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阎罗王的大门 | King Yanluo's Gates

Posted on Tue Jan 30th, 2024 @ 7:23pm by XiaoLi Zhan & Captain Mrazak

Mission: Mission 0: Everybody Has A Story
Location: Jade Sky Arcology
Timeline: Approximately 6 Weeks after Soukara

[i]Four Weeks after Soukara - 18 July 2389[/i]

Seated behind her desk, Huang Xiulan, Admiral of the Lagashi Navy, rubbed her temples as she read the report in front of her of the preceding day's Legislative Yuan session. The highlight of the day had been the presentation by the Federation representative Jared Eric Drumpf on the results of the Federation's "investigation" into the recent attack in the Pentad. It was obvious that Drumpf was not being entirely honest with the Yuan. Lagashi military intelligence knew it, and were scheduled to testify as much the following day. What they knew meant that Drumpf's official report would not be able to hold up. Unfortunately, as things stood, the Navy was not able to provide a better answer. She had enlisted Miss Zhan, but she had disappeared from Central Dogma along with the "investigators", and two other operatives they had been tracking, and none of the three had been seen since.

Her thoughts were interrupted as her muse flashed that she had a visitor who wanted her attention, albeit one without a name. The admiral wondered who would want to see her but thought she would agree to do so without making an entry in the official record. The politicians, especially the "loyal" opposition were watching her like a hawk. She pressed a button on her console, intending to put herself through to her gatekeeper, some corporal whose name she had not yet learned. However, before she could the man apparently taken some initiative and chimed for admittance to her office. She might have to learn his name, assuming he had a good reason for this. "Come in," she called, unlocking the door.

The corporal entered the room, and waited for the door to close again behind him. "Apologies, admiral, but based on your standing instructions I thought it better that this not be on record," he said. The admiral made a go-on motion. "Major Zhan, or at least a woman claiming to be her with her handshake codes, is asking to see you. You left orders to admit her, but considering that she has been labeled a fugitive from justice by the Federation, it seemed impertinent to put that down on the public record."

Scratch that. For the corporal's own sake she would not be learning his name and would arrange a different posting for him post haste. She reached into her desk and pulled out an actual real piece of paper and pen before writing out a missive on it in Qin script. She looked at the corporal as she folded and sealed it. "See Major Zhan in, and then deliver this to the Premier. Tell her secretary it is for Operation Umbrella Movement. Do not wait for a response and take the rest of the day off to consider where you would like me to have you reassigned. For your sake, today is perfectly normal and you went home early because you were not feeling well."

Six Weeks After Soukara - 1 August 2389

Two weeks later, Zhan Xiaoli scoffed as she watched the news report about the Federation. In the two weeks since she had made it back to the Pentad, a whirlwind of things had happened. The very day she had returned she had gone to Admiral Huang's office. What she had not expected was for Huang to sequester her and wait for the Premier herself to show up, although it seems it had been for the best, as things were more complicated than had been hoped. The day after, intelligence had given a briefing to the Yuan detailing how the Cardassian government had had operatives in the Pentad trying to prevent what had happened, how one of the Federation operatives had been murdering the Cardassian operatives, and the other was tracking him down, and then how the so-called "investigators" had an illegal AI that attempted to hack the defense mainframe. The entire narrative had gone down in flames. The only saving grace was it had been a closed meeting.

She had, of course, told the Premier everything she could. Of course, that also led to a complete refusal to extradite her to the Federation, which, she supposed, was a plus. She had also given testimony to the Yuan. She had been more circumspect than the opposition would have liked, probably, as she had managed to navigate revealing the actual truth of what had happened with a seemingly resurgent Obsidian Order messing with things better left undisturbed, along with the destruction of that technology and how 8472 had seemingly taken care of that, without actually revealing the existence of Memory Theta, or the deal she had made with the Black Nagus to both get the evidence needed to insert herself as well as ensure more information would be forthcoming. Of course, that had also been a closed meeting. She almost felt bad, as it put a time stamp on the current government. Closed meetings would be released in 6 months, and when that happened, it was almost certain the public reaction would force the current government out of power, and usher in a wave of anti-Federation sentiment and government. Of course, that was fine with her.

What she was really, really, not looking forward to, however, was the debriefing with intelligence and the military that had to be coming. Of course, she would be completely uncensored there, given that discussion would never become public. But was still certain to be unpleasant. Still, it could not be helped.

