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  1. 3 points
    (( Part 1)) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) With a dull thud from the internal mechanism, the doors parted. The thick layers of dust that swamped the room they were stood in stopped at that threshold, though powdered footprints faded across the next room as the unknown visitors tracked it through. Quinn swung her rifle back up, heart rate climbing in concert. Whoever it was, they had moved further into the building; minutes ago, an hour ago, it was impossible to tell. But the door beyond was unremarkable, not of the heavy security design that they had just dealt with. She looked toward Neathler, raising her eyebrows. Reynolds: On your lead. ch'Ranni: Darling, I'll follow you anywhere. The Andorian gave a small smile toward Neathler, and stood, falling in behind the human with a hint of swagger in his stride. The charming rogue, smuggling for self-interest. She wondered what he'd do when they got out; whether he'd return to that life or start something anew. It made Neathler shake her hand, and she pulled a dented hand phaser from the inside pocket of her clothing, passing it toward him. Neathler: Just don't point that thing on me, Smuggler. ch'Ranni: Nice. Through the doors they passed, and Quinn glanced over her shoulder as they closed behind her. Now sealed, the air was thicker in here, the atmosphere not being lost through breaches in the outpost's shell. Jona removed his rebreather and smiled, though neither Quinn nor Neathler had the same confidence in the quality of the air. Perhaps the brunette could also hear echoes of Marshall's warning that the Cardassians were as liable to use toxins and poisons as traps, as they were fire. ch'Ranni: Seems like there's power here. Life support's operational too. I guess somebody's home. ::He faced the next doors and turned to Neathler with questioning eyes..:: Maybe we should knock? Neathler: I lost my manners years ago. And maybe you should keep on that rebreather in case the spoons installed some airborne poison or stuff like that. The comment earned them a shrug, but nonetheless, he slipped the rebreather back on. Neathler slipped into position next to the new set of doors, and with the barrel of her rifle raised toward the ceiling, she nodded toward Jona. With a tap of his fingers and without protest or problem, they were granted ingress, and after a heartbeat's pause, the human woman levelled her rifle and stepped through. She swept the revealed corridor and finding nothing except a choice of which direction to proceed. Neathler: Any preference? ch'Ranni: Left. Always choose left. Quinn shrugged, with no obvious indication of which option was more interesting, safest or useful, it was little more than a coin toss. Contrary as ever, Neathler started to move right — until a tiny sound echoed down from the left. Existing on the edges of Quinn's hearing, it was a quiet, rhythmic tick that seemed to be coming from behind the door at the end of that corridor. With something of interest to examine, the decision was remade and the dark-haired woman made in that direction instead, taking up a position beside the door. Neathler: Ready? The Andorian answered with a nod, his antenna twitching, and Quinn swore she saw a tiny glimmer of amusement dance into Neathler's dark eyes. It was an odd comfort to see, and the hybrid nodded her readiness as well, adjusting her grip on her rifle. A light touch to the control panel, a whisper from the door and it opened. The regular beeping was much more distinct now, though peeking through Quinn couldn't see the source — and indeed she could see something distracting in its peculiarity. ch'Ranni: Huh. I guess I wasn't expecting that. Neathler shifted to see what was being stared at. They were looking into a small and cramped space, more of a storage closet than a room. But sat on the floor right in front of them, still and silent, were two Cardassians, unreactive to the door opening or the armed people pointing large weapons in their direction. They weren't even blinking, and Quinn found herself wondering if she was looking at projections, rather than people. Frowning, her hazel eyes flicked across to the side wall, where a console glowed in cool green and warm brown. Neathler, evidently, had seen it too. Neathler: Shoot them if they move. Shades can you get a ground plan or something, or data from that project? We've got a working console here. Reynolds: Yeah. ch'Ranni: Response Quinn eyed the Cardassians, wary of moving into the same room that had likely incapacitated them. She edged around the two men while Neathler prodded one of them with her rifle. The man swayed at the nudge, but otherwise didn't react. With a faint frown, she started working at the console, paging through screens of Cardassian text as she searched for answers, and it dawned on her that the sound they'd heard in the corridor had not been the idling workstation. Neathler: What do you think, drugged, frozen, paralysed? Reynolds: I'm guessing they set off one of their own traps. ::She paused, a dark thought crossing her mind.:: Though that means they were either trying not to kill whoever got in here, or something else has failed to go off. ch'Ranni: Response Working on the console, didn't see Neathler slip inside the room, her dark gaze panning across floor and wall and finally arriving on the barrels stowed in one corner. She knelt down, testing the weight of the lids, inspect their underneath, shining the light of her torch inside. Then— Neathler: Explosives! Get out! Quinn didn't need any more incentive than that. She bolted back for the door, only to find that now it wouldn't open — a trap now fully sprung, no doubt. Glancing around the small room, she tried to merge the path they'd travelled with what she'd seen from the outside and what her tricorder her showed as she scanned the interior. Pieces interlocked and she turned, pointing to a nondescript section of the wall. Taking a step toward it, she talked as she adjusted the settings on her phaser. Reynolds: The corners of that panel: one each, setting seven, two-second burst. Should blow it clean out. On three— TBC... -- Quinn "Shades" Reynolds Starfleet Defector The Skarbek T238401QR0 ------ (( Part 2 )) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) There was a blast of heat and the roar of flames, and Quinn felt the concussion slam into her back, throwing her forward, clean off her feet. She arced through the air and hit the powdered, grey dirt — and then there was nothing. No pain, no raining debris, no cries from her comrades. Even the wheeze of her breath through her rebreather was gone, yet she was having no trouble breathing. Cautious and slow, she unclasped her hands from the back of her head, peering around as she eased herself back up on to her feet. Neathler and Jona were frozen mid-movement, the bloom of fire as still as though it was a painting. Dust had been thrown out ahead of the blast, sparkling and motionless in the air. Up in the sky, Quinn could see a shuttle silhouetted against the stars. It was a moment frozen in time — except she wasn't. As she looked around, a frown of confusion carving ever deeper into her forehead, Quinn spied a red trim around her cuffs, the belt and tunic of a Starfleet Admiral instead of her jacket. She was a Starfleet Admiral. That was why she couldn't hear her rebreather. She wasn't wearing one. And this was— ???: Hello. She whirled around. The voice came from a fetching woman, with pale skin, feminine curves and tumbling red hair. She wore the same uniform as Quinn, complete with the pips of a rear admiral, and as their eyes met, she gave an amused grin. Stood with her weight over one hip, arms crossed, she chuckled. ???: You must be wondering what's going on. Reynolds: The thought had crossed my mind. ???: Well, you see I'm in a bit of pickle. My little experiment isn't going so well and— Quinn's heart was thumping in her chest, despite her stony exterior. The last thing she remembered was giving the order to spool up the QSD in order to head back to Tyrellia. Xerix had been at the helm, the new operations chief ch'Ranni sat next to him at his station. Beside her, she and Jo had been discussing the quite frankly ridiculous topic of how to get first dibs on Nkai's bakes now that he was in his new post. Then as surely as a scene change in a holonovel, she'd been stood on Peshkova as the sun set, not a Starfleet Admiral but a Starfleet defector, watching Walter eulogise people who most certainly weren't dead. Not dead at all, just moved on to new assignments, alive and hopefully happy in their postings. Reynolds: Your what? Who are you? ???: My experiment. I'm a... what do you call it? Scientist. I'm doing science. Trying to figure out how you tick. Or perhaps it's why you tick. ::She offered a brilliant smile.:: Anyway, you can call me Q. Reynolds: ...Q. Q: Yes. I assume I need no further introduction. Quinn didn't answer, cold radiating across her shoulders and down her back. She'd never encountered a Q before, but there was someone on her crew who had. Was that why this one was here? Whatever the reason, they were in trouble — Starfleet had encountered Q who didn't acknowledge the value of mortal life. Virtually omnipotent and immortal, they simply didn't understand it. Or perhaps didn't care about it. Who paused to think before swatting a fly? Q: Well, come along. Reynolds: Wha— The Q snapped her fingers, and the moon vanished. In its place was stark, cold metal; a corridor lined with cells in the brutal architecture that the Cardassians favoured. The forcefield on the one she was facing was active, though in that frozen moment of time she couldn't hear the tell-tale hum of energy Her gaze, however, was entirely beyond it. All she could see was the tall, broad German sat on a bench, cradling his head in his hands. Her heart banged behind her ribs, even as her eyes told her he was unharmed. Untouched. So far. Q: You see, I let you all make your own choices in my maze, but some of them were... disappointing. What good are you on the moon when he's here? And that other you should be on the moon, don't you think? With the other blonde? ::She paused.:: Why do you have so many blondes? Do you collect them? Quinn turned to deliver the retort forming on her lips. It was lost as the air rushed out of her lungs, as surely as though she'd been punched in the stomach. The cell opposite was also occupied; Valesha, bearing subtle signs of Cardassian interrogation, pale to the point of translucence, raw-eyed as she stared vacantly across the corridor, her head on Johns' chest. Oh, Johns. He wore the not-so-subtle signs of Cardassian interrogation, bruises and cuts covering what skin she could see. But he was ashen, the tell-tale pallor of the dead, and ice flooded Quinn's veins. Cheeky, smiling Johns who laughed and loved and managed to make himself worth much more than the trouble he caused. How could he be dead? Why was he dead? The universe could be unfair, but this... this had intention. Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: What have you done? Q: Me? Nothing. ::She walked through the forcefield as though it wasn't there, crouching down beside the pair.:: The Cardassians, on the other hand... Well, I'm sure I'd find it simply awful if I cared about it. But I'm a dispassionate observer, ::she waved an elegant, disinterested hand,:: or whatever. Objectivity and all that. Ice became fire, grief turned to anger. She bit down on it, refusing to lose control, but there was a flare in her eyes and a flame in her voice as she answered. Reynolds: You put us here, you're responsible. The Cardassians didn't kill him, you did. Pouting, the Q sprung up to her feet, red hair bouncing around her shoulder. She answered with a petulant tone of voice, as though she was being told off by a parent. Except the Q didn't have parents. Perhaps that explained a lot. Perhaps it explained nothing. Q: I'm not killing anyone! It's not my fault if you're all a bunch of savages. Reynolds: You— The redhead stepped forward and placed a finger on her lips, and suddenly the Starfleet Admiral found she couldn't speak. It was as though her vocal cords had simply vanished — and given she was dealing with a Q, perhaps they had. Q: Shh. ::She smiled and patted Quinn on the head.:: There there. It's all for a worthy cause. Science, remember? I know you love science. Unable to speak, Quinn glared instead. She may as well have not bothered, for all the impact it made. The Q simply stepped back, snapped her fingers and they were aboard the Skarbek in that mad tangle of technology, sweat and elbow grease that MacFarlane called main engineering. Erin was there, a darkening bruise on her forehead and blood matting her blonde hair, up to her elbows in the EPS flow control to the cloak. Q: Here. This is where you should be. Makes more sense, don't you think? Then you can have all your interesting feelings knowing he's up there, ::she swept her hands up,:: and Other You can have all her interesting feelings knowing she's down there, ::she pointed down,:: and it just makes for better results. Reynolds: You can't just change the variables of an experiment half-way through. The words spilled out before she realised she had her voice back. A thought of a tactic, voiced without pause. If the Q considered herself a scientist, maybe she could be convinced to behave like a vaguely decent one. Arguments of morals and ethics were liable to fall on deaf ears, but perhaps if she thought she was being a bad scientist... Q: Can't I? Oh, that's a bother. What can I do? She didn't hold out much hope that the tactic would work, but Quinn had to try. There was no way to brute force a Q into doing what you wanted, words and trickery were the only option and even then it was a limited chance of success. And she was hardly a diplomat. Reynolds: If it's clear you're not going to get usable results, you should abort it. Otherwise, it's a waste of time and resources. Q: Oh, you are clever. :: She chuckled and booped — booped — Quinn on the nose.:: Full marks for the attempt. But we'd best get back to it. Do try to be interesting. She smiled, clicked her fingers, and— TBC... -- Quinn "Shades" Reynolds Starfleet Defector The Skarbek T238401QR0 ----- (( Part 3 )) (( OOC: For clarification — as far as everyone's concerned IC, Erin's always been with the planet away team, and Quinn never left the Skarbek. )) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) Neathler: Ready? The Andorian answered with a nod, his antenna twitching, and Erin swore she saw a tiny glimmer of amusement dance into Neathler's dark eyes. It was an odd comfort to see, and the hybrid nodded her readiness as well, adjusting her grip on her rifle. A light touch to the control panel, a whisper from the door and it opened. The regular beeping was much more distinct now, though peeking through Erin couldn't see the source — and indeed she could see something distracting in its peculiarity. ch'Ranni: Huh. I guess I wasn't expecting that. Neathler shifted to see what was being stared at. They were looking into a small and cramped space, more of a storage closet than a room. But sat on the floor right in front of them, still and silent, were two Cardassians, nonreactive to the door opening or the armed people pointing large weapons in their direction. They weren't even blinking, and Erin found herself wondering if she was looking at projections, rather than people. Frowning, her hazel eyes flicked across to the side wall, where a console glowed in cool green and warm brown. Neathler, evidently, had seen it too. Neathler: Shoot them if they move. Vines can you get a ground plan or something, or data from that project? We've got a working console here. E. Reynolds: Yeah. ch'Ranni: Response Erin eyed the Cardassians, wary of moving into the same room that had likely incapacitated them. She edged around the two men while Neathler prodded one of them with her rifle. The man swayed at the nudge, but otherwise didn't react. With a faint frown, she started working at the console, paging through screens of Cardassian text as she searched for answers, and it dawned on her that the sound they'd heard in the corridor had not been the idling workstation. Neathler: What do you think, drugged, frozen, paralysed? E. Reynolds: I'm guessing they set off one of their own traps. ::She paused, a dark thought crossing her mind.:: Though that means they were either trying not to kill whoever got in here, or something else has failed to go off. ch'Ranni: Response Working on the console, didn't see Neathler slip inside the room, her dark gaze panning across floor and wall and finally arriving on the barrels stowed in one corner. She knelt down, testing the weight of the lids, inspect their underneath, shining the light of her torch inside. Then— Neathler: Explosives! Get out! Erin didn't need any more incentive than that. She bolted back for the door, only to find that now it wouldn't open — a trap now fully sprung, no doubt. Glancing around the small room, she tried to merge the path they'd travelled with what she'd seen from the outside and what her tricorder her showed as she scanned the interior. Pieces interlocked and she turned, pointing to a nondescript section of the wall. Taking a step toward it, she talked as she adjusted the settings on her phaser. E. Reynolds: The corners of that panel: one each, setting seven, two-second burst. Should blow it clean out. On three, two, one, fire— Their phasers drilled into three of the corners of the building, the differential in pressure between interior and exterior doing the rest of the work for them. The panel screeched and buckled, and while it wasn't quite enough to rip it completely asunder, there was room for them to escape through. Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response Then she was running, sprinting out of the building and into the vast, barren expanse of the moon, her breath rasping loud in her ears as it was processed by the rebreather. There was a blast of heat and the roar of flames, and Erin felt the concussion slam into her back, throwing her forward and clean from her feet. Arcing through the air, she hit the powdered, grey dirt with enough force to drive all the air from her lungs, and she felt a lightning strike of pain as ribs snapped where she landed on her rifle. It pulled a strangled cry of pain from her lungs and she rolled onto her back, tears burning in her eyes. Through the mist they created, she could see a shuttle silhouetted against the sky, recognising the familiar shape of the Inayat-Khan. Thank heavens for small mercies, though her sigh of relief was cut off by another guttural moan of pain. E. Reynolds: Is... Is everyone alive? Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response E. Reynolds: Yeah, I— Ribs. Broken. Ouch. ::She grimaced and breathed out a groan.:: Much ouch. Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response -- Erin "Vines" Reynolds Botanist & Sometime Engineer The Skarbek T238401QR0
  2. 3 points
