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Day 08 [1445 hrs.] A Simple Request

| Rylan Sil | Deck 22 | Arboretum| U.S.S. Theurgy | @Pierce

As a civilian, there were places aboard the Theurgy that Rylan was generally not permitted to go. Restricted areas, such as the bridge, made sense from an operational perspective. That it made sense did not make it easy to do the job of a journalist aboard a Starfleet ship. He just wanted to set up a dedicated subspace feed to FNN. It seemed like a simple request to Rylan. It had turned out to be anything but, thanks to totally logical Starfleet protocol.

The night before, Rylan had put in his request to the Operations department. He woke the following day to find the request had been denied, pending authorization from the ship’s intelligence department. It had taken him over two hours after breakfast to find a way to schedule a meeting with someone from the intelligence department. Even then the crewman that he had managed to contact hadn’t provided a firm commitment. When the young man had contacted him again to finally set up the meeting Rylan was finishing his lunch. He had been given the time and the place, but hadn’t been told exactly who from the intelligence department he would be meeting there.

Rylan had left Mera in his quarters when he departed for the Theurgy’s arboretum. He didn’t see any need to put his mysterious contact immediately on edge with the prospect of being filmed. His instructions had been very clear about the circumstances of the meeting. Rylan would arrive first and sit at a particular bench to the side of the central pond in the shadow of one of the weeping willows that towered inside the three story garden. Then the officer would arrive for their tête-à-tête.

Since he hadn’t been told exactly how long he would be waiting, Rylan had come prepared with a PADD loaded with the research he had done so far. He was reviewing the tactical logs that Thea had given him back at the embassy. As he read he kept flipping back to the archive of Kevin Alton’s articles on the topic, comparing the differences, unable to reconcile them in his head. He had been waiting there for some time and became so engrossed in his reading that he didn’t notice the approach of the red-collared lieutenant until she was sitting beside him on the white bench.

Re: Day 08 [1445 hrs.] A Simple Request

Reply #1
[ Lt. Alana Pierce | Deck 22 | Arboretum | USS Theurgy ] | ATTN: @oberonfrost [Show/Hide]

It was early in the morning that Alana had received an inquiry from one of the officers in the intelligence department. The press. Always ready to dig, to inquire, and find the angle with the ounces of truth. She wasn't exactly sure what to expect of the inquiries but she figured that having the press on their side wasn't a bad thing considering the rough journey this ship has had. The Arboretum was the place of choice in this situation. Somewhere distant from much tech, and for the most part less likely to have random officers or crew running about. Before she sent the okay and proper conditions however she decided it best to pass the information along later for the okayed meeting.

Pierce walked towards the door frame of the Arboretum. Unsure all the details of the individual she was to meet however she had done some research on him. As far as she could tell, he was a harmless Risian looking for the truth and clearly not getting what he was expecting elsewhere. Something that just wasn't adding up. She had hopes that the man would not bring any recording devices but decided to put in place a short range scrambling device ahead of time in terms of security of the conversation.

She entered the door as it swished open. Alana took in the sights of the Arboretum. It was a beautiful location for someone who actually misses the main land from time to time. That and it was a helpful science aboard the ship, studying other botanical life. The three layers of the deck showed all of the beauty in full view. She took in a deep breath and felt the clean air of the plants circulate through her lungs as she exhaled. So much better than synthetic air, but little exposure will do.

Across the way the FNN Correspondent presently looked downward, appearing to read something on his PADD. She smiled as she approached the fellow redheaded individual. Too engrossed, her footsteps snuck right up on him. Sitting down now, she pulled her uniform down to straighten the wrinkles in the top and getting comfortable. She leaned back on the bench allowing it to help her crack her back before she spoke for the first time with him.

Her pink lips parted as she spoke. "It's a good morning, isn't it?" She glanced over at the man, reaching to shake his hand. "I'm Lieutenant Pierce. Intelligence Department. And you are Rylan Sil, correct?" She smiled briefly. "I understand there are some things you'd like to do while you're aboard. Such as the setup of a dedicated subspace feed to the Federation News Network. Am I correct in my assumption?"

Never having had to deal in the open before with intelligence operations, she knew there were some lines she could and couldn't cross without jeopardizing the situation the Theurgy found herself in. But she also knew that the rest of the Federation deserved to know what they were truly dealing with at command. "I scanned the area before walking in. I appreciate the sincerely of your request and mine for not having recording devices on hand. As you can imagine, this ship has been through a lot despite over half the crew being fresh transplants and the others being here since the start." She gave a warmer smile.

"Would you care to go for a walk around the Arboretum? I've not had the pleasure of checking out this portion of the ship yet, and it gives it a nice Earthan feel to the conversation." She paused briefly readjusting her uniform as she stood up. He right arm motioned forward as if to direct him to come with her. "What else can I help you with?"