2 Months Later, 30 September 2389

Admiral Huang was sitting in on a cabinet meeting of the Premier's government. In the two months since the now Colonel Zhan had testified, the Premier had been working overtime trying to save her government. The only reason she was still in power at all was because the Yuan sessions were still sealed for another 4 months or so. That was giving her time, but truthfully it was probably a lost cause. Huang was less than sure she would be able to keep her own position. Propriety would demand she offer her immediate resignation when a new government took over. By tradition, it would not be accepted, but the outcry and demand for blood would be unprecedented, and given how closely she was associated with the navy's Federation integration, replacing her with an anti-Fed hardliner would be more in line with the Gestalt.

Her thoughts were cut short when several aides rushed in and began playing news feeds from Sol. "Spacedock has been de-orbited and crashed into the planet... Paris has been wiped from the map..." Huang snapped her head to the screen as she set her muse and networked communications to work, looking for any assets they had that could give better information. The feed from Starfleet Command had cut off entirely. She was almost certain there were tradesmen, and possibly a carrier group doing joint exercises somewhere in the vicinity of Sol, but it would take time to hunt them down and establish communication. As the head of a member state navy, she was also aware of the continuity of government and military command process, and if she recalled, getting word through to one of their naval vessels would be much faster than trying to get through on a civilian channel. She shook her head as she refocused on the cabinet. She needed to get the politicians wrangled first.

Late the Next Day

Huang sighed as Zhan was, once again, seated in her office. She was really beginning to dread having these visits with her. Unfortunately, it was needed here. She sighed as she considered. The Federation government was still figuring out who was in charge, but information was finally coming out of Sol. Might as well get it over with. "What is it, Colonel? Neither you nor I have all day. We have an aide package to arrange."

For her part, Zhan didn't really want to meet with Huang again either. The only reason she bothered was because both women were, after their own fashion, patriots. Something she had been careful with revealing was the little program a certain acquaintance had given her to insert into the computer of the ship that had abducted her. She suspected the Ferengi had a far more nefarious purpose for it than she did, but that really meant little to nothing to her. She had not actually been certain it had worked anyway since nothing was coming in, but, as it turns out, the truth had been that, apparently, they simply hadn't been doing anything. Well, neither here nor there. The point was they had a window into what was going on, albeit a limited one. They knew, now, at least, that Memory Theta was involved, and the epicenter was Venus. The bandwidth was low, especially in the chaos. Still, she pulled out a padd to over what they did have.

5 Days after Symphony of Horror - 18 November 2389

Plotch was not a person Zhan XiaoLi had particularly ever wanted to see again, but she had to admit, whatever else one might think of the so-called Black Nagus was an astute businessman who knew an opportunity when it presented itself. Something she supposed could also be said of her sister, the director of sales at the Yellow Dragon Wuhan Memorial Biomedical Research and Treatment Corporation. Since the "Fall," as the devastation of Earth was being called, the new head of the Federation Commerce Office had been taking a much more rational and reasonable approach to profit-making in the movement of goods, people, and services. Coupled with the recent events of Corvus which had eviscerated the anti-competitive monopoly that had been held by Pathos and the two had seen a golden opportunity for mutual exploitation through their shared connection with XiaoLi.

For her part, XiaoLi could see the benefit to both as well. Getting biotechnology in front of the masses doing good was an important goal in undercutting the Federation's ridiculous positions on the matter, but at the same time it could not be seen coming from Lagash, less prejudices blunt the good PR, at least for now. So long as it lined Lagashi pockets, it would also help the Pentad in the inevitable coming split from the Federation as well, in her opinion. On the flip, there also was not a criminal enterprise in existence that could not use a source of legitimate business income as well as a front.

She looked at both. "You both asked me to arrange this meeting between you. I have every confidence you are both capable of negotiating an agreement you feel is more beneficial to you than the other. So, I have to wonder why the two of you were so insistent on also meeting with me. Let's get to the point, shall we?"

Plotch laughed. "You see, Director Zhan, this is why your sister is my favorite hew-mon. No time wasted on pointless pleasantries. Although your plan has a certain Ferengi-ness to it itself, so why don't you explain."

XiaoLi raised a brow at her sister. The younger woman gave a wolfish smile. "We've been able to synthesize, and even improve upon both the Nosferatu and Key of Nebuchadnezzar therapies but if we could get some of our scientists in front of some Corvans, well, we think we could make something even better, and make ourselves and our partners considerable profit. With the current circumstances, having an 'escort' for a few convoys would be normal. A frigate or two with a lab and a scientist on board."

The military Zhan raised her hand. "Stop there. I will get you in front of someone to ask. The rest is your problem," she groused.


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