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Down to Business

Posted on Mon Jan 29, 2018 @ 3:48am by Civilian Tianys Dalav’ni

Mission: Victory Conditions
Location: Lotus Lounge
Timeline: MD 1 1500

Tianys stretched contentedly on the soft grass and sod of her bed. She slipped out from between her lovers, leaving mother and son entwined in naked caresses as she got them all bowls of fresh, pure water. All three Rowa’ni drank thirstily to replenish and refresh themselves before lounging back.

And now suppose you tell me why you really came? Tianys prompted Keesmaat.

The Nemesis Executive Officer sighed. We can talk safely here?

Tianys gave Kees a hard look.

Like I said, keeping secrets is part of the job, Kees said pointedly.

It is not a part of being Rowa’ni, Tianys said, just as pointedly.

Take it easy, Matriarch Dalav’ni, Anzio said respectfully, kissing along Tianys’ shoudler and caressing her hip, sending her soothing sensations through the Communion. We aren’t here to be hostile or disrespectful. We’re here as a courtesy, so that we can hopefully keep Starfleet out of this and prevent something like what happened to Isess Nepyxa’ni and Ryriju Shyton’ni.

Tianys frowned.

Don’t worry. My uncle Ha managed to convince the Trill to turn him over to Mira’ni custody, Keesmaat said. They weren’t keen on having him wither and die in their custody. He is under house arrest, but at least he isn’t cut off from us.

Tianys nodded. It caused quite the consternation in the Communion, she admitted. I’m not sure that was Isil’s strongest move.

It was Ry’s choice, Anzio said, to save Isess from the same fate.

Speaking of Isil Afri’ni, Keesmaat said, directing their conversation back to the topic of the Rowa’ni terrorist, we understand she paid a visit here shortly after leaving Trill.

Tianys gave Kees the side eye. And if she did?

We know she isn’t still here, Anzio pointed out. We know where she is. He shook his head wryly. If Starfleet only knew just how connected Rowa’ni really were. They were probably lucky they didn’t.

Keesmaat gave her son a narrowed look at his thoughts.

Anzio just looked back and shrugged. He’d always had a bit harder time than she had acclimating to Starfleet.

Kees looked back to Tianys. Do you know what she was up to on that moon of Trill?

She didn’t say, and I didn’t prod, Tianys told Keesmaat.

She came here to visit you, Anzio said pointedly.

She gave you something to hold for her, Kees said, catching a stray thought from Tianys.

Tianys scowled. Now who is prying? she said accusingly.

Kees just smiled. No secrets is the Rowa’ni way, right? she said sweetly.

Tianys gave them both a dark look. Yes, she gave me something to hold for her, she said.

Do you know what it is? Anzio asked.

She didn’t tell me, but I picked up enough...stray sensations in the Communion to guess.

It’s a biological weapon, Tianys, Keesmaat said seriously, capable of genetically rewriting the DNA of an organism and turn them into Rowa’ni.

Tianys raised an eyebrow, sitting up. Are you telling me she actually managed to reactivate the Rowa’ni reproductive retrovirus? she asked in fascination.

Anzio sat up, raising an eyebrow himself. You knew what she was up to?

Tianys shrugged. Not specifically, she said. But House Dalav’ni is a close ally of House Afri’ni. Isil and I were close when we were younger, and both studying Rowa’ni biology and genetics. I ultimately went more into botany, herbalism, horticulture, and obviously business. Isil got pulled in by the radical wing of Afri’ni politics. It was a theoretical discussion we had as students.

Keesmaat nodded, considering.

How did she manage it? Tianys asked. She and I were really the only ones looking into the theory of Rowa’ni origins, outside the usual. She nodded toward the wooden idols on the shelf over the wi’kew fountain in the corner of the room. But I don’t think Isiil had the capability to pull it off. I might have, but even that isn’t certain.

Apparently Isil got close, Anzio said. But she needed help over the last hurdles. So she kidnapped a botany specialist from the USS Nemesis.

Tianys shook her head. Isil always was impatient, she said. Never could allow something to be, to grow organically. Always wanted to hurry things along. So this botanist was able to crack the viral genome?

Yes, Kees said. But thankfully she didn’t have time to weaponize it before a Starfleet rescue team arrived. But not before Isil had tested it on the poor Betazoid woman.

