Once that is done, we will drop out of warp and wait to see what they do next," the Native American finally made his way to his chair and sat down. "Bridge to Commander Maya, I need you to perform a complete passive sensor scan of those ships. I want o know everything we can about them without giving any signs of our location and activities."

=/\= As you wish Captain, =/\= Maya replied.

=/\= The IGC will monitor all communications to and from those vessels, =/\= Shar'El added. =/\= The moment they believe we have withdrawn, someone is bound to brag about their victory, however fake it will be. =/\=

"Ambassador," Erik continued as he turned to look at the Bolian/Human woman who had not moved from where she had stopped following her exit of the Observation Lounge. "I suggest that you and Counsellor Lopez use this to get some information from the factions. Although I am sure that both will act very surprised at our *withdraw*, one of them should be hiding a certain level of joy if not relief. We need to know which side and this will likely identify who sent these destroyers our way."

"There is always the possibility that neither one of them did this," Xana pointed out. "Our sudden withdraw could be used by each side to blame the other for derailing the peace talks before they even started. Are you sure you want to *tip our hand* in this fashion?"

"They are going to learn about this one way or the other," the Captain noted. "I would prefer if we could manage to get some Intel out of this if at all possible."

"Very well," the Ambassador sighed, clearly not liking this part of the plan.

With Xana heading to the turbolift, the Captain tapped his communicator once again. "Bridge to Doctor Bruxa, I need to see you in my Reay Room as soon as possible. We may require your skills."

=/\= Ah... All right, =/\= Satella said, not at all certain as to what this was all about.

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA (currently on OLTHAR PRIME with his fiancée)
M15-P016: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34023.1200 ("Rapid Modifications")
=-=
"Rapid Modifications"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Digging Up Dirt" / (BAS) "Far-Reaching Implications"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34023.1200

As per the Captain's request, Satella walked into the Commanding Officer's Ready Room. The man was sitting at his desk, a pensive expression on his face.  "You wanted to see me, Captain? Is everything alright? Are you feeling ill?" The question made sense, at least to the CMO. The ANUBIS was not under attack and no injury report was made Sickbay. Morningstar being unwell was the only explanation she could come up with to justify why she was here.

"Everything is fine, Doctor," the Captain replied. "I needed you here for your expertise?"

Satella jerked back with surprise. "My expertise?" Epidemiology was her major at the Academy while Alien Biology was her minor. Had Shar'El discovered something new about the Elaisnas and their tinkering with bioweapons? Her additional training in Experimental Treatments and Genetics might be considered as expertise. One thing was for certain, her being able to play the violin was not what this was about.

The Captain's explanation was delayed by the sound of the door hissing open. It was the First Officer who walked in, surprised to see the Doctor standing there. Satella, on the other hand, accepted the woman's presence as proof of what she suspected. Something changed and it would likely not be good for the CMO of the ANUBIS.

The Captain turned his attenion to his First Officer. "What is our status with those Elasian Destroyers?"

Keeping an eye on Bruxa, Shar'El gave Morningstar a verbal report. "They took the bait. Both ships are following the decoy we sent. According to the pattern of their sensor sweeps, they have no idea as to our position.  Commander Maya is still analyzing the data gathered from our sensor scans as the ships flew by us." With that said, she turned to look at the Captain straight on. "Are you alright? Are you feeling ill?"

Erik shook his head. "Alright, point taken. I will need to have the Doctor report to my Ready Room more often. Even if only to say hello. She is actually here for you Commander." The two women turned and looked at each other, trying to figure out what this was all about. Morningstar took the opportunity to continue and explain his reasoning for bringing them here. "It is evident that someone is doing everything they can to sabotage the peace talks. This means that both our primary and secondary missions will be made that much more difficult. We need to position ourselves in the best possible way. That way we will be able to protect the diplomatic team and get our hands on the Lokustaar operative."

"You already wanted me and the rest of the retrieval team to beam down as Elasians. That way I would be able to scan the memories of the faction leaders before rejoining the team. What changed?" Shar'El was a little puzzled.

"The fact that those Destroyers were sent to stop us from reaching ELAS. Someone down there is worried and I intend to use this to our advantage."

"I was afraid of that," Shar'El sighed as she turned to Satella. "How quickly can you change my appearance to be like that of an Elasian?"

The CMO was actually taken aback by the question. Both the Captain and First Officer were operating on a level that she was not accustomed to. After regaining her mental footing, Satella offered an answer. "It should take an hour, maybe a little less if there are no complications."

"My guess is that those Destroyers are not going to be pursuing the decoy forever. Once they are confident enough that we are not changing course, they will set course back to ELAS. We need to be ready before then as it will be our goal to beam me on board one of those ships." Shar'El paused as she turned back to look at Erik. "Half hour, tops?"

"If we are lucky," the Captain said.

"Alright," the First Officer said turning back to look at the CMO before taking hold of her arm. "Come on Doctor. You have a lot of work to do and little time to do it in." With no other choice, if she wanted to keep her arm attached, Satella followed.  

=-=
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]
M15-P017: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34023. 1220 ("The Biscotti Talks")
=/\=
“The Biscotti Talks”
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Rapid Modifications” / (BAS) "Patient vs Patience"]

=/\=
Look and see which way the wind blows before you commit yourself.
-Aesop’s Fables


=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 34023.1220

Often they met in the Counselor’s Office to discuss Diplomatic measures but as Adriana wandered into the Black Hole Lounge she wasn’t sure what to expect.  Her last discussion with the Ambassador had been exhausting; and the Junior Ambassador wasn’t sure if she wanted to have another conversation again so soon. 

Lopez walked into the Black Hole Lounge and started looking around at the tables, both lower and upper levels, for the Ambassador.  After several, if unfruitful, minutes of that she was about to question the computer if the Bolian/Terran woman was really here when something caught her eye.  Walking across the room, as she got closer the smell was what next hit the woman; a combination of citrus zest and something rich and deeply aromatic.  Finally, she made her way to the bar, where behind the counter where food was prepared she saw...the Ambassador baking.

“Oh hello, Adrianna,” Xana said.  As she moved around behind the counter, the other woman noted the change in appearance from earlier.  Gone were any robes, or accouterments indicating that there was any kind of formal discussions here.  Xana had her white hair pulled back into a haphazard ponytail and was dressed informally in a pair of black yoga slacks and tunic.  As she held a triangular bag with a metal pipe, melted chocolate with orange zest came out to be layered upon each log on the counter.  “I apologize for the change in venue, but after my time on the Bridge, I needed to think.  And I do my best thinking when I’m baking.  I figured I was close to being done when we had to meet so hence the change in venue.”

Looking over at the counter at the Adriana looked at Xana who went back to intently dippling each baked good into a bowl of chocolate and orange so each was ½ way covered with chocolate and the other ½ was still a dry baked good.  “What is that?”

“Biscotti,”  and asked.  “It’s an Italian, twice baked biscuit.  Typically it’s dipped in a drink.”

Adrianna looked over in interest.  “What was the reason for the chocolate?”

Xana stopped dipping each biscotti nicely half-way and instead dropped the last biscotti entirely in the bowl so it was “dunked”.  “I need a reason for chocolate?”  The dismay was apparent in her voice as she looked at the other woman.  

Taking pity on the older woman, Adriana smiled.  “No, I suppose not.” 

Sighing in relief, Xana looked at the damage.  “We have food, I have a drink, if you want one--”

“I got it,” Adriana replied.  Eager to get herself back on track she said, “And I’ve read the report from the Bridge.”

Xana cleaned up biscotti crumbs as she said, “Adriana...I’m going to say something.  And I’m probably going to say it badly.”  Pausing she searched for the right words before trying, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life.  I know the typical cliche is that the mistake you regret is the most is the one you didn’t take.  I don’t know about that.  But the mistakes I regret the most are the ones where I’ve hurt people...and that’s almost always because I didn’t give myself time. Time to heal from whatever I had, because I pushed myself.  Now you’re not me, you’re you but...serving the Federation whether its in the Fleet or as an Ambassador, always means you’re being pushed, unless you have enough recognition to say: ‘I need a break now’.”  

Adriana thought about that as she helped stacked the biscotti on the plate.  “A briefing...some analysis ...this is not what pushes me.”  When Xana looked worried the Junior Ambassador looked back steadily.  “I know what my trigger points are, for lack of a better term.”

The azure woman thought about that as she walked around the bar, balancing her tea and biscotti, momentarily marveling that not that long ago this would have been a herculean task.  And if it hadn’t been for Adriana, Xana would not would have been able to do this; which made the Ambassador wonder if that was her impetus for wanting to protect her.  Sighing to herself, she tried to make a mental note to come back to that train of thought as she acknowledged she had to trust Adriana’s analysis that she could handle the next steps.  Finding a table out of the way, she sat down and waited for the other woman to join her.  “So you got the report from the bridge, what do you think?”

Adriana twirled the biscotti above her own warm beverage.  “Daanold does concern me,” she admitted.  Thinking about it she swayed in her seat, “But perhaps that is what we have been told.  What we were led to believe.”

“You think he’s fluffy and kind,” Xana asked, slightly amused as she dipped her biscotti in her cappuccino before enjoying the treat, remembering well the last conversation she and Adriana had on Daanold.  

A snort of derision escaped the Junior Ambassador before she became serious.  “No he’s not.  But it would be rather convenient for us to focus all our attention on Daanold wouldn’t it?”  Suddenly Adriana became thoughtful, “It helps Puunce doesn’t it?  We focus on Daanold who appear to be the apparent immediate threat--”

“--and it clears the way for someone else to take over the board.  Puunce is resourceful, and didn’t strike me as the type of person who would be opposed to using tactics not approved by those advocating for the ELIAS peace talks,” Xana finished off as she agreed.  Thinking it through, she asked, “Wasn’t there someone else in the report?”

Adriana looked thoughtful.  “Lots of people.  You’re going to have to narrow it down.”

The Bolian/Human woman munched on her biscotti as she rearranged items on the table.  On one side she placed her own steaming mug, on the other side was Adriana’s mug, in the middle was the large plate.  Pointing to Adriana’s mug she said, “That’s Daanold and his faction.”  Pointing to her own mug she said, “That’s Puunce and his faction.”  Pointing to the middle she asked, “Who was left?”

“Assuming this is not to scale,” Adriana said. “I believe you’re referring to what was in the report as “Other interests”.  Jeruun and Anshaa are high profile traders are two to start.”  Tilting her head to the side as she picked up a biscotti she asked, “Why?”

Xana shook her head, as if trying to physically unlodge a prickly memory.  “Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 34: War Is Good For Business.”  Sighing she said, “I have the feeling that it’s not only the Ferengi who think war is good for business.”

“You know we’re not seeing the Ferengi,” Adriana pointed out.  “And there’s Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 35: Peace Is Good For Business.”  Looking at Xana’s face she asked, “You’re not buying that is the case here? A third outreach is what you’re thinking?”

“It’s taking initiative,” Xana said.  Pointing to each of the mugs and the plate of biscotti she said, “Ok, so who do you want to start with?  I figured we’re each going to have to start reaching out to the groups.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M15-P018: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34023.1245 ("Reaching Out")
-=-=-
"Reaching Out"
[Previous post: (ANU) "The Biscotti Talks" & (BAS) "The OGRAAM"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge  
Stardate: 34023.1245

Adriana studied the cup in her hand thinking back to the exercise Xana and her had just went through. The situation on ELAS was complex and filled with pitfalls, but the Ambassador was right, they needed to take the initiative. Someone on that world wanted the peace talks to fail and see the planet plunged into the chaos and destruction of a civil war. The odds were good that the dark, unseen forces behind the scenes that were manipulating things were the same ones as those who caused the rapid increase in friction back on EARTH leading to the destruction of Paris. This also meant that it would be nearly impossible to clearly identify those responsibly. The solution needed to come from within, and given the respective mindset of the faction leaders, this would be a challenge all onto itself.

"The choice is simple," the Junior Ambassador said, bringing her cup up as if it held the answer to their dilemma. "As War Master of the Elasian military, Daanold is the one we need to reach out to first. As much as Puunce is the leader of the 'Dark Order', he is a subordinate, following the War Master's lead, so contacting him first could create friction hat we are trying our best to avoid. Also, Daanold's reaction to our reaching out to him should provide us with the answer we need about those Elasian destroyers that came after us."

"Are you sure?" Xana asked. "What about his daughter Evaanku? She is the leader of the Nationalist Puritans and the most vocal force to see ELAS cut all ties to all aliens."

"The faction, as well as its leader, are nothing more than a public front, a more acceptable and pleasing image to rally the public's support. Daanold knew that he would face a stronger opposition if it was him leading the charge, some likely accusing him of trying to mount a coup. This way, his daughter gets to be in the spotlight while he controls the military situation from the shadows," Adriana said. "I am sure that the War Master will sooner rather than later direct us to speak to his daughter in order to maintain his political distance from her and her faction, but he real power on that side of the debate is his."

"Could Jeruun and Anshaa see us reaching out to Daanold first as us taking sides in this conflict?" The Ambassador tried her best to come across as genuinely concerned, but as a Counselor, Adriana easily picked up on what was happening here. Xana was testing her Junior Ambassador making certain that the decision was sound and well thought through.

"Both Jeruun and Anshaa are experienced traders, that means they understand the need to properly set the scene in order to avoid problems and misunderstanding," Adriana explained. "It is unlikely that they will see us as taking sides because we reached out to Daanold first, but that is as long as we do not try to hide this from them. There is no need for us to inform the War Master that we are starting the peace talks from a distance, but it would be unwise for us to keep this information a secret from the other two as that could make them much less likely to trust us."

"Alright," Xana said with a smile. That the explanation was right or wrong, the Ambassador seemed to agree with it, at least enough to see them go back to a better-suited location in order to make the dreaded call.

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor Lopez's Office  
Stardate: 34023.1300

As soon as the two Ambassadors entered the room, the Bolian/Human woman headed for the nearest communication terminal and activated it.

[/\] Yes Counselor, [/\] Jayson Stark said, not having actually looked at the image on his end of the communication channel before speaking. [/\] Sorry Ambassador, I just assumed based on where the signal was coming from. [/\]

"No need to apologize, Lieutenant," Xana said, the tone of her voice hinting that things might not be so easy. "What you could do is to establish a secured communication channel to ELAS. Junior Ambassador Lopez and I need to speak to War master Daanold."

[/\] Is that all? [/\] Jayson said, meeting the woman's casual tone with one of stunned disbelief. [/\] I strongly doubt that the man is that easily reached. [/\]

"If you are unable to do this, I am sure that Commander Shar'El or Lt. Commander Paquette will be able to find a way to get the War Master on the other end of a channel," Adriana said without actually walking in the frame of the visual communication between her office and the bridge.

[/\] I will see what I can do. Bridge out. [/\]

Xana turned to look at Adriana, both woman sharing a quick understated smile between them. "Impressive," the azure-skinned woman said. "That was a nice little way to flex your Ambassadorial muscles."

"Not really," Adriana chuckled. "That was more along the lines of a Ship's Counselor using the information they possessed on a member of the crew. "Jayson is always struggling to prove himself, and he dislikes the way Sonja always picks on him. So I knew that by using their names, it would motivate him to find a way to accomplish what we needed instead of finding excuses to justify what he believed to be impossible."

"I still think it was impressive, even if not for the same reasons." The friendly discussion between the two women ended when the small screen came alive once again, this time showing the face of the Elasian War Master Daanold.

[/\] I was told that this was important, [/\] the man said. It was easy to see by the expression and scars on his face that the War Master was not the type of individual who just sat behind a desk all day. He was a man of action, a man who did not like having his time wasted. Therefore, knowing this both Xana and Adriana jumped into action.

"War Master Daanold, my name if Xana Bonviva, Federation Ambassador on our way to ELAS to help you and your people resolve the mounting friction that is threatening to rip your world and people apart." The introduction was short, sweet and did not offer any sort of apologies, experience having taught the Bolian that this would only weaken their position in the eyes of the Elasian Military Leader.

[/\] Yes, we were informed of your coming, [/\] the War Master said, not sounding overly impressed or enthusiastic. [/\] We have already assured the Federation that you and your vessel would be safe for the duration of your diplomatic mission to ELAS, so I see no reason why you are contacting me like this. [/\]

Xana and Adriana shared a quick glance. The man did not give any indications that he was surprised by the call, but his annoyance was genuine.

"We simply wanted to extend our gratitude for the Destroyer escort that was sent to meet us," Adriana said. There was no real way to see if the War Master had been involved with this other than to confront him straight on about the situation, but there was a way to do this that would minimize any potential problem.

