USS ANUBIS - Mission 18
The Big Wedding
IN PROGRESS
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Morningstar Onto New Adventures
Ambassador Bonviva receives a strange message
002 Bonviva/Ya'Han The Game Is Afoot
The nature of the Quazil-Shedirak is questioned
003 Stark Elementary My Dear Stark
Ya'Han convinces Jayson to help
004 Paquette Working Together
Sonja and Xana go to see Shar'El in the IGC
005 Shar'El Legends, Chapter 1
Shar'El reads about a Telepathic Ring
006 Morningstar Legends, Chapter 2
Erik reads about a Healing Fruit
007 Paquette Legends, Chapter 3
Sonja reads about an Amulet of Time
008 Ya'Han Legends, Chapter 4
Ya'Han reads about a Coin of Fairness
009 Bonviva Legends, Chapter 5
Ya'Han reads about Scepter of Wishes
010 Bonviva/Lopez Legends, Chapter 6
Ya'Han reads about a living Metal Bird
011 Maya Legends, Chapter 7
Ya'Han reads about a Diadem of Memories
012 Bonviva/Bruxa Legends, Chapter 8
Satella has a theory that involves Xana
013 Stark Legends, Chapter 9
Jayson reads a legend to Ya'Han
014 Ya'Han/Lopez Legendary Obsession
Ya'Han goes to see Adriana
015 Bonviva An Ex-Husband, A Jail...
Xana receives disturbing news
016 Shar'El Legends in the Making
Shar'El hopes Xana will reveal the truth
017 Lopez/Bonviva Legendary Explanation
Xana reveals the truth to Adriana
018 Ya'Han Morning Chat
Ya'Han reads Adriana's letter
019 Bruxa Rough Morning
Satella confronts Adriana
020 Morningstar Legendary Confrontation
Erik rips into Shar'El
Post # Character Title
021 Paquette No! Nope! Absolutely...
Sonja confronts Ani and goes to Sickbay
022 Morningstar Future Plannings
Erik meets with the staff and is questioned by Xana
023 Stark A Look, A Smile
Jayson is worried about what they are doing
024 Bonviva The Plan
Xana goes to speak with Sonja
025 Ya'Han Training
Satella goes to speak to Ya'Han
026 Lopez/Bonviva Rehearsed Chaos
Xana gives Adriana some pointers
027 Maya/Lopez One Step Closer
Adriana relays data to the ANUBIS
028 Paquette Hidden Beneath
Sonja figures out where the structure's access is
029 Shar'El The First Item
An away team is sent to see the Architech
030 Ya'Han/Stark More Than Expected
The blueprints are reconstructed on the holodeck
031 Bruxa Pure Madness
Satella is concerned about the mission
032 Morningstar Setting The Board
Erik reaches out to an old acquaintance
033 Ya'Han Potentia Security Flaw
The away team beams down and meet Hespera
034 Bruxa Nervous Opprtunity
Shar'El and Ya'Han reassure a nervous Satella
035 Stark Eye In The Sky
The ANUBIS tracks the away team
036 Shar'El Snooping Around
The away team encounters some difficulties
037 Lopez/Ya'Han Time For Something...
An amendment to the plan is devised
038 Ya'Han Personal Issues
Ya'Han is deeply troubled and speak to Jayson
M18-001: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 35272.0700 ("Onto New Adventures")
##########
"Onto New Adventures"
Previous posts (ANU) "Perfection" / (BAS) "The ExO and Exo Solution"
##########

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
- Sherlock Holmes

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35272.0700

Even though the day had barely begun the Native American sat at his desk, a PADD already in his hand as he reviewed the reports from the previous night's shift. Since the upgrades to the ANUBIS, the Scarab-Class cruiser had been sent on various intel-gathering missions meant to both test the ship's new control interfaces and bring up to date some of the lingering dossiers Admiral Koniki had left unattended for far too long.

As busy as the crew had been, nothing of major importance had crossed their path, allowing the crew as a whole to enjoy a little bit of downtime as they moved from one location to the next. Normally, Erik was not one to allow things to get too relaxed, but the Native American CO did not see any harm in not being as strict as he usually was. Following the many troubling events that took place on SPACE STATION NOWHERE, a little bit of 'nice and easy' would not be such a bad thing.

As he read the report, more specifically the one from the Engineering team, Erik allowed a faint sigh to escape before he put the PADD down onto his desk. With a certain air of reluctance, he got up and casually wandered to the food replicator.  "Computer, one cup of Risian tea, hot."  The Native American waited for the drink to materialize and retrieved it as soon as it appeared, taking the time to enjoy the subtle fragrance of the beverage as he enjoyed the hot liquid. Occasionally, he glanced back to the PADD on his desk, thinking about the best way to go about what he needed to do next.

When the cup was empty of its steaming liquid content, the Native American gently placed it back into the food replicator before making his way out of his office, and toward the challenge, he could not avoid.

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 35272.0800

"Good morning Ani," the Captain said to the Avatar who was standing at the control island of the ANUBIS' Main Engineering section. "Where is Sonja?"

The highly sophisticated android almost smiled as if she knew why the Captain had come down to see the Chief Engineer. Without taking her eyes off the Native American, Ani pointed to the upper level where the scattered pieces of a work station could be seen hanging over the deck's edge. Erik offered a thankful nod before heading to the Engineering Upper level.  Once there it did not take long for Morningstar to identify the exact whereabouts of the officer he had come to see, she was on her back with her lower body sticking out from beneath what was left of the console.

"Sonja? What is wrong with the new HCARS?" Erik quickly inquired of the half-visible officer laying on the floor.

The sound of a tool hitting something was heard before being quickly followed by a verbal outburst hinting to the woman's mood. "Jesus H. Rosevelt Christ! Don't you have anything better to do than to scare the daylight out of your officers?"

"I only do that after reading the long-winded report of dissatisfaction from that same officer," Morningstar fired back. "So, what is the problem with the new HCARS?  The Engineering team at NEW ALEXANDRIA tested everything and we have not had any issues with the new interface since then. So why now?"

The redhead Engineer pushed herself out from beneath the console before standing to face her Commanding Officer. "You want the short or long answer?" Sonja asked, an air of exasperation visible on the woman's face.

"Let's start with the short version," Erik replied.

"Everything!" The Engineer bluntly stated as she offered the Captin an unhappy scowl.

Erik sighed fighting the urge to roll his eyes. "All right, let's go for the longer version."

"The Holographic Computer Access and Retrieval System works fine if you like spending your days playing "air piano"," Sonja grumbled.  "Yes, I know, the interface is clearer, more detailed and allows for a much greater level of information to be displayed in one place. The problem is that something being 'better' does not make it, well 'better'. You were an Engineer once, so you know what I mean."

"Lieutenant Commander Paquette is not happy with the new Holographic Computer Access and Retrieval System, or HCARS, preferring the more physical hands-on feel of the Library Computer Access and Retrieval System, or LCARS," Ani stated as she joined the CO and CEO.

"Don't you start with me, young lady!" Sonja warned the android. "Trust me, if these holographic interfaces had been in used before, you would not be standing here today." The CEO turned to face the Captain. "Listen, I need to *feel* the ship under my fingers, that is how I know that she is all right. The status readouts never tell you the whole truth, sometimes you need to have that physical connection with her to know how she is feeling."

"Are we still talking about the ANUBIS?" Erik asked.

"You know very well that we are. You have spoken about times when you could feel that there was something wrong with your ship by simply feeling the vibrations on your fingertips," the redhead Engineer snapped back. "Working with the new holographic interface may be faster, better but it comes at a cost, I can't *feel* her anymore," Sonja added pointing straight at the ship's pulsating warp core. "I need to have that connection with her, and if it means retro-fitting some of the consoles back to the LCARS set-up, then so be it. If that is a problem for you, I guess you will just have to find yourself a new Chief Engineer."

This was certainly not the discussion or fight the Native American wanted to deal with first thing in the morning. As much as Erik did understand Sonja's take on the situation he also understood the possible pitfalls of having someone not use all of the available tools at their disposal. For the time being though, Morningstar figured it best to allow the woman her eccentricity for the time being. In time, and with maybe the help of Lieutenant Lopez, this situation could hopefully be resolved without feelings being bruised.

"Do what you feel necessary," Erik conceded. "That said, my expectations as to this ship and crew's performance remain the same, this no matter what interface is used."

"Don't worry," Sonja smiled. "Have I ever let you down? Wait, don't answer that."

The two officers exchanged a quick look before the Native American turned on his heels and headed out of Main Engineering.

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 35272.0830

The sound of the doors to Sickbay brought Doctor Bruxa out of her office to see who had walked in. An expression of concern flashed over the CMO's features as she identified the person who had just entered. "Captain?" Satella gasped as she saw Erik step into her department. "Is everything all right?"

"Everything is fine, Doctor," Erik quickly reassured. "I just came to see how things were in your corner of the ship," the Native American casually explained.

"As you can see," Satella said inviting the man to look at the vacant beds around them, "everything is as quiet as can be. I believe the biggest medical issue I have had to deal with during the last few days was a sprained finger."

"I am sorry if our latest missions have made things a little too quiet for you and your staff," Morningstar offered, sounding genuinely apologetic.

"Don't get me wrong, I am in no way complaining," Satella clarified. "It is very nice to experience the other side of the 'coin of chaos'. This gives everyone time to enjoy some of the luxuries we have at our disposal for once. It has also given the crew a chance to deal with more personal issues should there be a need to do so."

"True," Erik agreed. "Speaking of personal issues, would you know where Counsellor Lopez might be? I would like to speak to her about a situation I believe she might need to get involved in."

"I am right here, Captain," Adriana said as she walked out of the CMO's office. It was beyond evident that the two women had been privately meeting before the Captain's arrival although Morningstar could not tell why. Both women had reasons to seek the counsel of the other, but in the end, those matters were not for him get involved with. "How may I help you?" Lopez asked, giving Morningstar a quick and easy out from the awkwardness of the present situation.

"It's Sonja, she is having problems adjusting to the new HCARS interface," the Captain quickly explained. "The worst part is that I understand where she is coming from, but I would still like for you to touch base with her and make sure that everything is all right. As quiet as things may have been lately, I would still feel better knowing that every member of my senior staff is functioning at their best."

"Of course Captain," Adriana said in as professional a tone as she could. "I will check in on her as soon as I can."

"Thank you," Erik said meeting the eyes of both the ship's Counsellor and Doctor before backtracking his steps out of Sickbay.

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 35272.0900

"Good morning, Captain," Shar'El said from the central chair, greeting the Native American as he stepped back onto the command deck of the ANUBIS.

Erik smiled. "You know things are quiet when you are here instead of the IGC."

"It is a little unsettling to be doing nothing more than basic routine Intel gathering," the ExO admitted. "You get used to being in the middle of Hell breaking loose all around you, so when things get quiet it leaves you feeling like something is missing."

"I kind of like it that way," Jayson announced from the Operations Station. "It is nice to be able to just go back to your quarters and not worry about some dark, unspeakable evil creature trying to catch you before you reach the door."

"A dark, unspeakable evil *creature*?" Ya'Han repeated as she playfully glared through narrowed eyes at the man. It was clear to see that this was about an event the two had shared.

Erik was about to ask if there was a security report on this 'creature' when Jayson interrupted. "We are receiving a uni-directional communication signal from STARBASE 228. It is addressed to Ambassador Bonviva... and the CO of whatever ship she is on."

"STARBASE 228 is a station in orbit of KANTARE," Maya reported from the Science Station. "The Kantare people are well known for their work in holographic technology, in fact, I noticed that several of them worked on our new HCARS interface system. Maybe STARBASE 228 requires us to detour so that they can instal an update that was omitted during the initial installation."

"Lt. Commander, with all due respect, why would the message be addressed to the Ambassador?" Ya'Han questioned. "The message was specifically directed to Xana, so it is more likely that the message deals with some sort of diplomatic matter."

"Only one way to find out what this message is all about," the Native American said before tapping his comm badge. "Morningstar to Ambassador Bonviva."

=/\= Yes, Captain? =/\=

"I hope I am not interrupting anything," Erik said.

=/\=Not at all Captain,=/\= Xana replied. =/\=I have a 10 years old boy living with me, early mornings are part of the deal. What can I do for you?=/\=

"We have received a communication signal from SB228 addressed to you and me," Erik explained. "At your earliest convenience, I would appreciate you reporting to my Ready Room so that we can see what it is all about."

=/\= Of course, I will be right there... well, give me a few minutes to get Ben busy while I am away. Bonviva out.=/\=

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain' Ready Room
Stardate: 35272.0920

Eric and Xana stood in front of the wall monitor, granting them equal access to whatever the message would be.  As soon as the proper identifications and clearances were provided, the face of a middle-aged man appeared on the screen.

[/\] Hello Z, it's been a long time, so I hope that everything is going well for you. I am sure that you didn't expect a message from me after all of these years, and likely not after what happened, but I am in a pickle and need your help. Don't worry, it's nothing earth-shattering or something that could risk an intergalactic conflict to erupt. It's about Vanya, she's getting married. [/\]

"Computer, pause," Morningstar ordered, freezing the image on the screen.  "Z?"

"Long story," Xana dismissed.

"All right, who is he?"

"Longer story," the Bolian/Human woman sighed.

"Let me guess, Vanya is an even longer story," the Native American proposed.

"No... she's just complicated."

Realizing that he would not be getting any straight answers, Morningstar decided to just continue with the message. Maybe something would be said that would help the Native American understand what this was all about. "Computer, resume."

[/\] I asked around to see if I could get a hold of you and was given the runaround about you being on a ship some sort of 'special assignment'. No one could give me the name of the ship you were on, in fact, it took a lot to just get someone to admit that you were on a ship in the first place.  I hope that this does not mean that you are in some kind of trouble 'Z', then again, if you are in trouble, I know that you are more than capable of talking your way out of it. Anyway, if you are seeing this is it because the message managed to reach you. I desperately need your help, as I am sure you will recall, it is my responsibility to pass on the family's 'Quazil-Shedirak' to her husband on their wedding day. The problem is that I can't find it. After all that happened, I lost track of it and until a couple of months ago, I never expected Vanya getting married. Heck, I never expected Vanya in the first place, but that's another story. Right now  I have five weeks as of the sending of this message to find it, If not, Vanya will never forgive me and her wedding will be a catastrophe, doomed before it even starts. Please Z, you are my only hope [/\]

Xana rolled her eyes, sighed and buried her face into her hands. "Why me?"

"It is obvious that whatever this Kawsil-Shodrak is means a lot to him, and the fact that he reached out to you means that the two of you have some sort of history together," Erik stated.

"Its called the Quazil-Shedirak," the azure-skinned woman said in exasperation. "According to the time stamp, the message took over a week to reach me. That means he has 28 days to find it before the wedding."

"STARBASE 228 and KANTARE are only a few days away at maximum warp," the Captain stated. "With the resources of the ANUBIS, I can't imagine that it would be that hard to the *item*," the Captain said avoiding using the actual name which he had already butchered once. "If you want, I can have the ship change course and we can take care of this and be back to our monotonous Intel gathering routine in no time."

"Captain, I cannot ask you to do this," Bonviva argued. "This is a purely personal matter, one that does not involve anyone but me."

"I gathered that much," Morningstar countered. "I am offering you the resources of *my* ship and crew to you. I am certain that if I ask for volunteers, everyone will be more than happy to offer you their time and expertise on this matter. Plus, a little change of pace can't hurt. I see this as a good thing for us. Let's face it, how hard can finding a single item be?"

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M18-002: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han/Bonviva: 35272.1045 ("The Game Is Afoot")
“The Game Is Afoot”
Previous posts (ANU) "Onto New Adventures" / (BAS) "The ExO and Exo Solution"

=/\=
"So this orb has a real shiny blue suitcase: Ark of the Covenant/Maltese Falcon sort of vibe. What is it?"
-- Guardians of the Galaxy

=/\=
Location: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35272.1045

“HCARS installation will continue but we will proceed onto STARBASE 228 and KANTARE,” Captain Morningstar said to the Senior Staff who were sitting around the large table in the Observation Lounge.  “Volunteers are needed for a special Ambassadorial assignment,” he said as he looked over to Bonviva, not willing to butcher the name in front of his crew. 

Xana nodded as the screen came up with a Kantare man with salt and pepper hair that was clearly tousled, appearing to have very rarely met a comb; his skin had the distinctive scale-like violet colored markings on the sides of his race from from his hairline to the temples.  He wore a crisp white tunic, his dark eyes focused on something far away, but his lips were turned up as the image froze and it was possible to detect the slight indentations of dimples in both cheeks.  “That is Cagal, the Chief Engineer to the KANTARE government.  His work has not only helped propel their research but also the Federation’s; but unfortunately that is not the request.  His request is more...personal,” she explained.  Folding her hands she said, “The request is to retrieve the Quazil-Shedirak, before his daughter’s wedding.  His daughter, Vanya, is getting married in 28 days.”  

“We will go to STARBASE 228,” Morningstar stated.  “If anyone has any insight or can help with this retrieval, please see the Ambassador, Commander Shar’El, or myself.  Dismissed.”

=/\=
Scene: Corridor
Stardate: 35272.1120

“Ambassador.”

Xana turned around to see Ya’Han walking towards her.  The Nylaan was walking down the corridor in even steps, each step confident.  She was unhurried in her movement, but that was a physical misnomer; it was clear that if she had to move quickly it would not be difficult to rush to her destination.

Two hours ago when Xana stood in Morningstar’s Ready Room listening to the message from Cagal, a flurry of thoughts and emotions hit her.  She hadn’t expected to hear from Cagal again.  Not that it was bad; but it wasn’t entirely good either.  It was...complex.  

Much like the Quazil-Shedirak.

“Lieutenant Ya’Han,” Xana smiled cordially as the Security Chief joined her.  “How may I be of assistance?”

Ya’Han looked at the Bolian/Human Ambassador.  “I told the Captain I’d offer my assistance in finding the Quazil-Shedirak.”

“Thank you,” Xana smiled as she began walking again.  Since she wasn’t on an official mission, she was dressed informally in a purple flowing tunic, black leggings and flat shoes. She was grateful for the assistance; since Cagal had tracked her down, her emotions had left her in a swirl.  Tracking down the Quazil-Shedirak was going to take down some time and she was deeply appreciative for the Security officer’s assistance.

Ya’Han matched her steps to the Ambassador.  “If it is at all possible, I’d like to view the message Cagal sent you,” she said.  

The azure woman considered that for a few moments before nodding.  “That’s fine. I’m not sure what’s to be gained but go ahead,” she shrugged.  

Ya’Han looked over, as if they both knew a secret.  “I took a moment to research this Quazil-Shedirak you mentioned during the meeting. The advantage of being on a ship like the ANUBIS is that we have access to a lot of information from countless different worlds, information that may not be readily available to others.  What little I managed to discover puzzled me though as it seems that the Quazil-Shedirak is not real.”  When the Ambassador said nothing she continued on, “My guess is that it’s a code word, an object that people refer to when they want to hide what they’re talking about. The official records do mention several legends about an item that might or might not have been referred to by that name. Even if we do accept that the name and item are one and the same, there is still no historical physical evidence that it ever existed, therefore, the only possible conclusion is that Cagal needed to find a word that you would understand the significance of while leaving everyone else in the dark.”

Xana considered that, neither agreeing or disagreeing for the span of several moments.  Finally she said, “Ya’Han, let’s say I agree with you.  That the Quazil-Shedirak is not real, that it does not exist.  Does that mean it has never existed?”

The Nylaan was confused but answered anyway.  “Yes, that is what it would mean.  Why?”

Xana thought about it for a moment before stopping at the turbolift.  It was clear that she was not pleased by what she was about to ask.  “Two questions: so what then did I retrieve for Cagal all those years ago?  And what is it he thinks we can get for him now?”

"You found this Quazil-Shedirak?" The Nylaan with the red and black hair demanded with surprise.

"I thought I had," Xana shrugged. "Thanks to you though I have to re-evaluate what took place so many years ago. Not only *what* took place but also *why*. If the item was not what I was told it was and what it was for, then I have to ask myself what was it all about?"

"It would seem that you have a bigger mystery on your hands than you initially believed," the Sec/Tac said. "Even more of a reason for us to get involved in this.  I believe that the expression is 'the game is afoot," Ya'Han added as her hair ever so slightly shifted towards the darker end of the color spectrum.

=/\=
Hanali Han
 
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
 
And
 
Sarah Albertini-Bond
USS ANUBIS
M18-003: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 35272.1215 ("Elementary My Dear Stark")
"Elementary My Dear Stark"
[previous (ANU) "The Game is Afoot" / (BAS) "Inner Reflection"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 35272.1215 

"Wait! What?" Jayson was confused, more so than usual. "That 'do-hickey' the Ambassador was asked to find doesn't exist? How is that possible?"

Ya'Han smiled as she took a bite of her lunch. "The current theory is that it is a code, a way for Cagal to send Xana a message that only she would understand."

"Really?" Clearly, he was not convinced. "I think you have been enjoying too many of those mystery holo-novels. How else could you have come up with such a crazy idea about that 'whatchamacallit'?"

"Jayson," the Chief of Security huffed. "It's called the Quazil-Shedirak. According to Kantare lore, it was an item of great significance during the early days of their civilization."

"I thought you said that it did not exist," Jayson said as he leaned back into his chair and waved his hands in the air in a show of exasperation.

"The name refers to a mythical item, a set of legends," Ya'Han said trying to explain but getting the distinct feeling that he was playing with her.

"Great, so we are going to be helping Xana look for Excalibur?"

"It's called the Quazil-Shedirak," the Nylaan said, her hair ever so slightly shifting closer towards the red side of things. "It is a mythical item, not one of your fantasy weapons."

"Fine, so we would not be going after Excalibur but rather the Holy Grail. Either way, this sounds like one of those D&D quests that I have been trying to get you to join me on."

Ya'Han was not happy. Granted she was not angry, the trace of black interlaced in her red hair was proof of that, but it was impossible to not see that the woman was starting to get annoyed by the man sitting across the table from her. "Jayson, we are not talking about one of your fantasy holodeck programs. We are talking about Xana, a friend who needs us."

"Actually, it would be more accurate to say that we would be helping the friend of a friend since it is this Cagal who needs Xana to find this 'thingamabob'."

Ya'Han's eyes narrowed as her hair went full-red, indicating that he had pushed his little teasing session further than he should have. "All I did was ask you to join us in solving the mystery of the Quazil-Shedirak, to join me in helping a common friend, a woman who has done more than her share for this ship and its crew. If you don't want to, just say so. While Xana and I are on KANTARE, you can indulge in your holodeck quest and to pull that ancient sword from the stone, find and retrieve the chalice before defeating the ruler-of-the-land's evil half-sibling."

"I was just teasing," Jayson said in his defence trying to avoid the wrath of the woman he loved. "Of course I will help Xana and you with whatever this Quazil-Shedirak is. The fact that it is a code word referring to some mythical item only makes this that much more interesting. This story may not come close to being one of my fantasy holodeck adventures, but it does sound like it meets a lot of the criteria for one of your mystery holo-novels. Either way, you know that I could never say no to you."

Jayson was relieved to see Ya'Han hair slowly shift back to the mixture of black and red that had become her standard look. "We need to find out as much as possible on this Cagal," the Chief of Security said before taking another bite from her lunch. "It would also not hurt to gather all available information about the Quazil-Shedirak. It might have been nothing more than a simple code word, but I can't shake the feeling that the item was selected for a specific reason. The KANTARE lore is filled with mythical items and locations, very much like your own world Jayson, so I wonder if there was not some hidden significance in choosing that item over all others."

"I guess it does make sense," Jayson agreed. "I may not know KANTARE lore, but back on EARTH, someone could have easily used items such as Kavacha, Goswhit or even Pridwen to send some sort of message. Unless they were aware of the legends, anyone intercepting the communication would not have a clue as to what it means.  I will take care of the research on the Quazil-Shedirak. I am sure that Lt. Commander Maya will be happy to help on this *quest*."

"Thank you," Ya'Han said smiling. "We have a mystery on our hands and luckily for us, this one will not lead to the end of all life as we know it in the universe if we fail. Let's finish our lunch and get to work, it would be nice to have all of the pieces figured out before we reach KANTARE."

"Whatever the outcome will be once everything is said and done, I can see that you are going to enjoy this *quest*," Jayson said. "This kind of investigation is right up your alley, looking at all of the possibilities to come up with a theory that fits."

"My dear Stark," Ya'Han said teasingly. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-004: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 35272.1300 ("Working Together")
"Working Together"
previous posts were (ANU) "Elementary My Dear Stark" / (BAS) "Inner Reflections"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering, Upper Level
Stardate: 35272.1300  

Sonja sat at the rebuilt engineering station, intently studying the image displayed on the flat screen in front of her. Her chin rested in the palm of her left hand while the right hand rhythmically tapped the controls causing the information being displayed to scroll from one page to the next.

"That is an odd-looking part," the Avatar announced as she came to stand behind the sitting engineer. "I am not familiar with the system that it belongs to. Are you considering another refit of the engineering workstations?"

The CEO ever so slowly turned her head towards the standing android, a look of heightened annoyance and disbelief engraved on her features. "Really? What are you doing? You have access to the entire ship's processing power and records. You don't even need to ask the computer to know what I am looking at, in fact, you know what *everyone* is looking at the moment they make a request from the computer. Why? Because you *are* the computer. This means that you know exactly what that *part* is and that it does not belong to any of the systems on the ANUBIS," the redhead blasted as she tapped the screen with her fingertip to emphases her point.

"You were the one who pointed out that some members of the crew might find it disconcerting that I always know what they were doing, so I have been working on developing a more socially appropriate approach, one that would, in theory, allow for a conversation concerning the mater being researched to freely evolve," Ani explained.

Sonja rolled her eyes as she turned back to face the engineering workstation. "I don't have the time to deal with your trying to improve your social interaction skills. Others may find you having access to the entire ship's information a little unsettling, but I am not them. If I had such an issue, trust me, I would have programmed it out of you a long time ago. So, instead of trying to start a conversation with me, why don't you make yourself useful and help me figure out what this Quazil-Shedirak is. Assisting Xana in helping this Cagal fellow get this item for his daughter's wedding would be a lot easier if we understood what this thing was in the first place. Right now, all I have managed to obtain from what we know of the KANTARE culture are conflicting legends and ludicrous claims as to the item's abilities. There were times when I was not sure if I was reading about this Quazil-Shedirak, the Philosopher’s Stone or the Seven-League Boots."

"The name Quazil-Shedirak refers to a minor mythical item of the KANTARE folklore that is mentioned in 14 separate legends," the Avatar reported. "In each of these tales, the item appears to possess a different set of powers or abilities.

"Wow, that was quick, even for you," Sonja noted as she once again turned to look at the Avatar.

"The item in question has been researched 132 times in the last hour, most of these searches originated from the IGC," Ani added.

"No surprise there," the CEO chuckled. "The moment the item was mentioned, Shar'El likely got her entire Intel gathering team on the case. That means I am wasting my time here. I understand Captain Morningstar not wanting to make this an order, but by doing so he has made the situation more complicated than it needed to be. We are wasting our time researching the same thing from different angles.  I think the best way to go about this is to coordinate our efforts and try to figure this Quazil-Shedirak together." Having said this, Sonja pushed away from the workstation and stood.

"Where are you going?" Ani asked.

"*We* are going to visit Shar'El in the IGC. If someone has all of the available information on this item, it will be her. Let's go!"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 35272.1320

The CEO and Avatar walked into the IGC to find every technician there busy with their respective research, the item displayed on their new holographic workstations indicated that they were all labouring on the same project.

"What can I do for you, Sonja?" Shar'El asked, welcoming the CEO and Avatar into her domain with a nod of her head.  Looking at the holographic representation of the Quazil-Shedirak hovering in mid-air in front of the ILO made it clear that she too was busy reviewing all available information on the mysterious item.

