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Topic: Prologue: Palais de la Concorde (Read 326 times) previous topic - next topic

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Prologue: Palais de la Concorde


STARDATE: 57649.11
APRIL 16, 2381
0947 HRS.

>> Click for Full Resolution

[ Ambassador Elim Garak | Presidential Transport al-Rashid | Departing the USS Venture NCC-71854 ]
While Elim Garak knew perfectly well why he had been asked to accompany the President's staff on the voyage to Koa - witnessing their ceremony of entry into the United Federation of Planets as a Member State - he had been quite relieved when the USS Venture dropped out of warp in the Sol System. His current residence was on Earth, and he looked at the sprawling structures through the small viewport of the shuttle with a small smile. He found himself admiring the interplay of old cultural buildings and the more evolved city centre, and while it wasn't the still-rebuilding Cardassia Prime, he had begun to think of it as a home away from home. For all the relief he felt, the irony of that feeling didn't escape him either.

In fact, the reason for the President's personal request hadn't anything to do with the Koas, this peculiar species resembling spiders with tentacles on their head, but the development in Cardassia. For like Elim had come to adopt Earth as a home, their widely loved leader - Castellan Alon Ghemor - had been assassinated in 2379 because he showed himself too affiliated with the Federation in his efforts to stabilise the Union. The period after the assassination had been dark indeed, for the Union and for Elim personally. Not just because of personal events following the tragedy, but Garak had known Alon since young years - still thinking of him as Five Lubak - and he missed his old friend. Ghemor had been succeeded by several short-lived administrations before Rakena Garan had been elected Castellan the same year.

Thus, since Elim had actively opposed anti-Federation groups before Garan had been elected, President Bacco had read too much into his actions, and clearly sought to use him as a mouthpiece when he returned to Cardassia. Of course Bacco wanted Garan's ear, yet he wasn't convinced outside involvement was something the Union needed. At least not yet. He wasn't sure why he'd even agreed to the President's request beyond mere propriety, and it had resulted in the loss of four months, all spent on the Venture or the worlds the President briefly visited. He'd considered departing from the Galaxy-class ship on a shuttle of his own many times, but the dire fallout of the summit between the Federation, Klingon, and Romulan leaders prior to the voyage to Koa had made him decide to stay within the President's inner circle.

For at that particular summit, the Romulan Praetor Tal'Aura had revealed to her counterparts that Romulan Commander Donatra had assembled a fleet at Achernar Prime and was planning on declaring the existence of the Imperial Romulan State, with Donatra herself as Empress. President Bacco had not just initially refused Praetor Tal'Aura's request that the Federation would provide military aid in recapturing the Star Empire's planets, but even determined - eventually - that it was quite necessary to recognise the existence of the Imperial Romulan State in order to maintain solidarity with the Klingon Empire. Martok, of course, had recognised Donatra's government almost immediately, be it out of spite or not. So, naturally, Garak had stayed on the Venture because the old spy in him wanted to know what might happen next.

"Would you like anything, Ambassador?" a Benzite female in admirably tailored clothes asked Elim, which pulled him from the vista of Paris outside the viewport.

A transport to 78 Rue de Lille, if you wouldn't mind, he thought, even though he knew it would be rude to leave the presidential transport early. In fact, he wouldn't be allowed to, since there were several security requirements inherent in transporting the President. He merely gave the woman a pleasant smile and a shake of his head, and looked towards Bacco and her closest staff, gathered just ten meters away from him.

After Captain Henderson of the Venture had seen them off in the shuttle bay, the President had stepped on one of the three presidential transports; the T'Maran, the sh'Rothress, and the al-Rashid (the third being the case this time), and Garak had ended up on the shuttle that carried Bacco herself. While a bit simplistic in Garak's taste, the routine was that when the president travelled within systems, at least two of the shuttles were always used, so that there would always be one decoy. The president's staff and bodyguards were evenly divided between the transports as well. All comm channels established - between the shuttles and planet-side outposts - were likely secure enough, and he supposed the three shuttles all approached the Palais de la Concorde from different directions. So what is this foreboding feeling I have?

