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Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Exiting the turbolift on Deck 25 aft, just beneath the lower flight deck’s shuttle maintenance bay, Samantha stepped into a dimly lit corridor, that did not quite possess the aesthetic refinements, that those on the upper decks did. The walls were lacking the shiny veneers, that hid all the easily accessible technology, tubes and junctions, relays and panels. The lighting was much dimmer, not adjusted to constant personnel traffic, but rather illuminating a lesser traveled part of the ship, with more modest vigor. There was also a certain eerie quiet to the place, even breaking through the omnipotent background hum, of the ship’s energy systems. So close to the hull, with space basically beneath her feet, the diplomat could almost hear the buzzing of worker bees zipping by, vigorously tending their last remaining tasks on the ship’s repairs. A subtle clank, echoing from somewhere far away, through the more or less open bowels of the vessel’s maintenance decks, as if someone had dropped a wrench, further forward at the ODN Relay Junctions or Power Regulators. The carpet, seemingly less stressed from daily abuse, was covered with a few stray boxes of utilities and supplies, building upon themselves along the walls.

The diplomat had sought out this remote refuge, in pursuit of an enigma, she intended to unravel. But where a treasure hunter would’ve poured over ancient charts and historical accounts, the commander had found hints and guidance in the man’s personnel file and ship’s log cross-references. The basic analogy, still qualified. Drauc T’Laus was a former mercenary, the type of people she liked the least. An entirely dishonest collection of characters from the same mold, that made a living in undermining official resolutions and conjunctions, to establish a subversive reality, that like an infection, necrotized the tissue of society from the inside. But that was not all, the Romulan was. Just like with anyone, that the diplomat was going to have some sort of negotiation with, even if it was just a friendly introduction, she dug deeper, to unearth the motivations and impulses, that had shaped the man he was now. The early separation from his parents, abuse by the Tal Shiar, escape to Federation space and subsequent enrollment in Starfleet, a seemingly mediocre career, that ended with the death of his brother, which was approximately the pinpoint where Drauc T’Laus, the reckless recluse, was born.

Which was something she could work with. There seemed very few people on Theurgy, that would’ve wanted to stick it to the Romulan Empire, more than him. For someone who didn’t have anything to lose, a personal motivation was hard to come by, yet redemption usually was an agenda, that permeated even the thickets of mental walls. She was also curious how his telepathic ability and her own partly Vulcan physiology would mesh, since he was subjected to procedures intended to mimic that species’ neural capabilities. And a situation just days earlier, when she had encountered Sarresh Morali in the ship’s baths, and that weird alien mind-connection they’d shared, had sparked her interest in the subject. One which she had never pursued time of her life, since only about ¼th of her genes were actually Vulcan. Which according to Starfleet medical, out-ruled directed, intentional telepathy. Maybe Drauc still held knowledge of the procedures done to him, maybe some of that could be applied to her own condition, heightening her own sense, so she could further explore the connection with the former Ash’reem and his enigmatic, temporally distorted, brain, that held so many answers.

Bu there was also the political angle of her interest. While they explored the potential of an alliance with the Klingons, it could not ever serve as the only plan they would have. As a diplomat, it was her duty to have something in the backhand, even just to sweeten the pot for the negotiations at hand. The Romulan Star Empire was undergoing an unprecedented level of subversion, right this moment. Pushed into warmongering by a possessed politician, which drew almost painful memories forth, of Martok’s replacement by a changeling in the prelude to the Dominion war, that almost drove them into a war with the Federation. Surely it was an irony, the now chancellor himself, could potentially appreciate. So, if there was any lead or chance to pursue, in order to disrupt the ongoing deception among the Romulan armed forces, then it was an avenue she was obligated to investigate. Not only by her duty, but her conviction to the ideals of the Federation as well. Even if, in the end, this plan would only serve as a mirage of superiority, being sold to the chancellor himself.

Taking a small turn, around the side of the turbolift shaft, Samantha came to a window, giving way into the compartment that held one of the aft landing gears. A behemoth, mechanical construct, designed to extend and hold the weight of the ship on a planet’s surface. Seemingly unused and in pristine condition, as it rested like a sleeping dragon, in the barely illuminated cave, it was confined to. Then, a small disturbance on the translucent pane, caused her blue orbs to refocus against the glass’ reflections, to determine a figure standing behind her, that almost made her heart jump out of her chest. Luckily, the diplomat was able to contain herself, before spinning around, yet her breaths were still stifled, as she slowly turned. She had searched five or six remote compartments before this one, always finding the same emptiness and isolation, that she assumed the Romulan sought out to spend a few quiet moments, away from the thoughts and emotions of the crew. The man himself, so readily identifiable, that verification of identity, really wasn’t an issue.