    ((Officer’s Quarters, Deck 4 - USS Juneau)) @GhantXerix approached his assigned quarters at a slow and methodical pace. With one hand, he was balancing a tray of food, and with the other he was dragging a suitcase which bore the scars of mistreatment at the hands of a brute. At his approach, the doors should have opened. But the Juneau was quickly proving that should means little on a brand new vessel. He used his knee to hit the door chime, and before the doors could part he let out a groan of disappointment upon recognizing the mind behind the door. Xerix: ::dryly:: Good evening, Commander. @Geoffrey Teller smirked as he turned away from the door controls and went back to the lone chair in the mostly featureless room. One wall was dominated by a pair of bunks, a design not much changed in decades and meant for the most spartan of quarters. The other wall featured a fold out chair and desk console for getting a bit of work done, but anyone attempting to dismount the beds would either need to be a qualified gymnast or on very intimate terms with the person sitting down. Teller: Evening there Lieutenant. Xerix: I realize this is a skeleton crew, but man the odds were not in my favor for bunkies Teller: Same here….I’ve been busy in the Engineering bay and didn’t get myself to the quartermaster till almost all the bunk assignments were taken up. Have to say, surprised you’re sleeping alone. Who’d you piss off this time? Teller didn’t have to be an empath to see that he’d struck a nerve. Ghant said nothing to that, sitting down on the floor with his tray of food, appetite suddenly missing. Teller: So how is the Celestial, by the by? Be happy to give it another tuneup in my free time. Xerix: ::Suddenly thrilled with an idea, he ate as he spoke :: Oh it’s fine. I’ve installed a new lock on the hatch and the sound emitter is smashed up beautifully Teller: Oh the speakers? For the shanties? ::Teller chuckled to himself:: Forgot about that one. Guess that means the other thing...well, I’m sure you’ll find it soon enough. Ghant gestured with his fork like it was a weapon, pointing a bite of food at the enemy. Xerix: So help me, Teller. If you’ve messed with my ship again... Teller held his hands up in a gesture of surrender. Teller: Look, the fact of the matter is we’ve got to work together or this closet :Teller extended his arms and was able to touch both walls easily:: will feel even more cramped. So I say truce - we got off on the wrong foot, lets try to put it behind us, at least until this project is wrapped up and we’re both a few lighyears away from one another. Xerix: ..Fine. Truce it is….How’s the Veritas gang? Teller: Good by and large - been a busy few months. How about your new crew? Gorkon’s certainly a pretty ship. Xerix: It’s a great ship...I’ve had a bit of a hard time adjusting to be honest. Geoff gasped in feigned shock. Teller: You? ::He smirked:: But you make friends so easily? Xerix: ::He looked pointedly at the engineer:: I thought a truce meant we stop taking shots at one another. Teller: Sorry sorry, force of habit - last one I swear. Seriously, you always struck me as a competent enough officer - what’s tripping you out? Captain over there have a weird pet or something? Xerix: She has a few. But it’s me, honestly. At the academy and even on the Veritas, I felt like the big boat in the harbor. On the Gorkon, they make certain I know my place. It’s caused me to behave in ways I’m not proud of. Ghant pushed the tray of food away from him, suddenly uninterested in eating. Teller: Well, that’s one good thing at least. Xerix: What is? Teller: You’re thinking about whatever it was you did. Fair few people I know don’t think you’re capable of that. Might be a sign of maturity if you’re not careful. Xerix: Four forbid it. Do you think this ship is going to hold up long enough for it to matter? Teller: Pfft ::Teller rapped the wall with his fist:: I think I can keep the nacelles attached if you don’t bounce us off a planet. Xerix: I doubt I’ll have the opportunity. Tiria Hamasaki seems firmly attached to that helm console. :: He stood and stretched:: I think I’m going to call it a night. Which bed is mine? Teller: Why don’t you take the top, I’ve got a little work left to do before I stretch out. I’ll try to keep the noise to a minimum. Xerix: You sure? I could give you a boost if you need? Teller snorted and rolled his eyes. Teller: If you’re bored up on the bridge I could use someone down in Engineering to help me reach the top shelves. Xerix: I’ll check my schedule. Gnight, dude. Teller: Nighto. Ghant made his way into the top bunk and pulled the privacy partition closed. Teller smiled and went back to his PADDwork, absentmindedly humming a few bars of Roll The Old Chariot Along. Within a few moments, he was tapping his foot on the deck as well. Xerix: As much as you know I love a good musical performance, might be we call an intermission until another time? Teller: Huh? ::Teller looked up with a smile:: Oh sure buddy, sure. Have a pleasant rest. Within a few minutes, the tight quarters were filled with two sounds. The tapping of a jaunty beat on a PADD, and the grinding of Ghant Xerix’s teeth. ((The next morning- zero four thirty)) Ghant woke early, early enough to hear Geoff still snoring underneath him. He rose quietly and dressed, then gathered his belongings, and Teller’s. He schlepped them all down to the unfinished cabin at the end of the corridor, where he had left one space suit the night before . He brought the suit back to the cabin where he was pleased to see his bunk mate still firmly unconscious. Leaving the suit in easy access, he placed a Betazoid chameleon rose next to it. Then he walked smugly towards the mess hall. Coffee and donuts were needed on this morning. =============================== Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Teller Chief Engineer USS Juneau - NX-99801 Captain Oddas A., Commanding V239509GT0 & Lieutenant JG Ghant Xerix Helm officer USS Juneau V239505GX0
  3. 3 points
    Absolutely love the feigning the character does! Great job @Kiliak Jo ((en route to Deep Space 26, low orbit over Paldor II)) Absentmindedly ignoring the pratter of the jarheads and sacrificial security drones crowding the small shuttle space, Perkins set his finely-tuned wonder of a mind to the task at hand. How was he going to singlehandedly rescue this station and the planet below from imminent disaster? The uncooperative nature of the Atlantis company of misfits only made clear his burden as the lone champion called to serve in this dark hour. He stared out the window and mused, clasping his hands together wisely, bringing the tips of his index fingers together just beneath his nose to indicate his status of deep contemplation. Just as he was gathering together the last details of a perfect plan, he was snapped from this reverie at the mention of weapons fire. Serala: Remember, check your fire this is a high collateral engagement zone. If it's not shooting at you, don't shoot at it. Not without confirmation. Perkins: Yes, please double-check your "trigger happiness." I have many friends here. They soon disembarked the shuttle and boarded the station. At the sight of the familiar Chon architecture, Perkins felt overwhelmed with relief to finally be back home, at last, he had escaped from the clutches of these Atlantean nincompoops. Though it was true that they desperately needed his help, he would not go back if they dragged him kicking and screaming. Solana: Contact, four o'clock. Looks like a dozen all scrambling to get those support craft off the deck. I don't see any Valcarians. oO These idiots can't even keep proper time! It's still morning by the standard Federation clock. Simply unbelievable. Oo Kiax: I wouldn’t be surprised if they were controlling more critical areas of the station. Operations, Engineering, Fusion Cores, Auxiliary Fire Control, Central Damage Control… With direct access to the computer core I can probably get us a significant foothold. Perkins: That can be arranged. I can direct you through some of the more basic processes, get you a username and a password, before we ultimately get to the more complex stuff at which point I will naturally take- Calasio: =/\= Welcome to the newly acquired Imperial Relief Station Alpha-One. =/\= oO Excuse me? Oo Kiax: =/\= You mean the Federation Starbase Deep Space Twenty-Six? =/\= oO Hmpfh. Indeed. Oo Calasio: =/\= I wish to speak to the one in charge of your team. =/\= Perkins: =/\= Yes of course, I am-- =/\= Serala: =/\= This is Lieutenant Commander Serala of the Federation Starship Atlantis. I am in command of this team. =/\= oO Rude! Fine. I'll let her believe she's in charge if its so important to her. Oo Calasio: =/\= This is Commander Yanek Calasio of the Imperial Navy. I am sure you are aware of the situation we all find ourselves in. I wish to make an arrangement. =/\= Serala: =/\= Well, Commander. I’m actually not fully aware of the situation. I know this station is plummeting to the planet below it and unless we can find a way to stop it, everyone onboard, not to mention millions on the planet, will be killed. But I have no idea what has been happening here for the last several months. Without a debriefing, I am afraid I am at a disadvantage in any sort of bargaining or decisions to make agreements. Of course, we did bring a substantial combat force and I would image that some of the Starfleet personnel that didn’t make it off are still here somewhere. I could always fight my way to them, join forces, then retake the station from you. =/\= Calasio: =/\= Now, Commander...you are in no real position to do anything but listen to me. You have just arrived. I have been here for weeks. Do you really think we have not created a battlefield prepared to our advantage? I assure you this is not a fight you want to wage. The station is already falling apart. On top of that, we've rigged bulkheads with explosives, set snares throughout the access tubes, prepared tricks and traps level by level. I've read up on your ship, the Atlantis. I know your Captain Brell is a man of peace. Of discourse. He would listen. I suggest you do the same... =/\= Perkins: =/\= Ha! Brell isn't even- =/\= Serala: =/\= Captain Brell is not here. I am. And I do things my way. I will answer to Captain Brell later, if needs be. If he wanted a peaceful resolution, he should have come himself instead of sending his Chief Security and Tactical Officer. =/\= oO Ahh ha, I see. The Romulan wants to keep my presence here covert, her secret Ace in the Hole. The Ringer. The Showstopper. Got it. All right, okay, I'll play along with your little gambit, Miss Siracha. Oo Serala: =/\= Still, there is something to be said for a peaceful solution. Fighting our way through could be costly. You haven’t held your position as long as you have by being unprepared. So, what is your proposal. =/\= Calasio: =/\= It’s quite simple, really. This station is plummeting to its doom. We have seized control of this station at quite at high cost and have no intention of losing it now. I propose to allow you and your ship to assist with evacuating all non-Valcarian personnel from the station. You can use this landing bay for those purposes. We will also coordinate with Atlantis to find a way to stop the station from hitting the planet below, possibly even relocate away from the planet a distance. Once everyone is cleared out and the station is safe, we will take full control of the station and the space around it. Assuming the station doesn’t get destroyed before then, I estimate you should be able to get everyone off in about 36 hours time. Anyone remaining onboard after that forfeits their life and will become subjects of the Empire. =/\= Perkins mind began to wander. oO Say, where did that infernal marine with the attitude problem get off to? Oo Serala: =/\= A very well thought out request, Commander. I have a request of my own first. I need to speak to the Starfleet Officer in charge here on the station. I need to get a sitrep before I can make any decisions which might affect them. I am sure you can understand that? =/\= Calasio: =/\= Your request is understandable, Commander. However, we have no direct communications established with the Starfleet personnel. In fact, station communications are down, which is why I have had to rig this form of communication for us. Still, I will try to get a message through and have them come down to you. =/\= Siracha spoke quietly into her commset, then pointed now to another marine, the big one who had yelled at the problematic one earlier. Perkins didn't understand why she was pointing. Was his fly unzipped or something? He held up his hands to indicate the ineffectiveness of her communication. She pointed again, more pointedly, as the others gathered behind the marine. Perkins narrowed his eyes. Did she want him to keep an eye on this goon to make sure he didn't shoot any bystanders? Yes, that must be it. Good call. Perkins tailed the big monkey, ready to disarm him in a flash if the day's duties came to that. Serala: =/\= Commander Perkins. You know this station better than anyone here. I want you on lead. Get us to Operations. We’re taking that back one way or another. That might give us a better position to bargain from. =/\= Perkins: =/\= Ah, I see. Of course, of course. I will lead the way. ::pushing himself to the fore of the others:: Company, aa-t-tention! Follow me! And-a march one two hut one two, that's it, lively now! =/\= (( Short timeskip )) oO Wait. No, it's the other way. Oo Hardly his fault. He was only rarely down in these sections. He turned around and doubled back, offering the others his charming smile as they continued to follow his lead. This sublevel was really more of a Lieutenant Junior kind of working environment. And all these corridors look the same anyways. Soon they reached a corner, and Perkins was sure that this time it would lead them into Operations. Birmor: Halt. Who goes there? Serala: Lieutenant Commander Serala, Federation Starship Atlantis. Birmor: Sorry friend. This area is off limits to non Valcarians. Serala: We’re here with permission of Commander Calasio. Birmor: Really? Serala: We have some things to discuss and the form of communication we were using was insufficient. Since we’re here under a truce, perhaps you would be kind enough to escort us to him so we can speak in person? Birmor: Sorry Lieutenant Commander Serala of the Federation Starship Atlantis. Standing orders are to only allow Valcarians past this point. ::She made an obvious effort to look at the group of Starfleet Officers.:: And you don’t much look like Valcarians. Serala: And would he be less pleased if his favorite :: quickly checking her rank :: corporal failed to let us past and it resulted in a full-scale invasion from our ship? Just because of a misunderstanding? Wouldn’t it be better to take us to him and let him decide what to do with us? Birmor: Excuse me a moment. ::he momentarily vanished:: Perkins: Do you want me to talk to him? I'm great with people. Serala: Birmor: Well Lieutenant Commander Serala of the Federation Starship Atlantis, it seems you have been granted passage. oO Hmpfh! Could at least get her name right. I'll let it slide though, in the name of diplomacy. Oo Perkins: Took you long enough. Let's head out, troops. McKnight: Let's move. Serala / Toh’jak: Response Birmor: It was my absolute pleasure. Commander Calasio is down in the Engineering Section on Level 46. As this used to be your station, I’m sure you know the way. Perkins: Er, yes of course. That's, uhm, fastest way is those stairs back there, or...? Serala / Toh’jak: Response Out of nowhere, bolts of blaster fire. One blast struck Perkins right in his good shoulder. He went down, collapsing into a crumpled pile immediately, a tactic to shield himself from possible continued fire as his eyes wetted with sudden tears. McKnight: AMBUSH! oO Is this it? Am I going to die? Here? Just in my moment of liberation? Who will help all these people if I must perish now? Oo Birmor: STAND DOWN! CEASE FIRE. CEASE FIRE. Perkins: It's a trick! I'm hit! They shot me! Ambush! Betrayal! Shoot back, you worthless imbeciles! McKnight: Cease fire! Cease fire! Secure the area! Serala / Toh’jak: Response Clutching his wound, likely a mortal wound, Perkins heard a disembodied voice nearby. His vision was blurry. Was it... his father? The voice of God? McKnight: You alright, Commander? Perkins: I'm so sorry. ::coughing:: I don't know if I'll make it. You must go on... without me... ---------------------------------------------- Lt. Commander Perkins Engineer at Large Deep Space 26 A239509KJ0 ---------------------------------------------- courtesy of ---------------------------------------------- Lieutenant Kiliak Jo Asst. Chief Engineer USS Atlantis A239509KJ0 -----------------------------------------------
  4. 2 points
    ((OOC - a couple things before we get started: (1) This is in no way connected to our current mission, plot, or story. For the new folks, the [BELOW] tag is something we've been trying out to give players the chance to write off-duty/non-mission-related posts in order to flesh out their character, build descriptions of the ship, etc. (2) This JP is one that Justin and I have been working on for about 2 months now as a special Halloween treat for you all. We hope you enjoy it! (3) It uses the old format, but as we haven't formally adopted the new one until Friday, I pray your indulgence. Now, please enjoy PART ONE!!)) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ((USS Eagle, Deck 3 - outside room 332, Quentin Collins’ room [stardate 239610.31 - Quentin's birthday])) ::Kayla paced in front of Quentin’s door in what she felt was a very impractical dress. She couldn’t figure out why she was so nervous. She’d been preparing this surprise for her friend for weeks now, and was SURE everything was perfect. She knew the details were just right - that had to be priority one. Quentin would know if anything was out of place. Of course he would be too considerate to say if anything was wrong, but she knew, given how much of a classic horror buff he was, that if anything was off … well, she’d done a ridiculous amount of research in preparing this surprise, so everything was as good as it could possibly be.:: ::She came to a stop, still facing down the corridor toward her own quarters. Charlie had Katya over tonight for a sleep-over, so by now they’d probably be giggling about … something. It wasn’t too late for Kayla back out. She could just contact Quen and say she was tired. Or that she wanted to keep an eye on the girls. Or … something. oO Coward. Oo Turning, she faced the door. With a shaking hand, she pressed the intercom button. The answer came almost immediately.:: Collins: Come in! ::Entering the room, Kayla saw Collins dressed in a 3-piece suit from late 19th Century western Europe. The stark black contrasted nicely with the starched, high-collared shirt he wore under his vest.:: ::Quentin Collins was all about an occasion to dress, but he usually liked to know the reason that way he could keep an eye on the social horizon as it were. The whole thing reminded him of one of Mother’s themed costumed affairs, but there was no way Kay could know about those horrors. As she entered, he was fussing with his sleeve cuffs.:: Collins: Hey, are you sure about these costumes? I mean, you look fine, but I feel like I’m being strangled by a very weak person right now. Drex: ::chuckling:: Yes, they’re a must. I don’t know what YOU’RE complaining about. You’re not wearing a bodice. Collins: ::He opened his mouth to say something, but closed it into a tight smile.:: Touche. Fair enough. So what’s this all about? ::A mischievous smile pulled at the corners of Kayla’s painted lips. For some reason it made Quentin the fun kind of nervous.:: Drex: You’ll see. I’m not ruining your birthday surprise by telling you what it is before you’ve even opened it! ::The look on his face was priceless. She almost laughed out loud, but was enjoying the feeling of having the upper hand, so she fought the urge.:: Drex: What? Did you think I didn’t know? What kind of department head do you take me for, Mister Collins? ::To say his birthday was a sore subject with him would have been the understatement of the century and it would take twice as long to get into it fully with her. But now he was free and in open waters, as it were. What was to stop him from finally taking it back. He pulled down his suddenly very comfortable topcoat. And snapped up to look at his friend.:: Collins: Ok, Chief. Lead the way. ((Deck 6 - Holodeck 1)) ::The pair had drawn some raised eyebrows on their trek down to the holodeck, but no one had actually asked about their odd choices of off-duty attire. Now they stood in the familiar setting of yellow grid on black.:: Drex: Ready? Collins: You know I am. Kay, what IS this? Drex: ::ignoring her friend’s question:: Computer, load program “Drexula” and hold visuals at time index 0.01. ::The change was nearly instantaneous. The grid vanished from the walls, floor, and ceiling, changing to a scene completely different. That much typical in the holodeck. Kayla’s special touches to this program however, was a strange hum. It was everywhere yet nowhere but in their ears.:: ::It felt like a light crackling for a second between Quentin’s ears. He worked his jaw a second and felt instant relief. It was like diving a bit too quickly, but the steady hum still buzzed through his mind pleasantly.:: Collins: What’s that hum? Drex: It’s binaural tones. Back in the early 21st Century, there was something of a craze with them. The science behind them is essentially that they can alter the listener's brainwaves. I wanted this particular simulation to be more … immersive than others. Don’t worry too much though, you shouldn’t even notice the sounds after about two or three minutes. ::Quentin just stared, now starting to get the less fun kind of nervous. But the Chief seemed to have everything well in hand. Kayla was pleased that he seemed to appreciate the extra effort this took. Realistically, the setting and plot were simple enough. Syncing the binaural stimulus was the real tricky part.:: ::Now that the binaural shock had passed, it was time to begin. They looked around at their surroundings. They were in a small village or hamlet nestled in a rather austere but lovely range of sharp mountains. Kayla knew them to be the Carpathians, but now was not the time to play the tour guide. A man whose face was so weathered it masked his age with great alacrity walked briskly up to them. His billowing pant legs, tucked into the tops of his tall boots, made a swishing sound with each step. As he drew closer, he stretched out a leathery hand in stiff but genial greeting.:: Popescu: Welcome! You must be the visitors I was told of. I am Popescu Alexandru. Drex: ::whispering to Collins:: Surname first. You should say hi first. Patriarchy, and all that. ::Quentin shuffled awkwardly up to the man, still trying to drink in all the details of their new setting. It was painfully familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it yet. He would get there eventually, but first he had to get through this interaction first.:: Collins: Oh, aye. The name is Collins from up London way and this is my...secretary Miss Drex. Assigned by the firm, you know how it is. But she does good work! Well, her knees are going but STILL! ::He winked over in Kayla’s direction, relishing the sudden pointed scowl she wore. She may have put all this amazing time and effort into this whole charade, but that wasn’t going to stop him having a BIT of fun with her.:: Popescu: Good, good! Yes, I run the inn right up the road, I received word three days ago there would be two visitors. Tell me, what brings you to our quiet village? ::Kayla stepped up to deliver her line, all but shoving Quentin out of the way to do so.:: Drex: We have been invited by the local count has invited us to the castle for the weekend. ::Alexandru’s face turned ash gray so fast, Kayla thought for a second it could have been a glitch in the program. When he crossed himself though, she knew everything was still working properly.:: ::Quentin [...]ed an eyebrow at the sudden display of ancient superstition. Excitement started to rise in his throat. He had a sneaking suspicion as to where they were now. He felt stupid he didn’t get it sooner.:: Propescu: M-may I ask … forgive me, but … why would you go to the castle? Drex: It’s old, we’re curious, and vampires are just a superstition? What more reason do we need? ::Propescu Alexandru crossed himself again at the word “vampire,” and muttered something under his breath the program didn’t bother interpreting. Kay shot him a look again, telegraphing his cue. He beamed and stepped back onto “center stage” through the packed mud of the old way street. Clearing his throat to