The Siege Virus

[12:47] <FrontierWarGM> ["Dirac jump completed. Now in orbit around Ahsa's Berth." Said Navigator Tran.-
[12:49] <FrontierWarGM> [Ahsa's Berth was a planet slightly smaller than Earth. It consisted of a single super-continent covered mostly in vivid green, becoming desert in the very middle. The seas around it were a little more purple than Earth's oceans as well.-
[12:50] <FrontierWarGM> ["Scans show one other vessel in orbit: a Freepath cruiser." Said Gregory. "They haven't reacted to our arrival."]
[12:56] <Kayoko> "Then we stay out of their way," Kayako said. She sat cross-legged in the captain's chair, eyes bright as she scanned the readouts. "Keep our Field up and our weapons ready just in case, but we only fight in defense."-
[12:56] <Kayoko> "Can we get a precise location on the distress signal?"
[12:58] <FrontierWarGM> ["It seems to be coming from a government complex-" Gregory paused. "Wait. The planetary government's hailing us."]
[13:01] <Kayoko> "Open the line," she nodded.
[13:04] <FrontierWarGM> [The viewscreen changed to show a Shrinepath Devoted, wearing a green robe patterned with blue feathers; it had a tight collar. "This is Governor-Priestess Laksi. Have you come to answer our distress signal?"]
[13:05] * Liane stood by, lined up on the bridge looking prim and proper - and calm - behind Kayoko. Letting the captain do the talking for now.
[13:11] <Kayoko> "That's correct, Governor-Priestess," Kayoko said. "I'm Captain Hyuga, and we're here to provide what aid we can. Do we have your permission to land a small party at the source of your signal so that we can discuss this further?"
[13:12] <FrontierWarGM> ["If the blockade allows it." Said Laksi. "We haven't heard anything from them, so-"-
[13:13] <FrontierWarGM> [The hairs (or downy feathers) on everyone's necks suddenly prickled.-
[13:14] <FrontierWarGM> ["Captain." Said Idris, his voice taut. "We've been engulfed in a high-powered dirac jamming field."-
[13:14] <FrontierWarGM> ["High energy spike, 180 degrees by 90!" Said Gregory. "There's a ship appearing out of nowhere!"-
[13:16] <FrontierWarGM> [The viewscreen changed, showing a patch of space suddenly shimmering as though caught in a heat mirage. A moment later- a starship appeared. It was long, sleek, either black or very dark purple.-
[13:16] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet let out a short screech. "That's an Overseer Dreadnought." He said. "But no ship that large should have such a well-functioning cloaking device!"-
[13:17] <FrontierWarGM> ["The ship's shields are up, but its weapons are unpowered. We are being hailed." Said Gregory.]
[13:22] <Kayoko> "Well clearly they do. We should adjust our expectations, don't you think?" Kayoko asked. She made a short gesture towards Gregory, "Take the call, I'll buy time. While I do, you, Violet and Idris pool resources and get me every scrap of data we can on that dreadnought. Weapons, shielding, whatever you can get from externals. Tran, work out if we have an exit route."
[13:23] <FrontierWarGM> ["Understood."-
[13:23] <FrontierWarGM> [The viewscreen changed again, now displaying… A bridge.-
[13:23] * Liane was looking less calm, more perturbed now. Still keeping her mouth shut.
