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Kali Nicholotti

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Kali Nicholotti last won the day on June 22 2015

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About Kali Nicholotti

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    Goddess of Death and Destruction
  • Birthday 12/29/1982

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  1. ((USS Excalibur-A, Holodeck 3 )) :: Feeling the tension suddenly radiating from the Counselor accompanied by a slight colouring to her cheeks :: oO This didn’t work, she not to well Oo Logan:: Stopping his movements and dropping his arms :: Computer. Make a cushioned chair, suitable size for the counsellor:: Upon the chairs appearance he motioned towards it :: Ma’am Jolara: ::nodding slowly:: I am sorry. Logan:: After the counsellor had sunk into the cushions Kurt sunk to one knee to be more on her level and so to not loom over her :: Would you like me to call a Doctor ma’am oO As I may have done combat medicine but even the holo patients wanted to heal themselves. :: Rune shook her head. What could the doctors do? Nothing! :: Jolara: No. A doctor can not help. It is just... ::her mind raced as fast as her heart:: I am going through something physical and being close and your scent... I mean... I am sorry. It is not anything you did. :: She had no idea how to explain it to him in a way that would not embarrass both of them. :: Jolara: ::quickly adding:: Not the first impression I wanted to make. I am so sorry. I was hoping I had more time to figure things out and that it would not interfere with my duty. I had no idea the effect non-Al-Leyans would have on me. Logan oO What am I supposed to say to that ??. She's obviously more going on than just crew tantrums Oo :: Smiling gently :: It's ok Ma'am, I apologise for using this program. It’s a good job the Instructor has been disabled Mrs wynter is a terrible fuss pot and you would have been plied with copius tea and cushions. :: Smilling broadly he hoped the image of fending of cushions would relax the counsellor:: :: For the first time, Rune looked directing into his eyes. He was very attractive. As soon as that crossed her mind, she mentally kicked herself. She normally did not think of the attractiveness of others. Would he understand or think she was... she wasn't sure what he would think she was. But he deserved some sort of explanation. :: :: She hung her head for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts. When she looked back up, she smiled but it was a nervous and confused smile. :: Jolara: Al-Leyans experience what we call 'Season' every 4-5 years in which they have to mate. I am at least a year early. Logan oO I’ve heard of the Vulcan Pon farr thingy, its sound similar to this, but there has to be something else Oo Forgive me Ma’am but how is that a problem ? Jolara: It is complicated by the fact it is forbidden we mate with non-Al-Leyans. ::she laughed nervously:: I guess it should not be a problem for me since I have broken away from them for other reasons. ::she waved her hand:: Which is a whole other problem. But I am finding it very difficult to turn my back on everything I have ever been taught. Logan: I see but could you not go back even for a day to oO how to phrase this delicately Oo Sort this out. Would an escort because of these other reasons help ? :: It was a question she had been asked every time she tried to talk to someone about this. The very thought struck panic within her. :: Jolara: ::shaking her head:: I can not go back there. Ever! :: The tension that had been slowly dissipating from her returned with a vengeance catching Logan a bit of guard :: oO ok that’s never going to happen I see not willingly at least oO Jolara: Our society is very strict. Any deviation from the 'norm' results in attitude readjustment therapy or worse. I experienced the worse once before and I lost who I am. I can not let it happen again. If I go back they will force me to go through it again. Logan:: Still kneeling Kurt edged closer and gently laid his left hand on her forearm :: Forgive me Ma’am but I can’t see what you have done that could be that bad, as you’re wearing a Fleet uniform with rank and responsibilities associated with it. oO What ever they did has her terrified her forearm is a knot to tension or is that fear to match her voice. This attitude adjustment therapy doesn’t sound like anything to be going through, and worse ? Oo :: He understood fear well, how to use to it and what it could do to you. Now Security may be a foreign world but one thing about it he understood well, and that one thing he was good at :: Logan:: Gently gripping her arm so the counselor would look