Skip to main content
Topic: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay (Read 4174 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

[ Sar-unga Neleo | Flag Bridge | USS Theurgy ] @Auctor Lucan  @CanadianVet

The flag bridge felt cold. The lights were dimmed, the screen lit her face and made the shadows across her features seem deep. Her fingers felt sluggish, like she couldn't get them to muster up the strength to call the nearby ships. It was hard, in more ways than one. Not only did she dread to see the faces of her people, likely filled with as much pain as her own, but the Sheromi contact she had gotten used to associating with would no longer accept her requests to connect her to home base. Something something diplomacy, something something broken treaty, she honestly couldn't care less. She didn't like those bug-freaks, but it sure is tough to dial into the right channels without them.

Trent and Ives waited just outside. If it were yesterday or the day before, she would've made this call with a quickness. Today, she decided, they could wait another five minutes or so. They were big boys. Or, uh, a big boy and a big...something. They were adults, they could have patience. Lower the frequency here, bounce your waves off that thingy right there, enter in some encryption codes...In due time, the screen filled with one of her own.

The receiving communications expert was a young woman--they all looked young though. Velsren sacs and aging mixed about as well as fire and wood. Her hair was short, there were dyed streaks in it, some sort of orange sherbert color. She looked sprightly and cheerful with a round face and a pixie cut. She began to greet Sar-unga with a smile, and ended the greeting with a surprised, maybe even frightened look. This was not the channel she usually phoned home on, and she looked hideous to boot, so Sar-unga could forgive her for the frightened reaction. She cleared her throat and summoned up her birth language, speaking with airy sounds and a solemn tone.
"I am Sar-Unga Neleo, code name Dyan Cardamone. Due to our losses at Starbase 84, my Federation commanding officers would like to speak--peacefully--to the monarch and her advisors. That's peacefully, young one, be sure to emphasize that."
"Of course. We've been expecting your call for a while now--Just not on this channel..."
"My Sheromi contact flaked out."
The young woman nodded, though with confusion in her face. Perhaps the Sheromi have not yet made that announcement, or her contact was just the only one flaking. Whatever.
"I'll have a session called. You'll be on hold for just a few moments."

And so the screen went dark. The worst part was about to begin. She forced a deep breath into her lungs and eased it back out. Her boots turned her around for her, she walked to the doors. When they opened, her head poked out of the doorway.
"We're on hold. You'll have the queen and her advisor's audience in a few minutes."

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #1
[ Captain Ives | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: 1) @Brutus 2) @CanadianVet 3) @FollowTomorrow 
Despite Ives' and Trent's many efforts to ensure stability aboard the Theurgy, things were not exactly going the way they wanted to.

It was a shared frustration between them as they waited outside the Upper Computer Core, which also served as the Flag Bridge. Before he became First Officer, and to some degree afterwards, it had also been a base of operations for Trent, but now, they found themselves awaiting audience outside - Petty Officer Cardamone arranging for the first meeting with the Asurians after the lost battle at Starbase 84.

While they waited - which Ives did in her female form and with great respect and patience towards their decimated allies - the topic of discussion had been recent development on the second day inside the Azure Nebula. Ranging from the latest activity of the Devoted to Virus 117, from losses of Engineers earlier that day to the away mission due on the morrow. It was hard to take solace in positive development, like the slow integration of crew and officers from the Resolve, when at every turn, things turned sour for them. Yet despite it all, trying to look ahead, Ives was pleased that the Asurians had not decided to pass judgement on them without granting them an audience. At least, that was what Cardamone had said when they were told to wait for her word; that her contact had said an audience remained a possibility.

While the wait was frustrating, Jien tried not to let it get to her - remaining where she stood with her arms crossed underneath her chest. She did not pace, nor did she fret in anticipation to soothe the Asurians in their losses, for her thoughts kept returning to Sickbay, and to the Trill that had yet to wake from her joining to the Rez symbiont. Indeed, in the vessel of Amelya Duv's body resided the remnants of Jona Rez' soul, and in him lay their hopes to learn which of his contacts had learned the truth about Starfleet Command. Waiting for the Asurians to grant them an audience was nothing compared to Jien's feelings about the symbiont's fate. Doctor Nicander advocated giving the symbiont and the new host more time to adjust to each other, but any hour, any moment, Task Force Archeron's scouts may chance upon them in the nebula, and they would be fighting for survival once more.

They needed to know what Jona knew, otherwise they could not decide upon a next destination. They had but one name, but it was the name of a Cardassian ambassador with residence upon Earth - right behind enemy lines. Unless Amelya Rez - if she would accommodate the symbiont - told them more names than that of Elim Garak, they would be forced to set a course towards the Sol System, with the odds against them even worse than they had been at Starbase 84.

On top of all troubles so far, the worst lay in how it was too late for Doctor Duv now. If they were to try and find a more allegeable Trill host, Doctor Nicander said that aborting the joining now could be fatal. Death was certain for the host, but with the complications of the joining to Edena Rez, they might loose the Rez symbiont entirely. Thinking about that, and how there was virtually nothing to do, that was a cause of frustration for Jien. It was hard to remain positive when all that could go wrong seemingly did.

"It looks like she made it," said Jien to Trent, lifting her eyes to see a figure approaching them down the corridor. Trent would not know her, but Jien had shared long conversations with her and the lost diplomatic delegation. Sleepless nights, oribiting Romulus for months. Seeing her again felt surreal, and it reminded Jien about the bitter failure to prevent the Romulan Civil War. She had learned about the Ensign's recovery, and written her a message earlier that day. It had been a briefing as much as well wishes on her recovery. It seemed the Betazoid had understood the import, and was ready to listen in.

"Eloi-Danvers," she said to the young woman before she reached them, inclining her head to her, "I did not expect you to come, but nonetheless, I thank you for it. I respect that you are still on recovery, but as you learned from my briefing... a lot is riding on this audience."

This was the point when Cardamone appeared in the doorway, saying it was time to come in and wait for the audience to begin. The Asurian did not spot Faye Eloi-Danvers from her vantage point, but there would be time for introductions. As the three of them followed Cardamone inside the Flag Bridge, Jien nodded towards Trent, introducing him to the young Betazoid. "This is Commander Trent, who learned the truth about Admiral Sankolov on his own and came aboard from the Archeron itself. He is now Executive Officer, and has proven himself an asset in this mission on several occasions. Trent, this is Ensign Eloi-Danvers. She has been aboard since before all of this started, negotiating at Romulus to the bitter end."

Letting Carrigan and Faye share introductions, Jien looked towards Dyan Cardamone, and walked up behind her. Before the audience began, she hoped to have a word with the young Asurian.

"I know it means nothing," she said quietly to her back, "but I still wish to offer my condolences, and say how regrettable I find this. I am sorry, Petty Officer, that we failed to safeguard your people and your family. If there is anything I can do for you, please ask it."

