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Aristren/Lauri: How to win friends and influence people Pt. 1

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((Miranda VII - Time Index: Two weeks after Barlowe’s death, eight weeks into the assignment))

Nestira had always found the flow of time to be curious. For days, weeks, months, sometimes years it could feel like nothing was happening at all, and then suddenly everything happened all at once. The dizzying pace of those with shorter lifespans had often fascinated the Rodulan, but she had never quite found herself in a situation where she had to adjust her own pace entirely to what was happening around her.

But Barlowe was gone. They had blamed his death on the injuries he had sustained, and simply left his body to rot where he had died. If there were other operatives on Miranda VII, Nestira didn't know of them, or had any way to get in contact with them. Alasafor too was gone and had not returned, and she was no longer sure that she would notice his presence if he did.
Her telepathy was beyond strained, and one way or the other, things would only get worse from here - either in the form of neural decay, or in the form of overlooking crucial information and getting herself killed.

She elected not to consider what Naystrim's guards would do if they found her out. Nestira was in dire need of a new support network, and by now she was desperate enough to take the risk of creating one.

A few weeks ago, she and Alasafor had observed a group of rebellious teenagers who wished to leave Miranda VII and escape Terra Prime. All of them with their own motivations to do so, and for the past month, Nestira had paved their way as subtly as possible. 
Nestira had discovered that she wasn't bad at it, but she hadn't liked it. Instead of operating from the shadows, the Rodulan enjoyed the feelings of adulation and appreciation of those those she helped.

Finding out more about Lauri, one of the two males, had been easy. His family, part of Naystrim’s inner circle, was familiar with the Moray’s and with Nyra. She had tracked his movements, and selected him to connect with him first.

Aristren (Nyra): Hey.

A very human way of greeting someone, and as unassuming as possible as she ‘coincidentally’ met him on his way back home before curfew. 

Lauri almost jumped when he heard the woman talking. He wasn’t sure if she had sneaked up on him, or if he was too distracted and let himself be surprised. When he faced her, he recognized her, but didn't remember her name. What was it again? Nara? Nira?

Lauri: Hi. You look familiar, your… Nira?

Aristren (Nyra): Yeah, Nyra. You’re Lauri, right? 

Lauri: You startled me, I am returning home… ::He eyed her suspiciously:: Anything I can help you with?

Aristren (Nyra): Nothing much… ::she smiled carefully:: Just thought we could talk?

He smiled, flattered that Nyra wanted to speak to him. She was attractive, and while Lauri had Kayla to think about, they had never truly discussed exclusivity.

Lauri: What about?

Aristren (Nyra): About how I can help you, and you can help me.

He narrowed his eyes to her and slowed his steps. Perhaps that had been a little too direct, but it certainly got his attention.

Lauri: I don’t understand what you're saying…

Nestira would have loved to read his surface thoughts, it would definitely have made the matter easier. But right now, with the constant strain on her telepathy, she couldn't risk possibly pushing too much.

Aristren (Nyra): I know Kayla talked about how she suddenly got additional rations assigned. 

Lauri stopped. Now, as worrying as this sounded, it might not be serious. Gossip, something seen or heard by others. One thing people loved, was to talk. And Kayla wasn’t exactly the most quiet one about... anything, really. But he didn’t feel right about Nyra. What was it to her? Why would she be interested?

Lauri: So… Envy isn’t nice.

She disregarded his statement.

Aristren (Nyra): And Samuel mentioned how Naystrim’s men somehow missed adding the shuttle to their list?

He clenched his fingers and formed a fist with his right hand. The woman was threading close to danger. Very close.  He could take care of himself, his family would help, but he feared for the others, and they were on the knife's edge. Now a stranger knew about things she shouldn’t.

Lauri: Why are you telling me this?

Aristren (Nyra): Because I believe you should thank me.

Lauri: Thank you. Are we done?

Lauri looked around and stepped closer to her.