“I am Samantha Rutherford, I work with the diplomatic department.” the blonde thus introduced herself, a flat hand falling onto her heaving chest in reverence to herself; a superfluous gesture of societal mannerism. "At the regrettable potential of intruding upon your peace and quiet, I was hoping to have a word with you.” she smiled, drawing forth again the confidence and smoothness of the profession that her previous, wholesomely human reaction, had thoroughly belied.

Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #1
[ Drauc T'Laus | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust 
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Staring at the back of her head, Drauc T'Laus had been flexing his scarred fingers inside the threadbare sleeves of his robe.

He had been about to speak, thinking she already knew he was present, but her mind suggested that he'd startled her. Looking at her through the tresses of his hair without a word, he pondered how the distant overhead light cast both the towering landing gear and her in an ethereal beauty - one an achievement of construct and the other of biological breed. Rare were the times in which he noticed such distinctions, disconnected as he was to his own emotional realm. He had far more ease feeling through others, seeing through their eyes, than ever finding gratification for his own senses. As it were, the atmosphere was poignant, in how the light beyond the glass cast everything in a subtle glow, and there were merely the two of them present. Thea's colossal limb would be the backdrop for their conversation, one which had begun with omission.

"You seek more than a word from me," he rasped, utterly unmoving where he stood and stared at her, absorbing everything she gave him - offered in both word and thought, "Commander Rutherford."

He turned his head ever so slightly, as if looking at her out of the corner of his eye. He would have pried for her true intent, but he had no means to invade, merely allowing his thoughts to be permeated with hers - soaking up her feelings and being filled by her wishes. He was breathing slowly, and even if his presence could merely be seen by the physical fact of his body, his presence and grasp of the space around him stretched farther than the corridor they were in. His mind soared the adjacent turbolift shaft as well, yet he found solace in how there was naught below him. No minds to invade upon his own, merely space, and the ochre surface of Aldea.

Only hers.

And she sought to use him for her own ends. What they were, he had yet to learn, but it was merely a matter of moments - any of which she give him what she really wanted.

"Tell me the truth and I will do the same," he grated quietly, eyes hidden in shadow. To dismiss her intentions as dishonest was too early. Yet diplomacy, as far as he was concerned, was just another kind of battlefield, only his experience was more towards other strife, where one wielded more than mere words.

He closed his itching fingers, his knuckles cracking, just to keep them from flexing. It was her turn to speak, and he wished to not unnerve her just because old battle-wounds. Cuts and burns which forced him to flex his hands in order to keep them limber. He took one step forward, his slight limp making him favour one side, but that also let the light from beyond the glass reach his eyes and the overlapping scar tissue upon his forehead. His robe hung open, the top of his chest bared to the light. His attire was that of a patchwork assembly from all over the Romulan Empire.

She knew his name, so he did not speak it. The question was if she knew enough of him?

Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #2
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Figures of speech were a treacherous ocean, beautiful in their sparkling prose and glistening ideology, yet of a vast depth, that their whole meaning could get lost in easily. The whole notion of speech, teetering on the concept of understanding. Taught to uphold a certain level of reverence, in regard to the spoken word, the diplomat’s penchant for sophisticated idioms, sometimes did fall short of the sentiment of relatability. Not taking into account whom she was talking to, and where. “I do indeed.” she replied obeisantly, tipping her pate in due deference, clasping both hands behind her voluptuous posterior. Her professional intellect subduing any personal irritation, arising from a simple reiteration of the obvious. Blue eyes locking with his, after this faintest of gestures, the glance was unwavering, in its delicate, cloud-like hue. Surely the man could instill the fear of god in the unfortunate, by a mere stare of his dark brown eyes und unrelenting facial expression. A pate marked with the history befitting an outcast of Mount Olympus, an almost poetic Greek tragedy, with his chiseled nose and statuesque cheekbones.