Daanold's eyes narrowed ever so slightly before he spoke again. [/\] I look forward to speaking with in person when you arrive. In the meantime, I have pressing matters that require my immediate attention. [/\] With hat said the channel was closed leaving the two Ambassadors to analyze what had just happened.

"He was not the one who sent those Destroyers," Adriana said with a sigh.

"It was highly unlikely that he would have been the one to do it. This way he could claim to be unaware of it, but you are right, his reaction was not one of concealment but of displeasure. Someone went over his head and he is not happy about it," Xana said before turning back to the small communication monitor. "Now we have to contact Jeruun and Anshaa and see how they react to this."

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M15-P019: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34023.1245 ("Jumping Ship")
=-=
"Jumping Ship"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Reaching Out" by Marissa / (BAS) "The OGRAAM" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34023.1300

Shar'El studied the reflection in the mirror that was not her own. The similarities were unmistakable but the woman looking back at the ExO / ILO was not Ullian nor Terran but clearly Elasian. Her hair was still as black as night but instead of being straight the flowing hair was now in long, tight curls. The shape of her eyes was slightly different but she could still acknowledge the person hiding behind the black pupils as someone she recognized.

"Excellent work Doctor," Shar'El said while her fingers traced the contour of her new face.

"It would have been a lot harder had you still been sporting your initial features," the CMO explained. "The cosmetic surgery performed on you to make you appear more Human made things a great deal easier for me, not that your Ullian features would have made things worse, just a lot more time-consuming."

The ExO / ILO diligently scrutinized the reflection, trying as best as she could to recall the woman that was once looking back so many years ago. The faces of those she had seen the more private and personal memories of were the only ones she could bring up, her own former appearance remaining beyond her reach. As troubling as this realization was, the ExO / ILO could not let this distract her from the mission she was about to embark on. "Thank you, Doctor," Shar'El said as she forced herself to look away from the reflective surface. "I believe it is time for me to head to the transporter room."

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room 2
Stardate: 34023.1330

The Elasian woman dressed in a standard military uniform stood on the other side of the transporter control station waiting for a report from the bridge. In theory, Shar'El could have returned to the IGC and coordinate the beaming efforts but doing a sight-to-sight transport from the IGC to the transporter room only to be beamed onto one of the Elasian Destroyers did seemed to be problematic. It was best to keep things simple even if it went against the nature of the ExO / ILO.

=/\= Bridge to Commander Shar'El, we have one of the Elasian Destroyers heading back this way, =/\= the Chief of Operations reported. =/\= What is strange is that they are now broadcasting a message on all open frequencies. It seems that they are here to escort us to ELAS. It has to be some sort of a trap, =/\= Jayson added. =/\= If this is what they wanted to do from the start, why wait until now to make such an announcement? =/\=

"There might be another reason," Shar'El sighed as she reached for the communications controls on the transporter station. "Shar'El to Ambassador Bonviva. Were you able to get a hold of War Master Daanold?"

=/\= We did, =/\= Xana confirmed. =/\= Is that a problem? =/\=

"No, not really," the ExO / ILO replied. 'We just have one of the Destroyers heading back this way announcing on all open channels that they are here to escort us to ELAS."

=/\= The War Master did seem rather surprised when we thanked him for sending those ships, =/\= the Bolian/Human Ambassador said. =/\= My guess is that one of his 'pressing matters' he referred to at the end of our conversation was to contact those ships and clarify or counter the orders they were given. =/\=

"Could also be his way to bring himself above suspicion," the surgically altered woman added. "Either way, it changes nothing to the Captain's plan. I will be beaming over and see what I can find out. It should be easy enough to scan the memories of one of the command-level officers to see where the order to intercept us came from."

=/\= Commander, I would like to officially state my objection to this course of action. Should you be found out, it would undermine any diplomatic effort to resolve this situation. =/\=

"Ambassador," Shar'El sighed. "I understand where you are coming from, but you have to remember that your diplomatic mission to ELAS is only half of the reason why we are here. Whatever peace you and Lopez might manage to usher would be short-lived if the Lokustaar operative is not found and removed from that world.  For this mission to succeed, we need to win on *both* fronts, not just one. Also, any information I am able to gather could prove highly useful to you and your Junior Ambassador as it could provide you with a negotiating edge that you would otherwise not have."

=/\= I agree, =/\= Xana stated in a nonchalant manner. =/\= I just needed to make it official that as the Diplomatic Officer on board this ship, I have to oppose your chosen course of action. =/\=

"So noted Ambassador, so noted," and with that said the ExO / ILO closed the channel. "Can you get me onto that Destroyer in an area where I will not be seen, preferably a moving turbolift?" the Elasian military officer asked of the Transporter Chief.

"He can't," Sonja said as she walked into the room, "but I can." Shar'El smiled as she watched the red-haired woman hip-bump the Transporter Chief out of her way. The Chief Engineer would have made a wonderful Intel Operative, but it would likely have been a waste of her knowledge and expertise. Being onboard the ANUBIS and in charge of all of its state-of-the-art gadgets was where the woman belonged. "If you would be so kind as to step onto the transporter platform, I will take care of sending you over without anyone being the wiser."

"Thank you Sonja," the ExO / ILO said before turning to make her way up a couple of steps to the stated area.

"Sonja? How do you know me? I have no idea who you are. I am just here to get you off my ship and back onto that flying garbage tug the Elasians refer to as a Destroyer." The smile on the Chief Engineer's lips showed that she was kidding, but it also served to show that the surgical alterations performed by Doctor Bruxa were as convincing as they needed to be.  "Try to not have too much fun while you are over there," Sonja added. "I would hate to have to beam in after you and arrange for your extraction."

"So noted," the ExO / ILO smiled just before the transporter sequence was activated sending the Elasian military woman where she would not draw any sort of attention, or so they all hoped.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P020: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34023.1345 ("Tracking")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Tracking"
[previous post were (ANU) "Jumping Ship" / (BAS) "The OGRAAM"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34023.1345

"Transport completed," the Sec/Tac reported. "Shar'El is on the Elasian Destroyer and I am not picking up any signs that her arrival was detected.

"No reasons why they should," ANI said sounding almost smug about it. "We transmitted a computer file a split second before the Commander's beaming so that the internal sensors would recognize her as being a member of the crew. This also serves to make sure that she will have complete access to every section of the ship."

"The mechanical aspects were covered," Jayson reluctantly agreed. "The problem is the 'Human element', or I guess in this case I should say the 'Elasian element'. Fooling the computer into believing that the crew was always 'plus one' is one thing, but it will not be that easy to convince the crew. This is not a luxury star-liner; it's a military vessel where everyone knows everyone else."

"Do not underestimate Shar'El," Ya'Han said. "This is not her first undercover mission. The woman had been in worse situations, and she has skills that will make things a lot easier. She can scan someone's memories and use details there to help convince anyone that she was there with them, that they remember her being there or not.  Plus, I doubt that Shar'El is going to be doing a lot of socializing with the crew of the Elasian Destroyer, doing so is just not her style."

The red and black-haired Nylaan paused for a moment, thinking back to the times spent with Shar'El, usually in Sonja's quarters enjoying wine. On top of her engineering expertise, Paquette had quite a refined taste for fine wines, a beverage that always helped those present to unwind allowing them to be something other than a simple off-duty officer. Even while under the influence of the intoxicating liquid, the normally stoic woman remained pretty much the same. Yes, she would appear more relaxed and maybe even smile a little more often but as a whole, the raven-haired woman kept to herself, choosing observation over interaction.

"What is the status of the Elasian Destroyers?" The Captain's question drew the Sec/Tac out of her thoughts, which should have been on her duties and not memories.

A quick scan of the tactical station provided Ya'Han with all of the information she needed to answer the Captain's question. "The Ablative Armor is still making it impossible for them to detect us. According to their flight path and sensor sweeps, they are desperately looking for us while making their way back to ELAS."

"Ship's records will show that they were looking for us, but they are in no rush to find us," Jayson noted. "If they were, they would not be heading in the opposite direction they last saw us following."

"Ambassador Bonviva's little chat with War Master Daanold rattled things. If the Elasian was the one who dispatched those Destroyers, he is playing the innocent quite well, and if it was not him, someone is likely trying to avoid him at all costs. Either way, the ships have been recalled home," the Captain said.

"I think this is better," Ya'Han added. "I would much rather us doing the escorting than the other way around. At least this way we can keep control of the situation and investigate without anyone paying too close attention to what we are doing."

"Maybe so," Jayson countered. "The problem is that it is going to make it difficult for us to explain how the Ambassadors are suddenly going to appear on ELAS. The existence of the covert retrieval team not being known is part of the game, but Bonviva and Lopez need to make a more public entrance to avoid being seen as trying to do something underhanded."

"We will have to address that problem once we reach ELAS," the Captain said. "Whatever Intel Shar'El is able to gather on that Destroyer might very well dictate our course of action once we arrive. Worst case scenario will be for Ambassador Bonviva and Junior Ambassador Lopez to conduct the negotiations from a distance, maybe using holographic technology instead of them beaming down to the planet surface."

"The Ambassador is not going to like that," the Sec/Tac said. Ya'Han may not have known Xana as well as she might need to, but the Nylaan knew enough about the Bolian/Human hybrid to understand that she was the type of person who liked to be where the action was. In addition, remotely conducting any sort of peace negotiation was possibly the worst way to handle things as it displayed a lack of trust and commitment that was essential for people to even just start to acknowledge that they needed to be there to talk instead of anywhere else fighting.

A set of flashing indicator on the tactical display accompanied by an alarm drew the urgent attention of the Sec/Tac who immediately displayed a head of bright red hair.  "That does not sound good," the Captain said.

"Sensors are tracking four more Elasian Destroyers heading this way at maximum speed. Their weapons systems are fully powered," Ya'Han reported.

"I thought you said that they could no detect us," Jayson said, not understanding what was happening.

"They can't," the Sec/Tac confirmed. "They are not rushing in to confront us," Ya'Han added. "The flight path of the new Destroyers is putting them on a direct intercept course with the first Elasian Destroyers sent to meet us. By the looks of things, this new wave is under orders to engage the first group."

"How are we supposed to usher in peace when all they want to do is kill each other?" Jayson complained aloud.

"I think we have a bigger issue," the bright red-haired Nylaan said. "The destroyers nearest to us have raised their battle deflectors which is making it impossible for us to beam Shar'El back."

A shared sighed of frustration echoed through the command deck of the ANUBIS. Many options were available to them; they could engage the attacking Destroyers, easily dispatching them, or they could offer support to the first group by using the heavily armored shell to deflect the weapons fire. The problem was that in either case, the presence of the Federation vessel, as well as its cloaking capabilities, would be revealed to the Elasians, something that would most certainly weaken their position as well as hinder their chances to complete both of their missions.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M15-P021: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34023.1400 ("Who We Need You To Be")
“Who We Need You To Be”
[previous post were (ANU) "Tracking" / (BAS) "Healing The Healer"]

=/\=
I know that we can win
I know that greatness lies in you
But remember from here on in
History has its eyes on you

--From Hamilton’s “History Has Its Eyes On You”

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Counselor Lopez's Office 
Stardate: 34023.1400

“You didn’t think Commander Shar’El would really turn around did you?” Adriana asked.  

Xana drummed her fingers on the arm of her chair as she looked at the screen while reading.  “No,” she murmured.  “But sometimes you need to raise the point even if you know nothing will happen.”

The two women went back to sitting, waiting, swiping along the PADDs waiting to see how long it would be before they could contact their contacts again.  Suddenly the console went off began beeping and both women went for it to activate it.  Jayson Stark was on the other side.  

[/\] Hello.  We’ve gone from silence to being the most popular.  We’ve two communications for you -- we have Puunce waiting for you and also Jeruun. [/\]  

Xana ran a hand through her hair.  Puunce, the leader of one of the Dark Order faction, and Jeruun, business leader and leader of the Expensionists' on another line.  “I’m never the popular one at the party,” she snorted.  “One console and two calls.  Someone is bound to be pissed off if we keep them waiting.”

Adriana got up and looked around her office and the waiting area.  “Two,” she said.  Looking over she clarified.  “I have two.  One in here and one out there.”

The Bolian/Human woman thought quickly on that and nodded.  “Delay them for two minutes and then send one to the outer room, Jayson, and one to Adriana’s office.”

[/\] Delay them how? [/\] Jayson asked.

Xana threw up her hands at that.  “Sing them an aria.  Juggle.  Try a dramatic reading of Admiral Koniki’s autobiography--”

[/\] He does not have an autobiography, [/\] Jayson sighed.

“He does and much like the man himself, it’s boring and mean.  I even said that on my dust jacket review, read them that too,” Xana said.  “Go forth and stall, I have faith in you.  Bonviva out,” the Ambassador said.  Quickly turning to Adriana she said, “We need to get info out of Puunce and Jeruun.”

“This could be coordinated if they’re calling together,” Adriana said.

Moving to the outer room, Xana nodded.  “Could be.  Still doesn’t mean we can’t use this.”  

As the Ambassador sat down on the sofa, she made sure she could still see Adriana out of the corner of her eye.  Taking a deep breath, she checked that her white robes were on straight she looked at the console and tapped it.  Slowly the image changed from the Federation symbol to that of an Elasian male.

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, CO’s Ready Room
Stardate: 34023.1430

“So neither party said that they were responsible for the destroyers?” Captain Morningstar said, clearly not happy.

Ambassador Bonviva, on the other side of the desk pointed out.  “Well I didn’t think they were going to go ‘Whoops you got me,’.  I think that would be a bit optimistic.”   At CO’s look she shrugged, “Nice, yes, but not terribly realistic outcome.”

“So what was your 'realistic' outcome,” Morningstar asked, clearly not happy with the Diplomatic team.

“We do have commitment from Puunce that he’ll meet us and will show us around his operations on ELAS as a sign of good faith.  He also extended an invitation to anyone we want from the ANUBIS,” Bonviva said.  Leaning in she said, “I think he’s going overboard to out-do Daanold.  If we’re smart, we could use this to our advantage.”

“This is not a field trip,” Morningstar replied.  Thinking about it he said, “Still it’s an unprecedented opportunity.  We need to be careful.”

“I agree,” Xana nodded.  

The Captain nodded then turned to Adriana.  “How was your conversation?”

“Business is neutral, officially, on the talks,” she said.  

“To be expected,” Captain replied.  Looking at the CNS/Junior Ambassador he asked, “Is there something else?”

Adriana hesitated for a moment.  “I said this to the Ambassador too, but I got the feeling that Jeruun is holding back.  Not just waiting to see who comes out on top, but he’s got more of an interest in this than he’s saying.”

=/\=
Setting: ELASIAN DESTROYER, Corridor outside Engineering -> Engineering
Stardate: 34023.1435

Shar’El kept to herself as she made her way down the corridor.  She had not been here long, but so far no one had noticed her.  Obviously the longer she went without being noticed, the better it was for the ExO/ILO.  

“Where have you been?  You’re needed there,” an officer yelled at her.

Expertly hiding her surprise at being noticed, Shar’El gave a crisp nod and followed the officer.  Looking around she saw that she was being led to Engineering.  Inhaling slightly she followed the rough jerk of the head to see what console she was supposed to be at.  Moving to the 2nd console at the far side of the room, she had barely gotten there when an Elasian man came up next to her.  “Not here,” he said quietly.

Shar’El didn’t need to reach out much telepathically to sense that he was very nervous; troubled even.  “Where?” she asked quietly.

“Come,” he said.  Quietly he led her across Engineering to a different console, before walking away.  

Shar’El looked at him before looking at the screen.  At first it looked like normal schematics of the destroyer but suddenly the schematics shifted and a question popped up on screen:

ARE YOU WHO WE NEED YOU TO BE?

The question disappeared within a matter of moments and the schematics came back; without turning around, Shar’El felt around for the person who led her here.  He was gone.

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M15-P022: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34023.1440 ("Insider Intel")
=-=
"Insider Intel"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Who We Need You To Be" by Sarah / (BAS) "Healing The Healer" by moi]
=-=

Setting: Elysian Destroyer, Engineering
Stardate: 34023.1440

The undercover Ullian scanned the most recent memories of everyone in the room, searching for anything that might give her a clue as to the identity and whereabouts of the Elasian officer who ushered her to this station. Despite her best efforts though, the ExO / ILO was unable to find anything useful making Shar'El silently note to herself that whoever this person was, they would make a great Intel Operative if they did not already hold such a position.