speak, he tried to do his best impression of his dad. All business.:: Collins: We have been invited by the Count as potential investors in a looming property deal, good sir. We haven’t the time to faff about with ancient superstitions. Please, sir, my associate and I are weary, if you won’t cart us to the Castle, surely you can provide us rooms for the night. We have coin to pay. ::He shrugged a bit toward Kayla, assuming if she took the time to detail all this, surely she gave them some kind of walking around money.:: Propescu: I regret that I have no rooms for to offer you on this evening. Drex: ::noticing his English grew worse with his agitation:: I thought … didn’t you just say you’d been told before that guests would be coming, and that you had made preparations? Propescu: ::looking mildly ascanse at being called out by a woman:: That was a mistake of my own. It has just returned to my mind that those rooms were taken by two other visitors - doubtless the ones about which I was alerted. My deepest apologies. ::Kayla looked at Quentin with a not entirely affected look of annoyance, but shrugged. She’d built in several layers of adaptive programming in this programming. The characters would respond not only to direct stimuli, but to stimuli generated by interactions resulting from the responses of less visible interactions. Right now, it seemed that this innkeeper, with all his words of welcome, was longer interested in playing host - however temporary - to those that had been summoned by the count.:: Drex: Well then, is there a carriage or cart we can hire to take us to the castle early? Propescu: That may be difficult to arrange, but I will talk to some associates of mine to see what can be done for you. Please take in the sights of our village while you wait. ::Quentin huffed, leaning a bit more into the character he was playing with in the early moments of their holo-adventure. The Chief looked like she was having fun too, but he couldn’t help but notice a ripple of annoyance through her face. Was the program not giving up narrative like it should be? That innkeeper certainly turned about weirdly after she mentioned The Count. But that was all part of the fun for Quentin. He knew for sure (mostly maybe) where they were now. Now the real fun of testing the boundaries of the narrative could start.:: Collins: Good DAY, sir. ::He turned away from the now trembling man and finally allowed himself to absorb the rest of the details of their surroundings:: ::The scenery was indeed extremely picturesque. The thatched-roof buildings that lined the streets bore brightly-colored shingle signs advertising a variety of services. A butcher, cobbler, hooper, blacksmith, and several others were among those that lined the main, cobblestone road. Off this way, there were smaller buildings, doubtless the homes of the tradesmen and women that ran these businesses. Though modest, the hamlet appeared to be comfortably prosperous. Nestled between two large mountains, Kayla supposed they were sheltered from the worst of inclement weather conditions. The flora of the immediate region boasted delicate but hardy greenery, mostly short and scrubby. Looking further, around the cluster of buildings, Kayla noted that there were no old growth trees near the town, even though the lower rises of the surrounding mountains were carpeted by trees so ancient they bore heavy mantles of lichen and thick mosses. It was almost as though the people of this township were beating back the very landscape, and were content insofar that this waged war against nature was successful. It gave Kayla a momentary chill, but having no reason or inclination to dwell on such speculation, she brushed it aside as a thought bright on by the strange start to their adventure.:: Drex: Well, it looks like we have a little time before we leave here. What are you in the mood for? Shopping? Sightseeing? ::He turned an instant about face toward his friend with a huge smile on his face. He held out his hands to her.:: Collins: I just have one question. And I really need you to be honest with me. Drex: Always. What’s your question? Collins: Is this Dracula? Did you make me a whole Dracula thing? ::Kayla looked at Quentin somewhat coyly.:: Drex: I’m not saying it’s not, but at the same time … not exactly? It’s based on the book, but I’ve set this some time before Jonathan Harker’s visit. In other words, we’re us - visiting the count per his invitation. ::suddenly nervous that she’d spoiled the present:: Does that sound ok? ::Quentin instinctively clasped her hands and started to, for lack of a better term, freak the eff out, bouncing on the balls of his feet still with his friend’s hands comfortably clasped in his own. His whole history with gifts was horribly spotty, but this? This was…:: Collins: This is everything, Kayla truly. Thank you thank you thank you. Also I’m sorry if I got mud on your dress. Drex: ::laughing:: No, the dress is fine. I’m so glad you like the program, but it’s only just started! Wait till you see … wait, no. You’ll see. ::He unlatched her hands and started to whirl around the village. The detailing of the whole thing was almost intoxicating. Once Quentin found his bearings he started to try and take in the finer details. He spied a few of the more homely structures occupied, faint fires burning behind the curtains. But as he started to look at them, and the peeking occupants found therein, they snapped the curtains back shut as if trying to ward them away. Quentin thought it was a nice touch.:: Collins: I’m guessing it isn’t just Propescu that’s scared… ::Almost as if on cue, a wicked crack of lightning split the darkness of the sky, casting a pallid shadow over the village momentarily. Quentin’s skin goose-pimpled instantly and another grin split his lips.:: ((Short timeskip)) ::The jangle of tack and the clopping of horses’ hooves announced to Kayla and Quentin that their ride had arrived. Turning, Kayla caught her first glimpse of the driver. He wore a billowing rough (but immaculately white) linen shirt, laced up the front instead of buttons for closures. On his legs he wore deerskin trousers tucked into his tall boots, and atop his head sat a very wide-brimmed hat. All-in-all, she assessed him to be an experienced and capable coachman.:: ::When the cart stopped only about a dozen feet from where the pair of scientists stood, the pair of horses motionless - eyeing the strangers, the coachman leapt nimbly from his seat, somehow missing the several mud puddles in the road. He had covered the distance in a trice, greeting them and offering his assistance.:: Coachman: Welcome. My old friend Propescu tell me you are in need of transport to the castle. We must go quickly or not at all. I will not journey after nightfall. Drex: Why’s that? Coachman: There are wolves in the area … and worse. ::A beat passed while he considered the “worse,” but he did not elaborate. Instead, he shook himself and asked after any luggage they had and needed his help with. As neither Kayla nor Quentin had any, they were helped aboard the carriage, and the coachman whipped the horses into a brisk trot. In what felt like seconds, the tiny town was little more than a barely-distinguishable smudge in the otherwise unbroken landscape - impossible to spot unless you knew where to look.:: Drex: ::to the coachman:: How far is it to the castle? Coachman: Approximately 4 hours’ at a gentle pace for the horses. Today we go a bit faster. I do not wish to be travelling late, though tonight I think it may be safer than other nights. Drex: Why’s that? ::It took the driver a full minute to respond to this. Kayla wasn’t sure if he was trying to formulate a response, overcoming the language barrier, or hiding something. When he finally spoke, it did nothing to assuage these fears.:: Coachman: The dangers will be preoccupied. ::Quentin almost blanched at the comment. At first he was completely delighted by the off putting old-world detailing of the simulation. The mysticism, the ritual of it. It was some of the same things that drew him to his hometown’s lore. But then the odder instances started to bug him. And in the sort of anxiety inducing way, not into the “solve this puzzle” sort of way. In the time it took them to hitch up to this coach and travel a ways, Quentin Collins decided he was going to start taking this seriously. Not that he wasn’t before mind you, since this was a dear and thoughtful gift from an even dearer and even more thoughtful friend. But even she seemed like something was off. And when the two of them worked a problem, the cosmos itself would reveal its secrets. He shifted across to Kayla’s seat, finally able to see the Coachman a bit. Raising his voice above the thundering hooves of the horses, he started prodding.:: Collins: What could possibly preoccupy danger? Coachman: I’m afraid I do not understand. Collins: You said they would be preoccupied, what could occupy dangers? Something even more dangerous perhaps? ::a Sudden icy burst of wind shot through the carriage windows, catching Quentin right through the arms, where his topcoat sleeve met his vest. It chilled him to the bone, so much so he automatically tightened his leather gloves at the wrist. An ancient physical tic from back in Maine. Gazing out of the window at the rushing, seemingly endless woods whizzing past them along the path. He blinked against the biting wind. The dark seemed to...blink back. Dozens of blazing red eyes bared themselves through the woods. He blinked again and they remained. He felt his throat start to dry.:: Collins: Kay...did you program this? Drex: Sort of? ::She wasn’t trying to be cryptic. It was the truth. She’d only programmed the parameters and constraints of the characters and environment of the simulation. After that, she let the AI drive the particulars. Not wanting to betray her own unease to Quentin, she shrugged in what she hoped was a nonchalant way.:: Drex: I’m sure it’ll be fine. The safety protocols are in place. ::Still, the binaural tones (now completely forgotten consciously and no longer recognized by either of them) continued entwining their way into the minds of both Kayla and Quentin. The chill blast through the carriage window was accompanied by a shift in tone. The shift in tone was accompanied by a sensation deep in the most primitive corners of Kayla’s mind. There was a predator nearby, and her very survival depended on her staying alert.:: ((timeskip - 2 hours later)) ::The carriage came to a fairly abrupt halt in front of the massive, iron-banded, oaken-timber double doors as though the horses were loathe to stop moving. Even at a halt, they stamped their hooves and champed their bits, anxious to be moving away. The coachman leapt from his perch almost before the carriage had stopped moving, and was now holding the door open. It was less a gesture of civility than it was an unspoken plea for a quick exit. The two obliged, though something in them said it was the opposite direction they ought to be moving - back toward the town.:: Coachman: ::driving away as soon as he was back in the seat:: Fare well. I will say a prayer for you both. ::Before they could answer, the coach had rattled away at a gallop, and was now out of the reach of their voices.:: Drex: Well that was ominous. ::Quentin gave a snorting guffaw at Kayla’s stating of the obvious. He pulled his topcoat tighter around them as more wind howled through the trees and cobblestones of door stop they now stood upon. The stones looked impossibly old, matching the immaculately shone wood of the doors, which somehow looked older still. Quentin’s mind flashed quickly to The Old House, tucked away in the rising vines and brambles of the Collins Estate. That house scared him then and this one scared him now. Gooseflesh pimpled on the back of his neck. As if someone...or something was watching them.:: Collins: Oh REALLY? Whatever gave you that idea? Now what? Drex: ::shrugging:: Shall we knock? ::It was of course, rhetorical. Kayla steeled her resolve fighting down the irrational urge to run after the carriage, and knocked three times loudly on the front door. They waited for an answer for a full minute before knocking again. Still no answer. Quentin tried then, pounding on the door as the fear of what it would mean to be locked out in the open at night settled into Kayla’s heart, chilling her to the bone.:: ::As the sun sank below the crest of the western mountain ridge, the pair heard a heavy scraping sound from within - as though a great bolt were being drawn. Following that was the groaning creak of the massive hinges were brought into service. The ground around them was suddenly flooded with quavering yellow light from a candelabra held in the left hand of the tall man who had opened the door. The light was such a welcome sight to Kayla that she rushed forward toward it as though she were a moth.:: ???: Good evening. I apologize for the delay. My … staff is otherwise detained. I am your host. Please do enter my home. ::Quentin carefully followed Kayla and their new host into the cavernous hall. It looked to be the height of opulence, if the whole hall wasn’t covered in thick, milky cobwebs. Quentin almost had to step around them as to not be tangled in them. Their host seemed to float through them with ease though, still holding aloft the ornate golden candelabra. As the light bathed them all, he got a closer look at the man’s clothing. Which was a perfectly put together old style tuxedo, adorned with a lavish, possibly silken cape clasped with a heavy jeweled clasp. But there was something about his eyes. Though his demeanor seemed warm and inviting, his eyes reflected...none of that. Instead they looked empty, vacuous...hungry almost. Quentin tried to shake away the feeling, clearing his throat and finally speaking.:: Collins: T-Thank you for your hospitality… ???: It is my pleasure, I assure you. You have no doubt ascertained that I am the lord of this house. I am Dracula. ::not hesitating:: Please, my friends, leave any baggage you may have here, and it will be attended to. You must be hungry after your journey? ::In response to this suggestion, Kayla’s stomach made a sound somewhere between a cranky weasel and an annoyed stock investor. She looked briefly to Collins, then to their host.:: Drex: I am actually. Dracula: Then let us not waste another moment. You will I pray, forgive me for not dining with you, but I have supped already, having business to attend to this evening. ::The elegant man led them to a long room off the main foyer (if in fact it could be called that - the proportions put some cathedrals to shame), where a banquet table lay waiting for them. Two places were lavishly set with covered dishes. These, their host lifted by his own hand, revealing a sumptuous feast of roasted meats, root vegetables, and a steaming soup that looked deeper and richer than anything Kayla had ever eaten. Her stomach gave another excited “gruggle” at the sight of it all.:: Dracula: ::beckoning with a long-fingered hand for them to take the prepared seats:: Please come and eat to your hearts’ content. I will return when you have finished and show you to your rooms. ::And with that, the Count swept from the room, leaving Kayla and Quentin to the meal before them. She was famished, but Kayla hesitated, looking at her friend. Her conscious mind knew she was in the holodeck - that none of this was real, but the primitive parts of her brain were screaming at her. Some yet unforeseen danger or threat lurked within these walls. It couldn’t be the food though, right?:: Drex: What do you think? Shall we eat? ::Quentin gave a hearty exhale of breath and picked up a yeasty and somehow still warm roll from the sumptuous spread.:: Collins: I suppose we have to, right? ::Even though his mind told him that the only thing he was holding was a lovingly created patch of photons, the warmth and smell wafting off of it told another, more vivid story. It was almost intoxicating. He was about to give up the ghost and take a bite when he saw something else even more intoxicating. In an entirely different way. In the darkness of a room housed in the balcony above he saw three sets of gleaming, dreamy eyes. One a deep blue. The other a warm hazel. The last a glittering emerald. He started to open his mouth to speak, but he was...moving somehow. Floating almost, just above the dusty stonework of the flooring. As he got closer (though through no real will of his own), more and more smells replaced the musty odor of the main hall. Lilac, jazmine, and rosemary. He didn’t even notice when he crossed the threshold into the darkened room. He started to turn, seeing Kayla still standing a level below. He opened his mouth to speak but the door slammed shut before he could. Six strong hands then grabbed him roughly, pulling him into the void.:: ::Kayla panicked. Quentin had just been … abducted? Captured? At any rate, she didn’t like to think what those three had ultimately in mind for her friend. She scanned the table in a fevered attempt to find something that could be used as a weapon. ::Grabbing a long, thin-bladed carving knife, she sprang from the table and sprinted in the direction her friend had been dragged.:: Drex: QUENTIN! ::Her voice broke as she called out over and over. There was no sound for what seemed to her an eternity, but which was in reality, merely five seconds. At the far end of the dimly-lit hallway, Kayla heard the soft click of an old door latch catching. Without thinking, she turned and ran, gathering up her skirts as she went so she wouldn’t trip. ::When she reached the door, she grabbed at the handle. It was either stuck or locked. She banged on the heavy door with the butt of the knife, screaming for the door to be opened. She stopped abruptly though, when is swung smoothly on its hinge. ::What was even more alarming was the room she now saw. It was completely empty. She took one tentative step into the dark and drafty room. The gauzy curtains swayed gently in the draft from the partially opened window. This was the only movement in the room. Other than the dark, undulating fabric, the room seemed to resent her mobility. ::Thoughts of her friends peril tried to push their way into her mind, but Kayla was powerless to look away from the curtains … the Count. Had he been standing by the window the whole time? She didn’t remember seeing him when she first opened the door to the room.:: Dracula: I trust you … dined well? Drex: ::dreamily:: Quite well. Thank you. ::The count moved smoothly - so smoothly in fact, it could have been called a glide - toward the young blonde woman.:: Dracula: That is good. It would not do to have you … malnourished. Drex: ::Her head swimming:: You’re too kind. ::A yell from somewhere else in the castle snapped Kayla back to herself as effectively as a bucket of ice water. Before her still stood the striking form of her host, but now she was aware of the immediacy of the danger. She struck out with the knife still in her hand, but hit nothing but air. Smoke? Where the Count had been an instant before was now an already-dissipating cloud of black smoke. Kayla didn’t need to think twice. She turned on her heel and ran toward the sound of Collins’ voice.:: ::Quentin wasn’t sure how much time had passed. An hour? A day? A week? There was only the women and the sickly sweet taste of their lips upon his. Though he was dragged into the darkness, soon the antechamber was bathed in an amber-gris glow. A glow that had eliminated from the lit braziers that lined the stone walls. The smell of fresh earth also cut through the intoxicating scents of the women. But it didn’t jibe the visuals of the chamber, which suggested that they were at least a few stories up. At least that’s what the gleaming moonbeams and pockmarked starry sky provided in evidence. As soon as he started to think about it, however, more lips were on his again, tossing his mind back down the dark well of passion. One that he assumed had been paved over long ago. The women seemed to speak with one voice, vibrating through his mind like a psychic drawl.:: The Brides: Do you desire, Quentin Collins? ::He was momentarily stunned. He hadn’t spoken to them. Hell, he barely had a chance to speak. But his voice was parched with the earthy smell. Lips chapped with...repeated contact.:: Collins: I...w-what’s happening? ::He was turned again, peering directly into the eyes of the amber haired woman, who seemed to be their...leader? Or at least the center of the triumvirate.:: The Brides: Do you ache, Quentin Collins? ::Sudden cold bit through his now lessened layers. Somehow his topcoat and cravat had been shed and now his sleeves hung open, as well as his vest. He tried to button it back but it appeared that the buttons had been torn away. How? And Why?:: Collins: I can’t….why can’t I feel my hands? ::He looked down, his fingertips were starting to turn blue and as sort of streaky liquid dripped from one...drip drip dropping...onto the stone floor. Which was at least twelve feet above him. He was free-floating, hands still exploring his body lewdly and in a way that made him increasingly uncomfortable.:: The Brides: We can make you feel, Quentin Collins. Feel everything and nothing. Far more than the seer you pine for. Collins: What are you- ::He finally blinked hard and saw the liquid for what it actually was. Blood. HIS blood. Dripping from various punctures from around his arm...and neck...and chest. He looked up again and finally saw the women for what they really were. Monsters, with fangs bared, swimming amid gauzey, dusty nightclothes. Someone was screaming and Quentin thought it might have been him, but he couldn’t be sure. His head swam with the bloodloss and his sudden, hard drop to the stones below. The now hissing women whirled in mid-air about to bare down on him. Had it not been for the sudden entrance of the equally harried Kayla Drex, they would have surely swept him up again. She turned a confused eye to the floating women and back