Re: Day 08 [1445 hrs.] A Simple Request

Reply #2
| Rylan Sil | Deck 22 | Arboretum | @Pierce

Alana Pierce was not what Rylan had expected when this had all been arranged. Mostly, she reminded him of one of his older sisters on his father's side, Ilthia. Neither of them was what Rylan pictured when he thought of Starfleet Intelligence. Indeed, he'd have been more likely to put both of them in the femme fatale category. Alana's looks were a passing thought as he took her hand, returning the firm squeeze. "That's right, FNN," he said and quickly flashed the holographic credentials that were provided by the Federation's leading news outlet.

"That's definitely number one on the list," he said candidly. "I'll need a way to communicate with our HQ outside of the military channels. I know it sounds like a big ask given the situation we're in," he put his hands up in a mock don't shoot me gesture, but it's just as much for the ship's security as it is freedom of the press. By avoiding standard Starfleet satellite relays and using the dedicated FNN comm-sats, it's less likely for Starfleet's... infested... is that the right word?... to be able to track us through me."

He hadn't expected that Alana would scan the area, but he was certainly relieved that Mera was back in his quarters. "I'd love a walk, lieutenant," he said, standing and stretching his back before setting off down the walking path that meandered through the greenest space on the ship. "And we're off the record, so no recording devices necessary. If you ever want to talk on the record though, I'd be glad to do that another time."

The pair made their way along the path at a brisk pace, neither too quickly nor too slowly. "Second big ask," he said as they rounded a large oak tree, according to the placard he'd glanced along the base of the truck, "I need more information on these parasites. It's... almost impossible to really tell this story without knowing the biology, history, culture... well, you get the idea... of these things. And that's what I want to do lieutenant, tell the Theurgy's story; the story of her crew and what you've all been through these last few months.

"Captain Ives has already given me some data back on Qo'noS, but it was mostly tactical maps, some battle records. And data is good, lieutenant, but when it comes to something like this emotions are what we want to invoke. One way I can do that is by describing what these things do to the people they get inside.  Think you can help me out with that?"

Re: Day 08 [1445 hrs.] A Simple Request

Reply #3
[ Lt. Alana Pierce | Deck 22 | Arboretum | USS Theurgy ] | ATTN: @oberonfrost [Show/Hide]

Lt. Pierce listened intently as she was sure the redheaded male beside her was doing as they spoke back and forth. She took note of the details between the messages she received and his request. Both seemed to align but she wanted to be sure she could trust what he put out was helpful for their cause. Also the cause seemingly got more difficult as time progressed for them on the vessel. Not for her per say but it was for the crew she noted on the short amount of time she'd been onboard.

Turning to him as they walked past a short evergreen tree, admiring the beauty of the trees and their earthen smells. "Well, I think I can help arrange the satellite feed. We have friends in the empire we can utilize as a bouncing station in the meantime. So a Theurgy to Klingon outpost connect can be arranged." She smiled at him kindly to show she was willing to help so long as it wasn't overstepping her department or the safety for those aboard the Theurgy.

Pausing her steps, she almost laughed at his stance for not being shot as he made further remarks. "No, I am all for freedom of the press, especially in these desparate times. But be aware, the infested, and yes they are called that, are everywhere. In many instances they are people you wouldn't suspect and are listening in where they have the access and agents posted."

They continued to walk as they passed the large oak tree, she knew it was coming. What are the creatures? was the question asked. "Well, they are creatures from another galaxy or part of it anyhow. They are almost akin to trill but manifest themselves on the spine to the brain stem." She pointed to his neck, gently touching the back in the area a tell is typically located. "But they are extraordinarily strong too. These creatures connect them in almost a hive mind that can be...interesting to say the least. While I cannot show you one, I do know first hand that it's not something you're prepared to come face to face with." A brief shiver left her as she began walking again next to him.

She handed him a PADD with some authorized information, albeit with redacted data that the Intel department had to scrub for their own security. "Here. This has some additional data on their physiology. We haven't yet figured out how to separate them from their hosts without death being the outcome. This crew has had to endure quite a lot. Much more than I have being freshly aboard."

Nodding, Alana took note of the data that Ives had given over to the man beside her. "The crew is scared to be honest. Scared they'll never get to go home. Scared they'll die in this quest to bring safety back to the Federation and the galaxy at large. The bombing in Paris with the Thalaron bomb struck some hard as several members of the crew lost family due to these bugs. The ship hasn't been outlawed that long and their comrades are like a revolving door of pain as they're killed in action."

She pondered the next words carefully as she attempted to tell what they could without letting all their cats out of the bag. "While I do know of a particular individual who has been infested, it isn't pleasent from what I've heard. They manifest almost like an implant the Borg use to connect themselves to each other. But it's organic in nature. The body becomes a vessel for the infested to carry on their mission with the owner in the backseat unable to stop them."

Stopping to grab the next plant they came across, she placed her delicate fingers on them. It was a plant covered in flowers, beautiful colors, and she glanced at the butterfly flying atop of the petals. "I ask you to please keep this crew in your thoughts as you write and report on this matter. They've been through enough already without being hurt more. With any luck, we can bring things back to how they were before this mess happened."

Alana looked at him awaiting further input and reply on their conversation. "Do you have anything else I can answer for you?"