"So, you have your minions doing your sorcery," Sonja teased in her best imitation of an old English accent.

Shar'El grinned. "Based on some of the information we have uncovered, I believe that the term 'sorcery' seems to be quite appropriate. We discovered 14 individual legends and each describes the Quazil-Shedirak as possessing a different power or ability. The best part of this is that the item is claimed to have been on every corner or every continent of KANTARE. The last mention of this item was when the item was reported found thanks to the help of a woman with "skin as blue as the water of the ocean and hair as white as the clouds of the sky."

"Wonder why Xana never mentioned her becoming part of a planet's lore," Sonja laughed.  "Speaking of the Ambassador, I wonder if it would not be a good idea to have her here as well. She might be able to provide information that is not part of the official records."

"Shar'El already asked me to come and see her," the Bolian/Human woman said as she walked in and joined Sonja and Ani.  "What have you discovered thus far?" Xana said, directing her question to the Commander.

"A lot," the ILO said. "Join me. I am very interested in your opinion on some of what we uncovered."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Lt Commander Sonja Paquette [Access Character BIO for Sonja Paquette]
Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M18-005: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 35272.1330 ("Legends, Chapter 1")
=-=
"Legends, Chapter 1"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Working Together" by Lorraine / (BAS) "Inner Reflections" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck A-4, IGC
Stardate: 35272.1330

The Commander welcomed the Ambassador and Chief Engineer into the heart of the IGC, a small raised section surrounded by a dozen small monitors. The control center overlooked the whole of the IGC department and those working there under the ExO / ILO's supervision. From here, Shar'El could assign tasks, review the progress of the technicians and analyse whatever information she deemed of importance.  With a few press of the holographic controls on the new HCARS, seven of the screens lite up, each displaying one of the 14 legends on a half-screen.

"This is what we have so far," the ExO / ILO announced. "The Quazil-Shedirak is mentioned in 14 different legends as well as one recent historical notation of which you Ambassador are very well aware of as it details how you and your friend Cagal discovered the famed item.   What I found interesting is that the only commonality between all of these legends is the name of the artefact, nothing else about it matches from one historical account to the next."

"I know," Sonja grumbled. "It was nearly impossible to know if I was reading about the same item or not."

"I do have a few theories about these discrepancies," the ExO / ILO said as she called up one particular legend to appear on its own on one of her monitors. "The first and oldest of these legends might hold the key to explaining this."

=-=
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak, Chapter 1

The age of Cogren had just begun, and the factions found between the snow-covered peaks of Arashun and the endless waters of the Salug sea still needed to achieve the peace they so desperately desired. One morning, a young boy awoke from a dream, a vision that beckoned him to venture to caves leading deep beneath the mountain peaks. Unable to shake the feeling that the dream was a vision given to him by the spirits of the land, he set forth on this quest, leaving a simple note to his parents explaining the vision he had received.

The journey to reach the base of the mountain range took three days and nights, the young boy never taking a moment to rest or eat. By the time he reached the cave's entrance, he was almost too weak to go on, but the perceived importance of his vision forced him to press on. The cave was dark and damp, filled with sounds that threatened to freeze his life's blood in his veins. Still, the young boy continued not wanting to disappoint the spirits of the land who, he was certain, had brought him here.

Tired and cold, the young boy found it increasingly more difficult to find his way into the dark cave, losing his footing more than once as he pressed on. Using his hands to feel his way deeper into the cave, unable to see anything thanks to the complete darkness that surrounded him, the young man failed to see the sharp drop ahead of him. By the time he realized that his foot had stepped into nothingness, it was too late for him and he fell into a dark abyss.

Six days after the young boy had left on his quest, a search party reached the cave's entrance and discovered him bloodied and bruised a single step inside the cave. The marks on the body of the young adventurer hinted that he had perished from a great fall, but none of those who had come to search for him could explain how those marks had found their way onto him. The possibility that someone or something had brought him out of the cave was ignored until they found a small shining ring tightly held in his hand.

The lifeless boy and the glowing ring were brought back to the village, the news of what had happened drew the attention of the leaders of the nearby factions who were all intrigued by this ring which they claimed to have seen in a vision of their own.  The boy was herald as a seer and to honor his dedication and sacrifice, the factions put away their differences and came together to create a single community that would grow over the centuries to become the birthplace of the Kantare people.  The ring was given the name 'Quazil-Shedirak' which means 'seed of the people' in the ancient KANTARE dialect of the plains' people.

=-=

Shar'El called upon her monitor other details found in this legend before addressing her audience. "The ring was said to glow no matter what substance it was stored in. Many also reported that they could hear the ring speak to them. My guess is that the item referred to in this legend was made out of some sort of substance that could affect people's thoughts."

"A telepathic ring?" Sonja sighed. "I think you have been locked in here a little too long."

"There are accounts of such materials out there," Xana said. "I am sure that Maya would be able to confirm this. There are substances in this universe that vibrate at a frequency that matches the brain patterns of certain people, affecting them on a psychological level." Turning to the ExO / ILO, the Ambassador continued. "Shar'El, why do you believe that this legend is so important as compared to any of the others?"

"If the Quazil-Shedirak was made of a substance able to affect the thoughts of people, it could be possible that it also possessed the ability to be moulded to the needs of whoever possessed it at the time. This would explain why it appears as something different in each of the 14 legends in which it is mentioned."

"Wow," Sonja gasped. "That is one wild theory, and crazy enough to be real. We need to share this with the others if for no other reason than to give them something new to consider when thinking about the significance of the Quazil-Shedirak in Cagal's message." 

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M18-006: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 35272.1400 ("Legends, Chapter 2")
##########
"Legends, Chapter 2"
Previous posts (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 1" / (BAS) "Innr Reflection"
##########

"You will be the land, and the land will be you. If you fail, the land will perish, as you thrive, the land will blossom."
- Merlin to Arthur

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35272.1400

The Native American sat at his desk, carefully reading the detailed information provided by his First Officer. Shar'El and her team of ICG techs had pieced together all 14 legends in which the Quazil-Shedirak was mentioned.  The collection of stories was offered to the senior officers with the hope that they might see something that others had missed, giving them a better understanding of the item and its significance. Somewhere in these legends the reason as to why Cagal had used the item was hidden, all they needed was to discover it if it existed at all.

Even if their search proved to be fruitless, Erik did not consider reading these legends to be a waste of time, in fact, he found them to be most interesting as it gave him and the other members of his command staff a unique look into the history of the people of KANTARE.  One particular story caught the attention of the Native American, the legend resembling in many ways one that his own people had cherished many, many centuries ago back on EARTH.

=====
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak, Chapter 2

The mesmerising beauty of the multitude of stars hanging on the endless darkness of the night's sky could not distract from the flames of the distant bonfires that reached up to meet the twinkling lights. Each blaze indicated the location of a plagued village and their desperate attempt to see the disease that had swept through the land follow the smoke created by the burning corpses.

The stench of death floated in the cold breeze, a warning to all of the dangers they faced and the agony they would encounter if they continued on their journey.  The wandering traveller ignored all of the signals and set his sights on the nearest village, his heart beating with the hope that he would arrive in time to save at least one person.

Earlier in his travels, he had found a fruit, an odd-shaped golden sphere that he could not bite into. He would have thrown it away had it not been for one strange happening that befell him immediately upon picking up the item. His body which had been ravaged by the illness had miraculously been restored to full health. The traveller might have believed this to have been a mere coincidence, that his regained health had been bestowed upon him by some greater power, but when the fruit touched his companion, she too found herself free of the deadly disease that had already claimed so many.

She begged for him to share this gift with everyone he could, saving their lives as he had done hers, and soon he agreed to do as his beloved requested. He did not want to leave her, but he knew that she was right and that her desire to help others was what they all needed. So, without wasting a single second, he set forth onto the land.

The sun had risen and set 28 times since he had left his village, leaving in his wake a trail of grateful people heralding him as a saviour. He could not bring himself to tell them the truth though, that the healing they were crediting him with had not been his doing but rather that of the uneatable fruit he carried with him.

In the first few villages he found, the traveller had been able to heal everyone with only a few exceptions. Now, so many days later, he considered himself lucky if he found a handful of people still alive by the time he reached their village.  He knew that soon, he would arrive too late and find nothing but death. On that day he would end his quest and return to the loving embrace of his wife.  Once there, he would freely give the fruit to another traveller, demanding of them that they venture as far as their feet would take them and share the gift of health that he had received. The golden fruit was given the name 'Quazil-Shedirak' which translated into the 'seed of health' in the old tongue of the travelling stargazers.

=====
The Native American put the PADD down and turned to look out the window of his Ready Room from where he could see the nearby streaking stars set against the seemingly motionless distant points of light. If the translation of the item's name did not pique his interest, the fact that it was done in a language used by people he felt a very close kinship to proved to be more than enough to have Erik consider this particular legend as his favourite.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette {fcharette1969@gmail.com}

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M18-007: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 35272.1400 ("Legends, Chapter 3")
"Legends, Chapter 3"
previous posts were (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 2" / (BAS) "The Persistence of Memory"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 35272.1400  

"These legends that Commander Shar'EL and her team have been able to compile are quite interesting," Ani announced as she followed the redhead engineer. "I am sure that you would find them worth your time," the Avatar added.

"I really do not have the time for that," Sonja argued. "You were able to become fully aware of all those 15 legends the moment Shar'El sent them out to the senior staff. I would need to sit down, access the file and read them. Right now, I have the starboard power coupling to realign, the maintenance check on the transporter systems to review and update the duty roster for the engineering teams since one of my idiot workers decided to test to see if a circuit was live by pressing his finger on the anti-polarization grid."

"There are only 14," Ani stated making Sonja stop dead in her tracks.

""14?!? What the heck are you talking about? There are hundreds of those grids all over the ship. I believe there are more than 14 in just one of the shuttle pods," the Chief Engineer noted with a distinct tone of angered bewilderment.

"I was referring to the number of legends Commander Shar'El compiled," the Avatar explained. "There are 14 of them, not 15 as you previously mentioned."

"That doesn't change the fact that I do not have the time to sit down, put up my feet on the corner of a console and start reading whatever crazy stories the KANTARE people came up with."

"It would only take a few minutes," Ani stated as she handed over a PADD to Sonja. "I have taken the liberty to select the legend I believe possesses the greatest appeal, plus it is the shortest."

"You are not going to let that go, are you?" The redhead signed, glaring at the artificial woman before snapping the small handheld device from her grasp. "Fine! I will read this blasted story of yours but you better leave me alone after I am done."

=====
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak, Chapter 3

Today was her 14th birthday. Not only was she no longer a child in the eyes of her people, but she also could leave her home in garments and accessories that identified her as the woman she now was.  The dress was nothing special, just a little something that her mother had helped put together. By itself, it was just enough to make the other members of their village understand that she was no longer the little girl she had been until now. The one item that made it impossible for anyone to not be aware of this milestone was the amulet her father had given her as a gift. There was something magical about it, something that made everyone who saw it stare in awe and envy. The young woman did not mind this attention as she found it quite enthralling.

As she walked through the village, smiling back at all of the young men looking at her, she caught sight of her childhood friend a few meters away. Darl was only a week older then she was, but that week had made all of the difference in the world. Her childhood friend had become a woman only a few days before her, but those few days had been more than enough for Darl to catch the interest of the most eligible hunters. Truth be told, they all had been keeping their eyes on her long before then, but none had dared to act upon their desires for fear of being found out by the village elders. On her birthday, the whole village came to a near-complete standstill as all of the young men found every excuse possible to approach her in the hopes of winning her favours.

This was the reason why Loral enjoyed the attention she was getting today, even if part of the reason for it was the medallion hanging from her neck. As she continued her triumphant walk through the village, the birthday girl kept an eye on her friend, just to make sure that she would not try to steal what was rightfully hers on this day. Had Loral kept her attention on where she was going, she would have noticed the old woman carrying a bucket of water stepping in front of her. The collision was not all that strong, but it was more than enough to cause the bucket balancing on the old woman's head to fall, spilling its content all over the careless young woman. Or so it should have had she not instinctively taken hold of the medallion causing everything around her to freeze as if time had stopped.

Loral just stood there, desperately trying to understand what was happening as she gazed upon the water hanging in mid-air, a single heartbeat away from crashing onto her.  Still holding on to the amulet, she moved out of the way and glanced around her, confirming that everything was indeed frozen in time.  Even the leaves in the nearby branches had stopped responding to the gentle breeze that normally caused them to sway.

Still not fully understanding what had just happened, she let go of the amulet. The moment she did so, the water and bucket finished their journey to the ground, the only difference being that she had not been there for them to fall upon her.  The old woman appeared confused as she desperately tried to find who or what had run into her causing her work to be wasted, but the closest person was the young woman who stood much too far to have been the one responsible for this.  Loral offered to help and fetched another bucket of water, receiving the thanks and gratitude of the old woman for her troubles.

Certain that this had all been but a dream, Loral went about the rest of her day as normal, delighting in the praises and admiration of the villagers as they welcomed the latest woman into their midst.  As nightfall came, she returned to her home and parents, not daring to tell the tale of what had happened for fear that they would think her mad.

While her father sat at the dinner table waiting for the evening's meal, Loral was helping her mother with the final preparations. Sharing a loving look with her daughter who was now a woman, the protective cloth fell from the matriarch's hand just as she was reaching for the hot cauldron.  The scream of pain she let out had barely begun when Loral reached for the amulet and once again took hold of it.  As before, time came to a complete standstill, freezing the hot cauldron and its boiling content in mid-air. Not wasting any time, not that she needed to, Loral retrieved another towel and took hold of the cauldron with her one free hand. As soon as she let go of the amulet, the passage of time resumed its normal course.

Sure that their supper had been lost, Loral's mother was shocked to see that her daughter was there, holding the other side of the cauldron, a towel in hand. Not wishing to appear ungrateful for this good fortune, the mother simply smiled and brought the meal to the table with her daughter's help.

Loral joined her father while her mother returned to the kitchen, still trying to figure out how the mishap had been so easily avoided.  As the daughter met her father's gaze, he smiled and leaned in closer so that his whispered words would not be overheard by anyone else. He simply told her that the greatest gift a father could give his daughter was time, that the amulet was called the Quazil-Shedirak, which meant 'seed of time' in the dialect of the forest-dwellers.

=====

Sonja handed the PADD back to Ani. "If that was the shortest of the legends, I would hate to read any of the others," the redhead engineer huffed. "Now, I have work to do," she added before making her way deeper into her department, not daring to admit that she had found the story rather interesting... from a temporal engineering point of view at least.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Lt Commander Sonja Paquette [Access Character BIO for Sonja Paquette]
Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M18-008: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 35272.1410 ("Legends, Chapter 4")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Legends, Chapter 4"
[previous post were (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 3 " / (BAS) "Rainmaker"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 35272.1410 

As per the instructions of Commander Shar'El, those who volunteered to help Ambassador Bonviva in her quest for the Quazil-Shedirak needed to review the legends and stories written around the mythical item.

"It is hard to believe that the Quazil-Shedirak is only considered to be a 'minor artefact' in KANTARE lore. This thing seems more powerful than even the fabled sword from your world," Ya'Han said to Jayson, the two officers manning their respective stations on the bridge.

"I am not so sure about that," the Human said challenging the Nylaan's claim. "For one thing, Excalibur was a sword, always has been a sword, and will always be a sword. Some of the legends and theories surrounding it might have made it seem to possess a varying scale of powers, but overall the 'Sword of Power' was always meant to be yielded by the ruler or would-be ruler of the land.  The legends and stories about this thingamajig are all over the place. It is like the item and those telling the stories about it could not make up their minds as to what it was or did.  We might very well be looking into the only mythical item in the galaxy with a severe case of an identity crisis."

Ya'Han gently, slowly shook her head. She should have known better than to expect Jayson to embrace the idea that the mysterious item in question might not fit his childhood concept of such artefacts. Back on EARTH, it was likely that the legends of the sword were meant to rally support for one man, but on KANTARE, the stories of the Quazil-Shedirak represented much more, a testament to the people of that world and their connection as a race long before they became unified under a single, global government.

Leaving the Chief of Operations to his own affairs, the Sec/Tac called up the list of the compiled legends, finding her interest and curiosity drawn to one particular one.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] 
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak, Chapter 4

The bracelet had been in her family since the dawn of their recorded history, and today it sat on the auctioneer's table. One by one their most prized possessions were sold to the highest bidder to pay their debts. The harsh weather of the last few seasons had made things difficult to everyone as crops failed and people grew increasingly hungry.  Her family had done everything they could to help those in need, borrowing and bartering with travellers from other lands who had a little more than they needed in order to pass it on to those less fortunate. The kindness and efforts of her family though were rewarded by those they had reached out for help, all of them returning as one to claim what they were owed.

It became painfully evident that the merchants had been working together, presenting themselves as individual travellers while in reality, they worked as one. This allowed them to pray on the weak and leave them with even less than they previously had.  The auction, like those who conducted it, played on the rules of the land, allowing for the properties of some to be claimed by others for next to nothing.

Her eyes filled with tears as she saw the bracelet sold for a single coin to one of the merchants her husband had done business with. The coin would not even be enough to provide them with a single loath of bread, but that was the compensation they received for an item that could have fed them all for weeks.  She clenched the coin in her hand as they watched the caravan of merchants leave with all of their possessions, their debt paid in full.

Hardship often brought out the best in people, but it also brought out the worst in others. Instead of helping, all they saw was an opportunity to take advantage of those in need, of those hurting. With the coin firmly in her hand, she joined her husband as they headed back to their home, a place that now stood empty of all their possessions.

As they walked in, she was surprised to find the bracelet sitting on the table. She wondered as to how this could be possible and immediately rushed in to confirm that the item was real. Not only was it real but it matched perfectly the bracelet that she had been forced to sell, down to the smallest imperfections. This was her bracelet.

Her joy was shortlived though as her husband pointed out that they would need to sell the bracelet if they were to survive. So, with great sadness, she allowed the bracelet to once again slip from her hands. At least, she thought, this time they would get a much fairer price for it and the money would serve to help feed those most in need.

The husband travelled to the nearest city, a trek that would see the couple separated for six long days. During that time, she held on to the coin as a reminder of what they had endured and that it had not been enough to rip the desire to help others from their hearts. Three days after his departure, she was again shocked to find the bracelet sitting on the table in the exact same place it had been discovered the first time. Had her husband forgotten to take it with him? If so, how had she not managed to see it before now and what would he do at the city's marketplace?

Another three days passed and when her husband returned she rushed out to meet him, the bracelet hanging on her wrist. With great surprise, she found him with a cart-load of goods. She told him about how the bracelet had reappeared after three days which he claimed to be when he sold the bracelet for a handful of coins that he used to purchase what he had come back with.  Unsure of what this meant, they simply distributed the content of the cart to those in need, keeping just enough for themselves.

That night, the couple had a long discussion about the bracelet and what its unexplained reappearance might mean for them and those they were trying to help. She eventually agreed to have him travel to the city once again to sell the bracelet one more time. So, the next day he set forth for the city with the bracelet in his possession, leaving his wife holding the coin she would use as a token to remind her of this strange and unexplainable turn of event.

Three days later the bracelet reappeared on the table just as it had done before. She smiled as a plan began to form in her head, a plan that would see all of their possessions returned to them.  When her husband returned three days later with another cartload of goods to be distributed, she told him of what had happened and explained the plan she devised that would see those who cheated them from their lives would themselves be cheated.

Members of the community were sent out to follow the band of travelling merchants with the bracelet in hand. Their instructions were to sell the bracelet to one of the merchants who had not seen the item before in exchange for some of the possessions they had taken as payment for the debt. As soon as the transaction was completed, they were to return while another member of the community left with the reappeared bracelet for it to be sold to another of the unscrupulous merchants.

The plan worked well and soon the community had regained the greater majority of their belongings. When this goal accomplished, the husband turned to his wife and took the coin from her explaining that during his travels to the city he had heard about something called the Quazil-Shedirak, the 'Seed of Fairness' and that he believed the coin to be it. He convinced her to let the coin pass on to someone else who needed it just as they had, thus allowing for its powers to continue to be used to ensure fairness in their world.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-009: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 25272.1500 ("Legends, Chapter 5")
=/\=
"Legends, Chapter 5"
[previous post were (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 4" / (BAS) "Rainmaker"]

=/\=
Only the Devil and I know the whereabouts of my treasure
And the one of us who lives the longest should take it.
--Edward “Blackbeard” Treach

=/\=
Setting: USS BASTET, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 35272.1500

Diplomacy was found in every corner of the universe; for Ambassador Bonviva it was usually found next to food, drink, and people.  In this case she was in a corner of Ten Forward across with a PADD propped up, a plate of biscotti from her native Italy in between her and the other occupant of the booth, a glass of strawberry milk next to him and a mug of tea for her.  

“Moooom, this is so unfair.  When I was kidnapped I thought that was a “Get out of school card”,” Ben complained as he worked through his math problems.  "Why do I have to do homework?"

“It was.  For the days you were kidnapped.  Now you have to catch up.  The universe waits on no one,” his mother retorted as she went through the KANTARE legends for Quazil-Shedirak.  

“Prime numbers are ridiculous,” Ben declared as he pointed to his own homework.  “No one uses them.”  When his mother looked up from her PADD to raise an eyebrow at him, he decided to press his luck.  “Really?  When have you gone up to anyone and said, “Oh yeah? Well I raise you 2, 3, 5 and 7 because of prime numbers!”

Xana bit the inside of her cheek.  “Prime numbers are not nonsense,” she said calmly, drawing on her inner strength as much as she would for any negotiation.  

“I knew being a Junior Junior Ambassador sounded too good to be true,” Ben mumbled as he grabbed a chocolate biscotti.  “Whatcha reading?” he asked as crumbs dribbled down the front of his shirt.  When his mother gave him a look he pointed out, “I bet it’s not Prime Numbers.”

Xana looked at the legends and flipped through until she found one that would appeal to Ben.  “I’m researching legends--”

“BORING,” Ben decided.

The mother nodded as she settled back in the booth. “That’s fine.  I’ll keep this pirate story to myself.”

Ben threw his math PADD to the side.  “Pirates?” he asked.  “I can help,” he offered.  

Shaking her head, and hiding a smile, the mother sipped her tea and began reading...

=/\=
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak -- Chapter 5

Once on the far side of yesterday there was a man named Sabar who was born into a forgotten village.  

Sabar was a plain man and he looked like any other grown man.  Nothing unusual about him.  He had grown up poor, like everyone else during that time; in an age when the world was still new, everyone was new and there was no knowledge that there could be anything else. 

Like many Sabar knew that to make his fortune he needed to leave his poor nameless village.  So he stowed away on the first ship he could find.  That ship, the name lost to history, allowed Sabar to get his first sword and sea legs.  Eventually he outlasted everyone (and became good enough friends with the Surgeon) that he became the Captain of the CORRUPTED SQUID where he roamed the seas of KANTARE and everyone trembled before his ruthlessness.  Governments paid him to avoid their shores.  Other merchants when they saw his flag sailed away rather than come into conflict, or if they could not, would just surrender their treasure.  

So then one day when he was accepting the treasure of another ship, Sabar walked over to the shamed captain of the other ship and said.  “How do you feel about falling to the Captain of KANTARE?”

The Captain of the fallen ship said quietly.  “I did not wish to fall...but I did not fall to the Captain of KANTARE.”

Sabar lifted his sword to the edge of the Captain’s chin and raised it up so they could look each other in the eye.  “Look at me and say that again.”

“I did not fall to the Captain of KANTARE,” the fallen Captain said.  As Sabar glared at him the fallen Captain said.  “Captain Bine has the Quazil-Shedirak, the scepter of wishes.  I saw it once, it was no larger than the palm of my hand.  Whoever has the Quazil-Shedirak will have their wishes granted.  Captain Bine wished to be the Captain of the KANTARE and has not let go of the Quazil-Shedirak since.”

I do not have to tell you that poor nameless Captain lost his head.  But he also gave Sabar a fire he hadn’t had since he was a poor man in the nameless village growing up.  He wanted the Quazil-Shedirak.  Many, many moons on the Great Big Sea led to more treasure and more ships...but not to the Quazil-Shedirak.  Until finally under a forgotten star the CORRUPTED SQUID saw the GOOD PILLAGER, the ship of Captain Bine and the greatest battle in the history of KANTARE took place.  

A storm appeared as if out of nowhere and it was formidable, ferocious, and fearless.  The CORRUPTED SQUID was thrown about as if it was a child’s toy caught in a tantrum, weighing nothing at all.  Her large black sails whipped in the winds and were pummeled by the harsh rains that cried from the Great Sky to the Great Big Sea.  

The crew could do nothing but hang on and beg their Captain for mercy, to turn tide and leave.  But Captain Sabar was a man obsessed, and with the Quazil-Shedirak so close, he was not going to leave now.  He ordered the cannons to be unloaded all weapons, and when those were done, then the cannons to be unloaded with anything else on the ship.  

The monster of the storm would not relent, sweeping up everything in her path.  The mast was broken, snapped in two as if it were nothing more than a twig.  Crew flung over to the depths of the Great Big Sea to a watery grave.  

Finally as quick as it started, the storm ended.  Only the two ships remained: the CORRUPTED SQUID and the GOOD PILLAGER and their Captains.  Except the CORRUPTED SQUID was sinking and the GOOD PILLAGER remained afloat.

Sabar kept scrambling to the highest point of his ever sinking ship.  “I’ll find another ship.  I’ll come back for you.  I’ll keep after ya, until there is nothing but a sliver of wood between us.  Give me the Quazil-Shedirak.”

Bine looked over at Sabar and held up her hands so Sabar could see that she held nothing.  “I used all 3 of my wishes for the Quazil-Shedirak.  My last wish was to destroy you so you could not be the Captain of KANTARE.  Once that wish was made the Quazil-Shedirak was no longer mine...but I’ve ensured it could not be yours either.”

That was the last thing Sabar heard as he sank beneath the Great Big Sea.  And ever since that last great battle, the Quazil-Shedirak has not been seen again.

=/\=
Xana looked up from the story and over at Ben.  The 10 year old was staring at her as transfixed as he had been as he had been when he was a toddler during storytime.  “No one has seen the Quay-Shee-Shee since then?”

“Quazil-Shedirak,” Xana corrected with a gentle smile.  “And yes it’s true, no one has seen it in a long time.  If it existed.”  

“Mom,” Ben said.  “Come on, we gotta find it.  A scepter that can grant wishes.  How awesome would that be?” Screwing up his brow he asked.  “But how does a scepter grant wishes?”

“Prime numbers,” his mother replied as she pointed to the neglected homework over her son’s groans, while she went back to reading through the legends while trying to dig for clues on the Quazil-Shedirak.

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond
USS ANUBIS
M18-010: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva/Lopez: 25272.1600 ("Legends, Chapter 6")
=/\=
"Legends, Chapter 6"
[previous post were (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 5" / (BAS) "A Small Gesture"]
=/\=

“Nothing is lost. . .Everything is transformed.”
― Michael Ende, The Neverending Story

=/\=
Setting: USS BASTET, Ship's Counselor's Office
Stardate: 35272.1600

Adriana was sitting in her office across from Xana as she kept going through the many records of legends.  “So what do you think it is?”

Xana was sitting across from Adriana with her own pile of PADDs.  “I’m not sure.  Everytime I think I know what the Quazil-Shedirak, I read another legend and then I’m convinced it’s that legend,” the azure woman sighed.

The Counselor/Junior Ambassador looked over at her friend.  “Can I ask you another question?  Not about the legends exactly?”  As the Ambassador nodded, the Hispanic woman continued on, “Why did Cagal reach out to you?”

“Many people reach out to me,” Xana replied dismissively.  “It was kind of Captain Morningstar to allow the resources of the ANUBIS--”

“I’ve never heard of anyone refer to you as Z,” Adriana replied quietly.

