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  3. Writer’s Workshop: 20 Writing Podcasts

    Tired of listening to the same dull radio stations on the tiresome commutes? Perhaps you have an upcoming vacation and you want something to do other than reading all the way there? Well, why not check out one of these fantastic writing related podcasts? Brianne Bell over at The Write Life has put together a comprehensive list of 20 inspiring podcasts, to help alleviate the boredom. And if you happen to come across a helpful tip or three, why not share it on the forums? The post Writer’s Workshop: 20 Writing Podcasts appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
  4. JP by Choi, T’Reshik and Saveron: River of Dreams - Part 1 “In the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep From the mountains of faith To a river so deep I must be looking for something Something sacred I lost But the river is wide And it's too hard to cross” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams (( Vulcan - Sutek Monastery )) ::Thunder rumbled distantly over the Voroth Sea, little more than a murmur by the time it reached the shore. The Sutek monastery had stood for a millennium, an airy structure, with a number of arches and plateaus open to the wind and the salt spray of the ocean below below as it dashed against the crags.:: ::Ji-hu watched lightning skein across the dark purple sky on the horizon, sitting on the highest plateau, his knees pulled up to his chest. He couldn’t remember how he’d gotten there. He’d been in San Francisco a moment before… or was it the San Francisco district on Starbase 118? He kept blinking, hoping the images of the Vulcan man hemmoraghing before his eyes would go away.:: ::A monarch butterfly flew by.:: Choi: Can anyone hear me?! ::Light footsteps sounded behind him. Between two pillars came the glimpse of a dark-haired child in blue robes before she disappeared again, her footfalls echoing into the distance.:: ::Ji-hu sat up and turned towards the sound. The child was familiar, he wanted to follow her.:: Choi: T’Reshik, is that you? :: Rows upon rows of tiny zeroes and ones flashed under his feet with the distant lightning, bright beneath the stone for a moment before disappearing. The Vulcan child slipped into view again, a small, determined-looking girl with a stack of papers in her arms that looked almost too bulky for her to carry. Then she turned and ran, dropping sheets of paper in her wake that turned into butterflies and skittered toward the sea before Choi had a chance to read them. :: Tirak: They are moving toward the storm. Choi: ::spinning around:: Wait… I… know you? :: Sutek’s lab assistant caught one in his hand, and it lingered there for a moment before fluttering on its way again. He was a tall, graceful-looking man, with an auburn tint to his hair that was uncommon in Vulcans of T’Reshik’s ethnicity.:: Tirak: You humans call them “moths”, do you not? Choi: Butterfly. Danaus plexippus. Monarch. Notable for their annual southward late-summer or autumn migration from northern and central United States and southern Canada to... Florida and... Mexico. ::Ji-hu blinked again, not sure why he was spouting off scientific facts. Didn’t he have better things to do? He should get out of the monastery, get back to… wherever he had been…:: Choi: Do you know where that little girl went? It’s like she’s… hiding from me or something. Tirak: Interesting. I do not believe it is you she is hiding from. Most likely she does not realize she is hiding at all. Choi: I should look for her. Can you give me directions to the lab? ::Why he had to go to the lab he couldn’t say, but he had a problem he’d find her there, or maybe some answers.:: Tirak: Unlikely, but deductive reasoning would suggest that moving in the opposite direction to the butterflies will lead you there, if that is where she is headed. Choi: That is logical… ::Was it?:: Thank you. Are you… going to be okay? Tirak: Negative. I have been dead for some time now. Choi: Of… course. I’m so sorry. ::Ji-hu’s hand formed the ta'al, though it felt a perverse symbol given what he knew about Tirak, somewhere deep inside of him. What would happen to the man, or what had already happened. He turned and began down the steps of the monastery, monarch’s passing by in the opposite direction as they danced up the winding staircase, on their way out of the monastery. Flying out to sea. Hopefully they would land somewhere and reproduce so their children could carry on the journey.:: ::The sky seemed to progressively darken as Choi descended, not only a result of the approaching storm or the surrounding walls but also of the strange architectural shifts that seemed to happen in dreams. Ancient bricks became ancient cliffsides, then twisted arcs of metal, with butterflies dancing ever upward through the gaps into the distant grey clouds. The sight that greeted him at the bottom was darkly familiar.:: ::It was the ESPO, and yet it wasn’t; piles of paper and ancient scrolls had been stacked up at one end, as if forming a flimsy sort of barricade; the consoles around him glowed with unfamiliar colour, bled out into arteries of wire leading to ancient machinery, almost biological in its construction. The girl was standing at the opposite end. She looked to be between nine and eleven years old, but the cast of her face and the determination in her eyes was unmistakable - he was looking at T’Reshik. :: Choi: T’hy’la? What are you doing? T’Reshik: You should not be here. ::She looked at the parchment barricade behind her.:: I tried to keep it out. This hurricane will not lose traction when it hits land, and we are too close to the shore. Choi: What’s… what is it? ::The child-T’Reshik moved to a console, pulled out a wire; blood the colour of emeralds flowed from the empty port, trickling onto the floor in unsettling quantity, staining the girl’s bare feet. She replaced the plug elsewhere, ignoring the bleeding. A low rumbling, the sound of thunder, or wind hitting stone, sent shivers through the building.:: T’Reshik: This? A solution. Ultimately fruitless, but it kept the wolf from the door for a few years. ::She looked at him, her eyes chilling and empty.:: That is the phrase, is it not? The wolf from the door? These new memories are… chaotic. Choi: Memories? Is that what these are? Last I remember I was… sick… something bad had happened, someone was hurt… Do you know what I’m talking about? I… can’t remember... ::The great stone structure creaked. Papers fluttered to the ground, shrunk and grew wings. Butterflies tried to emerge, but faltered in their flight, weighed down by the thin layer of green blood they were now soaked in.:: T’Reshik: I do not know you. I suspect it is a shame that you must die here. So many have died to this. ::She moved to the next console, grabbing a sheaf of papers and stuffing them into a recess, and blood seeped out from around them, the air smelling of sweet verdigris now, organic and damp.:: ::Ji-hu felt queasy from the copper tang in the air, the way the butterflies flapped, caught in the blood. He reached down and scooped one up, the warm blood sticking to his hand, but the monarch came away easy enough, wings twitching, attempting to dry.:: Choi: ::to himself:: I can at least protect you. T’Reshik: Do you hear that? The oceans on this part of Vulcan are turbulent. The hurricanes can last for days. Perhaps you might find it beautiful. ::She looked up as a crash sounded and the whole building shook.:: It is destroying the monastery. I expected as much. Choi: ::cupping the monarch in his hand:: What is it? Can we save the monastery? Can we get away? T’Reshik: It is in here too. ::The wind kicked up around her feet, battering at the bloodsoaked hem of her robe, the discarded papers, the remaining butterflies on the ground. The air seemed to become warmer.:: It always was. ::There was a chilling kind of maturity to the way she enunciated those words. The air picked up further, buffeting at Choi’s form.:: Choi: T’Reshik… you need to help me… I need to get out of here I was... ???: T’hy’la! ::A patter of feet, heavier, and fast. T’Reshik appeared in the doorway - not a child, this time, but an adult, wearing the same lab coat he had seen her in during their mind meld.:: ::Ji-hu blinked, as the storm began to wrench apart the laboratory, the winds seemed to muddle his mind. They were chilling, but he felt too hot. His mind was muddled, he could barely think.:: Choi: If you’re… but... T’Reshik-2: That is not me. Come with me, now. ::She reached out her hand.:: ::Ji-hu recoiled away. If he uncupped his hand the butterfly would get torn away by the howling wind as it continued to tear apart the structures around them before it could fly again.:: Choi: No… I’m not g-g-going with you! You… you did something... ::T’Reshik began to physically drag him, and it seemed as if the ground crumbled away behind him at every step. Girders creaked and bricks fell at either side of the staircase, and the wind howled far above.:: Choi: ::shouting:: Help me, I’m so scared, t’hy’la… I feel so lost… Where are we? Are these memories? T’Reshik-2: ::shouting over the sound:: Unsure. Some kind of shared hallucination. The last I recall, I was about to mind-meld with you. Did that occur? ::Bright green butterflies the colour of blood flooded up around them as they ascended.:: Choi: Mind… meld… yes… we merged, I could remember… too much… T’Reshik: Ji-hu, this is important. Can you remember anything about what followed? ::prompting:: We were in sickbay, we were initiating a mind meld, and then... Choi: And then… ::They were in the surgery, but it was more Vulcan in design than anything in Starfleet, parts of the wall were exposed and beyond they could see a hurricane cycling around them, the blazing hot sun of Vulcan cutting through the tendrils of storm.:: ::Wyn stood over the operating table, though he was far away, somehow, he wasn’t coming through. T’Reshik lay there, only they were operating on the T’Reshik that had watched her husband die, they could both tell instinctually. Ji-hu was there as well, though he seemed to burn with darkness.:: Foster: ... not ready... withdrawing the probe… ::The other Ji-hu reached a dark, blazing hand out, which found the console.:: Choi: No… no! ::He reached out his hand to stop him, and as he feared the butterfly was whipped away. The room seemed to twist and scream around them, metal screeching against metal, stone grinding against stone. Ji-hu and T’Reshik were cocooned in the structure, obscuring the scene without, protecting them from the storm.:: ::Ji-hu glanced down at his hands. They were quite literally covered in warm, oxidizing greenish blood.:: Choi: I… killed you… Wyn wanted to s-s-stop and I… T’Reshik: ::abruptly:: No. I remember now. That was my influence. You are not to blame. Choi: No… you don’t understand. I wanted to keep going. It wasn’t just you. I could have stopped but I… wanted to… and now you’re dead… all that’s left is your… katra… I killed you... ::T’Reshik’s eyes widened a little, as if in realization. She spoke rapidly.:: T’Reshik: Choi. If this is true, and I am dead, you need to listen to me, and you need to focus. Something is wrong here. I cannot yet ascertain- ::Ji-hu pushed her away and the cocoon separated them, pushing her out and pulling him in deeper and darker. It was quieter here, calmer.:: Choi: Computer, begin encryption process for a three-tiered firewall security system. I don’t want anyone getting in or out. Computer: Acknowledged. ::Outside, T’Reshik was joined with the Choi who burned darkly. He smiled at her and took her hand in his own.:: Choi: We make a much more logical pair, wouldn’t you say t’hy’la? ::T’Reshik spun round as the storm battered at her lab coat, jerking her hand out of his. It had seemed natural to offer Choi her hand earlier, despite the intimacy of the gesture - like siblings huddling close against the cold - but the version who had taken it now sent warning tingles up the back of her neck, or the memory of it. If T’Reshik was dead now, it was reasonable to assume that she no longer had a physical form, and that quiet realization felt less important than the idea that her katra was actively endangering its host somehow.:: ::It was reasonable also to assume that this dark-burning Choi who seemed to wholly lack the… the humanity of the original was an extension of that problem.:: T’Reshik: What are you? Choi: I’m Lieutenant Choi Ji-hu, the better parts, anyway. The ambition, the cunning, the intellect. The parts you saw a reflection of yourself in, I’d guess. ::T’Reshik flared her nostrils disapprovingly.:: T’Reshik: I always knew psychoanalysis was a pointless discipline. ::She closed her eyes, attempting