up:: There’s a saying in the Corp that a Marine stands, and it’s not to do with them not being clever enough to know how to use a chair. oO Good a small smile Oo It means the Marines don’t give…….period. During the battles with the Borg a unit was giving protection to a team of Engineers examining a small Borg craft that had landed on a small planet when they were attacked by drones. The rescue shuttle couldn’t land to near in case it too came under fire, so to allow time to get to safety the marines stayed behind. When they too had suffered casualties one marine stayed to allow the injured to be evacuated with the others, knowing what would happen to him he stood his ground. Jolara: ::tilting her head slight:: I do not understand. Logan: I’m new to fleet and to this type of duty and especially this colour, but I do know our responsibility is the protection and safety all any and all crew with us, that means you’re in that category. So If ..ANYONE.. comes with the intent of force, they’ll have to go through a Marine that stands. oO This is one thing I do know how to do Oo And I don’t go down easy oO Ask the Ambassadors about that Oo :: A smirk played at the corner of his mouth :: And I suspect a good few others in this crew as well. :: Why? He hardly knew her. Of course she knew why. He was Starfleet, a fellow crewmember... family. :: Jolara: ::smiling:: I appreciate that Ensign. Logan: I don’t know about your culture Ma’am in regards of turning your back on things but my mother once said that a custom or practice that holds you up should be held onto with both hands, one that holds you down should be left to wither and die. oO What am I doing …what do I know about counselling someone especially a counsellor I have a problem I hit it or shoot it Oo All I know is Mathew Flynn. Jolara: ::puzzled:: Mathew Flynn? Logan: He grew up near us on my home planet, not really into jumping off a cliff into a 20ft pool of water :: Smiling at the memory:: He was more your Science geek. :: Rune still wasn't sure where this was going, so she just listened. :: Logan: It was just before I left for earth and Marine training that Mathew announced and introduced his boyfriend. Jolara: ::it hit her:: Oh. Logan: Most of us asked if they were both coming to the party, some were polite, others were openly against it. His parents threatened to disown him if he didn’t ..:: Searching for the right word :: Change Jolara: ::nodding:: I understand too well. Logan: Mathew agonised his decision for a while oO It was a sad time Oo Then he came to the only decision he could, he told his parents they had no say in it and that he was going to live his life his way, there now both working in the space port back home as civilian contractors and happy with life. oO Except his parents that still refuse to speak to him, so they come to ours for home cooked meals Oo Sorry Ma’am I’m no counsellor, so I probably haven’t helped, that’s just how I see it. :: Rune took a shallow breath. She wasn't sure what she was feeling at that moment. Everything was jumbled together. :: Jolara: Actually that does help some. That is exactly why I can not go back to Leya-I. It is strictly forbidden to even have feelings such as that... and I do. That is what makes this all the more complicated. The first time I went through my Season, I did not have a choice to... ::her face reddened slightly:: It was not a pleasant experience. I would rather not but I do not know that there is any other way to get through it. Logan oO There’s me thinking you had to be enlightened as a race to gain entry into the federation. What am I supposed to say !!!. She probably already thinks I’m an idiot with my babbling about marines standing, protecting her and matthew. Great I can just her entries to my records Ensign Logan babbling bumbling buffon, hey that almost rhymes. Oo :: Taking a large breath of air :: oO Borg, Hirogen, Breen fine any day, but this…giving advice . Oo Ma’am excuse this but I can’t believe there is no one who doesn’t find you attractive and vice versa, talk to them and see what happens. Jolara: I would not even know who to... How could I? Al-Leyans do not have relationships the same way humans do. We do not... ::trying to find the right word:: commit in the same way if at all. oOWhich makes things that much more complicated with Nikki.Oo ::shaking her head:: I am sorry. I did not mean to... how do humans say it? Spill my guts? Logan:: Chuckling :: Yes that’s the saying. Ma’am, although my mother would make us laugh by making us say. I’m terribly sorry to burden you with these issues that have happened upon my door but I thought you might be able to help me in shinning a light upon these troubles. It always made us smile having