Bacco caught him looking at her, and she made a small gesture with her hand, beckoning for him to approach the white desk she sat behind. Garak felt himself smile and rise to his feet, even though he suspected that the President would make one final attempt to win his ear on the matter of Castellan Garan. It was relatively benign as far as ambitions went, which had him doubt an earlier suspicion of his that Bacco wasn't who she claimed to be.

Indeed, a suspicion unfounded but born from that encrypted message he'd received aboard the Venture, sent by an old acquaintance of his in Starfleet Intelligence. A Trill by the name Rez, who seemed to think that a Captain and crew that had hijacked the fleet's latest achievement in starship engineering wasn't the defectors they were made out to be. Rez believed there was merit to the encrypted claim that Starfleet Command had been undermined by a new alien species, much like the Dominion had replaced figures of leadership in the war. If that was the case - which he had no means to investigate much less spread about carelessly - what did that entail now that he was back on Earth? All he knew was that someone who wasn't open about his or her identity, but clearly worked in Starfleet Intelligence, had since then asked to meet him in person once he returned to Paris. As it were, Garak had yet to decide what he believed, and if he did believe the intel from Rez, why would he risk his life meeting an enigma from Starfleet Intelligence? Clearly, as he recalled his time in the Obsidian Order, if someone knew something they shouldn't - like in having received an encrypted message - then they could safely assume they had become a target as well.

Perhaps I should have left for Cardassia instead, he thought bitterly, feeling his age, and let the others that Rez contacted get Bacco's house back in order. More importantly, I could advise Garan to stay away from Federation involvement for quite some time.

"Ambassador," the President said pleasantly enough when Garak had smoothed his coat and clasped his hands behind his back, "have you given our last conversation some thought?"

So much for pleasantries. The others seated at the desk didn't even look up from their computer consoles. He got a quick glance from M'Tesint - a Caitian woman that worked as Bacco's press liaison - but Ashanté Phiri - a short, dark-skinned Human woman who wore her hair in waist-length braids - wouldn't be bothered. Then again, she was the Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff, and likely had her work cut out for her upon the President's return to Earth.

"I have, Madam President," said Garak and sighed even if his smile remained. "Regrettably, I am afraid that while I will certainly forward any message for the Castellan, I dare say I cannot be other than honest when it comes the needs of Cardassia. Currently, the risk..."

He drifted off, as a reverberation was felt through the hull of the large shuttle.

Deep down, Garak knew what it had been. It was that kind of knowledge that stayed with you, having felt it before. Nonetheless, when the actual sound of the atmospheric shockwave hit the presidential transport a second later, tearing it's way inside, most of him was left in disbelief. Eyes wide, he looked through the viewport behind President Bacco, and at what looked like a sandstorm spreading outwards through the city. At the epicentre of the detonation, the tall structure of the Palais de la Concorde was toppling over, looking like it had been made out of cards.

A cacophony of raised voices hit him next, shouts from different directions in the transport. Chirps of incoming communication. What didn't happen was the shuttle changing course, and the trajectory was still towards the spreading cloud that rolled across Paris. In retrospect, Garak wasn't sure what had made him raise his own voice. There might have been something in the accelerated state of the dust, how it didn't rhyme with an ordinary detonation. Perhaps it had been the odd colour of the cloud. In either case, he surprised himself at how loudly he screamed in the direction of the helm. "Turn around! Stay away from it!"

In the chaos that had seized them all, Garak saw Ashanté Phiri having raised communications with the sh'Rothress. It was Fred MacDougan, Bacco's communications director, who was on that transport. It had launched ahead of the al-Rashid. Phiri began to scream as she saw the shaking man on the screen disintegrate into ash before her, and it was the kind of scream that came from someone who held the affected dear. Bacco saw it too, and raised her voice to take command over the situation. "Initiate emergency evacuation of the city! Raise all planetary transporters available to the task! Helm, take us back to the Venture!"

And so it went on, thinly veiled panic permeating the air, pierced by the sobs of Phiri. Shaken, Garak stood there and looked out the viewport while Paris grew smaller, even as the city was eaten up by the cloud. He was seeing millions of people die, how the very heart of the Federation had been skewered. Yet all he could think of was that encrypted message, and how there wouldn't have been any challenge for Starfleet Command to execute the attack he'd just witnessed. He also considered the greater machinations at play... and who might take responsibility for it.