[13:24] <FrontierWarGM> [It was hard to see much on the bridge; most of it was shrouded in darkness, where the forms of Warslaves and other entities moved about from console to console. The only thing properly illuminated was a single figure sitting on a high-backed chair on a raised dais in the middle of the room.-
[13:26] <FrontierWarGM> [The figure was tall and thin, and wore ornate robes of dark purple gilded with silver. It wore a mask, very similar to a Defector's, but this one was highly decorated with faint inscriptions and engravings. The mask was built so that the back and top formed the head of an eagle-like bird made of silver. Each of its four eyes gleamed green.-
[13:27] <FrontierWarGM> [Its crest-feathers were mostly white, with small 'eyes' of swirling, languid rainbows.-
[13:28] <FrontierWarGM> ["Greetings, Captain Hyuga." Said the Overseer, his voice mellifluous and rich. "You have the pleasure of addressing Sector Master Conqueror-of-the-Last-Frontier, noble and proud scion of the ancient House of Grasping-The-Spiral-Truth."-
[13:29] <FrontierWarGM> [Franco and Zima glanced automatically towards Kess's holographic plinth. Violet, on the other hand, leapt out of his seat. "You-"-
[13:31] * Liane was definitely glancing in that direction with Franco and Zima, too.
[13:31] * Kayoko made a short, sharp gesture in Violet's direction, her face remaining still. Everyone on the bridge received the same telepathic message. sit down
[13:33] <FrontierWarGM> ["Do sit down, Calligrapher-of-the-Ultraviolet-Inks. Let your new masters talk." Said Conqueror. "Captain Hyuga, I greet you on behalf of the Overseer Empire. Whilst we do not object to occasional commerce and cultural trade, we insist that you respect our territorial sovereignty and our spheres of influence."-
[13:33] <FrontierWarGM> [His feathers turning a dark and ugly indigo-red, Violet settled back into his chair. Vengeance-
[13:34] <FrontierWarGM> [ Not today. Responded Conqueror. "Now, Captain. Are you here about the distress signal?"]
[13:38] * Kess … had not heard of this particular lineage. No, not at all. She stared impassively, and made it a point for her holo-plumage to dim to a grim, flat, slate-grey. A powerful UNmessage, as if noting I refuse to show feelings, here and now.. Intentional, sledgehammer-subtle stoicism. …The techs near her real location might feel, though, a palpable radiance of fury.
[13:42] * Kayoko didn't respond immediately. Instead she reached below her collar and disengaged her translation band, even as a fan of pale blue illusory feathers appeared behind her head. When she finally opened her mouth, what came out was a perfect, songlike series of notes and clicks - Seer language.-
[13:42] <Kayoko> ["Of course. Seige-viruses are frowned upon where we come from. Protecting the weak"]
[13:42] <Inara> Inara's holographic projection was simply watching, eyes blank and somewhat disbelieving.
[13:43] <FrontierWarGM> [Conqueror clucked. "What?"]
[13:44] <Kess> …Kess tilted slightly. That, was a thing she didn't know Kayoko also did.
[13:48] <Kayoko> … it probably should have bothered her more, but instead Kayoko simply tilted her head in curiosity. A tap at her neck and the collar reactivated, the "feathers" fading into a shower of ice blue sparks.-
[13:48] <Kayoko> "Interesting!" she said lightly, reorienting herself. "Pardon the confusion, Conqueror-of-the-Last-Frontier. We are, of course, here to deal with what we're sure is an accidental deployment of a planet-scale siege-virus. Are you here to do the same?"
[13:50] <FrontierWarGM> ["Hardly." Said Conqueror. "We sold the weapons to the Freepath, but took it on ourselves to observe its deployment. It would be unfortunate if they misused it or, more likely, accidentally used it on themselves. We would hate for such a weapon to be improperly deployed."]
[13:52] * Liane narrowed her gaze, showing clear disapproval. And yet, still showing enough restraint to not tell this Overseer exactly what she thought of them.
[13:57] * Rora had, for his part, fixed his holographic stare on Conqueror since they had appeared on screen. He was mostly succeeding at keeping his face emotionless, and had completely managed to stifle displaying any AT plumage. There did, however, seem to be a light source below him; his chin and left jaw would occasionally become speckled with differently colored lights. Kayoko's own foray
[13:57] * Rora into Seerspeak seemed not to faze him in the least.
[14:02] <Kayoko> "I'm sure you would," she said. "So you're insisting we walk away, I presume?"