to assert some order on the situation; felt the raging torrent of their clashing minds resist, and pushed further. The ground cracked. Walls formed, then were swept away into the whirling chaos; wires unfurled from beneath her feet and spread into the distance, heralded by streaming lines of bright code, and one by one the hurricane tore them up again and dragged them into the distance.:: Choi: ::smiling:: Perhaps you might find it beautiful. T’Reshik: I am not impressed by you. On the contrary. Now that I have a vague idea of what you are, this should make my task easier. Choi: There is no task, t’hy’la, there’s no problem to be solved. We were working for the same purpose. To survive and overcome. If that means killing the weaker part of myself… what are you doing? ::T’Reshik turned back to the twisted stone-and-metal cocoon, and started to wrench one of the girders from the outside, her muscles straining implausibly from the exertion - how could one ache in a body that was not there?:: Choi: Why are you hurting yourself to get at… ::motioning at the cocoon:: … that. I’m right here. T’Reshik: ::straining:: If I am forced to guess, you are some kind of subconscious manifestation of negative emotion, possibly fear. Given that mine is conveniently elsewhere, subduing you should present no difficulty. Choi: ::amused:: Subduing me. I guess I should know that about you by now. You have a hard time admitting when it’s time to give up. ::She tore the metal away and swung at him.:: ::Choi ducked once, then again, bringing his hand up to stop the jagged metal bit.:: Choi: Huh, I’m much better at hand-to-hand without pesky anxiety getting in the way. Though I don’t know why you’re fighting me, t’hy’la. We should be embracing. Oh well... ::The ground shuddered and parted, and she was thrown sideways, her hands scrabbling to keep herself away from the the edge of what was now a deep precipice, nothing visible beyond but the raging sandstorm which smelt of blood. The weapon tumbled out of her grip and fell away.:: Choi: You can’t fix this, there’s no solution. It’s a decision I’ve made myself. T’Reshik: ::picking herself up:: No. There is always a solution. ::She gave the not-Choi one last, determined look, and ran for the edge.:: TBC “And even though I know the river is wide I walk down every evening and I stand on the shore And try to cross to the opposite side So I can finally find out what I've been looking for” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams A JP by Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0 And Commander Saveron Acting First Officer USS Constitution B R238802S10 And Lt (JG) T'Reshik Science USS Constitution D239311T10 JP by Choi, T’Reshik and Saveron: River of Dreams - Part 2 “In the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep Through the valley of fear To a river so deep And I've been searching for something Taken out of my soul Something I would never lose Something somebody stole” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams (( Mindscape - unknown )) T’Reshik: ::picking herself up:: No. There is always a solution. ::She gave the not-Choi one last, determined look, and ran for the edge.:: Choi: Computer, activate program Choi-88. ::The mindscape began to reconstitute itself, metal fragments and stone whipping about in the storm to reform a new space. An amalgam of monastery, laboratory and starship. Choi-88 was a starship bridge simulation. T’Reshik was placed on a ship that was half-Suurok class, half temple, while Choi remained behind on an obsidian black Galaxy-class vessel. He ran his hand over the cocoon, which sat at the centre of the vessel’s.:: Choi: Shields up, red alert. ::T’Reshik stared at her surroundings with disbelief. Something itched at the back of her mind, but she ignored it. What did this… this whatever it was gain by trying to engage her in a simulation? And why did it seem to have so much control? Was she going to have to start trying to think on some kind of symbolic level in order to correct the situation?:: T’Reshik: Computer. Hail enemy vessel. Choi: =/\= Go ahead, t’hy’la. =/\= T’Reshik: =/\= What do you want? =/\= Choi: =/\= I want you to play a game with me! I do love my starship simulators. Although I’m not sure if I’m the computer core, or the captain of this vessel. Why don’t you fire on me and find out? =/\= T’Reshik: =/\= I will not ‘play your game’ and I refuse to become complicit in harming my friend. Computer, initiate self-destruct-=/\= Saveron: =/\= Belay that, T’Reshik. =/\= ::The bland voice sounded over the comms as a tiny blip appeared on the sensors, racing impossibly fast towards the confrontation. Vastly smaller than either combative ship, on visual ther vessel featured a crescent-shaped head and rotating drive in the tail, the [...]pit big enough for just one person. It left a streak of green plasma across space, like a comet:: ::Everything of course, was an overlay. A mind’s way to interpreting what was going on underneath, like a dream. But this one was in the control of one part of one mind. Saveron had fought other minds across the shifting sands of Vulcan, but this time he was playing by someone else’s rules. ‘Seated’ in the [...]pit of a simulacrum of the fastest ship ever to come out of the Vulcan Science Academy, he found himself ‘dressed’ in full robes and deep desert suit, the usual manifestation of the mental protection he maintained when accessing the mind of another.:: ::A dark aura flickered around Choi’s ship, menacing in a way only diseased thought processes could be. And he’d seen something similar before.:: Choi: =/\= Identify yourself, unmarked vessel. =/\= Saveron: =/\= This is Commander Saveron. Lieutenants, stand down. =/\= ::Not that he expected the order to be obeyed, but the possibility warranted the attempt.:: ::T’Reshik almost experienced relief. She sat back in her chair, letting out a long breath. So that was the source of the odd feeling - another mind, one she had in fact encountered before, and perhaps the very person who could help.:: T’Reshik: =/\= Your presence is fortunate, Commander. What is your assessment of the situation? =/\= Saveron: =/\= It is a pathological personality; such cannot be permitted to return to consciousness. =/\= ::The tiny ship zipped between the two larger ones, jinking and weaving with agility afforded by it’s size the very latest inertial dampeners.:: Choi: =/\= Commander, this matter does not involve you. If you don’t turn back I’ll be forced to fire on you. =/\= ::The obsidian vessel shimmered menacingly, as if the very thought of opening fire gave it pleasure.:: Saveron: =/\= Incorrect. You will choose to fire on me, and bear the consequences of that choice. =/\= T’Reshik: =/\= Commander Saveron, recommend we avoid engagement with the enemy if possible. He has - =/\= ::a pause. Then, with some disbelief; :: =/\= The real Lieutenant Choi is aboard there with him. =/\= ::Saveron believed it. He’d seen it before. Commander Ross’s personality, bound and gagged, by the pathological implant who, in that mindscape, had shifted from Ross’s face to his own.:: Choi: =/\= As I explained to T’Reshik, I’ve made my choice. I’ve lived two lifetimes and seen what I needed to. We are of one mind on the matter, a sacrifice in the name of discovery is worth it. T’Reshik has been able to proceed with her life, blood on her hands, and I will do the same… with her help. =/\= :: T’Reshik gritted her teeth as her hands began to seep with a thin coating of green blood. Why did this mindscape have to be so literal? It was getting difficult to maintain her grip on the piloting controls.:: ::There was no real point in engaging in argument with ‘Choi’. He wasn’t interested in discussion, only his own ends. From his words it sounded as though Choi’s stifled curiosity and perhaps his self-loathing over his lack of confidence had combined with T’Reshik’s stubornness and lack of principles to create a gestalt that was almost whole. It’s dissolution could benefit both parties.:: Saveron: =/\= T’Reshik will find it difficult to assist you if you destroy her. =/\= ::He pointed out.:: T’Reshik: =/\= I have no intention of assisting it. Recommend that you prioritise Lieutenant Choi’s mental wellbeing over retrieval of my katra. If my consciousness needs to be purged for him to survive, so be it. =/\= Choi: ::to himself:: All that remains is to rid myself of this weaker portion… but it will not simply do to jettison it into space… no... ::The little ship, a replica of a single-purpose vessel known as the ‘Jellyfish’’, wheeled in an impossibly tight turn and came back for another pass between the two ships.:: T’Reshik: =/\= Computer, engage shield. Lieutenant Choi, stand down.=/\= Choi: =/\= Open fire on unidentified Vulcan vessel. Do your worst, Commander. You’ll be doing me a favour. =/\= ::Dark lances of energy blazed out of the obsidian vessel, twisting and turning through the mindscape space towards the strange little vessel of Commander Saveron.:: ::The little ship dodged and wove, looping over it’s own track and skimming the shields of the attacking ship, such that many of the dark blasts of energy barely missed it and impacted not their target but their originator. Of itself however it returned no fire.:: Saveron: =/\= Be careful, Lieutenant. Rash action oft backfires. =/\= Choi: =/\= And no action gets us nowhere. =/\= ::T’Reshik was yelling instructions before Choi was even finished speaking, although she'd barely had enough time for shields to initialize, and wasn't entirely sure if this would work, given that the capabilities of this esoteric artifact-ship were still largely unknown to her. Her hands smeared blood on the controls as she attempted to maneuver alongside the smaller ship.:: T’Reshik: =/\= Computer, end transmission =/\= - extend deflector shield to cover Jellyfish-class vessel! ::As the small vessel rolled back away from Choi’s ship it matched phase and slipped inside the shields of T’Reshik’s ship.:: ::An incoming hail on a closed channel signified to Saveron that T’Reshik was done with diplomacy for now. Neither did she make any attempt to return fire; she seemed to be pouring everything she had into shield strength. :: T'Reshik: =/\= Jellyfish, this is T’Reshik. I believe Lieutenant Choi to be experiencing remorse over my death and recommend the application of… counselling. =/\= ::She even managed to say that without conveying her overall disgust with the profession. Mostly.:: =/\= I repeat, since enemy captain seems to have taken Choi’s consciousness hostage, I do not recommend returning fire. =/\= Saveron: =/\= Understood. Ideal outcome is the retrieval of Lieutenant Choi’s consciousness so that we can return you both to your respective bodies. =/\= T’Reshik: =/\=... repeat that, Commander? =/\= Saveron =/\= You and Lieutenant Choi are to be returned to your respective bodies, and the pathological personality must be excised. =/\= ::He added, in case that wasn’t obvious.:: =/\= That is the reason for my presence. =/\= ::There was silence on the line.:: T'Reshik: =/\= Am I to understand that I am not dead? =/\= Saveron: =/\= Affirmative, though your body is currently in a vegetative state. =/\= ::Pending the installation of a consciousness.:: T'Reshik: =/\= … interesting. In which case, what is your recommendation? =/\= Saveron: ::On the closed line.:: =/\= It is important that you transport Lieutenant Choi’s hostaged personality onto your ship. It must be separated from the pathological personality.=/\= T’Reshik: =/\= Understood; preparing for transport now. Signal when ready.