to him.:: Drex: WHAT THE F- Collins: I DON’T KNOW! ::He quickly snatched one of the braziers off the wall and started to wield it drunkenly at the still advancing women.:: Collins: I t-think I’ve had enough fun for one night, haven’t you? Drex: ::holding the carving knife out toward the three “women”:: Absolutely. Let’s get the heck out of here. ::They backed out of the room. It didn’t appear as though the women had followed - at least not as far as Kayla could see. There was no one chasing them through the halls of Castle Dracula, but each and every door they passed (and there were many in the ancient house) blew open as if some unseen pursuer was in an adjoining hall, and repeatedly wrenched door after door open, hoping to be just one step ahead.:: ::Kayla and Quentin at last, in a flop sweat and both panting hard, gained the open air of the main foyer. This place, with its grand sweeping staircase had seemed so grand and rich. Now it felt cold, abandoned, dangerous - a trap now seen. Carefully but swift as hares, the duo raced down the stairs. Kayla felt certain more than once she was going to tread on her damnable period-accurate skirts and break her neck falling down the hewn stone staircase. Thankfully, she and Quentin reached the floor level, and flew to the foreboding oak doors.:: Drex: ::panting:: Help me open the door. It’s too heavy for just one of us to open. ::Collins positioned himself in a way that allowed Kayla to grab hold of the wrought iron handle while he pulled against the frame. He gave a quick three-count, and they pulled. For an instant that felt like a lifetime, the door did not budge. Kayla’s heart sank, but then soared when the oaken barrier yielded to their efforts. They widened the opening just large enough for them to slip through, and ran with all their might.:: ::She never could say afterwards what compelled her to look back as they ran, but what she saw would haunt her dreams for some time to come. The Count, robed in a black travelling cloak came after them. In her haste, she couldn’t be certain, but at the moment she would have sworn he was … FLYING. His bat-like shape moved smoothly and swiftly toward them, narrowing the distance between him and the two humans.:: ::Kayla’s foot was suddenly soaked, and she felt her ankle roll as the ridiculously impractical shoes she wore slipped on the river rock. She cried out in pain, but the primary thought in her mind was that her foot was wet.:: Drex: Quen! We’re in a stream! Collins: ::pulling up short:: What? Yeah, I guess so. Let’s go! Drex: I can’t run, Quen, my ankle. We have to get to the other side of the stream. Collins: Why the stream? ::Then the penny dropped. In his terror, he had forgotten everything he’d known about vampire lore. They had to stop and count small items thrown in their path. They had no reflections. THEY COULDN’T CROSS RUNNING WATER!:: Collins: Kay, you’re a genius! Drex: Stow that, sailor; help me get across! ::He jerked back to his senses and draped one of Kayla’s arms over his shoulders. He helped (half-carried) her to the far side of the stream, where they collapsed, feeling safe for the first time in what felt like years. On the far side of the water, they saw the shape of Dracula darting upstream and down, looking for a way to cross … but he was trapped. They truly were safe - at least for a while.:: Collins: You bloody genius, Kay. Drex: … Oh for crying out LOUD! Collins: ::confused:: What? What’d I say? Drex: I’m no genius! I’m a freaking MORON! Collins: What are you talking about? Drex: I just remembered something else. ::Collins just looked at her, waiting for the revelation.:: Drex: Computer, end program. ::The countryside vanished, to be replaced by the yellow grid on sterile black.:: Drex: We were in the holodeck the whole time. ::blushing:: Maybe I overdid it a bit with the binaural waves. I was completely sure it was all real. Collins: … me too Drex: I won’t tell anybody if you don’t? Collins: Deal. Drex: Happy birthday, Quen. Now can you help me get to sickbay? I think I sprained my ankle in these ridiculous boots. END ((OOC - Thanks for reading! We really hope you enjoyed it. Happy Halloween, everyone!)) Lt Kayla Drex CSO, USS Eagle E239510KD0 ~ and ~ LT jg. QUENTIN COLLINS III SCIENCE OFFICER U.S.S. EAGLE NCC-74659 E239512QC0
  5. 2 points
    (Nice insight into the both of your characters, and an enjoyable read throughout! And I'm just so relieved that the coffee situation was worked out diplomatically.) 😀 (Deck 15, USS Juneau. Unassigned Science Lab)) Sitting on top of a now-empty transport crate, Geoffrey Teller was wiping his hands and waiting anxiously for the results of his efforts. On the counter nearby, gleaming but irregular pieces of equipment were variously whirring, grinding and beeping away merrily, unaware of their vital importance to the whole project. The work itself had become something of an obsession for Teller in his time aboard the Veritas, and now he had the rare opportunity to share it with another crew. Beyond that, his Captain was counting on him. She’d need what these machines could do in the trying days and weeks ahead. The pressure was enormous and the results far from certain so when the doors to the lab unexpectedly opened, Geoffrey Teller jumped to his feet with a start. Sienelis: What—? The Romulan stopped dead a few paces into the room, the empty space she was expecting to find anything but. Instead, there was a human with a shock of red hair, no taller than the Admiral who'd sent her to the Juneau, and an expression that seemed to be a confused mix of alarm and guilt. And next to him... Sienelis: Explain... ::she waved a slim hand toward the counter and all it supported,:: ...this. He looked around a bit sheepishly. Judging by the woman's blue collar, there was every chance he’d inadvertently taken over a space she was responsible for, but the work he was pursuing was going to be vital to the project. Teller: Happy to — firstly though, introductions — Lieutenant Commander Geoff Teller, from the Veritas. I’ll be serving as the Juneau's Chief Engineer. Teller offered a friendly handshake to the still frowning woman. She looked down at the extended limb and as an expression of vague dismay crept onto her features, physically waved the offending hand away. Sienelis: Lieutenant Valesha Sienelis. Chief Science Officer — and Romulans don't shake hands. ::She arched an elegant brow in his direction, a mote of amusement beginning to glitter in her green eyes.:: Or were you intending to proposition me? Teller withdrew the offered appendage with a grimace. oO Talk about not getting off on the right foot. Maybe I should’ve opened with a joke? A Tellurite, a Gorn and a Human walk into a bar...Oo Teller: Yep, sorry, so this all started back aboard the ‘Tas… ::He was about to continue as one of the odd machines chirped happily, its job complete:: ...actually, it’ll be easier to just show you. Don’t suppose you enjoy a cup of proper coffee? And I’m not talking about that burnt brown water the replicators spit out. Sienelis: Occasionally. Teller: Well then…::Teller walked across to one of the machines and gingerly disconnected a small sample canister filled with newly ground beans.:: Why don’t you crack that open and let me know if you think I’m on the right track. She cast a suspicious glance in his direction, joining him at the counter. Even on the bare plating of the science lab, her footfalls were quiet, and she moved with a feline grace that had completely snared a certain Russian. Taking the canister from him, she lifted it to her nose and took a cautious sniff, as though half-expecting to fill her lungs with poison. Sienelis: It smells like... coffee? Teller: Not just any coffee — this is newly grown, freshly roasted and recently ground full bean coffee, straight from a hydroponic bed to your mug! No replicated junk for this crew once I’m done getting setup. Sienelis: You know there's a point where appreciation turns into obsession, right? Valesha handed the canister back, her eyes pointedly landing on the array of roasting, grinding and brewing equipment in the lab. If not for the smell of fresh grounds, it could almost look like some kind of chemistry experiment. If one squinted. In the dark. Teller smirked, and for a second there was a brief echo of that grin on the Romulan's face. Teller: Oh yeah, I waved at that point as I passed it a while ago. Like the man said, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” Sienelis: I've a feeling that's going to explain a lot over the next twelve weeks. ::She thumbed toward his coffee-making set-up.:: Speaking of explanations, still waiting for that one. Teller: Skipper aboard the Veritas took a liking to it and the little shop I put together has become something of a fixture aboard ship. I fully appreciate the conveniences of modern living but there are some things…: :Teller took a deep sniff of the aromatic grounds:: ...that’re just better the old fashioned way, don’t you find? The question caught her by surprise and softened some of the sharp edges in her haughty expression. He didn't know it, but she came from a family of artisan craftsmen that had by-and-large eschewed replicators, preferring the traditional methods of making... well, just about everything. Sienelis: Actually, yeah. I do. Teller: Tell you what, you can have the first cup. After that, you still think this is a waste of time, I’ll get it moved to another compartment — fair? She gave him a long, thoughtful look, a calculation going on behind her eyes. The Romulan glanced from engineer to obsession and then back again, and then with a sly smile tugging at one corner of her mouth, she raised a hand and gestured toward him with two fingers. Sienelis: Let me make you a counter-offer. Keep Petty Officer Johns supplied and I'll not just let you keep the lab, I'll tell you where the coffee plants are. Geoff’s eyes went wide, and her grin widened a little. A negotiation made and an accord reached, even if it had yet to be spoken aloud. She suspected he would have been amenable to the suggestion anyway — he seemed like the friendly, generous type — but a little leverage didn't hurt. Teller: I thought some overeager Ensign ripped them out of the hydroponic beds, how’d you end up with them?! Sienelis: The wisdom of the enlisted. One of my crewmen thought it might be a good idea to put off disposing of them until we actually know who they belonged to. Teller: You’ve got yourself a deal, Lieutenant. You can consider Mr. Johns fully caffeinated from here on out. ::He let out a breath.:: That’s a huge relief. I didn’t bring enough seedlings to start over again and I doubt Captain Oddas would give me a few hours to pop over to Earth and pick up some fresh ones. Sienelis: Well. ::She lifted her shoulders in a light shrug.:: Clearly they were someone's hard work. Seemed wrong to get rid of them instead of just... moving them. Teller: Glad to know there’s at least one officer with a bit of sense aboard this boat. She'd heard a few humans say that common sense was anything but common, and Valesha supposed there was some truth to that. Honestly, she'd been guilty of lacking it herself on a few occasions — a desperate rescue attempt across a ruined shuttlebay came to mind, instead of using the transporters right there in the shuttle she'd been sheltering in. But he didn't need to know. Sienelis: ::Dryly,:: I'll make sure this lab is formally assigned to stop any repeat performances. Commander Teller's "Arabica Project". You can take the empty space next door for your plants, if you need it. Teller: That’d be perfect. And maybe lock the door, just in case. A soft huff of a laugh was her answer as he crossed to the infuser. He loaded the freshly ground beans, enjoying the heady aroma as the machine sputtered to life, the scientist looking on. Teller: Be a few minutes but one of us is having that first cup. If you don’t have anywhere important to be, pull up a crate. Teller slid one of the other empty packing crates across to the woman and sat back down on his own. After a moment's consideration, she joined him and stretched out her long legs in front of her, crossed at the ankles. He seemed happy enough to carry the conversation, and she was content to let him. Teller: Sorry to say, I don’t know many folks from the Gorkon. I’ve heard she’s a fine ship. ::He winked:: Not quite so fine as the Veritas, mind you. The comment was met with a roll of emerald eyes, though if she was inclined first toward a sarcastic retort, it was bitten back. Instead, the Romulan shrugged, glancing over the stark room they were sat in. Sienelis: They all have their charms. I liked the Invicta, though I'm pretty sure my forebears were screaming at me across the void for daring to serve on a ship with a Vulcan warp drive. Teller: Glad you suffered the wrath of your ancestors to the benefit of the fleet. Veritas is the first ship I’ve been posted to, and I love the old gal. Tough and clever in equal measures - ::Teller winked:: bit like those honorable ancestors of yours. She gave him a sidelong glance, the cogs of her mind turning behind her green eyes. There were certain things, certain current events she tried to keep abreast of, and recent reports from his home ship had caught her eye. Valesha dropped her gaze for a moment, taking a breath to summon a little courage, and then looked back toward him. Sienelis: Didn't I hear that the Veritas met with some of my people recently? Geoff thought back to the community of refugees they had nominally aided during their last mission on Ketar V. The Romulans he had met were destitute, but they all possessed a quiet dignity and poise, as if their living conditions were but a temporary inconvenience, their loss of their homeworld merely a minor setback to their grander ambitions. Teller: We did — fine people living in a hard place. We helped a bit around the edges, but the fact is there’s trouble brewing on that planet. The Romulan's gaze was fixed and intent, a flash of guilt and curiosity in her eyes. Sienelis: How do you mean? Teller: It’s a shame. Romulans we met were good folks but that world is grinding them down. The sad thing is, it’s happening to just about everyone who lives there — it’s just happening a little slower for everyone else. Sienelis: I don't imagine the Shoals is often the easiest place to settle. Teller: So how about you? How’d you make your way into the uniform? Sienelis: Oh, ::it was as much a sigh as a word, and she slid her hand into the dark hair on the back of her head, rubbing at her scalp.:: I was a refugee, too. But our caravan ended up on Vulcan. Teller tried to imagine how difficult it would be to lose a home and then to be forced to accept charity from a mortal enemy. He suddenly wondered if the refugees on Ketar V, largely ignored by the population as a whole, were somehow better off. Teller: Can’t imagine that was an easy transition. Vulcans can be about the most irritatingly gracious people I’ve ever met. The description drew a laugh out of Valesha, a grin catching at the corners of her mouth. Her stay on Vulcan had simultaneously proved and disproved a vast swathe of the beliefs she'd been instilled with as a youth. Plunged in the deep waters of the Federation, she'd found that she'd enjoyed swimming in them, afforded freedom and choices that were revelatory to the young Romulan. Sienelis: That's a diplomatic way of putting it. Teller: ::Smiling mischievously:: I’m bucking for a promotion to Ambassador - need to work on my polite phrasing if I’m going to get invited to all those fancy banquets. ::Teller examined some of the fresh burns on the back of his hands:: Doubt a fella ever got plasma burns at one of those things. Sienelis: There's a first time for everything. As he chuckled, the infuser finished its cycle with a gentle ding and began pouring a steaming mug of rich, black coffee. The robust aroma quickly filled the mostly empty room, tickling Teller’s nose. With a sigh, he rose and crossed to the improvised counter, withdrawing the finished mug and loading another. At least one of these needed to make its way to Captain Rahman or he suspected the Juneau wouldn’t move a centimeter. Still though, some testing was in order. Teller: ::He brought the piping mug to his lips.:: Finally, something drinkable aboard this hulk. You sure I can’t make one for you? Seems like the least I can do. Sienelis: Seems rude to say no at this point. Teller smiled wide as he reloaded the machine for its next cycle, merrily humming an off key tune to himself. Teller: Be just a few minutes but it’ll be worth your time, and that’s a Good Job Guarantee. She watched him busy himself, thoughts ticking over in her mind. She'd asked about the refugees that the Veritas had encountered with a purpose in mind, and eventually, she reached into a pocket and pulled out a small PADD. Her thumb flicked over the controls, and once he returned with her coffee, she extended the small device toward him. On the screen there was a picture; a younger Valesha, perhaps in her late teens, with a young man of a similar age and an older woman who bore a resemblance to both. Sienelis: I don't suppose you saw him while you were there? He took the offered PADD and looked at the image. It wasn’t hard to make out the young Lieutenant — her features hadn’t changed much over the years, and her scowl was still a perfect likeness. The young man next to her though... something tickled at his memories. Teller: You know, this fella does look awful familiar. He racked his brain, trying to connect his vague memory to a face and a name. She looked on with all pretence of casual interest gone; mouth dry, mind blank, her hummingbird pulse thrumming in her veins as the tiny flicker of hope she'd carried for nearly ten years exploded into a bonfire. Eventually, he snapped his fingers and she flinched, sucking in a sharp breath. Teller: Oh I remember… quiet kid, didn’t say much, but he worked like an ox. Helped a bunch of us out when we were rebuilding a refugee structure that had burned down. Pretty sure he lived there...or he did before it burned down. Probably worked the Docks like most of the other Romulans. Name was...Tavle? Treble? Her next word was barely more than a whisper, a dream so fragile she wasn't sure she dared speak it aloud. Sienelis: ...Taeval? Teller: Taeval — yep, that’s him — looks a little rougher around the edges, but I’m pretty certain. Why? You two fall out of touch? There was no answer for a while, the Romulan's gaze unfocused as she tried to process the news, retreating along the path of a decade-long journey of grief. The hiss of steam and the bubble of water filled the space between them, the bitter aroma of roasted coffee suffusing the air. So many thoughts had crowded into Valesha's mind at once she could barely pick one out for the white noise they created, and she stumbled over her words as she tried. Sienelis: I— ::She reached over, taking the PADD back to stare at the small image. A memory, given life once again.:: I thought he died. We got separated in the evacuation and— Ten years. I thought he was dead. Teller: Really? Damn. Well, the good news is the Veritas has plenty of contacts with the Romulans and we’ve even know a couple Colonial Marshalls who don’t completely hate us. If the interference in the Shoals is behaving, we could probably even get him on subspace for you. Take a little time to put it all together, but I’m confident we could get it done. Sienelis: I— I have to go. The coffee was left on the crate, the Romulan on her feet and stalking toward the door without any further explanation or apology. But a few steps in, she paused and stood still for a moment, then turned and returned to Teller, stooping to press a kiss to his cheek. Words were wholly inadequate for the sentiment she wanted to express, but alas, words were all she had. Sienelis: Thank you. Geoff was dumbfounded and felt a warmth rushing to his cheeks. Teller: Uhhh...you’re welcome? He watched as the young woman turned and all but sprinted out of the room in a somewhat confused haze. After a moment, he noticed the untouched cup of coffee resting on the crate and took a hesitant sniff before shrugging. Teller: I guess some people really do appreciate a good cup of coffee. fin
  6. 2 points
