Posted on Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 @ 5:18pm by Lieutenant Vriha t'Ehhelih
Mission 1: Unscheduled Madness
Location: USS Orion, Science Dept Office
Timeline: MD03 0100
It was late, or extremely early, or maybe had cycled from one to the other enough times that Vriha's internal clock had given up on keeping track.
While they didn't have the meditation techniques Vulcans used to extend the ability, Romulans could go without sleep for several days. It wasn't optimal, but it wasn't much worse than a human pulling all-nighters during exam week. It also wasn't unusual for Vriha, who had been known to disappear into her research, eschewing sleep in pursuit of an interesting piece of data. And in this case it was a whole load of data - a vast expanse of reading like an endless series of books that simply could not be put down for something as trivial as rest. The breadth of records available to her seemed unbelievable, and even if the intl officer had assured her that such access was allowed, she wanted to absorb as much as she could in case she was reassigned shortly after this rendezvous with the Galae. After the contact from the Tal Shiar Chief she was not at all certain what would be asked or expected...
So she could not sacrifice this opportunity. There was so much to learn, and not only about Federation science and technology (she had already been able to access far more on that even from within the embassy than she had ever imagined would be permitted), but a huge range of information on all aspects of its various member species. Uncle Vaebn had seen to it that she had a somewhat better, or at least less state-dictated, view of their cultures and ideas than many Romulans, but reading their own explanations in their own words was an entirely new vista. Though even as she devoured the information she was acutely aware that she would have be careful about expressing knowledge that could arouse suspicion she might not survive a second time, for now she reveled in the freedom to explore.
"You think you aren't watched?"
She gasped, head shooting up, startled by the question and even more by the voice - one she hadn't heard for so long. "Liha?"
"Did you believe I was dead?"
"I- " her voice caught, the fear of her sister's death had been too real. MIA after the Battle of Cardassia, most had assumed her dead, but... Vriha shook her head sharply. "No! I joined the Galae, came even here, hoping somehow..." Her eyes searched the room. "Where are you?"
A bitter laugh came in answer. "Where none can see me. As it must be..."
Vriha froze at that pronouncement, but her mind raced. If Liha was on this ship... or able to patch into the comm... had she disappeared into the Federation? If so, was she in hiding? In their service? Forced to the service of some less friendly faction...? "Why?" she asked, listening intently, trying to determine a direction for the voice. But no answer came. "Please, tell me."
"I can only warn you." Liha's voice faded like a weak signal. "There is no safety..."
"Wait," Vriha called, straining with all her Romulan hearing for anything in the dying echo of her sister's warning. "Liha, please," she implored, casting about desperately. "Li-Li!"
"Computer, lights 100%!"
Vriha looked around in the sudden illumination and ...spotted the ruin of a tea cup her hand had knocked from the desk. She blinked and rubbed her eyes. The door was closed. The room no more a few meters square. No one could have been in here unseen.
Still she quickly scanned for transport signature, then ran a check on comm activity. Nothing.
Either might be masked with enough skill, but when second and third scans using every method she knew to detect such masking failed she sat heavily and glanced at the terminal's time display, calculating how long since she had begun reading. She had read longer without tiring, but the colder environment on this ship might have subtly taxed her strength, making her tire more quickly without realizing it. Had she dozed off unaware and fallen into a waking dream? She had been about to open history files on the Dominion War and at the back of her mind had been a hope that there would be some new clue on the fate of her older sister...
Intellectually it made sense. Certainly more sense than a mysterious warning delivered by her long lost sister that she was being watched. Even here and despite every precaution by her and by an experienced Tal'Diann.
...and yet... there remained an uneasy hollow in her gut and her heart hammered beneath the knife concealed in her tunic.