Cloak and dagger – Counter Offer
by HoD Ro' Matlh & Soghla' Jared

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Title   Counter Offer
Mission   Cloak and dagger
Author(s)   HoD Ro' Matlh & Soghla' Jared
Posted   Fri Nov 22, 2013 @ 10:11am
Location   Science lab
Timeline   MT +8 hours
Jared was hard at work on the computer. There was something troubling him. He had a feeling that when he'd been in the corporate computer network, the security trouble he'd encountered was... uncomfortably familiar.

There was a movement on the ladder into the room and HIchop looked in to see him. Then the face froze and a different voice entirely spoke.

"Mr V. I... I am sorry, sir. I didn't realise you were on board too."

As the voice spoke the image shifted and turned into the face of a blue skinned female Jared had been told was the Corporate agent.

Jared looked at the woman coldly. It was unfortunate that he'd been discovered by her - exactly what Ro' had hoped to avoid. But to Jared's mind, there was a far bigger issue on the table. She had mistaken him for someone.

"No," Jared replied levelly, his emotion brutally suppressed. "But I think you've just answered my question for the day."

He glanced at the monitor, "I got a glimpse of something on your systems, earlier today. Some kind of hyper-advanced security software. And I've been telling myself it can't possibly have been what I thought it was, because there's no way it could have been."

He looked back at her, "But it was, wasn't it? It was a shell-ghost. A sentient program."

"That's V-Tech. It's not just old... not just something dug up on some ancient computer system. It's MY OWN people's technology. We devised those things to do the numbers for the deplorable word project. It could see through all my computer tricks because it probably invented half of them."

"You're working for another Vetus, aren't you?"

E's eyes flashed, "Another Vetus? You are another of his kind? I thought... he said there weren't others except..."

Jared gave a dubious look, "That's a half truth, which is more than I'd expect. We no longer exist as a species - just individuals. Not a race."

"And you aren't working for the Corporation?"

"No. And not in the least interested in doing so. so whatever you're about to offer me... don't bother."

"I... I have been a slave to the Corporation most of my life," the girl replied. "My whole species is under their sway. I have always wanted to free my people but they are too powerful, supported as they are by the Vetus Lord. Now... maybe, just maybe there is a way to stop the Corporation and free my world."

Jared frowned, but said nothing.

"I was sent here to offer the crew things to ingratiate them with the Corporation, but for you I would ask, not offer. Help me? Help me free my people, stop the Incorporates and end the Vetus Lord?"

Jared looked slightly sorrowful, "I don't like turning down people in need, but... I don't know you. I know nothing about you or your people. Only that you're in the service of someone I KNOW I can't trust. I'm not sure I can take a chance on trusting you. The risk is... high."

"I can not offer you much in recompense. In truth, what can anyone offer a Vetus Lord. But I can give you a name; the name of the Vetus Lord who helps the Corporation."

"His name is Martz."

The colour gently paled from Jared's cheeks.

"Martz. That's the name? Not Markaz, or Masse? The name he used was 'Martz'??"

E looked stern, "I was not supposed to know it. He is named only V outside the inner circle, but I am a stronger telepath than they suspect. He is Martz."

Jared's lips tightened, "Do you know anything about your patron? About his history?"

E snarled, "he is not my Patron. He is not even truely a member of the Corporation, but he supports them with his gadgets and technology."

"Did you know that 'Vetus' isn't really our race name?"

E just shook her head.

"'Vethara' was technically our species. We BECAME Vetus. The word is hard to translate, but is has overtones somewhere between 'Serial Killer', 'Devourer' and 'Spirit of Death'. And Martz was the one we first used the term for."

"If Martz is helping the Incorporates..."

"...what do you need from me?"