Refocusing her attention to the engineering screen and the schematics displayed there, the ExO / ILO caught a glimpse of a small picture in the upper right corner of the screen. With a touch of her finger, Shar'El enlarged the image to discover that it was a tactical display, one that clearly showed the new Destroyers on an intercept course.  "This can't be good," the undercover officer whispered to herself just as the screen flashed the previous question once more. Clearly, someone was waiting for an answer, and the fact that the words were written in Terran English instead of Elasian, causing them to be dismissed as incomprehensible garbage should anyone else see this, it was clear that she was the one targetted by this question.

Shar'El gave the occupants of the room another quick telepathic scan before turning back and offering a single written word as her reply -- 'yes'. When the lights began to flicker soon after, the ExO / ILO believed that maybe the ship had been fired upon by one of the approaching Destroyer, but that quickly changed when someone took hold of her arm and pulled her into a secret passage hidden right next to the workstation.

The panel that suddenly opened closed just as quickly, trapping the undercover ExO / ILO in a small, dark corridor with another Elasian who quickly displayed his wide opened hands to show that they were unarmed. "Commander Shar'El I presume," the man said, looking at the woman's face with great interest as if trying to see beyond the expert work of Doctor Bruxa.

The Ullian narrowed her eyes in muted anger. Not only had she been made but also they knew who she was, and this did not sit well with the undercover officer. It was true that since her appointment to the ANUBIS her field operations had dwindled to near nothing, but Shar'El hoped that she was not that much out of practice to be so inept as what she was trained to do.  A quick scan of the man's memories somewhat softened her stance through the discovery of a name she recognized. "You know Tarken?"

"Yes," the Elasian man confirmed. "He sent us here. The moment he heard that the ANUBIS was heading to ELAS, he suspected that you would find your way onboard one of the Destroyers to gather Intel. We are not many, but enough to have a few people present on each of the ships. It also helped that he told us exactly what to look for."

As the Elasian said this, the memories of the man in question came to the surface allowing Shar'El to 'see' that what was being said was indeed the truth. Tarken, another operative working under the cloak of NEW ALEXANDRIA had been sent to ELAS a while ago to keep an eye on the political rumblings of that world. The reason why the two of them knew each other so well was that they spent a great deal of time together at the Academy before being both drafted by Admiral Koniki into his world of Intel. The two of them had stayed in contact as best they could over the years, but their respective missions made it impossible for them to do more than share a few written lines here and there. "You said he sent 'us'. Who is this 'us'?"

"Things on ELAS are not good," the man explained. "Since Evaanku began pushing the Nationalist Puritans' agenda, tensions have increased in the population. Some quickly sided with her but most simply feared her thanks to her father. As a War Master of the Elasian military, his name was quickly associated with the disappearance of those who openly voiced their objections to his daughter. No proofs were ever discovered to be able to point the finger at him, but those who might have been ready to speak up soon found themselves too scared to do so."

"How did Jeruun managed to avoid this fate?" Shar'El asked. The more the man spoke, and the more she scanned his memories of what he was talking about, the more the undercover officer knew that she could trust him to be a viable source of information. The fact that Tarken was their handler only made the task of trusting them that much easier as she did not doubt in the least his abilities to assess just how much worth a potential ally possessed.

"Jeruun was the leader of the Expansionists long before Evaanku came to be known to the public," the Elasian man said. "This made him too much of a public figure to be suddenly take out of the picture. There are also rumors that one of his trading partners, Anshaa, possesses some incriminating information on both Evaanku and Daanold. No one knows what this information is, but the fact that both father and daughter seem to be actively avoiding the woman supports this idea."

"According to the reports, neither the leader of the Elasian Nationalist Puritans nor the decorated War Master is the type of person to be scared of someone or something," Shar'El noted. "So for them to keep their distances from someone is quite telling. This will definitively be worth looking into."

"There is another reason why Tarken sent us here in the hopes of finding you," the Elasian man said. "He came across some Intel that made it clear someone in a position of influence is planning on using the ANUBIS and its crew to plunge ELAS into a civil war the likes of which has never been seen or imagined by my people. The conflict between opposing views is only the excuse being used to fuel the fire and heat tempers. In order for any peace talks to even have the chance to succeed, this individual must be removed from the equation."

"You wouldn't happen to have the name of this person by any chance?" the ExO / ILO asked, already knowing the answer but hoping that maybe she was wrong.

The Elasian man shook his head. "He could not even confirm that this person is Elasian or not. Whoever they are, they are as impossible to find as a shadow in a dark alley."

"Strange that you chose that way to describe this person," Shar'El half chuckled. "My crew and I have some experience in dealing with shadows, especially the type that does not want to be found and exposed.  Now, all we need is a way to get the ANUBIS to ELAS without our presence actually starting this war."

"I am not sure if that is going to be possible," the Elasian said. "From what I heard from the control room, there was another group of Destroyers sent, and this one is not looking for your ship but is instead targetting our ships. The war may start right here without any help from you. I am sure that the story will be spun to claim that your ship was somehow responsible, but I am afraid that it may be too late for you to do anything to stop this war from happening."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P023: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34023.1445 ("Unnerving Stillness")
=-=
"Unnerving Stillness"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Insider Intel" / (BAS) "Healing The Healer"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 34023.1445

Satella stood in the middle of Sickbay, alone. The medical staff was out getting ready for what might come to pass. The yellow flashing lights indicated that the situation had deteriorated but was still not a crisis. To be honest, the CMO doubted that it would go that far. It was unlikely that the Elasian Destroyers would breach the ANUBIS' defenses. Even if they combined their firepower, Dr. Bruxa was confident that the ship's external protective armor would hold. As sure as she was about this though, protocol dictated that her department stood at the ready, just in case. At the very least, it gave everyone in the medical department something to focus on instead of waiting to see what would happen next. Everyone with one glaring exception.

The primary role of Dr. Bruxa in such a situation was to be ready to coordinate and help with triage. It would also be her responsibility to address the medical needs of those most in need. Given what she knew of their current situation, Satella could not help wonder if there was not a better way. As a Doctor, she wholeheartedly believed in the idea of doing no harm. This belief often came under fire because of her chosen field of work. Dealing with the darkness of the universe often made it impossible to uphold her Hippocratic Oath to the idealistic visions imposed by her professors. Sometimes, it was necessary to inflict pain to a few in order to save many from suffering even more. Of course, Bruxa did this reluctantly but life in Starfleet was not about what one wanted to do. There was no escaping that life on board a starship was about what needed to be done.

What would happen if they fired first? Satella trusted Ya'Han and her expertise with the ship's weapons to limit the damage to an absolute minimum. The woman with the flowing red hair could easily target critical systems without actually destroying the ships. Would that not be a better outcome over waiting for the Elasians to attack each other and putting the ANUBIS right in the middle of this battle?

It would be better if they found a way to stop this conflict before it even started. That was part of the reason why the ANUBIS and its diplomatic team were sent here. Unlike the Doctor though, the Elasian faction leaders seemed more than willing to see this conflict spread as far and wide as they could manage it.  Thinking this, Satella found herself looking around Sickbay once again. Not so long ago, there would have been someone here with whom she could talk to. Not only did this help the physician in dealing with whatever situation was happening, but it also helped the CNS with her own issues. Sharing reassuring words between them meant that she was not dealing with the visions of her sister.  Now, Adriana was a Junior Ambassador, dealing with this particular situation firsthand.

Bruxa had to acknowledge the irony of this. In some ways, Adriana being where she was now was better than her being here in Sickbay. In her new role as a Junior Ambassador, she possessed the authority to stop all of this before people suffered. Despite this, Satella still wished that her friend was here keeping her company.

Knowing that thinking this way was counterproductive, Dr. Bruxa forced herself back to work. Internal sensors showed that all of the emergency teams were in place. Everyone was where they needed to be to provide a quick medical response should the need arise. Everything in Sickbay was equally ready, even if the department head was not. All that was left to do was to wait and see if Adriana and Xana would succeed with their diplomatic efforts. If those failed, it would be up to Ya'Han, Jayson and the other bridge officers to limit the damage. In the end, it would be up to the CMO and her teams to pick up the pieces if it went that far.

=-=
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]
M15-P024: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34023.1500 ("Waiting")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Waiting"
[previous post were (ANU) "Unnerving Stillness" / (BAS) "Why? Why Not?"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34023.1500

The situation was tense. The Elasian Destroyers sent to intercept the ANUBIS were on their way back home when the second group of ships confronted them head-on. Based on their formation and status of their weapons, the Sec/Tac was certain that the encounter would quickly escalate into a full-blown confrontation.  As bad as it sounded though, Ya'Han was not at all concerned for the safety of the ship or its crew.

While under the protection of the Cloaking Ablative Armor, the ANUBIS was as safe as could be for no other reason than none of the Destroyers could lock their sensors or weapons on them. Even if they did manage to get a lucky shot in against the Intel Cruiser, the strength of the protective shell was more than enough to ward off any possible damage. What worried the Sec/Tac though was that none of the Elasian Destroyers possessed this sort of defensive technology and Commander Shar'El was on board one of them. The possibility of her death following the ship she was on being damaged was all too real.

So it made sense that the ANUBIS stood at the ready to jump into the fight in order to protect the first set of Destroyers and the undercover officer on board. It would only take a single volley of their weapons to end this battle and save the first group of ships, but that would result in the official start of a civil war they were here to stop from happening. The record of how a smaller force defeated a larger one would soon be forgotten in the chaos that would follow and it was more than likely that no one would recall the specifics of how this all started. The Lokustaar and their agents did not care about how history took note of how things came to pass, all they cared about was to see war, destruction, and chaos be spread as far and wide as it could.

"What are they waiting for?" Jayson impatiently asked as he watched the two groups of ships facing one another on the main view screen. "If they were sent to start this war, why have they not done so already?"

"Maybe Ambassador Bonviva or Junior Ambassador Lopez had something to do with that?" The Sec/Tac offered as a possible explanation. "History often claims that it only takes one person to start a war, but the same can be said for the opposite. It only takes one person to stop a war, so maybe Xana and Adriana were able to reach that one person."

"I still say we should beam Commander Shar'El back," Jayson argued. "Once she is no longer in danger, we could easily disable all of the ships and let them limp their way back home. By the time they reach ELAS, we will have this whole situation resolved."

"It's not that easy," Ya'Han said, shooting a sideways glare at the man. "It's never that easy. As far as the Elasians are concerned, the ANUBIS left their system, so anyone could use the involvement by an unseen and unknown force to push the tension on that world to beyond the breaking point. If our presence is discovered, be it by an operative being discovered on board one of those destroyers or by this ship being detected, one side would surely try to claim that we are here to help the other in an effort to rally support. As much as we both want to see *something* happen, we have no other choice but to wait and see what happens next.  Shar'El, Xana, and Adriana are the only ones currently in a position to be able to act and help."

"Patience is one of the greatest tools we have in this line of work," Captain Morningstar said, the man had remained silent through the back and forth argument between his two bridge officers. "As much as we all would rather be actively involved in this, we have to be patient and wait to see what happens next. Anything we do could have a major impact on this situation, so we have to tread carefully.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M15-P025: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34023.1515 ("Plan B")
=-=
"Plan B"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Waiting" by Hanali / (BAS) "Like Waves On a Beach" by Francois]
=-=

Setting: Elysian Destroyer, Maintenance Corridor
Stardate: 34023.1515

In order to avoid her presence on this alien ship being detected, Shar'El had set up in one of the narrow maintenance corridors situated right next to the primary power conduits. Unless something major was to happen, it was unlikely that someone from the crew of the Destroyer would come down here, the problem was that this left the undercover officer with no way to know what was happening. Her contact reported that a new group of Elasian vessels had been dispatched to intercept the first group, but so far, the ships had not engaged. The best-case scenario the ExO / ILO could come up with was that Ambassador Bonviva and/or Junior Ambassador Lopez had successfully worked their diplomatic magic and smoothed things over. All other options to explain this uneasy tranquility were less than palpable as it involved various degrees of betrayal and murders at the upper echelons of the Elasian Government.

At least there was one comforting thought; Tarken was on ELAS keeping an eye on things. His being there would make things easier for the ANUBIS and its crew, but that was as long as they managed to reach the planet without triggering a civil war. Under normal circumstances, the cloaking armor would be more than sufficient to hide the ship while the crew proceeded with their mission, but thanks to the Elasians actively searching for any reason to start this war, the ANUBIS could not afford to be anywhere near the planet. They needed to come up with another plan, another way for them to safely reach the planet in order to proceded with their mission.

The sound of someone making their way toward her made the ExO / ILO change position, both to offer her a better explanation as to why she was here and to permit her to defend herself should the need arise. Shar'El's posture softened when she saw that is was her Elasian contact who was approaching.

"We have been ordered back to ELAS," the Elasian said clearly sounding demoralized. "In order to avoid any issues, the Captains of the Destroyers sent after the ANUBIS have agreed to surrender their command and have their ships escorted back home."

"Alright," the ExO / ILO said nodding her head. "This should give the ANUBIS the flexibility to get a little closer to ELAS without being detected."

"I would not count on that," the Elasian said. "Whoever is behind this wants to make sure that your ship does not get anywhere close to ELAS, at least not without triggering every alarm on the planet. There are countless vessels patrolling the system, casting a detection net capable of picking up cloaked vessels, and the orbital communication network has been modified to search for hidden vessels. Someone is doing their best to drag your ship into this mess and pin the start of the civil war on you."

"That is going to make things a great deal more difficult," Shar'El noted. "Bonviva and Lopez can conduct their peace talk remotely, but our mission also includes extracting the Lokustaar agent who is more than likely behind all this. That is going to be very difficult to accomplish if we are not able to reach ELAS."

"I wish I could help, but this is well beyond what I can do. Your best bet is to return to your ship and figure something out, in the meantime, I will wait for us to be brought back to ELAS and inform Tarken of what happened here. Maybe another opportunity will present itself before it is too late for you to help my people." The Elasian paused for a moment. "Can I ask you for a favor?"

"You can ask," the undercover ExO / ILO replied.

"Don't give up on my world," he pleaded. "I know that the Elasians are not the nicest and friendliest of people, but the last thing I want to see is my world destroyed by our own hands. We have accomplished too much to see all destroyed because of the ignorance and prejudice of a select few."

"We will do our best," Shar'El said trying to be as reassuring as possible. The truth was that there were no guarantees in this line of work, but the ExO / ILO understood where the man was coming from, and for that alone she would leave no stone unturned to help him and his people see their way through the darkness that was upon them.

The Elasian smiled and silently thanked the undercover agent before returning to his life and duties leaving the ExO / ILO to consider what their next course of action might be. How would they reach ELAS without the ANUBIS? How would they set foot on the planet in order to hunt the Lokustaar operative without triggering any of the alarms set specifically for them? How would they manage to save a world on the edge of civil war without triggering what they were here to stop?

With all of these questions dancing in her head, Shar'El reached for the subdermal communicator implanted behind her ear and signaled her readiness to return to the ANUBIS. Maybe there was someone there who would be able to offer a viable 'Plan B' for them to use in order to complete their mission and save an entire world from total devastation.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P026: USS ANUBIS: Maya: 34023.1530 ("C is for Covert Approach")
---
"C is for Covert Approach"
(Previous Posts: (ANU) "Plan B" / (BAS) "Like Waves on a Beach")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34023.1530

As soon as Commander Shar'El was back on the ANUBIS, an emergency senior staff meeting was called by Captain Morningstar to discuss the situation, the latest Intel and their best course of action. It was evident that plan A, the ANUBIS reaching ELAS and establishing standard orbit, was no longer valid forcing the crew to come up with an alternate plan. Judging by the way the First Officer was fidgeting, if Plan B had been formed in any way it was still in its early infancy, which explained the need for this emergency meeting.

Even before the last of the senior officer was sitting, Commander Shar'El began the meeting with her report. "We have an asset on ELAS by the name of Tarken. He was able to send some of his people to make contact with us, which they did with me. The situation on ELAS is precarious, to say the least, and the ANUBIS is being targeted to provide a reason for the civil war to start and drag the Federation into this conflict."

"So we have to reach ELAS without being detected?" The Chief Engineer rhetorically asked. "That should be easy enough; the Elasian sensors are no match for our cloaking armour. We could land the ANUBIS right in the middle of their capital city without them knowing we were there. Alright, the starship-shaped crush zone might give our presence away, but you get what I mean."

"Unfortunately it will not be that easy," the Commander added. "The Elasians have mobilized the majority of their starships to search the system for any ship that might be trying to sneak its way to ELAS, and even if we did manage to get close enough, the planetary communication grid has been modified to search for cloaked vessels. Whoever is responsible for this is making sure that every possibility has been looked at. Even the HATHOR would have a hard time making its way to the planet without being detected."