It was a tale she knew enough about to tread lightly in its gravitas. His heightened abilities undoubtedly not kept at bay out of a sheer etiquette or restraint, but rather wielded like the weapon it had been intended to be. Even though more likely in a defensive capacity. She had been taught to deal with telepathic individuals in her line of work, filling her mind with idle thoughts to distract and mislead. Like the simple memento of her Starfleet tutor in the arts of spiritual discipline. Not to mention her Vulcan grandfather’s teachings … undoubtedly a myriad of details and segues that the man before her would find rather mundane and trivial, right this moment. And even if triggering such a revelation was purely hypothetical, for those non-telepaths in the corridor, the hypothetical satisfaction over the sheer potential was validation enough, to still have the upper hand. No matter the physical or mental superiorities.

He urged her to speak the truth, which was an odd enough notion to start a conversation on, regardless of societal differences. Of course, there were those species more bound to innate suspicion, like the Romulans. But then there were also those less inclined to habitually screw others over, like the Humans. So surely, they could find a common ground that did not require each to put their weapons down at the same time and kicking them across the hallway. “I would say we have come to our first understanding already.” she smiled kindly, turning the internalized irritation into an outward sense of pleasure, that did not fail to become an infectious sentiment throughout her mental plane as well. “I do not intend to waste your time with pointless pleasantries and ceremonial procedures to delay the revelation of my intent.” Though, to an extent, she had just already done that. “I understand we have many a common interests, or, to put it more precisely, I believe your specific motivations could be conducive to a mutually beneficial endgame.”

Not quite straight to the point yet, the blonde became astutely aware of her diplomatic prowess in grooming an ornamental hedge, instead of omitting to beat around the bush. A notion that was both irritating and amusing. So, if Drauc was thoroughly intent on syphoning emotions from someone’s mind, he’d certainly be in for a roller-coaster ride with this one.

“It must be hard, to be hitching a ride along on this destiny cruise. Everyone doing their best for a chance at redemption, absolution, for some, certainly.” she continued seriously, a palpable sense of intent and direction, in her voice, despite the diplomatic smoke-screen of unnecessary elaborations and prose. Which at this point, she had decided, to simply embrace. “I am sure you can feel it, that communal sense of purpose. Is that why you seek the solitary confines of the lower decks? So not to be reminded of the last time you felt a similar sense of determination?” Samantha continued on, prodding ever so slightly, while ushering the man along a tangent towards self-revelation. It wasn’t exactly humane to put a finger into that wound, for some sort of motivation, but she also wasn’t entirely human. In her world, the ends usually justified the means, especially if the means were no more than potentially hurting a man’s pride. The galaxy would surely continue to spin on its ethereal spindle regardless of the transgression.

“Do tell me, if you don’t mind: When was the last time you truly felt purpose?” And barring any superfluous verbal clarification, it went without saying, that she wanted the truth too.

Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #3
[ Drauc T'Laus | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust 
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Standing there, watching her without seeming to blink, the only motion to his frame was that of his slow breathing - hands curled into scarred fists at his side.

Evidently, she sought reaction. To stir him with words alluding to his losses. Clearly she knew of Kraun, and for being someone disconnected from his emotions, he found her method despicable. He said naught at first, however, sensing her presence more than seeing it, even if the sight of her had its own merit on a more primal level. A level he rarely occupied lest someone brought him there herself. She baited him for conversation, clearly, and her thoughts suggested it could merely be a means to make him reveal more about himself. It was uncertain, however, if her guesswork was purposefully poor, so that he might correct her, or if she truly believed him without meaning. That he would somehow long for yore days of service.

"I feel purpose in this moment. Meaning, as I stand here, determined," he rasped quietly, like a serrated blade against steel, and he was ever unsmiling as he stared at her. "I feel it every day, every minute, for I know the battlefield on which I will die. I say this... for I have sensed the enemy... and it is the end of it all."

Drauc was not one prone to speak at lengths, and much less of matters that were beyond him to verbalise. When he did speak, the words came from deep inside, and he was staring into the eerie glow outside the glass. "All species, strewn across the width of this galaxy, further themselves within and beyond their territories. Like rutting animals, we become more and more, and we believe ourselves superior in our separate philosophies," he grated, having experienced the minds of countless races and individuals through his life. "We spread, as a constant, because we are the result of our existence. Our civilisations rise on the knowledge and understanding of those that came before us. Our inherent nature is to grow, and become more than we were before. We compete in wars for that growth, ceaselessly, and there has always been another battlefield."