=/\= Saveron: =/\= The moment will be apparent. =/\= ::The little ship wheeled around and exited the shields of T’Reshik’s ship again, bringing it once more into weapons, and communications, range of Choi’s. T’Reshik was absolutely right, his weaponry was not phasers, but something far more deadly.:: Saveron: =/\= Do you know why I am here, Lieutenant Choi? =/\= ::T’Reshik stayed silent on the general line, simply listening and waiting.:: Choi: =/\= To interfere, I assume. To return things to the status quo, to steal my t’hy’la and the power of will she has given me away. =/\= ::His ‘t’hy’la?:: Saveron: =/\= That is my purpose, but not the cause. I am here to intervene because Wyn Foster requested that I do so. =/\= ::Silence crackled on the line as the obsidian black ship pulled into a new attack pattern. The little ship dodged and dove, staying out of the line of it’s conventional weaponry.:: Choi: =/\= I won’t be swayed, Commander. I have already made my choice. =/\= Saveron: =/\= Do you believe that Wyn will not perceive the change, Lieutenant? =/\= ::He asked rhetorically.:: =/\= He is perceptive, and above all a healer. Do you think he will thank you for what you are doing? That cold ambition will appeal to him? =/\= ::Silence.:: Choi: =/\= You’re not wrong, Commander. Maybe this is a sign that I don’t need Wyn any longer… =/\= ::The voice sounded unsure, for the first time. Something of the iron will the Choi-ship was trying to impose had eroded somewhat.:: Saveron: =/\= Perhaps. But does he still need you? It would hurt him deeply to see you change from the Choi he knew and loved to one with no compassion, all ambition. =/\= ::And he knew Wyn wouldn’t stand for it.:: Choi: =/\= Still, better to live from a position of strength and power, than to fall back on old vulnerabilities and failings. Arm photon torpedoes. Fire when ready. =/\= ::A new series of burning dark lances fanned out from the ship, twisting and screaming through space. Again the little ship twisted and dove, though this time the lances missed it by only the narrowest of margins, and it’s shields flashed as they were grazed.:: Saveron: =/\= A pathological personality will not be permitted to survive. If you will not yield now, you will do so on Vulcan. =/\= ::There were those with far greater skills in such things than he.:: Choi: =/\= And if you excise me, what then? Ji-hu will have to live with what he’s done. =/\= T'Reshik: =/\= Incorrect. I am still alive.=/\= Saveron: =/\= Both T’Reshik and Choi live, as yet. =/\= ::He confirmed.:: ::There was a moment’s silence as the comm line crackled. The shields on the obsidian ship fell.:: Choi: =/\= What the… get those shields back up! Now! =/\= ::T’Reshik activated the transporter hurriedly, still smearing green on the controls as she poured all available resources in attempting to get a lock on the hostage. It might not have been what Saveron had planned, but she knew an opportunity when she saw it.:: ::Saveron hadn’t been certain exactly how he was going to get those shields down; the nature of the dreamscape required constant improvisation. Failure from inside suggested that there was still some internal struggle.:: T’Reshik: =/\=Target locked and energizing.=/\= ::T’Reshik turned her face to the materializing figure behind her, blood-slick hand poised over weapon controls. She wasn't going to fire until she knew Ji-hu was safe, but she didn't trust the other Choi not to turn on her the moment he noticed his leverage was gone.:: Saveron: =/\= T’Reshik; set a distant destination, maximum warp, once you have Choi. =/\= ::The “program” began to break apart the second the stone and metal cocooon-computer core transported onto the Vulcan temple-ship. A nearby red dwarf began to fracture apart, as if being torn to pieces by some invisible hurricane out of space. The starry, dark backdrop began to flicker. Only the ships remained, the minds behind them still stabilizing their projection. The “simulation,” however, was breaking down, tearing itself apart.:: Choi: ::darkly:: =/\= T’hy’la, I thought we were one mind on this, but you’re giving me no choice. If I can’t have your katra, I’ll do my best to carry on our work without you. End transmission. =/\= ::The black Galaxy-class vessel wheeled about, entering an offensive posture towards T’Reshik’s ship, and the same dark lances of energy shot forth in tendrils, twisting and turning, bleeding pixels as they skeined their way through space as it broke down.:: ::The little ship wheeled around again, flying a long arc across the back of Choi’s temple/ship, and as it reached the zenith of the arc, it’s cargo doors opened, and a sphere was ejected from the ship in the direction of the far larger vessel.:: ::In real life the substance had been red; in the dreamscape it was silver and seemed infinitely reflective, yet what it reflected was not the scene before it. Faces came and went; Wyn, Rue, Jalana, Choi’s parents. Scenes familiar and dear, though some were obviously taken from holographs that Saveron had pulled from the computer; others straight from Choi’s memories. The ESPO offices, his messy quarters, Starfleet Academy in summer, Korea in spring. The smell of blossoms and snow on the wind, the taste of hot chips. The friends and family who appreciated Choi for who he was, social anxiety and all.:: ::The little ship zipped away again, towards the smaller ship that held T’Reshik and Choi’s consciousness, and the silver sphere fell inexorably towards the giant, looming ship.:: TBC “I don't know why I go walking at night But now I'm tired and I don't want to walk anymore I hope it doesn't take the rest of my life Until I find what it is that I've been looking for” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams A JP by Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0 And Commander Saveron Acting First Officer USS Constitution B R238802S10 And Lt (JG) T'Reshik Science USS Constitution D239311T10 JP by Choi, T’Reshik and Saveron: River of Dreams - Part 3 “In the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep Through the desert of truth To the river so deep We all end in the ocean We all start in the streams We're all carried along By the river of dreams” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams (( Mindscape - unknown )) ::The imposing, black vessel seemed momentarily vexed about continuing the attack pattern against T’Reshik’s ship or pulling away into some kind of defensive maneuver. The momentary hesitation was all it took as the substance hit it. The ship shuddered, went dark and then began to drift, pulled into the gravity well of the black hole’s storm as it tore apart the “simulation.”:: ::T’Reshik, delayed by the dual demands of navigational calculations and making sure Choi’s cocoon had arrived in one piece, jumped to warp, and the stars froze and smeared in place on the viewscreen as she left the disintegrating ship far behind her.:: T’Reshik: Ji-hu? Can you hear me? ::Ji-hu’s eyes fluttered inside the core he had created for himself. A monarch had landed on his eyebrow, it’s wings extending and closing. He felt oddly cool, like a heat wave had broken and a gentle rain had swept through wherever he was. He also felt more tired than he had ever felt in his life.:: Choi: ::exhausted:: Computer, status. Computer: Level 2 encryption b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-broken. Level 2 encr--SYSTEMS ERROR. Choi: Release level 3 encryption. System shutdown. ::The chamber around him began to fall apart as the simulation terminated. Suddenly they were all on the monastery’s plateau overlooking the Voroth Sea. A hurricane raged in the distance, a dark, twisting structure of grey and purple.:: ::Ji-hu was sitting with his knees pulled up to his chest. He glanced up at Saveron and blushed, his eyes falling back down to the violent, churning sea water.:: Choi: You’re the r-r-real Saveron? ::It would be easy to doubt the identity of the tall figure, swathed in heavy robes over a deep desert suit, only the grey eyes visible. But even as it nodded, the cowl fell away and the face mask peeled back, revealing the familiar visage.:: Saveron: Affirmative. Choi: ::to T’Reshik:: And… and you’re alive? I didn’t k-k-k-kill you? ::T’Reshik wiped green smears onto her lab coat.:: T’Reshik: I am. You did not. Saveron: Doctor Foster managed to repair the damage. ::He could have said more, but that could wait until they were all back inside their own heads.:: Choi: I’m so tired. Can we g-go home? T’Reshik: I concur. Commander? Is that possible? Saveron: Theoretically. ::He confirmed.:: I have prepared to perform the Fal-tor-pan. ::Of course, he’d never done it before, nor received the level of training of a Temple Priest, but he’d come this far.:: T’Reshik: ::to Choi:: Are you - :: “Injured”? “Distressed”? Neither of those seemed to make sense in here. T’Reshik settled. :: - alright? Choi: I’m just so tired… and I r-remember everything now... Saveron: And yourself? T’Reshik: ::wiping off more blood (this metaphor was quickly becoming irritating).:: I am unharmed by the experience. Or insofar as I can tell. ::Indeed. The harm that was done to T’Reshik had happened long ago.:: Saveron: Then we should depart. ::He looked at where the simulcrum of Choi was seated, watching the butterflied.:: Once we leave you should regain full possession of your own faculties. Doctor Foster will be summoned for you. ::Just a little added incentive. Then he turned to T’Reshik..:: Saveron: You must come with me. ::Even if he couldn’t return T’Reshik to her own head, she needed to leave Choi’s for him to heal. In a move entirely uncharacteristic for a Vulcan, he stripped off one glove and held out his hand. Here in the dreamscape, that clasp would act as an anchor.:: ::Despite the complete exhaustion he felt in his body, that he now understood wasn’t really his body, Ji-hu managed to clamber to his feet and face the Vulcans. He hoped, despite what he’d experienced in a single day that had felt like… and in some ways, was… an entire lifetime, that Saveron taking away T’Reshik wouldn’t take all of her. He couldn’t imagine life without her memories, her experience, a little piece of her living inside of him. Ji-hu saluted the two with the ta’al.:: Choi: ::in a Da-Leb/Nel-Gathic pidgin:: Peace and long life. ::T’Reshik regarded Saveron’s hand for one long, suspicious moment. Then she returned Choi’s salute, and replied in tentative Korean. :: T’Reshik: Peace and long life, Ji-hu. ::She took Saveron’s hand.:: Saveron: Live long and prosper, Lieutenant Choi. ::Favouring Choi with the ta’al for a moment, he turned and they began to descend the long, winding steps of the monastery. As they did so they faded from view.:: ::Ji-hu sat back down and the plateau and turned to watch the storm as it raged quietly on the horizon. His eyes felt heavy and the world was beginning to soften around him, as if he was going to sleep, but in the wrong direction. Something tickled his eyebrow and he reached up. When he brought his hand back a monarch butterfly perched on his fingers, wings opening and closing. It would be nice to see Wyn again, after so long. He smiled, his head nodding down to his chest.:: ::From Saveron and T’Reshik’s point of view the steps let them out onto a vast expland of rolling sand dunes, and when they looked behind them, the monastery had vanished. Here the sands were more yellow than red, and great jagged teeth of rock stuck out incongruously through it.:: T’Reshik: Intersting. I recognize this landscape, but I cannot name it. Saveron: This is the Goan desert; where I passed my khas-wan. ::He said quietly.:: ::They were suddenly on Vulcan’s western continent. There was no obvious path or direction for them to take, and Saveron sealed up the mask of his desert suit and began to walk in the direction of the sun.:: T’Reshik: Have you performed the fal-tor-pan before? Saveron: Negative. ::And he didn’t want to admit that, whilst the initial phase had been successful, now that he had T’Reshik’s katra, he was uncertain what the next step was.:: ::T’Reshik wiped off her hand on her lab coat again. The one holding Saveron’s seemed to be behaving itself, but the spare was still bleeding away, and the smears on her lab coat were starting to stink. She momentarily envied Saveron his reduced sense of smell.:: ::The two walked in silence for a while. T’Reshik had never held anyone’s hand for so long before, and she was quickly approaching the conclusion that she didn’t like it. T’Reshik: Do you have a physical destination in mind, or are we merely walking until we encounter landmarks? Saveron: The latter. I am searching for a marker whereby we may access the the place where your consciousness should reside. ::But all around them was bare desert and sharp rocks. T’Reshik’s brain was empty of anything even resembling a mind; they needed some anchor for her.:: ::T’Reshik flicked some blood from the free hand as they walked.:: T’Reshik: I assume I am not obligated to converse with you in the meanwhile. Saveron: You are free to converse or not as you choose. ::His tone of voice was dull. Saveron wasn’t feeling particularly chatty himself; he was concentrating and battling increasing mental fatigue. He had access to the whole of the brainscape, but there was no obvious point at which to finalise the transfer.:: T’Reshik: Acknowledged. ::They walked in silence for some time, as non-specific as time was in this place, before curiosity got the better of Saveron. One of the few emotions that Vulcans regularly seemed disinclined to rein in.:: Saveron: Do you recognise the Goan from your own experiences, or my memories? ::He asked.:: T’Reshik: Your memories. I have never been there. My kahs-wan took place on my own continent. The sand has a different chemical composition. Saveron: That is correct. The iron content is lower, and the magnesium and phosphate levels are