Isess Nepyxa’ni said the doctors on the Nemesis were able to halt the transformation, but not reverse all the effects, Anzio added. And not before her fetus was partially transformed.

Tianys raised an eyebrow. Yes. I’ve felt the baby’s faint presence in the Communion. It’s created quite the stir.

Keesmaat and Anzio nodded, giving each other a wry look. A stir was putting it mildly.

Did Isil give you the serum to hold, Tianys? Kees asked bluntly, staring hard at the other beautiful Rowa’ni.

Tianys stared right back. You want me to betray Isil? she accused. You really are Starfleet, Keesmaat Mira’ni, she said, rancid smells permeating the Communion.

Kees scowled. When she was younger, such an accusation would have riled her more, and she sensed the heat in the Communion coming from her son. She sent sensations of cooling water through the Communion to Anzio.

Do you know what she was planning to do with that virus? she asked Tianys.

Well, if she’s adhering to the radical rhetoric of the Afri’ni traditionalists, she wants a new and Greater Rowa. It’s conceivable she could have infected a planet and created a New Rowa.

All three Rowa’ni paused a moment, the stillness of a summer glade permeating the Communion as they recalled via racial memory in the Communion their long ago destroyed home planet, the sudden silence as the majority of the Communion had suddenly ceased to exist.

And do you approve of those goals, Matriarch Dalav’ni? Anzio accused.

Red heat roiled in the Communion as Tianys gave Anzio a withering look, and the younger male recoiled slightly.

Remember your place, male, Tianys said forcefully. I am a House Matriarch. Do not cast aspersions and accusations against your betters. Who do you think you are?

He is my son, Keesmaat said, and I am an heir of a Greater House, she pointed out. And House Mira’ni will not stand by and see genocide done in our name! As Rowa’ni, we are all too familiar with genocide.

There was a flutter of wind in the Communion, and Tianys’ disgruntled feelings settled a bit. And I still outrank you, she pointed out to Keesmaat.

Technically, Kees said with a smile, but sent soothing rays of sunshine through the Communion. She had no intention of putting Tianys Dalav’ni on the defensive.

Tianys slipped from the bed again. Come with me, she instructed.

Anzio and Keesmaat glanced at each other, and then got up as well, the three naked Rowa’ni making their way out of Tianys’ private quarters and down the hallway, occasionally passing a few other naked Rowa’ni in this section of the compound exclusive to the aliens, behind the Lotus.

Tianys stopped at a door and punched a code into a keypad. The doors slid open. There wasn’t much of a temperature or humidity difference between the Rowa’ni compound and the hothouse behind the door. But the hothouse was more strictly climate controlled. Tianys led them inside, closing the door behind them.

Keesmaat and Anzio looked around, taking in the long rows of trays and hanging vines and beds of soil, all growing various plants and fungi. Some of it was mundane, vegetables and herbs for cooking or medicinal purposes. Other large sections were devoted to the species that produced psychotropic compounds for her customers.

Tianys moved to a back shelving unit holding fertilizer and gardening tools. She pressed a secret latch and swung the cabinet out from the wall, revealing another thick security door, which she also accessed via keypad. Inside was another, smaller hothouse unit, and Kees and Anzio noted plants that were much more deadly, grown for the poisonous compounds they produced. Keesmaat raised an eyebrow at Tianys.

What? Tianys asked, staring right back. So I dabble in poisons. I’m not the one killing anyone.

Keesmaat rolled her eyes.

There was a final door, this one to a refrigerated safe. Keesmaat walked inside with Tianys, shivering slightly, though left Anzio outside. There were various vials and plant products stored in here, including some of the aforementioned poisons. But Tianys went to a shelf and pulled down a lockbox, opening the lid. Inside were five vials of a green liquid.

That’s it? Keesmaat asked.

It is, Tianys said, a bit more awe in the Communion. She pulled out one of the vials and held it up to the light. Can you imagine? Where we all came from. The distilled essence of a goddess.

Keesmaat couldn’t help but feel a similar sensation of reverence, and echoed from Anzio outside the safe.

And yet the death of us all, Tianys said, replacing the vial in the lockbox. Isil may have become radical, Keesmaat, but I became practical. No less cynical, mind you, she emphasized. I still hate and distrust the naladis as much as I ever did growing up.