Lauri: I don’t know what you're talking about. You must be mistaken.

Doing this without her telepathy was frustratingly difficult, and Nestira realised how lucky she was that these were just kids. She wondered how non-telepathic species got what they wanted without wasting years of their life on little manipulations.

Aristren (Nyra): I most certainly am not. And you would do good to listen to what I have to say. It might be what saves your friends life. 

Lauri grabbed her arm. 

Lauri: You better be careful with your words. Explain yourself. ::he hissed::

Aristren (Nyra): That night on the unused observation deck, a few weeks ago - I was there. I heard what you discussed, and I’ve been doing my best to help. 

Lauri let go of the women’s arm. He thought they were alone, there was nobody there with them, there couldn’t be. He knew that wasn’t true. There was plenty of room for someone to hide. But he never thought anyone would have done it.

Lauri: Why are you saying this?

Aristren (Nyra): Because I agree. I want to get out of here too. Even if you and me both have a place on Naystrim’s ship. 

Lauri through his family, Nestira through the Morays.

Lauri: How do I know you're telling me the truth? You could be tricking me.

Aristren (Nyra): Think back to all the moments where someone should have discovered you, and did not. I won’t claim credit for all of them, a few were simply good luck, but I did look out for the four of you. 

They have had a few close calls so far. To be honest Lauri wasn’t sure how they got that far.

Lauri: Say I believe you. What do you want? Join us?

Aristren (Nyra): To some extent, yes. 

Lauri frowned.

Lauri: What do you mean by that?

Aristren (Nyra):  The shuttle you are working with has certain… amenities I need, but not all of them. I know you know your father’s replicator access code and… would be able to provide me with the parts I need. 

Lauri: I don’t know… I would get in trouble.

Aristren (Nyra): Lauri. ::pause:: Your friend Liz is building a bomb, and your friend Samuel is planning to steal a shuttle. Do you really believe that it is me and my little endeavour you have to worry about?

Lauri bit his lip.

Aristren (Nyra): And believe me - without me, you are risking more than you already are. Even now I could simply go to Katalina, or to Naystrim herself, and tell her of your plans. But I am not. 

Lauri nodded, realising Nyra made a good argument 

Lauri: If I help you, what do you want? I don’t know if the others are OK with you being in the shuttle.

Aristren (Nyra): I don’t need to be in the shuttle. ::she shook her head:: I have… bigger plans. Plans that will save more people. 

Lauri: Why are you telling me this, aren’t you afraid I expose you?

She smiled.

Aristren (Nyra): You could. But you won't. So I won't waste time worrying about it, and neither should you - Help your friends, and it’s the most important thing for you to focus on. But I don’t have friends here. All I need is to get a message out, and I will be able to do that if we repair to comms array in the shuttle. 

She handed him a PADD with different items that needed to be replicated.

Lauri: Replicating this won’t raise suspicions? Is it worth the risk?

Aristren (Nyra): I don’t know, Lauri. What I do know is… that Terra Prime turned people into living bombs. I know that they leave behind members who get injured during the raids. Your friends are not a priority to Terra Prime, they’d be discarded once they become inconvenient. And even your family is only as safe as Naystrim wants them to be.

Lauri nodded. He knew that all too well. 

Lauri: I know… I know all that. Why me? Because of my father?

Aristren (Nyra): You made the first step when you agreed to help your friends. And being… apprehensive about Liz plan is understandable. But that’s why I trust you, and I … hope my trust is not misplaced. 

Lauri looked back to the PADD and put it inside his jacket.

Lauri: I will see what I can do.

She inclined her head and offered him a smile before she turned and left. She wouldn't pretend that this had been easy, and it certainly hadn't been the most clever way to handle this, but Nestira was running out of time.

One down, three to go.


Simmed By
Lt. Vitor R.S.Tito
Intelligence Officer
Starbase 118

Nyra Altman
Lt. J.G. Nestira Aristren
Starbase 118 Ops


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