higher. ::It was one of the things that made the An’ahyaes valley, nearby, so fertile.:: You have retained some of my memories. T’Reshik: Only fragments. Children whom I assume to be your offspring. Unfamiliar landscapes. The sound of wind chimes. The cluttered living quarters of what I assume is an elderly relative in the early stages of Bendii syndrome. ::pause.:: Do you have any of mine? ::Saveron suspected that those were his quarters she was talking about.:: Saveron: Also fragments. Wind in the rocks. Pieces of VSL vocabulary. A child’s science kit Some… interesting perceptions following exposure to certain substances and… a damaged coffee machine? T’Reshik: That is… probably from the Academy. Saveron: An… interesting period in your life. ::The fragments of memory were interesting from a disassociated point of view, but unwanted. With every insight into T’Reshik’s mind he saw greater and greater disassociation, even sociopathic tendencies. The more he knew of her the more he wanted to help her, but the less agreeable he found her. She was hardly innocent in her situation.:: ::T’Reshik looked to her right, then stopped.:: T’Reshik: I believe those are footprints. ::And indeed they were. Small and wide-spaced and slightly heavy, the brisk walk of a child. Saveron followed her gaze.:: Saveron: Affirmative. We should follow them. ::He knew that without having to ask how; this was the sign he’d been looking for.:: ::The footprints trailed off through the sand, a distance far greater than a barefoot child should have survived in this deep desert. Yet this time as they walked the landscape began again to subtly change. The ground grew redder and more coarse, and the rocky outcroppings became more distant, less jagged. The sky darkened and took on a vague, dreamlike quality. T’Reshik stared up at it as they walked, eyebrows furrowed, then directed the same look at the fading prints on the ground. :: Saveron: The scene is familiar? T’Reshik: Unsure. I assumed this was your memory at first. Possibly some kind of transitional terrain… it shares geographical features with my home province. Saveron: It is becoming less like my own, which suggests that we are transitioning from my seat of consciousness to yours. ::Which was what needed to happen, and he’d begun to doubt was achievable.:: ::She reached down and picked up something half-buried in the sand. It looked like a page torn from a chemistry textbook, with a tiny bloodied handprint at the edge. T’Reshik raised her eyebrow at Saveron.:: Saveron: It would appear that we are following the correct trail. T’Reshik: I concur. Let us continue. ::The red sands beneath their feet grew fine again, stretching out into dunes ahead of them. The footprints deepened, weaving between patches of rice grass; T’Reshik caught the scent of salt on the air. By the time they were in sight of the sea, she had accrued a handful of discarded papers in varying languages, green-smeared at the edges and peppered with sand. :: Saveron: This is your home province, is it not? ::It no longer bore any resemblance to the south of Han-Shir.:: T’Reshik: Affirmative. We are in my memories now. ::The maker of the footprints was waiting for them on the beach, a young Vulcan girl with solemn green eyes and a distinctly familiar cast to her features. In what was, for him, an unfamiliar landscape, Saveron regarded the figure cautiously.:: Saveron: Who are you? ::The girl said nothing, but crouched down to lay aside the bundle of scrolls in her arms. She reached her hand out to T’Reshik. Beyond her, they could see dark clouds gathering at the horizon, and the waves lapped quickly against the steep shore as if warning of an oncoming storm.:: ::T’Reshik glanced over at Saveron.:: Saveron: Our guide, perhaps. ::Certainly she had the documents from which the pages had been torn.:: T’Reshik: Actually, I believe this is where our path ends. ::She let go of Saveron’s hand and offered the ta’al, then reached out for the child’s.:: T’Reshik: Live long and prosper, Commander. If I do not awake from this, please ensure that I am still credited in any studies resulting from this experiment. ::Pause:: Also, please inform my father that I regret not contacting him sooner. Saveron: One would question your priorities Lieutenant, but I will do so. ::He raised his hand to return the gesture.:: T’Reshik: My priorities are logical. ::To the girl:: I am ready. ::She didn’t look back at Saveron as the child-T’Reshik led her into the water. When the papers in her hands touched it they dissolved into shreds, but the two Vulcans seemed unharmed. The waves rose to greet them and then they were gone.:: Saveron: Peace and long life. ::And never had he meant that expression more, though perhaps ‘peace or long life’ might have been more accurate.:: ::As the pair disappeared beneath the waves, the tall figure in desert robes faded from view, until there was nothing left but the water lapping at the sand.:: END “I'm not sure about a life after this God knows I've never been a spiritual man Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river That runs to the promised land” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams A JP by Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0 And Commander Saveron Acting First Officer USS Constitution B R238802S10 And Lt (JG) T'Reshik Science USS Constitution D239311T10
  5. (( USS Constitution - Main Holodeck 01 ))::Ensign Paku couldn’t shake the feeling of imminent death. Of course, that was a constant in his life. A prey species that is biologically determined to sense impending danger and death in an environment where danger and death were all around them meant his threat ganglia had been working overtime since he’d been accepted into Starfleet Academy. That Paku was, perhaps, slightly more anxious and hypersensitive than the average Kelpien had nothing to do with it.::::The fact that his superior officer, little more than a child in the Kelpien’s eyes, was installing military-grade tech into an explorer vessel was likely the cause. His threat ganglia twitched and danced all afternoon.::::After testing the Faust Control Unit and running a series of diagnostics, they were just finishing up and packing it in. Paku was already fantasizing about returning to his quarters where he had the environmental controls and lighting set just right to simulate subterranean Kelpia, when Lieutenant Choi got a call.::Sindri: =/\= Sindri to Choi? =/\=::His threat ganglia had just started to relax and retreat, but at the chilling sound of the voice they shot out again. Lieutenant Choi seemed… put off by the voice, but not terrified like he should. Paku tried to wave to get his attention. Cut communications. Run.::Choi: =/\= Choi here, Lieutenant. =/\=Sindri: =/\= I’m looking for the vermin that usually inhabit this dank office of yours… I got them a customer. =/\=::Ensign Frag, the obnoxious, filthy Tellarite, leaned in close to Choi’s communicator.::Frag: =/\= You promised you’d stop calling Little Dag a customer! He’s a valued member of the crew, Sindri, no matter how short he is! =/\=Choi: ::sighing:: =/\= We’re just finishing up some work on the holodeck, Lieutenant, we can be down in ESPO within an hour or so. =/\=Sindri: =/\= Nice… playing nerd games on company time? You think maybe some actual work might be squeezed into your busy schedule? =/\=Paku: Lieutenant, we need to call security.::Choi turned to him, raising an eyebrow.::Choi: Security?! Why?Paku: Something… bad is happening… or is going to happen. I’m undecided.Frag: ::grumbling:: Isn’t that Kelpia’s planetary motto?::Lieutenant Choi stared at Frag, then Paku, looking exhausted. He hit his communicator, reopening the channel to this Lieutenant.::Choi: =/\= Lieutenant, we’re going to be awhile packing up and submitting documentation to Starfleet R&D. =/\=Tor: =/\= We’re also not a repair shop. If someone has a maintenance request they ca- - =/\=::Lieutenant Choi waved his hands furiously at the J’Naii.::Sindri: =/\= Well, I can wait a few more moments I suppose if you think you’re going to be done? Otherwise we can come back later. =/\=Choi: =/\= Probably better to just come back, sorry for the bother. Choi out. =/\=Frag: That was a little too civil for Dag… something’s up…::Paku’s eyes went wide as he stared at the Tellarite.::Paku: I’m going to have to agree with Ensign Frag.Tor: ::muttering:: I suppose there’s a first time for everything…Frag: ::decided:: He must be leaving me chocolates and flowers! That old romantic!::Paku braced himself against the wall, threat ganglia twitching aggressively. All he wanted to do was save everyone from a violent demise… was that so much to ask?:: (( Brief Timeskip - ESPO ))::If Paku’s threat ganglia were twitching before they’d returned to ESPO, they were practically standing up straight out and thrashing as they entered the Constitution’s office. Something was very, very wrong. Over the usual, overwhelming scent of computer parts and Frag’s body odour, there was another smell, something organic and chemical, that Paku couldn’t trace. No one else seemed to notice it even after he’d pointed it out.::::The Kelpien sat down at his console and immediately began to sanitize everything, as usual, while the others filed their end of duty reports. That’s when things got weird. He felt a hand run over his head and he leapt out of his seat to see Ensign Tor standing behind him, a weird grin on their face, their eyes out of focus.::Tor: ::laughing:: Who let this big bald kitty in here? Here kitty-kitty…::Paku backed up against the console and began to move his way around the corner, away from the Ensign, threat ganglia flopping around in terror. He glanced around the corner where he saw that Frag was sitting on the floor and starring at her hands.::Frag: I can see the entire history of the universe in my palms… and the future, too… wow… I look great in green…Paku: Ensign? What in the name of- -Frag: ::looking up at him, terrified:: Are you Hovah? What happened to all your hair? Do you want me to shave? Is that what you’re telling me, sweet merciful Hovah?::Frag began to cry.::::Paku glanced over her to see the Bynars dancing, although no music was playing, at least not out loud. He’d never seen them move in that way. They were actually… really good. Lieutenant Choi was nowhere to be found, he’d likely, maybe mercifully, returned to his R&D lab.::::Paku sighed. This was just like the Starbase 104 Festival of Gratitude all over again. Why did no one ever listen to him? He reached into the sanitation kit he always wore on his hip and handed a pair of gloves to Tor.::Paku: You can pet the kitty if you wear these medical grade sanitary gloves.::This did the trick. Tor seemed to loose all interest in him and instead was transported by the material.::Tor: So shiny.::Frag continued to sob and whisper prayers to sweet merciful Hovah about how she didn’t want to shave her proud purple mane, before switching at a moment’s notice to a need to satisfy her “munchies.” The Bynars kept dancing.::::Paku’s threat ganglia finally retreated and he sat down at his console, finishing up with the sanitation wipes, before he pulled up the security logs. A Lieutenant Dag Sindri and Cadet 4th Class Kaith had entered and then promptly left, and nothing had been accessed save a single file on Paku’s console, which had been deleted. He pulled up the deleted file’s cache and restored it, hoping it would help make sense of the situation.::::Two men were shown in a crowded room, arms slung over one another. One of them was shirtless and wearing a hat shaped like a humanoid mammary that read, “Risa or bust!” although if this had any significance it was lost on the Kelpien. They each swayed violently, clutching huge glasses of amber liquid. They were screaming some sort of ancient chant, or invocation, that was earsplitting in its volume and intensity. “If I staaaaaayed here with you giiiiiiiiiiiirl… things just couldn’t beeeeeeeee the saaaaaaaaame…” The crowd booed and threw various foodstuffs. Perhaps this was some sort of pagan ritual?::::Paku shuddered and deleted the file, making sure to clear all caches related to it. This was something better left unseen. He turned back to Frag, who was struggling with the industrial replicator to override the settings to give her a “big frakkin’ pizza,” while Tor rubbed the medical gloves against their face, cooing. The Bynars danced. Paku sighed. No one ever listened to him…::ENDThe Engineering Systems Programming Office PNPCsEnsign Frag, Ensign Paku, Ensign Tor and Crewmen Ix & TeAs simmed by:Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-huEngineering OfficerUSS Constitution-BC239402CJ0
  6. ::beats iphone with hammer:: There.. that problem's fixed... next...