Xana looked out the window, the stars whooshing by reflected in her violet eyes.  It was clear that her mind was in another place and time.  “It’s an old nickname,” she said quietly.  “I haven’t heard it in years.”  When the azure woman could practically hear the eyebrow waggling Xana rolled her eyes, and while smothering a smile explained, “We’re supposed to be researching legends.”

The Junior Ambassador looked at the Ambassador through narrowed eyes, not as a superior but as a friend. There was no denying that this 'old nickname' had a story to it, maybe even a legend of its own.  Seeing that Xana would do everything to avoid that particular topic, Adriana looked around the PADDs and picked up at the one in the middle.  “Here we go.”

=/\=
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak, Chapter 6

Once upon a time, not in your time nor in my time, but in a very good time there was a poor fisherman.  One day while out on his travels he found two children -- a baby boy and girl abandoned in a cave.  Not seeing any family he took them home and raised them as his home.  The family did not have much money but whatever they had they shared with all those around them including the animals that lived near them at the shore.

One day a village boy taunted the children for having no mother and so the boy and girl went out into the world to seek their fortunes. When they stopped to rest along their journey, the brother and sister heard birds gossiping about their fates, as birds like to do.  One bird said that they were the king and queen’s children who had been stolen.  A second bird said that no, they were destined to be great circus performers.  Finally a third bird explained that it was all a great act of magic, and clearly they were to be wizards.  

The children asked what was the right story and the birds all said that they had to find the Quazil-Shedirak, the Bird of Fortune.  Only the Quazil-Shedirak could tell them the truth and their destiny.  Although puzzled by this revelation, the two children continued on their way, not entirely certain what to make of what they had been told by the three birds.  Several hours of travelling later, the event had been all but forgotten as they walked into the open wooden gate of a small trading town.  Busy as the streets were, no one paid the latest arrival into the city any heed, everyone going about their business as normal.
 
Tired and hungry from their travels, they stopped in front of a merchant's stall displaying a wide variety of colorful fruits. Not possessing any coins to exchange for the fruits that would help quench their hunger, the two children debated how best to steal what they needed. That was when they noticed a bird perched on one of the beams of the stall. Following the feathered creature's claim that royalty should not steal, the boy asked the bird if he was the Bird of Fortune to which it laughed, as any bird does when asked such a question. The children were told to seek the juggler in the town square as he would be in a better position to help them.
 
More hungry and confused than they were before, the two children proceeded as told to the town square, easily finding the juggler as he entertained the gathered crowd.  Several small dishes laid on the ground around the man, inviting the crowd for their monetary gratitude in thanks for the entertainment. The children contemplated the idea of taking the content of one of the plates which would be more than enough to allow them to buy something to ease their growling stomachs. Before they could act, another bird came to land on the shoulder of the little girls and said that performers such as they were should not steal but rather earn their coins.  When asked if he was the Quazil-Shedirak the bird smiles as such creatures normally do in such situations before telling them to seek the man in the tallest tower who would be recognized by his bald head and long gray beard.
 
Hungry, confused and coinless, the children ventured as told to the tallest tower in the city. 

The children could not run up the stairs, as much as they wanted to.  Every step was a different height from the last, making it impossible to properly judge how high to lift their feet. Either it was too high and they stumbled forward with their feet falling beneath where they were expecting it to stop; or they kicked the step lip with their thin shoes. Had they been carpeted like the ones in a fancy castle it might not have been so bad, but in this old tower they were unforgiving grey stone; cold as a castle but without the precision or attention to detail.

The tower seemed to have collapsed inwardly on itself somewhat, like a loaf of bread taken out of the oven too soon. The roof sagged and the cedar shingles stuck up in places like wonky teeth. The windows had no glass in them now and they seemed not to be quite rectangular anymore. The lean-to shed on the side hung downwards as if the fight had left it and it could no longer bring itself to stand up against the elements. The higher they went, the high winds of the season the tower could be heard to creak as if in its death throes. Although it was daylight, the children would not have been surprised to see a ghost at this point.

Finally they reached the top, which was no more than a small landing except there was a bird.  He appeared to be an ordinary bird, nothing that would provoke a reaction...except he had a gleam in his eye that was unwholly like all other birds.

“Are you the Quazil-Shedirak?” the children asked.

The bird smiled, as birds do, and bobbed his head. “Do you want to know your destiny?”

“Yes,” the children answered.  

“Imagine you are in a room with no windows and doors,” the bird said.  

As the bird spoke, the room changed; the windows disappeared and the door they came through vanished.  All that remained were the crumbling walls and the floor beneath them, as well as each other and the bird.  

“How will you get out?” The bird asked, its appearance had changed from that of a feathery creature to an almost identical metallic creation.  The children were mesmerized by the bird's new appearance, more than ever before certain that they were in some sort of a dream.  "Think quickly," the metallic feathered creature warned. "Your lives depend on you solving this riddle. So, how do you get out?"
 
The children looked at one another, trying to find the answer to the riddle they found themselves squarely in the middle of. Trying to find a clue, they started investigating the walls for any signs of a secret exit, one that might be found in a royal castle, but none could be found. They looked up to the tall walls to see if they could see anything that an acrobat might be able to use to climb, but the walls were as smooth as a frozen lake.  This left them with only one option, so they looked at the bird and asked it to come closer so that they could ask it a question.  The metal bird agreed and flew down but before it could land, the children grabbed it and held it tightly in their hands.  They explained that as far as they could tell, the only way out was to fly and that he was the only one able to do so, so they would only let him go after it took them out of this tower.
 
The bird smiled before revealing the flaw in their plan. Being so small and them being so big, he would only be able to carry one of them out. So, they would need to make a choice. Which would be set free and which would remain behind to welcome death alone?  The boy and girl again looked at each other, and after a few moments they agreed on what needed to be done, so they each let go of the bird, allowing it to fly away without taking either one of them with him.

The bird swirled around, as if considering the children.  Then the bird bobbed his head again.  “By choosing another’s destiny ahead of your own, you have revealed your own,” he decided.  

Then as the Quazil-Shedirak bobbed his head again, the children found themselves no longer in the room with the bird but back home with their father.  He hugged the children tightly and led them to their new home.  Since they had been gone, he found a treasure and was now able to support them so the children no longer had to go out to support the family.

As the children went to bed in their new warm beds, they could have sworn they heard a bird singing to them that night.

=/\=

“I liked that legend,” Adriana smiled.  

Xana smiled wistfully too.  “I did too.”  Looking out the window again she mused.  “I think Cagal would like this one too.”  Shrugging she turned back.  “Don’t know.”

Adriana decided to press her luck.  “You don’t know?”

Xana paused and said.  “He’s like the Quazil-Shedirak or Bird of Fortune in this legend.  He’s lovely to look at and talk to...but not someone in my everyday life.  It doesn’t mean I’m not grateful that he’s been a part of my life.”  Looking at the PADD the Ambassador continued on, “But like the Quazil-Shedirak he brings something and then disappears.”

=/\=
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi
 
Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS

and

Sarah Albertini-Bond
USS ANUBIS
M18-011: USS ANUBIS: Maya: 35272.1630 ("Legends, Chapter 7")
---
"Legends, Chapter 7"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 6" / (BAS) "Belittled")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Planetary Studies Lab
Stardate: 35272.1630

Although researching legends of ancient lore from a little known world was not her strong suite, the Shillian scientist found herself completely captivated by the subject matter. What Maya found most interesting was that many of the legends she was reviewing and studying shared elements of folktales from other civilizations hundreds of lightyears away, including her own vanished homeworld.

The only account of those distant legends was what she remembered of the bits and pieces her father shared when she was just a little child with too many questions. There was no way for Maya to know how accurate the tales he told were as compared to the official records, but a faint smile still managed to sneak its way onto her lips as the faded memories resurfaced. As a renowned scientist, the interests of Sonah leaned far more to the side of quantifiable facts than fantasised historical speculations.  Maybe that explained why the Shillian found herself so drawn to these particular stories and legends, never having truly enjoyed such things during her childhood, or at least whatever childhood she managed to hold on to as her world faced its inevitable demise.

The Chief Science Officer returned her attention to one particular legend, one that she had already read several times, a story that by all definition of the word had become by far her favourite.  With memories of her father in her heart, Maya read the legend once more, unable and unwilling to fight the desire to do so.

---
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak -- Chapter 7

It was a dark and sad day. Thick grey clouds filled the skies blocking the light of the sun so perfectly that no one could know how far along in the day they were.  All that the people knew was that following the news of the passing of their sovereign, fear and uncertainty had spread like an endless shadow over the land.  With their beloved ruler passed into the world of eternal spirits, they worried as to what would become of their lands, their way of life and most importantly their very lives.

The land and its people had experienced such sadness only once before when the mate of the sovereign passed on due to complications following the birth of her third child and only daughter. From that day on, the ruler of the land did everything he could to prepare his eldest son to take over as ruler. Unfortunately, the passing of his mother proved to be too much for the young man to accept and one day he left the land followed by a depression that witnesses claimed they could see following the young lord like a cloak of darkness.  He had left everything behind, including the small crown that his father had bestowed upon him as a reminder of his mother and what she represented to him and their people.

Following a full year of intensive search by all of the people of the land for their missing prince, the sovereign reluctantly accepted the fact that of the three beautiful children his mate had gifted him with, only two now remained.  With a heavy heart, the ruler named his second-born son as his official heir and gave him the same gift that his brother had received and left behind when he so unexplainably left -- the crown of his mother.

The second son accepted this gift with pride but when it was placed onto his head, the young man screamed as he fell to the ground in agonizing pain. The stories told by those who were there was that the second-son claimed the diadem to be cursed, filling his mind with images that were not his own. Despite all efforts to calm the young man, he eventually found his way to one of the balconies of the castle and jumped without thinking twice about what he was doing or what it would mean for his father, sister and the people of the land.

Heartbroken the ruler withdrew into his chambers but not before he ordered the crown to be destroyed. Being the only keepsake of her mother, the maid in charge of the last of the three children managed to convince the guards to relinquish the diadem into her care, swearing that it would never see the light of day for as long the ruler drew breath.

Years passed in silence as the ruler avoided spending any time with his last remaining offspring. Countless attempts were made to have the ruler accept what had come to pass and embrace the daughter that would one day take his place, that is as long as he declared her to be his official heir. Without this, she could never hope to take on the title, duties and responsibilities of that position, but the ruler refused, blaming himself for the death of his two sons, unwilling to risk bestowing the same fate onto his only daughter.

With each year that passed, the sovereign grew weaker, more recluse, seeing only his closest aides until one day his daughter sneaked into his bed-chamber as a simple kitchen maiden.  The princess, now a striking young woman, instantly caught the attention of the ruler seeing in her the woman he had once loved beyond measure.  He invited the young girl to sit on his bed so that they could talk, which they did for hours and days after.

During their lengthy conversations, the sovereign revealed that he wished he could explain how he felt to his daughter whom he had abandoned, his heart unable to face the possibility of losing her as he had everyone else in his life. The young maiden reassured the ruler that his daughter did not hold any ill will against him and even understood what he felt.

Their meetings became regular occurrences until the evening when his health deteriorated to such a depth that the sovereign called for his daughter to be brought to him. Upon seeing the young maiden, he realized what she had done and began to cry, embracing her for the first time as his daughter. He quickly apologised for having had everything of her mother destroyed in his sorrow-filled rage to which the princess revealed that one piece had been saved, the diadem.

The sovereign quickly insisted that she destroy the crown, that it was the cause of the demise of her brothers, but the Princess refused, claiming that she would not give up the last remnant piece of memory she had of her mother.  Faced with this impossible situation, and not wishing to push his daughter away once again, the ruler renounced his demand and instead made the princess promise that she would never put it on, which she did.

Relieved, the sovereign proceeded with the reason why he had summoned his daughter to his bedside. With his last breath, and with all of the proper witnesses in attendance, the ruler of the land declared his daughter to be his heir. The bittersweet moment was felt by all inhabitants no matter their station.

On this night, the sovereign had passed and in two days, this in accordance with their ways, the young princess would claim her rightful place as the new ruler of the land. On the first day, the aides to her father prepared her as they had her brothers, informing the sovereign-to-be of her upcoming duties and responsibilities. During those lessons, she could not help but find her attention diverting to the crown of her mother, the crown she had sworn not to wear. Something about the small circular object called to her, so much so that she found it impossible to resist.

At the end of the day of mourning, the princess could no longer fight back the urge and she placed the crown upon her head to the great dismay of her terrified aides. To their shock, nothing seemed to happen, at least at first but soon the last of the three children and soon-to-be ruler of the land began to cry before running away and locking herself into her chambers.

News of this quickly spread through the land, everyone fearing that she too had fallen prey to the curse of the crown and that all of their fates would soon follow.  An air of dark uncertainty swept through the castle and land, growing stronger with each passing second. The time of the crowning was upon them and the heir could not be forced out of her seclusion.  Just as the aides were about to give up, the princess stepped into the main hall, looking almost like a perfect copy of her mother.

Everyone asked if she was all right and the princess replied with a smile that the aides quickly likened to that of her mother. Even her posture and walk were reminiscent of the woman in question.  Speaking in a voice and mannerisms that echoed that of her mother, the princess explained that the crown was not cursed but rather a divine gift as it granted her the memories of her mother, memories that were too much for her brothers to accept.

After being officially named the new sovereign of the land, the ruler made her first declaration, which was that the crown upon her head would, from now on, be known as the Quazil-Shedirak, 'the Keeper of Memories'.

---
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)
M18-012: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva/Bruxa: 35272.1730 ("Legends, Chapter 8")
=-=
"Legends, Chapter 8"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 7" by Jessica / (BAS) "Wee Pain" by Tiffany]
=-=  

Setting: USS ANUBIS, CMO's Office
Stardate: 35272.1730

Satella gazed at the small screen resting on her desk. The list she created sat perfectly framed by the inner edges of the monitor. As Xana walked in, the Ambassador thought that the CMO was studying some medical file. That was the only possible reason to explain the intensity Dr Bruxa was radiating.

"You wanted to see me?" Xana said. As trained as the Bolian/Human was in matters of diplomacy, she could not hide the concern in her voice. Being summoned by the CMO was bad enough. To find her so engrossed in her reading just sent Bonviva's imagination into high warp. "Is everything alright? Is there something wrong with me?"

Satella's head snapped up to meet the azure-skinned woman's white eyes. The Doctor replied in as a reassuring manner as she could. "No, there is nothing wrong with you. Unless you crashed into something on your way here."

The relief Xana felt was short-lived. Her mind instantly shifted from that of an Ambassador to that of a concerned mother. "Is there something wrong with Ben?"

"Relax Xana," Dr. Bruxa said, inviting the Bolian/Human to sit. "I asked you here to discuss this." As she spoke those words, the small screen was spun around so that the Ambassador could see the list.

"The legends of the Quazil-Shedirak." Whatever concern Xana felt earlier was now nothing more than confused relief. "You called me here to show me a list?"

Satella smiled and shook her head. "I called you here to *discuss* the list. It is amazing that so many different items share the same name. That is even more surprising when you take into account the items have nothing in common with each other. It is as if the people of KANTARE only had a handful of names they could use to refer to any one object."

"There are 14 different ways of saying 'no' on BOLARUS."

"The Quazil-Shedirak would be the opposite of that. In this case, the same word means 14 widely different things, but I get your point. Languages can be strange, and grow stranger as they evolve."

"I doubt that you called me into your office to discuss exo-linguistics. If so, you should have asked Ani to come here." The Ambassador was growing impatient.

"Not linguistics," Satella said. "Lore. More specifically that of the Quazil-Shedirak. All of these legends talk about an object with unique properties. The problem is that there is no continuity. So, I was wondering what you knew about this mythical item? What does Xana Bonviva know that no one else knows?"

The Bolian/Human woman leaned back in her chair, unphased by the line of questioning she was being subjected to. "You have been hanging around Shar'El too much. You are starting to see conspiracies where there are none."

"Is that so?" Dr Bruxa fired back. "Care to read *that* particular legend? I think you will find it most interesting." Stella was pointing to one particular line on the list being displayed on her screen. "It talks about a woman yielding a bracelet able to transform into a shield."

"Sounds interesting," Xana said dismissively.

"I found the description of one of the characters to be even more interesting. If I didn't know better, I would swear that it was you."

"Those legends are thousands of years old, maybe more."

"I know..."

=/\=
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak -- Chapter 8

In a land far away, there was an inventor who wanted to make the world a better place. He saw the problems around him and knew he could solve them.  

Except... well, he wasn’t very good at inventing.  

He tried making a potion to have his hair grow except he lost more hair than he grew.  He tried to improve the weaponry and it fired upon his own house instead of the target.  He tried to invent a way to make his studio sturdier except then it collapsed.

Ideas he had plenty of; how to make any of it a reality that is where he could not make it work.

Still everyday he worked in his studio, toiling away, sure that now he would invent the one thing that would help KANTARE.  To help pay the bills and put food on his table, he would make small gadgets and knicknacks to be sold at the village.  He hated this but he hated being hungry more. Thankfully his neighbor and his daughter often handled that bit of minutiae for him.

Today, the young girl came over with her cart for the market.  “Hello inventor,” she called out.  “What did you want me to bring to market?”

The inventor waved her into his studio.  “I’ll go get my wares for you.”  

The young girl looked around, curious about the items; living close to the inventor she knew better than to touch most things.  She had no desire to have the house, studio, or anything else blow up.  Still it was hard not to be entranced by the sketches of dreams that were tacked up at various places, tools left next to half-built machines with their intricacies…

First she saw some gold coins that she picked up off the floor and put back on the bench.  Then she saw a large bucket with strange metal coming out of it and vines winding around it.  “What’s growing out of here?”

The inventor, who was now walking back, looked over and shook his head.  “I tried to increase crops but that vine gives out very little fruit and the fruit it does give is strange.”  Looking around he nodded with his head towards a bird in a cage.  “Can you feed my bird please?  My hands are full.”

The girl nodded but before she could get to the bird, she saw the gold coins again.  Bending down she picked up the gold coins and put them back on the counter again before walking towards a silvery bird who was bobbing along strangely.  It wasn’t until she was closer that she saw his wing was badly injured and the inventor must have tried to fix it by creating a metal brace for it.  “Here you go,” she said to the bird, doling out the birdseed.  The bird trilled a song and tapped in time with his beak on a small scepter that hung next to his perch.

By this time the inventor came back and said, “I loaded up the cart.  That should be everything.”  

“What’s this?” the girl asked.

“Oh, that’s the wiring for a ring and amulet that I sell sometimes at the market.  The jewelry is acting strangely but people liked it.  I don’t have enough to sell that today,” he explained.  Fiddling with the wiring he said, “There’s enough here not for a ring and amulet but something else.  Hold on.”  Humming the inventor got to work pulling bits of metal, glass, and stones together to create something.  Waving the girl over he looked at her and then went back to work, continuing his humming.  Finally he stopped his work and said, “Here a bracelet.  I’m sorry it doesn’t do anything like my other inventions but it’s yours if you want it.”

The girl took the bracelet and set out to the market with her cart filled with the inventor's odd trinkets. Usually she would study some of the inventions she was bringing to the market, but today her attention was solely focused on the bracelet on her wrist.  It was because of this that she did not notice a woman standing in her path until she nearly ran her over.

"I am so sorry," the girl said as she rushed to the woman's side. It made sense to fear that she might have been hurt but when she reached her, the woman appeared unharmed. The fact that she was smiling instantly made the young girl feel better. "Are you alright?"

"I am fine," the strange woman replied. "What an interesting bracelet you have."

Being the kind and trusting person that she was, the young girl thought nothing of the compliment. The woman was fine and apparently enjoyed strange trinkets.  "This was given to me by a friend of mine. He is an inventor who sends his ware to the market. If you are interested, I would be happy to show you some of his inventions."

"I would much rather you gave me the bracelet."  The tone of the strange woman made it clear that this was not a simple suggestion.

"I'm sorry," the girl said, taking a couple of steps back. "It was a gift."

The woman's eyes turned darker, from a light blue to a deep purple. "Child, life is a gift, and like all gifts it can be forfeit by a simple wrong decision. You have just made such a decision." The woman's transformation continued until a strange demonic beast stood in her place. Her hair was long and white, her skin was blue and her nails had grown to be as long and sharp as claws. The sight of the creature made the young girl take another long step back but it would be in vain. The demon leaped at her leaving the young girl nothing else to do but to fall down and instinctively raise her arm to protect herself.

The sound that came next took both the attacker and victim by surprise. The echo of metal against metal rang through the forest causing all creatures to flee. The demon glared with her violet eyes at the young girl, a shield now standing between them.  "How is this possible?!?" The creature demanded, her rage clearly visible. Another attack was soon launched and again the metallic circle found its way between the predator and prey.  "What sorcery is this?"

The young girl could not answer, not knowing herself what was happening.  When she managed to return to her feet, the shield folded back onto itself until it completely vanished, leaving only the bracelet. It was as if all of the small pieces of metal had come from the item around her wrist when she needed protection. Those same small pieces returned to their point of origin when the item believed the danger to no longer be there. "Begone demon, unless you wish to see what else my *gift* can do."  The young woman had no idea if the bracelet could do more. Luckily, the demon also lacked that knowledge and could not read the girl's ignorance on her face. Vanishing as quickly as it had appeared, the blue-skinned, white haired woman disappeared as if she had never even been there.

=-=

"It is an interesting legend," Xana said. "Just like the others."

Satella canted her head. "Really? You did not pick up on the similarities?"

Xana displayed her best puzzled face. "The bracelet? I might have had something similar in my possession at some point in my life. That said, I am pretty sure that it could not transform into a shield."

"Not the bracelet," Satella sighed. "The woman."

The Bolian/Human Ambassador did not miss a beat. "I am sure that she wore it just fine. Women have a way to make the best of whatever accessories they have available."

The Doctor's frustration was visibly rising. "Xana! Fine, if I have to spell it out, I will. That demon creature could have been you. The description is uncanny familiar."

"Are you accusing me of being some sort of outworldly creature of the underworld?" Bonviva was having fun with this.

"No," Bruxa huffed. "I just can't help thinking that you made use of that resemblance in your own quest for the Quazil-Shedirak. I know you well enough to understand that you would take full advantage of whatever leverage would present itself. Maybe that is why you and Cagal have been so quiet about providing us with more details."

"Again, you have been hanging around Shar'El too much. You are imagining things." The Ambassador's dismissal of the idea only strengthened the Doctor's resolve.

"My guess is that something happened. Something that would likely not reflect well on a high-ranking member of the Federation diplomatic corp. That is why Cagal's request for help was so cryptical. It would also explain why you are so willing to rush in to help."

The two women looked at each other for several moments in complete silence. Satella could not be sure of the claims she had just made. If something did happen, it was almost a certainty that Xana had covered her tracks. If the Ambassador remained staunched in her denial, Bruxa might have no other choice but to turn to Shar'El. Doing so though might unearth things that Bonviva would rather keep secret.

The only thing Doctor Bruxa could do was hope that Ambassador Bonviva had reached the same conclusion. It was unlikely that Xana had anything to do with the Bracelet of Protection. Her involvement with the Quazil-Shedirak on the other hand seemed to go a lot deeper than she had initially let on.

=-=

This post was brought to you by the joint efforts of...

Sarah Albertini-Bond
USS ANUBIS

and

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] 
M18-013: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 35272.1745 ("Legends, Chapter 9")
"Legends, Chapter 9"
[previous (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 8" / (BAS) "Small Steps"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 35272.1745 

He sat on the couch, his mind bouncing from one subject to the other without any rhyme or reason. Being here in her quarters felt right and he could not help but remember the eternity they had spent apart. HAd what happened been some sort of a test and was his being back here some kind of proof that he had passed. From there his thoughts travelled back to Leena and how he felt then.  Was happiness an attainable goal or was he cursed to endure the worst of hardships everytime true happiness was within his grasp?

"You have that *deep in thoughts* look," Ya'Han said as she placed a mug of replicated bear in the small table in front of him.

"Come here," he said reaching for the woman he loved and pulling her down to him. She could have easily deflected his hand, or fought against his pull, but instead the Nylaan allowed herself to fall on him, giggling as she did so.  "I love you, and I never want anything to happen to you."

"What brought that on?" Ya'Han asked, not sure if she should simply be happy at the unexpected declaration or if she should be concerned about the reason for it.

Jayson quickly thought of how he should answer. He could hear in his head the voice of Counselor Lopez asking him the same question the gradient purple-haired woman had just asked of him. The question might have seemed simply, but he knew that any answer he gave would be incomplete.  In the end he decided on an answer that had nothing to do with his feelings, hoping that she would accept it without hesitation. "I was just reading those legends. If you take the time to look at the characters in those stories instead of the item, you get a feeling of what the people of KANTARE endured during those days. Life was not easy for them."

"Life seldom is," Ya'Han said as she softly caressed Jayson's cheek with her fingers. "No matter the scale you are talking about, there are always obstacles for people to overcome if they are to become more than they were. The Vulcan's overcame their savage ways by embracing logic as a race. The genetically altered military personnel of ANGOSIA III overcame their implanted programming  by dedicating themselves to helping those in need. As individuals, both you and I overcame personal hardships that led us to be people we are today.  I can imagine that if there was a reason, someone could easily write a story about what we went through, a story that in time could maybe become a legend of its own."

Jayson started laughing.

"What's so funny?" Ya'Han asked.

"I was just imagining you with your foot on some slain beast holding up a sword high as a show of victory against the unmentionable odds." He looked into her eyes, half expecting her to laugh with him, but instead she slapped his shoulder before pushing herself back to her feet.

"What is it with you and this obsession with that sword?"

"It's a legend, just like those for that KANTARE thingamajig. It is meant to tell a story and inspire others."

"The item is called the Quazil-Shedirak," Ya'Han snarled, growing tired of having to correct him whenever he referred to the legendary artefact. "You are able to remember Excalibur, so why not that?"

"I'm sorry," he said as he quickly reached out to grab her hand. "I guess I am just having a hard time finding those legends interesting. I mean the stories are great, but the fact that we are supposed to accept that all of these items are one and the same makes it hard for me to wrap my head around it.  There are countless different legends about Excalibur, Arthur and Mordred, but despite all of the differences, the core idea remains the same.  The sword is always a sword, the King is always the King and the bad guy is always the bad guy. All of the legends about the Quazil-Shedirak read like someone just forgot to change the name as they wrote those stories."

"The legends of the Quazil-Shedirak span thousands of years," Ya'Han said. "There is no way that a single person could be responsible for writing them all."

"Are we sure about that?" He countered. "Most of those stories talk about the item being passed one from one person to the next, either by choice or by luck. Maybe the anthology did the same, being passed on from one person to the next to be continued. If that was the case it would mean that it is not the item itself that connects each of the legends but rather the narrative itself."

"That is a wild theory," Ya'Han said.

"Is it?"

[/\]
The Legends of the Quazil-Shedirak -- Chapter 9

The young maiden stood at the very edge of the docks, looking at the distant line separating the ocean and sky. Tomorrow she would be leaving her home and everyone she had ever known to wed some man she had never met before. The union was designed to bring peace to their people and bring about a new age of prosperity. As the King's daughter, she had no choice in the matter, she had to play the role given to her for the sake of her people.

"Your highness?" It was her father's advisor,likely coming to see how she was doing and to make sure she did not do something foolish, like jumping into the cold waves cashing below her. "You should not be here, it is too dangerous."

"How can my standing here be more dangerous than my having to marry a man I have never before seen, a man responsible for the death of countless of our people? Please, tell me, how is *this* more dangerous?"

"Your union will save countless lives. If for whatever reason you are not on that boat tomorrow, I fear the suffering your father and his people would be made to endure as retaliation for breaking the agreement. The danger is not to you, your Highness, the danger is to the rest of your people."

