Haumea Colony

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Posted on Wed Apr 10th, 2024 @ 2:04pm by Lieutenant Gunnar Arnason & Caithlin t'Leiya

2,213 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: Crossed Wires
Location: t'Leiya Residence
Timeline: MD 01: Late evening

A stack of PADDs and other reference material sat on the table to one side of Caithlin, opposite a glass that was this time filled not with ale, but tea. With a sigh, she set down the sketch she'd made of the creatures that had taken Sofia earlier; she had been searching for a match in Federation archives and other available information for hours long into the night, but there was none. A sound from behind from the stairs had her whirling around out of old habit meeting new threats, but there was none of that either at the moment it seemed.

"This is rather late, for your species to be awake generally, is it not?" One eyebrow tilted up on Caithlin's face at Gunnar's appearance on the main level; humans tended to require rather more sleep than vulcanoids did, and to the best of her knowledge he'd gone to bed hours ago.

"For may of us, yes, but since I'm staying here now, you might as know..." he dropped into a chair at the table. "...I often don't sleep well, and I've learned it's better to just get up rather than lay there trying to sleep." He looked at the stack of PaDDs; something to occupy his mind, get it off the runaway-train of nightmare scenarios that had prevented sleep, would be welcome. "Anything I can help with?"

"Ah." There was a split-second pause, as Caithlin weighed the appropriate amount of disclosure, if any, here. "I do not either, often. Though in this case it is also planned; in two hours Tal and I will trade watch for the remainder of the night." She answered the question, for its part, by sliding the PADD with the sketch she'd done on it to him. "Does this look like anything you have ever seen or heard of?"

Huh. Given all the other security measures, he hadn't considered that they'd have a watch schedule, but realized now that he'd probably should have. "I should have asked when I moved in. If you want me to take a shift, it's not as though I've never taken watches in Starfleet," he offered as took the PADD and examined the sketch. "This doesn't look like anything I've seen before. Why are you looking for it?"

The eyebrow quirked back up again, somewhat surprised: So. He likely hadn't heard, then. She reached over for the bottle of ale that she was avoiding for herself at the moment, and poured him a human-sized glass.

"Late this morning, Commander Nikedoros and I were heading to my office in town when we were stopped here - " Caithlin grabbed another mock-up, this one a map of town and its outskirts, various spots marked earlier, and slid that to Gunnar as well to rest near the glass and the sketch " - by a creature that looked much like that. It blended in very well, until it revealed itself when startled by a townsperson and their dog. At that point she attempted to speak to it; but nothing it said was understandable. In fairly short succession, a second creature appeared, and just as the translator began to parse their words, they advanced on her." Only someone who knew her very well could have caught the regret in Caithlin's voice with her next words, and perhaps a touch of self-recrimination or guilt at failing to prevent what had occurred, or allowing the potentially fatal distance to have occurred during the incident. "I attempted to intervene, but there was too much distance between us. They vanished with her before I could."

His first thought at the ale poured for him was 'I guess that's a no on taking a watch', but as her explanation unfolded, he realized it had been an act of mercy. He didn't immediately take the drink, however, frozen momentarily in shock. "Sofia was abducted..." He had halfway suspected; it was a large factor in his inability to sleep. "...by unknown aliens..."

He shook his head and took a swallow of the ale. "I'm not sure whether to be relieved or not. At the end of day someone had approached me because Sofia hadn't shown up to two appointments." That wasn't like her, especially with no message left for her patients. "When she didn't respond to comms, I used medical access to check her quarters, but there was no sign of struggle or blood, like when the Captain was taken. Not that that would mean..." He stopped, realizing there was news she didn't know yet, and blew out a breath, running a hand over his face. He hated to say it, knowing the impact it would have, but withholding the information would be worse. "We found evidence the Captain's disappearance is tied to an interdimensional crossover."

Now it was Caithlin's turn to be stunned into silence for a moment: There was trouble enough in this world without adding others to the mix, and though her understanding of them was extremely limited relative to a scientist's, she knew some such anomalies could fluctuate in size or scope, making it - depending on what 'it' was - potentially indeed an unpredictable threat to anyone else. Worse, a threat she had no way to defend against, and her chest tightened, feeling an echo of how she had felt the last months before the fall of Empire: Trapped; with threats multiplying she could not counter, and allies dwindling one by one. "Is anything known more as to the nature of it?" She finally choked out; though again one would have had to know her rather well to note the effort to make the words level.

Gunnar did know her well and his heart went out to her, especially as he had been feeling very similar distress at the news. But he knew better than to show that he'd noticed - that would likely distress her more. "I'm afraid the fact that some crossover occurred is as much as we know." He picked up the PADD again, studying the sketch with a frown. "I wish I knew if this was an alien from our universe or another. Is there any chance someone recovered trace DNA?"