He took a limping step forward, almost as if to pin her to the glass behind her, yet he merely wished to convey his point clearly and stopped short of reaching her. He wished to make her stop her scheming antics. He would have her attention.

"Until now," he rasped, his eyes stones in the shadows cast from the overhead light - now staring directly into hers. He wished to strip her wits bare from both pretence and defences, so that she could see the truth in all its horror, instead of trying to goad him with barbed rhetoric. He had no interest in such minimalist contest. "As destructive as we are, our creation is ironically built upon structure. Our civilisations rise on the knowledge and understanding of those that came before us. What now seek to consume us all... is the cessation of everything. The path towards undoing seem to be through chaos... and the Infested act to raze everything."

Forelorn, in this understanding, he turned from her - as if withdrawing a blade from her throat that had never been there. "This, is the denouement, in which we will either perish or prevail. Knowing this... what other battlefield is worth seeking?" he asked her, and he began to flex his hands anew - knuckles cracking within his threadbare sleeves.

"What other purpose, Commander? What other meaning?" He stared at the bulkheads around them, his back towards her. "This ship will take me there... so I am where I should be."



Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #4
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Sometimes, in diplomacy, the delicate dance of tiptoeing towards a mutual – or seemingly mutual – agreement ,was kicked off with the bass-drop of laying everything out there, right away. All the truths, the intel, the theories … a colossal info dump, that could either be a measure of intimidation or, to the more cunning of negotiation partners, a sign of faith and honesty. Samantha had no intent to pussyfoot around why she thought Drauc could be motivated to help her, in securing Theurgy some more political allies. And at the same time, she was certain he would not have appreciated her to, either. She was determined, a determination that transmitted to his heightened perceptions like phaser volley, through the cold of space. Not at last with the downplayed intention of incepting a similar sentiment, within the hulking brute.

Raising her brows slightly, at a sentiment conveyed, that was somewhat reminiscent of what both Captain Yves and Doctor Nicander had told her, the diplomat pressed her lips together with a conclusive nod, before dropping her blue eyes to the floor with a gentle heave of her chest. “Ookay.” she replied curtly, though the ‘o’ stretched on longer than customary. How anyone on this ship was supposed to give their best and linger in optimism, towards their goals and eventual survival, in the eye of this constant reminder of universe-shattering doom, was beyond her. She was intent on focusing on the immediate tasks, those she could solve, rather than some omnipotent enemy, that couldn’t be tackled head on anyways. No matter the prose and literary embellishments, it would be described in. That was not to strip it of the validity and danger, but rather put it into some form a rationale, that normal corporeal beings could deal with.

Blue eyes moved upward, as feet shuffled a step forward towards her, then followed up the length of his physique. So, by the time azure orbs met his, the initial surprise and faint moment of startle, had subsided. Their stance now, once more, unwavering. The man had yet to become as menacing as his words. If, like a Grishna Cat, his outwardly disheveled and rugged appearance was not just a smoke screen, hiding a distressed little kitten. Squinting her eyes slightly, as he concluded, twisting her pate at a gentle angle towards the man, the blonde visibly double-took his tall tales of denouement and the path towards undoing.

“Alright, let’s assume for a moment, that we manage to ferry you to that epic battlefield, where you can slay these daemons with your fiery sword, and right the balance of power in the universe. Even though I have no idea how you imagine achieving that. It would be a pretty worthy feat, I agree.” she reiterated, only the slightest ring of incredulousness lining her words. “But riddle me this.” The officer readjusted her stance, weight shifting towards one leg, hips pushing out towards the opposite side, as her body subconsciously curved in a graceful effort, to remain in balance. “While you hang out down here waiting, what if we just get wiped off the playing field, just like that? Because we didn’t manage to pave our way to the ultimate battlefield. Because we didn’t manage to gather enough allies, to make the journey, or even win the ultimate fight. I appreciate your ‘come what may’ sense of predestination, it’s very Buddhist of you, but reality does not work like that … at least I am not willing to put my faith in a higher power, guiding me to where I need to be. I have a tough enough time having faith into the ship’s AI to do so.”

Concluding with a shortage of air, Samantha took a deep breath, regathering her own strength and optimism. Something that seemed to be in short supply on the ship as it was. “I would love to see you fight honorably on this 'battlefield' you seek, or whatever it is you paint yourself in purpose with. Waiting on it, however, is very likely to put you at the pearly gates with nothing to show for it … sorry, a mawkish human sentiment.”

Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #5
[ Drauc T'Laus | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust 
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While Drauc was somewhat confused about the reference to 'Buddhist', it being an archaic term from Earth as far as he knew, he believed he picked up her meaning nonetheless. It was a worthwhile question posed, or rather critique inferred, yet to which he had a ready answer. It was clear in both her words and her emotions that she wished to deflect the grander reasons for his disposition and focus on the immediate present. This, Drauc approved of. A human who's thoughts were aligned with her words, the latter not masking the former.

"Cradol," he rasped to her, having stepped out of the light from the window she stood by. "It means 'Fate' in my language. It play an important role in Romulan culture. It even used to be a part of a bygone religion. Perhaps your 'Buddhists' survived it on your planet. Romulans, though I most often despise my own ilk, are fatalists and believe that the path of their lives is already laid out for them, and that they have a destiny to fulfil. I suppose I have come to possess this after I left service in Starfleet, and this belief is oft related to mnhei'sahe."

Mnhei'sahe was a central concept to Romulan culture, and one which he had been introduced to in his early youth, yet more so upon his return. In lack of Federation standards to abide to, and in avoiding the facets of Romulus which he loathed, he had found means in which to function even without Kraun by his side.

"It means 'Ruling Passion'," he grated, the words drifting to her as he stood there, peering at her through the tresses of his hair. "Yet in Federation Standard, perhaps 'honour' is a closer likeness. Mnhei'sahe is not - however - limited to a code of honour. It has shaped the lives of the Romulan people since millennia. For an outsider to understand my people and what motivates them, you must understand mnhei'sahe."

Many outsiders often viewed his people as treacherous and without honour. He knew this, and while he did not get the impression that Samantha Rutherford thought that of him, he wondered if an explanation of mnhei'sahe could explain why he believed in fate. "It covers a range of concepts, including honour, loyalty and duty to family," he rasped as he flexed his hands, while his eyes strayed to the pinpoints of minds all above them, like stars only he could see. "It may seem... contradictory at times, especially to Starfleet, as it often required actions that may appear, to outsiders, as dishonourable."

Introspective, to deflect the means in which the minds of others could seize his own, Drauc resumed to look at the woman in his direct company - focusing on her alone. "Once a Romulan has committed themselves to mnhei'sahe, they will not stray, even if it means the loss of their life or the life of a loved one. Nothing can sway them from completing the task that mnhei'sahe demands, even if it requires one to make sacrifices."

His code transcended love, chain of command and social barriers. It even transcended the Empire itself, little affection as he held for it. "As for your request, your unspoken case, mnhei'sahe does not demand instant action. In fact, it discourages it, as action without thought may lead to great error. Though mnhei'sahe dictates a course of action, a Romulan will be patient, thinking of the consequences that their actions may bring. They will wait... until the time is right to act - planning for that moment. With this in mind, speak of your unsaid proposal, for I still wish to hear it, and judge it through the lens of my code."

Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #6
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Tilting her head back slightly, as if to attune her senses to the input given, Samantha narrowed her blue eyes ever so slightly, as a sign of processing his reply in an indiscernible fashion. Not letting her mimic sway one direction or the other, positive or negative, just calculative – surely a notion a Romulan could appreciate. Cradol, then … didn’t really change the mawkish notion of the sentiment, knowing it’s Romulan moniker. The problem with fate being, that it was mostly a weak-minded excuse to hide behind concepts of predestination, pushing off personal responsibility to a higher ploy, laid out before one's self. “As a religion, yes, they did survive. Quite peacefully so. As a driving power that furthered our evolution as a race, both economic and scientific, not so much. See, the problem with the concept of fate – or cradol – is the fake sense of predestination, that prevents one from actually achieving a worthwhile goal. Because it bears the conundrum in itself that, when you actually decide to do something, no matter what, it would be the predestine action that moves you closer to your destiny. So, by that logic, if I were to convince you to join my cause, it would be what was supposed to happen, so you could just stop fighting it.”