    ((Starbase 118 - little Risa - Cabo Breeze.)) Dante watched the pleasant faces around him spin, or maybe that was the room? Hael: Nev’r have I ev’r …. Had a crush on’a teacher... Termine: Ouuh! I have! ::Dante took a big swig of his beer:: Dante's mind was awash with thoughts of one of his first music teachers. The Betazed woman was like a godess of warmth to him at a young age and in hindsight Dante realized she was probably aware of his affection. Dante tried to blush harder, but the alcohol had already done that for him. Hael: I had this one teach - she was younger - thought she was the our first gal I’d ev’r done seen Rustyy took a swig of his drink, and Max grinned at the thought of what a messy evening this was going to turn into. Termine: Thuh Shhtory? As Max answered, Rustyy laughed. Maxwell: True story. Hael: Come’on keep on’a goin’ ::he wanted to know more… and hopefully not reveal as much.:: Termine: Weeeell.. If you inshist…. Maxwell: Never have I ever blown off an Academy class tae go drinking. Termine: Unforshunately, deshpite my curent shtate, I wash never really that fun in the acAdeMyy. But that's what I've goth Friendhs for! Dante laughed and clapped his arms around his compatriots at the table. Hael: Alrigh’y! ::he slammed his hand down.:: Nev’r have I farted round’a group’s strangers! Maxwell: What about loud enough tae drown out the Comandant's speech at your graduation? Dante laughed bawdily, though he wasn't sure if it was a joke or a recollection. Either way, Dante just felt like laughing. This alcohol thing sure was an interesting experience! Termine: I've fhaarted a few times in groups buuut. *burp* mostly it wash to geve me an excush to leave! heheheHehe~ Max chuckled as he went next. Maxwell: Never have I ever been curious enough tae try a pets food. Dante took a big gulp Termine: N'aw look. You think AAAALLL you want, but I'll shay that Targ food looks a LOT like Guacamole. Max was starting to feel really devilish now, and he motioned for the bartender to give them shots instead of their previous drinks. He pointed at a particular bottle. Hael: Nev’r have I ev’r - gone streakin’ in public. Maxwell: It was pretty cold when I did it. ::He laughed at the memory of his drunken and shivering team mates piling into the pub at the top of the street. And the reactions from the people in there.:: Termine: Onshe again, I wasn't that fun! But I wonder that the regulationsh about pubblibic nubditidy are arounb here are! That comment got a rise out of the listening audience. Hael: ::he looked at his latest empty glass.:: We gonna be hur’in’ tomorrow. ::he ungracefully snort laughed.:: I got one! - an’ i’m’a purdy sure I ain’ nev’r done it either. ::uncertainly said.:: Nev’r have I ev’r ::dramatic pause.:: kissed a fella Safe again. Max put his shot back on the bar as he waited for the responses of the others. Dante poured himself a big shot of whatever liquid he had been offered and shot it back in his head. His thoughts were momentarily drawn to the black, bitter stinging sensation in his mouth, but they soon faded to be replaced with the memory of B'larin, one of his first crushes at the academy. It had been a hot romance when they first started seeing each other but cooled quickly as they both realized the heat they felt for each other was more about the newness of the academy life and sexual liberty ( especially in Dante's case who had just escaped a pretty strict home life) Still, you can never completely quell the flames one once had in youth. Termine: O'course I have! ! To Love! ::Dante clutched his heart:: Wha-'ere form it comes in! This proclamation brought with it another great cheer from the crowd, and with it went Dante, over the back of his own bar stool, crashing in amongst the crowd. ___________________________________________ ((OOC: There's definitely still more to be explored here but I'll leave it to Maxwell and Hael to decide if we want to continue the scene. I think with the ceremony it might be time to move ahead!) Lt. JG Dante Termine Diplomatic Corps, Starbase 118 A239503DT0
  7. 2 points
    [Insert ‘Pink Panther’ theme here] ((Apartment Block, Deck 801, Habitat Zone, Starbase 118)) The three Officers had mostly avoided contact with each other since arriving back at the base, apart from Lt. Cmdr. Hael’s party - which it would have been odd for them to not attend, or to be seen to be avoiding each other all evening. Now though, after finding out the location of Londonderry’s apartment, Gogi had called Malko and Dante and arranged to meet with them outside the block. It was, of course, an unassuming apartment block, one of the many apartment blocks that had been constructed to house Starbase 118’s many, many residents, in the uniform style that they had all been built in. A smooth white building, with nondescript, square windows on each of its several floors. Gogi’s access code had gotten them into the building and up to the 7th floor in the elevator, but as they stepped out onto the landing, their eyes were immediately drawn to the Starfleet Security Officer standing to attention outside apartment number 66. The stocky Bardeezan FO did not recognize the young, light-brown-haired, fresh-faced, Terran-looking man guarding Londonderry’s apartment and nor did he know of any order that had come from Captain Taybrim that the apartment should be guarded. Okay, he didn’t know absolutely everything that the Fleet Captain did, but he guessed he would have heard of something like this. Dante and Malko exchanged a meaningful glance of worry before Gogi frowned deeply as he cracked his knuckles and began to stride up to the guard. Malko and Dante followed, all three of them dressed in their duty uniforms. Fairhug: ::approaching the young man:: Good day to you…::making a show of looking at his pips::...Ensign…? The Ensign’s eyes widened as he took note of three senior officers suddenly standing in front of him. One dressed in a Medical uniform, one a Diplomat and this third, relatively short Officer with the long ginger hair was dressed in a Command uniform with Lt. Cmdr. Pips. Matterface: ::stuttering slightly:: M..Matterface, Sir. Ensign Matterface. Fairhug: Good day, Ensign Matterface. My colleagues and I require access to this apartment. Malko: Thank you for standing watch, who knows what ne'er-do-wells could have been coming around to stick their nose in. Termine: We’ll make sure to inform your superior of your exemplary conduct. :: Dante flipped through a PADD. In reality it just had economic data of the sector, but he knew that seeming like you knew more that you did was often an effective bargaining tool :: Matterface: I...I’m sorry, Sirs, the access has been limited to priority Alpha One. The lines on Gogi’s weather-beaten brow grew even deeper, if that was at all possible, like the grooves of long-dried river beds in a dessert. Fairhug: By whom? Matterface: I...I can’t say, Sir. Malko shared a knowing look with the others - Alpha One? That seems like overkill for an engineer’s quarters. Something wasn’t sitting right with the counsellor. Dante stepped forward, if there was one thing he DID know, it was starfleet code and regulation. Termine: I admire your diligence Ensign, but Priority Alpha One security protocol can only be exercised in starfleet internal security matters. Although it will barr most non-briefed personnel... Without missing a beat Malko stepped in. Malko: Surely that doesn’t apply to the investigating officers... The young Ensign’s eyes were darting between the Officers as beads of sweat began to form on his forehead. He was rattled. Matterface: I’m s...sorry, Sirs. I’ve been given orders. Gogi stepped closer to the man, reaching up to put a calming hand on his shoulder. Dante looked down at his Padd again, presenting a face of irritation. If Malko was going to play the good cop, Dante was going to play bad. Fairhug: Okay, Ensign. It’s okay. The young man tried to calm his breathing. Fairhug: How long have you been on Starbase 118, Mister Matterface? Matterface: This is my third week, Sir. Fairhug: ::nodding knowingly:: Alright. Listen. I am Lieutenant Commander Fairhug, former Chief of Security of the Embassy of Duronis II, former Commanding Officer of the Iron Jaegers and current First Officer of this Starbase. Gogi was never one to pull rank or blow his own trumpet, usually, but occasionally, the situation called for it - and this was one of those situations. Malko held the elevator so no one could enter the floor as Gogi launched into his monologue. Fairhug: Now, I understand that you have been given orders and that you want to be seen to be obeying those orders. That’s a good thing. But let me ask you this; as First Officer of this very Starbase, do you think I would report you for allowing me to do my job? The Ensign’s expression changed to one of confusion, his eyebrows almost knitting together. Matterface: N...No, Sir…? Fairhug: Of course I wouldn’t! Gogi let out a hearty laugh, turning to Dante and Malko, to indicate for them to follow suit. Then he turned back to Ensign Matterface, his expression much more serious again, one of almost parental concern. Fairhug: But...might I report you for obstructing me from doing my job? Malko: It would be your obligation, I’d say. Your hands would be tied. :: to the Ensign :: He’s even reported me before. Termine: :: Dante tapped on his pad a few times before leaning into Gogi’s ear but speaking just loud enough for all to hear:: Need I remind you sir about your upcoming appointment? The ambassador would be insulted if we were late. Once again, Matterface’s eyes began to dart between the Officers. The boy looked like his mind had imploded with the difficulty of making this decision. Fairhug: Okay, let me make this easy for you, Ensign. Stand aside and let me and my colleagues here do what we have to do and nothing more will come of this...little incident. Gogi’s hand had been rested on Matterface’s shoulder this whole time, now he patted the man’s uniform, brushing some dust off of it. Fairhug: How does that sound? The young Officer, who had been standing at attention this entire time, let out a sigh and relaxed his posture. Matterface: Yes, Sir. I understand. Fairhug: ::patting the Ensign’s shoulder again:: You’re doing the right thing, Ensign. He turned to Malko and Dante and indicated with his head. Matterface stepped aside and they made their way into the apartment. Gogi poked his head round the doorframe one last time as he entered. Fairhug: Mister Matterface, inform us immediately if anybody else approaches. Matterface: ::snapping to attention again:: Aye, aye, Commander. ((PO3 Rickard Londonderry’s Apartment, Deck 801, Starbase 118)) Termine: Nicely handled, but how could security be here already, and with such a high clearance level! I’m starting to think we’re not the only ones on the same trail. Gogi huffed through his nose. The Starfleet cover-up was already in full motion. Fairhug: Probably just some Admiral at Command making sure Londonderry’s myth is preserved. Malko: Myth of being loyal? Termine: We can look into who might have placed that order later, Malko and I can give face-of-the-matter back there a debriefing if it comes to it, but let's stay focused and search this room while we can. We might not have much time. Fairhug: Agreed. The three officers started to pace around the room. The quarters were small and sparse with only minimal personalization. This wasn’t uncommon amongst junior officers but something about it felt… off. Gogi looked around, immediately dismayed by the lack of potential evidence, but then, if someone had gotten there first, it was hardly surprising that the apartment had been “sterilised”. Malko: No garbage, no laundry, no spoiled food. After a good long while of searching Malko checked amongst every fold in the closet and Gogi opened every drawer Dante stood staring up at the ceiling. Malko: There’s almost no evidence that Londonderry even lived here anymore. It’s all been passed over. The Bardeezan looked up, unsure of what Dante was so transfixed by. Fairhug: Something caught your eye, Dante? Termine: ...Wha? Oh... No it’s just that… Do you see those bolts holding that ventilation cover on? Malko: With enough force you can open those with a letter opener if you really need to… Just saying… Fairhug: Okay... Termine: They’re wrong. Fairhug: Wrong? Malko: ::quietly:: Not that I’ve had to... Termine: I mean, they’re wrong. It’s only something a refurb crew would notice but those bolts up there… They should be self-sealing stem bolts but they’re not. They’re regular bolts that seem to have been made up to look sealed. Malko: Prophets - you’re right. They’re smaller. Fairhug: What do you think that means? Termine: well, it either means that there were supply issues during this room’s construction or… Somebody has used a blast torch to cut through the original bolts and put their own in so that they could open that cover without any trouble. Malko: Actually that sounds much easier than bending your good letter opener. Gogi stroked his beard in thought as he looked around. The only furniture in the room was bolted down and of course, none of it was near the ventilation cover. Fairhug: Okay, ::he looked at Dante, who stood a foot taller than him:: Dante, you’re the tallest, Malko… He made a gesture with his arm for the Counsellor to follow his lead as he crouched down to get on all fours. Malko: Careful now, Termine. Dante wobbled as he slowly rose into the air, supported on the backs of Malko and Gogi - the human pyramid swayed and lurched. Slowly, Dante brought his hand up to the vent covering having to stretch considerably to reach and began to pry at the bolts holding the panel on. Much to his surprise the panel, bolts and all, came crashing down on him just as he came crashing down on his friends. Rolling away from the heap onto his back, Gogi almost wanted to laugh. Maybe he would have under different circumstances. They must have looked quite the sight. Fairhug: ::standing up, brushing off his uniform:: Well, I hope that was worth it. Malko: And I hope nobody heard the raucous. Termine: Not elegant - but it worked and… what do we have here! Clipped into the back of the vent cover was a small silver tube, less than the length of a PADD stylus, with a blinking red light on it’s end and a single indent on it’s length. Fairhug: Some kind of tracking device...or… Malko: ...beacon. The Counsellor had taken the words out of his mouth. If it was a transponder, evidently whoever had been here before them had not been aware of its presence, as surely they would have removed it. Fairhug: There’s one way to find out, can we activate it? Malko: It looks to me like it’s already been activated... TBC As simmed by Lieutenant Commander Gogigobo Fairhug First Officer Starbase 118 Ops. E239411GF0 And LTJG Malko Counsellor Starbase 118 Ops A239508M10 And Lt. JG Dante Termine Diplomatic Corps, Starbase 118 A239503DT0
  8. 1 point
    ((CMO Office, Sickbay, Deck 7, USS Gorkon)) Genkos sat at his desk, head in his hands. One finger was gently plucking at a hair on his chin - he had shaved hurriedly this morning, wanting to avoid any kind of facial furriness. Clearly he had missed a spot. It was reminiscent of ‘Kos, a man he definitely wasn’t, and from whom he needed a clean break. That meant no facial hair, no drinking alcohol at all, and plenty of uttaberry tea to wash the foul taste of Spoonie, no Cardassian, blood from his mouth. Finally getting purchase between forefinger and thumbnail, he tugged at the offending follicle, and felt a sweet release when it broke free. He examined it closely; short and black, with a slight curl already, despite it being relatively young. He placed it on his palm and softly blew, watching it disappear, never to be seen again. He snorted a silent laugh at the absurdity of it; as if blowing away a single hair could get rid of all he’d done, all he’d seen, all he’d committed as ‘Kos Sim, Maquis combat medic. He could still hear the wet splat of his makeshift spear entering that Cardassian’s torso, feel the soldier’s bones cracking under his fists, smell the heady aroma of the blood. Genkos closed his eyes to meditate; he tried forcing the memories away, herding them much like a sheepdog herds lambs into a pen, trying to seal them behind a giant brick wall where they could never again hurt anyone. But it was no use; much like trying to get Tasha’s cat Sparks to do anything, it was impossible. A stray thought always broke free of his mental grasp, and escaped deeper into the recesses of his mind. Last time they’d been away to the land of the Skarbek, he’d come back with Erin’s real memories as well as his own, but this was somehow worse. True, he hadn’t discovered some dark secret about his father, but he had discovered something incredibly horrifying about himself. He was just as capable of murder as Tillul. Perhaps even culpable - who was to say which parts of the Q’s machinations were real and which were purely phantoms? Perhaps that Cardassian really did exist and Genkos really did murder him. He’d been told that Johns had died in the Q-verse, but had come back though, so maybe not? But the Q was there to torture them, so who really knew what it was capable of? Again, he closed his eyes to meditate, attempting to clear his mind of all thoughts. It was a technique that Baina had taught him an age ago, back when they were trying to control and shape his mental abilities after the last Skarbek sojourn. It wasn’t working; flashes of splattering blood and foul red rage kept barging their way into his brain, disrupting the whole process. Instead he opened his eyes, and turned to the work he had open on his desk. He was attempting to write up a report for the Admiral about the incident with the Q, examining the physiological effects of the whatever-it-was. He’d spent six and a half hours this morning, visually examining every crew member who reported travelling over to the Skarbek-verse. He’d traipsed over the ship with Loxley and T’Hal, scanning them with tricorders and giving them the once over. Many reported having wounds, some serious, some trivial, that disappeared on their own on their arrival back to the Gorkon. Nobody showed any signs of these wounds except in the forms of memories. He manually entered all of the data they had collected into the ship’s computers and compiled it. It made for very tedious reading, but he summed it all up in a short paragraph and sent it to Quinn. It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t informative. “As far as our bodies are concerned, nothing happened and no time passed” was effectively the conclusion, but there was an addendum - if nothing happened, why were they all suffering? It was true that nobody came off well in the Q’s experiment; emotionally they were all distraught by what they had been manipulated to do, and what the Q had said about them. Her comments about his abilities were the most cutting. Ayiana had tried to tell him they weren’t true, that it was the situation but Genkos knew differently. That satisfaction that he felt on killing those Cardassians was real. He was a monster, and unfit to be a doctor. This report to the Admiral would be his last. Finishing up the report, he sent it to the Admiral and to Jo and began writing up his resignation. He would sleep on it first, before he handed it in, he decided. ((Genkos Adea’s Quarters, Deck 8, USS Gorkon - the next morning))) Genkos was fully dressed and sat on the edge of his bed. Toto was curled up on the bed beside him, his eyes staring up at his master. Genkos’ eyes, however, were focused on the PADD beside him, which contained all he needed to end his Starfleet career. A lead weight sat in his stomach, and he could feel the cool metal inside of him, turning his every vein to ice. His mother had visited that morning, to break her fast with him, but he hadn’t heard a word she’d said. He hadn’t even reacted when Rumi arrived and the two of them spent the meal exchanging bites of scrambled ktarian eggs and pulpless orange juice. Although Laxe could tell was something wrong, she hadn’t pried. She knew her son, and trusted him to make the right choice. His finger hovered over the PADD. Adea: To send, or not to send, that is the question, dear Toto. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of an outrageous Q, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them… Toto just yapped. He didn’t get Shakespeare. Genkos smiled sadly, and tried to remember all the good he had done as a doctor in Starfleet; he’d saved some of the crew aboard the Njörðr from a slow and painful death at the feet of Rushton’s, he’d performed emergency surgery on Caedan and countless others, as well as on Dhisuia. Although, said a little inner voice remarkably like the Q’s, you were the one who got her beaten half to death in the first place. Genkos shook his head violently, causing Toto to leap up in alarm and let out a single bark. Would he let his mistakes define who he was, or would he use them to make a better man? The latter! He threw the PADD onto the table, a familiar rage bubbling inside him; just days ago he was content to be a Starfleet doctor, remarkably higher in rank than he had expected; Chief Medical Officer and Second Officer aboard a literal flagship. He wasn’t about to let a Q get in his head and ruin his life. Never. He would do what good he could aboard the Gorkon, ‘Kos Sim be damned. -------------------------- Lieutenant Commander Genkos Adea MD Chief Medical Officer & Second Officer USS Gorkon G239502GS0
  9. 1 point
    Hi, all. I assume a bunch of you may know me from the discord server. But I'll keep it commonsense here, so here comes an introduction for those who have no idea who I am. My real name is Beth Taurasi, and honestly, my head's in space a whole lot these days because I don't work. But my work entails a lot of advocacy for people with disabilities, as I am totally blind like one other person I know who's here whose name I don't want to call out because I don't like to embarrass anyone. So yeah, you guys know who I'm talking about. My hobbies and interests include reading, and my book series choices are a lot of science fiction and fantasy, which is where Trek falls. I also wander in some RPG worlds as well, so I get the gist of fantasy and science fiction worlds. My Trek moments were mostly when I was little, and I was blessed to have a great science teacher who made us argue about the future, which she then included tribbles in the argument, which then ... she was mistaking some prehistoric animal for a Star Trek one. Kind of weird. My character's name is Nora Valentine, because of two things: one, having to do with the light of life, somewhat inspired by an American queen who was dubbed "the light" of her king, and Valentine, because it reminds me of red hearts, flowers, and the sun. Love, mostly. She is a blind woman who wants to be the best at documenting everything she is sent out to scope out, a coms officer who keeps everybody together, the glue of her crew. She could also be dubbed a historian, for thousands of years later, her writings could become the center point of studies in another whole parallel universe. History does that, you know. Anyway, I want to say hello to all my fellow cadets out there, and you all can see me in my profile photo. I apologize for wearing a nightshirt, nothing special, but I only meant to catch my face anyway. It's late at night and I'm super excited to begin the journey across the universe and back again.
  10. 1 point
    Thanks @German Galven and @Wallace Williams for the kind words. It amazes me how good I am at describing emotions when my own are a dead end. Oh well. Thanks again.