"Of course it is," the young maiden said. "I know that, and I know that it is the reason why I must do as I have been told. I do this for you, for my people. All I can do is hope that my sacrifice will not be in vain."

"You are leaving this land as a Princess and being welcomed into another as a Queen. You should not look upon this gift as a sacrifice. Many young women would want nothing more than to be in your place and possess your beauty."

"And I would gladly trade places with them," she sighed, keeping her gaze on the distance horizon. "My beauty may be the envy of others, but it is a gift I would gladly give to someone else if it meant I could remain here with my people instead of marrying that tyrant."

"You should not wish for such things, your Highness," the Advisor warned. "The life you would trade might not be the one you hoped for."

"Any life that allows me to remain here is a better one than a life lived in another land," she said as she walked past the Advisor and back to the castle.

Later that evening, the Advisor returned to see the young maiden, this time he was accompanied by a young girl. Her hair was matted, her dress torn and dirty, the sight of her was almost enough to make the Princess recoil in fright.

"What is she doing here?" The Princess demanded.

"She is here to take your place."

"How would that work? She looks nothing like me."

"Simply hold each other's hands with this marble between them," the Advisor explained. "This," he continued as he held the small crystalline sphere between his fingers, "is the Quazil-Shedirak and will allow you to trade appearance with her. You will then be able to remain here while she takes on the responsibilities and duties of being Queen."

"That is impossible," the young maiden declared. "No item can do what you are claiming."

"Then, if I am mistaken, there is no reason to fear it. If, on the other hand, I am telling the truth, you would have the means to fulfill your wish of avoiding marrying the tyrant you so deeply despised and remain here with your father and his people."

The Princess thought about what the Advisor said, considering for several minutes the possibility that he was telling the truth. Looking at the girl who came with him, the young maiden fought back the urge to cringe away and eventually took hold of her hand before reaching for the small sphere which she inserted inside the reluctant handshake.

"Simply look into each other's eyes and imagine that you are looking at yourself in a mirror," the Advisor said. The transformation was slow but there was no denying the fact that the two women were changing and appearing more and more like the other. When the transformation was complete, the two women let go of the other's hand, staring at a perfect image of themselves, clothes and all.

During the night that followed, the women talked about their lives, teaching the other as much as they could about the life they would now be leading. Although the idea of being a farm hand displeased the young maiden, it was for her a far better life then the one she was giving up.

Morning came and the crowd quickly began to gather to wish their Princess a fair journey as she set sail to her new life. Even the young maiden came to see the woman who she was not so long ago board the ship and sail off into the distant horizon. Once the sailship was well on its way, the farm maiden turned to find the King's Advisor standing behind her.

"I am glad you are here," she said. "I was thinking that I might find someone else to trade appearance and life with. As much as I did not want to marry that tyrant, I am not sure that I would be cut out for working on a farm."

"Unfortunately, your Highness, the Quazil-Shedirak only works once per person," the Admivor said as a smile began to dance on his aged lips. "The best anyone can do now is to pass on the item to someone else and hope that, maybe, they will make a better choice then some of the ones done before them."

"How are you?" the former Princess demanded, the truth about her situation becoming clearer with each passing moment.

"I am the King's Advisor," he replied. "Just not your father's. My King knew of your reluctance to marry him, so he asked me to find a way for him to claim your father's throne while removing you from his path. I think the situation worked better than either one of us could have expected, don't you agree?"

A week later, the body of a woman was found by the side of the road leading inland. Her only possession was a small crystalline marble and a note on which was written 'Live your life, not someone else's.'

[/\]

After reading that particular legend aloud, Jayson looked up and met Ya;Han's gaze with his own. "If you take a moment to consider who is telling the stories instead of the stories themselves, you can see that it sounds like someone has been following the passing of the thingy from one person to the next.

"The thingy is called the Quazil-Shedirak," the Nylaan growled as she walked away, not wanting to have to correct him once more as to the pronunciation of the mythical item's name.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-014: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han/Lopez: 35272.2125 ("Legendary Obsession")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Legendary Opsession"
[previous post were (ANU) "Legends, Chapter 9" / (BAS) "Small Steps"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Corridor, Deck 7
Stardate: 35272.2125

The Nylaan stood in front of the door, waiting to be let in, and the moment it slid open Adriana only needed to see the woman's hair color to know that something was not right. The time of the day had been a clue on its own, but the Counselor/Junior Ambassador could dismiss it as being countless other things. The color of her friend's hair though could not be so easily ignored.

"Is everything okay?" The Counselor asked, a hint of concern mixed in with fear tightening her throat as she spoke the question. "Is it about you and Jayson?"

"No," Ya'Han replied too quickly before closing her eyes and thinking about all of the reasons that made her seek the help of the Ship's Counselor. "Yes," the Sec/Tac amended, "sort of."

"Come in, come in," Adriana said, inviting the troubled soul into her sanctum.  The CNS waited for the Sec/Tac to gather her thoughts and make herself a little more comfortable before starting the unexpected session with the most basic and direct question in her counseling arsenal. "What happened?"

"I am frustrated," Ya'Han admitted in a huff.

"I can tell," Adriana commented, trying to offset the woman's mood with a little bit of humor. "I do not believe I have ever seen that particular shade and mixture of colors on your hair before.

The Counselor had not believed the attempt to be a dangerous one, at least that was until the Nylaan's hair turned bright red leaving Adriana to wonder how she could have so completely misread the woman and her friend. Just as quickly as the fiery color had appeared, it vanished letting Ya'Han's hair revert back to the more customary mixture of black and red everyone had grown used to seeing on her.

"Jayson is not taking this mission to find the Quazil-Shedirak seriously," Ya'Han sighed. "He can't even be bothered to try and call the item by its name. It's always a 'thingamabob', a 'thingamajig' or a 'doohickey'. How are we supposed to help Xana like that?"

"Helping Xana is important to you?" The Counselor asked, already suspecting the root cause for the woman's visible frustration.

"Of course," Ya'Han exclaimed. "Why would helping Xana not be important to me, to any of us?"

"Well," Adriana began as she leaned back into the armchair from which she conducted the greater majority of her sessions. "This quest for the Quazil-Shedirak is actually us helping a friend of the Ambassador, not her directly."

"If it is important to her, then I do not see why it would not be important to us," the Sec/Tac said with a little more force than she probably wanted to display. "She is a member of this crew, a shipmate with whom we have shared more than most can imagine, and on top of that, many consider her a friend, so why would helping her not be important to all of us?"

"It is her quest," Adriana said.

"Why do you keep using that term? Jayson does the same thing, this is not a quest, it's a mission," Ya'Han argued.

"Maybe it is his way of expressing his point of view and interest in this mission," the Counselor proposed.

"He is very interested in his 'quests', but I can tell that he is not at all interested in this mission. He admitted to me that the only reason he is helping in this voluntary mission is because of me. He said that it was only because this is important to me that he offered to join the search for the item," the Sec/Tac explained.

"Just like you joining him on his holodeck adventures? You have promised to do it because of him, not because you want to," Adriana theorize, although the way she spoke made it clear that it was more than a simple theory.

"How?" Ya'Han asked, quickly answering her own question. "He came and spoke to you about this, didn't he?"

"Ya'Han," the Hispanic woman smiled. "You know that I cannot discuss the content of any other session or even confirm that there was a session. All I am saying is that you should try to look at this from his point of view. You are asking him to show interest in an object deeply embedded in the legends of a world that is not your own while showing a complete disinterest for an object found in the legends of *his* world. Could that explain why he is unwilling to use the name Quazil-Shedirak?"

The Nylaan sighed as she leaned back into the couch. "Why could he not just tell me this?"

"Maybe he tried," the Counselor replied. "The question should be more about you being ready and willing to listen. You said it yourself, this search for the Quazil-Shedirak is important to Xana and therefore is important to you. Maybe he sees this devotion to her *quest* as you putting her needs above his."

"Man can be so childish," the Sec/Tac sighed adding a loving smile at the end.

"That, my dear, has to be one of the greatest universal constants of our reality."

"Thank you," Ya'Han said as she stood. "I guess I need to have a long talk with him. That, or beat that idea out of him."

The Counselor could tell that the Sec/Tac was kidding, yet she kept up with the idea. "Remember, you can get better results using kindness over brute force."

The Nylaan grinned. "I never said how I would beat it that idea out of him," she said as she walked out of the Counselor's office, her hair changing to a tell-tale emerald hue.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501

and

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi
 
Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS
M18-015: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 35272.2315
("An Ex-Husband, A Jail Escape, A Former Wife, and Santa Claus")
"An Ex-Husband, A Jail Escape, A Former Wife, and Santa Claus"
[previous post were (ANU) "Legendary Opsession" / (BAS) "Miniscule Progress"]

=/\=
“...hear rumors and go digging for the painful truth beneath the lovely lies. You believe you have a right to these things, but you don’t.  When someone tells you a piece of their life, they’re giving you a gift, not granting you your due.”

-Patrick Rotfuss

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck A-4, IGC
Stardate: 35272.2315

It was late at night when Shar’El asked Xana to come to IGC.  So the Ambassador, who first checked that her son was asleep, left him a note that she was still on ship (in case he woke up), activated the EBH (Emergency Babysitting Hologram) and slipped off to IGC.

The ExO/Intel Officer was waiting for the Bolian/Human Ambassador.  “Do I get to know the reason for this mysterious summons?”

Shar’El nodded as she waved Xana into a more secluded area of the already secluded IGC.  “As you know, I’ve been keeping tabs on your ex-husband,” she said softly, “to see what could be done to assist with your custody case.”  

“And I appreciate that,” Xana nodded, “but cases aren’t decided at 2300.”

Shar’El waved Xana to a station.  “I have a feeling yours is going to be.  Commander Crichton was just arrested on the USS PHOENIX.  Communications are coming in for you to alert you to this.”  Pausing she said, “It would be best to be surprised.”

Rubbing her face Xana murmured, “I am.”  The screen changed from the Federation logo to that of the USS PHOENIX’s dark haired Counselor.  “Bonviva here,” Xana said.  Lt. Eve Daziel  stared blankly. “Counselor? Can you hear me?”

 [/\]This is Eve Dalziel from the PHOENIX,[/\] Eve began unnecessarily as she tried to find her voice. [/\]Ambassador Bonviva, I don’t know how to say this,[/\] the Counselor added.

“It’s not Dahlia, is it?” Xana asked without hesitation.

[/\]She’s fine. Iphie is with her,[/\] Eve said referring to Xana’s younger sister. [/\]It’s Jake. He’s been arrested[/\]

“Arrested for what?”

[/\]He tried to commandeer a transporter room aboard the ship.[/\]

“If he was going to commit mutiny, wouldn’t the bridge have been a better option?” Even divorced, Xana knew that when Jake had a scheme to get something accomplished, she was still the one to suggest a more effective way to do it. Old habits die hard.

[/\]He wasn’t trying to commit mutiny,[/\] Eve answered, even though it was clear she wasn’t sure if that was true. [/\]He was trying to find Billy’s home universe with the hope of finding Ben. He believes somehow they traded places.[/\]

Xana’s expression, while still imbued with years of dealing with difficult situations, could not conceal her anger and frustration. “Incazzato! Are you *serious*?” she yelled as she lapsed into her native Italian, a sign that she was losing control of her emotions.  Waving around her hands she said, “Even while being in the *middle* of a *civil war* in another *universe*, I still can manage to keep up with my subspace messages. I can’t be the only one capable of that!” she opined. “I already advised Captain Kane that *I* had Ben!”

In the background Shar’El rolled her eyes at Xana clearly breaching protocol about discussing multiple universes and was already working on how to roll back this.

Clearly that went beyond Eve as she focused on the salient facts of Ben/Billy switch. [/\]H-how?[/\] Eve stammered.

Xana sighed. There wasn’t enough pinot noir in the world to make her want to re-hash the last mission. So she went with the quick version. “He was kidnapped, and fortunately brought to me shortly after. Which is what I *told* Kane in response to his communication to me. Along with the fact that I would be making arrangements to pick up Dahlia due to this obvious act of neglect on my ex-husband’s part! I have petitioned for full custody.”

The Counselor sighed. [/\]I don’t think any of us expected something like this to happen. But the only question I can ask now, is how can I help make this easier in the transition?[/\]

The Ambassador sat back in the darkened room she was in and suddenly appeared to be far away, at least mentally.  “I had been thinking recently...it would have been our 12th wedding anniversary if we had stayed married.  When we got married it was the end of a war, we were so happy, Dahlia was there, and we were planning on starting a family….the Jake Crichton you’ve described, the one I filed for custody against....doesn’t sound like the same man I was married to all those years.  Look, it’s been sometime I’ve seen him, I know that.  I’m sure that...well I’m sure someone knows him better than I do now.  Still I can’t reconcile the funny, warm man I spent all those years with someone who would endanger one child, ignore another child and hijack Federation property.”  

Tears appeared briefly in the azure woman’s violet eyes before she looked away.  “*That* man went out of his way to make other people happy, somewhere deep is a good heart….I’m not sure how much good an ex-wife’s word does but I don’t want to imagine that Jake Crichton is so lost.”  Xana looked back at the terminal to finish her thought, “Because if that’s the case then what are we all doing out here?  What then is the cost of protecting the Federation if we lose Jake along the way?”

Eve shrugged, as if slightly relieved that she wasn’t the only one perplexed by Jake’s behavior. Somehow, without directly answering her question, Xana had given the best response she could. {{If I remember, that’s how I got into this business. To help the ‘casualties’ not caused by phaser fire or exploding starships.}}

Xana exchanged a brief glance with Shar’El who gave an imperceptible nod.  Looking back at the monitor she said, “Starbase 228.”

{{What?}} Eve asked, not understanding the gist of Xana’s brief instructions.

“Sorry. Iphie needs to get there with Dahlia. It’s the closest rendezvous point that I will be able to meet with them. It’s near KANTARE.”

[/\]The PHOENIX is out of commission at the moment with the upgrade,[/\] Eve thought aloud.

Xana shook her head. It was pretty obvious that Kane was nearly as distracted as Jake was. Even if the flagship had been operational, she wouldn’t want to call in a favor like that. But she wasn’t out of options, yet. “I’ve got an idea. But, I need a little time.”

[/\]We’re not going anywhere,[/\] Eve reiterated. It almost sounded like an apology. [/\]I can be your point of contact, if you’d prefer.[/\]

“I will be in touch with either you, or my sister, as soon as I can be.”

[/\]Of course. Is there anything else?[/\]

“No,” Xana said.  “Thank you for reaching out.  Bonviva out.”  Once the Federation logo appeared on screen she turned to Shar’El, weary as she sat back in her chair.  “Thank you.”

The ExO sat back in her chair.  “I didn’t do anything,” she pointed out.  Tapping the screen she said, “After a review, custody of your minor children will be granted to you.”

“Again, thank you,” Xana said.  Looking over at the Intel Officer she said, “Anything else?”

Shar’El looked at the Ambassador, weighing her options.  “How much does the crew know about your relationship with Cagal?” she asked quietly.

Xana wished desperately for a drink; that would make this conversation so much easier.  “Some relationships are linear, and as such easy to explain.  Others less so.  I’ve known Cagal for over 20 years but Cagal isn’t in my life every day.  Then again very few people are.  But...I’ve known him for a long time and I appreciate him.  I think he appreciates me too.”  Pursing her lips she studied the other woman and said, “Ask your questions.  It will go much easier if you do.”  

The ExO nodded.  “I have three questions.  Several years ago you were in an Argrathi prison,” Shar’El said quietly.

Xana nodded quietly.  “Yes and the Federation does not negotiate.  That’s true.”

“You were arrested for high crimes and misdemeanors. It was believed that the Argrathi were going to use their technology to implant ideas into your mind or extract information from your mind,” she said.

The Bolian/Human woman nodded.  “Again, the Federation knew this.  I was one Ambassador; and no matter how good I am, the needs of the many...well you know the saying.  They could risk me, and re-do some work.”  Shrugging she said, “But you’re not here to discuss Federation policy regarding capture.”

Shar’El said quietly, “The Argrathi announced several days later that they did a prisoner exchange and you were part of that.  Federation saves face, the Argrathi saved face.  Except...you had been out for days.  You had been quietly ensconced at your villa in Venice on EARTH.”  

There was silence in the IGC as the two women stared at each other in the semi-darkness.  “I don’t hear a question,” Xana finally said quietly.

Shar’El smiled.  “You know what it is: how did you walk out of a technologically advanced prison days before the prisoner exchange?”

Xana smiled at that.  “You know the answer.”  Shrugging she said, “Cagal.”  

Shar-El nodded; Cagal broke out Xana.  The man who would become the Chief Engineer for KANTARE had an impressive career.  An Agrathi prison would be something a man of his skillset could handle.  How Cagal knew to get to Xana...well that could be figured out.

The ILO touched her screen and kept swiping away things until she found the next item.  “There was a KANTARE and ALDEAN art exchange with DATHIS II, with the idea that a cultural exchange might help ease relations with the otherwise xenophobic planet,” she said referring to DATHIS II

“Damn it,” Xana muttered.  Rubbing her brow she waved her hand and said, “The cultural exchange was not my idea. I want that on record.”

Shar’El nodded.  “Giga was one of the writers picked from KANTARE.”

“Giga...Cagal’s wife and Vanya’s mother,” the Ambassador sighed.  “Giga specialized in holonovels.”  Looking up she said, “I think that Satella found one of her stories.  It sounded familiar.” 

Shar’El looked up as if that even surprised her.  “I thought we were investigating ancient legends.  I take it Satella now knows this.”

“Giga was interested in myth and culture as a genre.  So it would not surprise me if one of the legends was hers.  No I didn’t tell Satella this and you know why,” Xana said.

“According to the official reports, Giga got involved in a protest on DATHIS II when she was part of the cultural exchange,” Shar’El said.  “She asked for her Ambassador to assist for remediation or extradition.”

Xana winced.  “I know.”

“You left EARTH but not before informing EARTH that you would ensure that any innocent Federation members would be extradited.  On the way you made a last minute stop on KANTARE.”

“I did.”

“You made it to DATHIS II just in time and spoke to their leadership.  Then Giga was executed and you were present for her execution,” Shar’El said quietly.  “What happened between EARTH, KANTARE, and DATHIS II that your mission went from extradition to execution?”

The quiet almost suffocated Xana.  “Yes, it was my intent to ensure she was extradited.  At first I thought she was just being arrested for a protest.  Cagal knew that.  But Cagal asked for her to be executed.  And yes, I was the one who oversaw it.”  Looking over she said, “The protests were a coverup.  Giga was involved in black market trading and using DATHIS II as a way to move KANTARE technology through DATHIS II to unaligned worlds.  There were weapons being moved to children.  CHILDREN! We don't do that!  I mean the Federation isn't perfect but we don't use children to--”  

The Ambassador cut herself off.  “I couldn’t bring her back to the Federation.  We didn’t have enough to bring her to justice.  She’d slip through.  The KANTARE government was embarrassed at the entire situation.  The Dachyld government wasn’t upset about the black market situation but that she staged a protest.  The entire situation was just wrong and backwards and all I could think about was that we had allowed weapons and technology out to enemies of the Federation under the most awful of circumstances and this was the only way to stop it from happening again because Giga made it clear she wasn't going to stop.  But yes, that’s another way that Cagal and I have had our lives entangled, which is what I think you’re trying to sort out.”

The ILO stared at the Ambassador.  Swiping through the screens she said, “When I was going through things under “Known Adversary” in your file it says: Santa Claus.”  Pausing she said, “Obviously this is an alias but I have to wonder why--”

“No he’s real but we’re not talking about this because we have enough to deal with Cagal.  But Santa Claus knows what he did,” Xana said firmly.  Sighing she said, “If there’s nothing else, I believe those are your three questions so I’ll see myself.”  As she stood up she said, “I appreciate that you’ll tell the Captain about this.  That’s fine.  I’ll get with everyone tomorrow about the legends and our next steps.  That’s all we can do.”  

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond
USS ANUBIS

With help from

Susan Ledbetter <susanmled@gmail.com>
Lieutenant Eve Dalziel
Cns
USS PHOENIX
M18-016: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 35273.0045 ("Legends in the Making")
=-=
"Legends in the Making"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "An Ex-Husband, A Jail Escape, A Former Wife, and Santa Claus" by Sarah / (BAS) "Minuscule Progress" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck A-4, IGC
Stardate: 35273.0045

The ExO / ILO sat in her chair, taking in the ambient relative stillness of the ICG as her gaze casually drifted over the room, the techs and their screens which displayed information and analyses on whatever project they were working on. The IGC techs worked in shifts, but the IGC itself never slept ensuring that whatever information came their way was immediately processed to guarantee the quickest possible response, should one be required. How else would they have known about the content of the incoming communication for the Ambassador?

Information was a tool that required the utmost skill to be properly used. In the right hands, the small tib-bit of knowledge could change the course of a world's history in the making, or forever alter a single individual's life in ways that could not be imagined. Shar'El understood this one simple fact all too well, and used this general knowledge more times than she could recall.  Information could be used as a shield, forcing certain people and events to stop dead in their tracks. Information could also be used as a weapon, condemning those who never expected a specific knowledge to be widely known.

The earlier discussion with Ambassador Bonviva replayed in the mind of the ExO / ILO. Every detail was broken down and painstakingly reviewed. Xana's words told only a fraction of the whole story, and Shar'El wanted to discover the rest. That was who she was and what she did. It was what everyone expected from her, at least as long as her skills were not pointed at them.

Restricted by her vow to Captain Morningstar that she would not scan the memories of any member of the ANUBIS' crew without their expressed content, the Intel Operative was forced to rely on more conventional methods to fill in the parts that Xana had chosen to keep to herself. Those who did not know the Ullian better often made the mistake to believe that her investigative skills went as far as her telepathic abilities. This was far from the truth since Shar'El had devoted a great deal of time and effort in perfecting her investigative skills since no one could tell when they might come in handy.

The ExO / ILO took notes on what she observed during the Ambassador's short visit to the IGC. Every micro-expression, every subtle shift of her body, every partial breath taken, even the pauses of silence the Bolian/Human woman did her best to hide told a story. It had become Shar'El's goal to uncover Xana's *legend in the making*.

The Intel Operative brought up onto one of her monitors the Legend of the Quazil-Shedirak, the one where the mysterious item was described as being a simple bracelet able to transform into a protective shield. The legend spoke of a demonic creature bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Ambassador. Due to the age of the story, it was impossible that Xana and this creature were the same, that was unless the Bolian/Human woman had used the temporal travel capabilities of the BASTET at some point, before or after today.  Shar'El believed that it was more likely that Bonviva used this strange coincidence to gain an advantage that she would otherwise never have had.

How many Federation Ambassadors could venture to an alien world and claim to be an ageless demonic entity? Shar'El grinned as she recalled the story of VENTAX II and the imposter who attempted to gain control of the planet by claiming to be Ardra. HAd she not been as greedy as she was, the imposter might have succeeded in her scam, a lesson that the ExO / ILO strongly suspected the Ambassador had learned from. By keeping her goal to be nothing more than the fabled artefact, the white-haired, azure-skinned demon was able to easily obtain what she had desired without attracting too much unwanted attention.  This of course was only one piece of a larger puzzle that involved Cagal, the executed wife Giga and their daughter Vanya.

The ExO / ILO could tell that the most recent development in the Ambassador's custody battle against her ex-husband had rattled her. Xana was too skilled to allow this to show, but Shar'El could tell, and the Intel operative counted on that to gain the advantage she needed to get to the bottom of this story. Bonviva was now faced with two separate issues to deal with, each very personal and tugging at her heart and mind from two completely different angles. Most would have broken down right there and then, but the raven-haired officer knew better than to expect the Bolian/Human woman to crack so easily.

Time, Shar'El hoped, would work its magic on the Ambassador and force her to reveal more about this situation that she had initially been willing to. Cagal had sent a message, but not the one the ANUBIS received. Hidden in these legends of the Quazil-Shedirak was the real reason for his call to her, and the ExO / ILO could feel that they were getting close to figuring out a key element of this mysterious puzzle.

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

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M18-017: USS ANUBIS: Lopez/Bonviva: 35273.0100 ("Legendary Explanation")
-=-=-
"Legendary Explanation"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Legends in the Making" by Tiffany  / (BAS) "Minor Review" by Dawn]

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ambassador's Bonviva's Quarters
Stardate: 35273.0100

The little boy was fast asleep, just like little boys ought to be at their age given the early hour of the day. It was difficult for some people to adjust to life on a starship, unable to get their bodies to accept the different pace and lifestyle required by their immediate environment. Although the ambient lights were made to mimic the passing of time as closely as possible; brighter during the day and darker during the night, many still could not find it within them to adapt. Psychologically speaking the reasoning for this made perfect sense -- it was always dark out in space, so the slightest glance out a window could throw someone's inner clock completely off.

Others were luckier, able to adapt to this strange way of living as if they were born to it. Right now, it appeared that the little boy was one of those fortunate people, not at all bothered by the uncertainties of when things happened aboard a starship.  Being only 10 years old meant that he could adapt to pretty much anything, and the fact that he was asleep on the couch instead of his bed was one one of countless oddities Benito had overcome with the ease and resolution granted by his young age.

Normally it would have been the EBH who watched over the sleeping boy, but the Emergency Babysitting Hologram had been given the proverbial "night off" by the woman currently watching over the sleeping youngling.  Upon her arrival into the Ambassador's quarters, the little boy had woken up expecting to find his mother, the note that Xana had left behind only serving for him to expect her return.

The Junior Ambassador confirmed that there was nothing for him to be concerned about and after some motherly care, which was offered once the EBH was dismissed, he gladly returned to sleep under the vigilant watch of the Hispanic woman.

When his mother returned, the Bolian/Human Ambassador was shocked to find not only her son on the couch but that it was the Junior Ambassador who was there instead of the Emergency Babysitting Hologram.

"Adriana?" The concerned expression of the mother was impossible to miss as a thousand and one possible explanation came rushing through her mind.

"I came by hoping that we could talk about Cagal, Vanya, the Quazil-Shedirak and Giga," Lopez said, her posture and tone of voice were as Vulcan as they could be.

"How?"

"As the Ship's Counselor, I do have certain privileges," Adriana said. "As a Junior Ambassador, those privileges have a much greater reach. I just wanted to get the whole story from you before Shar'El decided to reveal what she discovered to the rest of the senior officers."

"How do you know she discovered something?" Xana said, playing innocent.

"It's Shar'El we are talking about," Adriana said giggling. "The woman can find out about secrets before anyone knows that the information is going to be a secret. We both know how good she can be at her job, especially when she is driven to find something that she deems to be of interest to her or anyone else on the command staff. So, are you going to tell me what is really happening or should I just go and speak to Shar'El?"

"Jake," Xana sighed looking at Benito to make sure that he was sound asleep. "My ex-husband has been arrested."

The Ship's Counselor/Junior Ambassador was stunned speechless. This was not what she expected to hear and this news also pointed out that her Intel on her mentor was gravely lacking.  "I'm sorry," Adriana managed to say after several seconds of silence.

Xana nodded, her face withdrawn.  Moving around her quarters quietly she made cups of tea for Adriana and herself; once each of them had it she motioned for them to go to the other side of the quarters to let Ben sleep.  Sighing she said, “My younger sister will be meeting us eventually at the Starbase outside KANTARE with my teenage daughter who had been with my ex-husband.”  Looking around the quarters as she mentally tried to figure out how to make room for a hurt, angry teenager and room for a pre-teen boy.  “I never wanted to be a single parent and yet that’s the position I find myself in again.”  Sipping her tea she looked out to the stars as she contemplated it, “My children prepared themselves to be only with one parent but it wasn’t with me.  Ben started his quest to save Tribbles because he felt frustrated that he couldn’t do anything about my illness; at least that’s what our Counselor said.  Dahlia’s version of running away was to go behind my back to try to apply to SFA early, which sounds extremely overachiever until you realize she’s only 14 so she was 4 years too early.  She couldn’t handle being around me dying so she desperately wanted to leave.”  Sighing Xana admitted, “You know I didn't blame her.  Most days, I didn’t want to be around me or see myself in the mirror.”