to say to so a little easier to get our problems out. :: Another smile …thanks Mum :: Sometime those with the answers have their own questions. :: He gave her a warm smile :: I’m Honoured you confided in me especially being the one who turned the lights of when trying to teach a lady to dance :: Letting a small giggle escape :: But one thing Ma’am who said anything about Commitment. Jolara: ::looking puzzled:: Is that not what humans expect? Logan: When my father first met my mother he would only promise to love her today and tomorrow. And to this day they hold to that. It’s because with only those few days to concentrate on they can put their hearts into making them good days and not looking years ahead. ::Rune thought about that and then nodded.:: Jolara: That does make logical sense. Logan: For what it’s worth Ma’am find this person and work on today and tomorrow and see where that road takes you two. :: Rune smiled. :: Jolara: Thank you. Hopefully once I get through my season, we can do just that. Logan: NO..... :: His answer came out in a short burst, looking directly at the counselor :: No, never wait. Go now and sort it. How many chances do you think you'll get in life ??. Besides today is counting down. Of course that and your season with your needing to mate, it could well be the perfect time to talk :: He gave the counselor a wink :: Jolara: This certainly has not gone the way I thought or intended. Perhaps it would be better to do your official evaluation later. Although if you have anything you feel you need to talk about, ::smiling warmly:: it is only fair I listen. Logan:: Shaking his head :: That seems to be life, Ma'am I've told you what you need to do so go and find this person, and make today count.. oO I thought this would count as the session Oo Me :: Letting out a small chuckle :: ....nothing that can't wait Ma'am oO More like where would I start. But last time I was honest with a counselor all it got me was trouble and reprimands Oo Do you need or would you like an escort ma'am, to find this friend :: Smilling at her :: of yours? Jolara: ::smiling back at him:: I will. ========================================================================= A joint post with great pleasure Ensign Kurt Logan Security Officer With Great patience, Understanding and Ability from ((thank you Mr. Logan)) Lieutenant Rune Jolara Ship's Counselor USS Excalibur NCC-41903-A
  2. ((Forward Torpedo Launch Bay, Deck Fourteen, USS Excalibur-A)) ::Teyvion had been on the upper gantry of the torpedo bay, looking down he could see the empty casket draped with the Federation Standard. He knew it was only a symbolic gesture, everyone did. It was a blessing that it was on the torpedo loading system, so no-one would have to feel the absence of weight.:: ::His mind cast itself back a few years to a funeral he had attended for another member of the twenty-third, not from his unit but they had been the ones who had found him. They'd been assigned to search the ruins of Ohmallera, after its destruction by the rogue USS Constitution. He'd been killed when a store of volatile chemicals, made unstable by a lack of proper containment and time, detonated when a wall collapsed. His family had been spared the gruesome details...but they'd had to weigh the coffin down with sandbags to conceal the truth.:: ::He shook his head to clear the memory and turned to Adams and the others who were stood along the railing overlooking the seating area. They looked immaculate and poised, typically seen in various states of armour, training clothes or combat fatigues it was like looking at seven different people. Their weapons stood by their sides.:: ::He nodded to Adams before heading down to the main floor of the bay.:: ::He took a seat at one end of a row, facing Livingston across the casket, as the other senior staff filled in. A sea of white, everyone equal except for the varying colours on the trim of their jackets and the ranks on their collars. Once the group had assembled, Livingston began to speak.:: Livingston: We gather here to pay final respects to the woman who gave all she had in the line of duty. She was the best of us, inspiring each of us by her own actions and strengths. She shared the selfless courage of her Tactical officer and the heart of her Security team. She had the ingenuity of her engineers and the curiosity of her science officers. She had the critical eye of her Intelligence team, but she always had the tact of her Chief Diplomat. She pushed the envelope in a way that would make her Marines proud, but when the job was done, the medical officer inside of her made sure everyone was healed. Livingston: Her sacrifice protected us. Out that window, I do not see the remains of a break