This act that might incite a new war.

>> Click For Full Resolution

OOC: This is the placeholder for the prologue of this new Episode, which is set on Day 37 by Aldea Prime Anthology counting. It's now open to post Supplemental threads for this Prologue post, where you can post one-on-one with other writers in your own IC scenes on this dreadful morning. The limitation of the IC time-span for these Supplemental threads will span from 1000 hrs. to 1100 hrs. on the same day as the attack in Paris (now being designated Day 01 in Season 2, and not to be confused with Day 01 in the Aldea Prime Anthology). The Senior Staff meeting will be held at 1100 hrs. The naming convention for these one-on-one Supplemental threads that belonging to Prologue is: PRO: S [D01|YYYY] Insert Title (YYYY marking the time in the morning).

Of course, anyone can post in reply to this starter as well (perhaps a solo post?), but either via Supplemental thread of not, you should illustrate what your characters were doing at Aldea at the time of the attack. You are all welcome to start incorporating how "something" seem to have happened on Earth, but it's too early to tell what it is. Something about Paris, and then its conflicting hearsay. This ought to come from Aldean and Klingon sources, but with the backdoor made into the Federation database by Director Anderson in Starfleet Intelligence, some FNN media should gradually become accessible aboard the Theurgy as well. A common theme would be the mentioning of a suspected thalaron bomb, and how there is not a living soul left in Paris. Either evacuated, or disintegrated, the place is completely desolate.

Also, at the epicentre was the Palais de la Concorde, and the thalaron radiation would have been carried outwards by a detonation that made the entire building collapse on itself. This method of deployment was different than the kind Tal'aura used in Nemesis, where a cascading biogenic pulse carried the radiation to a safely calculated distance (the insides of the Romulan Senate Chamber).

Next post from me will be a starter for Chapter 01, where Captain Ives adjourn a Senior Staff meeting that doesn't only detail the aftermath of the bomb in Paris (with a news update from Director Anderson), but how Martok's new political opponent has revealed the location of the Theurgy publicly. Subsequently, they've become compromised and need to leave the Epsilon Mynos System. Ives' orders will be dealt, and the story will be set off in multiple trajectories with the Chapter 01 starter. We'll hit the floor running, so to speak, and an opening for more Supplemental threads will be made then.

Paris imagery are concept art by Paul Chadeisson.  This french artist created these amazing images for the video game Remember Me, previously known as Adrift. 
  • Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 12:04:13 PM by Auctor Lucan

Re: Prologue: Palais de la Concorde
Reply #1
[Selena Ravenholm | Bridge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy]

Yet another busy but routine morning at the communications console faced Selena today.  People all over the ship constantly needed connections to the Aldean data net, comm net, shipyard links of all kinds, and since no one could know that they were here it was up to the cyborg specialist to make sure those messages couldn't be traced back to them.  It was a wonderful challenge.  Underneath the idle noise around the Bridge Selena shifted from one end of the console to another in a pattern that made no sense.  One moment she opened a secure channel between security and the station constulabtory (something about a disturbance outside of a brothel), the next a database request from Stellar Cartography induced a chair swivel to the other half of the console.

In the background of all this official chatter Selena had her usual news feeds running.  Her earpiece rotated through several Aldean channels that covered interstellar topics while several macros browsed through the written articles looking for anything about the Federation and several other categories she wanted to keep up on.  In a remarkable stroke of luck it turned out that one enterprising Aldean was mirroring FNN of all things.  At the moment the central station was going on about some trade dispute between the Zaldans and the Betazoids ("Snore..." she muttered to no one) so into the background it went.