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #2
[ Ens. Faye Lintah Eloi-Danvers  | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @CanadianVet @FollowTomorrow @Auctor Lucan 

She had found the message from Captain Ives about an hour before the meeting was to take place, half way through eating a wonderful meal. Having just come out of stasis, and been whisked away for physical evaluations - professional and other wise - Faye had not expected to have any messages waiting. As such, the young betazoid had not bothered to check her messages. After all, they were on the run from Starfleet, so it wasn't like she'd have a letter from home. And truthfully, after a thoroughly exhausting breaking in of her new quarters (such as they were), Faye's mind had been elsewhere.

Specifically, her mind was with the rest of her, curled up under a wonderful blanket with the naked nurse who had been assigned to look after her. It was only when Riley had sauntered off to whip up dinner that Faye had wrapped the blanket around herself and shambled over to the computer on the tiny work station. Food had been placed in front of her and she'd just bitten into a morsel when she saw the message from Ives. She'd queued it up immediately, squeaking slightly in surprise. And as she watched and listened, the fork had fallen to the plate and she - and Riley - had be come engrossed.

What had ensued there after was a rather heated conversation about health needs versus the obligations of duty. It had ended in compromise. As such, after a quick sonic shower, help getting dressed, a booster shot, and a very stern admonishment to 'not over do things," Faye had left her quarters in full uniform, with a neurocortical monitor tucked under her left ear, and the nurse at her side. Patterson accompanied Faye as far as the turbolift, whispered something into her ear that left the diplomat ducking her head to hide her blush behind her bangs, and sent her off to the flag bridge, before returning back to the Ensign's room to monitor Faye's well being.

As she was deposited by the lift, slightly up the corridor from the Flag Bridge, Faye braced herself against the door frame, trapping the car on that floor while she lingered. The uniform felt warm against her skin, and the hallway unnaturally cool. She knew she was flushed, and wasn't sure if it was because she was still recovering from stasis, her actions with Riley, or simply from nerves. She'd been up less than six hours, and all the young Ensign really wanted to do was curl back up under that blanket. But that sense of duty that had dragged her out of her quarters to begin with forced her to step into the hall, allowing the doors to shut behind her.

A wave of emotions washed over her as she began her approach, startling the younger woman, causing her to miss a step.  Someone was not in a good mood, so much so that she could feel it from a distance. It was an alien mind, one not familiar to Faye, neither the person, nor the species. "Such hurt," she whispered, but swallowed and squared her shoulders. She could also pick up that muddled sensation that she associated as the mind of Captain Ives, as well as a collected, organized mind she did not know. Last chance to run away Faye thought to herself as she soldiered on.

Immediately, she focused on the Captain's gaze, as she talked to a tall man Faye had not met. Command red. 3 gold pips. Ful commander. He wasn't here before. She had a faint impression from Riley's memories of the man, Tree-ent....Trent! she concluded as Ives spoke.

"Eloi-Danvers," she said to the young woman before she reached them, inclining her head to her, "I did not expect you to come, but nonetheless, I thank you for it. I respect that you are still on recovery, but as you learned from my briefing... a lot is riding on this audience."

The alien that Faye had sensed stuck her head out before the Betazoid could respond to her captain, addressing the two senior officers tersly. Unfamiliar with the species, or the person as she was, and picking up on a jumble of surface thoughts that she really didn't want to delve into just then, the diplomat decided to take no offense, and instead, stepped further into view, falling in step with the Captain and the commander. She sensed, doing her best not to probe, that time was of the essence and important matters were at hand, which matched the message that Ives had sent her originally. Just how many secret allies have we gained? she asked herself, in regards to these Asurians, and frankly, to the man she was being introduced to. So many things have changed. What the hell am I thinking, coming here like this? Out of my depth, barely walking... The self doubt, the darker feelings from when she first woke up.

"This is Commander Trent, who learned the truth about Admiral Sankolov on his own and came aboard from the Archeron itself. He is now Executive Officer, and has proven himself an asset in this mission on several occasions. Trent, this is Ensign Eloi-Danvers. She has been aboard since before all of this started, negotiating at Romulus to the bitter end."

"Thank you, Captain," she replied quietly, tilting her head down in a nod, adding, "I'll admit that I'm here under um...medical protest. Nurse Patterson was not keen on letting me attend but..." As she trailed off and let her head rise back up, the monitor would catch the light from one of the flag bridge displays, drawing attention to it. "We compromised, Ma'am."

From there, Faye turned to address Trent, as Ives in turn leaned into talk to the alien petty officer. "Commander," she said softly, extending a hand, which was warm to the touch. "I wish I could say it was a pleasure to meet you, and I sincerely wish it were under better circumstances." She got some faint impressions, felt her lips quirk ever so slightly, as he cheeks remained rosy, "However, given your position that means Commander Nerina is no longer with us, Sir." She was picking up remorse from Ives, whom while not as much of a black box as Dr. Nicander was still a hard read for her telepathic abilities. Carrigan Trent, however, was another story entirely.

ooc: Suffice to say that Faye got a very stern talking to before she showed up.

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #3
[ Cmdr Carrigan Trent  | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus  @FollowTomorrow  @Auctor Lucan

 Sar-Unga Neleo had been true to her word. 

Trent knew he couldn't have ordered her to make the call; after all he would have had absolutely no recourse to see it happening if she decided she didn't feel like doing it so he had been left with asking her to do it.  And while that meant no guarantee of actually getting an audience with Asurian leadership, at least it was a start.  She had every right to resent doing so, but she had been willing to make contact.  And, in exchange, the Executive Officer had promised he would see to it she would not be the public face of the disastrous engagement at Starbase 84.  And he sure felt much of the blame ought to be on his shoulders, despite knowing at an intellectual level that there had been no time to discuss doctrine with the Asurians beforehand, let alone drill and work up to the mission at hand. 

As they waited outside of the Flag Bridge, Captain and XO spent much time discussing the ship's issues.  Of course there were many, but at least repairs were progressing fairly well all things considered, and there had been no major incidents involving the integration of the Resolve personnel yet, and hopefully there would be none, but it would be a lengthy process to get them all to fully become part of the crew.  Part of the XO considered doing something like the celebration they had enjoyed what felt a lifetime ago, but the memory that it had been the very start of the mutiny was not lost on him, nor would it be on anyone else...

And then, they were joined by a young woman.  Ah, yes, the diplomatic officer the Captain had mentioned earlier.  Trent had taken the time to give her file a quick once over.  Betazoid; they tended to be over-represented within Starfleet as counselors and negotiators, but then again they did have a certain edge over most species in such regards.  Another place they tended to find positions was with Starfleet Intelligence as field assets, for the same reason. 

Once the Captain had introduced them, Trent took the small proffered hand in his own good one, his prosthetic limb hanging at his side.  Her greeting, it was laden with regret all right, and wishes they'd met under better circumstances.  "I'd have preferred much the same myself, Ensign" he replied with a slight, sad smile.  "But nonetheless it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.  And please have my own thanks for joining us for this.  As you do not have a watch to stand, consider yourself on light duties until you are better recovered."  And given that Eloi-Danvers was the only diplomatic officer on board at this time, that meant she would directly be reporting to him, and that much gave him the latitude to allow her sufficient resting time. 

"I've only known Commander Nerina from her file, and she had been succeeded by Commander Rez when I came on board.  But given the events that followed, she stepped down from the position and Captain Ives saw it fit to promote me to the role."