Finding a chair the Ambassador sighed as she looked for a chair.  “I had a kid who was determined to save the most useless creature in the galaxy and another who wanted to hightail it out of there and now they’ll both be with me because their father lost his way.”    

Adriana came over and sat next to her friend.  “What do you need me to do?” she asked quietly.

Xana sighed as she set down her cup.  Unconsciously she was wringing her hands, a movement she hadn’t done since the first days of her divorce when the sensation of not having a wedding band was new.  “My family is going to be a long struggle I think.  But I’ll need your help with KANTARE,” she said.  “We need to search for the Quazil-Shedirak.  I read through the crew’s reports and--”  Seeing Adriana’s face the azure woman sighed and said, “Go ahead, ask.”

“What is the Quazil-Shedirak?” 

“I don’t know,” Xana replied.  “I’m not trying to be obtuse or coy, I really don’t know.  I don’t know why he reached out to me about this.”  Rubbing her face she said, “Look, yes, Cagal and I go way back.  We went to Starfleet together.  Obviously, our lives took different paths but... sometimes if you’re lucky, you have someone in your life you can count on when the tough gets--”  At that the Ambassador waved her hands around as her words trailed off.  “How much do you know?”

Adriana’s dark eyes were an odd mixture of compassionate, understanding and curious.  “I know about your arrest.”

“It wasn’t a state secret,” she pointed out.  When Adriana kept looking at her Xana sighed.  Tracing the rim of her cup she said, “There is always someone willing to pass along a message in a prison.  It’s true of the Federation of prisons, we know this.  We even exploit to a certain extent.  Generally speaking, it’s true of other prisons.”  Shrugging she said, “That’s how Cagal was able to get a message into me and I was able to get a message back out to him.”

“Even after the Federation publicly wrote you off,” Adriana said.

Xana nodded.  “They had to.”  Pausing the Ambassador got up and began to pace.  Ticking off items on her hand she said, “A ring. A fruit. An amulet. A coin. A scepter. A bird. A diadem. A bracelet. A marble.”

“Yes, those are the items,” Adriana said as she watched Xana pace.  There when this wouldn’t have been possible, and then when it first became possible it was dizzying to watch.  Now, Adriana was just used to it so she sat back and sipped her tea.  “They’re all small items.  One could even argue that they are a sort of key, opening options and possibilities that were not there before,” she said thoughtfully.  

Rubbing her weary head she said, “What if Cagal was trying to remind me of my stint in prison?  Small items were something I had to carry on me to get out. It would also fit with the idea of asking for a key.”

Adriana leaned in and asked, “How did *you* escape?”

“I was in a cell above the Inquisitor’s chamber so I escaped with lots of patience,” Xana grinned.  “But first I think we need to find a prison.  It’s a KANTARE item so we’re going to a KANTARE prison.”  Thinking about it she said, “It would not be surprising if this a prison that is technologically advanced so we’ll need Sonya and Maya’s help with this, not to mention Ya’Han and Jayson.”

Adriana nodded at that.  “And that’s it?  We find this Quazil-Shedirak or at least what it is meant to represent. Locate the prison where Cagal is being held so that we can break him out. Once this is all done, we just call it a day and you hand over the Quazil-Shedirak to Cagal and Vanya?”

Xana became somber at that.  “That’s what you can do for me Adriana.  You and Ya’Han can give it to Vanya.”  Shaking her head she said, “I don’t think the woman who oversaw her mother’s execution should be present at her wedding festivities.”

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi
 
Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS

and

Sarah Albertini-Bond
USS ANUBIS
M18-018: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 35273.0645 ("Morning Chat")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Morning Chat"
[previous post were (ANU) "Legendary Explanation" / (BAS) "Minor Review"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 35273.0645

The Sec/Tac sat at the table, her bright red hair flowing freely over her shoulders as she read through narrowed eyes the letter sent by the ship's Counselor.

"Good morning sunshine..." Jayson's words drifted into an uneasy silence as he noticed the color of the woman's hair. "What did I do?"

"Nothing," Ya'Han replied without looking up.

"Alright," he added, cautiously making his way to the table, "What's going on?"

"Why do you think something is going on?" The Sec/Tac asked, still not bothering to look at the man she was speaking with.

"A whim, a thought, may the fact that the last time your hair was that particular brightness o red, you were ready to rip someone's head off with your bare hands," Jayson said, making sure that he remained well out of range of the Nylaan, just in case.

Ya'Han sighed as she glanced at the hair cascading off her shoulders. "You would think that I would have learned to control the changing of my hair better by now."

"You control it just fine," he said as he reached for one of her hands. "You can change your hair color with a simple thought, so control is not the issue. What you have allowed yourself to do is let your emotions show, something that I suspect you were never able to do before. You have still not shared a great deal about your past with me, and I fully respect your decision. All I can do is guess as to what happened and how it came to affect you. I can imagine that excessive displays of happiness or frustration were not permitted as the daughter of the Supreme Sovereign of NYLA IV."

"High Sovereign," Ya'Han said correcting her father's title, an action that took the exiled woman by surprise as she knew the extent of her hatred for the man. "You are right though, I had to hide to show any emotions, and I guess that has become my undoing."

"Allowing people to know how you feel is not such a bad thing," Jayson said. "Especially when it is just the two of us. I promise I will not think any less of you no matter what color you end up showing. That said, will you tell me what got you in such a mood or should I just get breakfast ready?"

"It's Adriana," the Sec/Tac said, finally putting the PADD down and looking at the man now sitting across the table.

"What did *she* do?" He asked, the grin on his face edging between interest and concern.

"Nothing," Ya'Han said, repeating the answer she had earlier given to him about what *he* had done to trigger her bright red hair. "It's what she wants us to do."

Jayson's eyes opened to their widest. "That sounds ominous. Who does she want us to kill?"

"Nothing that extreme," the Sec/Tac said. "Although it does come as a close second."

The human man laughed. "Great, so who do we need to break out of jail?" Jayson had said this in jest but soon realised thanks to Ya'Han's reaction that he had unexpectedly figured it all out.

"Cagal, the Ambassador's friend."

"Wait! The guy responsible for everyone looking into those legends?"

"The theory is that this was the only way he could get a message out, asking for help without saying anything that might be recognized by the authorities. Using that as a starting point, we are possibly looking at a high-security KANTARE jail."

"WAIT! WHAT?  KANTARE is a *Federation* world!" Jayson pointed out in horror. "Are you kidding me? Is Ambassador Bonviva actually expecting us to break someone out of a *Federation* prison? Did she bonk her head or something?"

"This is not a mission, but the request for help from a friend," the Sec/Tac said realizing that her earlier display of color was because she reacted the exact same way Jayson just did. "No one is expected to do this if they do not want to. if we look at this objectively, we have faced far worse situations and the ANUBIS is meant to perform covert black operations."

"Against enemy targets, not our own," Jayson was clearly not ready to simply accept what was being asked of them without some sort of an explanation.  "If we get caught, we will end up spending the rest of our lives in prison alongside the Ambassador's friend, and that is if we are lucky."

"Do you think the outcome would be any different if the jail was on a non-Federation world?" The Sec/Tac said. "The rules will not change, in that if we chose to do this, we best not get caught, and the best way to accomplish that is for all of us to work together."

As much as he did not like the idea, Jayson knew that he had little choice or say in the matter. He would follow Ya'Han no matter what, even if it led to the end of his career as a Starfleet officer.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-019: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 35273.0700 ("Rough Morning")
=-=
"Rough Morning"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Morning Chat" by Hanali / (BAS) "Minor Review" by Dawn]
=-=  

Setting: USS ANUBIS, CMO's Office
Stardate: 35273.0700

"You wanted to see me and that it was urgent?" The Counselor looked like she had spent the night with a dozen or so Klingons each with anger issues worse than the one before.  The only reason the woman was upright was due to the fact she was leaning on the frame of the archway leading into the office of the CMO.

The sight was funny but the Doctor was not in the mood to play games. Adriana was a friend and that would be the only reason why the conversation would proceed with some semblance of decorum. "I read your letter. Mind explaining what this is all about?"

"I thought I was pretty clear. I reread it several times before sending it out. Wanted to make sure that it was as clear as possible."

Satella slammed the PADD onto her desk causing a loud bang. Maybe the gesture was a little overdramatic but it did seem to wake Adriana a little more.  "I am trying to be a friend here. What were you thinking? KANTARE is a Federation planet under Federation jurisdiction. That means they are allies and should be treated as such. What you are asking us to do is flat out treason. Why is Xana not contacting the local authorities and use her diplomatic influence to get Cagal out? Surely someone with her diplomatic contacts could do that way easier than what you suggested in your letter."

Adriana winced. Maybe she was fighting a headache. Maybe she found Satella's tone irritating. Whatever the reason, it was easy to see that the CNS was not enjoying the moment.  "It's not that simple."

"It never is, is it?"  The CMO growled. Dr Bruxta took a moment to gather her thoughts. If she did not, her next words might very well spell the end of their friendship.  "Based on the wording of your letter, am I to gather that the Captain was not one of those you sent this letter to."

"Thought it made more sense if I approached him with a plan. Having a list of people willing to participate would also go a long way." The assurance in Adriana's voice made Satella tighten her fingers into a fist.

Again, the Doctor took a moment to calm herself. It took a little longer but eventually, Satella nodded her head. "Alright. It does make sense. That said, it does not change the fact that what you are asking people to do is *illegal*. People could go to jail for the rest of their lives for this. How can you ask anyone to take such a risk."

"You are upset, and I understand why." As tired as she felt, Adriana easily fell back onto her training as a CNS. "Asking a question is not an act of mutiny. All I wanted to do was to explain the situation and see what others would say.  You will notice that at no point in my letter does it state what anyone would be required to do. It only explains the situation."

The Doctor rolled her eyes. "The intent is implied and you know that. Playing the diplomatic card to shield the real reason for your letter does not change the reality of what you did. You sent that letter out hoping that people would step forward and volunteer."

Lopez locked eyes with Bruxa. The two gazed at one another for several seconds before Adriana smiled. "You are not upset at me. You are upset because you are considering volunteering."

"Of course I'm considering it," Satella said throwing her arms in the air. "You are my friend. We, and by that I mean the whole crew, have gone through too much together. I am just wondering why you did not just come to me and talk instead of sending a letter."

"More efficient?" Adriana was clearly searching for an excuse to explain her course of action. "Would be hard to get everyone together to talk about something like that."

As much as she tried, the CMO was unable to hide the smile that was forming on her lips. "I can imagine the way Cpt Morningstar would have reacted to your 'announcement'. He might have tossed you out the nearest airlock right there and then."

"You think?" The CNs was grinning. "I thought he would be the first to jump at the opportunity. There is something thrilling about going on an unsanctioned operation."

Satella shook her head in disbelief. "You are going to get us all killed, you know that. right?"

"Come on Satella. You should have more faith in what this ship and crew can do.  Shar'El will get us all of the intel we need. Jayson can coordinate everyone with one eye closed. Maya can transform and sneak anywhere, anytime. Sonja can circumvent any electronic security measures along the way. Ya'Han can deal with any physical opposition we come up against.  Xana and I can use our diplomatic status to create distractions."

"What would *I* do?"

"You?" The CNS was as serious as possible. "You have the easiest job. You would be right there in the middle of it all. Ready to pick up the pieces the moment something goes wrong. Which would not happen."

Satella sighed. "You are obviously delusional due to a severe lack of sleep. I will admit that you are right about one thing, this ship and crew could do it. That is if you manage to get everyone to agree to this lunatic idea of yours."

"They will," Adriana said with confidence. "In the meantime, mind if I crash on one of your beds. I don't think I can make it back to my quarters."

=-=
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]
M18-020: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 35273.0800 ("Legendary Confrontation")
##########
"Legendary Confrontation"
Previous posts (ANU) "Rough Morning" / (BAS) "Minor Review"
##########

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”
― Joan of Arc

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 35273.0800

Shar'El stepped onto the Bridge and found Erik sitting in his chair. The Captain had requested for her to come and see him immediately and it did not take a telepath to know that something was not quite right with the Native American. If his earlier tone was not enough, the way he sat hinted to there being a problem and the Commander suspected she already knew what this was all about.

"Good morning, Captain," Shar'El joyfully offered in an attempt to ease the tension that was hovering in the air.

The Native American said nothing. Morningstar simply rose from his chair, looked at his First Officer and held a brief moment of silence as his gaze pierced through the woman.  "My Ready Room," Erik said before making his way to that location followed by a troubled Shar'El.  The Captain held his silence until the door closed behind his First Officer who knew that this would not go well for the simple fact that the CO had not walked around his desk but just pivoted on his heels. "What were you thinking?"

"Captain?" One of the first rules of a good Intel Operative was to never admit to anything, especially where there was any doubt as to what someone might be referring to.

"I may not be the ANUBIS' ILO or have access to the resources of your IGC, but I am still Captain of this ship. Did you truly believe that I would not become aware of this?" Morningstar reached for a PADD resting on his desk and unceremoniously tossed it over to Shar'El who almost failed to catch it.  It only took a quick glance for the First Officer to confirm her suspicions as she saw the first line of the letter being displayed.

"I did not send that letter," Shar'El quickly pointed out."I believe that Counsellor Lopez was the originator."

"Do not try to play your games with me, *Commander*," Erik was not happy and now that they were alone in his Ready Room, the Native American had no reasons to hold back. "I know *everything*," he added as he shot a quick look to the far corner of his office where Ani was standing.  "Lopez might have allowed her title as Junior Ambassador cloud her judgement, but you, as First Officer, should have known how this would play out. You should have stopped her before she wrote *that*! Now, I have no choice but to charge her with conduct unbecoming an officer and sedition."

"Captain, there is nothing in the letter that can be legally used to support such an accusation," Shar'El quickly countered, maybe a little too quickly.

"Thank you for admitting to your involvement in this matter," the Captain said. This was the first time the Executive Officer had ever seen the Native American so close to losing control, and in a way, she understood why. "So, I repeat my question: what were you thinking? I should also inform you that everything that is said here is being recorded," Morningstar added again glancing in the direction of the ship's Avatar.

Shar'El quickly met the unemotional gaze of the android before looking back at Erik. "Captain," she began before pausing for several seconds before continuing. "I accept full responsibility for this. I failed to properly handle the situation and should have informed you the moment the true intent of the message sent by Cagal was discovered. Had I acted appropriately, neither the Ambassador nor Junior Ambassador would have reacted the way they did, dragging the rest of the crew in this story. Since no actions were taken, other than the sending of that letter, it should be easy enough to convince the authorities that I be the only one held responsible."

The Native American took a moment to breathe before turning his attention to the blue-haired woman standing in the corner of his office.  "Thank you Ani, you may go."  The android complied without saying a word and exited the Ready Room leaving Shar'El and Erik alone. When the door closed behind the Avatar, the Native American took a few steps forward. "We both know that the *authorities*, meaning Admiral Koniki, will not care about any of your fancy Intel footwork. He is going to make all of us pay for this. We have crossed the line of legality too many times before and this time he will take pleasure in ending all of our careers in what I suspect will be a most unpleasant manner."

"What do you suggest we do?"

"Not get caught," the Native American announced before making his way around his desk. "The official purpose for our going to KANTARE is to locate this Quazil-Shedirak and return it to Ambassador Bonviva's friend. Nothing else needs to appear on any official record, do I make myself clear, Commander?"

"Sir, yes Sir," Shar'El replied. "You have made yourself perfectly clear, but may I ask why? I mean, why agree to help the Ambassador in her personal quest?"

"Let's just say that the Ambassador is not the only one with a few questionable events and acquaintances hiding in her past," Morningstar admitted. "Let's just leave it at that.  As of right now, the ANUBIS is going dark. No communications in or out and all official or personal log records are hereby suspended. Let's see if we can make it through this without starting a war, shall we?"

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M18-021: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 35273.0830 ("No! Nope! Absolutely No Way!")
"No! Nope! Absolutely No Way!"
previous posts were (ANU) "Legendary Confrontation" / (BAS) "Minor Review"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 35273.0830  

To say that Sonja hit the deck running each and every morning would be kind of an understatement. Usually, the redhead CEO had started working long before she ever set foot in Main Engineering having reviewed the nightshift's reports or run several simulations on possible upgrades to one or more of the ship's systems. This morning was no different than any other before although some did notice that the woman appeared to be in an exceptionally foul mood forcing everyone in the department to rapidly find something to busy themselves with.

Sonja locked on the first poor soul that dared to get close to her. "There you are, I have been looking for you all morning," the CEO said to the artificial woman before narrowing her eyes and looking at Ani with overwhelming puzzled intensity. "What happened to your hair?!?"

"Do you like it?" Ani said, the android sounding a little more human than usual. "I thought it was a nice change to my appearance."

"Blue! Why blue? More importantly, why change it at all?"

"I noticed that some members of the crew, mostly women and not counting Lt. Ya'Han, like to change their general appearances by using different make-up, hair-styles or by changing the colour of their hair. I thought I would explore this aspect of female behaviour," the Avatar explained.

"Really? Of all the days to decide to explore female behaviour, you decided on today!" Sonja rolled her eyes. "Listen, missy, you get your hair back the way it was or I swear I am going to shut you down and shave that *purdy* microchip little head of yours bald. That way, next time we see that giant lummox of an Oltharian you two will have something new to talk about."

"Am I to gather that you read Adriana's letter?" The Avatar inquired, completely ignoring the tirade unleashed against her. "You seem to be in a fouler mood than usual for this time of the day."

"Good grief! Don't tell me that on top of changing your hair colour you decided to start snooping in my correspondence?"

"I have not," Ani reassured. "Captain Morningstar asked me to look into the letter Counsellor Lopez sent out after he heard Maya mumbling something about the crew possibly getting involved in a jail-break. The Captain was not at all pleased and confronted Commander Shar'El about her role in this affair earlier this morning."

"Ouch," the redhead winced. "That could not have gone well for her."

"She admitted her lack of good judgement and offered to take full responsibility for the whole incident," the Avatar explained. "Captain Morningstar asked me to be present in order to record the conversation. I guess he did not want there to be an official file in the ship's computer while still being able to have a detailed record of what was being said."

"That makes no sense," the CEO mused aloud. "He could have easily locked the file making it impossible for anyone, including Shar'El to get to it. No, the Captain has played these kinds of games for far too long for this to be a mistake on his part. He wanted you there for reason, and it was not the one he gave you."

"Do you believe that the Captain may have an ulterior motive for acting the way he did when confronting Commander Shar'El about her role in the letter?"

"I don't know," Sonja admitted as she forced her way past the Avatar, "but I intend to find out. In the meantime, you stay here and fix... your... hair!"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 35273.0845

Sonja literally exploded into the main medical treatment area causing Doctor Bruxa to come rushing out fearing that there was some sort of emergency that she had not bee told about.

"The computer said that Adriana was here," the CEO said in a tone usually used for wide-open spaces. "Where is she?"

"She is over there, resting," Satella whispered. "Well, at least she was trying to rest before you came rushing in like a madwoman."

"Is she injured?" the redhead asked.

"No," the CMO said waving her hands in a manner that indicated she wanted the rampaging woman to calm down and speak in a softer tone. "She is just tired. I am not sure what happened, all I know is that she came to see me after I asked to speak to her and then crashed on the nearest medical bed."

"Let me guess, you wanted to talk to her about the letter she sent out."

"Of course," Bruxa confirmed.

"And you let her know just how completely foolish, idiotic and flat our mad her idea was?"

"Sort of," Satella replied with a great deal of hesitation.

"Are you actually considering volunteering for that lunatic plan of hers? It is pure madness! This is not some foreign jail on a never-before-heard-of-planet we are talking about, this is a Federation world and just considering that plan is enough to get someone thrown out with the rest of the trash."

"The trash on a starship is recycled using a matter-to-energy system," the Doctor pointed out.

"I'm the Chief Engineer," Sonja huffed. "I *know* that, and that is exactly how anyone agreeing to this would end up like... a pile of floating electrons."

"Oh," the CMO said letting her thoughts linger for a few moments on the image painted by the CEO.

As Sonja turned to continue moving toward the resting Adriana, the door to Sickbay opened to allow the Nylaan Chief of Security and Human Chief of Operations to walk in. "What are you two doing here?" the redhead engineer demanded. "Aren't you supposed to be at your stations on the bridge?"

"We came to check on Adriana," Ya'Han replied. "And by the looks of things, we are here for the same reason as you. The computer stated that the Counsellor was here in Sickbay."

"Let me guess, you are here to arrest her for sending that letter out?"

Ya'Han slowly shook her head before glancing over at Jayson who simply shrugged his shoulders. "No, we are here to see how she is and to tell her that she can count on us to help."

"AWESOME!" Sonja exclaimed. "*Now*," she added raising her hands in the air, "this is a party!"

"I do not see how this is a party," the puzzled Nylaan said, ever so slightly tilting her head to one side.

"But I thought..." Satella began appearing quite puzzled especially after the way Sonja had spoken before.

"You are here for the same reason s us?" Jayson asked, just as baffled as the others.

"We help our friends, especially when they are in need," the redhead scolded. "Well, we girls do, I am not sure about you," Sonja said glaring at Jayson but before he could offer any sort of retort, the CEO continued. "I guess that the only reason you are here is that Ya'Han threatened to cut you off from her 'green-hair shenanigans'. In the end, though, it doesn't matter or changes anything for me, we are here to join Adriana in helping Xana. All that is left is for Sleeping Beauty over there to wake up so that we can all go together to give the white-haired demon of KANTARE the good news."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Lt Commander Sonja Paquette [Access Character BIO for Sonja Paquette]
Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M18-022: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 35274.0900 ("Future Plannings")
##########
"Future Plannings"
Previous posts (ANU) "No! Nope! Absolutely No Way!" / (BAS) "The Microverse"
##########

“There are times in our lives when we have to realize our past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that, we can change the future.”
― Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35274.0900

The Native American sat at the end of the elongated table, joined by the members of his senior staff. Roughly 24 hours ago a letter was sent out by Counsellor Lopez explaining a situation that, although very interesting, stood well outside of the mandate of the Intel cruiser and its crew, not to mention Federation laws. That is why it came as a surprise that most were ready to jump in to assist Ambassador Bonviva in this quest to help one of her friends. What was even more surprising was that Captain Morningstar himself had joined the ranks of these outlaws.

"Commander," Erik began, turning his attention to his First Officer, "ship's status?" The man's voice was calm and collected as if it were business as usual aboard the USS ANUBIS.

"The ship is still on grey alert," Shar'El reported glancing over to the flashing light indicators which displayed the mentioned colour showing that the vessel was running silent, unseen and unheard by anyone else. "Ablative armour is fully deployed and no communications have been initiated from us.  We did receive a call from STARBASE 228 addressed to Ambassador Bonviva but no reply was offered, not that it would have been transmitted."  The First Officer paused for an instant as she turned to look at the Bolian/Human woman. "Sorry about that, but given our current status, it cannot be helped."

"I understand," Xana graciously acknowledged. "This whole thing is kind of my fault to start with, so I am not in a valid position to argue about what you have all agreed to do for me and Cagal." The woman's violet eyes scanned the gathered officers, silently thanking them for their willingness to help. She reserved the last such look for the man sitting at the end of the table, knowing that a simple implied 'thank you' would not be enough as far as she was concerned. A more personal interaction would be required, an act that would also provide her with the opportunity to try and uncover the reason or reasons why the Native American had so willingly joined in this rebellious quest.

Shar'El waited a few seconds before resuming with her report. "The ANUBIS will be entering the KANTARE system in 2 hours 27 minutes if we remain at our current speed. We already know the layout of the defence grid orbiting the planet, so I do not anticipate any problems in that regards. We should have no issues in establishing a safe, distant orbit that will allow us to tap into their communication network without anyone being the wiser."

"The trading routes to and from the planet are highly regulated by the local authorities," Lt. Stark added, indicating that the Commander was not the only who had done her research into the world they were quickly approaching. "This should provide us with more than a few nice, low traffic, locations to set up shop at without fearing running into unwanted commercial traffic."

"We will still need to keep an eye open for the orbital military patrols though," the Chief of Security warned. "Those ships have free range of the space around KANTARE. They are far from being a match for us, but the key is to remain undetected. Keeping that in mind, we will need to avoid the polar regions as those are the most heavily patrolled."

"The KANTARE military authorities know that this is a weakness in their orbital sensor network," Counsellor Lopez offered. "It makes sense that they would compensate with physical patrols to make sure no freighters are hiding there waiting to load or unload any illegal contraband." When noticing that her part of the report drew the curious glares of some, Adriana smiled, "Being a member of the Federation Diplomatic Corps does have certain advantages when talking to low ranking planetary officials."

"Very well," the Captain said, accepting the report and moving ahead with the meeting. "We have two and a half hours before we arrive, that is more than enough time to get everything ready to make sure this mission proceeds without any glitches.  Doctor Bruxa, please work with Lt. Commander Maya and find a way to locate Cagal. I suspect that the KANTARE authorities will not make it easy by listing is whereabouts in any official records, so you may have to resort to more inventive methods to locate him. Lt Commander Paquette, I need you to make sure that all of our crafts are fully operational. We have no idea where this mission is going to take us, so I would like to be ready for any and all scenarios."  The three women nodded their heads in acknowledgement. With things appearing to be well in hand, the Captain stood from his chair and dismissed the gathered officers back to their stations.

Xana remained behind until only the First Officer and Captain remained in the room.  "I think someone wants to speak with you, Sir," Shar'El said teasingly. "I will leave the two of you alone."

"Thank you," Xana offered, adding a faint smile as she did so.  Once the Ullian was gone, the Bolian/Human hybrid turned to face the Native American. "I think we are overdue for a chat."

"There is a lot to do before we reach KANTARE," Erik countered with. "I would hate for this mission to fail due to a lack of pf readiness."

"Captain Morningstar," the azure-skinned woman said in an as official tone as she could. "We both know that your crew is more than capable of getting things ready without either one of us hovering over their shoulders. You are trying to avoid speaking with me."

"Ambassador Bonviva," the Native American responded in the same official tone that the woman had previously used. "I am not trying to avoid speaking with you. There is just nothing to say. We have a job to do, meaning locating your friend Cagal, identifying where he is being held, figure out a way to get him out and all of this without anyone knowing that we were there."

"You forgot about finding the Quazil-Shedirak," Xana added, still holding on to her Ambassadorial tone.  The two locked gaze for a brief moment before Bonviva changed her approach. "Erik, this is not like you. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled that you are so willing to help me with this, but why are you doing it? For as long as I have known you, you have never been this rebellious. I know that you and Admiral Koniki have not always seen eye-to-eye and that on several occasions you went against his direct orders for you to do what you believed was right.  This is not the same unless I am completely missing something about Cagal and whatever dealings he might have had with the Admiral that I never knew about."

"This has nothing to do with Cagal or the Admiral," Morningstar admitted. "You are right, I have gone against Koniki more than once, so much so that I believe he expects it by now, but my decision to help you has nothing to do with my sticking it to him once again.  I have other reasons."

"Which are?" Xana demanded, wondering how much more she would need to plead before Erik would finally reveal his reasons.

"My own," the Native American replied in what was clearly a final tone. "Maybe by the end of this mission I will tell you, but not now."

"By the end of this mission I will either be heading to STARBASE 228 to bring my family together or the entire senior staff of the ANUBIS will be facing court-martial. Either way, I doubt that we will have a lot of opportunities to talk about your initial motivation for helping me."

"Is your faith in the abilities of my crew wavering, Ambassador?" The man's voice should have been leaning towards the teasing side of things, but there was a hint of seriousness about those words that made Xana tilt her head.