"What about this asset of ours?" Lieutenant Stark asked. "Could he not help us in some way?"

"Tarken has already done the best he could by sending trusted individuals to make contact with us," the Commander replied. "He took a huge risk in spreading his people onto every ship that might make contact with us, greatly increasing the odds of him and his operation being discovered. We cannot ask any more from him, not without ensuring that his situation is compromised."

"So, what do you have in mind?" Doctor Bruxa asked of the woman who still appeared Elasian.

"To be completely honest, I am not sure," Shar'El replied.

"We do have a little bit of time," Ya'Han offered while calling up a holographic tactical display in the center of the conference table. "The Destroyers do not appear to be in any rush to head back to ELAS, this will give us some time to come up with a plan."

"Time is relative," the Commander added. "The closer we get to ELAS, the great the odds are of us running into one of their detection nets. Whatever we decided to do, we need to do it quickly."

"The Elasians are looking for the ANUBIS, so they will be ignoring their own vessels, no?" The Shillian Chief Science Officer asked.

"They are not searching for the ANUBIS specifically," the Commander corrected. "They know that it was this ship that was sent to lead the peace talks, but they are looking for any Federation vessel in order to use their presence in the system as an excuse to start this war."

"What if we took the SPHINX to ELAS?" Maya suggested looking directly at the First Officer. "The Mobile Command Unit is equipped with state-of-the-art camouflage and sensor dampening equipment. It is also able to magnetically attach itself to the outer hull of any of those destroyers. In theory, the craft would be able to easily get passed all of the detection grid and scan since the Elasians are looking for a full-size vessel and not a small infiltration team. Even if they conducted a thorough search of the Destroyers, searching for an infiltration team inside, they would not find anything while visual and sensor sweeps of the outside would reveal nothing that might raise any concerns. We could reach ELAS without any issues and still have some technical support from the SPHINX to aid us in our mission."

Shar'El considered the suggestion before looking at the Captain who appeared in favour of this new plan as it seemed to provide them with everything they needed in order to proceed with their mission. "How long would it take to get the SPHINX ready for this?" the Commander asked of the Chief Engineer.

"Two, maybe three hours," Sonja said in all seriousness, "but for you, I'll have it done in less than 10 minutes."

"The SPHINX has a maximum complement of 8," Junior Ambassador Lopez stated. "Who will you be sending?" The question was directed to both the First officer and Commanding Officer who quickly looked at each other before Shar'El answered.

"I will lead the extraction team and need Ya'Han to be there with me," Shar'El explained. "Lieutenant Commander Maya can take care of sensors and help coordinate our efforts from the SPHINX. Doctor Bruxa will need to come alone to perform her magic on the team as having any non-Elasians on the planet surface could make things a lot more complicated for us. I believe that the best choice for the remaining four members of the team would be Sonja, Ani, and two marine officers."

"So you intend for me and Adriana to remain on the ANUBIS and conduct the peace talks how exactly?" Xana hissed. Having a few conversations using the communication channels with the faction leaders was one thing, but taking care of a sensitive matter such as peace talks required them to be on site.

"We could always set one of the holodecks to offer a more general meeting area," the Chief of Operations suggested. "That way, everyone would be safe while still being able to talk and see each other during the negotiations."

"That might sound good to you, but I can assure you that a holodeck meeting is not going to be as effective as the real thing," Ambassador Bonviva stated. "The first step to getting people to talk is to have them in the same room and recognize that those sitting on the other side of the table are just as scared and vulnerable as they are, even if they claim otherwise. This "safety" you want us to enjoy is going to hinder our ability to accomplish our objective."

"Ambassador," Maya offered. "Even if you were to come with us on the SPHINX, it would be much safer for both you and Junior Ambassador Lopez to remain on the craft and conduct your negotiations remotely. At least here on the ANUBIS, you would benefit from all of the available resources including comfortable beds to rest in between the negotiations."

The Captain could see that Xana and Adriana were about to voice their disagreement with this plan, so Erik stepped in. "I understand how sensitive this whole thing is, but I also have to take into account the safety of everyone under my command. Once the Lokustaar operative had been extracted from ELAS and the situation defused, we can arrange for both of you to reach ELAS safely, but right now I believe it best for you to remain on the ANUBIS."

"Then it is decided," Commander Shar'El quickly followed with. "Everyone going to the SPHINX has 5 minutes to get ready. We are leaving in ten, so get going."

---
Jessica Solarik

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

&

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

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M15-P027: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34023.1535 ("Deliberating")
-=-=-
"Deliberating"
[Previous post: (ANU) "C is for Covert Approach" & (BAS) "Light-Footed"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 28, Ventral Access Bay Observation Platform
Stardate: 34023.1535

Adriana stood behind the thick, protective glass separating the ANUBIS' Ventral Access Bay and the Observation Platform. From where she stood, the Junior Ambassador could see the retrieval team rushing to get ready as quickly as possible. Right now, Xana was speaking with the Captain, making her point as to the Ambassadorial team being including in this covert mission. Their ability to bring any sort of peace talks to a successful completion would be greatly increased even if only one of the two Ambassadors were physically present on ELAS.

The Junior Ambassador agreed that conducting such talks via a holodeck would make everything a lot safer for everyone involved, but confronting danger was an integral part of the dynamic of such an endeavor. Knowing that either side could strike without warning kept everyone on their toes and far more willing to listen and possibly agree to less appealing compromises. With the faction leaders in the relative safety of their home bases, all sides could simple elect to tune everyone else out without anyone being the wiser.  The more Adriana thought about this, the more the Counselor turned Junior Ambassador believed that them being on ELAS was the only way to achieve their goal of saving the planet from what would most certainly turn out to be a history shattering civil conflict. When it came to creating havoc, the Lokustaar and their agents never did another on a small scale. If the Elasians could not be convinced that they were being manipulated into this civil war, the final result would leave their world in ruins the likes of which they would not be able to emerge for several decades, if at all.

A nervous smile flashed on the Counsellor's lips when she saw her friend the Chief Medical Officer making her way to the SPHINX. Satella stopped and looked over her shoulder as if somehow aware that someone was looking at her from the observation platform. The two women exchanged a quick wave of the hand, acknowledging each other's presence and concerns without saying anything. It was more than likely that Bruxa was relieved that neither Lopez nor Bonviva was part of the team giving her fewer people to be concerned about.

On the other hand, Adriana not being there with Satella during this covert mission made the Counselor more nervous as she would not be there to share in whatever hell the team would run into on ELAS. As a Junior Ambassador, that sentiment seemed to make little sense to the woman, but as the Ship's Counselor for the ANUBIS, and close friend to the Chief Medical Officer, the uneasiness she experienced made perfect sense.

"Why not just go and sneak onto the SPHINX?" Amanda asked, the hallucination of the twin sister manifested herself with her back leaning against the angled protective glass.

Adriana laughed. She knew that this was just her own way of explaining to herself why this impulsive thought was not a valid option. "Let's see," the sister said without even looking at the mental projection of her sister. "The SPHINX only has room for eight and any extra weight and mass could cause the craft to not operate at peak efficiency leading to it possibly being detected by the Elasians. At least, that is what I imagine Sonja would say even if it were not entirely true. My being on ELAS could also create problems on its own as I would have to try and contact the faction leaders in order to start the peace talks, something that would be impossible to do without revealing how I managed to arrive on the planet." The Counselor paused before turning to look at her illusion of her sister. "As much as I want to be there with them, to be there with Satella, my place is here with Xana. Whatever may come to pass, the mission of the Ambassadorial team can only be completed if we work together. Getting the Elasians to realize how they are being played is already going to be difficult enough without splitting our resources."

"You realize that you have made a choice between the woman who is your friend and the woman who elevated you to the position that you currently hold, right?" The question was a simple one, but the implications that it held caused Adriana to very carefully consider her answer, even if she did not intend to voice it aloud.

=/\= Bonviva to Lopez, meet me in Shuttle Bay 2, =/\= Xana said over the communication system surprising Adriana who was momentarily lost in her own thoughts.

"Shuttle Bay 2?" the Junior Ambassador said.

=/\= This is going to make for a very long and pointless conversation if you repeat everything I say, =/\= Xana pointed out in a way that left Adriana to wonder if the Bolian/Human was kidding or not. =/\= Captain Morningstar has agreed to have us head to ELAS using one of the runabouts. Once the SPHINX the ANUBIS will leave the sector and allow us to leave the ship well out of range of any detection grid. We will then made our way back to the destroyer convoy and request them to provide us with a diplomatic escort. =/\=

"What is going to stop them from shooting us the moment we get within range?" Adriana asked, the Junior Ambassador not completely sold on this idea.

=/\= We will have a few minutes to get a hold of the faction leaders and convince them that it is to their best advantage to ensure our safe journey to ELAS, =/\= Xana explained. =/\= The ANUBIS will not be too far behind and I have the Captain's assurance that he will have everything in place to make sure nothing happens to us. I will explain the rest of this plan once you are here in Shuttle Bay 2. See you soon, Bonviva out. =/\=

"Looks like Xana made the decision for you," Amanda said, the hallucination of the missing twin sister still leaning back against the protective glass. "You should be happy, now you get to be out there instead of in here without having to worry Satella."

"Should I be happy?" Adriana asked of herself giving the Ventral Access Bay and the SPHINX one last glance before making her way to Shuttle Bay 2.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M15-P028: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 34023.1540 ("Emotions")
"Emotions"
[previous (ANU) "Deliberating" / (BAS) "Light-Footed"]

[/\]
Setting: USS SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34021.1540

Shar'El sat at the command station while Ani, Sonja, Maya, and Ya'Han respectively sat at the Operations, Engineering, Communications, and Tactical stations. The final pre-flight checks had been completed and the SPHINX was ready to leave. That was when an unexpected call from the OPS Officer came through.

=/\= I am sorry to bother you Commander, but I need Ya'Han to step out of the SPHINX for a moment. Your departure will only be delayed by a few seconds. =/\=

The Commander and the Chief of Security exchange a quick look before Shar'El reluctantly motioned with her head for the red and black-haired Nylaan to go.

"Don't let him take too much of your time," Sonja said to Ya'Han as she watched the Chief of Security make a hasty exit out of the SPHINX.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 29, Ventral Access Bay
Stardate: 34021.1541

"Jayson, what is it?" Ya'Han said, her hair now appearing as red as could be hinting to her mood.

He could tell that she was annoyed for having interrupted their departure, but what he needed to say would not take that much time. "I just wanted to say that I love you. I know that things between us have not been as good as they have been or as they should be, but I did not want you to leave on this mission without being absolutely certain of my feelings for you.  I could have asked Captain Morningstar to take Ani's place on the SPHINX, but that would have added another unwanted variable thanks to that bio-engineered weapon of the Elasians that targets males. That is the only reason why I am staying here because I believe that my presence by your side might make things more dangerous for you. I just had to let you know this, and I suspect that it would not have gone over well if I have done so over an opened comm channel."

"I have to go," Ya'Han said. This was certainly not the reaction he expected, but it was still one that he understood. As much as he would have liked to see her acknowledge his feelings with more passion, the Ops Officer also knew that making such a display was not in her character, especially not after all that had happened on OLTHAR PRIME.  Jayson just watched as the woman stepped back into the SPHINX before the doors to the specialized craft closed and sealed behind her. The best he could do was to take some level of comfort in the fact that he voiced his feelings to her and that maybe it would help her make it through what they would face and back to the ANUBIS safe and sound.

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 34021.1550

Jayson returned as quickly as he could to the bridge and the Operations station so that he could take note of the SPHINX's progress in attaching itself to one of the Elasian destroyers. "Thanks to the slow speed of the destroyers, the SPHINX is not having any issues catching up to them. They should be in an optimal position in a few minutes. According to the sensor sweeps from the Elasian ships, they have no clues as to what is about to happen."

"I will be feeling a lot better once the SPHINX reports that they have attached to one of the hulls without anyone noticing," the Captain said. "Once that is done, we need to take the ANUBIS out of this system in order to give the Runabout with Ambassador Bonviva and Lopez on board the chance to leave without being detected. We will track their progress back to the destroyers from that point on."

"It is amazing the amount of work that we have to do just to place ourselves in a position where we can help these people," Jayson said, voicing his feelings. "You would think that it would be easier to help people not destroy themselves."

"If it was not for the Lokustaar interference, I am sure that all of this would not be necessary," the Captain said. "The Elasians are an unfortunate pawn in this game, and it is even more unfortunate that one side of this conflict cares nothing about what happens to them. Their goal is to create mistrust leading to chaos, and from there war would be just a simple and almost expected next step. Sometimes, we have to fight against the most basic of common sense in order to get things done, and even then, there are no guarantees that it will work."

Jayson thought about what the Captain had just said, shifting the focus from the Elasians to s more personal issue. His relationship with Ya'Han was going through hard times and there were instances when he felt as if he was fighting against things that he should never have been. Understanding, at least in part, the emotional tug-of-war Ya'Han was dealing with due to the death of his clone, there was little Stark could do other than to wait and hope that she would return to him.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M15-P029: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34023.1600 ("Frightening Fragility")
=-=
"Frightening Fragility"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Emotions" / (BAS) "Light-Footed"]
=-=

Setting: USS SPHINX, Infirmary
Stardate: 34023.1600

The command staff was in charge of the craft. Their tasks of piloting the SPHINX to attach it to one of the Elasian destroyers demanded all of their attention. That was why the two Marines who came along waited in the back section while the Doctor sat alone in the infirmary.

The room was perfectly Spartan in its design. Everything was within arm's reach of the CMO and there was nothing here to distract her thoughts. Satella had planned on reviewing the Elasian's weaponized tears, but right now Dr. Bruxa was just too scared to do this.  While on board the ANUBIS, she felt safe. The armor and sheer size of the Intel cruiser were enough to instill such feelings in her.

Unfortunately, the SPHINX possessed neither the size nor defensive resources of the ANUBIS.  Here, sitting in this small room, Satella was painfully aware of every shift and turn the specialized craft was making. Bruxa even considered for a moment that it would have been nice for Lopez to be here. As a friend and Counselor, she would have been able to help her stay calm. The Doctor quickly scolded herself for having such selfish thoughts. Adriana was needed for far more important things, namely stopping the war on ELAS before it started.

Satella closed her eyes when the SPHINX began to shake. Out of simple reflex, the CMO grabbed hold of the first thing she could reach. Had they been discovered? Was this unexpected jolt because they were trying to escape? Were they being fired upon? A thousand and one possibilities flashed in her mind. None of them good ones. Maybe this had not been such a good idea, but in order to reach ELAS they had to try something.

"Relax Doctor," one of the Marines said. "We are likely only going through the magnetic field surrounding these old-style ships. There is nothing to be concerned about, it is all perfectly normal."

"What makes you think that I was worried?" Satella was trying to be as confident as she could. The odds were that she was not fooling the Marine in the least, but she still needed to try.

"The death-grip in that panel says otherwise." The Marine appeared amused as she pointed this out to the physician.  Satella quickly looked at her hand. Her knuckles were white and the muscles of her arm were as tight as could be. There was no way for the CMO to explain this away. Her fear was out in the open and there was nothing she could do to hide it.

"Don't worry Doctor, we have done worse," the second Marine said as she joined in on the discussion. "The first time you get deployed on one of those drop ships, you feel like the universe is about to fall apart. Everything shakes so much that you are sure your equipment is going to fall off your shoulders."

"It takes some getting used to," the first marine added. "Some never do, so you have nothing to feel bad about. By the way, I'm Sergeant Carter and this is Corporal O'Malley."

Another rumble delayed Satella's next acknowledgment of the introductions. Dr. Bruxa quickly regained control of herself and continued. "Glad to have you both here with us. Did you volunteer for this mission or were you drafted?"

"We volunteered," Carter said glancing at O'Malley. "The Major said that he needed two Human females for a search and retrieve mission. He did not explain why his request was so specific, and we did not ask. That is part of the reason why we are here now."

"We noticed that every other officer on this ship is also female," O'Malley said. "So we were wondering what kind of 'retrieval' mission we were taking part in."

Satella chuckled easily imagining what the Marines might be thinking. "Captain Morningstar wanted to reduce the potential for trouble to the bare minimum. The Elasians have developed a bio-engineered weapon that specifically targets males. This makes them completely susceptible to suggestions made by the first woman they encounter."

"That's a weird weapon to engineer," O'Malley said. "That said, I could see how someone would want to use something like that. Most military forces we are aware of are predominantly male in their composition."

"Alright," Carter continued. "That explains the gender specifications, but why Humans? There are much stronger and faster Marines out there, so why limit ourselves this way?"