A little while later something about the broadcast caught the specialist's attention: it was suddenly silent.  That was a bit curious, FNN never went dark for anything, she should know, she worked for them.  "Maybe the mirror just lost connection?" she wondered to herself, but something felt off about this.  Setting the main comms to automatic (she had a preprogrammed priority list set in case she had to step away so few ever noticed), Selena started looking up the local mirror but FNN came back just a few seconds into it.  "Ah...sorry for the interruption everyone," Selena recognized the new voice, it was one of the daytime anchors for the San Fransisco office, "it appears that the Paris office is having some sort of technical difficulty.  It will be patched up quickly and we'll be back to our regular programming shortly...." The anchor went silent for a moment, some whispers could be heard.  "Ok, I'm now being told that all communications with Paris have been cut off for an unknown reason.  Our technicians and many others from multiple agencies are already working on it...." Selena tuned out the feed then, her mechanical fingers were already calling up a number of new comm lines and search bots.

"Thea, take over on Comms for me, and send a message to the Captain and Ducote.  Something's going on on Earth..."

  • Nero
  • [*][*][*]
Re: Prologue: Palais de la Concorde
Reply #2
[Lt. JG Logan Hale, callsign "Wraith" | City Outskirts | Aldea Prime] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
It was a particular fresh morning. Clouds were hanging deep in sorrow and rain poured down in the distance. At some points shiny rays of light perforated the thick cloud carpet and illuminated the shadowy places which Logan passed while running. He could have stayed onboard and do his morning workout in one of the gyms, but he preferred fresh air for his runs. So he and some crewmen, who he met while on his way to the Transporter Room, beamed down to Aldea regularly. It was quite nice to have this collective gatherings. He learned something about the daily life on the Theurgy and shared some jokes with the young men and women. Some of them where utterly interested into flying a fighter, especially into his Valravn. Since Zeke retired from being his RIO some of them offered to be his replacement. But the backseat was already taken. Taken by a Vulcan he barely knew. Alith was a typical representant of her race. She was quiet and polite. More stiff than polite. She was arrogant as every Vulcan he met. But she was a skilled and experienced pilot. Logan won't admit to anyone, but her logical view on the situations they came along, since they flew together was a nice addition to his mostly instinctual flying skills.

Logan was surpassed by two of the younger crewmen and the fighter pilot was a bit baffled. Fuck. He thought and activated his reserves. One step ahead in the blink of an eye. He took back the lead and showed the way into a busy market. They had to pass serval pedestrians and to avoid running into a anti grav truck. Clearly, on the ground Logan seemed lost.

A small screen caught his attention. The vendor had a monitor with an Aldean News broadcasting all day. Logan stopped a few meters after and went back to the store. All eyes were fixed on the screen. "Tune up the volume.", he said and lost his calm. What he saw and heard was horrific. "Recently all connections to Paris, Earth and capital of the United Federation of Planets were lost." said the news anchor, an aldean Woman. "Speculations varied from an over sized blackout to a terroristic attack on Paris." Logan had to swallow hardly. His throat was so sore it was painful. "Confirmation is pending. We will update you every hour. Please stand by." The picture changed to another news host and both were discussing on what could possibly been happen to Paris. Both were somewhat concerned with the fate of the home world of mankind and the capital to the UFP.

Logan's eyes wandered to his fellow crewmates. Some of them, he saw, where shaking. "Okay guys." He said after he caught a deep breath and won back his calm. "We need to get back to our beam-out area." "Did someone bombed Earth?" he heard one of the Crewmen asking. "Don't know. Hope not. We have to get back to the ship." He brushed the hair out of her face. Strange. He thought. She looked cute. Logan slapped himself in his mind for thoughts like that in a situation like this. He put his hands on her shoulders and looked deeply in her wet, beautiful eyes. "Listen, Sophie. We need to keep calm down. We don't know shit yet. Let's go back to the ship and wait for new intel. Whatever we can do, here we can't help anyone at the moment. You understand?" She nodded once while she cleaned her nose and sounded a bit whiny. Logan knew how she must have felt. He felt lost, too. His Parents lived on Earth and if Earth were under attack, he could only do one thing to help them, and that was to concentrate on the mission. Logan and the others went back to the transport coordinates. The rain reached the outskirts of the city and showered the market.