Re: Day 08 [1445 hrs.] A Simple Request

Reply #4
| Rylan Sil | Deck 22 | Arboretum| U.S.S. Theurgy | @Pierce

Rylan empathized with what the crew had to be going through. The few he'd met in the last few days, both on and off the record showed all the emotions that Alana had spoken of. The crew and what they were going through, not just in the physical world, but also psychologically and emotionally had to be at the center of this story. He knew that. Maybe she didn't know he knew that, and that was okay. These Starfleet types sure love to bury the lead though, he thought as the uniformed woman bent to pluck a vibrantly colored flower.

"Actually, can we back up a bit...," he said as he crouched down so that he was eye level with Alana. "Are you suggesting - and remember, we are off the record here -  that these parasites are responsible for the thalaron bombing in Paris? I thought that was the Romulans." Then he remembered Captain Jackson telling him at the start of all this that Praetor Tal'Aura was among the infested. So really he had his answer before Alana spoke a response. He waved a hand vigorously in the air as if he was trying to shoo away the question. He managed to shoo away the butterfly instead. "Never mind, forget I asked that. Stupid question, of course they are."

Stupid questions didn't embarrass Rylan, they just helped him think. Often they were rambles that happened to fall out of his mouth while his mind was processing other bits and pieces of disjointed information tucked away in his memories. "Better question - you said you know one of the infested. I'd imagine from your description, and that little skin-crawly shudder back there," he stood up as the butterfly came lilting back toward the flower bush, "that you've seen more than one of these things. But you know this one particular infested? Does that mean there's one of them on the ship?"

So what if there is though? They're not going to let you talk to it. Even if they do, what kind of answers do you expect to get out of a parasitic infiltrator, he thought as he followed the butterfly with his eyes, still keeping Alana in his periphery. Rylan extended a hand in the insect's direction. "Ya know, never mind that one either, lieutenant."

The butterfly alighted on his outstretched finger. "Did you know that butterflies from Earth are almost indistinguishable from the ones we have on Risa? At least on the surface. They're one of the most common insects in the galaxy, actually. I dated a lepidopterist... very briefly a while back. They've all got their tiny little differences, of course, but they're all butterflies." Just as quickly as it had landed the butterfly took to the  air once more looking for something sweeter than the Risian journalist. It probably sounded like silly, absentminded musing to Alana, but Rylan's thoughts were going full bore as he spoke. He wasn't thinking about butterflies though, not really; his thoughts had turned to caterpillars and cocoons and transformation. "You've given me a lot to think about, lieutenant... a lot of questions left to ask... but I think those are for another time."

Rylan turned to go, but stopped short. "Let me know if you wanna talk on the record sometime, lieutenant. Thanks again for this," he double-tapped the pocket where he'd stored the PADD Alana had handed him earlier. "Lemme know when that uplink to FNN is ready to go?"

Re: Day 08 [1445 hrs.] A Simple Request

Reply #5
[ Lt. Alana Pierce | Deck 22 | Arboretum | USS Theurgy ] | ATTN: @oberonfrost [Show/Hide]

This individual, this Rylan Sil from the FNN was certainly digging for something Alana felt. Something that either she could or couldn't tell in hopes that her mouth would overstep and leak some pertenent information or intel that may or may not concern him. However she did feel the need to leak at least some details to the fellow redheaded humanoid before her. The words pertaining to the parasites and thalaron wasn't lost on him nor was the comment about the speaking with an infested individual. Both she weighed heavily.

"Let's backup for a moment. Certain evidence has surfaced that the Thalaron weapon that destroyed Paris was conducted by an infested, not the Romulans as it would have been believed by the general public. It's not the first incident or attempt at such. But unfortunately that's all the information regarding that which I can relay at present."

Deciding to sidestep the comment about the infested being aboard, she alllowed partial details to surface. "I cannot confirm there being one either here on the ship nor nearby. However I can confirm that we've had contact with one. And this individual is willing to speak on our behalf and help us. Typically the individual cannot regain control but this one has. What is said is suspect either way as at times we're unsure who is in the driver seat. But I have only met one in person and seen the recordings of others with the same type of creature inhabiting them."

She glanced at the butterfly he was staring at presently. It was a beautiful insect native to many worlds. "I'm unsure what you're alluding to with the butterfly's but I think I catch your drift on them being difficult to distinguish from one another. despite appearances."

Her head cocked to the side in an almost Vulcan fashion as she also cocked an eyebrow in thought. Brought back to reality by Rylan's final statements regarding the FNN. "Let me coordinate with my superior one what else I can share and we can conduct that interview. Keep in touch in the meantime and I'll see about expediting that uplink. I think our partnership and that of the Diplomacy department can lend you a welcome hand in exposing these buggers and saving the galaxy."

Alana turned her body towards the plants as she heard his footsteps as he was going. "Until we speak again Mr. Syl. Thank you for your time." She concluded as her frame glanced at the beautiful plantlife, greenery of trees and the butterfly's before her. Pondering her own physical state as she thought about them being butterfly's no matter what change they've endured.

-FIN

 
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