"Everyone on board the SPHINX will need to be made to appear Elasian," Satella explained. "Human physiology is the easiest one to alter to chive this. Physically, Humans and Elasians are also very similar, making it that much easier for us to blend in."

"See," O'Malley grinned. "Told you that is was something like that. It made no sense for the Major to target Human females like that. The only way that might have made sense would be for him to be a Ferengi in disguise."

Carter laughed. "It would explain a few things though. Alright Doctor, when do you need us to undergo these cosmetic changes?"

"I would be ready to do them now," the CMO said hesitantly. "The problem is that as long as the SPHINX shakes like this, I will not be able to do anything. Any unexpected vibration could cause me to do something that might be so easily undone.  Just as Satella said this, the sound of metal touching metal filled the entire craft.  O'Malley, Carter, and Bruxa looked around as if trying to determine what exactly was the cause of this noise.

"Looks like you have already met our two Marines," Shar'El said. The Commander had left the flight deck to inform the Doctor of their situation. "We are magnetically attached to one of the destroyers. The camouflage system is holding and there does not seem to be any issues. The Elasians show no sign of being aware that we are here. Maya figures that we should reach ELAS in about 22 hours. Do you believe that this will be enough time for you to do what is needed?"

Satella looked at the two Marines before returning her attention to Shar'El who already appeared Elasian. "I am sure that it will not take 3 hours per person to complete the cosmetic alterations. There should be ample time."

"Good," Shar'El said. "Anyone specific you would like to start with?"

"The two ladies here have already volunteered to be here, I could start with them."

"Very well Doctor," the Commander said. "Let me know when you are done."

As soon as Shar'El was gone, Satella turned her attention back to Carter. "Sergeant?"

"Call me Rebecca," the woman said with a smile before pointing to the Corporal. "Grace can go first. That way you get to have a trial run before me."

Clearly not having a choice in the matter, O'Malley jumped on the one bed present in the room. "Can I ask you for a favor?" Grace said in a whispered voice.

"Of course," Satella replied.

"Whatever you do, don't make me look like her," Grace said pointing to Rebecca. "I'll take looks over a higher rank any day."

The three women laughed. As dangerous as their situation was, it was nice to be able to forget about it all, even if only for a brief moment.

=-=
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]
M15-P030: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34023.1800 ("Grim")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Grim"
[previous post were (ANU) "Frightening Fragility" / (BAS) "Business Breakfast"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS SPHINX, Infirmary
Stardate: 34023.1800

With 3 Elasians already wandering the inside of the SPHINX, it was the Sec/Tac's turn to report to the Infirmary and join their ranks. The procedure, according to Sergeant Carter, was simple and painless, exactly what Ya'Han expected from Satella.

"Welcome to my humble abode," the CMO said greeting the Sec/Tac. "If you would be so kind as to carefully make your way to the examination bed, I will be right with you. I say 'carefully' because this room is by no means my Sickbay and the amount of elbow space is much less than I am used to or prefer."

"Commander Shar'El said that you wanted to see me next," the Sec/Tac said as she lifted herself on the bed. "Any specific reason?"

"Changing a Human to appear Elasian is easy, doing the same with a Nylaan may prove to be slightly more challenging," Satella said.

"Physiologically speaking, Nylaans are for the greater part as similar to Elasians as Humans," Ya'Han pointed out.

"You do have one ability that the Elasians do not," Satella said slightly tilting her head to one side. "Your hair color changes according to your mood, and according to your medical file, this ability is not 100% controlled. Part of what I have to do here is to find a way to suppress this ability so that your hair doesn't suddenly change in the middle of a stressful situation."

Ya'Han caught a glimpse of a lock of black hair as it fell into view, perfectly proving Satella's point. Knowing that there was nothing she could say to oppose or even challenge the Doctor, the Sec/Tac moved the lock of hair behind her ear and leaned back on the examination bed. For as long as she can remember, the now exiled daughter of the High Sovereign was made to look upon her hair as something to be proud of, something that defined her identity not only as a Nylaan but as a member of the royal family. She learned to control the changes in color but as time passed this ability became more of a reflex than a conscious act.

"Now just relax," Satella said applying a hypospray to Ya'Han's neck. "This is nothing more than a mild muscular sedative in order to make sure that there are no scar tissues caused by the surgery. It will also make it more comfortable for you while I do what needs to be done. You may experience a sensation of light-headedness but it will not last very long. You have nothing to worry about, everything will be just fine."

The Sec/Tac gently nodded her head already feeling the effect of whatever she had been injected with. Her body felt heavy, sinking into thin padding of the medical examination table. A few seconds later, Ya'Han found it impossible to keep her eyes open so she abandoned herself to the peace that was being forced upon her.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: Dreamscape

Ya'Han found herself standing in the courtyard of the Imperial palace, her eyes drawn to the grayness that surrounded her. Not a hint of color could be seen in the skies overhead of the mountain range in the distant. The flowers in the nearby garden were equally grim in appearance giving the scene a nightmarish feel about it.

In the blink of an eye, Ya'Han found herself back in her room, surrounded by the familiar objects that she grew up knowing. Like everything outside, every item and wall was completely deprived of color, appearing as nothing more than shades of gray. The Nylaan was ready to accept this as being normal, blaming her eyes for not being able to see colors, but when she caught a glimpse of her hair in the mirror she understood that this was not the case.

Ya'Han gazed at the reflection in the mirror, looking at the gray-skin tones framed by the bright and vibrant red of her hair. There were no doubts about it, she could see colors, but right now, her hair was the only thing that she could see in this manner, everything else was as gray as could be.  As she continued to gaze upon her reflection, she noticed that the bright red color of her hair was slowly vanishing, replaced by the same gray that now filled this world.

"You are nothing," the woman heard her father say, his voice filled with anger and hatred. "You could have been admired by countless, cherished and even envied by all, but instead you decided to be a nobody. Every day you become less and less, and soon you will be made to lose what little bit you had left that gave you any real reason to look back upon yourself with any amount of pride. You ran away and gave up your right to be someone of importance within your family. You turned your back on your world and will never be accepted back as a Nylaan, not even as a black-haired commoner. You even went as far as to turn your back to the one person you found it within him to love you despite all of your flaws, and because of this, you will end up being alone for the rest of your days. You are nothing, and that is exactly what you deserve to be. You are not worthy to be a wife, a daughter and certainly not a Nylaan."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: USS SPHINX, Infirmary
Stardate: 34023.1845

Ya'Han opened her eyes to see Doctor Bruxa looking down at her. "Hope you had a nice nap," Satella said helping her patient to sit up. "You will be pleased to hear that all went well. I was able to inhibit your natural ability to change your hair color and, if I may say so myself, I am quite pleased with the cosmetic alterations to your appearance. I think even Jayson would have a hard time recognizing you."

The Sec/Tac quickly looked around for any sort of reflective surface and when she found one, Ya'Han was shocked to see someone else looking back at her, someone who was not the woman she knew herself to be, someone who was not Nylaan, both in appearance and spirit.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M15-P031: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34023: 1845 ("Hidden")
=/\=
“Hidden”
<continued from ANUBIS “Grim” and BASTET “Business Breakfast”

=/\=
My lying is a second skin by now, so easy to forget it's there, so I don't always remember that lying is actually an art, and those who aren't meticulous about it are easily exposed.
--Jillian Cantor

=/\=
Location: ELAS, Nationalist Puritian HQ
Stardate: 34023.1845

These were the calls that her father normally took.  He took all the calls from off-worlders.  Although she was the next in line, the heir apparent as it were, that was an empty title.  

Instead the War Master was off planning with his council, so Evaanku was left sitting in her office staring at the ringing screen.  It had already cycled once and she let it go without an answer; she could let it go again.  Evaanku knew who it was in all likelihood; it was the Federation calling about the Peace Talks.  

Exhaling, she answered the call.  Not because she wanted to but because to let it ring was to deal with the War Master and his anger.  She never did call him Father, not even when she was a babe  

Evaanku tapped the screen and expected to see the white haired Bolian woman she heard about from last time.  Instead she was puzzled to see a Human woman who if she judged correctly was about her age.  “Hail ELAS,” Evaanku said.  

The woman on the other side of the screen blinked at that and said, =/\= Greetings from the Federation.  I’m Junior Ambassador Adriana Lopez.  I’m contacting you to negotiate our entry to your planet for the Peace Talks.=/\=

For a moment, Evaanku looked out the window.  At one time there were poets who said this area had streams, and in those streams were small beit that attracted the moonbeams to light your way home or so you dance in the magic.  But that kind of evening magic was long gone from ELAS.

As she listened, Evaanku stared at Junior Ambassador but tapped her fingers on the console...

=/\=
Location: ELAS, Downtown Marketplace, Backroom
Stardate: 34023.1850

“We got the message!” Anshaa called out as entered the room.  Walking back over to Jeruun, the leader of the ‘Expensionists’ she leaned over the table and said, “This is what we’ve been waiting for.”

The console began to ring and both Anshaa and Jeruun turned to stare at it.  “That’s the Federation Ambassador calling,” Anshaa said.  “She’s calling for you.”

Jeruun paced back and forth.  “Is it though?  I’m not really feeling it,” he muttered.  Rubbing his protrund stomach he looked around, “Where is my hypo?”

Anshaa tossed him the hypo as she said, “We got the message from our contact--”

The ‘Expensionists’ leader, having administered the hypo, pivoted again.  “And who is our contact?  We don’t know who he is?”

“Well yes, that is the point of being a secret contact.  If they were well known, then that’s a really bad secret,” Anshaa pointed out dryly.  Throwing up her hands she said, “But everything they said has come to fruition.”

“And why are they helping?” Jeruun groused.  

Anshaa tilted her head to the side.  “You don’t argue with our other true believers.  Why this one?”

Jeruun glared.  “We ask our other believers for their dues and unwavering support.”  Pointing to the now dormant console he said, “Our anonymous supporter wants *us* to do *their* bidding.  The whole point of our enterprise was not to do someone else’s bidding.”

The console kept ringing.  “You need to answer the Federation’s call.  The Ambassador is calling for help,” Anshaa said.  

Jeruun glared at the console.  “Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I won’t do this secret contact’s work anymore.”

Rilliz, who had been sitting in the corner, watching all this slipped out and went to another console out in the main square to make his own call….

=/\=
Location: ELAS, The Dark Order HQ
Stardate: 34023.1855

“Ambassador, I’m surprised it took so long for you to call me,” Puunce, the head of ‘The Dark Order’, said to the Bolian/Human woman on the other side.  

The azure woman on the other side of the screen looked at him straight on.  =/\=It was not my intention to slight you.  I simply had other matters I had to attend to.=/\=  

“Come now,” Puunce said.  “You and I are citizens of the universe.  Beating around what you want won’t do.”

The Federation Ambassador appeared to consider that.  =/\=No, I suppose not.  Very well.  The Peace Talks will not happen--=/\=

“Unless you and your coterie can come to ELAS, I agree,” Puunce finished off. “You’ll come to ELAS.  Simple.”  With that he typed some commands into his console giving out what orders he deemed necessary.  Of course he knew he was only part of the equation...

=/\=Simple,=/\= Xana drolled.  

Puunce was about to say something else when he realized that there was someone else with the Ambassador, a Human woman.  The Federation Ambassador held up a hand as she spoke to her counterpart.  =/\=My Junior Ambassador just finished her call with your counterpart and was able to negotiate what she needed to.  We’ll see you soon.=/\=

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M15-P032: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 34023.1900 ("Inconceivable")
"Inconceivable"
previous posts were (ANU) "Hidden" / (BAS) "Business breakfast"

=====
Setting: USS SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34023.1900

The redhead Engineer verified the magnetic connector that held camouflaged craft against the hull of the Elasian destroyer. So far everything was working perfectly; the magnetic hold was solid, the dampening barrier had kept the noise of their contact to well below what could trigger the internal sensors and the holographic camouflage system of the SPHYNX kept the smaller ship concealed from wondering eyes. Sonja could not have hoped for anything better.

"Is everything alright Sonja?" the Elasian woman formerly known as Shar'El asked, easily noticing an expression of concern disbelief on the engineer's face.

"Inconceivable," the redhead said in a whispered voice.

"Inconceivable?" The surgically altered Commander repeated. "That doesn't sound good."

"Everything is working perfectly," Sonja explained shrugging her shoulders. "In situations like this, we always end up with something not working the way it was meant to. Usually, the holographic matrix goes wonky because of some spatial radiation or the magnetic hold is not as solid as it should be because of interference from the ship's hull or some malfunctioning piece of equipment on either side of the equation. In fact, with the way our luck usually goes, those malfunctions end up being on our side of the fence, but so far there is nothing wrong happening. Hence the resounding 'inconceivable', because this simply cannot be."

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means," Ani said, quoting the passage from the movie Sonja had been quoting that particular word from.

The Engineer turned to face the Android ready to fire some obscure quote from another movie to see if the latest addition to her programming was working as well as everything, but when she saw the expression on the new face of her friend Ya'Han, Sonja quickly altered her plan and focus. "Is everything alright? You look like someone died."

"I'm fine," the black-haired Elasian-looking woman said, but her words failed to convince the red-haired engineer.

"You? Fine! Really? The way you look? Inconceivable!" Sonja said after having stood from her station in order to meet her friend who was making her way back to the tactical station.

Shar'El gave a quick glance at the Chief of Security before looking at Sonja and then Ani who simply shook her head before speaking, "This may be one of those running gags."  The Commander could have made a comment but opted instead to allow the Chief Engineer and Chief of Security to speak freely.

"Sonja," Ya'Han said trying to come across as convincing as possible. "I am fine. I am just not used to looking in a mirror and seeing someone else looking back at me."

"I do that every morning following a night of drinking," the Chief Engineer said in jest. "You get used to it after a while, but I have the feeling that there is something more here that you are not telling me. We have been friends for too long, gone through hell and back too many times for me not to notice when something big is bothering you, and that is exactly what I see in your eyes right now."

"Right now is not the time for this," Ya'Han said glancing over to Satella, the look making it clear that the Chief of Security wanted the Doctor to step in and put an end to this conversation.

"Lieutenant Commander Paquette, if you would be so kind as to follow me," Doctor Bruxa said making it clear that it was Sonja's turn to undergo the cosmetic transformation that would make her appear Elasian.

"Me? Why now? Why not take care of Maya or Ani first?"

"I cannot take care of Maya at this time as you suggested because of her shapeshifting ability. It will require a lot more time from me to properly figure out, if altering her appearance is at all possible without hindering her natural ability to take on other forms," Satella said. "As for Ani, I thought it might be wiser if you took care of altering her appearance," the Doctor said before turning to the android. "No offense meant, but thanks to your mechanical systems you fall under the jurisdiction of the Chief Engineer much more than that of the Chief Medical Officer."

"No offense taken, Doctor," the Avatar stated. "Your statement is perfectly logical and makes complete sense."

"You too! You are turning against me?" Sonja exclaimed. "Inconceivable!"
 
"I see what you meant by this being becoming a running gag," Shar'El quietly chuckled to Ani.

"Fine!" The redhead Engineer said casting her arms in the air. "I know when I am beaten, but this is not over Ya'Han. You and I will finish this little conversation, Elasian to Elasian if it must, but we will finish it. Now Doctor," Sonja continued this time taking Satella by the arm to drag her back to the Infirmary. "I have a few ideas as to how I want to look. I did some research on the women of ELAS and found some interesting physiological traits that I believe would look especially good on me, and who know, once I see them on myself I might be inclined to replicate them on my traitorous robotic creation over there. So let's see what you can do Doctor."

With Satella and Sonja out of the Flight Deck, Shar'El turned her attention onto Ya'Han and as much as she might not have wanted to admit it, the Commander had to agree that there seemed to be something not quite right with their Chief of Security.

=====
Lorraine Paquette 

Lt Commander Sonja Paquette [Access Character BIO for Sonja Paquette]
Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M15-P033: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34023.1930 ("Jolan-Tru")
=-=
"Jolan-Tru"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Inconceivable" by Lorraine / (BAS) "Business Breakfast" by moi]
=-=

Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34023.1930

The ExO / ILO sat in the chair located in the center of the flight deck. The room was much smaller than the bridge of the ANUBIS, but the perspective of the surroundings was relatively the same. From where she was, Shar'El could see all of the workstations and those working there. Starting to her far left was the Communications and Life Support station currently manned by Maya. Her task was simple; to monitor the Elasian channels and see if anything suspicious was happening.