    1. Wilmer

      Wilmer

      Just so long as you don't beat me with a hammer, all's good :ninja:

    2. Nikki Ryan

      Nikki Ryan

      No worries Nate. I wouldn't use a hammer on ya ;) 

  7. Yesterday
  8. Poll of the Week: Self-defense in Starfleet

    Starfleet officers are prepared for their roles in every way possible. Endless classes, lectures, and hands-on learning opportunities form the education of the cadet. Rigorous technical instruction allow a prospective officer to function, work, and maintain the equipment they will encounter. History, astronomy, history, basic first aid…the sheer amount of knowledge is overwhelming. However, in addition to all of these courses, each cadet is also required to pass a self-defense course. The career path a cadet wishes to take will affect how much training they receive in this regard. As one might imagine, individuals such as science officers are provided the basic skills necessary to cope with bodily attack, while those pursuing a security role are, naturally, required to master far more intensive techniques for all situations. We all know that Starfleet officers embrace life, and do not injure without cause, or when peace might prevail. However, ten different officers might have ten different ways of approaching the question of self-defense. Some might prefer to attack and disable, while others might choose to focus almost exclusively on defending against blows. Personality, position, and mindset all play a part in one’s attitude. This week’s poll asks you to think about your character, and to consider their approach to self defense. Are they generally more aggressive, seeking to give as good as they get, and not hesitating to injure assailants? Or do they prefer more peaceful forms like aikido and judo-disciplines focused on disarming and disabling an opponent without injuring him or her? Or perhaps they experience some sort of middle ground – a midway between offensive and defensive techniques that suit any situation. Head to the forums now and give us your take on self-defense principles of Starfleet officers. Let us know your thoughts in the comment below the poll! The post Poll of the Week: Self-defense in Starfleet appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
  9. Another downward spiral

  10. Last week
  11. USS ATLANTIS – Robotic hacking device discovered attempting to steal sensitive data during routine diagnostics. After detecting a systems-related security breach, the investigating team aboard the USS Atlantis, NCC-74682, found not a person but a robot hidden inside a container that was leaching data directly from the Atlantis’ data grid. As the four men approached the robot, an explosion of sound and movement followed by an avalanche of falling cargo containers. LtCmdr Shayne, LtJG Jarred Thoran and Ensign Vito Jiace were unharmed, however Ensign Oswald’s leg was pinned underneath a fallen container and in the confusion, the robot fled. Shayne ordered Thoran to pursue the robot, while he and Jiace stayed to assist Oswald. As Oswald fell into delirium Shane called for a medic. Once medics arrived on the scene, and the hazard was removed, a second robot emerged from the shadows, violently attaching itself to a medic. Shayne managed to pull the robot off, but too attempted to flee the scene. In the struggle that followed, Shayne was able to shott and disable the robot, which was then suspended in the ship’s transporter buffer and held there in stasis. Meanwhile, Thoran and Jiace, responding to a security alert from deflector control, finally caught up to the first robot. Readying his weapon Jiace charged into the room, with Jarred following behind. Jiace ducked behind the main console while Jarred ducked behind a canister. The robot flung itself, cannonball style, into Jiace, bringing him to the ground. With effort, Jiace managed to keep the robot at arm’s length while Jarred attempted to find a clear shot with his phaser. Unfortunately, the pair were so intertwined, Jarred could not risk firing at the robot without also risking hitting Jiace. As a security team arrived, Jiace ordered them to hold fire as he continued to struggle with the robot. The stalemate ended when the robot leapt from Jiace to deflector control’s main console, hammering at the controls. With Jaice no longer in the line of fire, Jarred and the security team opened fire, but their effors were blocked by a force field. Moments later, the robot exploded just as Shayne and another security contingent arrived. The crisis was over. Crewman Douglas remarked, “Taventa Robotics sure have a lot to answer for. The blood spilled today is on their hands.” Written by Merrick R’Ven The post Taventa Robotics hacking robot breaches Atlantis’ systems, steals critical data appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
  12. We have a winner: The Top Sim of 2017 is…