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> [Conqueror clucked thoughtfully. "Far be it from me to deny an errand of mercy, Captain Hyuga. The virus will become lethal in three and a half days. I am giving you three days to do whatever you can to prevent it. After that, I insist on intervening for ethical reasons. After all, if you really wanted to ensure these people survived, you should convince them to surrender."-
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> ["But, do as you will, and good luck to you. A rare resource."-
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> ["Oh, and one other thing. I have business on the planet. I expect not to be disturbed. Understood? A polite but firm threat."]
[14:10] * Kess …visibly shook. Not in fear. But in a show that even her restraint had limits. Limits still in tolerable range but…
[14:11] * Liane squeezed a hand into a fist behind her back subtly.
[14:12] <Kayoko> "You won't be," she said lightly. "I assume we'll be afforded the same respect?"
[14:13] <FrontierWarGM> ["I have little interest in your activities, Captain, except where they intersect with our own, which, I assure you, they won't. Stick to your lane, and we'll stick to ours. The iron law of the galaxy."]
[14:15] <Kayoko> "Naturally. Three days it is."
[14:15] <FrontierWarGM> ["Good."-
[14:15] <FrontierWarGM> [The communication terminated.-
[14:15] <FrontierWarGM> ["Fuck that guy, though." Said Tran.-
[14:16] <FrontierWarGM> ["Your orders, Captain?" Asked Franco.]
[14:16] <Liane> "… I agree wholeheartedly with Tran."
[14:17] <Kayoko> "Violet, Kess, I can trust you both to keep in line here?" Kayoko asked, standing to get a proper look at the former.
[14:18] <FrontierWarGM> ["I have history with Conqueror-of-the-Last-Frontier." Said Violet tightly. "Much of my family's blood is on his hands."-
[14:19] <FrontierWarGM> ["… But so long as I don't interact with him, I won't cause any problems."]
[14:22] <Suzune_> "…If you mean doing something rash to an apparent distant relative who has the most atrocious personality I have seen in all of my years, Captain?" Undisguised and utter contempt. The disgust one feels at the platonic embodiment of every filthy thing. …That one actually took effort, plumage colors contorting in fascinating, bizarre ways. "…I, like Violet, will not do so to him if he doesn't force himself into our
[14:22] <Suzune_> presence." Beat, punctuated by a There is yet something important and contradictory sign. "…I will advocate for what will least please him if it at all corresponds with the letter of our laws and his bargain."
[14:24] <Kayoko> "Oh, that I can live with. Good."-
[14:24] <Kayoko> She clapped her hands gently and began speaking a little too fast. "The ground team will consist of me, Liane, Kess, Rora and the good doctor. Initial goals are to isolate the virus and determine its trigger conditions and possible methods of deactivation. Commander Franco has the bridge. All stations are to maintain full combat readiness until we're out of the system. Arrange shifts as
[14:24] <Kayoko> appropriate."-
[14:24] <Kayoko> "Assume all communications are cracked. Idris and I will provide communication between the ship and ground over a chantry-style telepathic network, and we'll use that exclusively."
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> ["Understood." Said Franco. "Good luck."-
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> [Peace. For the last thirty years, the Twiceborn Federation has enjoyed a golden age of freedom and equality- but also one of peace.-
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> [The Twiceborn Federation, founded to free humanity from its unjust shackles, has flourished in this time. But it is a time that will soon come to a sudden and shocking awakening.-
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> [Beyond its borders, forces stir, creating a chain reaction that threatens to engulf the Federation in plots beyond its reckoning.-
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> [Against this stand the Starfleet, protectors of the Federation: people prepared to give their lives for the cause of peace and freedom. But will it be enough?-
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> [This is the story of the Frontier War.-
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> [EPISODE TITLE: The Siege Virus.]