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #4
[ Sar-unga Neleo | Flag Bridge | USS Theurgy ] @Auctor Lucan  @CanadianVet

Condolences and regrets. Neither of these had Asurian translations. They were such foreign concepts, and though she knew their definitions they meant nothing. When she heard Ives's voice, she stopped, and she stared right into her eyes. Her mouth opened and closed several times, her tail lashed about as she could not find the right words to express what she felt. Perhaps expressing was the wrong move here anyways. She asked what Dyan wanted, but how could she tell her captain to 'die in a plasma fire' in front of others? But the anger in her made her stay, made her stare, wishing that just for one moment, this amorphous blob of a being could feel what she felt.

In the end, she shook her head, her hands went to her hair and pushed it all back, pulling strands caught on her horns. When she felt composed enough, finally, she could speak.
“I'll open the comm link when the Queen's hail comes through.” With that, she left the trio to their own conversation. She had to go sit. Breathe. Try not to scream.

She shot them a look from her shadowy corner, next to the viewscreen. She deliberately pulled a chair over to this spot; while the Captain, Trent, and the strange lady with the rosy face negotiated, they'd have to look at Dyan. They'd have to see the person they hurt, the people they'd affect. It was, perhaps, not a well thought out plan, but anything at all to make them feel what she felt.

Some time passed, but not much. The Asurians may not have a good grasp of circular time, but they never missed an appointment. She stood up to answer the hail, and when it came through, she stared up at the screen to check the signal. The people on screen looked very dignified, but the Asurian monarch no longer held the great majesty that Sar-unga thought she held when the petty officer was a girl. The monarch probably knew so little compared to Sar-unga. Her and her advisers, all sitting at a table in a private room, watching the screen. Have they ever felt death weigh so heavy like this, have they ever felt like the people they looked up to failed them? Have they ever felt just...empty?

Nevermind that. All those thoughts poured into her brain in a matter of a second, and she swallowed it down just as quick. It was time to fix their big mess. Time for the performance to start. The queen needed her introductions, so did the captain.

“Captain, Commander, Ensign,”  She nodded, taking a glance at the new woman's pips. “May I present to you the Honored Monarch, Ruler of the Three, The Most Ferocious Queen Aga-Una—hereafter to be referred to as Ma'am-- and her royal court of advisors. Ma'am, this is Captain Jien Ives, and Commander Carrigan Trent, both of the U.S.S. Theurgy. Please let me know if the translator fails.”

It was a recited line, one that she had practiced, but the words came out of her mouth unfamiliar still. Something about the language made the words feel stiff, and it didn't help she didn't like acting so stuffy. She also failed to add in the third member of the party, of which she was unfamiliar with. She also neglected to add in the advisors' names—she was aware their terms had ended while she was away and she was familiar with none of them. She stepped back into the shadows, out of sight of the viewscreen, trying to be unseen and unheard so the awkwardness—and the pain—could continue in silence. Hopefully she would not be called out to explain a term that the translator didn't catch. Some part of her decided she did want to watch after all.

Now was the time for the diplomatic dance to begin, and for all the unwilling dancers to make their moves.

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #5

[ Captain Ives | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus, @CanadianVet & @FollowTomorrow 
During the introduction, Captain Ives had inclined his head respectfully towards the Asurian Queen, yet the gesture had not been returned.

Instead, the woman had watched the Theurgy representatives with an unreadable gaze. The gathering of Asurian horned advisers, however, were more open with their feelings, all of them ranging from icy disdain to one male Asurian, who bridled at the mere sight of them. It was as if the Queen had a pack of wolves behind her, and the only reason they weren't in the same chamber was because they were not trusted in her presence. Yet Jien suspected that was not the case...

Rather, he feared the advisers might be on their Overseers, searching for the Theurgy in the Azure Nebula.

Hoping that Petty Officer Cardamone hadn't compromised their position when establishing the comm link, he spoke up, not letting his misgivings show. "Queen Aga-una," he said, and gestured towards Eloi-Danvers, "this is Ensig-"

"Spare me the pleasantries," she said in a low voice, yet it cut like the blade she wore on her forearm - some kind of gauntlet with a sword attached to it. "Instead, I expect you to explain why you retreated from battle, leaving my people to die, and why you spoke false to us about your intentions with that starbase's communication array. Sar-unga never told us you were craven liars."

The false simulcast. Evidently, they had picked up the transmission as well, and while Jien hoped Sar-unga had explained that it wasn't the real message, he suspected it did not matter. Not to a Queen who meant to protect her people. False or not, the message had made the Asurians the enemies of the whole Federation - by mere affiliation to Ives and his crew.

"You spoke of an enemy, hiding in the skins of others," she continued, her voice still dangerously low as she slowly paced on the screen, "And instead, the people of this entire Quadrant was told about terrorism, treason and justification of murder. Not only do you flee like vermin, with no regard of my people's sacrifice, but you let them all believe we shared such vile motives. Where was your denial, Captain? Where was your courage to continue the battle, protecting Asuria just like we protected you? Now, because of your actions, you are less than you claimed you were, our three homes are all but defenceless, and my advisers urge me to kill you all, lest my people believe I condone your actions."

Jien listened to her speak, hands still folded behind his back, and did noting to betray how precarious he thought the situation was. When they were mentioned, his gaze had shifted to the advisers, seeing the coiling tails and the sharp glimmer of their horns, yet with his oaken stare steady, and face impassive, he raised his chin to speak in answer... only someone else spoke first.

OOC: Since Brutus is leaving for a convention, would you mind if you posted next, CanadianVet, followed by FollowTomorrow? Hope that works, and that you can use the situation presented above. :)

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #6
[ Cmdr Carrigan Trent  | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus @FollowTomorrow @Auctor Lucan

When the channel was opened to the Asurians, the Executive Officer stood at Captain Ives' right shoulder, standing straight, tall and impassive.  It was a good thing he had spent his entire career cultivating a calm exterior that would hid his feelings and the ability to look at a situation dispassionately.  And right now, he needed it. 

While the Asurian queen maintained a neutral expression, there was little hiding her dislike for the upcoming conversation.  But one thing for certain, the staff about her made absolutely no secret of their feelings.  And while Trent had not been particularly been trained for diplomacy, nor had he any experience in that field, he knew he was looking at an uphill battle against crushing odds, at the very best. 

And what followed was a brutal verbal assault from the woman that had stilled Captain Ives.  But Jien Ives was not alone in this conversation.  That was why she had brought not only the sole survivor of the diplomatic section but also her XO.  Stepping forward, Trent spoke.  "Madam, I am Commander Carrigan Trent, Executive Officer of the Theurgy and I was the tactical coordinator for the battle at Starbase 84." 

Then, he took a breath.  "We had a security incident on board, and a member of our crew who strongly disagreed with Captain Ives' methods and with extensive training managed to alter the message we intended to send out.  The individual in question was killed by an incensed member of the crew when he admitted his actions, but we are left with some leads to correct this particular situation."