    Congrats you guys! Wonderful job!
  13. New Academy Graduate

    Welcome aboard, V'Rall! Happy to have you with us.
  14. New Academy Graduate

    Please welcome our newest Academy graduate to the UFOP: StarBase 118 fleet: V’Rall! The post New Academy Graduate appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
  15. (( USS Blackwell, Deck 2, Conference Room 1 )) ::The conference room steadily filled with officers as the scheduled time for the meetings crept closer. So many changes had taken place on Blackwell in the recent past, and the new makeup of her senior staff featured a true mix of familiar and new faces.:: ::Some of them, like Shayne, Rhyn, and R'Ven, Didrik had known for some time. He wondered how Shayne was coping with the recent reassignment of Isabel Pond, with whom he'd had a significant relationship and even shared living space, and thought it might be wise to look in after him when the time was mutually right. The thought of Pond, Logan, and Brell, having relocated for new adventures under the latter's command aboard the USS Atlantis, made Didrik a mix of happy and sad. He was pleased that the Bolian CO was moving forward in his career and having new adventures on a ship of his own, but he was dismayed at how he himself had left things; Didrik had put off a proper apology for too long, and now he missed his chance.:: ::The room reached near capacity, and Didrik presumed the meeting ought to begin any moment now. Once the Captain seemed satisfied that anyone who would be in attendance had arrived, he claim the room's attention and began.:: Zaekia: Alright. Thank you all for attending. I appreciate we’ve all just been through quite the ordeal but we need answers. We need to know this vessel is fit for purpose and won’t let us down again like it has here today. ::Didrik didn't know much about Kalean cultural practices, but if Zaekia were human, Didrik might have ascribed an accusatory tone to the captain's words, as if the real culprit was not the ship, but rather one of them in the room. ‘Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? Who me? Yes, you. Couldn’t be. Then, who?’ It was equally likely, however, that Didrik was just projecting his own thoughts onto Zaekia's words. He did his best to suspend his own judgment until everyone in the room had had his or her say.:: R’Ven: Yes Captain. To that end I have had each of the department chiefs compile reports of the current state of their department and how it applies to the current state of the ship. Zaekia: Engineering, let’s start with you. How bad is the damage and how long will it take us to complete repairs? ::Didrik was not a skilled engineer; in fact, he had always scored below average in engineering aptitude, but today, he was very interested to hear what Blackwell's engineers had to say about the near-breach of the ship's warp core. A core breach is a death sentence for anyone unlucky enough to be within a few kilometers of one, and the story of how Blackwell had come mere seconds to utter destruction, only to miraculously recover, was a story Didrik was eager to hear.:: Yesna: The damage is not as bad as first thought engines can be back up within the next couple of hours and the deflector will take around five hours to get it back up and running, but when we do return to a space dock I would recommend a full replacement. The power systems will need a few tweaks and bypass as we fix the dish. We could do all this with the help of the Consortium within 12 hours and we can be underway again. Zaekia: I know but we need their help, Admiral. ::Didrik recognized the non-sequitur immediately. It wasn't just the out-of-place bit of conversation, it was the captain's whole demeanor, as if he were having a conversation with someone half verbally, half telepathically, lost the ability to distinguish the two. He saw the same thing happening between Dr. G'Renn and Counselor Sindrana down in Sickbay, and Didrik it seemed Zaekia and Renos were now entangled in a similar thing.:: Zaekia: ::Clearing his throat and turning slightly deeper blue about the cheeks:: Sorry. Alright, let’s move on. I think we have a pretty good sense of where the ship is at right now and what sort of repairs timeline we’re looking at. Thank you Ensign Yesna. How are things going with regards to the investigation into what happened? Shayne: Sirs, so far, the results of the investigation regarding the difficulties at the helm are...less than conclusive. We’ve looked at mechanical fault of all kinds. We’ve even... We’ve even considered pilot error. So far, nothing has turned up. But I’ve got a team on it- they’re going to look until they find the problem. ::As an ex-helm officer himself, Didrik knew that there existed a special bond among those Starfleet officers lucky enough to pilot its vessels across the galaxy. To outsiders, it may seem that starship pilots were cliquish, or uninterested with the workings of the rest of the vessel, but Didrik knew this wasn't true. It's just that most Starfleet pilots considered themselves so unbelievably lucky in a way that non pilots just couldn't understand. It wasn't just flying the ship, it was the privilege of sitting at the head of the bridge and the honor of knowing that no matter where in the universe a ship might go, it is you, the pilot, who gets to take her there. Because of this, Didrik knew that even Shayne's mention of investigating 'pilot error' was delivered reluctantly, and with all the seriousness of a heart attack.:: Thoran: My finding so far concur with Commander Shayne. We have run security sweeps over the main systems and have yet to find anything. R’Ven: Captain, I would like to ask a few question to make the situation a little more clear? Zaekia: Of course, by all means. R’Ven: Thank You. ::Turning his attention to those assembled he posed his first questions:: Commander Shayne, Lieutenant Thoran and Ensign Yesna, your accounts are thorough. Thank you. ::without pause Merrick turned to Yesna:: However to add one additional point. Ensign, I had also asked you to look into any sort of unauthorized access to our systems. Were you able to find anything? Yesna: Yes Sir, There was a strange command-line subroutine in the navigational array, that seemed to be trying to take control of the helm. That was till the dish exploded. R’Ven: And were you able to determine the source? Yesna: Not yet but it was transferred to our systems within the last month. R’Ven: Thank you Ensign I appreciate your efforts in this regard. ::Didrik had only met a handful of Ash'lie in his lifetime, and he found each one as puzzling as the last. When humans were only just beginning to discover agriculture as an alternative to hunting and gathering, the Ash’lie were experiencing a Golden Age of artistic achievement. Millennia beyond humans in nearly every measurable way, it begged the question, why would an Ash’lie choose to spend his time with such ‘primitive’ alien species?:: R’Ven: Commander Shayne, Lietenant Thoran. There was an event that happened on the Atlantis. Is it possible that these events could have been connected? Shayne: ::Murmuring in horror:: Oh, my god. ::A few at the conference table overheard Shayne’s hushed interjection, but no one called attention to it.:: Shayne: When you were chasing that robot on the Atlantis, it was on Deck 6- auxiliary control, correct? Thoran: Correct. Shayne: You said something about it perhaps trying to transmit its data to whoever had designed it. What if you were half right? What if it was transmitting something, but not to its creator? Do you get what I’m saying? ::For his own part, Didrik didn’t get what Shayne was saying. He had never even stepped foot aboard Atlantis, and wasn’t familiar with the events that transpired during the time she and Blackwell had been assigned to work together. Piecing his questions together, however, had Didrik just as worried as others around the table looked. Rogue transmissions from out-of-control robots didn’t sound like something that would just resolve itself.:: Thoran: Rather than transmit the stolen data to its creator, it had instead released some form of signal? ::His brows furrowed in puzzlement.:: Would we or the Atlantis not have detected that? Zaekia: Good question. Tu'Peq: Captain, Commander, if I may? Zaekia: Go ahead Mr Tu’Peq, what’s on your mind? Tu'Peq: The Blackwell and Atlantis has always been in relatively close proximity to each other, on galactic scales. All space-faring vessels vent waste energy into space, in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics. In addition to waste energy from propulsion, waste energy from the power grid is also vented through the same system. If the robot had access to auxiliary control it could have masked its transmissions in the Atlantis's waste energy. It wouldn't be able to travel far but, knowing Starfleet transmission protocols, the Blackwell's power grid would have acted as a magnet for this robot's...virus. ::Phrases like galactic scale, thermodynamics, and waste energy didn’t exactly fill Didrik with a comfort that nothing was wrong. The science officer’s explanation was reasoned, logical, and if it was true, scary. It was the equivalent of the classic human sneeze-handshake method of disease transmission, and if computer viruses were now communicable through space via a starship’s energy field, it wasn’t just Blackwell, or Starfleet, or even the Alpha Quadrant, that would pay the price.:: Rhyn: Response Zaekia: That’s something we’ll examine moving forward. Thank you for your insight. I think this has been a very productive discussion. I’d like to move on now and get an update from medical. ::If medical was going now, Didrik was certain he’d be next. He finished his glass of water and activated his PADD, using a stylus from his pocket to take notes. He listened carefully to Dr. G’Renn as she informed the rest of the senior crew.:: G’Renn: We have already treated a majority of the injuries caused by the damage to the main deflector. At least two dozen injuries of varying degrees of severity. There were a few serious injuries requiring surgical intervention, while most of the injured have already been cleared to return to duty. Thankfully, there were no fatalities. Stennes: oO Thankfully. It could have been so much worse. Oo G’Renn: There is, also a situation that appears to be developing in regards to the telepaths aboard the ship. I believe that Counselor Stennes has assembled a report on the matter. ::Didrik didn’t expect to be given the floor so quickly, and there were a few seconds of awkward silence as he finished scrawling a note on his PADD.:: Stennes: A worrying number of telepathic crewmembers have reported abnormal experiences related to their telepathy. Episodes vary in duration and intensity, and are somewhat eldritch in nature and highly distracting. ::referencing his PADD:: Some have reported hearing voices, re-living memories, and hallucinating. Somewhat more troubling is what appears to be a breakdown in the ability to control one’s telepathic abilities. We’ve had reports of crewmembers ‘overhearing’ each other telepathically and... having difficulty distinguishing between verbal and telepathic communication. ::Didrik spoke the last words gingerly, because it appeared their captain had just had such an episode only moments before. He didn’t want Zaekia thinking he was singling him out.:: Ilsam: Response(s) Zaekia: I have to say that does explain a few things and before you ask, yes I’ll be visiting sickbay directly after this meeting. For now, I’d like to hear a bit more about the details - how do the symptoms develop? How is it transmitted? What is your plan for dealing with it and how can we help? G’Renn: So far the vector of transmission is unknown, and I have so far been less than successful in locating a physiological cause. I wouldn’t want to rule anything out before we study the affliction in greater detail. Ilsam: Response(s) Stennes: There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that the breakdown in telepathic control, which I spoke about a moment ago, can be exacerbated in moments of extreme stress. During the ship-wide emergency, several of those afflicted experienced significant difficulty in focus while carrying out their duties. ::Didrik didn’t want to ‘rat out’ G’Renn and Sindrana for their telepathic tête-à-têtes in Sickbay and in the convalescent ward, and hoped Zaekia wouldn’t ask to whom in particular Didrik was referring. However, where G’Renn came from a place of wanting to withhold judgment until more could be learned about this mystery, Didrik felt his gut was telling him what he needed to know.:: Zaekia: We’ll ensure you have the resources you need. Here’s the plan - R’Ven, I want you to join Dr G’Renn and Mr Stennes and help them study and understand this virus. We need to eradicate this before anyone has a complete mental breakdown or suffers permanent brain damage. I’ll help in whatever way I can to that end as well. R’Ven: Agreed sir. I will do everything in my power. ::Outwardly, Didrik maintained a professionally neutral expression. Inside, he was worried. Could any of them be trusted to fulfill their duties if push came to shove? Didrik was unaware of the progress R’Ven had made in recovering from his partial assimilation, G’Renn was having telepathic troubles, and Didrik was--:: Stennes: oO Nope, we’re not thinking about that now, Didrik. ::He pushed the thought out of his mind and resolved to find a solution to the crisis with the help of his colleagues’ expertise and professionalism.:: Zaekia: Mr Shayne, head down to engineering with Ms Yesna and Mr Thoran - I want this ship up to spec asap but more than that I want you to investigate this lead we’ve uncovered. If there’s a virus or something infecting our systems I want it purged asap. I understand there was a civilian aboard who pitched in during the crisis as well? Yesna: Yes Sir, A Ms Farnsworth I would like her to help if possible sir? Zaekia: Well we need all hands on this so get her support as well. Shayne: Response Renos: I’ll be heading down to the Burellion capital city of Chloretta to meet with Negrid, an individual we identified at the Consortium HQ as wanting our attention. He has something he’s desperate to tell us, and I believe it related to the Consortium. This could be the big break we’ve been looking for. I’ll be taking Pandorn, Sarjak and Aquilina with me. I don’t want to spook him by approaching with unfamiliar faces. Pandorn: Yes, Admiral. We should be as low profile as we can be though. Sarjak: Response Renos: We’re going to be stuck here for a number of hours while Starfleet and Consortium engineering teams work their magic. We might as well make the best of a bad situation and turn this to our advantage in any way possible. We still have an opportunity to explore, get to know the people of House Larokon, the people of Burellion and how they see themselves. What we learn here today might shape the way we approach diplomatic situations and build a better relationship with the people here in the future. That’s why I would like Mr Wilmer, Rhyn, Illsam and Tu’Peq to head to Chloretta. The cultural museum is said to be the finest in the region. ::Didrik admitted silently that the other team’s assignment sounded a lot more fun his own. Sure, isolating the cause of, subsequently curing, a heretofore unknown malady that affects an ability his people didn’t even possess was fine work if one could get it, but a day trip to a museum sounded... well, cooler.:: Wilmer: Aye Admiral. I’m sure the team and I can dig up all kinds of interesting facts. Zaekia: Please be aware that teams travelling to Burellion outside of HQ property must go by shuttle. Burellion has strict transport regulations and are not in possession or transporter technology. They don’t trust it so you could say it has been effectively banned. ::Didrik pondered Zaekia’s admonition against transporter use within Burellion territory. He wondered if their distrust of the technology, which was based upon converting matter into energy and reconstituting it elsewhere, might have something in common with Tu’Peq’s theory about robotic viruses traveling in waste energy. Didrik scribbled the idea down in his PADD and would bring it up later.:: Zaekia: I really want to personally thank you all for your hard work. These are incredibly high pressure situations and as much as we train and we drill for it, nothing can truly, fully prepare you for the reality of it. Renos: You’ve all performed exceptionally and when you get right down to it, it's because of you and the work of the collective crew that we’re here at all. Zaekia: I’d like to recognise Ensigns Tu’Peq and Yesna in particular, for their exceptional work and dedication. You are both hereby promoted to the rank of Ensign and granted the relevant rights and privileges that go with it. Congratulations. Yesna: Thank you Sir Tu’Peq: Response Pandorn: ::smiling:: Congratulations, you two. Good job. Thoran: Congratulations to you both. Very much deserved. R’Ven: Congratulations Lieutenants Tu’Peq and Yesna. I have had the distinction of working with you both and this is definitely well deserved. Shayne/Anyone: Responses Zaekia: With Commander Rhyn arriving to take up the post of Chief Tactical Officer, Mr Thoran will be able to concentrate specifically on security as the department’s permanent chief. Rhyn: Response Thoran: Thank you Mr Pandorn. Perhaps you would care to give me a heads up? Pandorn: I'll be glad to tell you after this is over. ::grins:: R’Ven/Shayne/Anyone: Responses Zaekia: Thank you everyone. Dismissed. Renos: Thank you captain. Those in my team - grab your away kits and meet me in the shuttlebay. ::Didrik liked Zaekia’s style; it was clever to save the mirth of promotions and crew reassignments to the end, when everyone was already pumped up and ready to take on their respective assignments. It seemed to raise the excitement in the room as the officers filed out of the room; everyone strode into the corridor with as if purpose personified.:: (( USS Blackwell, Deck 2, Corridor outside conference rooms )) ::Didrik timed his movement down the corridor, passing some and allowing others right of way, until he, G’Renn and R’Ven had convened.:: G’Renn: Commander R’Ven, Commander Stennes. While it is practical for temporarily housing those affected, I am afraid that the Convalescent Wards are not very practical as a research area. We could use the Duty Doctor’s Lab in Sickbay, bringing a few patients expressing symptoms at different levels with us as we investigate. R’Ven: That does seem reasonable. ::Craning his head, Merrick turned to stare at Stennes:: What do you think commander? ::Didrik battled with what he was thinking versus what he ought to be saying, and at first, it was a toss-up to see which would arrive on his lips first. By a hair, the more reasonable of the two emerged victorious, and Didrik answered calmly.:: Stennes: I was thinking of the Medical Labs on Deck 23, but your suggestion is better, Doctor. It makes more sense to work out of Sickbay directly. ::Didrik tried to make his sigh of relief as small and unnoticeable as possible. He wondered why was being polite and congenial suddenly so difficult. Actually, he pretended to wonder; he knew the answer, but denial was kindly keeping it from him until he was ready for it.:: G’Renn: Commander ::Turning to look at R’Ven:: It would also be neglectful on my part if I did not mention that the symptoms have begun to affect me as well. R’Ven: I have been told that different individuals have been presenting the illness in different ways. How is your presenting. G’Renn: Response R’Ven: I understand. I thank you for sharing. We will do everything we can to help you. Have you found that it is impacting your ability to work? G’Renn: Response Stennes: My observation of Dr. G’Renn indicated that despite a momentary disorientation during her... episode... she maintained control over her judgment and her faculties throughout. In my opinion, she is fit for duty. ::Didrik was even more flummoxed. Why did that come so easily to him, when just a moment ago, he was in knots about which room on the ship to use? Maybe the irritability and erratic behavior were just momentary blips on his emotional radar and nothing more. He certainly hoped so.:: R’Ven: ::turning to face Zaekia:: Greetings Captain. I have been discussing with Doctor G’Renn and Counselor Zaekia the effect that this virus has had on Doctor’s G’Renn. ::slight tilt of the head:: You are telepathic. Have you noticed any adverse effects? Stennes: oO Well, that’s one way to bring it up. Oo Zaekia: Response ::If the captain were having problems with controlling his telepathy, the entire ship could be in jeopardy. It gave him an idea.:: Stennes: We have collected a great deal of data from our current patients. It may take some time to isolate the cause, but I wonder if we could identify some chemical or biological or physiological changes that accompany one of these telepathic episodes. Zaekia/R’Ven/G’Renn: responses Stennes: If we knew what happens in the body when an episode begins, we might be able to predict when one is coming. Then–with all due respect, of course, Captain–the medical computer could monitor whoever is in command, and should that person suffer an episode, it could transfer command codes automatically to the highest ranking officer who is not afflicted. It’s not a cure, but at least it is a backup plan to keep the ship safe. Zaekia/R’Ven/G’Renn: responses Lt Cmdr Didrik Stennes Counselor USS Blackwell NCC-58999 Andaris Task Force Justin D238804DS0
  16. Here's my 2018 #book release #schedule. #iamediting #indieauthor

    It is becoming that time of year again where I sit down with my hopes and aspirations, then set out a schedule that would invariably disappoint me. This is also known as my 2018 book release schedule! January – Ashwood Falls: Benjamin February – Jassik…

  17. Here's my 2018 #book release #schedule. #iamediting #indieauthor

    It is becoming that time of year again where I sit down with my hopes and aspirations, then set out a schedule that would invariably disappoint me. This is also known as my 2018 book release schedule! January – Ashwood Falls: Benjamin February – Jassik…

  18. And now, with simming done, I will settle in to watch a re-run of unsolved mysteries.

  19. Our yearly Halloween Avatar Contest is off to a scary start, with five crews already well on their way to full participation with themes like Norse gods, Westworld and Game of Thrones characters, and a tarot deck! We’re entering the home stretch of the opt-in portion of this contest, with our deadline of Sunday, October 22 approaching quickly. Anyone who hasn’t donned their costume avatar by then won’t be eligible to count toward their crew’s participation score. Head to the forums now to get your avatar on and check-in to your ship’s thread. Click here now. If you’re not sure how to change your avatar, check out the “Rules & Announcements” thread in the forum linked-to above – it has a tutorial that explains with screenshots how to make it happen. And, of course, other members of your crew are always happy to help! The post Don your Halloween avatar before the contest closes this weekend appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
  20. No matter how much we stumble, we gotta pick ourselves up and reach higher.