Smiling gently, the blonde masked her own internal confusion well. As such was the problem with a notion like fate, in the first place: That it bore no logical merit or structure. It was a wholly imagined concept intended to validate one’s complacency. Then again, leave it to Vulcan offshoots to actually develop the very concept, that would defy their long-lost ancestral logic. And while “cradol” had not really been a commonly denoted translation, at least not by official Starfleet accounts, “mnhei'sahe” was a little more familiar. It had indeed found mention on the Romulan species survey, available to all diplomatic officers. A socio-political memorandum generally considered semi-official, though, as it was not entirely conceived by Starfleet science, but various civilian sources – many of which unreliable. Letting Drauc educate her on the very concept, the diplomat was not intent on cutting him off and thus hurting his honor. On the contrary, her intellectual mind was keen on collating his views with the survey account. So, she nodded, generously, as the different aspects were sorted into the respective drawers of knowledge, in her head. Pinning down the discrepancies and analyzing them logically.

„Mnhei'sahe, however, is defined as a first and foremost selfish sentiment, if I recall right. As it is about improving your own good, your own honor, rather than that of someone else … that would just be a bonus. Which I find a rather reprehensible notion to justify one’s actions with; even more so under the considerations of a so called ‘code of honor’.” she explained, not intent on sugar-coating any of it, or skirting around the issues she had with his presence aboard Theurgy as a whole. A Starfleet vessel, where everyone was expected to pull their weight, not just lounge about, waiting for fate to throw them a bone. If it so had to be, however, she was willing to put on the golden leotard, alongside some mystifying prose, and be just that. “But I do respect different cultures and their customs, as long as they don’t infringe on the ‘code of honor’ the commissioners of this very ship, the commanders of these very people, hold in high regard.” Feeling like she had made her point, Samantha concluded with a dignified nod, conveying a sense of ‘no hard feelings’ along with the candid honesty, that had cut like a blunt blade.

“I do believe that your journey with your heritage is not done … whatever eventual battle you prepare yourself for, it will not mean anything as long as you haven’t dealt with the issues of your past. I believe you hold a grudge towards your people, fueled by your sense of justice. And I know that it would serve us and our mission well, to understand a little bit more about what is going on in the Star Empire. What if we were to help you grind an axe with the Tal Shiar, stir up the order a little bit. Nothing distracts a government better, than troubles from within. And I should not be too forward in assuming that such trouble would please you as well. It could be your fate, after all.”

Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #7
[ Drauc T'Laus | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust 
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Unsure exactly how he had been 'fighting' her in joining 'her' cause, since she had given detail in neither words nor thoughts about what she wanted from him, Drauc took her critique in stride without comment. He had no expectations she would understand the necessity of a higher calling beyond mere duty, much less his own personal demand for purpose - just to centre his damaged mind.

Her critique towards mnhei'sahe was incomplete, perhaps even ignorant, and yet he understood where it sprung from, having been a Starfleet officer himself at one point. Mnhei'sahe challenged those who sought to bring you down to their level. It stated that the reason someone strong was perpetually challenged was that in their minds, the stronger warrior invalidated their way of existence. By courageously forging their own path, the warrior caused them to reflect on their own lives and decisions. They would feel a sense of resentment towards themselves, which they’d project onto the stronger warrior. Although it wasn't pleasant to be on the receiving end of this, the warrior understood that the issue lies with those weaker, not themselves. Mnhei'sahe taught Romulans to keep moving forward, and to reminding themselves that it was no one’s place to dictate their steps.

In that, Drauc could understand her sentiment, even though he didn't agree. He had just said how mnhei'sahe also encompassed more than the 'self' and the 'self-interest', so perhaps she had just refuted his word over something she'd read somewhere in a Federation database. He merely shook his head and listened when she finally began to speak of what she wanted from him.

It was an interesting proposal, incomplete as it was in terms of content, but when he thought of an opportunity to thwart the Tal'Shiar, his thoughts led him back to that training facility. To the mirror children, and the years of pain and ceaseless experiments. To Kraun, and how they had relied on each other, and survived. If anything, the years the two of them had spent in Starfleet had lent even more context to what they had endured, for if they were to look upon their upbringing as test subjects, and what their father had done to them, through the lens of of a Federation citizen...

Indeed, Drauc known he was damaged, more so judging by Rutherford's standards than his own.

"You speak of waging an unseen war," he rasped, his teeth catching the light for a moment. "Another battlefield, for which I have some tactics, but lack the range of deployment. If others can provide the sword, I can wield it from afar, and cut the Tal'Shiar where it will bleed the most."

Who was he to challenge such a gracious invitation to cut his tormentors? He would acquiesce her request, for personal reasons as well as the sake of the war against the darkness as a whole. "I trust Starfleet still have operatives present beyond the RNZ," he added and stepped closer to her again, his brown eyes finding hers as they stood next to the bright window. "My question is if this ship have the means to use those operatives, renegade as we are."