"As for the events in the battle itself, there were a number of factors towards our decision to retreat, and the illicit version of the broadcast was only one of them.  Task Force Archeron was not expected to have been able to respond at this time, but it would appear another ship that was still scheduled to be going through her acceptance work-ups assisted them in recovering from a crippling computer attack."  That was all Trent was willing to say about this.  Soup Sandwich had worked better than he had expected, and the fleet would have needed at least a solid week to become space-worthy again.  However, Orcus' early joining of the Task Force and her intact computer support had been instrumental in putting lie to his time estimates. 

"When the decision to withdraw was given, I instructed Theurgy to begin reintegration, and for your ships to provide us with a screen while we proceeded.  I failed to anticipate the complete differences in our doctrines and had not expected to see your ships go into a knife-range engagement with the Task Force.  As the Vectors withdrew, your ships were no longer protected by our electronic warfare envelope and were vulnerable to the pair of pod-laying vessels, and when we detected the activation of the pattern of pods they had laid, I ordered your ships to withdraw to warp to save themselves.  I was too late."

"As for why the decision to break contact was made?  This was a battle we. Could. Not. Win.  Not even with your ships' assistance.  It would have been suicidal, and all of us dying in a glorious last stand would not have served anyone's interest.  Not ours, not the Federation's, and certainly not yours either."

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #7
[ Sar-unga Neleo | Flag Bridge | USS Theurgy ] @Auctor Lucan  @CanadianVet

The Queen was, as usual, cutting. Her blade, her words, her eyes, they were all well honed, sharpened in battle. The Monarch became as such only partly because of her political maneuvering. She was monarch because she was, out of all the Asurians, the best warrior. She won, in matters of strength and intelligence and wit-- Or that's how it's supposed to be. She did not scare Sar-unga like she used to. She didn't even make the younger Asurian flinch with her greeting. Not at first.

It was the words “Craven liars” that did it. She finally cringed in her shadowed corner, grateful to be out of the view of the Queen. She hated these people, she hated them from the dregs of her blackened heart—but what right did that smarmy old crone have to be insulting her people?! That witch should know that the false transmission was just that—false.

Trent spoke, and she felt her panic bubbling up. He can't just come right out and say there's a security issue, that'd make them look like nobody had any control on this ship. Her people kill mutineers before the mutiny starts, that's the way to do things. And directly saying that dying in glory would not have been in their best interest? That is how her people were!

But then she realized, she had laid claim to both the Federation and the Asurians. They were both her people, and she hated them all. She hated how her people valued death and honor and warfare, and she hated how her people valued exploration, truth, and justice. She was so confused, in so much emotional pain. The pressure under her metaphorical lid grew and grew, she felt a tea kettle whistle in her ears. Or maybe that was her blood pressure.

She remained in her seat, though this whole time she had been unable to sit still. She fidgeted and gestured, as if she was trying to tell Trent to stop, don't say that, Ives, don't do this, strange Ensign she didn't know anything about, why are you even here, go away. Her actions may have been hidden, gone totally unheeded because of where she sat herself. She was right next to the screen, in the shadows, the brightness of the screen serving as concealment. They probably couldn't see her any more than the Queen could. But she did not move, it was not time.
This was disaster central, and the worst thing that could happen right now might be getting ready to happen. Her Asurians declaring war against her Federation. She had no right to jump in just yet, no reason to. But she wanted to jump in and say a bunch of magic words and stop these two from fighting. In a way, it was a little like when her mother and father fought.

Dear father, perished in battle. Whose fault was that now?

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #8
[ Ens. Faye Lintah Eloi-Danvers  | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn:

"To be perfectly honest, I don't know a...Commander Rez, sir," the diplomat confessed. Was she added to the crew after I was put into stasis? Curious, she tried to pick up something from Cmdr. Trent about this mysterious First Officer that replaced Nardia, but even his surface thoughts were like a murky quagmire for the Betazoid. Clearly trained to resist, she realized, one eyebrow twitching upwards slightly. It was only as he made a note about light duty that she saw his own false hand brazenly on display.

Curling her fingers of her new hand into a fist, Faye ignored the sudden clenching coldness in her chest. Under the pretty false skin, that's all that my arm is. Wires and metal she thought. All that was said aloud, however, was, "I'm sure that Nurse Patterson will appreciate that, Commander. She's been assigned to oversee my recovery and...protested my participation in this conference." Strenuously protested, she added, blushing slightly in her cheeks at just how adamant Riley had been. She could only hope that by the time she returned to her quarters the nurse had calmed down. She'd hate to have Riley mad at her going forward.

Hate to mess up a good thing.

Further conversation was put to an end when the angry alien summoned them. "Show time," she whispered, falling in step with her Captain and the apparent XO. One didn't need to be a telepath to pick up on how poorly the petty officer was handling herself. Loathing was the word that came to Faye's mind, but with the alien structure to the thoughts, Sar-Unga was hard to distinguish - though not quite as difficult as Captain Ives himself was. Telepathy aside, the way the white haired woman sat herself, just to the side of the screen, in clear view of her commanding officer, with her arms crossed defensively - the intent was clear. She wanted them to see her, and be reminded....reminded of what Faye was unsure of. She had not been informed of Petty Officer Cardamone's personal loss during the battle at Starbase 84.

With that said, even having seen Sar-Unga, the hate filled petty officer on hand, did not ready Faye for the utter disdain and cold fury that greeted her when the view screen focused back in on this Asurian Queen. Her retainers were fearsome looking, the kind of people that would be the stuff of sheer nightmare. And despite all of her training, the young diplomat felt a trickle of icy cold sweat run down the back of her neck. This was a predatory species, and as far as Faye could tell, she was prey in their eyes.

A point well illustrated when the Queen cut Ives off mid stride when attempting to introduce Faye. Swallowing, she tried to recall everything she knew about the species from her crash course review. It wasn't much at all. They were nomads, she remembered, and something about a sack - none of which helped her right then. How the hell am I supposed to be of use? she thought, keeping the frown from her face as the emotions of both men next to her spiked at being called 'craven liars'. Even the petty officer took mild issue with that, or at least as far as Faye could tell.

There was very little warning, just a hint, a trickle of something in the back of her skull, before Trent spoke up. She could feel the concern coming out of the one Asurian actually in the room. Carefully, her eyes darted to focus on Sar-Unga, and not on the queen. She couldn't get a feeling for the royal's thoughts or feelings over such a long distance but her body language did not bode well at all. Her palms began to moisten with sweat, as she again questioned her being present. There was nothing much she could contribute, but to watch and bear witness. Perhaps that is enough?

The more Cmdr. Trent spoke the more Faye knew that Sar-Unga thought he was making a mistake. But as a lowly ensign not fully briefed on the situation, there was no way she was going to speak out right in the middle of things. She had more than enough diplomatic training to know that with a people like these, a unified front was called for. No division among the ranks. So she stood up a bit straightened and willed her leg not to tremble. What the hell are these people? Are we so desperate that we had to look to them for allies? The longer this went on, the greater the sense of dread built in the back of Fayes mind.