  21. Important Vote here, vote now to crown the Top Sim of 2017!

    Well done, Cap'ns. The final winners of our beloved contest. Congratulations!
  22. Civilian starliner damaged by animal waste

    TRINITY SECTOR – The starliner Meridia was playing host to a murder mystery themed event when targ urine found its way into the vessel’s propulsion system – effecting a complete shutdown. Captain Elana Doreln, Meridia’s captain, petitioned Starbase 118 for assistance. Following a rescue effort, the vessel is now docked. It is not known at this time how a targ was introduced to an area of the ship usually off limits to unauthorised crew. “Yes I can confirm that a repair crew has been assigned to… ‘degunk’ the Meridia,” said Starfleet press liaison Lieutenant Annnabeth Hooper, “It has been a quiet week and we were only happy to render assistance. Captain Doreln has expressed her heartfelt gratitude and invited Captain Taybrim and the Operations Tower’s senior staff to a formal dinner this evening.” The Meridia has been coined by several FNS travel writers as “a playground for those with far too much latinum” and has a waiting list of prospective guests of two years. The vessel is especially unusual for it’s heavy use of holography, utilising the technology to quickly change interior design specifications to match the themed cruises as well create ‘murder victims’ and to bolster the vessel’s already large hospitality staff. It has come under fire from advocates for hologram rights on a number of occasions, although Dr. Isabellzia Zantos, the owner of the Meridia, has refuted any such involvement of these activists on this occasion. Written by Chalan Fuliar The post Civilian starliner damaged by animal waste appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
  23. What a sim! Amazing JP you two, and a well earned Congratulations!
  24. ((Conference Room 1, USS Blackwell)) R’Ven: Greetings Commander. ::Shayne’s wide eyes jumped off the PADD he was scouring as Merrick spoke to him. When he was but a boy, the mere mention of his name, in any tone or volume of voice, would elicit a serious startle from him. Even if it was expected, he would snap to attention, face taught and body primed to face the non-existent predators. To the present day, he hated roll calls.:: ::He hadn’t meant to ignore the men already in conversation- chit chat and work rarely mixed well, especially for him. Besides, why intrude upon their discussion? Looking up at Merrick, he realized that no matter how often he saw the first officer, he’d likely never get used to those pitch black orbs of flesh. He was never certain if R’Ven was staring at him directly, and though he hated to admit it, it was subconsciously highly uncomfortable. He seemed blind, and visually able, at the same time. It didn’t help that he considered it only polite to bore into his target of attention with those same unsettling eyes.:: ::He afforded a quick, but respectful nod in R’Ven’s direction.:: Shayne: Hello, sir. ::As the door opened with its characteristic swoosh, and diverted the attention of the officers in the room, Shayne returned to his PADD. He’d insisted that damage control reports regarding not just the helm, but the entire effort, be routed to his device. If there was one thing he craved at the moment, it was a clear picture of the entire vessel- every nook, cranny, EPS conduit, relay, isolinear chip, potted plant. Was he becoming paranoid? It was a valid question- indeed, he had now served on not one, not two, but three starships that had suffered critical failures in crucial moments. The first incident dated back years, to 2392. Aboard the Gemini, he had nearly been relieved of his existence when a subspace rift had utterly deprived the Dakota class medium cruiser of power. Ensign Shayne had barely survived an unfortunate encounter with an open shuttlebay hanger- an experience that haunted him to his core even in the present day. The next incident came in the form of a most malicious computer virus, placed in the Darwin’s systems by the treasonous scumbag Iy in a long game of deception. Just when they’d been needed most, the shields had failed. Shayne had done his best in the ensuing close quarters combat, but he knew that without the now-transferred Logan’s excellent weapon’s skills, they would have all been worse off. Looking back, when the action had been taking place, he was caught between painfully excited and indomitably tranquil. It was the following days, weeks and months that had hit him the hardest. To try your best- to send your starship flinging through the stars in maneuvers so complex and deadly and random that they often defied intention- and to still feel countless groaning shudders as weapons fire smashed through the reinforced tritanium, and realizing that every blow was likely the end of the line for some crewman, technician, officer...it was nightmarish.:: ::He trusted the engineers of Starfleet implicitly, but patterns could not be ignored. Or could it be his fault? Was he simply a magnet for this kind of trouble? Would he forever bring bad luck, on whatever ship he served aboard? His imagination was a wild, mad, even dangerous place, where magic could exist, the Chicago Cubs still played, and the Federation hadn’t lost 39 starships at Wolf 359. But he had only craved a concrete answer to a question more once in his life. Not only was his own burning curiosity unstated, but he would now have to pass on that general lack of fulfilment to a captain that needed just the opposite now.:: ::Every few seconds, his screen updated with the findings of the engineering team, and each time he looked at the changes with a tiny surge of hope. Perhaps this report would explain what had gone wrong. Maybe the next one would shed some light on the subject. Each time, though, he was disappointed.:: ::Whether he wished to admit it or not, he was at least somewhat experienced as an officer of Starfleet. He had racked his brains whenever the mission to retrieve the core had allowed it. What could spontaneously cause an entire subsystem to freeze? Past events had taught him that the symptoms most accurately fitted a computer virus of some sort. But that didn’t follow far. The only other time he’d been involved in such a situation, the assailant had been aboard for more than a year. He refused to point fingers at comrades- that sort of thinking would descend them into chaos with dispatch. But as he strained for answers, he kept coming back to the same conclusion. Perhaps it was entirely wrong. He hoped so. He was really getting sick of sabotage.:: ::Another change on the screen, and as with all the others, Shayne looked at it, not expecting anything of interest or benefit at all. After a moment, he squinted and looked closer. Some ensign belowdecks was reporting an EPS conduit that had been locked off, apparently on its own volition. That was not surprising in and of itself- the devices, so crucial to the functionality of the starship, were programmed to lock down should a surge of electro plasma be detected. Such things had occurred all over the ship as a result of Mr. Wilmer’s inventive solution. What was surprising was that it was the only locked down conduit for four decks in either direction. Conduits most often shut down in packs. So why would this lone device be affected? He resolved to keep an even closer eye on the developing reports.:: ::The ambient conversations and semi-constant opening and closing of the doors had melded into the background of his mind, and he did not realize that the meeting was being called to order until he noticed the lack of white noise, and the standing personnel round the table. Shayne immediately joined his colleagues as Zaekia and Renos took their seats.:: Zaekia: Alight. Thank you all for attending. I appreciate we’ve all just been through quite the ordeal but we need answers. We need to know this vessel is fit for purpose and won’t let us down again like it has here today. ::Shayne could feel the bitterness in the CO’s voice, and he wondered if the blue-skinned man was really talking about the crew. Or himself. He doubted it, but the resentment was plain, and who could blame him? How unfair was it that the good-intentioned confidant could not act on the unexpressed feelings of another without looking like a fool?:: R’Ven: Yes Captain. To that end I have had each of the department chiefs compile reports of the current state of their department and how it applies to the current state of the ship. ::At that, the helmsman gave a very small cough and rubbed the back of his neck. He rarely enjoyed speaking in large groups, and almost never enjoyed reporting personally to his superior. But even then, he had something to report. The lack of information here would be painfully conspicuous.:: Zaekia: Engineering, let’s start with you. How bad is the damage and how long will it take us to complete repairs? Yesna: The damage is not as bad as first thought engines can be back up within the next couple of hours and the deflector will take around five hours to get it back up and running, but when we do return to a space dock I would recommend a full replacement. The power systems will need a few tweaks and bypass as we fix the dish. We could do all this with the help of the Consortium within 12 hours and we can be underway again. ::Shayne agreed with the engineer’s assessment, given the reports he continued to receive. However, the mention of Consortium assistance rankled, and for more reason than simply wounded pride. Being towed back to a drydock by a non-Starfleet vessel had stripped him of much of his already. No, his bigger concern was the ongoing investigation. The Consortium, Shayne felt, was highly untrustworthy. After seeing their conduct during the previous mission, he could not help but dislike them. First, their distaste for life was repulsive. And their robots, which had caused more than their fair share of havoc aboard the Atlantis, were provided to the crew by the Consortium. They seemed...disingenuous. Greasy. And very dangerous. True, the tow had been of great help, and Captain Dar, who Shayne had first considered to be a bit of a schmuck, was eventually highly accommodating. But he knew better than to let a single positive experience color his judgement.:: Zaekia: I know but we need their help, Admiral. ::Shayne looked up, confused. It seemed Zaekia was reprising his strange behavior that had first debuted on the bridge before Blackwell had sustained her damage. There, too, he was overheard replying to questions no one had asked. Shayne had inquired about it, but the captain had given every indication that he was perfectly well, and there was a fine line between asking out of concern and doubting the CO’s ability to function. He was careful not to cross that line then, but now, he reconsidered. On the bridge, it had been a little easier to ignore. Now, though, with the entire senior staff hanging onto his words and reactions, it became impossible to hide. Shayne’s eyes flipped to Merrick’s, which, if he was correct, were staring intensely at Zaekia. Good- at least Shayne wasn’t hearing things. But the question was, could the same be said for Zaekia?:: Zaekia: ::Clearing his throat and turning slightly deeper blue about the cheeks:: Sorry. Alright, let’s move on. I think we have a pretty good sense of where the ship is at right now and what sort of repairs timeline we’re looking at. Thank you Ensign Yesna. How are things going with regards to the investigation into what happened? ::Shayne knew that it was his turn to speak. Standing, he cleared his throat.:: Shayne: Sirs, so far, the results of the investigation regarding the difficulties at the helm are...less than conclusive. We’ve looked at mechanical fault of all kinds. We’ve even... ::Here, he gave an apologetic glance over at Wilmer. He hated to say it, but it was a formal report- it was his duty.:: Shayne: oO Forgive me, Nate. Oo Shayne: We’ve even considered pilot error. So far, nothing has turned up. But I’ve got a team on it- they’re going to look until they find the problem. ::In the beginning, they’d had several working theories, each one slightly less likely than the last. But as damage control had made its way through the ship, repairing and reporting, one by one, those possibilities dropped away. It was as frustrating as it was helpful.:: ::He tried to keep a stolid face as he beheld the captain's and admiral’s reaction to the news. This wasn’t a Klingon ship- he wouldn’t be shot for not producing the relevant information, or thrown in the brig. But sometimes, a look of disappointment from someone you admire is worse than any corporal punishment. Thoran then began to speak, and Shayne was grateful to the lieutenant for his timely intervention.:: Thoran: Response(s) ::A pause. Shayne utilized the moment to again check the PADD. It appeared the engineer that had reported the strange EPS conduit was having some difficulty in reopening it. Curious. Though he’d like to know what the problem was, he had more pressing matters to attend to.:: R’Ven: Captain, I would like to ask a few question to make the situation a little more clear? ::Shayne didn’t know which of his thoughts to acknowledge first. Certainly he was not looking forward to more questioning from anyone, but that was a personal failing- one he would overcome by offering whatever information was required. The manner in which R’Ven had asked the question also captured his attention. The executive officer would be exercising his role as the captain’s right-hand man by following up with questions. Maybe he was simply being formal, but Shayne felt there was something more. There was grave respect in Merrick’s bearing. And then it became clear. The opaque-eyed Rodulan was trying to protect an already frazzled Zaekia. Such a subtle attempt to help was his way of letting Zaekia know this was not an attack against his authority, but in fact a protective measure, to take the pressure off his beleaguered superior. He almost smiled in wonder. Human nature in action. Though, since this was taking place between a Kalean and a Rodulan, that term hardly applied. Still, it was fascinating, and most welcome, given the circumstances.:: Zaekia: Response R’Ven: Thank You. ::With a small bow, R’Ven focused back on the officers that remained standing.:: R’Ven: Commander Shayne, Lieutenant Thoran and Ensign Yesna, your accounts are thorough. Thank you. ::without pause Merrick turned to Yesna:: However to add one additional point. Ensign, I had also asked you to look into any sort of unauthorized access to our systems. Were you able to find anything? Yesna: Response ::Shayne’s eyes widened slightly in surprise, though he tried to hide it. As second officer, he no longer had the luxury of appearing dismayed or unsure, no matter how prevalent the feelings might be within him. However, he flicked his gaze about, catching his comrade’s reactions to the news. An unauthorized entry into a system was an enormous deal, and it all but proved that his earlier suspicions had been warranted.:: R’Ven: And were you able to determine the source? ::Shayne listened intently. As Yesna explained, he glanced over at Thoran. This would change the tide of their investigation. At least now they would have a place to base their efforts from.:: Yesna: Response R’Ven: Thank you Ensign I appreciate your efforts in this regard. ::Merrick now turned his never-ending gaze towards Shayne and Thoran. For some reason, even though he’d found the first officer’s eyes exceptionally disconcerting, as he looked back at them now, he realized he didn’t feel quite the same about it. Maybe it was something to do with they eyes themselves- he didn’t see the cornea directed at him. They barely even registered as eyes to him. That, perhaps combined with the fact that Merrick was of slightly lower rank, served to place the helmsman a little more at ease.:: R’Ven: Commander Shayne, Lietenant Thoran. There was an event that happened on the Atlantis. Is it possible that these events could have been connected? ::Shayne froze, mind suddenly leaping a million miles a minute. The memories of that terrible day came flooding back- the robots, springing from their hiding place, the gruesome injuries they imposed on several members of the crew, the subsequent hunt for them. Though he knew better than to underestimate the abilities of the machines, his immediate reaction to R’Ven’s question was “no.” How could there be any relation? The robots had been aboard theAtlantis, and hadn’t had any physical contact with theBlackwell. True, one robot had been found with its probe in a bulkhead, downloading what seemed to be the entirety of the Federation database into its own memory. But, again, how would that connect to theBlackwell?:: ::Unless…:: Shayne: ::Murmuring in horror:: Oh, my god. ::Quickly, he turned to Thoran, realization and terror filling his gaze.:: Shayne: When you were chasing that robot on the Atlantis, it was on Deck 6- auxiliary control, correct? Thoran: response ::The theory was coming together in chunks. It was beautifully insideous.:: Shayne: You said something about it perhaps trying to transmit its data to whoever had designed it. What if you were half right? What if it was transmitting something, but not to its creator? Do you get what I’m saying? ::If his supposition turned out to be in any way true, they were lucky to be alive.:: Thoran: response ::Shayne looked back down at his PADD. The conduit he’d been paying such close attention to was back online- obviously the engineer had finally been successful. But now he had more important matters to consider.:: Zaekia/Renos: Response Rhyn: response Anyone: response Tag/TBC… Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0
  25. You gotta get up and try, and try, and try…