  • DaValle
  • [*][*][*]
  • Lord Potato
Re: Prologue: Palais de la Concorde
Reply #3
[PO2 T'Kolla | Deck 6 | Upper Gymnasium | Vector 1 | USS Theurgy]

He was aboard the Theurgy for almost thirty days now, definitely long enough for him to handle the necessary points. He knew that he was probably not the kindest superior among the engineering staff, but, despite some complains from the Trill Assistant Chief, there was thus far no real other. The most of his team were probably still not sure how he would react if they mess something up and some may even heard about his species in the famous reports of the Voyager. He was surly not like them, at least not any longer, but nonetheless he wouldn't deny such rumours if they kept his team on this level.

And still he hadn't yet found the one thing he really needed to be happy. A fighting partner or to be more exactly a sword fighter that didn't shy to train with real weapons and the intention to fight without any security measures. Not that the Starfleet rules would allow such practise fights in first place, but why should someone show all of his or her skill if the person knew that they didn't feel the pain of the others blade when it cut through their flesh. But till either the Starfleet would change their laws or he would find a partner and an empty cargo bay he was supposed to vent his spleen on the sandbags of the gymnasium. It wasn't the same as fighting against someone living that was going to react on your moves and tried to defeat you as much as you did him. No, hitting the hanging bags awoke memories he tried to forget long ago.

By every hit he gave the bag he saw the faces and the expressions on them.

'They're the enemy' they said.

He landed a good placed right punch followed by two fast ones on the left side, but the last thing he cared about right now were combos or techniques.

'They've deserved this' they said.

A flurry of six blows let the bag wiggled around, chained at the decks, unable to parry nor to protect itself.

'It's for the great Imperium' they said.

Wordless the Devore opened his mouth and with face taut by anger he swirled around and kicked his right foot against the bag with all of his power.

That they started to beg you to stop, their screams or simply their looks was something they didn't mentioned.

Taa'gur caught his breath again and picked up the towel laying behind the bag. While he wiped the sweat from his neck and arms he stopped the bag that was still wiggling. After that he started to loose the bindings around his hands, but while he took care of his left hand the display at the wall that showed some Federation (or whatever) News suddenly turned dark. Not the normal kind of interference the newscaster simply stopped talking and obviously they received now some information that were more important than, well whatever they've reported before. Taa'gur hasn't really paid much attention earlier so he couldn't say.

After some moments the newscaster started to talk again. About an incident at Paris, somehow all communications from there got cut off. The newscaster still meant that this could have happened through some sort of technical accident or whatsoever. For Taa'gur this type of news was unfortunately not the first of its kind and this kind of downplaying explanation wasn't even good. Who would actually believe that some kind of technical issue could shut down all kind of communications from a place like the Earth, especially the political center Paris. The Imperium had at least the intelligence of coming up with some sort of explain that made slightly more sense. But nonetheless what happened at Paris it was probably just the beginning and for T'Kolla it meant that his wish of finding a sparing partner could probably become the least of his problems. Now he has to make sure that this new weapon schematics gonna work as he has promised it when he had arrived.
[Lt. Kaylon Jeen]

[PO2 T'Kolla]

Re: Prologue: Palais de la Concorde
Reply #4
[ CWO1 Larrant | Specialized Quarters | Deck 15 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy]

Larrant focused on articulating the movements of his holographic body. It required focus which he had plenty of and time to master which he didn't. Since arriving on Theurgy nine days ago he had to reschedule his duty assignments until he could fully control the prototype environmental manipulation unit. The unit he was familiar with had been damaged beyond repair in the journey to Aldea, its remains resting in storage in one of Theurgy's cargo bays in case it could be repaired in the future or salvaged for parts. The prototype mark three-unit still had glitches that needed to be resolved and Captain Ives had ordered Larrant confined to quarters until they were. He or she (Larrant was confused enough at genders but Ives presented a whole new quandary to solid biology) did not want to risk the crew being exposed to the maddening visage of Larrant should the unit's containment fail.

Larrant continued to focus on the holographic arm and hand of his avatar willing it to point at the door panel in front of him. It was easy enough to move in broad general strokes. The arm extended in what the Terrans referred to as a handshake, but the finer motor details such as wiggling a finger was difficult. It had been nearly an hour of work as Larrant had carefully attempted to enter the code that would alter the lighting in his quarters. He had tried to use the Theurgy's advanced computer AI but found that it would not recognize the synthesized voice generated by the Mental Image Communicator in his unit. With a little more focus, Larrant was able to direct a digit to press the next button in the sequence that enhanced the illumination of his quarters.