  11. 1 point
  12. 1 point
    This is one of the best pieces I think I have ever read. It shows so much diversity and skill in writing! Well written @Esa_Darkkdust ((OOC: Hi all. This one is a bit weird, but it was inspired by a packed train journey I was taking to London at dusk through the foggy South downs, while listening to Sense and Innocence, by Lynn Vartan. I've included timestamps for the track, if you want to listen and have my words paint meaning to the music! It's mostly supposed to be a dreamlike reaction to Esa's short trip into subspace, but also encompasses a lot of other feelings she has experienced recently. Also teasers near the end for some future plans I’ve thought of! Sort of like a false premonition!)) ((Unknown, Unknown)) ((Shore Leave Day 1, immediately before JP with Maddi)) ((00:00)) The eerie blackness looked familiar, yet not. It was cold, and damp... Her feet felt like they were submerged, and yet when she took a step, the sound of her boots on solid concrete reverberated around the room. In every direction was this thick fog, seemingly impenetrable. ((00:43)) In the distance, Esa could see a small pin[...] of light. She moved toward it, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't reach it. It had just appeared, out of nowhere. ((01:28)) Kiax: Hello?! She called out, to no response. Behind her she could hear strange voices, their tones sounded familiar, but their words were indistinguishable. In every direction she looked, there was this bleak nothingness, except for the light. ((01:58)) She instinctively reached out to grab it, and as she did so, it increased in intensity, and suddenly every fibre of Esa's being felt like it was being pulled by a rocket sled. A deep rumble pulsed through her body, before the feeling of inertia slowly came to a halt. The light's intensity continued to increase and before she knew it, she was standing in a dingy swamp back on Earth looking at a run-down shack of some kind. ((02:24)) The voices spoke once more, catching Esa off guard, forcing her to look around in a panic as she desperately tried to find the source. There, on a log, sat a toad, croaking at her menacingly. The moment she tried to pick it up, it hopped off and made for the shack. Esa gave chase, sensing it was the key to getting some answers about this place. The toad hopped deftly through the swamp, but Esa was only a few places behind. Though her feet felt like lead, and splashed heavily through the putrid sludge-like water, she kept up, until the toad disappeared through a hole in the shack's wall. Esa came to a halt on the veranda, and tried to peer through the window. No luck. ((03:03)) Deciding enough was enough, she pushed open the door and stepped in. A loud crack burst out from underfoot, as the floorboard snapped beneath her, causing her to stumble, before she recovered. Disembodied voice: You killed us… Panicked, Esa looked around frantically and moved through the seemingly endless rooms of the house for the source of the voice. She flung open doors, flipped tables, scattered furniture left right and centre in her frenzied search for the voice. ((03:30)) The final room she opened revealed something truly horrific. There, in the centre of the room, lay a pile of rotting corpses dressed in Starfleet Uniforms. Several looked familiar, but Esa couldn't remember their names. A Romulan woman, several Human males, an Orion, a Worene… She screamed. As if on command, the scream caused the bodies to move, as they rose to their feet and advanced toward Esa. Bodies: You killed us… Kiax: No, no, I didn't. It wasn't me! Sobbing, Esa tried to run, but found that the room she had entered was now a cavernous space, with no obvious exit. She tried to get away, but the bodies overpowered her and forced her to the ground. They proceeded to tear at her skin, reducing her to a pile of flesh, like them. She forced her arms up to protect her face, and then… ((03:58)) Nothing… Once more, Esa felt alone and weightless, as if there was nothing else in the universe with her. No stars, no planets, just her… and a ship. It was there, in the distance. Big enough to make out its shape, but too far to reach. Her breath seemed loud in her ears, and she could feel her heart beating against her chest. The silence was amplifying everything, until the voice returned. Unable to move, Esa simply responded. Voice: You don't belong here… Kiax: Where is here? Voice: You need to leave. Kiax: I don't remember… Multiple Voices: You were never one of us… Kiax: Who are you? Voices: LEAVE! A familiar face appeared in front of Esa's, again bearing a striking resemblance to someone she knew, but with solid black eyes. She felt a hand on her sternum, pushing her back, as the nothingness swallowed her up and she fell further and further away from the ship. ((05:24)) Hot. How could nothingness be hot? Bright… Space was dark… Confused, Esa opened her eyes into a glaring blue sky. She blinked a few times as her pupils constricted to the sudden assault of photons. She was lying on her back in the middle of a desert, baking in the midday sun. She sat up and took stock of her surroundings. In all directions, except one which sported a distant stone structure, golden sand stretched out as far as the eye could see. oO I've never been to a desert? Oo On the stone structure, stood a figure in white robes. Perhaps they could help? She looked at the structure more carefully, noting that it consisted of five totem-like pillars, with a dais in the centre. The dais was sporting some kind of protrusion... oO Won't hurt to ask… Maybe the dais holds the key... Oo She got up and trudged through the soft sand. With every step, her feet sank into the dunes. She could feel the heat through the soles of her boots Some even managed to lap up over the rim into her boot, burning her foot as it slid down to the base of the shoe. Eventually, after a peculiarly long walk for the distance, she made it to the figure, who stood with her back to Esa. ((06:39)) Stranger: Hello, Esa. The strange figure spoke with disdain and spite dripping from her words, Esa simply listened. Stranger: You’re so smart, Esa. Do you know why the Chon called their project “Avalon”? Kiax: It’s the island where Excalibur was forged, and Arthur taken to recover from his wounds after battle. Not the first connection to Arthurian myth I’ve come across in their notes. Stranger: ::flatly:: “Myth”, she calls it. A limited word, for a limited perspective. You were always such the scientist - you’re probably right at home with all these subspace contraptions, aren’t you? Kiax: As much as anyone, I suppose. Stranger: The Chon activated a power in the artefact that literal minds can’t handle, and it destroyed them, so don’t push the wrong buttons. oO Artefact? Oo Kiax: You’d better not either. Stranger: But I know which ones are the right ones. Esa grabbed the stranger’s shoulder to force them to face her, but was surprised to see the face of the one person she could remember. Her sister, Erin. Kiax: You’ve learned to read Chon since the last time I saw you… Erin glared at her, venomously, before seeming to vanish into thin air. Kiax: Erin? ((07:20)) With her sister now gone, Esa leant against one of the pillars. As she did so, it seemed to explode outward with green energy, revealing a spinning core of the same energy. Deciding to exercise her curiosity, she moved to the protrusion, which she could now see was a sword of some description. She lightly touched the end, causing the sword to slip further into the dais and rotate like a key. As it did so, the green energy from before began to channel toward the centre, revealing a circular portal to rise up from the ground. Shimmering and glowing, but remaining translucent, voices seemed to emanate from it. Voice 1: No! Get back! ::beat:: What… What is it? Voice 2: There’s something in the light! Voice 1: Stay here! A figure appeared in the portal. The second person Esa recognised. Maddi. Figure of Maddi: What? Who are you? Kiax: Maddi? It Esa, your wife! The figure seemed to gesture toward the other voice, signalling it’s owner to stay back. Figure: What? What about my wife? As if realising some terrible truth, Esa’s eyes grew wide. Though she couldn’t remember why, the next words to leave her mouth were a set of very strict instructions. Kiax: ::Screaming:: DON’T. TOUCH. THE SWORD. Figure: ::Pleadingly:: She meant no harm! Behind her, the ghostly figure of Erin had returned, and a sour look crossed her face. Erin: Take. Out. The sword. Esa: What!? No! The figure of Maddi looked perplexed, as if trying to decide which of the two instructions she should adhere to. Esa: Maddi. Maddi listen to me… Erin: It’ll explode unless you pull out the sword! Figure: Oh God, no! The figure of Maddi obviously made up her mind, and appeared to make a motion of pulling out a sword from something. Perhaps a copy of the same dais that Esa was standing in front of. Esa: NO! Esa turned and ran for cover as the portal exploded, just as Erin had predicted. Then, darkness. ((08:55)) The grey, overcast sky loomed forebodingly over the graveyard as it emptied its contents to the ground. Rainfall wasn’t uncommon in Scotland, and yet, it seemed to be poetic that it should be raining today. Esa stood alone, wearing the black dress she reserved only for the most sombre of occasions. She cried, remembering everything that they had been through. She was the only person who had ever loved, trusted, and cared for her so much, throughout everything that had happened since graduating the academy. Kneeling down, she laid the flowers next to the headstone, which bore the name “Maddi Hyden”. It had been a year since the accident with the dais, where her life had tragically come to an end. Little did they know that the events of that day would end up rippling out across the region, spelling doom to all those that had served on the good ship “Atlantis”. It felt unfair that she was the only person to make it out alive, that the guardians of the artefact had chosen her to make the crossing. Through her tears, she mumbled to the grave; Kiax: Hey there. So… I miss you. So much. You were always there for me in a world that made me feel so alone. Now you and the others are gone, I don’t know what to do. Starfleet forced me out, citing that the trauma was too great, and that I was too emotionally compromised to carry on serving. It should have been you that survived. You would have stayed strong. Fought on and saved the others. The galaxy seems silent. So silent now the war has stopped. I have survived all, though deep down knew I shouldn’t have. Now you’re not here and I shall go home alone. They tell me I have to try to live life as before and hide my grief for you. My dearest friend, who should be with me now. Not lying cold in the ground, taken too soon, in your grave... Alone... Lieutenant Esa Kiax Comm/Ops Officer USS Atlantis – NCC 74682 Community History Team Member A239511ED0
  13. 1 point
    What is token tagging? Token tagging is a phrase that you probably have never heard of before, but have probably been taking part in without knowing it. Put simply, token tagging is when somebody is tagged in a scene, without fully engaging them. Let’s look at some examples: A scene is being played out between three players. Two of the players are leading the scene by doing most of the talking/action, leaving the third person with tags that require only yes or no answers. As they are only being left token tags that prevent them from taking part in the fun/action, they are going to feel their input is not required and will be less engaged in the scene. A small group of players are tagging out a scene and leave only one optional tag at the bottom of the scene. The person leaving the tags thinks of them as an invitation – we think you may be interested, so come and join us if you want. However; the person who the tag was for may think that the tag for them was an afterthought because there is only one tag, which is not a lot to work with, especially if you are already struggling. Marathon sims are where one writer takes up too much of a scene, writing out a large part of it on their own and dominating it, frequently leaving a long string of tags. This can leave other writers feeling as if they are not as important and are merely along for the ride. Token tags are something that nobody ever sets out to leave, as when we tag others we are doing it with the intention to include them. There is nothing inherently wrong with token tags, although it can lead to frustrations from the recipient, who could already be feeling frustrated and possibly overwhelmed. What to do about them? The best thing that you as a player can do about token tags is to be vigilant and aware of when you are doing it. Instead of leaving a single tag at the end of a scene, inviting someone to join in, write a small OOC note, or better yet reach out to them via email or Discord. On the other end, if there is a scene that you would like to get involved in, and it makes sense that your character could be in the location, then either jump in or reach out to those involved. Some players are reluctant to get involved in ongoing scenes, feeling as if they are stepping on toes, so that small reassurance can be a great boost for them, and can help them feel more engaged in their simming. If you find yourself going to use a token tag, try instead take a few minutes to work out how you can turn it into a tag with more substance, something that draws them into the scene and gives them an opportunity to really respond. For example: She wrapped her fingers around the steaming cup, feeling the warmth radiate through her fingers. It was only a simple combination, hot milk, cocoa and sugar, but for Alison it was one of the greatest pleasures in the galaxy. Depending on how bad her day had been, she sometimes liked to add a little extra, like marshmallows or cream. The chocolatey scent rising up, filling her nostrils with the sweet aroma. Jones: Mmm that is good. ::She placed the cup back down and looked up to her colleague.:: So you were saying that your brother has just applied to the academy. That must be exciting for you. Smith: Response As she chuckled at the man’s response, she spotted Ensign Ellison stood over by the counter, looking rather lost. She held up a hand and waved her over. Alison had only briefly met the new ensign when they bumped into each by sickbay during her first week, but that wasn’t going to stop her getting to know her fellow engineer. Jones: Ensign, care to join us? Ellison: Response Jones: Of course not, Lieutenant Smith was just telling me about his brother. Please, take a seat. Ellison / Smith: Response Jones: And how about you Ellison, how did you end up an engineer? Ellison: Response The post Writers Workshop: Token Tags appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
  14. 1 point
    Trophy Hunter ((Trezire, Ceata, Northern Exclusion Zone)) In the glades of the north, far beyond the Acasa Region, snow fell out of colorful, cloudy skies. Next to an icy stream that led through a snow-clad forest, a Dokarran Elder named Yidian stood looking out towards a tall mountain of stone and ice. Through the gentle snow-fall, a red hot glow emerged in the distance, announcing the approach of a dragon. Yidian stood with arms spread out wide, waiting. A hurricane of wind swept over the icy stream, throwing snow into the sky and knocking Yidian onto her back. A smile spread over her face. A tremendous thud knocked snow off tree branches and this turned into the whooshing sound of the snow cover falling down to the valley floor like a tide washing over a beach. A series of thudding, ice crunching sounds approached. The ground shook. Standing up, Yidian looked out at a dragon with beautiful feathered wings, which had come to drink at the stream. She carefully approached the ancient beast, crunching through the snow, until it turned to look at her. Yidian knelt down and bowed her head. Reaching out with her mind, she touched The Lady, a giant Vizinyan Tree thousands of kilometers to the south. A pleasant murmuring was there, content, but still slumbering, immature and innocent. The dragon huffed out a puff of frozen air and lowered its head. Yidian climbed up onto the creature’s neck and found a secure place near the head of the dragon. A flurry of feathered wings threw ice and snow into the air. With a leap, the dragon flew into the colorful skies. Yidian watched the world down below grow smaller and smaller. The dragon flew higher and higher into the clouds, until after a time, they broke through the mist to emerge into the brightness that lived beyond the view of her kind. Yidian closed her eyes in ecstasy as warm sunshine tingled over her pale white skin. She spread out her arms and looked up at the white star that illuminated the tops of the multi-colored clouds below. A tiny dot appeared high up in the atmosphere. It grew larger and larger until it had formed into the silhouette of a starship. Yidian’s soul filled with wonder at the notion of traveling amongst the stars. It would be like living in glory and ecstasy inside the darkness of the void, far beyond her world and The Lady. It would bring the Veiling too. A vast separation from the communal minds of the Dokarrans. With the Veiling came freedom. The freedom to gather new experiences which might prove beneficial to The Lady and to the rest of her people. The silhouette grew larger. The beautiful feathered dragon called out to the winds and blew a huff of fire. The little starship answered the dragon with a beam of blue-white light. When the light touched the dragon, it screamed in pain. Yidian could feel the dragon’s heart fail as it was burned up by the light. Down, down, down through the multi-colored clouds fell the dragon. It smote the side of a frozen mountain, covered with snowy trees. The dragon slid through the forest, turning the side of the majestic mountain into a desolation of broken rocks and trees. Yidian emerged from beneath the gigantic corpse. Who had done such a thing? The hum and roar of the little starship flew overhead. Yidian did not look up but heard it land on the frozen ground among the trees. Some time after, she could hear the approach of a man, a human, crunching through the snow. Yidian had knelt down next to the dead dragon, placed a hand on its neck and let her sadness spill onto the feathered beast. The man approached, stopped and smiled. Among the vibrational sound complexes that came from his mouth, one word stood out in her mind: Trophy. Yidian watched as the man went up to the dead dragon while a hovering device recorded images and sounds of the disharmony which he’d brought down around the frozen forest. Rather than experiencing anger, Yidian considered what he had done. It was remarkable how a single action could cause such a tearing wound in a world full of harmony. Of course, animals had always killed each other, mostly for sustenance but humans had also hunted their own kind, like many of the “enlightened” beings that lived out among the stars. Cold curiosity turned into hunger, a need for greater understanding. Might there be value in the exploration of disharmonious concepts? Yidian had always sought to gather experiences that might prove useful. There was one experience which had never been fully explored by the Dokkarans: Evil. The man who slew the dragon ignored her. Perhaps he regarded her as any other plant, as if she were a bush or tree to be discounted. After some time, he departed in his little starship, flying high up above the multi-colored clouds. Yidian watched the silhouette shrink down to a tiny thing, which punched through the clouds on a journey back to the stars. Yidian chose to use vibrational sound complexes similar to what the human had used. For the first time in over two hundred cycles, she spoke. Yidian: I think I shall go to earth. ~*~ Yidian Light Bringer Starbase 118 Ops O239609AD0
  15. 1 point
    As we bid the USS Columbia a fond farewell, we see that our post totals are reflected in this part of the big picture. In October we saw a fleet average of 165 sims per ship, for a total of 1487. These are still strong numbers for this time of year, proving the resilience of our sim family and amazing storylines. This month, the USS Eagle leads the pack with 205 sims written. Following very close, with 203 sims, is Starbase 118 Ops, showing a spike in activity as the crew jumps into their latest story. Right behind them comes the Veritas, maintaining third place for the second month in a row. Check out some of the highlights of this past month’s simming through our Appreciations forum, where you and your fellow members can nominate sims, great quotes, and other memorable moments for the rest of the fleet to enjoy! The post October 2019 Post Counts appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
  16. 1 point
    Bravo very well written! ((g-loc, above Paldor II)) * The snowflake tumbled, fluttering a zigzag path down through the air, twirling its halted way toward a quiet destiny among the white banks of snow. With careful planning, she positioned herself just below it, adjusting her legs with each pirouette of the flake, her tongue outstretched and ready. Mother: Jo! The Feast is starting! Come inside! She spun around, almost losing her balance. Her stomach growled. The orange lights coming through the windows of her uncle's farmhouse looked impossibly cozy among the trees and white snows. She offered a short koan of gratitude to the Prophets for her life and family, then began to hurry back, at once tripping and falling face-first in the deep snow, then immediately breaking into laughter. * Brother: Something funny, Jojo? Jo looked up from the tangle of circuits and recycled cables before her and toward the entrance of the dim cellar, cutting her laughter short. She had the feeling all eyes were now on her, she was the youngest Bajoran there. Otti: Relax, Prao. We're just joking. Kiliak: Yeah, we're just joking. Prao: ::scoffing:: Just go home, Jojo. You're always poking around in places you shouldn't be. She knew that he thought he was protecting her, but he was being a jerk and she couldn't stand him right now. He was embarrassing her in front of the rest of the resistance cell. She was old enough to make her own decisions. They needed to stand up. And for that matter, who else but her was going to protect him? Kiliak: Why don't you say that to the Gul instead? Otti: May the Prophets spare us from sibling rivalries. That's enough, both of you two. We can use all hands here, and it's already been agreed the girl can join us. Now, Jo. Are you ready for this? ::that damned, rogueish smile:: Is the bomb finished? * She saw the glowing point of a photon torpedo leave the Atlantis, floating like a falling star toward the deuterium tank. From her perspective, the explosion was completely silent, and she shielded her eyes against the beautiful, quavering firework bloom that buoyantly lifted up the falling station. * A blue flare went up from the other side of the spaceport. Otti: That's our signal, it should distract the Cardassians. Time for us to move. The fuel refinery is just there, on the near side. Do you see it? Kiliak wiped the condensation from her breathing mask, then pushed away a drooping fern. She looked through her scope. She tracked the Cardassians guarding the parapet above the refinery, and again she cursed the irony that They didn't require masks to breathe on the surface of Kassäla, a moon colony which the Bajorans had made all of the effort to settle. It wasn't fair. Many things were not fair. A seven-limbed Krinnilak hung from a branch above her with three arms and a silly grin, its beady eyes framed by tufts of orange hair, watching the three of them with great curiousity, small eyes framed by orange tufts of hair. Prao: Let's move. Stay low. * Otti dipped the nose forward, ducking below another passing asteroid, then smoothly eased back on the flightstick. As the ship rolled, the distant sun broke through a hole in the nebula clouds, illuminating the [...]pit in a shock of violet. Kiliak placed a hand on his shoulder, her other held a steaming mug of Deka. Kiliak: It's so beautiful out here. Otti reached up with his free hand, then placed it over her's. * The hand on the gavel came slamming down. The room sat. Magister: For crimes against the Gul of Kassäla, for the charge of arson, for the heinous murder of innocent Cardassians and the unexpected death of Bajorans including a member of the accused's own family, this court intends to deliver a sentence of indefinite imprisonment. ::Gavel:: This trial begins now. Kiliak Jo, on what grounds do you plead guilty? * Kiliak's hands, opening the doors of a golden case. Inside, the Orb of the Prophets shines. It is too bright to believe. For a moment, she is terrified. It draws her in. * Two humanoid creatures, one much larger than the other, stand upon the wooded ridgetop and look up to the sky. The visitors, who normally keep to their own affairs in the distant city, are up to something most unusual. They can smell it on the wind, the early migration of the herds, the ground grumbles in her the language of her own reluctance. Above, strange bodies are burning the heavens. The small one coos and points at the sight of a falling star, the tall one watches silently as one of their silver chariots dives through the ringed clouds to catch the lost piece of the sky like the mighty bird of prey fishes in the great sea. * A man in Black, his face long and grim and turning away, his hand holding a suitcase, he passes before a window, only glancing at the planet below. * Prao: Wait. Change of plans. ::Holding one finger to his ear.:: They were in the tunnels, less than two hundred meters from the fuel refinery now, ducked down behind an electrical transformer before moving to the next door. Otti: I don't like the sound of that. Prao: We've just gotten a tip that a transport is arriving at the spacepad here within the hour. The Gul is on that transport. New target. Kiliak: That's... that's different! I didn't agree to blowing up a transport when I built this for us! Otti: I agree with the girl. It's bad luck to change a plan in the middle of carrying it out. And we don't know who else is on that transport. Prao: Listen. We don't get a shot like this every day. We're talking about Gul Multak. We have to try. For justice, for every Bajoran on Kassäla. An infrastructure run on the refinery, it's nothing in comparison. C'mon. You know I'm right. Otti: ...Damn it. He is right. Kiliak: How far is the spacepad? * The white corridor has countless doors. She is running. She stops suddenly, turns to open one of the doors. A green-eyed Vulcan turns from his mirror and screams. * The eyes of Dr. Magnesium are watching her * Doctors around the table are frantically attempting to save a Bajoran woman's life. She looks just like her. * Fire. The burning heat. They pushed through the smoke and the flames. Something had gone horribly wrong. The explosive. It happened too soon. Low under the smoke, Kiliak spotted a bit of clothing under the rubble and chaos. She choked on her breath under the mask. Kiliak: No... She turned the corner and made out a pantleg. Then a whole leg. It was him. But among the mess, he was too far to reach. Kiliak: ::through tears:: No. No. How did this happen? Voice: ::flashlights in the smoke:: Keep searching! They're in here somewhere! Prao: ...Jojo... Kiliak: Prao! :a hand outstretched:: I'm so sorry. This is my fault. Otti: ::a hand on her shoulder:: Jo! We have to go! Now! Kiliak: I can't just leave him! No! I won't leave my brother here! ::Sobbing:: Otti: Stop it! There is nothing we can do! They will find us! We have to go! ::pulling her hand:: Kiliak: ::only a scream:: NO!! Voice: There! I hear them! Spread out, advance on the terrorists! ::blaster fire through the smoke:: Otti: Prophets damn you! We are not staying here just to die. Take my hand. * The Prophets are waiting for me. They will greet me on the golden shore of an endless sea. We will alight as winged birds and soar over the forests of green. * A heaviness and a lightening. A quickening. The infinite black stretching longer in every direction. The evaporation of time. The thinning of comprehension. A celestial spirit rising away, leaving hollow. And... but wait... something else... * Lieutenant, can you hear me? Kiliak: Wha? I... the Prophets... Her body, heavy. Hot. No, chilled with sweat. Ice cold. Hot again in the exosuit. Something cool on her forehead. Breathing in, an effort. Now, an exhale and... rest...