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #9
[ Captain Ives | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus, @CanadianVet & @FollowTomorrow 
While Captain Ives had pursed his lips to speak, Carrigan Trent had chimed in, and Jien let him speak since he knew the man likely felt guilt about how things had developed before their tactical retreat. He let him say his piece for his sake, hoping the Asurians would heed his words as truthful. This was something quite hard to discern, however, since all the horns on the screen shifted - alien eyes staring intently while tails coiled and lashed in extension of their vehement temperament. Jien had too little experience with them, only limited to Dyan Cardamone.

When Trent finished speaking, the silence lingered on the Flag Bride. Neither Sar-unga nor Eloi-Danvers spoke up...

...and then, the Asurian Queen curled her upper lip. It seemed like it was unusual of her, being moved to such viciousness, yet nonetheless, her words cut like a blade of ice. "So you excuse your actions by claiming you don't even have your crew's loyalty?" she asked, tilting her head as if she was just as perplexed as she was savage, the size of her horns emphasising the movement. Behind her, her tail coiled, and the outrage was plain among her advisers. Despite how shouting ensued from the background, the Queen overrode them all.

"'Captain' Ives, if you can't even rally your own crew to your cause, how much credibility is there in you claim?" She snarled in disgust and walked away from the screen, towards her advisors. With her back towards Jien, she continued to speak. "Loyalty is absolute, anything less is treason. You call it 'mutiny', I hear, while we call it by what it means for the offender. Death. Anything less, and you have failed to guarantee victory. If you can't, you should not be a leader, because you will fail, and you fail those who follow you into battle. Asuria knows, because you failed us. We trusted in Sar-unga, because she clearly trusted you, and we thought you were no enemy."

One of the Asurian advisers shouted so that he was heard from the background. "For Asuria, you will die!"

"Had we considered you our enemy, we would have anticipated your weakness. A warrior does not assume to know. A warrior knows. Assuming this Archeron fleet would not engage in the battle reveals your incompetence. Yet what confirms it... is your reaction to failure." The Queen stepped closer to the screen, and when she spoke next, her voice may have been low, but it was even sharper in its message. "I heard this battle meant everything to your cause. You needed this Quadrant to know about the skin-spies. Everything was riding on the mission to be a success. You were to be redeemed. Even with those odds at stake, you did not commit yourselves to succeed. You ran, and now you hide! Like mewling animals, you scatter at the thought of death!"

Jien had bided his time, watching and learning from what the Asurian Queen said, searching for weaknesses in her arguments, building his own. Yet when she began to speak of the defeat, Jien found himself clenching his hands, and the Queen was not done.

"If a battle would decide the fate of Asuria, even our young would take up arms, and we'd fight until our sacs were drained clean and there were no limbs left to wield at the enemy! Yet this was not just about your people, correct? Not limited to this corrupted fleet of yours. So why? When this battle was decisive for the future of all the species in this part of the galaxy - and the wrong message was sent - then every one of you should have stayed. You should have corrected the mistake! You should have sent another message! You were there, with people on the base, and yet you ran, and because you are craven, you have made Asuria you-"

"I meant to stay!" retorted Ives now, cutting the Queen short and with the serrated cut of his voice, and stepped forth, "When the ship was assembling for retreat, I was going to transport myself aboard Starbase 84, and I would have finished what my crew started! I was going to leave everyone on the Theurgy behind so that I could mend the damage of the false message! I would have transmitted my voice across the whole of the Alpha Quadrant and beyond, denouncing Starfleet Command and telling everyone who they really are!"

He had not told Trent this, after the battle, but it did not matter. If the Asurians only saw glory in death, he would speak his heart. "I would have died for the sake of the truth, and to alert those ignorant of what is happening inside the Federation. I would make them smell the rot," he said, his scowl cutting a line over his dark eyes, the imitation of his human frame coiled like a viper, "and I would have redeemed my crew from all the lies spoken in our name. Everyone would have known what we sacrificed for the truth, and made them see what they did to us. You speak of fortitude and dying for a cause, yet we have been dying for five months in hope for it to end!"

The Asurians were silent then. Watching while the echo of Jien's voice abated. Eventually, the Queen raised her chin.

"Then why did you not, Captain Ives?" she asked, the iron in her tone still there.

Taking a couple of deep breaths, Jien put his hands on his hips and chuckled, knowing it might be futile. Still, he spoke, raising his eyes to the Queen, the truth his last resort. "Because a Captain always goes down with his ship, and if I could not redeem my crew and cast the enemy into garish light... I would live to fight again," he said, and as he stepped away, he gestured towards her. "I admire your stand-point, Queen Aga-Una, and I understand how your people see glory in no retreat and no surrender. We, however, value victory, and not throwing our lives away on a whim. Not when the Galaxy hangs in the balance."

The only omission Jien made... was that he feared that the Theurgy would have lingered if he had beamed aboard Starbase 84, and that both his and Captain Kendrick's crews would have died. Obviously, this was not the time to speak of fear.

OOC: To avoid another monologue like this again, however, I will not be writing the Queen any more. I think it would be best if @FollowTomorrow wrote for the Aga-una as well as Sar-unga, and before she replies with the verdict, perhaps 1) Trent and 2) Eloi-Danvers can bide their time in silence, awaiting said verdict, and reacting to Ives' admission?

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #10
[ Sar-unga Neleo | Flag Bridge | USS Theurgy ] @Auctor Lucan  @CanadianVet @Brutus
Perhaps the Queen really did have her wicked charm. Though Sar-unga didn't see her as scary at first, her handling of words, her diplomacy returned the fear that she once held in her heart. If she remembered right, the Queen was not always so...terrifying. When Sar-unga was younger, she seemed warmer, if only by one or two degrees.

She was needling Ives, prodding him. She tested for weakness, and she found it. The admission was interesting, the reactions of his crew even more so. This was the sign of a remarkable man—and a serious miscommunication. The Queen did not truly smile, in the textbook definition of the term, but the scene before her entertained her.

Sar-unga was not visible on the view screen, but she felt very small in front of the Queen, despite knowing she was actually taller than the woman in real life. She made Ives lose his cool, which was startling in and of itself, but the fact that the Monarch seemed to enjoy that scene? How could anyone enjoy Ives, the Coolest of Cool, losing his signature Cool?

Every second after Ives' last words had Sar-unga filled with conflicted, directionless rage. She had before been angry at the Captain, Trent, the quiet ensign, but now she did not know who to cast her rage on. Everyone was innocent and guilty all at the same time and it made her head spin. Most of all though, she felt panicked. The Queen needed to be placated. She wasn't sure how, or what would even fix it, since she'd never seen the Queen angry like this before, but this was Bad. Asurians don't snivel and grovel, and a display of such vulgarity would likely anger everyone, but there was a certain sort of behavior that moments like this required. She needed to hear someone speak up, admit that the Federation was wrong, these deaths were wrong, that they had failed utterly and completely. Someone needed to admit that they fucked up.

She just didn't know if she had the guts to do that.

OOC: I'll have a post for Aga-Una after everyone else has a turn responding! Brutus, let me know if you need more than this!