Next was the Flight Controls and Operations station under the supervision of the ship's avatar Ani. Located on the left side of the forward controls, that station was responsible for all of the systems found on the SPHINX. Needless to say that Shar'El was not in the least concerned about anything relating to that station as long as the android was there keeping an eye on things. On the other side of the computer mainframe was the Flight Controls and Engineering station which was under the control of their Chief Engineering Officer, at least it would be as soon as Sonja returned from her cosmetic surgery.

To the far right was the Tactical and Sensors station that was under the current jurisdiction of their Chief of Security. Following the exchange between Ya'Han and Sonja, Shar'El paid more attention to the now black-haired woman, scanning whatever memories the Nylaan allowed to escape. The woman did appear troubled by something but there were a lot of possible reasons to account for this. Being on the SPHINX while it was magnetically locked to the underbelly of an Elasian destroyer was more than enough to make some nervous. That their mission was taking them to a planet on the verge of a civil war to search and apprehend a Lokustaar operative was not making matters any easier.

Shar'El desperately wanted to dig into the memories of the Nylaan woman. The psychological file on their Chief of Security was extensive but the ExO / ILO knew that there was a lot more about Ya'Han than what was contained in that dossier. To start her life as the youngest daughter of the ruler of NYLA IV and be forced to escape to Federation space left no doubts in the Ullian's mind that there was a lot of suppressed memories that could surface and possibly even hinder her ability to perform. So far, this had not been the case, but Shar'El did notice that Ya'Han had not been quite herself since their return from OLTHAR PRIME and the death of Jayson Stark's clone.

"Commander," Maya said drawing Shar'El's attention across the flight deck. "I am picking up a very faint and strange communication signal. It is encoded and does not appear to be targeted to anyone of any place, in particular, to make things even more interesting, the signal's amplitude is not Elasian. If I were to guess as to who is sending this signal, I would have to say that it is the Romulans as it most closely matches the type of frequencies they use. Of course, this can mean only one of two things, either someone on ELAS is in possession of Romulan technology or..."

"Or the Romulans are on ELAS," Shar'El sighed making everyone aware that of the two offered possibilities the latter one was by far the least desirable.  "Can we decode the signal?" the ExO / ILO asked.

"We might have been able to do so had we been on the ANUBIS, or at the very least have access to the main computer, but the SPHINX was not given the necessary files to even attempt to decode this type of signal," Maya explained. "We never expected to run into the Romulans here of all places."

"My link to the ANUBIS was temporarily suspended to make sure that it would not give our location away should it somehow be discovered," the Avatar said. "Lt. Commander Maya is right, we could not have anticipated running into the Romulans here, especially not on a Federation controlled world."

"The Romulans are like a bad fungal infection," the ExO / ILO sighed. "They always show up when they are the least expected and when they are going to be the most trouble for everyone else.  Can you show me the signal," Shar'El added, hoping that she would be able to get a little more information from the wave pattern.  Maya quickly complied displaying the signal on one of her monitors.

While sitting at her station, Ani could get a good view of the signal and provide a quick analysis of what she was seeing. "The signal appears to be one of the older encoded system used by the Romulans. I strongly doubt that they would be using it now, which could indicate that we are dealing with older equipment in the hands of the Elasians."

"There is another possibility," Shar'El offered, sighing for the third time. "Try using the decoding protocol used during the GROSHTA Incident."

"That was over a decade ago," Ani pointed out.

"There is something familiar about that wave pattern, something that I believe I saw in the memories of someone we dealt with in a previous mission," Shar'El vaguely explained, not wanting to give out more information than was necessary, especially if she ended up being wrong about this.

"It's working," Maya said with glee and surprise. "We are able to decode the signal," the Chief Science Officer said while doing exactly that.

=/\= Jolan-Tru, dear friends.=/\= the voice of what sounded like an elderly man said. =/\= My name is Lujem and I hope that someone will be able to receive this before it is too late. I am on ELAS, as I have been for the last 14 years, exiled by my own people. I have been living here, out of the public's eye as best as could but things have changed. I am unable to contact the Elasian authorities to warn them of what I know so I am left with only one option, this. If you are able to receive and decode this transmission, and if you are able to make it to ELAS, please meet me at the Toluss Tavern located on the outskirts of the city of Poljah. I will be there every day, just ask for a glass of Romulan Ale, no one else there asks for that but me, that way I will know that you have received my message and are willing to listen to what I have to say. Please hurry; I am not sure how much longer we have. =/\=

"The message repeats from there on," Maya said looking over her shoulder to Shar'El. "What are we going to do about this? It could be a trap."

"I always think everything could be a trap, which is why I'm still alive," the ExO / ILO said, rolling her eyes and sighing once again causing Maya to appear puzzled while Ani simply smiled knowing exactly where that line originated.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P034: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34023.2000 ("Killing Time")
-=-=-
"Killing Time"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Jolan-Tru" & (BAS) "Plan of Action"]
-=-=-

Setting: Runabout USS ISIS, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34023.2000

There was very little for the Junior Ambassador to do, the ISIS was on autopilot keeping pace with the fleet of Elasian Destroyers that stood all around them. The Ambassadorial team had been granted safe passage to ELAS, but the condition for this was for their ship to be accompanied for the entire duration of the journey. Adriana should have felt reassured in having so many armed vessels surrounding them, but the presence of the destroyers achieved the opposite effect, at least as far as she was concerned. Ambassador Bonviva appeared not in the least bit concerned or troubled by their predicament, the azure-skin woman radiating an air of peace that was impossible to ignore.

"You do realize that you are just making this worse for yourself," Xana said before taking a sip on the drink she had in her hands. "Everything is going according to plan. We are en route to ELAS and have been granted safe passage which the escort we currently have will ensure."

"What about the fact that half of the destroyers around us were, not that long ago, ready to fire and destroy the other half?" Adriana asked.

"Political posturing," the Human/Bolian dismissed without a second thought. "I will not claim that the situation is not dire, or even not dangerous, but it is far from being as bad as it could be. The Lokustaar operative did his job, I will grant him that, but if the plan was to get the civil war started, it would have already happened."

"All of the information we have been able to gather on the Lokustaar points to them working on a more long-term basis, not to mention having plans within plans, each with countless redundancies to secure their final objective," Lopez said, her voice ever so quietly trembling as she spoke.

"That is another reason why there is nothing for us to be concerned about," Bonviva said smiling before taking another sip of her drink. "Think about everything that went into the Shadows setting all of this up. They have the War Master Daanold and his daughter in one corner of the arena, the leader of The Dark Order, Puunce in the other with the leader of the Expansionists, Jerrun, and the trader Anshaa in one of the opposite corners while Tarken and his underground forces are in the last corner. As much as we are meant to look at this as a battle between two sides, there are clear indications if you know where to look that point to things not being that simple. Setting one side to fight against another is easy, but it is equally easy to stop, but getting everyone to not fully trust friends and foes alike will ensure that the conflict will be nearly impossible to stop. To accomplish this though, they needed an outside force to break the status-quo, and that is where the Federation comes into play."

"Would it not mean that our going to ELAS is going to trigger the thing that we are trying to avoid?" Adriana asked appearing confused.

"The Lokustaar hoped that the ANUBIS would be the trigger, the spark that ignited the flames of war, but Captain Morningstar understood this and his decision to have the ANUBIS withdraw without engaging the first set of destroyers forced the Shadows to go to their contingency plan. That is where we come in," Xana continued. "They need us to be on ELAS and even to start these peace talks in order to trigger something that will have the general same effect. Our real challenge will be once we arrive and start the talks, we will have a short window of opportunity to make everyone realize that they have been played by the Lokustaar for no other reason than to devastate their world and be able to have others point an accusatory finger at the mighty Federation. Until then, there is nothing we can do, and worrying about what might or might not happen is pointless. So, enjoy this moment and relax," the Human/Bolian said taking one last gulp from her drink.

The Junior Ambassador let out a slow elongated breath as she thought that this would be a lot easier said than done. Xana possessed the experience and knowledge granting her this clarity of purpose, two things that Adriana lacked. Her experience as a Ship's Counselor might have given her an edge on some aspects, but when it came down to a situation like the one they were heading into, Lopez had no other choice but to acknowledge that she was not at all ready to approach what was to come with the calmness of her mentor.

As much as she had been prompted to relax by Xana, Adriana found herself calling up the names of the major players they would be dealing with once they arrived on ELAS on the small screen atop of the flight controls.

War Master Daanold - a ruthless military man who dedicated his entire life to the protection of his homeworld and its native inhabitants. The man earned the respect of his peers through countless displays of bravery and tactical brilliance. The only thing he ever did for himself was to marry and obtain an offspring. No official records could be found about the details of thins, but judging by what was available, Adriana could guess that the War master had been disappointed in having a daughter instead of a son.

Leader of the Elasian Nationalist Puritans Evaanku - a determined and driven woman who fought her entire life to be more than simply her father's daughter. Proving herself was never an easy task and even when she succeeded, there were indications that she believed more could have been done do to the lackluster reaction of her father. Adriana almost felt sorry for the Elasian woman knowing that the task to meet a parent's expectations was never an easy one, and in her case, things were made even more difficult thanks to her father's position and the absence of her mother to help temper the War Master's expectations.

Leader of The Dark Order Puunce - foes and friends alike feared this brutal and pitiless man. To become the one in charge of a group of warriors whose missions were those that no one else dared to even try was not easy, and yet there he was. Fear was not something he knew, nor was he accustomed to come up against a situation that he could not shape to his will and needs.

Leader of the Expansionists Jeruun - a crafty and talented businessman who quickly elevated himself to a position of power and importance thanks to forging alliances that stretched far beyond the Elasian star system. The man had a gift to turn everything he touched into a successful enterprise, spreading wealth and prosperity everywhere he went. Many Elasians loved him for what he did to help his people, others hated him for opening their world to outside influence. Whichever side they stood on though, one thing was certain, no one could ignore the man and his influence.

The successful and equally attractive trader Anshaa - the woman's name was known by most, either as a person to be contacted when trying to obtain something impossible to get or when in need to put a face on what Elasian business success could be. Although such a thing was not part of the Elasian culture, Anshaa was as close to a superstar as could be, commanding respect as well as controversy wherever she appeared.

The undercover NEW ALEXANDRIA agent Tarken - a shadow amongst shadows, the deep cover operative likely possessed the best understanding of what they would be facing on ELAS, but his role made it equally difficult for them to access his knowledge. There was no way for Xana or Adriana just simply call upon him and have the operative explain what he knew. This meant that it was up to him to find a way to contact them as he had Shar'El back on the Elasian destroyer, and that meant the Ambassadorial team would sooner or later be faced with an unknown variable above those they already needed to deal with.

The problem with all of these people was not their accomplishments or status within the culture of their people, it was the fact that they were only a handful of those involved in this affair. It was more than likely that other, less known and reputable individuals were working for and against these five making the political landscape even more complicated. Xana was right in stating that getting to ELAS was the easy part, their challenge would start when they would begin to interact with these people in more than through simple communications.

The Junior Ambassador closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair, trying her best to relax and not be overwhelmed by everything she had read and everything else that for one reason or another had not been part of the information they possessed.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M15-P035: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34023.2000 ("Last But Not Least")
=-=
"Last But Not Least"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Killing Time" / (BAS) "Back and Forth"]
=-=

Setting: USS SPHINX, Infirmary
Stardate: 34023.2000

Sonja exited the Infirmary looking positively Elasian. Satella was pleased with her work, the cosmetic alterations being exactly as she wanted them to. As great as her achievements were though, the physician still needed to deal with the last of the infiltration team. Satella knew that the Shillian would be her greatest challenge. Stopping Ya'Han's hair from changing color was one thing, but Maya was a completely different story. The one advantage the CMO could see was that the CSciO had complete control over her ability to shapeshift.

"Sonja said that you wanted to see me, Doctor?"

"Yes," Satella said gently patting the examination bed. "It's your turn."

"My turn?" Maya appeared genuinely surprised.

"Yes," the CMO confirmed. "Last time I checked, Cmdr. Shar'El had you as being part of the infiltration team. Although your appearance is not entirely humanoid, I am quite certain that you will stick out in a crowd. I suspect that the Elasians have no idea what a Shillian looks like. Your problem is that you share a lot of physical characteristics with the Trills, and that would be problematic."

"Maybe not as much as you might believe," Maya said. The Shillian had not moved from the doorway to the Infirmary, and by the looks of things, she was not about to anytime soon. "There is a Trill research station on ELAS. This means that the Elasians have been exposed to the presence of Trills on their home planet. I understand that given the current political uneasiness, things could be difficult. Members of certain factions would see them and me as unwelcomed outsiders. Drawing such attention though might not be such a bad thing as it could help us draw out the Lokustaar operative."

"That is a valid point. My problem is that Cmdr. Shar'El gave me specific orders. Everyone is to undergo cosmetic alteration to appear more Elasian." Satella did not want to fight with Maya. The physician respected the scientist too much for that. The problem was that Bruxa had no choice in the matter. Orders were orders, and without more time available to them, there was no room to argue or delay. Every minute wasted talking about this was a minute less the CMO had to make this work.

"I do not believe that Cmdr. Shar'El considered all of the variables when she gave you those orders." Satella could see that Maya was ready for a fight, even if only a verbal one. "I am more than capable of avoiding drawing unwanted attention. Actually, I am better able to do this as I am rather than being made to appear Elasian."

"If you are referring to your shapeshifting ability, I agree. The one problem I see though is you being able to maintain whatever form you chose for as long as it might be required. According to your medical file, this process is quite physically demanding. I did see that you have made quite a lot of progress in maintaining those animal forms for longer than you used to. The problem is again the question of how long you might be called upon to hold that form. As of right now, we have no idea who or even where the Lokustaar agent is. It might take us days if not weeks to just identify him. Can you maintain your animal form for that long?"

Satella knew the answer. The longest amount of time Maya was able to keep one of her shapeshifting forms was 12 hours. This was amazing when considering that she could barely manage to hold it for an hour in the beginning. That said, 12 hours was almost certainly going to be well short of what they would need while on ELAS.

"Maybe I could ask Cmdr. Shar'El to grant me permission to remain on the SPHINX. I could help coordinate the research efforts from here." The CMO could see that the CSciO was grasping at straws. Maya's role had already been defined and was exactly what she had just suggested it to be. The mission's team leader wanted everyone to be surgically altered in case something went wrong. If there was a need, both Maya and Satella could venture out without drawing too much attention. That was as long as they looked like they belonged on ELAS.

"I understand your reluctance," Bruxa said. "You see this as everyone else being able to go on this mission while able to call upon their respective and defining skills. Rebecca, Grace, and Ya'Han can still call upon their combat training. Sonja can still find a way to turn a piece of scrap metal into an unstoppable weapon. Even Shar'El can still look into the memories of those they would encounter. Although your shapeshifting ability is part of who you are, it is not what defines you. You are a remarkably intelligent and resourceful person. I could not even begin to think and analyze things the way you do. You can see all of the science behind everything you encounter. Better yet, if you do not understand what you see, you immediately start looking for a way to explain it."

"As a Doctor, you do the same. Every patient that comes to you is a mystery that you immediately try to solve. The only difference is that you deal in the smaller, biological realm while I deal with the larger universe as a whole." Satella smiled at the compliment and the fact that this was going exactly where she needed it to go.

"You are right, but you do it better," the CMO said. "In both cases, our respective abilities are what we are good at. The color of my hair or your ability to shapeshift have no impact on what we do."

Maya sighed having realized that she would not be able to win this argument. "You win, Doctor." After having said this, the CSciO walked into the Infirmary and took her place on the examination bed.

"This was not a battle. You did not lose and I certainly did not win. I simply pointed out something that you chose not to consider at this time. If you have to blame someone, blame Adriana. Like it or not, I think I have been picking up some of her counseling ways." Satella smiled as he looked down at the visibly nervous woman on the medical bed. "Just relax. I will do my best to make the necessary alterations as easy to remove as possible. That way, if there is an emergency need for your shapeshifting ability, you will still be able to do it. Just keep in mind that I need to make the alterations be as realistic as possible though. If you appeared as some sort of sick Elasian, we might end up in even more trouble than if they saw a Trill."

"Do what you have to do. You are right; I cannot allow myself to be solely defined by my shapeshifting ability. As much as it identifies me as a Shillian, I am also a Starfleet officer and a scientist. That is what I need to hold on to at this time." Maya sounded as if she was trying to convince herself, but it appeared to be working.

"I have seen you at work. You are one heck of a Science Officer, never doubt that."