in subspace. I see Kali’s scar, and when I see it, I shall not mourn; I shall have hope. Fleet Captain Nicholotti gave us strength in life, and the courage to use that strength. Let us honor her by our actions and our deeds. ::He took another pause.:: Livingston: If anyone else has words to share, speak now. ::Teyvion listened as those who knew Nicholotti better than he did spoke. The first was a man he didn't recognise but he assumed, from his white undershirt, that he commanded a vessel. Maybe he would be the one to take command of the Excalibur...or would it be Livingston...or someone else.:: ::Skyfire spoke next followed by Orman...which was quite an experience. He had to suppress a grin as she spoke, her voice full of emotion, it was refreshing to hear someone provide such and honest eulogy. So often it was all positive and ignored peoples faults, which was all well and good in its way, but to speak of your love for someone who you admitted was flawed seemed only to reinforce how much they meant to you. That you cared for them despite the fact they weren't perfect....but who was.:: ::Brek, Taybrim and the others all spoke of the Captain, their own personal words of tribute to their fallen Commander. As the speeches came to a close Livingston returned to the stand and cast his eyes towards the Trill:: Livingston: Lieutenant Kesaan, if you will. Kesaan: ::Standing:: Sir. ::He pulled himself the full attention, his eyes fixed in the distance and began to speak.:: Kesaan: Present, arms! ::Heard the unifying shift as the seven members of his team brought their weapons to a salute.:: Kesaan: Stand ready! ::He saw several of the crew look up towards the gantry as Adams and the rest shifted their stance, aiming their weapons forward over the casket. Typically an honour guard would not fire over the congregation but the situation was a little restrained by the surroundings.:: Kesaan: Fire! ::Crack.:: ::The sound rang out and echoed throughout the torpedo bay. Adams had heeded his warning and reduced the chemical component in the blank firing charge so the reverberating sound was loud but wasn't deafening. The rifles weren't standard issue equipment, they were primarily used as training aids for zero-gravity operations, their weight and recoil far greater than a standard phaser rifle, and for ceremonial occasions such as this.:: Kesaan: Ready. Fire! ::Crack:: ::The second shot pierced the silence.:: Kesaan: Ready. Fire! ::Crack:: Kesaan: Order, arms! ::The words vanished into silence along with the echo of the final volley. The entire room falling into stillness as the assembled staff stood and the casket began to move along the loading channel. The flag of the Federation carefully removed as it passed and folded neatly as the empty container was loaded into the launching system.:: ::It fired.:: ::The Chief of the Boat blew his whistle, signaling that the Captain was leaving the ship one last time, and the small memorial to Nicholotti appeared in space, beyond the viewing window.:: ::The two fighters, currently being piloted by the other two members of his unit, dropped down from where they had been holding position and took up a position behind each flank of the casket as it sped out into space, the Captain taking the lead in flight one last time. Their engine wake modulated to produce a slightly silvered plasma trail, clearly something the flight crew had done themselves but it seemed appropriate. After a short period they turned as one and banked away in opposing directions leaving the empty vessel streaming on towards the remains of the void.:: ::He didn't know if these things had names or numbers or if they were even recorded, but he would now always think of that silver mark in the fabric of space as 'Kalianna's Scar'. Slowly the casket became a speck and then faded into the distance. Livingston returned to the podium once more to address the congregation.:: Livingston: As others have said, Fleet Captain Nicholotti would want us to go on, zestfully pursuing life. She herself has set us on that path, leaving instructions for that I shall presently carry out regarding recognition for the service of her officers. I think we can do with a change of scenery, so we have some refreshments waiting in our Crew Lounge. Please join me there. ::Slowly, individually or in groups, the crew filed out - leaving nothing but an arrangement of empty chairs in their wake and one chair, on the bridge, more empty than most.:: ...tbc... --- First Lieutenant Teyvion Kesaan Marine Officer USS Excalibur-A NCC-41903-A
  3. round 7 Lt Commander Brek: Toughening Up