[19:25] <FrontierWarGM> ----(RP'd mech stuff here)---——
[19:26] <FrontierWarGM> [The planet's atmosphere had turned ever so slightly green for the few minutes it had taken for the counter-virus to take effect.-
[19:26] <FrontierWarGM> [Minutes of waiting. Minutes of checking the Dreadnought's response. It remained still.-
[19:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["Captain, the virus is working." Said Tyrell over the comms. "Yes, we're confirming it- the nanites are being flushed out-"-
[19:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["Decontamination at 50%"-
[19:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["80%"-
[19:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["100%!"-
[19:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["The planet is virus free!"]
[19:33] <Kayoko> There was a little huff of relief from Kayoko, now returned to her bridge after her time away.-
[19:33] <Kayoko> "Thank you, everyone," she said. She stood tall an imperious as ever, but below her eyes there were dark bags half-heartedly disguised. "Fine, fine work, really."
[19:35] <Suzune> A mask doesn't show sleepy eyes. But… Poor Kess was still sort of. Off. sometimes lazily mis-signalling, or lolling her head around blearily. The Seer body was not made for this. It was double not made for a sedentary-ish, scholarly member of the race.
[19:39] <FrontierWarGM> ["Captain." Said Gregory. "The Overseers are hailing us."]
[19:42] * Rora raised a velvety-sleeved hand to cover a hearty yawn, accompanied by the light of victorious golden AT feathers…which winked out at the mention of the hail.
[19:49] <Kayoko> Kayoko had already returned to her chair, apparently in anticipation of that very announcement. She blinked, and the bags below her eyes vanished with the aid of a simple AT trick. "Bring it up."
[19:49] <FrontierWarGM> [The viewscreen image resolved to show Conqueror-of-the-Last-Frontier.-
[19:51] <FrontierWarGM> ["I've been informed that the siege virus has been removed from the population below." Said Conqueror. "My compliments to your crew, Captain Hyuga… Few others have managed to overcome the siege virus. It is a rare feat."]
[19:56] <Kayoko> "I suppose we passed your test, then."
[19:58] <FrontierWarGM> ["There was no test, Captain." Said Conqueror. "I won't refuse data if I can take it, but I'm not going to go to this much trouble to learn about the capabilities of the latest scapegoat of our wayward Defector cousins."-
[19:59] <FrontierWarGM> ["Even if those capabilities seem significant." He clasped a pair of hands across his chest, as his feathers flickered with patronising respect. "But, with the virus gone, there's no real reason for us to stay here. We will take our leave, Captain. You should take the time to enjoy your victory with the relieved Devoted below."]
[20:07] * Kayoko smiled, crossed her own arms… and the plumage appeared again. Patronising respect.-
[20:08] <Kayoko> "I'm quite sure we'll talk to you later, Conqueror."
[20:09] <FrontierWarGM> ["Oh, of that I have no doubt."-
[20:11] <FrontierWarGM> ["Farewell, Captain Hyuga. I hope that you and the Shrine Maiden have a safe journey ahead of you. Until we meet again."-
[20:12] <FrontierWarGM> [The communication terminated. The Dreadnought began to pull away, cloaking as it went. A moment later the Freepath vessel pulled away and entered slipstream.-
[20:12] <FrontierWarGM> ["The Dirac Jamming has ended, Captain." Said Idris.]
[20:14] <Kayoko> "Good."
[20:15] <FrontierWarGM> ["I don't like this, Captain." Said Zima. "I know that we 'won', but it doesn't seem like the Overseers were all that put out."-
[20:17] <FrontierWarGM> ["Overseers are talented at hiding their upsets from others." Said Violet. "But Conqueror… It might not just be a facade for him, if what I knew about him remains true."]
[20:17] <Kayoko> In a rare show of caution, Kayoko elected to keep her mouth shut.
[20:18] <Kess> "…What do you know of him?" Kess asked. "…I had not thought to ask myself, but… …sharing lineage with him…" Wishing to gaze into the abyss
[20:19] <Reiska|phone> "Captain. The Governor-Priestess indicated that the Overseers requested maps of the continent's interior for unknown reasons, and that there are no known transmatter deposits here on Ahsa's Berth. I believe it would be prudent for us to investigate just what might be there besides desert."