  26. Important Vote here, vote now to crown the Top Sim of 2017!

    Congratulations Jess and Sal!!
  27. @Theo Whittaker (( Starliner Meridia )) (( Time Index: Approximately 10 minutes after Theo leaves the smoking room. )) :: Commander Theo Whittaker had taken his leave of Kasun, Taelon and the newly arrived Ensign Harper, intent on looking for the Zaldan man that had aroused his and the new counsellor's suspicions. He could not get the man's reserved demeanour in the middle of a room of excitable- and irate- passengers. It didn't make sense. His first idea was to ask the computer for information on the location of any Zaldans aboard the civilian starliner- only to find that there were six, three of which were guests- the other three being assigned to the staff. He then refined his search to identify the one Zaldan who had been in the smoking lounge and to give him his present location. Apparently, he was in a holography lab on the far side of the deck. With the information, he had set out in the direction- only he had failed to remember just how large the Meridia was. It was several minutes before he realised he was lost. Standing a cross roads, he looked down each of the three new corridors before him, stumped. oO It's like my first day aboard the station all over again... although without a renegade Starfleet captain trying to start a war with the Romulans... where on earth is this holo-lab? Oo He was about to ask the computer for directions when he heard a faint sound coming from his right. Giving it his full attention, he turned his head and strained to catch a detail that he could identify. It was faint, but melodic... oO Is that... music? Oo. He was half way down the corridor before he had realised he had begun walking again. The melody was growing louder, but with a distinct echo, as though it was being played in a chamber of some kind. Without warning, he shuddered involuntarily as he realised he was growing colder. Rubbing his arms to generate heat, he pressed on, beginning to hear details of the melody- and a vocal that was accompanying the music... "I just want you for my own, More than you could ever know," oO Sounds like... classical music? Oo he pondered to himself, oO Rather lacking in finesse... not that I'm an expert... Oo. "Make my wish come true," He reached an open doorway, where a list mist- likely holographic mist was spilling out around his feet. He peered into the room to find himself looking at some kind of winter wonderland- a kind of ice palace decorated with ornate icicles hanging from the ceiling and floor, the walls were decorated with snowflake patters. Temporarily blinded by the sheer beauty of the sight in front of him, it took him to several seconds to spot a truly gruesome sight. Somebody had been impaled by a particularly solid icicle, yellow blood dribbling from the wound and pooling on the floor, where the body was laying flat. At that the precise moment, the music came came to some kind of climax, having slowly built in intensity: "All I want for Christmas..... iiiiiiiiiiiiiiis yoooooooooooooou!" The song changed track, bursting into some kind of high-energy, jaunty song as Theo darted forward and crouched down next to the man. He reached out a hand, intending to touch the icicle, but stopped himself- realising that he risked contaminating what he already suspected was the scene of a crime. Standing back up, he realised who he was looking at. The Zaldan he was seeking. oO Wonderful! Bloody wonderful! Oo he thought, the irony of his bitter rebuttal not lost on him. He tapped his comm badge, not looking away from the body. Whittaker: =^= Whittaker to Taybrim. =^= Taybrim: ? Whittaker: =^= We've got another situation. =^= :: they were never going to catch a break. =^= Another body has turned up. A Zaldan male. =^= :: beat :: Computer, identify Zaldan male. Computer: DNA scan identifies Zaldan male as Akal-Teke, guest. Whittaker: =^= Did you get that, sir? =^= Taybrim: ? :: Theo was about to reply to his Captain, when a shrill, piercing scream interrupted him. Whirling around, he saw a Benzite lady stood in the doorway, looking at the sight before her, hands against her blue, tendril-laced cheeks. Judging from her elegant gown that appeared to be made of ice- or a fabric approximation of it- and an outrageously large blonde wig on top of her head, she was a guest. oO Oh no... Oo. :: Whittaker: =^= Sal... I'll be right back, I'm about to become a murder suspect. =^= :: he tapped his badge again and started walking towards the Benzite. =^= Ma'am, this is not what it looks- =^= :: The rest of his sentence was drowned out by another high pitch scream as the Benzite fled down the corridor in terror, her wig slipping off her bald head and landing on the floor in an unceremonious heap. :: Whittaker: =^= Whittaker to Taybrim. Sal, I'm going to need a lawyer.... =^= Taybrim: ? TAG -- Commander Theo Whittaker Executive Officer Starbase 118 Operations/USS Columbia C239203TW0
  28. ((USS Blackwell, Conference Room 1)) ::Ensign Verato Sarjak sat up straight in his chair, hands clasped before him on top of the table in the Conference Room aboard the USS Blackwell. Around him all the officers sat, waiting for the Admiral and Captain to show up and address them. It was a dicey situation they all found themselves in. One in which he himself was admittedly curious to see how it all played out.:: Verato: oOIt’s a deadly game we all play out here on the outskirts of space, isn’t it Verato? It’s a dangerous balancing act of the will and mind, of truth and lies, of war and peace out here on the frontier of it all? So much more exciting than playing it safe wouldn’t you think Verato?Oo ::Just then the conference room doors finally slid open, snapping him back to reality as Captain Zaekia and Admiral Renos entered the briefing room together. As they sat at the head of the table, Verato shifted his full attention away from his personal demons back to the grim matters at hand.:: Zaekia: Alight. Thank you all for attending. I appreciate we’ve all just been through quite the ordeal but we need answers. We need to know this vessel is fit for purpose and won’t let us down again like it has here today. R’Ven: response Zaekia: Engineering, let’s start with you. How bad is the damage and how long will it take us to complete repairs? Yesna: ::Studying her notes::The damage is not as bad as first thought engines can be back up within the next couple of hours and the deflector will take around five hours to get it back up and running, but when we do return to a space dock I would recommend a full replacement. The power systems will need a few tweaks and bypass as we fix the dish. We could do all this with the help of the Consortium within 12 hours and we can be underway again. ::Verato did not think highly of the Consortium. Truly, he never had. But no matter how swift and charitable the Consortium might prove to be in helping repair the Blackwell, even the vaguest whiffs of undesirable intent he and the others had experienced thus far, was enough to put him on edge. Afterall, it was in Verato’s experience that such gestures, though sometimes noble enough in appearance, often times came with much more costly and unspoken price tags than one could easily afford.:: Verato: oOThen again, when one makes a deal with the ‘devil,’ it often doesn’t end well for the soul. Isn’t that right ,‘Old Friend?’Oo ::A grumble in his gut and a sour taste in his mouth were the only responses he received or needed.:: ::The Admiral appeared to sour at this news slightly, but then Captain Zaekia peculiarly responded, as if somehow aware of nirs thinking on the matter.:: Zaekia: I know but we need their help, Admiral. ::Looking around slightly at some of the other officer's faces, he wondered if any others had found this a bit odd. He wasn’t sure what to make of it frankly. There was a beat of silence between the two highest ranking officers, before the Captain cleared his throat again and carried on with the briefing, perhaps a bit bluer ‘around the gills’ for whatever had just transpired.:: Zaekia: Sorry. Alright, let’s move on. I think we have a pretty good sense of where the ship is at right now and what sort of repairs timeline we’re looking at. Thank you, Ensign Yesna. How are things going with regards to the investigation into what happened? ::As he listened, Verato nevertheless felt that same gently irreverent tug at the back of his own craw that reminded him of the events at the product launch. He had not heard back from the mysterious young researcher Shalena yet. In truth, he wondered if he ever would. Perhaps she was not as eager to speak with Starfleet as he had surmised. Or, worse yet, maybe something unpleasant had happened once they had been summoned back by the Captain to regroup. Either way, he had seen no sign of her and his personal comm had had no message awaiting him. It was something deeply troubling to him nonetheless.:: Shayne/Thoran: Response(s) R’Ven: Response ::Listening to the others report, Verato wondered even more than ever what the next plan of attack would be moving forward. Suddenly, blinking his eyes at that last notion, he realized the thought struck him too as a bit odd. Verato: oOHere you are Verato, a diplomat, an envoy of peace, sitting here awaiting a new strategy of ‘attack,’ a new angle to work and win over your enemy. Maybe there really is more of Sar Jonn to your personality now than you realize. Perhaps one way or another, no matter what we truly desire, we always find ourselves casting lots for our fortune and grasping at scraps of fate like spare rags. Perhaps you are no longer your own Verato. perhaps you never were. Perhaps none of us ever truly are.Oo TAGS ANY TBC ---------------------------------------- Ensign Verato Sarjak Diplomatic Officer USS Blackwell NCC-58999 Andaris Task Force A239403LA0
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