  17. 1 point
    ((Starbase 118 - Crew Quarters - Malko’s Room)) As if led by his nose like a bloodhound, the commander went straight for the replicator service panel. No doubt he smelled the slightly sweet odour. Malko began to panic, clasping his hands together in an attempt to compose the anxiety flitting across his skin. Hael: You ain’ has no issues with the replicator either has ya? Malko: Issues? None. Hael: You-uh ::he pointed at the signs of tinkering on the wall.:: doin’ yer own maintenance? The Denobulan was sweating through his grin. Hael was onto him. How did he know? Malko had lost his cool less than an hour ago and not a soul had been witness. And he was about to lose it again. Malko: Oh. Oh, that? I had to reboot the thing once or twice, and I didn't have a screwdriver. I'm a counsellor, not an engineer! ::he chuckled nervously:: Hael: Ya’know Therr be folks stationed ‘ere to do jus’ this kind’a thing. Tha’n ways you ain’ gotta do it. ::he chuckled as he began to take scans.:: Malko: Is, that against the law? Hael: No’ real’y. Folk always try’na fix their own stuff. Jus’ mentionin’ tha’ therr be folks ‘ere to do jus’ this thing, so you ain’ inconveincin’ anyone, none. Malko: ::gulp:: Commander, I... I have a confession to make… Hael: ::he leaned to one side.:: Real’y ani’ no thing. If’n sumthin’ broke we can fix’r no problem. Malko: I'm the one you're looking for. Hael: I’m’a sor’y Doc… You wanna run tha’ past me one more time - only.. ::he put his hands up.:: a bit slower, eh? oO Is he coercing a confession out of me? Oo Malko: I made a mistake and I was too ashamed to tell anyone, I'm sure you know - why else would you be here? Hael took a few seconds to retrace the words Malko had spilled forth. Hael: Well’s.. Uh… We can ge’ through tha’ .. ::he mumbled.:: mos’ likely. Malko: Yeah? What sort of trouble am I facing? Hael: ? Malko sat in his office chair, facing the Commander who was kneeled in front of the panel. This was a different counselling that what usually occurred in Malko's office. Malko: Well, you see... I was trying to research recipes - to make a dessert I could bring to the crew that would wow everyone. I did a preliminary search for some award-winning cakes, and was having the replicator make me some samples. He covered his forehead in embarrassment. Malko: And when I asked for Chocolate Infinity Cake, the replicator must have misunderstood -because it began making 'infinite chocolate cake'. I attempted to verbally cancel the process, but it was locked in some sort of request loop - leeching energy from the floor. The pot-lights dimmed in my office menacingly. At first I tried catching the fountain of cake in whatever empty vessels I had around the office, but they quickly filled. By that time the cake had begun spreading across the floor. I rolled my pant legs and waded through the molten flow, armed with a decorative letter opener. By the time I got the access panel open, well, the cake was threatening breaching the room. I wasn't sure what I was looking at in there, but I steeled myself and flipped a bunch of breakers until I saw the cook light die out - and finally the cascade of cake ceased. Shovel by shovel, I packed the viscous maroon sludge into the refuse chute - and attempted to scrub any traces out of my office and skin with diluted cleaners I stole from the sanitation closet. Ultimately, I was able to dispose of the cake batter, but I could not disguise the incident or my shame. Please - have mercy. Hael: ? Malko: Pardon? Hael: ? Malko: Sir? I - I don't understand. Hael: ? Malko: Then how? Hael: ? TBC
  18. 1 point
    ((Peshkova Colony, Demilitarised Zone)) ::The upbeat tunes of a whistled song joined the nature sounds, as Graham walked next to the antigrav unit, his eyes on the road, making sure there weren’t any obstacles for the unit to pass. It would be a huge shame if the cart would tumble and all the food stored on it would fall on the dirt road.:: ::In his own personal opinion, he was a bit late, courtesy to his Andorian misses who had insisted to add a few more particular dishes on the cart. But he was lucky, the ship was still there, the silhouette of the Condor Class ship clearly visible. It wasn’t the first time he lay eyes on the ship and as long as the ship was space worthy it wouldn’t be the last.:: ::He kicked a little stone, before he pushed a button on the unit, picking up the pace a bit. He started whistling another merrily song as he approached the open spot in front of the ship, clearing his throat as he looked at the people sitting nearby the remainder of what had been a large campfire last night.:: ::Seeing the flames in the distance the night before had been his and his misses cue to get up early this morning and started preparing breakfast for these folks. They were fighting for a cause he supported and he figured it was the least he could do.:: Graham: Breakfast is served ladies and gentlemen. ::He called out to those at the campfire, already sipping something that was being kept warm at a smaller campfire, looking at their faces and as expected, he recognized a couple of them but there was also at least one new recruit. Not that he bothered to learn their names. Graham knew full well the next time the ship would land, part of the crew would already have been replaced by other faces, other species.:: Graham: We’ve got fresh baked bread, rolls and whatnot. ::Nodding towards the baskets on the side of the cart.:: Take your pick. ::He lifted the different lids from the different food warmers, revealing all different kind of dishes. Baked sausages, bacon and eggs, made from fresh collected goose eggs that very same morning, for those who had to wash away a hangover. A few more lighter and veggie based dishes for the non-carnivores. Yogurt and fresh cheese for those who had a rather sensitive stomach after all the drinking they had done the night before. There was something for everyone.:: ::A loud siren suddenly sounded as he pushed a button on the cart, once he was done with his preparations, a call to those inside the ship, to come and get some non-replicated food in to them, before they went on their way again. Who knew when would be their next well cooked meal.:: ::He took a few steps back and sat down on a big boulder, nodding here and there towards those coming from inside the ship, as he recognized a few faces from people traversing his fields as they went up to the Memorial Rock each time they visited the Colony. They left his crops and fields alone and he respected them for that, while in return he made sure no one was doing any harm upon the shrines setup on Memorial Rock in their absence.:: ::Graham leaned back, he felt like he owed these people something. It was only thanks to them, he knew what had happened with his son. Contrary to many others who had children out there fighting for the cause, he knew what had become of him, while other parents would never find out their offspring were still alive or not. And ever since that day he and his misses had promised each other to serve breakfast to the crew each time they visited. As if he was paying off a debt, he knew he didn't have.:: Farmer Graham Food/Breakfast Provider Sympathiser to the Cause Simmed by: Lieutenant Samira Neathler Assistant Chief of Security USS Gorkon G239508SN0
  19. 1 point
    Just have to say, I think I speak for all of us Atlanteans when I say he's never been more deserving of a punch in the face. Or being beamed into space. Great job as always @Kiliak Jo ((ooc: I offered to write for the incomparable Mr. Perkins some months ago, so I figure I'm up. Uh, obviously I love you all, but I'm writing as Mr. Perkins below, so... rest assured it's all in good fun... I recommend you go easy on the tags ahead though, I'm not trying to upstage your mission with 'local knowledge' if you get my drift)) ((Guest Quarters, USS Atlantis)) Out the window of his cramped, temporary quarters, Lt. Commander Perkins stared at the broken shape of the place he called home and watched the flurry of frantic traffic buzzing away from it. He sipped his water, then shook his head and rubbed at his shoulder, rotating the cuff -- at times it still ached from the heroic shot he had suffered in the line of duty on that fateful day months ago. That nurse they employed on board, the insufferably bubbly Avy or whatever, kept saying she could find nothing wrong with it now, but what did that prove besides a distinct inability to do her job? Serala: =/\= Serala to Lieutenant Commander Perkins. Report to Main Shuttlebay on the double. And bring standard equipment for an away mission, including a Type II Phaser. We launch in 30 minutes. =/\= Perkins: =/\= I am at your service and so pleased to be invited. And I'm even to be allowed a phaser. Capital. =/\= It only further proved his case of how fundamentally lazy, how abundantly incompetent the Atlantis crew was that they could be expected to layabout for half an hour before embarking on such a crucial mission as saving his home station. He endeavored therefore to arrive in half the allotted time just to make a point, and of course, he succeeded. Perkins: First assigned to live under Romulan space and now here I am serving under a Romulan. Never thought I'd see the day, but life is full of surprises, isn't it? Serala: Let me be perfectly clear. I don’t like you and I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you - and trust me I would like to find out how far that is - but you did serve on this station and so your knowledge of it is going to be important to me. You’re coming with us, but I will be keeping a very close eye on you. Be careful, Commander. I am just looking for a reason to throw you in the brig. I still think you have been involved with almost everything that has happened to us since even before the bot attack. Perkins maintained the inscrutable yet undeniably attractive expression he preferred to wear. He had already been confined to quarters twice since arriving aboard, once on some trumped-up charges from a jealous officer and later due to the impossibly-thin skin of an Atlantis crewmember after all he had tried to do was offer some helpful and constructive criticism. Such frequent and flagrant displays of Atlantean stupidity reminded him of a conversation he had once shared with a colleague, that perhaps incompetence was the most perfect cover-up for acts against the Federation. Perkins: My oh my. Serious charges. I'm sure that such a professional and... charming Starfleet officer such as yourself would not offer these creative conspiracy theories without a substantial body of -::ahem:: proof? Serala: No, I can’t prove anything. And that is why you are still walking free and wearing that uniform. And as long as you are, you will conduct yourself in a manner appropriate to a Starfleet officer. And for now, that means helping us on this mission. Perkins: Despite your personal attacks, I will of course be the better man and offer you my full and invaluable support, ::he counted her pips:: ...Lieutenant Commander? oO Really? Starfleet isn't the organization it used to be. Oo Serala: Very good. How many times had he and his team helpfully gone the extra light-year to patch up this sorry excuse of a ship after the merry band aboard saw fit to go gallivanting off into another speck of trouble? This was his thanks. He rubbed the nose of his bridge to stave off another of the headaches he'd been suffering since unceremoniously being forced aboard. He couldn't decide whether the problem here was either a shallow-minded ingratitude or an utter lack of discipline, probably both. Honestly, he wouldn't be all too surprised if these "rescue operations" ended with his station being blown to smithereens. More space trash to float about the Expanse. At that moment, the rest of the assault team entered the bay and he could hear the heavy thumping footprints of some neanderthal stomping over from the shuttle area. Logan: What is he doing here ? Perkins turned and looked over the somewhat-smaller-than-expected marine-clad buffoon, scanning him up and down as he puffed out his chest like a gorilla and pointed. He couldn't recall if they had ever met before. He also couldn't particularly care. Perkins: A little thing called "my duty." Perhaps you've heard of the concept, Mr...? Logan: QUIET! You lost the right to speak a long time ago ! oO And you seem to have rather lost the ability. Oo Serala: As you were, Captain Logan! He’s coming with us. Logan: I'd trust a first year cadet more than him any day. Perkins: That's little cause to behave like one. Logan: I SAID QUIET !!! Serala: ENARRAIN LOGAN, FAEHOR IUT’FEHILL TEMOHRIE AIHR’RRHAAREVHA!! (CAPTAIN ...STAND DOWN AND THAT IS AN ORDER!!) The grumpy Romulan and the Marine with the loose screw stared each other down for a moment. Perkins checked the time. Was this how the new Captain Torham intended to run a ship? Brell was not ideal, but this... Perkins could not understand why Starfleet Command had not elected to select his own commission from the pool of applicants to serve as the new Atlantis Captain and whip these fools into shape at last. But looking around, he considered now whether he had been in fact blessed by being passed over. oO Honestly, they can hardly board a shuttle without a fight breaking out. Oo Serala: He is coming with us, Captain and that is final. I trust this will not be a problem for you? Logan:: Turning his gaze back to the Engineer:: No Ma'am. I won’t let the cause of our problem prevent me from helping to fix it. Kiax: Apologies for my tardiness. I had to show our new crewmate here the way to the shuttlebay… ::She said, jokingly.:: Whatever he did or did not do isn’t our problem right now. Let’s just get underway and sort the blame later. We’ve got a planet to save… The Marine Captain pushed his way through the pair of hot tempers and turned on the unhinged soldier, who didn't seem inclined to back down. McKnight: Captain Logan, stand down. You're speaking to a superior officer. Perkins: And so at last, welcome Miss Kix. Do you have no need to voice a problem against my presence here as well? ::Perkins remembered Shadydust from her role cross-examining him as Killiak's Advocate, and he had read in the crew sheets about the transfer of the Kix symbiont into this young, supposedly "brilliant" Trill. But if Durrmont was any indication, "brilliant" had an entirely different meaning aboard this ship.:: Kiax: No Sir, I’m just eager to get underway. The longer we spend arguing about what got us here, the less time we have to get myself, and SOUL here, to the station’s computer core and figure out a way to get it back to where it belongs. Logan: Response Captain McKnight turned back to Serala. McKnight: Commander, we have a mission to get started on. Best not to keep my men antsy Serala: You’re correct, Captain. I just needed to make sure everyone here understands were all on the same team. If anyone...anyone! … feels that they can’t work within those guidelines they should leave now. Anyone? No? Good. The two Marines had a little talk, probably about what exactly the process of a court martial would look like after assaulting a superior. The paranoid Romulan gave them a few minutes to finish, then decided they had waited long enough. Serala: ALRIGHT! LOAD UP! DEPARTURE IN TWO MINUTES. YHFEV! (MOVE IT!) Perkins: Finally. After you, gentlemen. Chop chop. Hero-work to do. ---------------------------------------------- Lt. Commander Perkins Engineer at Large Deep Space 26 A239509KJ0 ---------------------------------------------- courtesy of ---------------------------------------------- Lieutenant Kiliak Jo Asst. Chief Engineer USS Atlantis A239509KJ0 -----------------------------------------------
  20. 1 point
    I actually almost feel bad for him. He isn't actually guilty of treason. Just being an absolute tool... And everyone on the Atlantis just keeps being so damn mean to him...😆
  21. 1 point