"I have been onboard the ANUBIS long enough to know that this crew can do the impossible with one hand tied behind their backs," Bonviva said with confidence. "Very well, this conversation is not over. One way or the other we will talk again and when we do, you will tell me why you are helping me this way. There is something in that past of yours that is making you do this, and you will tell me what it is."

Erik drew a long, deep breath. "There are times in our lives when we have to realize our past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that, we can change the future."

The Bolian/Human woman simply gazed at the Native American man, not entirely sure as to what to make of his words.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette {fcharette1969@gmail.com}

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M18-023: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 35274.1130 ("A Look, A Smile")
"A Look, A Smile"
[previous (ANU) "Future Plannings" / (BAS) "The Microverse"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 35274.1130 

The blue, green and white marble that was KANTARE hung in the middle of the large screen at the front of the bridge. From here, the Federation member world appeared as peaceful as could be, like most other planets when seen from such a distance, but the sensors told a different story. Hundreds of artificial satellites orbited the planet, monitoring weather, enabling communications and keeping a close watch on the movement of ships entering or leaving their small region of the cosmos.

The OPS Officer took a moment to identify and catalogue what he could see, comparing the data with the Intel they previously collected to see what, if anything, had changed. By the looks of things, everything was as it should be.  "I am detecting at least 8 specific orbital travel corridors for commercial flights," Jayson reported. "At roughly 7 vessels in line at each to reach the surface, we are looking at 50 or so freighters of various sizes in orbit of KANTARE."

"There are at least that many more military crafts patrolling outside those corridors," Ya'Han added. "They took the accusations of being a haven for smugglers rather seriously and have taken measures to offset the perception of other worlds and governments."

"It does not take away from the natural beauty of the planet," the Captain said from his chair making Jayson take a closer look at the world in question. The ANUBIS was at the edge of its sensor range but that was more than enough to allow the OPS Officer to get a good view of the many natural features unique to that planet. As he studied the topography of the land, he quickly identified certain areas which were described in the legends everyone had read while on their way here.

Jayson grinned as he identified the snow-covered peaks of Arashun which appeared to be even larger than he had expected them to be.  He could also see what were now protected natural areas, likely where some of the villages and forests mentioned in the legends were back in those days.  Some of the lakes and ocean shore appeared just as familiar to him, as he imagined the ships described in those tales of old travelling over the waters of the planet's past.

=/\= Jayson, what are you daydreaming about? =/\= Ya'Han quietly asked over a communication channel initiated from the Tactical Station, the Chief of Security, not daring to leave her post at such a crucial time in their unsanctioned mission.

He looked back at her, smiled and tapped his communicator. "Just remembering some of the legends as I am trying to identify the specific area where those stories were said to have happened. I know that they are only fables, tales told to amuse and educate, but I just found myself looking and remembering."

=/\= Does that mean you are not as opposed as you were about what it is we are about to do here? =/\=

The question was innocent enough but it washed over Jayson like an icy wave, making him remember the rest of their journey here. Those legends, as beautiful as they might have been, were nothing more than a collection of stories used as an elaborate covert message from one man seeking to be freed from his imprisonment, or at least that was the most feasible theory at this time. The ANUBIS was not here on a sightseeing tour, they were here to conduct a covert operation, one that for all intents and purposes was as illegal as could be.

Doubts began to fill his mind. He could no longer look at the main view screen or even at the data being displayed at his console. All he could focus on was his hands which he turned palms up. What were they doing? Yes, he was more than willing to help the Ambassador but surely there must have been another way for them to accomplish the task, a way that would not lead to their arrest and dishonorable discharge from their position in Starfleet.  Jayson was about to voice these thoughts, or at the very least try to do so in a manner that would make some sense, but when he looked up at Ya'Han all he saw was her looking back at him with that smile.

Professionally, the crew knew the Nylaan to be more than an able warrior, a woman who could battle a dozen or so opponents without breaking a sweat. Personally, they knew her to be a woman of complexity, possessing a wide range of emotions which she usually displayed through the ever-changing color of her hair. Privately though, none knew her the way he did, how she could convey a world of emotions and thoughts with nothing more than a look or a smile. She did not have to say anything, her looking at him the way she was proved to be more than enough to make him forget all about his doubts about this mission or anything else.

"I still don't like what we are about to do," he admitted. "But I will do it without the slightest bit of hesitation because it is what you wish. =/\=

The smile slowly vanished from her lips before reappearing but as something completely different. The curvature of the lisp was the same, but this new smile was an empty facade meant to thank him for his devotion without revealing how much his words had affected her.  With a nod of her head, the Nylaan ended their little exchange allowing both to return to their duties, each now thinking about more than they were before.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-024: USS ANUBIS: Bonviva: 35274.1200 ("The Plan")
“The Plan”
(Previous Post: (ANU) "A Look, A Smile" / (BAS) "A Much Larger Problem")

=/\=
There are two kinds of thieves in this world: The ones who steal to enrich their lives, and those who steal to define their lives. Don't be the latter. Makes you miss out on what's really important in this life.
--From “The Italian Job”

=/\=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Main Engineering
Stardate: 35274.1200 

“Are we really doing this?”

“I knew Sonja would be that voice of calm I needed,” Xana grinned. As she leaned on a railing in Engineering.  The CEO had gone back to her domain, to finalize her plans and ensure they were ready for any eventuality.  It was why the Ambassador sought her out here to discuss the upcoming trip.  

Sonja gave a glare as she moved over to another console.  “You want to break into a *KANTARE* prison, Xana.  Do you know how difficult that is?” 

“I’m going with this is going to be somewhat difficult,” Xana admitted.  

Sonja folded her arms.  “It’s NEVER been done!”  she said.

Ani, the ever present and only rational voice in the room, interjected.  “There have been 3 attempts.”

Sonja whirled around on Ani.  “Really?  We’re going to go to that?”  Glaring at both Ani and Xana she said, “You know who knows about Security and prisons?”

The Ambassador held out her hands in a “don’t shoot” gesture. “I was going to say the Security officers but now at this point I know I’m wrong.”

“ENGINEERS!  We BUILD the PRISONS and the SYSTEMS to keep everyone in and people like you OUT!” Sonja yelled.  

Xana pouted for a moment.  “Well that’s disappointing.”  Waving her hand she said, “I had always hoped to be the first Ambassador to break *into* a prison.”

Sonja, used to Xana’s quips, ignored that and began her pacing. It was clear she had done her research and was finding this frustrating.  “Most Federation prisons end with osmirum siding.  No, your KANTARE prison starts with that and builds up on the Security.  Including the floors and ground underneath the prison are triggered that; so if there was pregnant molerat the Head Prison Chief would know about it before the molerat.”  Glaring she said, “They have enough monitoring and weapons to occupy BAKU.”  When both Ani and Xana looked at her she admitted, “Okay, bad example.”

Xana thought about it for a few moments, giving Sonja the false hope that they would move beyond this.  Instead the Ambassador looked over to Ani.  “You said there were 3 successful attempts?”

“Yes,” Ani said, ignoring Sonja’s groans.  Pulling up a visual of the KANTARE prison from nearly 3 decades ago Ani continued on, “The first was 27 years ago.  That person was able to steal the codes for the overriding Security system.  He got closer than any living person before him.  He was close to shutting down the system--”

Sonja glared at Ani.  “But was caught midway through the act,” the CEO finished off.

“We’ll say that’s our last resort,” Xana admitted.  

Ani, warming up to the subject, continued on.  The visual that Ani was displaying updated.  “Second most successful: this occurred seventeen years ago.  That time there was a team, rather than one individual, attempting.”

The Ambassador nodded.  This at least was closer to their scenario than the lone wolf attempt of the first attempt that Ani had told them about.  “I like this.”

“They even made it outside the prison,” Ani offered helpfully.

Xana looked over at Sonja.  “This is good.”

“I would not have pegged you for youthful optimism,” Sonja sighed.  “They were apprehended on the steps of the prison,” the Engineer finished off.

The azure woman sighed.  It was clear there was a theme to this exercise.  “And the most successful attempt?  Do I want to know?”

Ani practically glowed at relaying the information as she updated her visual display.  “Another team, this time it was 10 years ago.”

“Skip to the end.”  The Ambassador waved her hands.  “How far did they get?”

“No one knows,” Ani admitted.  “They disappeared from all records.”  When the Ambassador looked over at her she admitted, “It took extensive log retrieval to even find an outdated deleted partial record referring to this attempt.”

Xana paused for a moment.  It wasn’t unheard of that criminals would try to change their names, or erase their old records.  But it was unheard of that all records, even within the Federation, to disappear.  And the Bolian/Human woman didn’t think that Ani nor Sonja would have been stymied by another team to have only found a partial deleted record.  “How did this team erase all records of themselves?”

Sonja looked over at Xana, looking extremely annoyed that someone seemingly beat her at something.  “Put it this way; no one on that team had the skills to erase their identities, not like that.  But if someone wanted to erase an identity, erase all traces of a person, and of every person *that* person had been tied to -- which is what happened here -- that could be done easily by the KANTARE government.”  Pausing Sonja said, “If I wasn’t going to do it myself, I’d go to the KANTARE.”

There was silence in Engineering for a moment.  “What do you have against the Kantare?” Sonja asked.  “It’s not enough to do this for a friend,” she said.  “Prison escapes can be civilized.  You’d escape, they retaliate, and then it’s done.  Except for those types who only appear civilized who act like it’s a personal affront when this happens.  They can’t know we’re involved.  Because the KANTARE will come after us.  They will destroy us.”

“They’re Federation,” Xana said.

Sonja waved her hands to the partially deleted records.  “So were the people who did that last attempt.”  Exhaling she said, “Saying “We’re Federation” is a very large rulebook and sometimes we don’t all play by the same page.”

Xana leaned in.  “That’s why we need to be very precise.”

“And you’ll have to be crazy to pull this off,” Sonja replied.  “Why aren’t you just waving your diplomatic credentials?”

“We have a Junior Ambassador who can do that and she will provide our distraction,” Xana pointed out.  “Just like we have a team with unique skills who will provide the surveillance, upend power, and provide transport.”  

Sonja looked at her.  “You thought of everything haven’t you?”

“I’d say yes, except it wasn’t my plan,” Xana nodded.  Shrugging her shoulders she said, “Someone else on the crew did.  I just promised I wouldn’t reveal who had a criminal planning in their past.”  Looking over at Ani she smiled, “I like your new hair.”

“Thank you, Ambassador,” Ani smiled over Sonja’s groans and glares.  

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond
USS ANUBIS
M18-025: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 35274.1215 ("Training")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Training"
[previous post were (ANU) "The Plan" / (BAS) "Rip Torn"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Gymnasium
Stardate: 35274.1215

With their sights squarely set on the mission to KANTARE to free Cagal, the senior officers began working on what would become their respective tasks to ensure the successful completion of their endeavor.  After having quickly reviewed the Intel on that world's incarceration system the Sec/Tac made her way to the ship's gymnasium where she believed additional work needed to be done to hone her skills.

Upon her arrival, the main training mats were quickly vacated, none of the crew members already in the room daring to risk being asked to help. The skills of the Nylaan were well known to all, and the fact that she was displaying a full head of bright red hair only reinforced their need to give the woman a wide berth.

"I will say this," Doctor Bruxa said, moving against the flow of the others as she approached Ya'Han. "You sure have a way to clear a room."

"That was not my intent," Ya'Han said, the Sec/Tac not coming across as being overly bothered by the reaction of her fellow shipmates. "I just came to stretch a little and make sure I am ready to counter the combat training the KANTARE prison guards are obliged to take. There are some very specific moves they are taught to subdue prisoners should the need arise, so I thought it wise for me to make sure I have a counter against them."

Satella rolled her eyes and sighed, crossing her arms in front of her. "Why am I not surprised that out of all the possible angles this mission is asking us to deal with, you would focus on that particular aspect right off the bat. Should we not all be looking at working to complete this mission without attracting any attention instead of preparing for a fight?"

"That is what the others are doing," Ya'Han said as she began practising her moves. "Commander Shar'El is pouring over all available Intel to find the best possible way for us to accomplish our mission objective. Sonja is working on the technical aspects, making sure that we can counter any defensive measures that are in place. Commander Maya is researching everything she can that might give us an advantage. Everyone is using their expertise to find the best possible way to make this mission a success, as I am."

"You want to fight?" The CMO asked in shock.

"I do not *want* to fight," the Sec/Tac replied. "Only a fool goes in looking for a fight. I am preparing for a fight should one arise. There are too many ways this mission could go wrong, and our ability to return to the ANUBIS safe and sound may rest on the actions of a single person. After dealing with my traitor of a brother Ya'Kun, I have become all too aware of how things can change in the blink of an eye. We are all working together towards accomplishing a single possibility, but we have to be ready to deal with all others."

Satella leaned against the nearest wall and allowed herself to slide down. "Hope for the best and plan for the worst." By the time she said this, the CMO was sitting on the floor. Her expression was a somber one, matching her tone as she continued. "At least you and the others have something to work on. I am just waiting to see if my *expertise* wil be needed. Of course, I am hoping that they will not.  In a mission such as this, I feel like a mere observer, waiting to see what is going to happen."

Ya'Han continued with her training. With each gesture, her moves grew increasingly precise and forceful. The Nylaan was intensely focusing on what she was doing, but that did not stop her from continuing the conversation. "Instead of focusing on the members of the crew, focus on the Kantare instead."

Satella was confused. "Are you planning on injuring them to the point they will need me to help?"

"Kantare physiology is similar to that of most humanoids. That said, there are some very specific differences. That is why I am here, training. I have to adapt my techniques to ensure the best possible outcome during a fight. You could do the same, but working on avoiding me having to fight altogether."

The CMO's eyes lit up as the significance of the Sec/Tac's words dawned onto her. "A sedative! If the guards are unconscious, there will not be a need for you to fight." Satella quickly pushed herself back to her feet. "Thank you Ya'Han. I would hug you if I did not fear you flipping me on my back. I will start working on a quick-acting sedative that the team can use if needed. Thank you again."

Ya'Han continued with her training, her intensity not having wavered in the least during the exchange with Satella. The Sec/Tac was glad that she could help and hoped that the CMO would indeed find a way to make their mission just that much easier. Still, the Nylaan could not afford to stop what she was doing.  As the Mikulak woman said, they needed to 'Hope for the best and plan for the worst.'

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-026: USS ANUBIS: Lopez/Bonviva: 35274.1300 ("Rehearsed Chaos")
-=-=-
"Rehearsed Chaos"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Training" / (BAS) "Rip Torn"]
-=-=-

Setting: KANTARE, Capital City, Office of the Deputy Minister of Justice
Stardate: 35274.1300

"You are not listening to me," the Hispanic woman argued with the man calmly sitting on the other side of the large and very official-looking desk on which she was leaning over, her hands resting flat on whatever piles of documents were present. "I am Junior Ambassador Adriana Lopez, here on a diplomatic mission of the utmost importance which requires me to speak to the Minister of Justice. So far, I have been bounced around to speak to half a dozen secretaries, three assistants before being brought here to you. I am being made to waste valuable time with all this pointless running around.  I need to speak to the Minister of Justice *now*."

The man just looked back at her, an expression of annoyance engraved upon his features. "As you have been told several times before, the Minister of Justice is *busy* at this moment and cannot see you or anyone else. I can arrange for you to have an appointment with him at the earliest possible time, which according to his schedule will be..."

"Which will be in 4 months and 13 days, I know!" Adriana was losing her calm, so she closed her eyes and took a moment to fill her lungs with a long deep calming breath before shaking her head. "This won't work. Computer, end simulation."  The office of the KANTARE government official vanished and was replaced by yellow grid lines set against the black background of the ANUBIS' Holographic Simulation Chambers 1 located on deck A-5.

"Giving up so soon?" Xana said, the Bolian/Human woman was standing in the archway with her hands resting on her hips in a distinct display of disappointment.

"It would be a great deal easier if I could mention your name," the Junior Ambassador stated.

The Ambassador gently shook her head. "Trust me, that is the last thing you want to do. My name and title might have some weight on other planets, alright, on a lot of other planets, but here on KANTARE it will only make matters worse." Xana paused as she stepped onto the holodeck's grid. "Loved the recreation though, that was impressive."

"This is no ordinary holodeck," Adriana explained. "Shar'El has the IGC feeding live data gathered by whatever means they can to make sure the recreation is as accurate as possible. Unfortunately, based on the files we have on the government officials, the simulation is proving to be a rather frustrating one. I can't get anywhere close to the Minister of Justice to trigger the distraction that the team needs. Would it not just be easier to use this simulation room to recreate the prison?"

"I was just speaking with Sonja about that and other things," the Bolian/Human said. "Even if we knew which prison Cagal is being held in, the materials used in the creation of the buildings make it impossible for the ANUBIS' sensors, however impressively sophisticated they are, to get any sort of reading from inside. Getting to the Minister of Justice and having him access the information as to Cagal's location is our best option to quickly find him."

"Fine," Adriana sighed in desperation. "Let's just figure out where he is and kidnap him. Once we have him aboard, Shar'El can scan his memories and uncover where Cagal is."

The Ambassador began to laugh, not much but enough to show that she found her underling's display of frustration somewhat amusing. "The computer files we need are only accessible by the Minister of Justice, files which contain the names and location of thousands of inmates.  As important as Cagal might be to me, to us, I doubt that the Minister will have taken the time to review his file over all others allowing for Shar'El to do her mind-reading magic on him.  I am sorry Adriana, this is the only way for us to get the information we need and trigger the distraction that the other will require to complete their part of the mission." Raising a Vulcanesque eyebrow she said, “Computer resume simulation.”  

The simulation began again with the aggrieved bored man looking at Adriana. “Name?” He asked..

Before Adriana could start again, Xana held up a hand saying, “Computer, pause program.”  Pointing to him she asked the Junior Ambassador, “Who is he?”

“An annoying bureaucrat who is stopping me from getting what we need,” Adriana replied.

“And you’re a Junior Ambassador with no cause to be here,” Xana replied.  Pointing to the man again she said, “Who is he?”  

Lopez looked up to the ceiling of the simulation and sighed.  “Can we just skip ahead to where you just tell me the answer?”

“I don’t know who he is,” Xana admitted.  Leaning against a wall she admitted, “The only reason I got to be where I am is because I became friends with everyone, everywhere.  This is your opportunity to start building your own list of contacts.”  Gesturing she said, “It’s hard to be a lowly bureaucrat.  You need to empathize, not chastise the poor man. He has something you need, something you want, but has absolutely no reason to just hand it over to you.”   

Adriana looked over at him, studying the frozen holographic recreation of the Kantare man.  “We need to butter him up,” she said with a twinkle in her dark eyes.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi
 
Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS

and

Sarah Albertini-Bond
USS ANUBIS
M18-027: USS ANUBIS: Maya/Lopez: 35274.1545 ("One Step Closer")
---
"One Step Closer"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Rehearsed Chaos" / (BAS) "An Issue of Size")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Planetary Studies Lab
Stardate: 35274.1545

The Planetary Studies Laboratory was designed to help in the research of the unique geographical, geological and ecological structures of a world, but in this particular case, the laboratory was the best location to process the data provided by Junior Ambassador Lopez who was on KANTARE.

=/\= Maya, did you receive the information? =/\= The whispered voice of Adriana Lopez asked over a secured communications channel.

"We have it," the Shillian Chief Science Officer confirmed, her fingers dancing over the console causing the holographic three-dimensional image of the planet to quickly spin so that those present in the laboratory could see the specific location they were interested in.  "Sensors are picking up nine interlinked dome-covered hexagonal-shaped structures, each roughly 500 meters in diameter creating a single, larger structure located at the coordinates you have provided."

"Well done," the First Officer of the ANUBIS said with a distinct tone of pleasant surprise in her voice. "You managed to get the information a lot faster than we expected."

=/\= Once Ozrel arranged for me to speak with the Minister of Justice, the rest was easy, well, relatively so. =/\= Lopez explained in an abridged fashion.

"Ozrel?" Xana said, the smile on the lips of the Bolian/Human Ambassador easily heard in her voice.

=/\= Yes, =/\= Adriana noted, the single word followed by an audible sigh and chuckle. =/\= The Deputy Sub-Minister was very kind and helpful in arranging the meeting.  I have to make sure that a basket of Kava fruits is sent to his home. His wife and children are very fond of them but they are very difficult to bring from BAJOR to KANTARE, let alone to the table of a Deputy Sub-Minister. =/\=

"I will have Jayson take care of arranging a special delivery," Xana said, a feeling of pride growing within her as she witnessed the diplomatic growth of her protege.

"Speaking of home, it is time for you to return," Shar'El said. Even though the communications channel was as secure as could be, she did not want to take any chances that someone else might be listening in on their conversation, hence the reason why she avoided mentioning the ANUBIS by name.

=/\= I will be there in an hour. I need to properly conclude my visit with the Minister and thank him for his immeasurable assistance and understanding in helping me collect the data on the orbital planetary defences of KANTARE, information required for the next meeting of the special Security Council for this region of space. =/\= Adriana said, the shift in her way of speaking indicated that she was no longer alone, likely the man in question had returned and was now listening in on their conversation.

"Be safe and see you soon," Commander Shar'El said, ending the communication with a motion of her head to Maya who quickly complied.

"Adriana could be in danger if the Minister checks her story," Xana said, directing her concerns directly at the First Officer and Intel Operative of the USS ANUBIS.

"Relax Ambassador, the cover story has already been put in place," Shar'El said in an amused dismissing manner, finding the reaction of the Bolian/Human woman quite endearing.

"Yes Ambassador," Maya jumped in with. "The cover story about the details of a meeting of the Regional Special Security Council was inserted into the transmission logs of the KANTARE communication network at the same time as Junior Ambassador Lopez was beamed to the planet surface. Any search for the event will bring up the implanted information which they will discover was somehow mislabeled at the time transmission was processed by their system, thus explaining why no one knew about this before now and why Junior Ambassador Lopez was dispatched to retrieve the crucial data for the meeting. Should a more in-depth investigation be made about this event by the KANTARE authorities, the information we initially provided will direct them to a covert Intel station on PACIFICA, the location set for the meeting."

"As you can see," Shar'El continued, "You have nothing to worry about. The ANUBIS is, after all, an Intel ship and this is not our first covert mission" Not allowing Xana to say something else, the First Officer turned her attention onto the holographic image of the planet. "Maya, what can you tell us about those structures?"

"As initially suspected, the ability of our sensors to gather structural information on KANTARE prisons is very limited due to the materials used in their construction. What we can tell is that the compound is divided into nine sections, all of them protected by a thick, multi-layered poly-carbonate dome laced with energy scattering crystalline particles making it impossible for anyone to beam in or out. The composition of the dome also renders the structure impervious to most energy weapons, so there is no way to simply push through to allow a transporter beam in.  Sensors can detect the foundation of the structure which appears to extend several hundred meters below the surface, unfortunately, we are unable to ascertain the thickness or the layer composition of that particular portion of the structure."

Shar'El let out a long sigh as she studied the holographic image. This was not going to be easy. "Is there anything else in the information Junior Ambassador Lopez was able to get her hands on?"

"According to the prisoner manifest, Cagal is being held in Block C, which we can only guess is one of the eight external structures, since the KANTARE authorities made sure not to label the outside of the buildings. The only way for someone to know for certain which block is which is to be inside," Maya explained. "Given the layout of the structures, it is logical to expect the command and control section to be located in the centre structure."

"Making it even more difficult to reach," Ambassador Bonviva sighed.

"The game is not over yet," Shar'El noted. "Maya, transfer all available information to Sonja and get her and her team to start looking at ways to get a team in and out of that fortress. Also, have Jayson and the IGC focus on how people are coming and going from there. As impenetrable as it may appear to be, there has to be some way for guards and administrative personnel to move in and out, not to mention receiving new inmates.  There is a way in, we just have to figure it out. Keep working on this, I will report to the Captain and inform him of our being one step closer."

---
Non-Mission Message:

Tiffany did not want to be included as a writer in this, so I am extending a huge thank you for her part in this.

We now know where Cagal is and the general layout of the fortress we need to break in to get the man out.  The rest of this mission should be simple, no?

The multi-purpose Quazil-Shedirak will most certainly be helpful in helping us in this quest, but we have to find it first, and that's another 'impossible' mission for us to accomplish.

---
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi
 
Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS

in collaboration with
 
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)
M18-028: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: 35274.1700 ("Hidden Beneath")
"Hidden Beneath"
previous posts were (ANU) "One Step Closer" / (BAS) "Not THAT Small"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 9, Main Holodeck 2
Stardate: 35274.1700  

With the location of Cagal confirmed, the crew could concentrate on figuring a way of infiltrating the detention compound and get the man out, a task that quickly proved to be far easier said than done. Sonja had spent the first part of her research in Engineering but quickly moved her efforts to one of the free Holodecks as several aspects simply did not make sense to the redhead engineer.  Now, Lt. Cmdr. Paquette paced around the holographic image of the compound made out of 9 closely linked hexagonal shapes as it hovered a meter or so over the floor.

"You appeared quite puzzled," the ship's Avatar announced, the purple-haired android looking at the woman with unique interest. "I do not believe I have ever seen you in such a state."

"No shit Sherlock," Sonja snapped. "Shar'El and the IGC used every instrument at their disposal and they have yet to figure out how *anyone* gets in or out of that structure. There does not appear to be any sort of access on any of the exterior walls, and since no transporter beams can penetrate the structure, we are left with one simple question -- how do they get in or out? There does not appear to be any sort of indications as to a method by which supplies are even delivered.  Sensors have not been able to pick up any sort of tracks leading to or from the structure either, in fact, there does not appear to be any sort of traffic in the general region surrounding the compound. I am all for accepting that whoever choose this location and designed the structure was paranoid, but there is still a need to get resources to the people on the inside of those impenetrable walls."

"Using your earlier reference, please allow me to suggest that you look at the situation with a more analytic deductive reasoning," the Avatar suggested. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

"The only possible way left is that the compound can only be accessed by some sort of underground tunnel, but so far our sensors have been unable to locate anything that resembles that," Sonja stated, the woman was as frustrated as could be following her failure to resolve this enigma. "We should have been able to pick up some sort of underground structure leading away from the compound even if our sensors are unable to see through it.  In the same fashion as the walls of the main structure, we cannot see beyond them but we sure as hell can see that they are there." The Chief Engineer paused for a moment as she studied the holographic image with even more intensity.  "Computer, raise the simulation by three meters," Paquette instructed the computer which it immediately complied with.

"You are correct," Ani added. "I have rechecked the data gathered by the sensors, there does not appear to be any sort of passageway beneath the structure."

"No, there are none," Sonja confirmed. "Most tunnels would be well within a hundred meters beneath the surface, this might change given the geological makeup of the ground, but what if the tunnel was deeper... much deeper? Computer, modify the holographic display by adding a single elevator shaft tunnel perpendicular to the structure's foundation and abe to hold a pod for, say four people. Extended that shaft for 100 meters from the exact centre of the structure matching the scale of this model."

Again the computer quickly complied with the request, editing the holographic image as requested.

"Now, overlap a field displaying the area that our sensors are capable of detecting beneath the structure's foundation," the Chief Engineer added to which the computer complied creating a light blue field showing the area where the ANUBIS' sensors could not reach.

"The foundation of the structure acts as a shield, this hides quite a large area below the structure," the Avatar said.

"Exactly," Sonja grinned. "We were working on the idea that the structure was made out of 9 identical hexagonal-shaped building with foundations extending 20 to 30 meters beneath the surface, but what if the centre-most hexagon, the one housing the prison's Command and Control centre went a lot deeper? From there, what if the elevator shaft went straight down? It would be nearly undetectable thanks to the natural minerals found in the planet's soil, especially in that specific region. They could then have some sort of tunnel heading outward that would be well out of reach of anyone looking for it."