    ((USS Excalibur - Deck 6 – Brek's Office)) ::After 40 minutes of frantic typing and then some serious editing, Brek was now staring at the final version of his report. It wasn't as long as he had pretended it would be in Intel. Just 500 words of brutal honesty. Once he had come to term with the fact he was the sole person responsible for his behavior, there was actually little to brood about.:: ::He took a sip of the Tarator soup he had replicated moments ago and he winced. It's not that the taste was bad, but, like most healthy food, it looked like something someone else had regurgitated an hour ago. At first he had wanted to go for a nice slice of apple pie, but he had achieved so little, (in term of results), during the drill, that he didn't think he deserved the treat.:: ::Of course, it's not what he had written in his report. Besides, he was a firm believer that when one accepts everything, then all that's tragic, sad or simply unpleasant, disappears. Plus, it was also important to always keep a positive outlook on events:: ::That's how he had come to the conclusion that he hadn't done so bad after all. He had been able to work on the Bridge, and then in the Intel Suite, while previously he would have stayed within the boundaries of his domain. He had also rediscovered a forgotten skill of his: the ability to use common devices, even broken ones, in ingenious ways.:: ::There was however, one area where he had not fared so well: he had remained extremely cautious in the face of danger. He loathed any form of violence and so preferred to leave that sort of activity to others. Was he really to be blamed for having survival instincts that were developed to such a fine level?:: Brek: oO Don't kid yourself, little beetle. If you want take your career to the next level, you'll have to toughen up. Oo ::And how do you toughen up a man of words, bribery and juicy contracts?:: Brek: oO There are many holodeck programms you could use. What about the 'Hound of the Baskerville' one that you have? Running away from a demonic creature would be good for your endurance. Failing this, you could play tennis... eliminate all those nasty toxins in your body. Oo ::Brek humphed, and, wanting to run away from his own thoughts, he sent his report and left his office. He would walk in the corridor until he found a soul with whom he could have an argument.:: ::Sadly for him, the only person he met was his aide Dakarai, who happened to be on his way to a game of tennis. You could tell because he was wearing those dreadful white shorts that exhibited his hairy legs. Then, one thing leading to another, Brek allowed his conscience to speak, and he ended up following what, by his new standards, could pass for a friend.:: ((Deck 6 – Tennis Court)) ::Of course, it would have been a lot to expect Brek to know how to play this silly ball game. So he just stood on his side of the court, holding a weird instrument called a racket. Dakarai told him he would 'serve' and the next moment Brek was rewarded by being hit in the face by a small, but very hard ball.:: Brek: ::He picked the blasted ball up.:: I don't find this game terribly amusing or relaxing, far from it. Dakarai: Chef, you need to catch the ball. You're not supposed to stand over there like a scarecrow. Use your legs and your arms. I'm going to serve again. ::Once again the ball flew towards him, but this time Brek was prepared. He caught it with his right hand, and he 'served' the [...] thing back, with all his might. Dakarai, true to his self, didn't play fair. He shrieked and avoided the projectile.:: Dakarai: Non Brek! What are you doing?! What about the racket? You need to use it. Comme ceci. [Like this]. ::Which of course was just an excuse for the black guy to show off his best tennis moves.:: Dakarai: Let's try again. ::Brek had to admit, the racket was useful, so he used it, and he indulged in that activity called 'playing'. His technique was crap, he knew it. Most of the time, all he was interested in was to try to hit Dakarai. An odd thing really... coming from someone like him, who didn't like violence....:: tag/tbc Lt. Cmdr. Brek Chief Diplomatic Officer/2O USS Excalibur A
  4. round 4 Ensign Solan - A Logical Move