OOC: Sorry for the delay. I don't know if you heard, but we had an appendix situation with my daughter this weekend.

Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #8
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Samantha understood the subtle gesture in Drauc’s gentle nod of the pate. She understood silent disagreement, but also, that in a negotiation it was literally moot. Not every sparring partner was as considerate, as to syphon meaning from the subtlest of gestures, to adapt an approach accordingly, instead of steamrolling over the notion, like a Vulcan bulltharg. Mnhei'sahe was a concept so slippery at best, as its meaning changed fundamentally with context, that there was no right answer to give, unless faced with the precise parameters. Including those not readily shared. In a sense, it was rather significant of the Romulan culture, to invent such a concept that would fit any self-serving context.

In that, she wondered if he was aware of her partly Vulcan ancestry, and the animosity that seemed to have permeated simple biological heritage, beyond that of judgments passed down in writing and singing. A notion that had infected a young Federation decades ago, defining a future of difficult relations with the pointy-eared offshoots. One she was painfully aware of, but not quite able to shake herself. So, his quiet defiance came as some sort of salvation, working around her prejudice, thus allowing her to keep a semblance of honor. Intended or not.

Ultimately, however, the warm light of a new day, broke from a dark horizon, as did the subtle markings on his forehead once stepping into the light, that posed as a stark reminder of the differences, between their people. A pleasant nod accompanied this silver lining, on her part. “As is the way.” She replied quietly, alluding to a century of experiences with the Romulans and their covert, passive strategies in many ‘unseen’ wars. Goading those, they deem enemies, into their own demise.

Bringing forth a PADD from the hidden confines within her grasp, Samantha held it out to the man, who had inched closer step by step, till now. His presence invading her partly Vulcan senses like the cloudy incents of an ethereal temple. “We have to strike the iron while it is hot, as the earth saying goes. As the recent additions to the crew do not hold the same status as traitors to the Federation, we should utilize their networks for our unseen battles now.” The diplomat validated his final statement. “I do not wish for any talent on this ship to go unutilized, no tangent unexplored, as much as I do not care for anyone waiting out their fate. No offense.” Realizing the measure in which she overstepped her power as CDO, to a civilian, this was still – by archaic definition - a ship of earth’s military.

“Intelligence and my department will put you into contact with operatives and officials in the Empire through this PADD. You’ll be able to define the key positions you need them to be in. Help us to the best of your abilities, and you might inch a little faster, to your ultimate battle.” the blonde concluded, making a mental note to ask Fisher to have his team scramble all connections and anonymize all operatives and contacts, before relaying them.

There was trust – and there was foolishness. The former having to be earned, the latter being human nature.

Re: Day 36 [1634 hrs.] Into the Belly of the Beast

Reply #9
[ Drauc T'Laus | Maintenance & Storage | Deck 25 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust 
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Beneath the towering structure of the Theurgy's landing gear, Drauc's darkened eyes fell to the information he'd been provided. He did not reach for it immediately, much less scroll through it, for he knew that there was too much there to digest whilst still being being in present company. He picked up vague notions of distrust towards him, but how could he blame her for that? He hardly looked like the officer he used to be, and while he loathed her barbed accusations towards his idleness - so thinly veiled by a cursory 'no offence' - he reckoned that as much as he didn't care for the diplomat, she had just lent him a means to make use of his waiting. If only she'd had the sense to open up with that, instead of trying to label him and dismiss him as a mere means to an end, then their exchange would have been far more constructive.

Once he accepted the item from the diplomat's fine-boned fingers into his own, it cast the stark contrast of their hands into the eerie light. Perhaps, in such contrast, there was a joint venture to be found - their strengths so vastly different.

“Merely the fallen have seen the end of war,” he rasped to her, "but I recognise how battle begins when language fails. Still, your mission as a peace-broker has already failed in regard to the chaos that seek to devour us. The sooner your accept this, the faster you will be able to concentrate on unifying the living against the beyond. With this in mind, perhaps my cuts into the Tal Shiar might be a step away from the pending war... and perhaps its not. It will depend on what people step into the vacuum of power left behind. Rest assured, however, that it will be yet another Romulan, for all our faults and merits."

With that, he stepped away with the PADD in hand, vanishing into the shadows of Thea's bowels.

- FIN


 
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