    ((OOC: My sincere compliments to @Wil Ukinix !)) ((Room 04-3417 – G’var/Ukinix quarters, USS Veritas)) Standing in the mirror with only a towel wrapped around his waist, Wil rubbed his fingers over his jawline to ensure his skin was completely smooth after shaving. As he observed the deep blue eyes that were staring back it him, he came to a realisation. ((Flashback - Terra Tanunda Vineyard, Barossa Valley, Australia, Earth – Stardate 237312.10)) Little Wil was sitting on his grandfather’s lap, shielded from the hot dry sun under the back veranda of the refurbished estate cottage. Astrad: So, young Wil, what do you want to be when you grow up? Ukinix: Ummmm… Starfleet occifer. In space! Astrad dropped his jaw and smiled in pretend shock, while tickling Wil’s chest. Astrad: (Giggling) In Space, just like Mummy was! (Cheekily) Are you sure? Ukinix: Ummmm… Wil clasped his little hands together, and looked up at the veranda roof, before nodding and looking at his grandfather’s perfectly black irises again. Ukinix: (Excitedly) Yeah! His grandmother who was sitting nearby sipping a glass of cold Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris spoke up. Hayley: But Wil, it might get dangerous in space! (Teasingly) What if you fall out of a starship? He clasped his hands together again and turned his head to look at Hayley. Ukinix: Buuuuuuuut, naaaah, but, it’s OK, cos, cos, you might have to wear a special suit, a viralmental suit, and (shrugging) it means you can do breaving! So you can do breaving, OK?! Mummy said that’s what occifers on a starship do, OK Grandma? Hayley: I’d be worried about you, Wil! You’re my grandson, I want you to be safe. Ukinix: (Hand on cheeks, half laughing) Grandmaaaaaaa, I’ll be safe in my viralmental suit! She leaned forward and tickled him under his chin, which made him move his head down and lean back to avoid her hand. Hayley: You’d better be, Master Ukinix! Wil squirmed on his grandfather’s lap, giggling and squealing in delight. ((End Flashback)) He watched himself smile in the mirror at the fleeting memory of that moment. He was now a lieutenant, and becoming an experienced Starfleet officer. The one thing he had set out to do from a young age had actually *happened*. He had overcome the huge speed bump of becoming strongly empathic in his teenage years which had threatened to derail that goal. And there he was, staring back at himself on a starship, that contained a full crew, some of which he considered his good and close friends. One of which who, despite being in many ways the opposite of him, shared quarters with him. And he adored her immensely. As he moved back into the bedroom to get dressed for the day, he realised he’d been through a hell of a lot since he joined the Veritas. So had many of the crew, which meant he wasn’t alone. Ukinix: (Under his breath, singing) Dun-dun-dun dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… After getting dressed, he picked up his combadge, and breathed on it before giving it a polish against his gold uniform. He placed it on his chest, then lifted it up slightly to inspect it. As big smile came to his face. Ukinix: (Quietly, smiling) I bloody did it. Every day brought new challenges and new opportunities to smile. Even on the “bad” days, deep down he knew he loved being part of Starfleet. And being part of the Veritas was the huge layer of chocolate icing on top of the already impressive rich chocolate cake. As he left his quarters and entered the corridor, his smile got bigger as he made his way down a corridor towards the turbo lift entrance on Deck 4, still singing very quietly to himself. Ukinix: (Under his breath, singing) Dun-dun-dun dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… (interrupting himself)- wait Before a few seconds later back tracking, and then turning the other way instead, towards the turbo lift entrance on Deck 4…. Ukinix: (Under his breath, singing) dun-dun-duuuuun… (inhaling) Dun-dun-dun dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun - (interrupting himself, looking back)- hang on. …only to stop himself, gently slap his forehead, and back track *again* to turn back the way he was originally going towards the turbo lift. ((Main Engineering, USS Veritas, about an hour later)) The “ear worm” that he had given himself several hours earlier while he was getting dressed wouldn’t go away. Not that he minded, it was a song from his collection that he liked fondly. The lyrics were depressing, and he thought reflective of a time on Earth that, by all accounts, wasn’t great. There were even some dark were times in his life when he identified with elements of the song. Thankfully not anymore - he even felt a little guilty for even still liking it. But damn, the tune was good. And the classical string instruments made for a catchy intro riff. Which he kept repeating quietly over and over as he stood at the impulse monitoring board. Ukinix: (Under his breath, singing) Dun-dun-dun dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… In fact, the riff was so good he reached for his nearby PADD, and made a few taps to access his personal files. After a few more taps music started playing quietly out of the device’s crystal-clear speakers, enough for him to hear it but not enough to distract everyone else. As the beat started, he tapped his hands on the board in front of him in perfect time as he monitored the impulse engine’s diagnostic readouts. PADD: // ‘Cause it’s-a bitter-sweeet… sym-pho-nyy-yy, that’s liiii-hiiife… // A smile came to his face as his friend and Chief, Lieutenant Geoffrey Teller, entered main engineering and gave him a nod. When Wil realised Teller was possibly heading towards him, he reached up to the PADD and tapped it to stop the playing song. But instead of walking towards him, Geoffrey simply gestured with his head in the direction of the office while still walking. Wil got the message, and left the monitoring board to walk behind him, following him inside. As the doors closed behind him, his Chief hurriedly sat down at his desk, working his fingers at the console that was mounted there, while somehow also managing to gesture for Wil to sit down. Wil could strongly feel Geoff’s sense of urgency, as he seemed to be flicking between different screens on the LCARS display. Teller: Sorry Wil, just a minute, need to do this before we talk. I promise it's important. Ukinix: No worries. Wil placed his elbow on the desk, then rested his chin on his palm. He looked up at the small shelf on the wall behind Geoffrey, and the unsealed bottles of Romulan Kali-fal sitting on it. The brightness of the blue liquid inside was mesmerising. Teller: Well, that's done...but now I'm in the wrong chair. Wil eyes darted back to look at Geoffrey, who leaned forward to rest against his side of the desk. There was a small smile on his Chief’s face, which made Wil furrow his brow. Ukinix: Huh? Teller: Wil, you know you have my complete trust, right? Ukinix: (Quizzically, confused)…. Yyyyyyeah… where is this going…. Teller: Good. Do you know that every man and woman in this department respects the hell out of you, both as an officer, and as a colleague? Wil’s face brightened as a smile came to his face. Ukinix: Ah! That’s because (raising finger) I slip them latinum every now and then. When his Chief ignored his joke and just kept looking at him, Wil furrowed his brow, this time squinting his eyes. He still didn’t know where the conversation was going. He rested his chin on his fist. Ukinix: Okaaaay…. Teller: Well, they do. A lot. They know you're fun to work with when things are calm, and a rock solid professional when things have gone pear shaped. They trust you. You're going to find that valuable. Ukinix: Thank you. (Smiling, sitting up) Sorry I didn’t realise it was performance review day. That’s valuable information for when the time comes- Teller: When you're leading them. Which starts the minute those doors ::Teller nodded towards the closed office doors:: open. As of about 15 seconds ago, you're acting Chief Engineer of the Veritas. Ukinix: You what? Wil’s face turned to one of concern. Ukinix: Wait, are you OK? Chief, you’re my friend, is something going on? Teller: Don't go getting all sappy on me, this is just temporary. Commander Delano asked me to join him for a few weeks at the shipyards here, working on some new ship that's still mostly in the transport crates. Apparently everything that's gone on lately has impacted productivity at the Livernois Shipyards....who could've guessed? He swivelled in his seat, and looked at the adjacent wall with a neutral expression, apart from his widened eyes. What Geoffrey had said had half sunk in, but so had the shock. Ukinix: Oh. Teller: Look, I know it's a lot to take in. When I got promoted to the acting Chief role, I was still an Ensign. You had barely been off the shuttle five minutes and we had just finished getting shot at by a bunch of grouchy windchimes. I had no idea what I was doing, but between you and I, we've forged a hell of a department in the last year. He nodded slowly in agreement, looking at a lower part of the wall he was staring at. Ukinix: (Quietly) We have. Slowly, a smile formed on Wil’s face, before he swivelled back to look at Teller, and stood up. Ukinix: (Nodding) Yes, we have! Teller: More than that, Wil. You're my best friend, and there's nobody in the galaxy who I hold in higher regard. You're ready for this. You have been for a long time. Congratulations, Chief Ukinix. ::Teller stood and offered his friend a hearty handshake which quickly turned into a fierce hug:: Wil put his hand in Geoffrey’s and shook it vigorously, before he found himself wrapping his other arm around him, giving him several firm slaps on his back. Ukinix: (Muffled) Mate, thank you, I don’t know what to say! (Cheekily) Except that I promise not to blow anything up… And I consider you my best mate too. Teller: Alright, alright. ::Teller turned away and surreptitiously wiped at his eyes.:: A beaming Wil took a step back to pat Geoffrey’s shoulder, while shaking his head in disbelief at two pieces of news that he didn’t expect. He was now the acting Chief Engineer of a Starfleet Starship, and his Chief considered him his best mate. Wil wasn’t always great with words, and there were times he wished he could project his emotions on to others, so they knew how he felt. This was one of those times. Ukinix: (Still patting Goeffrey’s shoulder) You’re a legend, Chief. (Chuckling) Wow, this came out of the blue. There was a moment of happy silence between the two. Teller: Well, back to business - Skipper told the XO that he'll have pick of the litter if we end up needing more staff, so I may have to poach a few people from you for a few weeks, but I won't know who till I get there. I'll keep it to a bare minimum. Ukinix: (Playfully rolling eyes) Chief, they’re your people, I’m just minding them. You take who you need, we’ve got things covered here. (Lifting finger, smiling) Except for Char, she’s awesome. She stays. Teller: Other than that, you know the shop status as well as I do, so there's no sense going over that. As for standing orders - Take care of the crew, take care of the ship, and take care of yourself. In that order. Beyond that - it's your department to run, Chief - enjoy yourself. I know I have. Wil stood up straight, and placed his hands behind his back, giving Geoffrey a nod. Ukinix: Aye sir. Good luck, mate. Turning his head to watch his Chief leave, Wil looked around the office before he almost jumped as the doors shut. He looked out of the window and watched the crewmembers of the engineering department diligently working away, blissfully unaware of the temporary personnel change that had just happened. The gravity of what he had just been told sunk in. He placed his hand over his mouth, and felt a wave of excitement and fear roll over his body. He slowly let out a breath through his lips, before adrenalin coursed through his veins. Ukinix: (Quietly) Oh boy. He leaned forward and placed his hands on his knees, to regain his composure. He was now a department head. Even if it was only temporary, he was now charged with a responsibility he didn’t think he’d have for a long time. Ukinix: oO Am I ready? Oo His thought was broken by a voice over the office’s speakers. Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Hello Lieutenant Ukinix? =/\= Wil closed his eyes, and exhaled through his nose, before tapping his combadge. Ukinix: =/\= Yes, Crewman, can I help you? =/\= Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Not really, I’ve got some information for you. =/\= Ukinix: =/\= (Sigh) OK… =/\= Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Can you hear me? =/\= Wil stood up straight, and placed his hands on his hips. Ukinix: =/\= Yes, C’lem, actually I can hear you, and in fact, looking out the window of the Chief’s office, I can even see you a few metres away across the other side of engineering, looking at a console! =/\= Without turning to look back at Wil, C’lem continued speaking. Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Well that’s good, because there’s been a personnel change. Apparently, you’re now Acting Chief Engineer of the (console beeping sounds)… USS Veritas. =/\= Ukinix: =/\= Funny that. Chief Teller just told me about a minute ago. =/\= Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Do you mean Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Teller, First Officer aboard the USS Diligent? How could he have told you. =/\= Wil closed his eyes and placed his hands on his temples, before smiling. There was nothing bitter about this moment. It was just “sweet”. [End] Lieutenant Wil Ukinix Acting Chief Engineer USS Veritas V239511WU0
  22. 0 points
    ((Bridge, Deck 1, USS Astraeus)) Some of the crew had left already going on different assignments. Others were waiting to be transported. German wasn't due to leave for another few hours as he stepped into the bridge of the galaxy class starship one last time, placing his hand along the edge of the brightly painted wooden half oval panel. He walked down the ramp brushing the soft wood and for a moment he didn't want to let go. Finally after a few moments, he took his hand away and then headed over to his station. Delri’ise: You alright, sir? Galven: Just saying goodbye. ::turns to glance around:: She was a fine ship. Delri’ise: Indeed she was. There’ll never be another like her, she was one of a kind. The events unfolding around him was definitely going to be a memorable one. German had never served on a ship that was due to be decommissioned. He sat down and then downloaded the last bit of information of data on his work PADD that laid beside the console. Galven. My next assignment is going to be Starbase 118 Operations. I've been there a few times training cadets, but it'll be a whole new experience. Where are you going? Delri’ise: ::recalling her orders.:: I believe I’m on the Thor over Duronis II. It’s a long way from here, over in the Beta Quadrant. Galven: ::nods:: That's a fine ship with a great crew. I doubt this'll be the last time we see each other. Melody hadn’t said anything to that which made German glance over her way. It appeared that she was about to cry. He stood up from his seat and approached her extending his hand to give her an encouraging pat on the shoulder. Galven: It was a great experience being here and it was definitely worthwhile. Starfleet has our best interests at heart. Whatever is next, just remember who you are. Delri’ise: It ain’t gonna be easy. The Thor is a fine ship… but she’s no Astraeus. It’s been a fun ride, commander. Galven: ::nods and turns his head to look out the viewscreen:: It’s always going to be one hell of a ride, lieutenant. ::turns his attention back to Melody:: Wherever you are. Delri’ise: You better stay in touch, don’t hide away in that space mushroom. He chuckled and then turned with a determined expression. Galven: Don’t worry about that, Melody. I’m a “leap into the action” kind of senior officer. ::wry grin:: The Kerelian hybrid let out a slight chuckle which German was hoping for. It was a somber event, but he wanted to make it a happy memory. This had been his first decommission, but heard far too many stories of officers resigning from Starfleet. Delri’ise: I think the one thing I’ll miss most… is bein’ up here on the bridge. I’m gonna miss my little tactical console ::She gave her console an adoring rub.:: A lot of that was true for German as well as he glanced over at his own science console. He already studied the Starbase and the layout of the thing was massive. There was an entire massive city just hanging out in the dome with lots of transportation hubs. He was looking forward to getting lost in there. There were a few other things that he wanted to tell Melody as he turned himself back around facing her. Galven: ::clears his throat and furrows his brow:: One last thing before we separate, lieutenant? Delri’ise: Of course, sir ::She nodded.:: I think we all need a few words of wisdom out there. Galven: As Admiral Kathryn Janeway once said, “I trust fear. Fear only exists for one purpose… to be conquered.” Go and be fearful, Melody Delri’ise and show Admiral Turner what I’ve seen in you. ::extends his hand for her to shake:: A future commanding officer. Melody gave a crooked smile which German returned with a grin, but then some tears and heavy emotion came from her again which he could feel for the woman. Lael was the same way and she was taking the news the heaviest when she sent out a message to everyone that she was resigning as first officer to get more involved at the academy on Earth. Which was just as admirable as her XO assignment. He was taken aback when Melody shook his hand, but then gave him an enormous hug which threw him momentarily, but he then wrapped his arms around her, giving a soft encouraging pat on her back. After a few seconds, they let go with German’s gaze still on hers. Delri’ise: Thank you… Commander, for everything. As we say down in Brooklyn, go, kick some a#% out there. Galven: ::laughs and arches an eyebrow:: You the same, Lieutenant. Delri’ise: I’ll see you out there, Spaceman, may our paths cross once more. I’m sure Cap’n Taybrim will appreciate your hard work. Galven: There’s plenty of opportunity for it. Just remember to hold onto these special moments and live for them. She turned and nodded, heading out of the bridge. German glanced around one last time and then sat down at his console, pulling out his PADD. He started a new entry, the last entry on the Astraeus. //Chief Science Officer’s Log, Stardate 239611.25 It was of great duty, service and honor serving aboard the USS Astraeus. Whoever listens to this when the new crew arrives and ventures out to the Eagle Nebula. I wish you all the good fortune. There’s great history on this ship. Continue on her legacy. ---- Lt. Commander German Galven Chief Science Officer USS Astraeus V239507GG0
  23. 0 points
    ((Sienelis’ Personal Quarters, USS Gorkon)) The mugs slipped from Valesha's hands, her fingers suddenly slack, one shattering as it caught the corner of a table. The warm, spiced infusion of aesollh and the rich, bitter roast of coffee burst into the air as the drinks splattered across the carpet, a few drops burning against the skin of her bare feet, a razor shard of ceramic drawing emerald blood from pale flesh. She didn't notice. As Valesha was exactly where she had been before the Q had taken them, so too was Chris. Sprawled in her bed, he'd been looking at her with that cheeky grin and mischievous sparkle in his hazel eyes, laughing at... she couldn't remember. She couldn't remember. But there was no smile now. No light in those eyes. Her ballerino, always in motion, was perfectly still. It was a strange sensation. As though she had floated clear of her body, the Romulan watched herself as she walked across the room. Watched as she crawled onto the bed and knelt beside him, reached out with a trembling hand and laid her palm against the bruised, ashen skin of his cheek. He was so cold. With a sharp inhale she drew back in, no longer an observer of herself, but there and present in the moment. Valesha's chest blossomed in sharp, biting pain, slicing behind her sternum as surely as if someone had taken a scalpel to her. She doubled over, eyes burning hot with unchecked tears, a wordless sound of anguish pulled from a seizing throat. Time slipped past, neither caring nor cared about, all the while the Romulan knowing she should call someone and completely unable to do so. They'd take him away, and she wasn't ready. She wasn't ready. But all tears eventually run dry. Laid next to him, slim fingers brushed the short crop of his hair, touched the scar on his scalp whose origin she'd never discovered, over the delicate skin of his eyelids, along cheek and nose and mouth, across the scratch of the beard that had tickled when they kissed. Her hand came to rest on his chest, over his heart, met with final, still silence. An ache rolled through her like distant thunder, deep and resonant. It was time. Sienelis: ::Softly,:: Ehhaisam ehsiu, e'lev. A tender kiss pressed to his forehead, and Valesha let her head fall back to the pillow. She closed her eyes, breathing out a shuddering sigh. It was time, but just a few moments. Just a few moments more. -- Lieutenant Valesha Sienelis Science Officer USS Gorkon simmed by Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
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