"As yet also unknown. Samples of the areas they had been to were taken, but if there are traces, they are small and will undoubtedly take time for further analysis to tease them out. For what it is worth, to me the effect in which they vanished looked a good deal like a transporter." Caithlin paused and her head shook slightly in distaste, because while this made it perhaps more likely weighted towards 'from ours', it did not answer the question with any certainty: There could potentially be, her grandmother had been fond of telling her as a child, as many complications or intersecting issues in any given situation as one could imagine. "Not that such necessarily eliminates the crossover possibility entirely; as something could have potentially intersected that also had such technology."

Gunnar nodded. "As I recalled, there were reports of a multidimensional transporter device going back to the Dominion War era. So one doesn't necessarily preclude the other." He sighed, eyeing the tree-like alien. "There's also an unknown ship that entered the system and hasn't responded to hails. But I've heard it seems old, perhaps very old, and lightly armed," he added quickly, to head off both causing further worry and a suggestion of defensive-via-offensive action. "I'd think if they needed some other way to make contact and could beam down, they would have presented themselves and tried to work out how to communicate." Though he realized that was based on what Starfleet would do. How these aliens might view things was an unknown, as were their intentions. Had they grabbed Sofia to learn more about us? If so, he fervently hoped that would mean cultural exchange and not vivisection. Or perhaps realizing their vulnerability, they'd taken her as a hostage? A literal human shield? If it was them at all, of course, and not whomever had grabbed Luka. "I'll contact security." Again - he'd already reported Sofia missing, but missing a few hours had apparently not merited more than to file a report. "If there's trace DNA, cross-checked against the unknown species blood found in Luka's quarters might answer some questions."

"By all means, remind someone to crosscheck. But I already called in the incident to command ops immediately afterwards; after which they sent a team to investigate the area." Caithlin shrugged her eyebrows and sighed. "As to an alien ship; I would not assume they would have done anything of the sort. Perhaps they wish to learn about us, and how to communicate with us, through the controlled environment of one of us with many of them, rather than the reverse in numbers, before risking themselves. And comparisons of overall technology levels are...tricky. A society can be rather lower ranked in several areas of such, and advanced in still others, or vice versa. Federation medical technology, for example, tended to outclass that in the Empire; though many other areas it was the reverse. So this could well be their initial plan; but if we think she is perhaps on such a ship, I would hope there are plans in place to approach or surveil it?"

She was right in with respect to technology levels, although from what he'd been told the level of technological disparity made it unlikely they'd carry anything that could be of real threat here. The place where her observation truly hit him was in how the aliens might think about taking someone rather than making broader contact - how had he reached the point where she was the one arguing that that might be a perfectly peaceful approach from their point of view? He hung his head and took another drink. "You're right. If they took her, it might simply be a case of caution; and a cultural misunderstanding about how the act could be perceived. I suppose we'll know soon enough - I'd volunteered to be medical support for a shuttle going to investigate the ship."

"Good." She eyed the glass he had, reconsidering a few things in that light. "In that case, no more than one more sip of that before you dump it, preferably." One could almost imagine -albeit perhaps with more of an 'edge' and less human-style politeness when there had only been other Romulans around - this sort of conversation in general -strategizing next steps, and the steps that would best enable them in turn - from the years between the nova and the fall of the Empire when Caithlin had been head of house in earnest; or as a participant in such talks long before that, with her grandmother or her father. "Whether you sleep or not before then is not in our control; whether you are also hungover or not is."

"That is already under my control," he chuckled, patting the medkit at his hip. But all the same, he pushed the glass back toward her to discard. Numbing the hyperaware state that often came with triggering events like these was tempting, but he knew sleep was a secondary concern. He knew well enough that when he started feeling like he needed a drink, that was the time not to have one. Noting that she was drinking tea, he imagined that she was following that as well. And also probably trying to stay sharp for the sake of vigilance. "But a clear head is probably best now. If you don't mind, I may take a jog around the property line."

"By all means. I don't suppose I can convince you to take this?" Caithlin's hand fished under the table, and came out holding a weapon: A Federation phaser, this time, not a disruptor; a weapon that included a 'stun' setting, which she hoped he'd have less hesitation to use than his truly bizarre aversion to lethal strikes.

He looked at the phaser, looked at her. It wasn't as though he couldn't access a phaser if he felt he needed it, and another time he might have said something to that effect and declined. But, though undoubtedly well concealed to any who didn't know her well, he could see the signs of stress, and guess the existence of more that he couldn't see. While he imagined he was of small concern compared to actual family family in the household, there was no reason to cause worry. (He could after all, set the phaser to stun, lock it, and put it in a pocket and forget it). "Thank you. I'll take something with a stun setting if you will easier about me going out."

"That and - " one eyebrow rose again for a moment " - there is little point in making a circuit of the grounds if one cannot defend against anything that might be found attempting to breach them. Even if it is nothing more than those infuriating little infrastructure-eating pests."

"I won't need a phaser for one of those," he laughed as he got up. "If a Daucin gets in, I'll just toss it back out," he said and mimed making a basketball 3-point shot, before heading out.


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