[20:20] <FrontierWarGM> ["Conqueror-of-the-Last-Frontier?" Violet stood and began to pace around. "A brilliant master of the Four-Blades-In-A-Sea-of-Stars form of combat, and an accomplished strategist… But he was always first and foremost a scientist. He won a great victory against us in the last war. I fought him myself. I took one of his eyes."-
[20:20] <FrontierWarGM> ["… And he took the lives of my brothers, and an entire Homeship."-
[20:21] <FrontierWarGM> ["That should have earned him high office. Being sector master of such a remote part of the galaxy is very much beneath his station. It's possible he has fallen from grace… Which is bad news for us."]
[20:24] * Kayoko glanced at Liane. "… Take a partner and a team of Zima's marines. We'll be holding orbit until the 72 hours are up."
[20:24] <Kess> Kess nodded at multiple paces, various patterns dancing of comprehension. "…It's in the blood…" She first muttered, but. "Between that, and him apparently being a replacement for the previous sector master, I must concur it is /very/ bad news." The crippled raptor has less to lose and more to crave
[20:26] <Reiska|phone> "Understood." Liane nodded, turning to Rora. "Mr. Mist, would you care to accompany me, then?"
[20:29] * Kess actually peeked up at Liane, briefly flashing a A prize to them is a prize to me before it faded back into a deeeeep blue SO TIRED. "…I'd ask to come with, out of pure interest in the findings, but… desert travel after sleep deprivation? That'll cut into even minimal duty hours."
[20:31] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet walked over and patted Kess's hologram.]
[20:32] * Rora had been staring gravely into the distance since Conquerer's parting message - but was shaken from his thoughtful stupor at Liane's words. "Ah! I would indeed, Ensign Meier, standing on solid ground" he replied with a smile.
[20:33] <FrontierWarGM> ["My marines are ready." Said Zima.-
[20:37] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[20:38] <FrontierWarGM> [It was evening by the time they arrived in the desert. The heat was already starting to drain out of the atmosphere.-
[20:39] <FrontierWarGM> [The deserts of Ahre's Berth were lovely, though. The sand here was a rosy colour that shimmered most magnificently in the setting sun.-
[20:40] <FrontierWarGM> <Ahsa's Berth*, thanks Atma :|>-
[20:40] <FrontierWarGM> [The Overseers left little in the way of a traceable remain. What clues they did leave took hours to find- a stray, faint plasma radiation trail that they were able to latch onto and follow.-
[20:43] <FrontierWarGM> [They followed it through the desert sands to a great natural monolith of white rock.-
[20:44] <FrontierWarGM> [And there, they found, beneath the great sea of sand- an ancient starship.-
[20:45] <FrontierWarGM> [Its make was unidentifiable, and no records of anything of its like existed. There wasn't even any writing for them to take images of.-
[20:47] <FrontierWarGM> [As they moved through the strange, well-preserved metallic hull, it grew colder and the air grew stale and unwelcoming. Rora would feel a strange, uncomfortable prickling across his body, a faint disturbance…-
[20:47] <FrontierWarGM> [The metal corridors would suddenly give way to smooth, unnatural stone, stone that Rora recognised.-
[20:47] <FrontierWarGM> [A Harvester Tomb.-
[20:48] <FrontierWarGM> [They found a chamber within, housing a Watcher- but a dead one, covered in dust, cracked down the middle, its light long gone.-
[20:48] <FrontierWarGM> [Beyond it they found only an empty tomb, with broken jars and empty chambers.-
[20:49] <FrontierWarGM> [Then finally they came to the last room, one given to a great circular image. Most of the image had been burned away with plasma bombs, but what scraps were left gave clue to what this had been: a starmap.-
[20:49] <FrontierWarGM> [At the very heart of the image was a star, labelled with a word easily translatable for the Defectors on the Valletta:-
[20:49] <FrontierWarGM> ['Home'.]

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