Keesmaat nodded. The Dalav’ni had mostly struggled for existence in Romulan space, not a pleasant situation to be in. It was Tianys who had brought them across the border into Federation territory during the chaos of the Romulan civil war. Many parts of the clan were still on the Romulan side of the Neutral Zone. Romulan mistreatment was bound to color their view of non-Rowa’ni, much like the more open policies of the Federation had led to more moderate views among the Mira’ni.

I recognize this for what it is, Mira’ni, Tianys said. If Isil and her Black Orchids succeed in her plans to weaponize this, and succeeded in using it on an innocent world to create New Rowa, the entire Alpha and Beta Quadrants would come down on us. There would be no place safe for the Rowa’ni. It would make the House Wars seem mild by comparison, a genocide the likes of which the galaxy has never seen.

Keesmaat couldn’t disagree.

So you understand my predicament, Tianys said, staring into Keesmaat’s beautiful eyes as her handsome son’s frame filled the doorway. To give you this would betray Isil, which betrays everything the Rowa’ni has stood for since the House Wars. No Rowa’ni will ever harm another ever again on pain of excommunication. Yet to not could be the doom of our race.

I know the predicament all too well, Matriarch, Keesmaat said respectfully. It is the life I live every day in Starfleet. But I have grown accomplished at parsing that fine line. She gave a wry smile. Giving me these vials would not actually be harming Isil. There would be no grounds for excommunication. She might harangue to the Matriarch Council, she might find some sympathy from Afri’ni and her supporters. But Mira’ni and the neutral Houses, and your own vote, would negate that threat.

And risk tearing the council further, solidifying the divisions already between the Houses?

Keesmaat shrugged. That was likely to happen, despite her mother’s continued attempts to keep the Houses in harmony via the traditional means of intermarriage and hostage adoption.

What are you doing? Tianys suddenly said, a flutter of birds taking flight in the Communion.

Keesmaat turned to see Anzio prying a panel off the wall. He had a set of tools he’d found out in the outer hothouse.

Solving your dilemma, Anzio said with a cheeky grin. He used a hypospanner on the inner workings behind the panel. There. Now in about an hour, your refrigeration unit will crash. You will need to move all this stuff out of here to one of the less secure units. I imagine you won’t have much room, so perhaps some stuff may need to be moved to refrigeration in the Lounge, or even off site. Make sure in all the chaotic mixup that those vials get moved out. Then we simply have someone from Nemesis pick them up, filch them.

Kees arched an eyebrow at her son’s ingenuity. She looked back at Tianys, who frowned in consideration.

Plausible deniability, she mused, setting the lockbox back on the shelf. She didn’t say anything more, but neither did she outright contradict Anzio.

Don’t think those are the only vials in existence, Mira’ni, Tianys warned Keesmaat. Isil was never one to put all her blossoms in one basket. If she wanted them weaponized, she would have had to keep some samples for herself to continue her research.

Keesmaat nodded. We just want to get our hands on as much of it as possible, Tianys, she said.

Anzio replaced the tools as Tianys and Keesmaat exited from the safe, the Matriarch securing everything behind her as they returned to Tianys’ quarters.

Thank you for paying your respects, Mira’ni, Tianys said formally.

Of course, Matriarch, Keesmaat said with a smile. Your hospitality is to be commended.

Keesmaat and Anzio dressed in their uniforms again, and then all three shared water once more before Keesmaat kissed Tianys deeply.

We will be around frequently if you need us, Keesmaat told Tianys.

Once they had left, Tianys returned to her office, settling in to work once more before she was interrupted.

Matriarch, the refrigeration unit in your private garden has failed. We need to remove everything before it spoils!

Tianys gave an annoyed sigh and rubbed the bridge of her nose. Fine, fine, she said, getting up to accompany him. Let’s move quickly.

FIN

Tianys Dalav’ni
Matriarch Dalav’ni
Proprietor of Lotus Lounge
NPC Caleb Ryan

Commander Keesmaat Mira’ni
Executive Officer
USS Nemesis
NPC Caleb Ryan

Lieutenant Anzio Mira’ni
Chief Flight Officer
USS Nemesis
NPC Caleb Ryan

 

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