=-=
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]
M15-P036: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34023.2130 ("Madness")
=-=
"Madness"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Last But Not Least" by Rachel / (BAS) "From Peace to Chaos" by moi]
=-=

Setting: SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34023.2130

Shar'El gave the members of her team currently on the Flight Deck a quick once over, finding it strange to see a group of Elasians where a Nylaan, Shillian, Terran and Android had been not that long ago. It was a heartwarming display of their individual dedication to this mission and their roles in its successful completion. Despite some of the personal issues some had, they were still here ready to do what was required to help a world avoid falling prey to the darkness of the Lokustaar.

"The destroyers are starting their final approach of ELAS, our best time to disengage will be when they go over the Southern Sea," Ya'Han reported. "The planetary sensor web is at its weakest there, likely because there is nothing there for them to protect. Our entering the planet's atmosphere there will minimize the chances of us being detected."

"We will also need to set up a slow descent into the atmosphere," Maya added. "Even if the sensor web is not as dense over that part of the planet, we still risk being detected, electronically or visually, if our atmospheric disturbance is too large. We could risk trying to make the SPHINX pass as a rogue meteor crashing into the ocean, but someone is likely to wonder why it was not detected by anyone until it actually came in contact with the atmosphere. The Elasian authorities might not be looking for us as we will have vanished into the ocean, but there is bound to be a lot of questions asked of everyone on the destroyers and those in charge of planetary security to see why no one saw the meteor."

"It should be easy enough to have the SPHINX perform a slow controlled atmospheric entry," Ani stated. "We can also modify the external field generator to reduce the drag effect of the ship as it makes contact."

"Instead of a meteor, we could make ourselves appear more like a piece of debris that just happened to fall down to the planet," Sonja added. "Looking at all of the destroyers that are here, it should not be that much of a surprise to anyone watching to see something falling loose. Just looking at some of those destroyers, I am amazed to see them in service and not gathering dust in some graveyard. The Elasians may have space travel capabilities, but their ships are far from being in line with the technology used by the Federation or any of the other major powers out there. Their inferior technology is going to make things a lot easier for us."

"Do what is required to avoid our presence being detected," the ExO / ILO said, confident that the team had everything well under control.

"Ani, according to your instruments, which of the three closest destroyers, not counting the one we are attached to, is the weakest structurally?" The question presented by the Chief Engineer took the ExO / ILO and everyone else by surprise.

"The destroyer directly to our right shows clear signs of structural weakness allow its hull," the android replied. "A direct hit might not be enough to knock some of the panels off but it would certainly be sufficient to cause the ship to lose attitude control, maybe enough to fall prey to the planet's gravity. Once they are caught in it, any effort to escape could see the ship begin to tear apart."

"Are you actually discussing destroying one of those destroyers?" Maya was beside herself. "We were sent here to stop a war, not to start one."

"Shar'El did say for us to do what is *required* to make sure our presence is not detected," Sonja said shrugging. "Can you think of any better way to camouflage our entry other than to ride the trail of debris that a disintegrating destroyer would create? The authorities would be so busy trying to figure out what happened that they would not have time to even think about looking for us. Come on, it's the perfect plan."

"The perfect plan to start a war," Ya'Han sighed. "Whatever side the destroyer will belong to will want answers as to what happened and the other side will deny having anything to do with what happened which the first side will claim is a lie."

"Uh, EARTH to Ya'Han, I was making a joke," the woman who was a red-haired Terran when this mission started said.  The Nylaan turned Elasian slowly closed her eyes and began to shake her head in visible disappointment.  "Geez, you people are WAY too uptight," the Chief Engineer said rolling her eyes. "Here I am trying to make everyone feel a little less stressed about this whole thing and instead you are all jumping down my throat. Do not worry, I got the hint, how could I not? I will stay quiet from now on, but before I do, I wonder if all great geniuses felt this way when they had to deal with this kind of crowd."

"There's a fine line between genius and insanity," Ani said.

"No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness," Sonja fired back.

"True genius is rarely recognized during one's life," Shar'El jumped int with. "Will you spare our lives if we acknowledge your genius now?"

"You people take all of the fun out of it," the Chief Engineer signed.

"I hate to interrupt this pointless exchange, but if we are to take full advantage of the weaker sensor web, we need to act now," Maya said ending the madness that had taken over the flight deck.

"Standing by to disengage the magnetic holds," Sonja said, her voice having turned completely serious within a single breath.

"Alright people, its show time!"

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P037: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 34023.2240 ("Need To Known")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Need To Known"
[previous post were (ANU) "Madness" / (BAS) "Figuring Things Out"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS SPHINX, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34023.2240 (0645 local time)

Despite all of the talks about destroying one of the Elasian destroyers to help camouflage the SPHINX as it entered the planet's atmosphere, the ship and crew indeed without any incident. According to Maya, the planetary sensor net failed to detect their presence and by the looks and sounds of things, their landing in a small clearing remained unnoticed by the locals.

"Let us not take too much of a gamble with this part of the mission," Shar'El said. "I would prefer if our friend Lujem did not know the extent of our presence on ELAS. That is why Ya'Han and I will go to the Toluss Tavern alone."

"Commander, with all due respect," Sergeant Carter said. "The Corporal and I did not come here to enjoy a leisurely ride in the SPHINX. We are here to offer support and protection to your team wherever they may be. Meeting this Romulan could be a trap and you could need an extra set of muscles to help you get out of there."  Both Rebecca and Grace, who appeared as two formidable Elasian women, were visibly more than ready to jump into action.

"I appreciate the offer Sergeant, but my decision stands," the Commander said. "Our objective is to find this Lujem. I will scan his memories and walkout even before anyone knows that we were there. If trouble should find us, I am sure that Ya'Han will be more than capable of taking care of things in a quiet manner, allowing us to make a discrete exit. The more people walk into that tavern, the more attention we will be drawing onto ourselves, and that would not help anyone. You two are to stay here and wait for our return. Maya and Ani will be monitoring the information and communication net while Sonja will keep an eye on any suspicious activities in this part of the city. You two and Doctor Bruxa are on standby. Understood?"

"Sir, yes Sir," the Marine Sergeant said in a less than happy manner. That she agreed with her orders or not changed nothing in the fact that she would follow whatever instructions they were given.


[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: ELAS, outskirts of the City of Poljah
Stardate: 34023.2245 (0650 local time)

The two women made their way through the field and towards the city's limits, the silence that followed them interrupted by a softly whispered conversation shared only between them.

"You were a little hard on our Marine friends back there," the black-haired Elasian said. "All they wanted to do was to do their job, the job that they came here to do. You cannot fault them for that."

"I am not faulting them or anyone else for wanting to do their job. My sternness was a response to the sparkle I recognized in her eyes," the other Elasian woman said. "I saw that she was a little too anxious to prove herself and likely saw the setting of a tavern as a perfect opportunity to do just that. No matter what world such an establishment may be found on, the general rules remain the same. People who go there are either running away from or looking for something. I saw no reason to make it easier for those already there to find a reason to start something."

As dark and cynical as Shar'El's views were, the Nylaan hiding beneath the disguise of an Elasian woman had to agree with the statement. Even as a young daughter of the High Sovereign, Ya'Han knew that such establishments were to be avoided by everyone. At first, she believed that the reason for this was because those places were beneath the position of importance that those working for her father held, but over time she came to understand that the real reason was something much darker. Any official agent of her father would most certainly be putting their lives on the line by encountering a crowd of displeased and angry subjects more than anxious to display their discontent.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: ELAS, City of Poljah, outside the Toluss Tavern
Stardate: 34023.2255 (0700 local time)

"We might be here a little too early," Ya'Han said as she looked around at the deserted streets. "There might not be anyone in there and that is going to make it difficult for us to keep our entrance a low-key one."

"Maybe so, but it will also make it easier for me to scan the memories of those people who are there," Shar'El said. "If anyone knows anything about an ale-drinking Romulan, it should not take me too long to get the information we need. Stay out here and keep an eye open, I will call out if I need you."

=/\= Sonja here, =/\= the Chief Engineer jumped in with. =/\= Communications and information channels are quiet, so you should not encounter any problems. That said, we will be monitoring your progress from here. If anything happens, Rebecca and Grace will head your way, even if only to make sure no one was following you back."

"Fine," the Commander reluctantly agreed, "but wait for my signal. I am still hoping to get this down without anyone even saying a single word." With that said, Shar'El walked into he tavern leaving Ya'Han behind to keep watch, which was exceptional easy since no one was around. It did not take long for the Sec/Tac to feel a little uneasy by being the only out there. What would someone think if they saw here like this, a simple, single woman standing outside of a tavern that, for all intents and purposes appeared to be a less than reputable establishment? Every culture was different, but certain ideas were common throughout the universe and her being alone like this could actually prove to be more of a problem than anything else.

Minutes passed without any word from Shar'El. Were there more people than she had expected for her to scan or had one particular individual monopolized her time and efforts? The other option, the one that the Sec/Tac liked the least, was that something had happened making it impossible for the Commander to call out for help. Using the subdermal communicator would answer this quickly enough, but it might also interrupt the Ullian's scan, something that would delay them requiring them to be exposed the way they were for even longer.

Just when she was about to contact Shar'El, the Commander emerged from the tavern and made her way down one of the side streets, the Elasian woman looking rather flushed. The Sec/Tac quickly followed but remained quiet realizing that they were no longer alone and that their conversation might be overheard.

Wanting to know what was happening, Ya'Han took a chance. "Is there something wrong?"

"No," Shar'El bluntly replied. "We just need to go."

"Go where?"

"This way," the Commander said, pointing down a small alleyway thus managing to offer an answer that provided no clues as to what was happening.

=/\= What's going on? =/\= Sonja asked.

"Not sure," the Sec/Tac replied. "I'm just following. My guess is that she saw or heard something in the tavern that made her decide that we needed to go."

=/\= Go where? =/\=

"I do not know," Ya'Han said barely managing to keep pace with the rushing woman.

=/\= Well, I need to know. =/\= Sonja said, her frustration impossible to be ignored.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M15-P038: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 34023.2300 ("Obmutescent")
=-=
"Obmutescent"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Need To Know" / (BAS) "Figuring Things Out"]
=-=

Setting: USS SPHINX, Infirmary
Stardate: 34023.2300 (0705 local time)

Maya, Sonja, and Ani were keeping an eye out for trouble. That was their duty leaving Satella to monitor the vitals of the two women who went out to meet the exiled Romulan. The idea was a simple one. Should something happen making it impossible for either one to request assistance, the CMO would be able to notify the others.

The moment Shar'El and Ya'Han left the SPHINX, their vitals were elevated. That was to be expected given the situation they were all in. The covert operations team was, for all intents and purposes, on a hostile planet. Using cosmetic alterations to appear similar to the locals did not guarantee that they would not run into trouble. Even taking into account the women's expertise and experiences, the elevated levels were quite normal. Something had to reflect the level of stress they were dealing with.

Satella noticed that the stress level of Ya'Han had risen sharply when she was waiting for Shar'El. That was not at all surprising, but what to see a sudden spike in the Commander's vitals did surprise the Doctor. There was no way for Bruxa to know if it was because of something that was said or done. It was also impossible to ignore that something major had happened. The conversation that followed between the two women only served to add to the mystery. For a reason only known to Shar'El, the woman seemed less than willing to share what had triggered her rushed exit.

The Doctor shared in the Chief Engineer's curiosity. It would have been nice to know what was happening but like Sonja, Satella would have to wait. If an answer was to come, it would do so at the discretion of the Commander.  The only thing the physician could be sure of was that Shar'El's vitals were indicative of someone going through a very stressful episode. As for Ya'Han's vitals, they were reflective of someone trying to keep up with someone else.

=/\= Would someone mind telling us what is going on out there? =/\= Sonja bellowed. The woman was usually the patient sort, most of the time. Right now though was not going to be one of those particular moments.

=/\= We are heading into an underground passage. =/\= Ya'Han's report was short and to the point. The woman sounded out of breath indicating that they were moving quickly to wherever they were going. =/\= Still not getting any clues as to we are going. All I can say is that she knows where she is going. There is no hesitation in any of the turns we are taking. =/\=

=/\= Do you need the Marines to join up with you? =/\= If Sonja could not be there at least she would make sure that someone else was there to help. Satell could easily imagine that Rebecca and Grace were itching to get into the action.

=/\= NO! =/\= The reply from Shar'El was abrupt and made it perfectly clear that it also was non-negotiable. Whatever side mission she was on would be for her and Ya'Han alone to complete, whatever it may be.

Satella continued monitoring the women's vital signs. As much as she hated it, it was the only thing she could do. Unfortunately, the undercover officers had not chosen to bring along a remote camera. This meant that there was nothing to provide the team on the SPHINX with more information than what little they were receiving. After a few more minutes, Doctor Bruxa was shocked to see the two displays of the women's vitals suddenly go flat.  The CMO quickly panic but pushed away those disturbing thoughts. There had to be another explanation other than them being dead to account for this. In order to prove this theory right, the physician checked the status of her instruments.

"Bruxa to Paquette," Satella said trying her best to remain calm. "Is there something wrong with our communication system. I have lost both of their vital signals.

=/\= The comm channel has also gone silent. We are not receiving any transmissions from them. =/\=

Satella could feel her breathing quicken. "Are they..."

=/\= It is highly unlikely that they are dead Doctor, =/\= said Maya. =/\= It is far more likely that they have entered a section that inhibits any sort of signal to be transmitted or received. I am basing this on the fact that both the vitals and communications went silent at the exact same time. Even if they ran into some sort of disintegration field, there would have been a brief spike of energy. Our instruments did not register any such energy outburst. Likewise, all other unsavory possibilities that would result in their rapid demise would have provided us with some kind of clue. They appear to simply have gone obmutescent. =/\=

"Obmuteswhat?!?"

=/\= Obmutescent, =/\= the avatar offered. =/\= It is the act of becoming mute or silent. Such a term is usually attributed to someone being stubborn about such silence.  It is refers to a more willful act. I suspect that this was not the case based on the data we have. =/\=

=/\= Will you two knock it off! =/\= Sonja snapped. =/\= Both the Commander and our Chief of Security are missing. This is NOT the time to argue about the definition of a word. =/\=

=-=
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]
M15-P039: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34023.2310 ("Pledge")
-=-=-
"Pledge"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Obmutescent" & (BAS) "Figuring Things Out"]
-=-=-

Setting: Runabout USS ISIS, Flight Deck
Stardate: 34023.2310 (0715 local time)

The runabout sat in the middle of a large landing platform designed for ship much larger than the ISIS which only helped to make the Ambassadorial duo feel a little out of place.

"Sensors are not picking up anyone in the vicinity," Adriana said. "Are we sure that these are the coordinate we were given?"

Speaking from experience, the Bolian/Human woman said, "Getting a diplomatic welcome with a fanfare, honor guards and cheering crowd is not all that it is cracked up to be." Xana added a soft growl as she rolled her eyes. "Let us not forget that we are here on ELAS to lead several opposing sides towards a peace agreement. Making a big show of our arrival, by any side, could be misinterpreted as us having sided with one faction over the others. Then again, the quiet, almost secret air surrounding our arrival could also be interpreted as us being here to serve the agenda of one side over the other."

"Great," Adriana sighed. "It is the Kobayashi Maru all over again, although this time it is not a holographic recreation that we can just walk out of."

"You can always walk out, or away," Xana pointed out in a tone that hinted to some profound wisdom. "The only difference is that here, in the real world, the consequences of such an action would involve not only you, me, or the members of your team but everyone with the slightest bit of invested interest in what is happening. In this particular case, it is the fate of an entire planet that rests on our actions. We could have chosen to never get involved, or not to offer assistance, or to not board the ISIS, and we can still choose not to step out. Life is all about making choices and for everyone involved to live with the consequences of those choices, but you already know that."

Adriana understood what Xana was referring to, the Ambassador's choice of words not having been random in the least. Back on OLTHAR PRIME, the Junior Ambassador had made several choices that lead to them being here, together, alive. After given the security console another quick look, Lopez looked at Bonviva. "Sensors are still showing no one out there, maybe we should step out and make our presence known."

"Let us do so," the Bolian/Human woman said with a smile. "I would hate to have come all the way here for nothing, plus it will be nice for me to stretch my legs. Since my recovery, I have not been as physically active as I should have been, although I will say that my muscles do not feel as weak as I expected them to, not that I ever expected to be standing like this ever again. A perfect example of how a person's choices and actions can affect the lives of others in ways they might never have expected or imagined."

Smiling, Adriana said, "You have made your point."

"I am not sure I have," Xana countered. "At least not fully. Thanks to you, there are children out there who did not lose their mother. There are good people who have not lost a friend and bad people who have not gotten rid of an enemy. Your decision is affecting a lot more people than you could have ever imagined. Just look at the ANUBIS and Captain Morningstar. My remaining onboard changed his life even if he was not directly involved in anything that happened. That is what we have to keep in mind as we move forward with these peace talks, whatever choices are made, whatever decisions are agreed upon, they will affect more than those initially considered by those choices and decisions. As important as this peace is, we have to keep the bigger picture in view and make sure that everyone else sees this as well. There are countless people counting on us without even them knowing that we are here."