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #11
[ Ens. Faye Lintah Eloi-Danvers  | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn:

If not for the training that Faye had endured, and her service aboard the USS Cortes, her face would have betrayed everything she was feeling. Which was, primarily, shock at her Captains revelation. Oh my gods, what in the four hells did I miss?? She screamed in her mind, but not a word passed her lips. Nor did her expression change, save for a small twitch of her eyebrows. Her hands, clasped behind her back, wrung against each other (sloppily at that, the servos in the false hand acting up - or so she thought), and her toes curled inside of her boots. Thankfully none of that was visible. Schooling her features was second nature to Faye. The cold sweat running down the back of her neck and the slightly light headed sensation she was beginning to develop were not helping her control, but all the same, training prevailed. Mind over mater.

Digesting the captains argument and the rage displayed by the Asurians (if not exactly by the Queen herself) was enough to upset Faye's stomach. She racked her mind, delving deep into the memories - the flashes - she'd gained from Riley when the woman had mused on all that Faye might have missed. But the images, the impressions were all spotty. She'd learned a lot, but it was all from the nurses limited perspective. Not that Riley would like to be referred to as limited in any fashion Faye ruefully acknowledged. Her desires not to indirectly offend her nurse did not at all change the fact that what Faye had learned from the lighter haired brunette, and what she had gleaned from the general wave of emotions that was the crew of the Theurgy did not prepare her at all for the Captains revelation, nor the very, very murky emotions she was picking up from behind the facade the cameloid wore. Does he have a death wish? If only she could get some sense from the man...instead of that sluge that was her captains mind.

Unlike the ever increasingly sharp emotions - if not thoughts - she was reading from Sar-unga.

The longer that Faye was in the room with the ships local Asurian, the more she got a feeling for the way the alien's mind worked. She didn't exactly want that, but at the same time, the woman was practically broadcasting her thoughts and emotions. This is cheating she told herself, but as her professors had explained back at the Academy, and at the graduate course on Babel, that was the Art of Diplomacy: cheating. Clearly, Sar-Unga was as caught off guard about what Cpt. Ives was saying in regards to sacrificing himself as Faye had been.

But what about how her government is reaction? Does she want us all to die 'for Ausria' as well? Dark, dark thoughts filled the back of Faye's mind as the sweat she felt seemed to intensify. Her heart beat faster in her chest, moment by moment. How much was her own self doubt, in the wake of her revival? How much was the intensity of the conversation between Ives and this Queen? And how much was emotional backlash from the room - from the ship? It was as if all her other senses, sight, smell, taste even, were being drowned out. The pressure was draining, damming, and Faye was sure that she had visibly paled since the start of the meeting.

The sickening taste of panic rose in her throat, akin to bile but with a harsh, alkaline flavor to it. Her pitch black eyes darted over to Sar-Unga, and in that moment at least, she knew the source of her discomfort was external. The Petty Officer was so concerned that alien or not, Faye understood her rage and fear. It certainty wasn't Trent, the First Officer. Hyper focused and accutely orginzied, all she got from the human in the room was a sense of taking the measure of them all, a man determined to defend his captain.

But there was nothing she could do to resolve the situation. Of all of them, it would be most inappropriate, most damming, for Faye to try and confront the Queen, as she'd not even been conscious for the attack. And her speaking up would undermine Ives - something Faye refused to do.

OOC: I Think this reasonably conveys the emotional overload she's getting right now.

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #12
[ Cmdr Carrigan Trent  | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus @FollowTomorrow  @Auctor Lucan

Trent was no diplomat.  He knew and recognized it.  While he was a very skilled tactician and a subtle commander in battle, he lacked the sort of finesse that was necessary to be effective in these sort of meetings.  But he was one who dealt in facts; and he knew his calculations had been correct with regards to his soft-kill weapon, and nothing he had said a bloody word about the Orcus speeding up her work-ups and joining the task force early. 

Based on the information available at the time, their planning had been correct, and decisions had been made.  And that meant he would stand by his, and the Captain's to proceed as they had. 

But it would seem the Queen took exception to it.  Even claiming they were incompetent for not seeing such a thing coming, or for not preparing for every eventuality; something her own forces had failed to do, for that matter.  But Jien Ives?  The Chameloid had something to say all right.  And at the outburst, claiming s/he meant to stay behind?  That led to Trent giving his commanding officer a sidelong glance, the only expression of his surprise.  And with what followed, there were things left unsaid.  But what had been said made sense: if you don't succeed at first, there is no point in a suicidal last stand. 

"Madam," started the XO.  "As the Captain said, victory means more than glory.  If we'd been destroyed, there'd be no one else to keep on fighting; our mission would fail.  And certainly you can see value in placing mission success ahead of glory."  But he was not quite done, if those putative allies meant to keep overstating their superiority in warfare, he would remind them of their own shortcomings.  "Also, your own commanders failed to insist on any sort of working-up or even comparing doctrine before the engagement; nor did they foresee, as apparently true Asurian warriors should, the possibility their ships would be on the receiving end of nine thousand micro-torpedoes in a single salvo. "

"Now, there are two ways this can go.  We can keep hurling our respective shortcomings at each other and go exactly nowhere, or we can accept that decisions were made by both sides that did not pan out, and we figure out a way to move forward."

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #13
[ Sar-unga Neleo | Flag Bridge | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus @Auctor Lucan @CanadianVet

What entertainment she had here today, if by entertainment you meant annoyance. As Dyan went even paler, the Monarch's face smoothed into a much more genuine smile that somehow seemed more hostile than the bared teeth of her outraged counsel behind her. Her eyes scanned all three members of the group. The woman...looked ill, or perhaps she was of a race whose skin color changed often. She had not spoken yet, so Aga-Una could not class her as a problem or insignificant yet.
Trent spoke, but she waved her hand as he ended his speech, indicated she had enough of whatever he said. He was not a diplomat, it showed in his words. He came out and directly attacked her and her peoples' decision making, from his point of view. If she were a lesser woman, it might have bothered her. It didn't work, though she would privately admit, if he had the education to present his points with more care, it might have undermined her authority.

“So your Commander admits that your people were under-prepared, Ives, or perhaps unwilling. It is a leader's responsibility to communicate, after all. How can we trust those who keep their words inside them, little captain? No, our decisions did not pan out. But this discussion, this is how we will decide to move forward. I expect you must know that, or else we would not be having a convening of the minds as we are, Commander. And currently, our direction forward...” She paused, listening to the voices of her counsel behind her, or maybe just emphasizing the sheer anger of her people with her own silence. There were many voices at once, all angry, all hurt.

One woman stood up out of her chair and snarled at the Theurgy, pointing, swearing she would have The Theurgy spill blood for the lives lost. Her promise inspired a number of other Counsel members. Blood for blood became their cry. Some even listed off the names of the dead, as if to emphasize the sheer number of lives they would be taking.
The enraged counsel-woman did not inspire all members, however. A gentleman, serious and sitting with piercing eyes, suggested that the Theurgy did not take precedence over the current problems with the Sheromi. Though he did not describe these issues in detail, he had a respectable number of people who agreed. Some even switched sides from one issue to another.