As he turned around to view his surroundings his inner core fluctuated. It was so disturbing that the hologram surrounding his pod became static and vanished. The containment pod holding Larrant dropped a meter toward the floor as the power operating its antigravs flickered. Larrant ran a diagnostic and everything came back green but something had affected him.

[Ambassador Axamil and Ambassador Kelles | Xoxian Councilor's Office | 11th Floor | Palais de la Concorde]

The Xoxian Ambassador sat at her desk facing the oblong metal pod hovering opposite her. Like so many Xoxians Axamil she communicated exclusively by telepathy, and as such had no natural ears, eyes, or vocal cords. It had been a challenge for her to make it this far in her career. Following the aftermath of the 2373 Meme Virus that ravaged Xox many of her people had died. Her predecessor had even taken his life. It was only recently that the Xoxians had recovered from that disaster and reentered Federation politics.

"Ambassador Kelles, I am so delighted that you could meet with me." She communicated telepathically with the Medusan ambassador across from her.

"The concept of delight is foreign to my species but I accept your comment as respectful."

"It is. I called you here to discuss the upcoming Telepath Conference. As you know it is an important event to discuss policies and technology developments regarding telepathic and empathic races within the Federation. The Medusans and Cairn have both benefited from the last Conference's work on the Mental Image Communicator. We are now looking to see if the technology can be used by Xoxians."

"That would be an advantageous outcome. I......" Kelles' response was interrupted by a powerful quake from somewhere below. Then the whole room buckled and was enveloped into oblivion. The Medusan ambassador could not detect the Xoxian's presence, not even psionically, their telepathic link severed by the explosion. His antigravs had protected him from the bulk of the explosion, however, Ambassador Axamil was not.

The shockwave that swept through the building had blown her out her office window and sent her falling toward the ground. Kelles' containment pod sensors picked up her life signs and the Medusan propelled himself out of the compromised building in an attempt to rescue the Xoxian ambassador. He extended his manipulator arms as he plummeted toward the ground.  The mandibles snapping repeatedly within inches of rescuing her. Kelles' effort was in vain as the Axamil's body impacted with the ground. His own life endangered as his pod followed. With a cracked containment pod, the Medusan would be a danger to any rescue effort but he would not leave the Xoxian's body.

Then the Palais fell on them and the Medusan sent a telepathic scream through subspace detectable only by a few in-synch minds..

[ CWO1 Larrant | Specialized Quarters | Deck 15 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy]

"AMBASSADOR KELLES?" Larrant's mental image communicator translated.
CPO Sithick [Show/Hide]
CWO1 Larrant [Show/Hide]

  • Sqweloookle
  • [*][*][*][*]
  • Master-At-Arms
Re: Prologue: Palais de la Concorde
Reply #5
[ Lieutenant JG Adam Kingston | Security Lounge | Deck 7/Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]

Adam sat at one of the tables with a box in front of him. It was the gift he got for Rhys.

"What you got there sir?" Ensign Colin McArthur asked as he gestured to the box as he sat down.

"Secret admirer sir?" Crewmen Petra Vansen said in a teasing voice as she sat opposite Colin.

Crewmen Cabrera sat next to Petra and had a stupid grin on his face.

"No, I am the admirer." Adam said and had no intention of giving anymore information.

The three gasp, mockingly. Petra smiled. "Oh?" She said and it sounded like she may know who Adam had the gift for.

Adam had to resist the powers of annoyance by those around him, he knew they could pester him to no end as everyone had to jump on any gossip. Especially Petra, the others not so much though Cabrera has been known to back up Petra. Does that mean he likes her? Adam wondered as he looked between the two but then focused on his gift.

Before any more discussion could happen the viewscreen activated and it was from a Klingon relay as it lacked the LCARS interface. It was of a News Service Presenter explaining a disaster in Paris and the images shown were of so much destruction. All of them watched in horror.
Lt. JG Adam Kingston, Master-At-Arms, (Vector 03 Security)