"Well, one of them know we are here," the Junior Ambassador said as her gaze fell back onto the security console. "Someone is approaching the runabout. It looks like Puunce, and he's alone."

"That is a bold gesture, one that demonstrates the importance or urgency of the situation, maybe even both," the Bolian/Human Ambassador said. "Let us make a vow that we will do everything in our power to make this work, not for us, not for him, not for the other faction leaders, but for the entire population of ELAS and those whose lives they touch in one form or another."

As inspiring words, Adriana had to admit that she had never heard anything quite as powerful and direct making her choice to follow and do as Xana had mentioned an all too easy one. “Let’s go,” the Junior Ambassador said as she reached for the controls and release the lock on the outside doors.

-=-=-
Setting: ELAS, Landing Platform
Stardate: 34023.2325 (0730 local time)

The Elasian man gave no indications of being nervous, scared or even concerned in the slightest way as the two Federation Ambassadors approached him. As the leader of the Dark Order, remaining in control of his emotions and how they were perceived by others was essential, and that was something both Xana and Adriana understood.

"I am glad to see you here safe and sound," the Elasian said, welcoming his two guests with a respectful nod of his head, but he never took his eyes from them.

"We are glad to be here," Xana offered in return but the rest of what she was planning to say remained lodged in her throat as she saw several dozen armed soldiers rushing in their direction.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M15-P040: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 34023.2310 ("Questions and Qualms")
“Questions and Qualms”
[Previous post: (ANU) "Pledge" & (BAS) "Figuring Things Out"]

=/\=

I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned
--Richard Feynman

=/\=
Location: ELIAS, National Puritan HQ
Stardate: 34023.2310 (0715 local time)

“Do I have to be here for this?” Rilliz asked.

Evaanku shrugged as she kept typing away at her terminal, sending a message to one of her contacts.  “Have to...that’s a very strong phrase.  I’d think, though, you’d want to be here.”

Tugging on the collar of his tunic, Rilliz said, “I feel like I want to die.”

Evaanku shrugged.  “You get used to that feeling.”

“It’s not that bad,” she tried.  

Rilliz looked skeptically over at her as he paced.  “Really?  Because he came across as very stern and loud when we negotiating the negotiations.”

The daughter of the War Master gave a long suffering sigh.  “Look, he had to give a full-throated defense of our side.  You will see that he is just--”

“EVAANKU!”  

There was a large slam from an old-fashioned wooden door followed by another slam.  Evaanku didn’t have to look up to know that it was because the War Master had taken a large blunt instrument and was banging along the walls to get everyone’s attention.  “EVAANKU!”

“I’m still here in my office,” she called out mildly.

The War Master came stomping into Evaanku’s office swinging a large bat with metal spikes on the end.  “EVAANKU!  I will *kill* people today,” Daanold bellowed as he came into her office.  Pointing with his free hand to his oy’naQ he said, “I was given this by Jagehl of House Konugh of Q’onoS and I will kill people with it.  And then I will them again with my bare hands.”

“Hello, War Master,” she said when he finally took a breath; although she didn’t look up from her terminal.

“Evaanku.  Has anyone in this blasted building heard of what we are trying to do today,” Daanold said.  

Sighing Evaanku attempted to answer, even though she knew it was futile.  “You mean dragging the Federation here again--”

“It is only the most important day in our people’s history, which is nothing to say of *my* history and has anyone bothered to follow my carefully scripted 74 point plan?”

“No, because it was 72 points too long,” Evaanku muttered under her breath.  

The War Master started swinging his oy’naQ as he moved freely about Evaanku’s office.  “Now, I have to go --”  when Evaanku cleared her throat loudly he amended “we have to go meet the Federation clearly unprepared.”  As he paced and swung his oy’naQ he nearly hit Rilliz, who thankfully ducked out of the way in time.  Looking blankly at Rilliz for a moment he then turned to Evaanku and asked, “Who’s this?”

Evaanku finally stopped typing and looked at the War Master.  “That’s Rilliz, he’s our liaison to Jerrun.”  She paused before continuing on dryly, “He was scared of meeting you for some reason.”

The War Master was beyond dry text, and instead spoke about Rilliz as if he wasn’t there.  “Rilliz...Jerrun...Oh, Jerrun….the Expensionists.”  Looking at Rilliz he said decisively.  “You’re an idiot.”  Shrugging he said, “Jerrun is the bigger idiot, so there’s that I suppose.”

Rilliz looked at Evaanku and said, “Evaanku.”

Evaanku held up a hand to the Orion trader and focused on the War Master.  “We’re not going to get anywhere like this.”  

“I don’t pretend to have respect for idiots,” the War Master snapped.  Turning to Rilliz he said, “Jerrun is nothing more than selling himself and has no respect for anyone or anything unless its for credit.  Since I can’t be bought or sold, I will remain intolerant of him.”  With that he swung off in a perfect march. 

“You need me,” Evaanku reminded him.  “I recall reading that in one of the 74 points.  And the plan was for all of us to sit down.  Jerrun needs to be a part of this.  Rilliz is our way into the Expensionists.”  

The War Master walked back into the room.  “Excuse me?  I need you?”

“The Federation agreed to meet with *all* of us,” Evaanku said.  “They think we’re all coming to the table.”  Looking at her beeping monitor she said dispassionately, “And now Puunce beat us to greeting the Federation.”

=/\=
Setting: ELAS, Landing Platform
Stardate: 34023.2345 (0745 local time)

“Well I will give you points for being thorough,” Xana said to one of the soldiers who was currently rifling through her belongings.  “Although what clues my shoes and accessories hold, please let me know.”  

The soldiers continued to scan, open up catalog everything in the Federation Ambassadors’ belongings, and shove it back in.  “Your articles are a credit to bourgeois taste,” one of the soldiers said.

“Thank you,” Xana sighed.

“You’re welcome,” the soldier replied, as he continued on.

The Federation Ambassador looked around.  They had been scanned, poked, prodded, and now they were being inventoried.  “How much longer?” she asked.  

“I’m not sure,” the soldier said.  “I don’t know even what I’m looking for but all off-worlders need to be inspected.  And the inspection stations are down so we need to do this by hand.  I guess I can tell you this, but there’s an extreme mistrust of the Federation.  Probably because the last time we had an Ambassador here, they gifted us with a statue of a horse, which was really obscene.  After they left, it exploded.” 

The azure woman nodded and waved her hand.  “Take all the time you need.”  Clearing her throat, she said, “But mind the shoes, I’m rather fond of those.”

Walking away, Xana kept to herself the fact that there had been *no* previous Ambassadorial party to ELIAS.  So who had sent the exploding Trojan Horse?  Lokusstar? That didn’t sound like them.  But they could have used that as a decoy for something else.  Maybe though it was someone else though.  Wandering over to Adriana, who was watching the other soldiers rifle through her stuff she asked quietly, “How’s it going?”

“Fine,” the Human woman nodded.  “I’m almost done.  And in speaking with Puunce he said after this inspection we should be able to go for our inspection of his operations soon.”

Xana watched where Puunce was standing off to the side talking to one of his people.  Nodding she said, “And I want to tell you what I just--”

As the Bolian/Human was speaking, two large parties started descending upon the group, one from the West and one from the South.  “I think we have company,” Adriana said.  Squinting, she said, “That looks like Daanold.  And I’ll bet that’s Jeruun in the other group.”

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond

USS ANUBIS NCC 18501
M15-P041: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 34023.2320 ("Rescued")
=-=
"Rescued"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Questions and Qualms" by Sarah / (BAS) "Figuring Things Out" by Karen]
=-=

Setting: ELAS, City of Poljah, alleyway
Stardate: 34023.2320 (0725 local time)

The ExO / ILO had no time to waste. If what she saw in the mind of the bartender was any indication, the life of the Romulan exile was in danger and required their immediate action. Shar'El agreed that the decision to act might have been taken quickly, but she would defend this course of action to the very end. In his communication, the Romulan claimed to have been on ELAS for the last 14 years. By itself, that number might not have meant all that much, but it established the man as having become an accepted fixture in these parts, so why the sudden shift to label him as a threat to be immediately disposed of unless he knew something of great importance?

"We are here," Shar'El whispered too Ya'Han who, to her credit, had not only kept up but done so without asking too many questions.  "The Romulan is in there, and if we are lucky, he will still be alive."

"In other words, this is still not a good time for me to ask what this is all about," the Chief of Security said in quiet resignation. This was a time for action, not for questions, so Ya'Han readied herself to break through the door and storm whatever was inside. With a quick nod of her, the Elasian-looking Nylaan confirmed her readiness. The sight was a little strange to behold for the ExO / ILO who clearly saw the woman she knew despite her altered appearance and the fact that her hair had not changed color to reflect her mindset.

=-=
Setting: ELAS, City of Poljah, Shadow filled room
Stardate: 34023.2325 (0730 local time)

With a single powerful kick, the door was removed from their way allowing both women to rush in. Thanks to the memories Shar'El found in the mind of the bartender, they had been able to find this place, but now the advantage was gone. There was no way for them to know what the layout of this place would be or how many people they would come up against, still, the ExO / ILO believed that taking this chance was well worth it if it meant saving the Romulan's life.

The unexpected and dramatic entrance of the two undercover Federation officers appeared to take everyone by surprise, at least those who were standing. Shar'El quickly focused her attention on the nearest individual standing to her left while Ya'Han rushed in to take care of the other Elasian-shaped form.  The battle was fierce as their adversaries displayed more than a simple passing knowledge of combat expertise but in the end, the two women proved themselves to be better, or at the very least lucky.

Confirming that her opponent was down and out, the ExO / ILO glanced over to Ya'Han to make sure that she too was alright. Since no sounds of a continued struggle were heard, Shar'El assumed that the Chief of Security had taken care of her opponent but looking in her direction the Commander found that the Nylaan had not taken care of one Elasian man but rather three.  

"Glad to see you in full form," Shar'El grinned before making her way to the Romulan who was lying face-down on the cold stone floor.

"Is he..."

"The pulse is faint, but he is still alive," the ExO / ILO said. "He does not look like he suffered any external injuries as I see no green liquid coming from him but judging by his labored breathing he might need medical attention. We need to get him back to the SPHINX, and that without drawing any attention."

"That should be easy enough," Ya'Han sarcastically said as she knelt down and looked at the unconscious Romulan before carefully taking hold of him order to place him over her shoulder for easy transport. "Two Elasian women running through the vacant alleys of the city while carrying a barely conscious Romulan, I do not see what could possibly draw any kind of attention to us. Maybe we could try to skip down the main streets just to see how good our luck is."

Shar'El just shook her head. Sarcasm did not suit Ya'Han but her words did ring all too true. The morning light was waking up this city more with each passing moment, and it would be impossible for them to do as the ExO / ILO had requested without someone seeing them.  "Alright, we need another plan."

"There is something in this area of the city that is interfering with our ability to communicate with the SPHINX," Ya'Han said. "My guess is that whatever it is, it is also blocking sensors, so there is no way for the rest of our team to know where we are. Our primary objective should be to find a way out of whatever this zone is, from there maybe Sonja or Maya can figure something out to help us get back to the SPHINX undetected."

"We certainly cannot stay here," the ExO / ILO said looking at the unconscious Elasians at their feet. "Alright, I will take point and you follow. Stay close, I will try to find us a quick way through the back alleys."

The two women made their exit, leaving the unconscious Elasian men to enjoy the tranquility of the shadow-filled room. As soon as they were out though something made its presence known, a single shimmering nightmarish form appeared as if born of the shadows themselves. A great many guesses could have been made as to what this form was, but when eight small red spheres broke through the partial darkness, all questions as to who or what this thing was were cast aside. The ANUBIS was sent to ELAS to help usher peace and capture a Lokustaar operative, but now it seemed that they were dealing with the genuine article, a true agent of night, one that could hide with ease in the shadows of this world.

The Romulan might have been in the hands of the Federation officers, but he was far from having been rescued.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M15-P042: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: 34023.2355 ("Sad and Stinky Situation")
-=-=-
"Sad and Stinky Situation"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Rescued" & (BAS) "Fraudulent Authenticity"]
-=-=-

Setting: ELAS, Landing Platform
Stardate: 34023.2355 (0800 local time)

Adriana was not expecting a red-carpet treatment, the situation on ELAS making the visit of the Ambassadorial team more of a quite necessity than an occasion to publicly acknowledge the arrival of dignitaries. That said, the Junior Ambassador had also not expected to be treated like common outsiders upon their arrival, and she even less expected to see two other factions descend upon their position,

"We were not planning on making a quiet arrival, right?" Lopez asked of Bonviva who was looking in the direction of the group displaying the colors of the Elasian War Master.

"Something is not right," Xana said as she studied the expression on Puunce's face.

"Which part?" Adriana gasped. "That we are literally in the middle of this or that we do not seem to be doing anything about it?"

"You two need to get out of here, NOW!" Puunce's announcement was urgent as he grabbed both Ambassadors by the arm to dragged them to a nearby drainage grid. "This is your only way out."

"In there!?!" Adriana demanded barely able to keep her eyes open from the pungent stench that came from beneath the grill.

"If you value your lives, then yes," the head of the Elasian Dark Order snapped back. "We will hold them back for as long as we can."

"We are here to negotiate peace," Xana said managing to maintain her professional tone and posture. "Not to go running through the sewers or whatever it is that is down there."

With a kick of his heel, the seal of the grill broke allowing it to swing down. "This is not what any of us wanted, least of all me. We cannot take the chance to have whatever slight hope of peace you represent be ended before the talks even start. It may sound crazy, but I believe that you are the best hope we all have at saving this world from a war that no one will survive. NOW GO!" Not allowing either woman to argue, Puunce forced them down the foul-smelling hole.

Against their better judgment and desires, the Bolian/Human Ambassador and her Junior Assistant made their way down the 12 or so meters long ladder. Just as they reached the bottom, they heard weapons fire followed by what appeared to be a heavy plate being dropped on top of the opening, plunging the two women into complete darkness.

"Now what?" Adriana asked as she desperately tried to keep the fear she felt from her voice.

"Now," Xana began as she turned on a hand-held lamp, "we find a way out of this place."

"You brought a lamp?" The Junior Ambassador asked in pleasant disbelief.

"It never hurts to be ready for the most unlikely happening," the Ambassador said casting both the light and her gaze to the upper end of the ladder. "I just hope that whatever is happening up there does not cost me my favorite pair of shoes. I am rather fond of that particular pair."

Adriana could not believe what she was hearing. Here they were, locked in the foulest stench imaginable while a fight was happening overhead and Xana was complaining about her possibly losing a pair of shoes. "I can't believe you. How can you stay so calm through all of this?"

"Would you believe me if I said that this was not the first time I was making my way through the sewers of an alien world?" The Bolian/Human asked not sounding anywhere close to being as upset as Adriana imagined the Ambassador should be. "I will admit that this one smells a great deal more unpleasant, but hopefully that means we will not have to deal with any R.O.U.Ss"

"Deal with what?" Adriana asked, not being familiar with the acronym used.

"Rodents Of Unusual Size," Xana said grinning.

The Junior Ambassador sighed and allowed her head to drop only to raise it back a few seconds later. "Well, I guess it would be better than us having to deal with the Five Ss."

"And those would be?"

"Slithering Stealthy Slimy Sewer Serpents," Adriana replied, trying to infuse some humor in this dark and dreary situation.  "I heard that they eat R.O.U.Ss for lunch.

"That's the spirit," the Ambassador chimed casting the light of her lamp down one end of the pipe before doing to the same to the other side. "Now, if this abundant bouquet of cringy and disgustingly embarrassing fragrance has not completely destroyed my sense of orientation, we need to go this way if we are to even get close to the main buildings."

At a loss for words, Adriana simply followed, trying her best not to think of the stench that assaulted her sense of smell of the feeling of the slimy sludge finding its way into her shoes and between her toes.

The more they walked, the more the Junior Ambassador thought of what had brought them here. Had Puunce truly saved their lives or had of this just been a ploy to get them out of sight and unable to take on the role they were here to fulfill? Had this been a show of confrontation between the head of the Dark Order and the War Master or was this all a nicely orchestrated deception for Jeruun's benefit or anyone else who might have been watching. If this was the case, Adriana feared that their time on this disease-filled dark drainage dumpster might not end quite as well as they might have hoped for.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS

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