"There is no way to prove this hypothesis," Ani said, appearing rather intrigued by Sonja's suggestion.

"Not yet," the redhead woman offered as an evil grin formed on her features.  "We need to find the original blueprints of that structure, the ones that show the full extent of what was built. I am sure that we will discover not only that the centre section goes a lot deeper than we thought, but that there is also a tunnel linking the prison to the outside world.  It is the only possible explanation left, and therefore, must be the truth. We have the find the exit... please stand by," Sonja added with a smile as she held up a single finger for dramatic effect.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Lt Commander Sonja Paquette [Access Character BIO for Sonja Paquette]
Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M18-029: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 35274.1835 ("The First Item")
=-=
"The First Item"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Hidden Beneath" by Lorraine / (BAS) "Not THAT Small" by David]
=-=

Setting: KANTARE, Coastal City of Sal Horkel
Stardate: 35274.1835

To the credit of the IGC team, finding the architect of the prison complex proved to be a lot easier than the ExO / ILO anticipated the task to be. It only took a few minutes to break through the appropriate government database and identify the organization responsible for the design. After that, it was just a question of accessing their dossiers and locating the one person responsible for the design.  Since no official records were discovered concerning the compound's building parameters, it made sense that the original creator possessed the document the team required.

=/\= I have eyes on the target, =/\= Ya'Han reported, the Chief of Security being the one tasked with locating the elderly Kantarean man. =/\= He is alone in his home. By the looks of things, he is making himself dinner. =/\=

=/\= Sensors are showing no one else in the house, =/\= Jayson reported from the ANUBIS. =/\= The local law enforcement patrols are several minutes away, so there should not be any issues. =/\=

"Very well," Shar'El acknowledged giving the small and peaceful looking sea-side abode one last look. "The plan is simple: Ya'Han, you are to disable the security system and secure the parameter while Maya and I make our way inside. Once there, I will scan Mr Abreso's memories searching for the location of the actual blueprints which Maya will retrieve. Once that is done, we will beam back to the ANUBIS without anyone even knowing that we were here. =/\=

=/\= We will be maintaining a transporter lock on you and your team, =/\= Captain Morningstar stated. =/\= Proceed with caution and good luck. =/\=

"Alright, Ya'Han, you heard the man... let's do this."

With that said the Nylaan Chief of Security made her way through the small bushes on the right side of the small house to access the power distribution node. From there she would be able to disable the security system and ensure that no alarm could be triggered if something went wrong. It also served to make sure that no video records would exist of the tea's presence here. A covert beach approach would have achieved the same objective but left the team possibly exposed to being seen by a neighbor or someone wandering on the beach, so the team adopted a more simple and direct approach -- the front door.

=/\= Security system has been disabled, =/\= Ya'Han reported after a few moments of intense silence.  As soon as this was said, Shar'El approached the front door closely followed by a small four-legged friendly feline which remained out of sight as much as possible.

The undercover ExO / ILO announced her presence by ringing the doorbell which summoned the house occupant to the simple-looking main entrance.

"Yes, how can I help you?" The elderly man matching the architect's description said after he opened the door to see a Kantare woman standing there.

"I am sorry to bother you, I was simply wondering if you had seen my cat?" Shar'El said, beaming a smile of innocence and vulnerability to the man.

"A cat?" Abreso asked.

"Sorry," Shar'El giggled, playing her role to perfection. "It is a small, cute and furry quadruped from EARTH. I could not resist taking one as a pet when I visited my friend who attends the Copenhagen Institute of Modern Architecture." As she said this, the Shillian who had shapeshifted into the creature in question sneaked into the house unnoticed while the Ullian began to scan the man's memories. The mention of the EARTH bound school was meant to facilitate the mental search as the ExO / ILO hoped that it would cause the man to willingly recall something dealing with his work as an architect. Unfortunately, the architect' mind, like his creation, was impenetrable, the man was surprisingly disciplined for a man of his age.

"You have nothing to be sorry about, my dear," the Kantarean man said with a charming smile. "I do not recall having my dinner ever interrupted by someone as lovely as you. Now, tell me more about this *cat* of yours."

Shar'El quickly produced the KANTARE equivalent of a PADD upon which a picture of the animal in question was displayed. "I know that it may appear a little weird and alien, but that is part of her charm," the undercover operative said.

"I suspect that this lovely creature is not the only one with charms beyond those found on this planet," Abreso said as he smiled once again, this time tilting his head ever so slightly to one side causing the ExO / ILO to grow slightly concerned about their mission. Was there something about the man that had not been stated in the files the IGC techs uncovered?

"What do you mean by that?" The undercover operative asked, echoing the elderly man's smile and tilt of the head, hoping that playing the sweet ignorance card might reveal something more.

"Nothing, my dear," the Kantarean man said as he walked away, heading back into his sea-side home. "Why don't you and your friend come in. I can offer you both some Risian tea while we talk about this *cat* of yours."

**Both?!?** The ExO / ILO inwardly gasped. **How does he know about Ya'Han?** Whatever questions Shar'El might have had were quickly transformed into fears as the man went to one of his windows and gently tapped it before inviting the person hiding in the bushes to join them.  **This is not good. The mission has been compromised.**  With limited options, and while hoping to still salvage their mission, the Nylaan was instructed to join them inside the home.

The next few minutes passed in complete silence as Ya'Han stepped inside and joined the other two.  Not long after the three found themselves sitting at the dining room table, a steaming cup of Risian tea before each of them.

It was the aged Kantarean man who broke the silence first. "I must admit that I have never seen such beautiful assassins before today. I must have done something right along the way."

"Assassins?" Ya'Han gasped. "We are not..."

Abreso interrupted, still managing to hold on to the smile that graced his face. "I am too old, seen too much. There is no need for you to waste your time trying to make me feel better.  I suspect that The Agency has gone through a lot of trouble to get you here. Again, all I can do is be grateful that I was allowed to see two such lovely faces before I die."

"We are not here to kill you," Shar'El explained, but before she could continue she heard the voice of the ANUBIS' Chief of Operations through the subdermal communicator implanted behind her right ear.

=/\= Commander, sensors show the local security detail heading your way. No alarms have been triggered, at least not as far as the IGC can tell. =/\=

"Why would a security detail come here?" Ya'Han asked of the aged Kantarean who became wide-eyed upon hearing this.

"I had nothing to do with this. They patrol the area making sure that everyone is safe, at least that's the official story we have all been told. I suspect that they are here to make sure I don't suddenly decide to pack my bags and leave."  Abreso appeared genuinely troubled by this turn of event.

=/\= Commander, the three individuals making up the security detail heading your way will be at the door in less than 30 seconds. =/\=

"We need to get out of here before it is too late," Ya'Han said, the Nylaan already on her feet and ready to dash out the nearest exit.

"If you try to run, they will see you," the elderly Kantarean man said. "Let me take care of them."

The ExO / ILO and Chief of Security kept a close watch on the man as he made his way to the door, opening it mere seconds after the doorbell was rung.

"Yes, how can I help you?" Abreso said, greeting the security team in the same manner as he had done his earlier visitor.

"We received a report that someone was at your door," the lead officer said. Although neither Shr'Elo nor Ya'Han could see the man, they could tell by his tone alone that he was not the gentle and understanding type.

"She was looking for her pet, some sort of small furry animal from EARTH," the Kantarean man said. "Since I had not seen anything of the sort, I offered her to check the bushes around my home and maybe have a quick look at the beach. Unless the creature flies, it would have left tracks that she could follow." Abreso paused, likely evaluating the extent to which his story was being accepted.  "May I offer you fine-fellows some Risian tea? I have a fresh put sitting on the table."

Nothing else was heard other than the door closing.

=/\= The three individuals are making their way around the house, heading for the beach, =/\= Jayson reported

"If he believes us to be assassins, why not inform the security detail?" Ya'Han asked aloud.

"Because you said that you were not," Abreso grinned. "Also, I did find it very strange that The Agency would send such ravishing beauties to silence me once and for all. So, if you are not here to kill me, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?"

Shar'El and Ya'Han looked at one another, each trying to certain if the man was being genuine with them.  Out of the blue, Maya joined the group, jumping into the elder Kantarean man's arms while still in her feline form.

"Well, looks like Maya trusts you," the ExO / ILO noted.  "Very well, we are here for the blueprints of the prison complex you helped create."

Abreso laughed aloud causing Maya to jump back down. "That is the reason why I have been living in fear for my life for the last few decades," the Kantarean man admitted. "The Agency does not like having loose ends, but luckily for me, they accepted the fact that those blueprints were destroyed." Seeing the look of disappointment on the faces of his two guests, the elderly man added. "You have nothing to worry, my dears. Everything you seek is in here," he said gently tapping the side of his had. "Those Betazoid spies reported back exactly what I wanted them to, that there was nothing in there anyone could use, but they were wrong. They saw what I wanted them to see."

Base on her complete lack of success during her earlier attempts to scan the man's memories, the Ullian ExO / ILO believed the man's claim that he held at bay telepaths sent to confirm his claim. As Shar'El began a new scan, she quickly discovered that the Kantarean's mental defences were down allowing her full access to his full life-time of experiences including the drawing up of the blueprints they were here for.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M18-030: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han/Stark: 35274.2000 ("More Than Expected")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"More Than Expected"
[previous post were (ANU) "Th First Item" / (BAS) "Not THAT Small"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 9, Main Holodeck 2
Stardate: 35274.2000

Following the architect's detailed account of the structure's secret layout, the away team returned to the ANUBIS and headed straight for Holodeck 2 where Sonja had already been working on a holographic recreation of the complex in question.  With the help of the Ship's Avatar and hr direct link to the computer, Shar'El was able to nicely complete the three-dimensional image giving everyone a much better idea of what they would be dealing with.

As suspected, the central hexagon extended down a lot further than the surrounding eight others followed by an elevator shaft that went even deeper down. From there, a tunnel stretched out to the nearest town where it connected with the offices of that region's Ministry of Justice.

"Wow," the OPS Officer said as he looked at the revised holographic display of the complex. "That jail could easily be in the top 10 of the most secured locations in the Federation.  This is nuts. How are we supposed to beam through so much solid rock to land in that small chamber at the end of that elevator shaft?"

"We don't," the Sec/Tac fired back. "Not unless we use the ANUBIS' phasers to drill a hole down which, of course, would reveal our presence and summon every defense ship in orbit on top of us long before we would be even halfway to where we would need to be.  Abreso was right when he said that The Agency wanted this place to be impenetrable."

"The Agency?" Jayson asked. "What is that?"

"A whole different story," the dark-haired Commander replied, dismissing the question as something they did not have time for at this moment. "We need to focus on the complex and how we are going to reach our target. *The Agency* will have to wait for the time being, although I will admit that my never having heard about this organization does not sit well with me."

"Let us start at the beginning," the Shillian scientist, who was back to her humanoid form, said pulling everyone back to the subject at hand. "The first obstacle is for us to gain access to the lower-most level of the building occupied by the Ministry of Justice. That is the only location where we can access the mag-lev shuttles that transport goods and supplies to and from the prison complex. Walking into the building should not be all that difficult as it is open to the public, but gaining access to the lower levels will require a special access key that only a select few have."

"Alright," Sonja chimed in. "All we need is to get one of them and make a copy."

"We will be in and out of there in the blink of an eye," Stark said. "So why make it into such a huge issue?"

"Because it is not that simple," Ya'Han said, glaring at the man standing next to her. "The key will give us access to the lower-most level. Once there, we need a retinal scan of one of the prison administrators to reach the mag-lev boarding platform. Once we get there, we have to board the pod and have our ID card scanned as the craft will only be allowed to move once all those inside are identified as being authorized to be there."

"Alright, alright," Jayson said, throwing his arms in the air over his head. "You made your point. Getting onto that mag-lev train is not going to be easy. We get it."

"It is worse than you think, Lieutenant," Shar'El added, the ILO almost grinning as she said this. Under normal circumstances, she might have allowed herself to see this whole thing as somewhat funny, but this was not the case, not by a longshot. "Reaching the mag-lev is only the first step. There are several other security checkpoints along the way, and those are before reaching the disembarking platform that leads to the elevator shaft."

"Currently our efforts have been concentrated on a team reaching the prison complex," Maya added. "We have yet to address gaining access to the Command and Control station to locate Cagal's exact whereabouts. Once that is done, we will require the means to free him from his confinement and find a way for all parties involved to exit safely.  Commander Shar'El, Lieutenant Ya'Han, and myself agree that this mission is going to require all of our individual and combined skills and expertise and that only to gives us a minute chance at succeeding in our reaching our objective."

Jayson let out a long exhale, the OPS Officer growing increasingly concerned as more details were added to what they would need to do and the unique items they would have to procure to make it to the next stage. "Is it too late to change our minds about helping Ambassador Bonviva?" He asked before swallowing hard.

"You are welcome to speak to the Ambassador and inform her of your change of heart," Shar'El said.

Jayson took a brief moment to consider the stated option. Each time he met the gaze of another officer, he was made to feel as if he had either no choice or was being dared to do as had suggested. "Maybe I should speak with Xana," the OPS Officer eventually said.

"Really? You would go and tell her that you will not help her?" Ya'Han questioned.

"At the very least, she would kill me there on the spot and I would not have to wonder how or when I would meet my end," Jayson explained. "The way this mission is looking, any one of us is risking their lives at every step, and that's if we are lucky. A single mistake, a simple wrong move or item used at the wrong time and we could find ourselves on a one-way trip to the nearest Federation stockade."

"At least you would not be facing the outcome alone," the Sec/Tac said. "If you go speak to Xana, you are doing it alone. If you stay and continue with this plan, we either succeed or fail together."

"You got to love it when life gives you a "lose/lose" scenario," he sighed while shaking his head. "Let's keep going. I have the feeling that we are going to be spending the night going over all of the possibilities we need to consider."

"The night?!?" Sonja bellowed. "You really have no idea of the scale of this mission do you. It will take a night just to figure out how we get onto the mag-lev train. I suspect that it will take several more for us to work through the rest of this *Mission Impossible*.  I better get some wine and a few extra glasses, I have the feeling we are all going to need it before *this* night is over."

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501

[/\]

Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-031: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 35274.2100 ("Pure Madness")
=-=
"Pure Madness"
[the previous post was (ANU) "More Than Expected" by Hanali / (BAS) "Not THAT Small" by David]
=-=  

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 35274.2100

The away team's success was cause for celebration, or it should have been. By all accounts, the blueprints and their secrets were gone. Destroyed by their creator. Thanks to Shar'El and the others though, the information was retrieved. Now, the crew could plan the jailbreak with far greater ease. Of course, was a relative term as there would be nothing easy about what they would try to accomplish.

As the news of their findings reached the CMO, Bruxa started to grow uncertain.  Whoever this Abreso was, he had proven himself to be a genius. Genius in the sense of a mad man with extreme tendencies toward paranoia. Who in their right mind would create such elaborate safety measures for a simple prison? As far as the Doctor could tell, no other jail in the on the planet or in the Federation could compare. The prison complex was a unique display of excessiveness. An example of just how *bad* bad could get.

There were deadly secrets out there less protected than the prisoners of that complex. Satella was certain that several high-ranking government officials would be jealous of the inmates. The safety measures of that prison rivalled and surpassed many that are set in place for planetary rulers. With that in mind, the CMO was left with asking herself the same question over and over again. How were the rogue officers of the ANUBIS going to surmount all of these security measures?

"What is troubling you so, Satella?

Dr Bruxa had failed to notice the Counselor standing next to her. After looking up at her friend, the CMO casually replied. "What gives you the idea that something is troubling me?" As she said this, Satella recalled her days in high school drama classes. Acting was certainly not her strongest skill. There was a season why she had gone into medicine instead of pursuing a career in acting.

The expression on Adriana's face was proof enough that the decision had been the right one. "What gives me the idea that something is troubling you?" Lopez was visibly holding back her laughter. "Let me see. Let's start with the expression of utter panic on your face. The fact that you are here in the Black Hole Lounge is also a dead giveaway. The three empty glasses that the waitress just took away from your table certainly seal the deal."

Satella quickly looked at the tabletop searching for some sort of proof. "Three glasses? I don't remember drinking even one, let alone ordering three.  What was I drinking?"

Adriana pulled out a chair to sit. Once she was at the same level as the physician, the CNS leaned in closer. "You weren't drinking. So, allow me to add to the 'why I think you are troubled' by pointing out that you accepted my word over anything else."

"I accepted your word because I trust you," Bruxa huffed.

The CNS/Jr Ambassador smiled. "You trust me? That is good. Then trust me when I say this. I can tell that something is deeply troubling you."

The CMO narrowed her eyes. "You tricked me."

"As the Ship's Counselor, I do not *trick* people." Adriana's smile only grew larger as she waited a few seconds before adding. "As a Jr Ambassador though, it is part of the job description.  Know that I did it because I care and am worried about you."

"I should be the least of your worries. This mission is going to be pure madness." Satella ran her fingers through her silver hair. "At least if KANTARE was not a Federation world, we could play things a little looser. But that is not the case. The slightest mistakes will be the end of us.  I honestly am starting to wonder if it is all worth it."

"Nothing worthwhile is ever easy," the CNS said to her friend sitting across the table. "I agree with you that it will not be easy, but when have we ever done *easy*? We went against the Lokustaar. And by that, I do not mean just fighting them. We had one of our own infiltrate their ranks. That was not the easiest way to do things, but that is the way we went. The ANUBIS was not meant to be one of those ships that travel the *easy* path. The ship is equipped to deal with the worst of the worst. Its crew is the type to face the impossible head on and prove to everyone else that everything is possible. This is just another one of those missions. As a wise man once said, impossible simply means that no one has figured out how to do it, yet."

"Do you really believe that we will be able to do this?" Satella grey eyes seemed to beg for reassurance.

Adriana reached out to take a hold of her friend's hands. "We have gone through too much and seen more than we could have ever feared to. I will not lie to you and tell you that it will not be easy. To answer your question though, yes, I do believe we can do this. If there is any team in this universe that can do it, it's this crew."

Bruxa smiled, thankful for her friend's words. "How can you be so sure? Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your confidence, I am just wondering where it is coming from."

"First, we managed to get the blueprints that were believed to be destroyed. That has to count for something. If the universe had wanted us to fail, it would have started right there." The CNS/Jr Ambassador stopped and leaned back in her chair before continuing. "Second, Cpt Morningstar is supporting this mission. Something tells me that his decision is not simply to get on Koniki's nerves. There is another reason, I am sure of it. Right now, none of us needs to know about this, so he is keeping quiet. When the time comes though, I am sure that he will be the one pulling the proverbial ace from his sleeve. No one expected him to go along with this mad venture, yet he did. That to me means there is something more about this entire thing."

"Do you think it has something to do with The Agency?"

"Where did you hear that?" Adriana was surprised to hear those words coming from the CMO.

Satella chuckled. "It's a secret and we are on an Intel ship. That means everyone knows about it."

The CNS' assurance melted away from her. "I have no idea. To be perfectly honest with you, I am more worried about this Agency than the prison complex. The simple fact that Shar'El knew nothing about it is enough to scare me. *That* is what frightens me, if for no other reason that it is an unknown that we just cannot prepare for."

=-=
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]
M18-032: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: 35274.2230 ("Setting The Board")
##########
"Setting The Board"
Previous posts (ANU) "Pure Madness" / (BAS) "Smaller Perspective"
##########

“Chess is rarely a game of ideal moves. Almost always, a player faces a series of difficult consequences whichever move he makes.”
– David Shenk

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Morningstar's Quarters
Stardate: 35274.2230

Thanks to the ANUBIS hiding in the sensor shadows of the planet's orbital grid and under the added protection of its ablative cloak, the senior officers could take the time required to work on their respective parts of the unsanctioned and unconventional mission they had taken upon themselves to accomplish.

Freeing Cagal from the KANTARE prison complex was the objective, a goal made several times more complicated thanks to a seemingly neverending list of obstacles and safeguards in their way. The prison was a state-of-the-art maximum security facility, a structure designed to be impenetrable and inescapable. That the structure was built on a member world of the United Federation of Planets only made the task that much more impossible, requiring that everything proceed with the utmost perfection.

With the uncovering of the complete layout of the prison complex, a structure that went beyond the imagination of most, Morningstar was left with wondering why the Ambassador's friend was being held in such a high-security facility instead of anywhere else on the planet.

=/\= Shar'El to Morningstar, your secured channel has been set.  No one will be able to listen in on your conversation, not even me. =/\= The Native American could hear the playful teasing pout from his First Officer.

"Thank you, Commander," Morningstar stoically acknowledged, thinking it best to cut this short for fear that Shar'El might find a way to get him to reveal more than he was ready to at this time. Erik made his way to his desk before sitting in the chair. The Native American was visibly not in a rush to use the secured channel provided by his First Officer, but the situation they faced required him to act against his better judgement... more so than he already had.

It only took a few seconds after he initiated the call for someone to appear on the small screen resting upon his desk. [/\] Erik Morningstar! What unspeakable horror crawled out from beneath a long lost rock no one had ever heard of to get you to contact me? [/\]

"Hello Hespera," Erik said trying his best to not show any outward emotions. The dark-haired, bronze-skinned woman he was talking to belonged to a part of his past that he would have rather not have to deal with again, but that option was no longer a possibility. "How have you been?"

[/\] Like you actually care, [/\] the woman growled. [/\] Four years ago you... no, wait, it's been five years now. You left me stranded on some forsaken planet to deal with the mess you and that cursed PARADOX left behind. [/\]

"It was not that simple," Erik gently argued. The time the two of them had spent together in a timeline that no longer existed meant that his words were a drastic understatement when relating to the complexity of what had taken place

[/\] It never is with you, [/\] the woman retaliated even before the words had finished being spoken by the Native American. [/\] You left me to fend for myself on that planet for *years*! [/\]

"It was mere seconds for me and the PARADOX," the Native American offered in his defence. "By the time we found our way back to the "present", you were gone.  It was only months after returning to NEW ALEXANDRIA that I came across Intel showing you on KANTARE... with a family."

Hespera closed her eyes and sighed. [/\] You left me hurt and with no reason to go on. It was only because of the kindness of man that I found my way off that hell-hole you abandoned me on. He brought me here and in return, I helped him with raising his sister's kids.  As far as the official government records were concerned, I was the new *lady* of the household, but in reality, I was nothing more than a glorified maid. He did his best to make me feel like part of the family but unfortunately, good intentions are never enough, especially when he did not feel comfortable being with the girls. The moment they were of age, everyone went their separate ways, including me. It took me some time, but I managed to find work with the KANTARE Department of Safety, a fact that I suspect you already knew. [/\]

"Why would you say that?" Erik said, trying to come across as innocent as he could.

[/\] WHY? [/\] The woman snapped as her anger threatening to break the screen her image was being displayed on. [/\] I will tell you why! It is because I know you, Erik Morningstar. You are not the emotional type, so there is no way that you suddenly decided to reach out to me just for the sake of it. You are not calling because of guilt, and certainly not because you were missing me or what we had together. You called because you need something, just like you needed something all those years ago. I just happen to be the person who can easily get you what you need, whatever that may be, and as soon as I have done what you will ask of me, you will leave just like you did before. [/\]

"Hespera... I never intended to hurt you or make you feel like you were in some way used," Erik said, his face reflecting emotions that no one could have ever expected to be there. "I did not abandon you. I did everything I could to find you and when I did, it looked like you had moved on.  A part of me died that day. I know that it will do little to make up for what you went through. I am sorry, truly and deeply sorry. The one thing I wanted more than anything else was for you to be happy, and I still do.  I wish I could go back in time and change what happened, but it's not that simple."

[/\] As I said before... with you, nothing is ever 'that simple', [/\] the bronze-skin woman said fighting back tears. [/\] Now, tell me what you need from me so I can get it over with and start feeling sorry for myself because, despite everything you put me through, I somehow know that you did not have a choice and that I will never be able to say no to you. [/\]

-==/\==--
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35275.0700

The senior officers were summoned to an early morning meeting to discuss their plan of action. Judging by the expressions on the officer's faces, it appeared that most had gone through a rough night, likely trying to figure out a way to overcome the multiple obstacles that stood in their way.

"Let's start with a status report," Captain Morningstar said looking at his First Officer.  "How is the ANUBIS fairing?"

"The KANTARE authorities have absolutely no idea that we are here," Shar'El said with a smile. "The orbital sensor network is nowhere close to detecting us and our ablative armour is keeping us out of sight from anyone who might be looking in our general direction.  If everything stays as it is now, we should be able to stay here for 7 to 10 days without any problems.

"We tapped into their communication network and matched the carrier frequency of our transporter system," Sonja added with a distinct tone of pride. "We can beam *anywhere* on the planet at a moment's notice."

"Well, not *anywhere*," the Shillian Chief Science Officer corrected. "If we could beam directly into the prison complex, this mission would already be over and we would be heading back to NEW ALEXANDRIA. Instead, we are still trying to find a way to reach the lower levels of the Ministry of Justice building that links to the prison."

"That is part of the reason why I have called this meeting," Morningstar stated. "I might have found a way to get a recon team to the lower levels of that building without raising any suspicions. I made contact with an old acquaintance of mine who happens to work for the Department of Safety. She is willing to provide us with a cover story that will allow a team to reach the lower level without having to find some subterfuge to get there."

"That must be one heck of an acquaintance," Xana said, raising an eyebrow to display her surprise."What did you do for her to owe you such a favour?"

"What I did is not important," Erik quickly dismissed. "Although I can assure you that she is not doing this to repay a favour. She is simply willing to help us."

Adriana laughter. "If she is not helping us because of something you did, what will you be offering her in returning?" The Counsellor thought she was being cute, but the expression on the man's face made it abundantly clear that this was not something Erik was willing to talk about.

The Captain tugged at his uniform shirt before continuing with the meeting. "The Department of Safety conducts unannounced inspections on government facilities regularly, so it will not be complete surprise to have a team of three show up and demand to see the lower level."

"A team of three?" Jayson inquired.  "Why three? I mean, three is more than we would have been able to get down there, but I am just curious as to why that specific number."

"The department is very specific as to how its teams are formed. There are always three inspectors, all of them being women. As far as the department's leadership is concerned, women are simply better at noticing small details," Morningstar explained.

"I knew there was a reason why I liked the people of KANTARE," Sonja chuckled.

"Who is going to form this inspection team?" Ya'Han asked, a distinct hint of excitement in her voice.

"I know I am out," Adriana jumped in with. "I have already been registered with the government's facial recognition system, so having a Federation Junior Ambassador suddenly become a member of the Department of Safety would be highly suspicious."

"I am also out," the Bolian/Human hybrid added. "Not for the same reasons, but showing my face anywhere on the planet would instantly jeopertize the mission."

"I thought that it would be best if Commander Shar'El leads the team," the Captain said, his decision making perfect sense to everyone given the woman's unique mental abilities. "Lt. Ya'Han, you will accompany her to make sure that the team gets back safely should something unexpected happen."

"Who will be the third?" Doctor Bruxa asked, her gaze bouncing between Sonja and Maya.

"You, Doctor," Morningstar announced. "Your medical expertise might come in handy in identifying any biological security measures that may be in place to ensure that no unauthorized personnel makes it in or out of there."

"Captain," Satella objected. "Surely Sonja or Maya would be better at this. I would happily give up this opportunity to either one of them having the utmost confidence that they would perform much better than I could."

"Don't try sweet-talking yourself out of this mission, Doctor," the Chief Engineer said, pushing a thick Scottish accent as she did so. "I am sure that our good Captain has his reasons for sending you into the lion's den."

"I do," the Native American confirmed. "I need you, Lt. Stark and Lt. Cmdr. Maya to run a few tests on something that I was made aware of late last night."

"Let me guess," Jayson grinned. "Something that your lady friend informed you of?"