It was chaos to listen to, chaos to watch. These members made no effort to hide their emotions. They accurately embodied the pain and conflict that now took the hearts of the Asurian people. To tie them all together was the Monarch, whose eyes opened and stared down at the Federation trio displayed on her screen.

“This is my official declaration, hear me now.” She spoke, and hearing these announcing words, her counsel became hushed and slightly more restrained, “It is not within my plans to chase the Theurgy down and kill her men and women. I find it very likely that she will not survive regardless of our interference. However--” She cut off the rising protest before it even started, as if she saw the distress in the faces behind her without ever looking, “--Blood for blood has always been our way. The great loss we've faced at the hands of these solitary 'heroes' is too much for many of us to bear. If you must scour the Azure Nebula for your prey, then do so with honor befitting of Asurians.”
At once, it seemed that scowls turned to smiles. The woman from earlier shouted to someone offscreen to ready her ship, and she logged off almost right away. A massive, hulking man, he dwarfed even the other Asurians, his roar of triumph was the last thing his viewscreen displayed before he too logged off. Most stayed, but it was clear the Theurgy was not going to be left unmolested anymore.
“My declaration to Sar-unga Neleo, our ever-faithful spy."  She began again, her people behind her quieted, but were in much higher spirits now. "Her mission has effectively ended. She is to return home aboard one of the ships one their way to you right now. I do not expect that she would be compromised, but if she is, her death will not be considered a punishable offense by my people, or yours, for that matter.
"And lastly Ives, this is my declaration to you.”“If you are still alive, if Asuria or your own poor leadership has not ruined you, then you will have proven to me that you have some merit as Captain. We will speak again. If not, I look forward to viewing your corpse funeral rites myself. Goodbye.”

She logged off, and so the room was dark and quiet once more. Standing in the shadows was Dyan, who heard her orders loud and clear, but could not take it upon herself to respond just yet.

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #14
[ Captain Ives | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]
When the Monarch had made her declaration and cut the feed, the silence lingered on the Theurgy's flag bridge.

The Queen had opted to let those of her people who craved blood for blood to go a-hunting in the Nebula, not about to stop them. She did not give the order, but would condone the actions of those who launched in search for the Theurgy. From what Jien could gather, the remaining Asurian forces around their cloaked habitats would make something called the 'Sheromi' their priority. Dyan Cardamone had never spoken of those before, and Jien could not make any guesses as to what the nature of the 'Sheromi' was. It was also not his immediate concern... as she changed into her female form and turned towards Trent and Eloi-Danvers.

"Thea?" she said, heart still racing, her lips a thin line. She put her hands on her hips and looked to the deck plates.

[Yes, Captain?]

"Alert Lieutenant Commander Marquez that the Asurian people are no longer allies, and any sign of their saucers in proximity to the ship is to be considered a hostile threat. If sighted, raise shields, and go to Red Alert. Do not, however, open fire unless they fire first. Please alert Commander Ravon in Tactical CONN as well, along with Veradin since his CONN pilots are aiding in the repair efforts. These orders are to remain the knowledge of the Senior Staff, and not to be issued to other officers unless the Asurians are, indeed, sighted."

[Acknowledged. Message transmitted.]

Having said this, Jien raised her eyes and looked at Faye Eloi-Danvers. "From what little you have seen, can you offer any assessment?"

Then, listening, Jien turned her head to look at Sar-unga where she sat in the shadows. She could not imagine what the Asurian was thinking, but at least - unless they opened fire immediately - she would be granted leave to return to her people, if that should be her wish. To be honest, judging by what the Queen had said, Jien was not entirely sure the Petty Officer would be welcome back. Deeply, Jien regretted approaching the young-looking woman with the request for her people's aid at Starbase 84. Not only had she lost her family, she might even have been condemned to exile because of her affiliation with Jien and her crew.

She waited for the Asurian to say something, since she had no idea where her heart was at. As for herself, she had regrets about a lot of things, but even if mistakes had been made during the audience, she was not prepared to hold Trent responsible for them. Not when the Asurians were so ill-tempered, and the situation during the battle had been as unfortunate as it had been unpredictable. Not when she had made mistakes as well, knowing their lost allies too poorly.

OOC: Posting Order: 1) @Brutus 2) @FollowTomorrow 3) @CanadianVet FYI about the Asurian threat and standing orders: @Mathis @Nolan @Striker N7

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #15
[ Ens. Faye Lintah Eloi-Danvers  | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow @CanadianVet @Auctor Lucan 

The cold sweat that had already been dripping down the back of Faye's neck seemed to freeze to ice in the one, painful moment that the Asurian Queen locked eyes with the Betazoid Diplomat. She froze Faye in place, and the telepath felt as if her very soul was being weighed and judged, her existence put on trial - and found wanting. Never before had Faye actually quaked in her own boots, but so help her, by all the gods of Betazed, she did then in that moment, and felt less of herself as a result. Some diplomat i am she bitterly decried, as she felt waves of anxiety fill the room.

Silent as a tomb, Faye watched, as the Asurian councilors raged and argued behind the alien Queen. She felt the dismay that rolled off of only Asurian present in the room, and felt her own stomach clench when the Queen decried Cmdr. Trents attempts at diplomacy. What in the name of the gods is that man doing?? she asked herself, feeling frustrated in addition to light headed and overwhelmed. Did he major in making things worse 101 at the Academy? Perhaps he learned diplomacy under the tutelage of a Klingon. No, a Pakled. Definitely a Pakled. It was an unkind conclusion about a man she knew was only doing what he could to  defend his captain. But moments like this was why diplomacy was best left to diplomats.

But then the ultimatum was passed, and silence filled the bridge. Faye's heart was racing a mile a minute an her mind was awash with emotion, from herself, from Trent, Sar-unga, even Captain Ives. She shut her eyes and curled her hands into fists, struggling for control. She found it, barely, and her eyes snapped open in time for her to see Captain Ives turn her way. The woman was a pinnacle of calm, collected control, not at all physically betraying her actual feelings. It would have been reassuring, save that Faye had an inkling of what was going on behind that oaken countenance.

"Nothing much beyond the obvious, ma'am," Faye's voice was soft, laced with concern. She bit her lip, her brows turning upward, before she glanced over at the First Officer she'd only just met. "Unfortunately I do not believe she responded well at all to Cmdr. Trent's...unorthodox diplomatic tactics." There! That wasn't scathing at all. Downright...diplomatic she thought. A small glance towards Sar-unga, but she held her own council still, and as such, Faye did not speak to, or of, the Petty Officer. Instead, she returned back to her Captain, and concluded, as best she could, her impressions.

"In short, we are to be tested Captain," Faye clasped her hands together, the live one, sweat soaked, the false one, dry to the touch. "Should we survive those seeking vengeance upon us," you! I've done nothing!, "We could very well win back their allegiance. But then again, its difficult to tell. They seem to be more eager for a fight - any fight - than the Klingons themselves. Hellbent, one might say. And then there are theses....Sheromi?" She shrugged. "Whomever, or whatever they are, they preoccupied a large degree of the Asurian council's concern. I have no idea how that might be useful to us though, sir."