"Actually yes," the Captain confirmed not believing that denial at this time would serve any purpose.  "Commander Shar'El, prep your team. Your contact is expecting you down on the planet surface in an hour, give or take a few minutes. She will provide you with all of the information your team will require for this recon mission."

"Aye, aye, Captain," Shar'El said before standing up and motioning for Ya'Han and Satella to follow her.

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

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M18-033: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 35275.0750 ("A Potential Security Flaw")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"A Potential Security Flaw"
[previous post were (ANU) "Setting The Board" / (BAS) "Smaller Perspective"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 3, Transporter Room 1
Stardate: 35275.0750

Shar'El and Ya'han waited impatiently on the transporter platform while Jayson stood behind the control console, the OPS Officer was ready to beam the away team down. Of course, it would help if the third member of the three-woman team was actually there with the other two for him to do so.

"Commander Shar'El to Doctor Bruxa. Your presence is requested in Transporter Room 1," Shar'El said after tapping her comm badge.

"Maybe she went to another transporter room," Jayson said trying to explain away the Doctor's lateness but his gallant effort only caused the Sec/Tac to glare at him in a way that instantly made him feel quite uncomfortable. Although the terms of their relationship had greatly improved as of late, the fiery red-haired Nylaan could not help but remember the way the Mikulak woman had acted around the Chief of Operations not that long ago.

=/\= Counselor Lopez to Commander Shar'El. She's on her way and will be there very soon. =/\=

"Was it me or did she sound out of breath?" Ya'Han asked, grinning.

Before anyone else could offer their thoughts on the reply offered by Adriana, the doors to the transporter room slid opened letting Doctor Bruxa and Counselor Lopez walk in. Both women looked a little rough around the edges as if they had run a couple of laps around the ANUBIS' saucer section. As hard as they tried to look as if they had not been running, everyone in the room could easily see the truth.

"Sorry we are late," Adriana said, gently pushing her now dark-haired friend towards the platform where the two women were waiting. "It is entirely my fault. I needed to review a few things with Satella before she beamed down. Nothing major, just some words of encouragement and making sure that her new hair color was adequate to the mission."

Neither Shar'El nor Ya'Han seemed to accept the excuse although Jayson was clearly finding the entire exchange extremely amusing. Another quick glare from the Sec/Tac wiped the grin from the man's lips

"Time to go if we do not want to be late," Shar'El said, calling everyone to their positions before glancing at the Sec/Tac and her still fiery colored hair.  Ya'Han quickly noticed the look she was the target of causing her to close her eyes as she focused to bring back the black colored hair she had been sporting earlier.  A few seconds later, the transporter was activated and the three women vanished from the platform in a haze of  twinkling lights.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: KANTARE, Alley between two buildings
Stardate: 35275.0800

The away team materialized out of sight of the nearby population, a feat unto itself given how busy the area appeared to be. The building housing the region's branch of the Ministry of Justice could be seen on the other side of a small park that stood between where they were and where they needed to go.

"There is one advantage of being on a Federation planet," Ya'Han noted as she studied the people walking by the opening of the alleyway and through the small park. "There are a lot of different races present, a diversity that may make a hurried exit that much easier for us to manage."

"We have not even started this mission and you are already talking about making a quick exit?!?" Satella said while nervously scratching the top of her head.

"Doctor, relax," Shar'El said. "This is what missions like these require, a set of contingency plans that we all hope we will never have to use. Now, stop scratching, the color may not wear off but you are coming across as being far more nervous than you should be."

"This is the best Erik could do?" A deeply disappointed voice said from further down the alley prompting the three women to quickly turn around.

"Hespera, I presume?" Shar'El said.

"Here are your ID passes and your orders from the Department of Safety," the woman said not wasting a single second with unnecessary pleasantries. "Remember," she added, "if anyone asks any questions as to why you are there, simply show them the inspection orders. The Department is not known for explaining itself to others. Do not spend too much time wandering around though, inspections are meant to be quick to identify areas that may be against safety regulations before anyone can react to the team's presence."

"Thank you," Ya'Han offered, accepting one of the ID passes from Shar'El.

"Don't thank me. I think this is a crazy idea. I am only doing this because Erik asked, nothing more."  After having said this, the woman turned and headed back down the alley leaving the trio to wonder what the deal was between her and their CO.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-034: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: 35275.0815 ("Nervous Opportunity")
=-=
"Nervous Opportunity"
[the previous post was (ANU) "A Potential Security Flaw" by Hanali / (BAS) "Smaller Perspective" by David]
=-=  

Setting: KANTARE, Public Park
Stardate: 35275.0815

She was not doing it on purpose. By the time Satella realized what she was doing, it was already too late. It took the repeated warning from the ExO to make the CMO stop, even if only for a few moments.  Most physicians dreamt of being part of an away team. To be there in the middle of the action instead of being called when things went south.  There was an unexplainable excitement at being part of the action. Unfortunately, Dr. Bruxa had not anticipated how nervous she would be.  For some reason, the Mikulak woman was more nervous than she had ever been before, and it showed.

Ya'Han put her hand on Satella's shoulder before whispering. "Stop scratching at your head. Shar'El has already told you half a dozen times. If she has to tell you again, this mission might end before it officially starts."

Satella's lower lip began to quiver. "I'm sorry. I just can't help myself. I am not usually this nervous."

"We are not usually dealing with an unsanctioned mission on a Federation world." Shar'El was not even bothering to turn around to speak, something that only added to Satella's anxiety.

The undercover physician quickly looked around her before addressing the ExO. "Is it safe to speak this way out in the open?"

"It is far more likely that someone will notice your nervousness overhearing anything that we are talking about." Shar'El stopped and turned, almost causing the CMO to run into the ExO. "We are in the middle of an open park. No one is paying any sort of attention to us. The only way they could har us would be by using a parabolic antenna.  On the other hand, there are people on the top floor of that building who are wondering what is the matter with you." The team leader was pointing directly at the building they were heading for.  "You need to calm down. Yo being nervous is making you jittery. That is what people are noticing. So, either get a hold of yourself or I will have you beamed back to the ship. I am sure that Sonja, Maya, or even Ani would be happy to take your place."

In all honesty, Satella would not have minded any of them coming down to take her place. Sonja was such a strong character who gave the impression she could tackle anything. Maya, partially thanks to her shapeshifting abilities, gave the impression of not being afraid of anything. Ani, being an android, would not have missed a single beat. This made Bruxa think, and the more she did, the more one question stood out.  "Why me?"

"Why you?" Shar'El echoed. "Do you think this is the universe getting back at you for some earlier wrongdoing?"

Satella vigorously shook her head from side to side. "No! Not at all. I am just wondering why I was selected for this mission?"

Shar'El took a moment to gather her thought and summon whatever patience she had left. "Cpt Morningstar already explained it. Your medical expertise might come in handy to detect biological security measures. That is why you were selected for this mission."

"Maya could have done the same," Satella argued. "Heck, Ani could do a better job than I could ever. She has access to the full library of medical knowledge, not to mention her ability to see far better than anyone of us.  The more I think about it, the more I wonder why she is not here instead of me."

"I am sure that the Captain had his reasons." Ya'Han was doing her best to offer support. Being there for Satella was just as important as being there for Shar'El. Right now, the fact was that this was the team and their mission was clear. Yet, the CMO was still questioning the reasoning behind it all.

"Ani may be good. She may even be *better*, but in the end, she is still nothing more than a machine." It was evident that Shar'El did not want to say this but the Doctor had left her little choice. "Ani lacks the ability to adapt to situations. She is great at following orders, but that is it. We need people who can think on their feet. We need operatives who can recognize that something is not working the way it was supposed to and adapt. The Captain selected you for this mission because you can do this. We have no idea what we will encounter once we reach the lower level, so we need to be able to adapt at moment's notice."

"I appreciate the opportunity, but I fear that I am not ready. This mission, and by that I mean freeing the Ambassador's friend, maybe too much or me." The CMO was calm, but it was easy to see that her emotions were ready to burst out of her.

It was Ya'Han who spoke next. "You are never ready for this kind of mission. When I left the ANUBIS to join Mordana, I had only *seconds* to prepare.  Each step I took was blind, requiring me to adapt in whatever way I could. It was not easy, far from it, and in the end, it cost me more than I could have imagined. The fact though was that it was something that needed to be done. We were given an opportunity that we simply could not ignore. These," she continued holding her new ID Pass, "are an opportunity that we cannot ignore."

Satella sighed. Ya'Han was right. Shar'El was right. All that the CMO needed to do was to accept that this was what they needed to do. Her apprehensions about any of this could not go against the opportunity they were given.  After a few seconds, Bruxa took her ID pass and pinned it on her shirt.  "Alright, let's go. We have a lower level to inspect."

=-=
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]
M18-035: USS ANUBIS: Stark: 35275.0820 ("Eye In The Sky")
"Eye In The Sky"
[previous (ANU) "Nervous Opportunity" / (BAS) "Close Call"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 35275.0820 

As soon as the three officers were beamed down to KANTARE, Jayson returned to the bridge and his station at Operations. "Away team is on sight and... talking in the park?" The OPS Officer had expected to report on the team's progress to the building where the local branch of the Ministry of Justice was located, so it came as a shock to him when he noticed that the sensors were showing the women just standing there, chatting.

"Satella is a little nervous," Adriana said, explaining without going into details why the away team had not made as much progress as expected.

"What's there to be nervous about?" Jayson said. "Go into the building, make your way to the lower level, snoop around, and report back. Thanks to the Captain's contact in the Department of Safety, the away team should be in and out in no time without worries of running into any sort of resistance."

Sonja sighed from the Engineering station. "Boy, I say boy, you are about as sharp as a bowling ball. They are walking into an Annex of the Ministry of Justice, not in an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet house. There are still a lot of things that can go wrong. Sorry Captain, but I do not completely trust your contact on the planet, she seemed a little *too* eager to help."

"I trust her," Morningstar countered. "Still, you are right that there is still plenty of things that could go wrong. That is why we need to keep a vigilant eye on them. It is also understandable that Doctor Bruxa is feeling a little anxious about the whole affair."

"You are just lucky that Ya'Han is down there as part of the away team," Sonja said, glaring at the OPS Officer.

"I know," Jayson agreed. "With her on the planet, the odds are much greater that they will be able to handle whatever might cross their path."

"I was thinking more along the lines that *you* are lucky she is down there instead of up here," Sonja clarified. "Let's face it, your odds would not be at all good if she heard you defending Satella."

"I was not defending her," the OPS Officer said. "In fact, it was quite the opposite."

"Defending her... attacking her... either way, you were thinking about *her*, and I doubt Ya'Han would have taken the time to make the difference," Sonja continued, using whatever she could to strike at Jayson.

"They are about to step into the building," Maya announced. thanks to her the discussion about what he had said and the reasons behind it was put on hold to instead focus on the away team and their progress on the recon mission.

"Are we still able to track them?" The Captain asked.

"No problem," Jayson reported. "Sensors are easily tracking all three. That might change the moment they make their way to the lower levels though. If the design of the subterranean structure matches that of the prison, the access corridors will have been placed to limit their vulnerability to any type of external surveillance."

"Let's do what we can," the Captain said. "It is the best we can do at this time."

An uneasy stillness swept through the bridge as everyone quietly waited to see what would happen next.  Jayson, using the ANUBIS' sensors, tracked the movements of the three women, seeing them walk into the main entrance hall, passed the reception/security desk, before being escorted by two Kantarean to an out of the way room where, after a few moments, the away team stepped into an elevator. Thanks to the location and building material of the shaft Shar'El, Satella, and Ya'Han quickly moved down and beyond the reach of their instruments.

"That's it... they are truly on their own now. Sensors are no longer able to track their movements.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-036: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: 35275.0830 ("Snooping Around")
=-=
"Snooping Around"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Eye In The Sky" by Jayson / (BAS) "Closs Call" by Moi]
=-=

Setting: KANTARE, Ministry Of Justice, Annex building
Stardate: 35275.0830

The first thing Shar'El noticed as they walked into the building was the extensive security measures in place. It made some sense since this was a building under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, but still, the measures in place did seem to be slightly on the 'overkill' side of things.

Numerous small opaque domes were scattered all over the walls and pillars in a pattern that the ExO / ILO easily recognized as that used for security cameras. Every angel of the main entrance was being covered ensuring that no one could move without being seen. There was also a large single pane mirror on the inside left of the main entrance, another security precaution that Shar'El quickly identified as a one-way mirror, one that likely hid a great deal of scanning equipment to confirm that no unauthorized material was being brought in.

Several sets of eyes followed the three women as they made their way to the reception area where two guards waited behind a rather impressive-looking counter. To either side of the central structure were two more guards, each armed with what appeared to be high-powered Federation issued phaser rifles.

"State the purpose of your visit," one of the guards said as the trio approached the counter. The man's tone was serious, demanding, and made it perfectly clear that the answer that would follow would dictate his reaction, as well as anyone else, tasked with the protection of this establishment.

A quick scan of the man's more recent memories revealed nothing that the Ullian could use to make this any easier, so Shar'El opted for the straight and direct method. "We are here from the Department of Safety," she announced, making sure that her ID Pass was visible to the men behind the counter. "We are here to conduct a surprise inspection of the facilities."

All four guards immediately responded by taking on a more oppositional stance revealing that none of them were all too pleased by what they had just heard. The ExO / ILO and the guard who had spoken to her glared at one another for a few seconds before Shar'El handed over the authorization documents displayed on the PADD provided by Erik's contact on KANTARE.

The guard took the handheld device and carefully scrutinized its content before begrudgingly handing it back. "You can wait here while I inform my superiors," he stated.

Without missing a beat, Shar'El pushed the issue. "You can inform your superiors *after* we are on our way. I am sure that Greks will be less than pleased with you if our reports states our shared belief that our inspection was, shall we say, *delayed* because something needed to be fixed or hidden before we got to it."  The gamble played by Shar'El paid off as she suspected it would, using the name of the building's head of security, which had flashed in the man's mind, was the necessary push to get things moving.

With a nod of his head, the guard at the reception desk instructed the two armed officers to come closer, which they did without delay.  As soon as they flanked the trio, they received their instructions. "You are to escort these three Inspectors from the Department of Safety to wherever they wish. You are to keep me informed of their location at all times." After saying this, the guard carefully scrutinized the three women before locking his gaze on one particular individual.  "She seems nervous."

"It's her first time being part of an inspection for a building of the Ministry of Justice," Shar'El explained,. again without missing a beat. "She is worried that some of the rumors we have been hearing back at the head office are true, namely that the Ministry of Justice is known for impeding inspections and that sometimes those involved in these operations end up unexplainable 'injured' while on site."

"That was an accident," the guard quickly countered with. "The public investigation proved that it was the inspector who tripped down the stairs. It was all her fault."

"Of course it was," Shar'El snarled in a way that allowed her to still maintain an air of professionalism. "That is why we will not be using any stairs this time, just to be sure that no other *accident* take place," and with that said the ExO / ILO made her way around the reception desk closely followed by Ya'Han, Satella, and the two armed officers.

"How did you know about Greks?", the CMO whispered to the ExO / ILO once the trio was far enough away not to be heard by anyone else.

Shar'El smiled and gently tapped the side of her head with her finger. "That guard knows the man who was cleared of the assault charges. The story was quickly killed by the authorities and listed as an accident. When he noticed your nervousness, he thought that we might have something on him, this brought all of his memories to the surface.  I suspect that they will not give us any trouble from this point forward."

The whispered conversation was interrupted by Ya'Han tapping Shar'El on the shoulder and indicating the corridor they needed to use to reach the dedicated elevator leading to the lower levels and the underground mag-lev to the prison complex.  With a nod of her head, the ExO / ILO acknowledged and proceeded as directed while the two armed guards quickly followed, growing visibly concerned by the trio's new heading.

The three women stopped directly in front of the doors to the elevator prompting one of the guards to step closer. "Sorry, but you are not permitted down there."

Shar'El turned to face the man and slowly narrowed her eyes. "Were your instructions not to, and I quote, 'to escort these three Inspectors from the Department of Safety to wherever they wish'? Now, I can only surmise that your unwillingness to cooperate with our request and the blatant disregard of direct orders indicates that you are hiding something behind those doors. So, either you open these doors, or I will make sure that your name appears prominently on my report to the head office, strongly encouraging that obstruction charges to be laid against you and anyone with whom we have had any contact with at this stage."

Ya'Han and Satella watched wide-eyed as Shar'El laid down the rules forcing the guard to comply with her request for fear that the Department of Safety would rip them all apart in one way or another. One of the guards reached into a pocket on his vest and retrieved a small solid-black colored card which he tapped against one of the panels. Instantly, the doors slid open allowing the trio of inspectors to step inside the elevator.

"How many key cards are available for this elevator?" Ya'Han asked, justifying her query as being part of the Department of Safety's inspection.

"Only the guards on duty at the main entrance are allowed to hold on to one of the four key cards," the second guard replied. "If a card goes missing for any reason, all and disabled and a new set is created."

"Adequate measures," the Chief of Security said as she made a note on her PADD, taking her role as an inspector for the Department of Safety as seriously as she could.  "Am I to guess that it is the same card that allows the use of this elevator?"

"Actually, no," the first guard said. "A palm print and retinal scan are required to activate the lift and only the on-duty Head of Building Security can do it. If you want to see what is on the other end of this lift, you will need to make an appointment with him first."

"Impressive security measures," Ya'Han amended, against taking notes on her PADD especially given that the security measures were different than those they had expected to find

"Impressive if you are trying to hide something," Satella added. "I suppose that the Head of Security, the only person able to activate this lift, is not available at this time?"

"We could radio for him if you would like," the first guard offered, the man easily realizing that control of the situation had fallen back into their side of the proverbial field.

"That will not be necessary at this time," Shar'El said. "Although this will be reflected in our report to the head office." Realizing that pushing the issue would only attract unwanted attention t them, the ExO / ILO decided to fall back and try to come up with a different plan to access the lower-most level and the underground mag-lev.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M18-037: USS ANUBIS: Lopez/Ya'Han: 35275.1100 ("Time For Something Different")
-=-=-
"Time For Something Different"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Snooping Around" / (BAS) "Close Call"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Conference Room
Stardate: 35275.1100

Following the return of the away team to the ANUBIS, a senior staff meeting was called by Captain Morningstar to review whatever information was gathered and contained in the mission report. Judging by the expressions on the faces of Commander Shar'El, Lt. Ya'Han, and Doctor Bruxa, their undercover foray into the building housing the Ministry of Justice had clearly not been as productive as they hoped it to be, saving some the need to read the report.

"The security measures in that building are impressive," Ya'Han noted first. "I doubt that even a small feline could sneak in without being picked up by the various security measures in place." Those words were directed to the Shillian CSciO, the Sec/Tac anticipating that the woman's shapeshifting ability might be offered as a way to circumvent the building's security measures.

"Worse than that," the Commander added. "The security measures we saw were a drastic upgrade from what Abreso told us they were at the time of construction, and as the architect of this shadow project, he did not cut corners when creating the initial security system."

"There is no doubt that they are hiding something," Xana muttered to no one in particular. "Based on what I have read from the mission report, not only is this one of the highest security facilities I have ever seen, but they seem to be going out of their way to make sure no one knows about it. As much as Cagal might believe himself to be a 'dangerous' individual, he is far from being the type that should be locked away inside such a fortress."

"That is even more reason for us to get to the bottom of this," Adriana said. The Junior Ambassador had claimed this little project as her own, and she would see it to the end, no matter how things might change. "For all we know, Cagal's message and request for help might very well be because he discovered something large enough to try something drastic."

"I agree with Junior Ambassador Lopez," Ya'Han voiced. "KANTARE is a Federation planet, so why is this ultra-high security facility such a secret? I suspect that if Admiral Koniki knew about this, he would ask us, or another team from NEW ALEXANDRIA, to investigate this mystery."

"Even if the Admiral knew about this, we would still be on our own," Captain Morningstar clarified. "Recon mission or not, if we are discovered, our presence and actions will be quickly disavowed, so we need to proceed with extreme caution."

"After what the away team discovered, I think is it safe to say that this mission is a bust, be it a recon mission or not," Jayson added as he leaned back in his chair.

"Maybe not," Adriana said, a faint grin appearing on her lips. "While the away team was on KANTARE, I asked the IGC personnel to look into some things. The moment we hard that a palm print and retinal scan of the Head of Security as well as a Prison Administrator would be required, I started thinking about some ways to get what we need."

"Why do I have a bad feeling about this?" The Sec/Tac sighed, seeing a glimmer in the eyes of the Junior Ambassador that worried her.

"You have nothing to worry about," the Junior Ambassador grinned. "At least not yet," Adriana added before addressing the rest of the gathered officers. "The IGC team was able to uncover some interesting facts about the Head of Security and the Prison Administrator. Both appear to share some unique interest, which might explain why they are often seen together during unofficial get-togethers."

"Yup," Ya'Han said as her head and shoulders dropped. "I have the unsettling feeling I know where this is heading."

Adriana smiled. "They are known for frequenting exotic establishments where women from RISA, PACIFICA, and even ORION can be found. Of course, they do this under the cover of aliases, making sure that the general public is unaware of who they are for obvious security reasons, but this could give us a golden opportunity to get all of the biometrics we require for our mission."

"And by *we*, you mean *me*," the Sec/Tac noted, her hair now as black as night.

"Well, I am sure that putting Jayson in a dress is not going to cut it," Sonja quipped. "Let's face it Ya'Han, you are once again the victim of your heritage. At least this time, you might get some fun at out it."

"HEY!" Jayson snapped.

"The next get-together is scheduled to be in two days, so we have time to work out the details and get all of the equipment we will need ready," Adriana said, noticing several amused expressions on the faces of those sitting around the conference table.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi
 
Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor & Junior Ambassador
USS ANUBIS

and

Hanali Han
 
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M18-038: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: 35275.1230 ("Personal Issues")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Personal Issues"
[previous post were (ANU) "Time For Something Different" / (BAS) "Small Helpers"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 35275.1230

Seeing the Sec/Tac in her quarters at this time of the day was the one and only hint people needed to understand that something was wrong. It was clear to everyone as Ya'Han left the conference room that something was bothering her, and for obvious reasons, only Jayson followed the troubled black-haired Nylaan as she stormed out.

"I am probably going to regret asking this, but what's wrong?"

"Nothing... everything," Ya'Han replied, her voice far more emotional than Jayson could ever remember hearing from her as she walked up to the food replicator. "Hupyrian cream tea, hot, with extra Andorian chocolate sprinkles."

"Woah! This is worse than I thought. Do I need me to get Adriana or maybe even Sonja?" It was now clear to him that this was a situation that required extreme measures. As much as the two of them were close, he also understood that there were certain things that Ya'Han was not ready to talk to him about, and he accepted that.

"Neither one of them can help," Ya'Han said while making her way to the couch. "It's just me... and my personal history."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
FLASHBACK
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Setting: NYLA IV, Imperial Palace, Banquet Hall
Stardate: 19294.1 (Age of 12)

Tonight would be the ultimate test. She had relentlessly practiced for the last 100 days to fine tune her every move and make her father proud. The banquet had been meant to welcome some new and important trade partners and she, as the youngest daughters, had been tasked with the evening's entertainment. As much as Ya'Han understood the reasons her father had given for having selected his least experienced daughter for this task, she knew that it had also been for her to display skills and potential to would-be business partners.

The large raised square platform stood in the middle of the room, allowing the performer to be easily seen by everyone sitting at the surrounding tables. Bright lights shun on the stage making it nearly impossible for the performer to see her audience, but that mattered not. Her sole reason for being there was to entertain, and that was what she would do to the very best of her skills, agility and endurance.

A hush filled the room as the music started and her body began to sway, following the rhythm to perfection. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours of practice had made the moves seem perfectly natural even when her legs or arms seem to stretch beyond the normal range of Nylaan physical limits.  As the music gradually increased in beat, so did her movements which told a story of unimaginable sensuality and abandonment.

Ya'Han had even been forced to hold back her smile when she heard some of the whispered words of admiration. Her ability to maintain her composure was further tested when she heard one of the chairs falling backwards immediately following a sultry sequences of sensual sways of her hips. The youngest daughter of the High Sovereign had hoped that the complex choreography that she had specifically practice for this occasion would enlisting a reaction very much like the one she had suspected had just happened.

For the next hour or so, all eyes were solely on her, making the entertainer swell with silent and unseen pride as she continued to push the limits of her body for the enjoyment of those surrounding her. When the music finally ended, and she struck the final pose, Ya'Han rejoiced at the sound of applauds that filled the large banquet hall.  For her sisters, what came next would have been a source of even greater pride as the guests and reason for this performance began to call out numbers. From a few hundreds the number reached several thousands making Ya'Han realize that they had been calling out amounts, their bid to claim her as theirs.  No one had mentioned that this would happen leaving the green-haired entertainer to wonder if this auction had been for the night or for her life.
*SOLD!* was the last thing she remembered hearing her father say before behind escorted out of the banquet hall to the cheers of the gathered guests.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: NYLA IV, Imperial Palace
Stardate: 20235.1 (Age of 13)

THE ENGAGEMENT TO DAIMON ARDAX IS ANNOUNCED, 78 DAYS BEFORE YA'HAN'S 14TH BIRTHDAY.

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Setting: NYLA IV, Imperial Palace
Stardate: 20238.1 (Age of 13)

75 DAYS BEFORE YA'HAN'S 14TH BIRTHDAY.

Since long before the official announcement of her marriage to Daimon Ardax, the youngest daughter of the High Sovereign had spent all of her waking hours training harder than she had ever done before for the duties that would soon be required in her new role as Ambassador to her father and people, and a devoted wife to her new husband. Part of this new training included techniques for her to use only with her mate, to ensure that she would maintain her place is his favorite and through that secure whatever trade agreement her father and husband had reached. Displaying her green hair would now be reserved for his enjoyment alone unless he wished otherwise. Ya’Han would be his to do with as he wished, her only task being to please him in whatever ways he asked of her.

Following another exhaustingly rigorous day of training, Ya’Han found herself sitting in her room in front of her mirror, looking at her long emerald-green hair as it cascaded over her shoulders. Despite the aching of her muscles, the youngest daughter brushed her hair knowing that it was one of her most valuable assets. Her ability to change the color of her hair meant that she had worked long and hard in each of the corresponding fields to earn the right to publicly display it. Some of the colors, such as the white of Medical and blue of Science, were badges of honor that she rarely got the opportunity to display. The red linked to the Warriors was a color she despised as it reminded her of the never-ending pain she endured during her efforts to ear the right to display that color. Of all the colors, it was the green of the Entertainer that she cherished and enjoyed the most, at least that was true until now. There was a time when that color meant she would be an object of desired, a woman that all other women would want to be, but now she had grown to see the sae green hair as an inescapable set of chains that would bind her for the rest of her life to the whims and desires of a single man, a man that despite all she had been told she could not bring herself to love.

How could the one thing that had brought her so much joy over the years turn so sour, making it almost impossible for her to breathe? In 75 days she would turn 14 and on that day she would take the Ferengi Daimon as her husband, to cherish, to please, to obey in every way he wished until her last breath, something she suddenly found herself hoping would come much earlier than she could ever have hoped it would.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
END of the FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Jayson just stood there, his mouth open in shock as he desperately tried to make sence of the revelation made by Ya'Han.

"How... I mean... but you I have seen you with your green hair, we all have."

"Yes," Ya'Han said as a few tears slide over her cheeks to end on her trembling smile. "When I dance, it comes out because I am happy. I have also allowed you to see me like that because I love you. I vowed to never alow myself to be used the way my father did then, but it now looks like I will have little choice in the matter if we are to succeed in our mission. I just do not know if I can do it."

All of this proved to be too much for Jayson to process in such a short period of time, so he contnued to stand there, frozen in place as he tried to figure out what to do next and how to deal with not only what she had told him but what it all meant to them... to him.

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

Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501

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