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #16
[ Sar-unga Neleo | Flag Bridge | USS Theurgy ] @Auctor Lucan  @CanadianVet @Brutus

Waves and waves of anxiety came from Dyan and she imagined that if she were in the water, she would be making ripples right now, stirring up all the dirty, yucky stuff on the bottom that she didn't want to think about. It came to a head during the queen's final declarations. Like her whole body was vibrating with feelings she didn't have words for, she wanted to throw herself out an airlock, scream, flip a table over, or maybe a combination of all three at once. Looking around the room, it felt like she was the only one who had any sense of the profundity of the situation. Everyone else just gave her furtive looks, like they didn't know what to do with her, what to make of the situation. Sar-unga thought she saw pity in their eyes. She wished she could punch the pity right off of their faces.

“Is that—is that it?! That was your diplomacy! That's what you people had to say to the actual, literal Queen of Asurians? You might as well rolled over and said 'kill me now, please'! What's wrong with you people?! Why can't you—why aren't you--” She started stumbling over her words, because as she spoke, she realized she would've done just as poorly, if not worse if it were her in front of the screen. If anything, the queen was merciful, weirdly merciful. If she were of right mind, she'd be concerned, but since she wasn't in her right mind, she grabbed at her horns and tugged, with a loud frustrated “Aaaauggggh!”

She couldn't direct her anger at anyone here, not anymore. But she couldn't direct it at the Asurians either, she felt their pain. She felt their pain more than they did, she thought. Now she had a new challenge: stay, or go home. If she was honest with herself, she'd rather just stop existing altogether, erase her presence from time forward and backward, but she couldn't do that. She couldn't let anyone know her conflict—to even suggest that she thought about going home was traitorous.

“Permission to—to just—have some more time with the comms. I need to talk. To my mother.” She wasn't sure she'd get that time, but maybe if they understood who she wanted to speak with, they'd let her. Humans liked mothers a lot. She liked her mother a lot too. Though that woman had less sense than a malfunctioning hologram, talking to her made Sar-unga feel better on the inside. It made all her angry voices subside, even if for a little while. She stared at the trio in front of her, almost expectantly, but with too much exhaustion written on her face to be sure.

Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #17
[ Cmdr Carrigan Trent  | Corridor | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus @FollowTomorrow @Auctor Lucan

The audience with the Asurian queen came to an end, and Trent was left to consider what had been said, and how.  And, particularly, the fact that many of the advisors and members of the government clustered about her had been baying and demanding.  And while he certainly was no diplomat or politician, there were enough parallels to historical precedents for the Executive Officer to start building something resembling a picture of the current state of internal Asurian dynamics, and there was the exact wording the Queen had used. 

With discussions happening, the XO could not help a ghost of a smile at the Ensign's choice of words.  That was indeed carefully couched to avoid saying what she really thought of his negotiating style.  But then again, she'd just woken up from stasis.  And while there was no real need for him to explain himself, he would if only for her benefit.  "Captain, I'd like to point out, the Queen herself isn't actively hostile towards us; she might have said 'blood for blood' was their way, but I believe she personally understands and accepts the decisions made during the engagement.  If she did truly want us dead, she would have called for her people to actively hunt us down; instead she simply gave them leave to do so if they were so inclined." 

Carrigan Trent had gone to the Academy to become a man who'd command starships, and so he had picked the tactical and command track, and his choice of studies had reflected that.  Even the science courses he needed were geared to support that.  But his studies had included a good deal of history.  "Overall, I'm not certain of the Queen's end-game, but giving permission to come after us was probably the least she could do to not declare war against us, while placating the factions among the Asurians who want us dead.  She made no policy decision there; if anything she bought herself time to think by distracting the more bloodthirsty around her; if they kill us, then it'll relieve her of having to deal with us anymore.  If they fail, then she'll be able to tell her people we are worthy warriors ourselves and she'll find a way to sell the decision to retreat to her people, along with the loss of so much of their fighting force, which will be fairly easy since those who hate us the most will be dead themselves."

But Eloy-Danvers had raised a very valid point, regarding the Sheromi. And that would bear some more thought.  "You make an excellent point, Ensign; but at this point I would be leery to approach the Sheromi: they may be the enemy of some of our enemies, but that hardly makes them our friends."

Only then did he turn towards Cardamone.  The woman was understandably distraught, and her request to speak to her family, that was something he understood.  And something, that, on some level, he envied her.  "Petty Officer, unless the Captain decides otherwise, I see no problem with you making contact with your family.  However, given the circumstances, I would have to insist on Thea monitoring the call, for operational security reasons.  I trust you would not willingly divulge information that would see us in danger, but it is not a risk I am willing to take at this point in time."


Re: Day 02 [1900 hrs.] Precarious Parlay

Reply #18
[ Captain Ives | Flag Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]
Thoughtfully, Ives listened to the three present people, each in turn. Neither Faye nor Trent had further insight than the obvious, and while Petty Officer Cardamone had every right to blame them for the outcome, Jien could not foresee how they'd fared any better without challenge and honesty. That was what the Queen had been given, and while she had been unable to speak her motives, they were quite plain. For a species allegedly bent on battle and bloodshed, the Queen had made a very political move in her declaration.

Instead of challenging the ones who sought to spill the Theurgy crew's blood, she had granted their wishes and sent them on their way, and yet also indulged those who wished to focus on these... Sheromi, and whatever threat they might post to the Asurians. Instead of dividing her people, she had given them all what they wanted, and could determine for herself whether or not Ives could handle the Asurians that entered the Azure Nebula. Jien believed Faye was entirely correct when she said they were to be tested.

Cardamone's outbust, justified as it was, did not tell Jien what she thought about leaving the ship, and Commander Trent's terms for her to speak with her mother was sound. Therefore, Jien neither corrected those terms nor did she wish to delay, about to the Asurian woman establish the link and speak with her mother. She cleared her throat, contemplating what to say to her crewmember in this time of her personal turmoil.

"Petty Officer." She took a few steps towards Dyan, away from Trent and Eloi-Danvers, and folded her hands behind her back as she spoke directly to the Asurian. Her chin raised, eyes level, Jien ironed out where things stood in terms of the situation. "Whatever you want to do, you should know that you have our full support. Whether you want to stay as a member of this crew, and continue this mission of ours, or if you want to return to your people and be with your mother in this time of grief, I will do what I can to enable it."

Saying this Jien turned to leave, nodding for Trent and Eloi-Danvers to accompany her, but paused before she reached the exit of he Flag Bridge. Turning her head, the light from the corridor caught one side of her face, and she spoke to Dyan Cardamone in parting. "You had Sonja Acreth re-captured on the Harbinger as we left Theta Eridani behind, your healing abilities helped letting Junior Lieutenant Morali lead a dignified life despite what happened to him, and you were in the boarding parties both at the Black Opal and Starbase 84. If you choose to leave, you should know that you have served this crew well, and you needn't feel any shame."

Saying this, Jien turned and left the Asurian behind with her thoughts - letting her contemplate her fate.

OOC: @FollowTomorrow , let me know if you want to post a last post in reaction to Ives words, or if I should put a FIN tag here and lock the thread. :)

Simple Audio Video Embedder