    ((Epsilon VII Medical Facility - Counseling and Neuroscience offices)) ::The call has come through from Starfleet Medical, indicating that the USS Excalibur-A, a ship in dire need of a full counseling staff yet barely able to keep one counselor onboard at any given time, was docked back at Starbase 118. Doctor Solan arched a perfectly sculpted Vulcan brow, and idly wondered if it was logical to contact him with such short notice. If he was not an enlightened follower of the Kohlinar, he might have attributed an emotional reasoning to the late orders. His colleagues often said things like ‘that is so rude’ or ‘they do that on purpose’ as if short notices were planned specifically to irritate them. Solan believed that if there was blame involved, it was due to an inefficiency of the processes of bureaucracy rather than any personal vendetta. Inefficiency was not inexcusable, however it was understandable. Still, Starfleet Medical recognized Ensign Solan’s efficiency, perhaps even counted upon it. If anyone could be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, it would be him. He had few personal effects to pack, and those he did carry with him were meticulously organized enough to make packing a simple affair. Add to that the simple fact that Solan, by nature, made sure than every report that needed to be filed was filed precisely on time and all loose ends were wrapped up as a matter of course meant he left nothing dangling to be cleaned up should he need to leave. Part of this could be attributed to his Vulcan heritage. Certainly it did not hurt. But moreover, it was part of his age and routine. Despite the fact that he only bore Ensign’s pips, this was only another stage in Solan’s journey to better understand neurochemistry and how it affected various species - a journey that he had already traveled for many decades. He had already spent half a lifetime researching at the Vulcan Science Academy, he could boast – if Vulcans were given to boasting (which they certainly were not) – two adult children who were both fine scientists in their own right and a wife who was an honored diplomat. Twenty years ago Solan would have thought he would have spent the rest of his life on Vulcan researching neurochemistry and neurology, peaceful in his choice of studies and staying in communion with his family and extended family. But that was before his mother, T’Lara, developed Bendii Syndrome at the painfully young age of 146. For the next three years Solan was driven to research the neurological illness, defying the bounds of logic in an almost desperate attempt to find a cure for the incurable. At the same time he became his mother’s closest caretaker – suffering the brunt of her telepathic emotional projections. When she died, three years after diagnosis, Solan was crushed and his emotional barricades crumbled like sandstone beaten by the relentless winds of the harsh Vulcan desert. His faith in medical science was shaken that day, and he wavered between unbecoming bouts of anger and depression. Finally Solan decided to re-cleanse himself by the ritual of Kohlinar. He spent five years attaining enlightenment and purging emotions and in the end he came to two conclusions: the first was that true enlightenment came from neither blind denial nor failure to acknowledge emotion. No, in fact the highest illumination was reserved for those who keenly understood emotions and chose to eschew them in favor of the course of pure logic. The second was that despite the depth of research that the Vulcan Science Academy had, he believed that breadth of experience might be what was needed to break through to new discoveries. As his children were well set with their lives and his wife was used to traveling and connecting with him when opportunity presented itself, Solan found it logical to expand his horizons. He enrolled in Starfleet Academy, in the hope that other cultures might provide him with the spark of an idea he needed to solve the medical mystery he was so intent on solving. While the medical facility on Starbase Epsilon VII was state of the art and well staffed, it wasn’t the breadth of experience Solan was hoping for. A mere three months after his posting he suggested to Starfleet Medical that it would be logical to test his expertise in the field. Certainly there would be a starship that could use a Vulcan counselor who was an expert in neurochemistry and neuropharmacology. Reading the reports – slim as they were – from the USS Excalibur, it appeared that he would be wading into what Terrans so colorful called ‘shark infested waters.’ He did not know what frontiers this ship might bring him to or what he might learn, but he was quite sure just from reading the scattered reports of the last and current counselor that the crew could use a guiding hand into understanding their own mental health. Thus prepared, he straightened and prepared to big farewell to his colleagues. He found them an agreeable group to interact with, and it was logical to retain good connections with intelligent doctors and scientists. Logic dictated that one must always remember the past, but not be bound by it. Solan felt at peace with the job he had done and curious for the one to come. As much as a student of the Kolinar could enjoy himself, Solan had agreeable expectations for what was to come.:: pNPC Ensign (Doctor) Solan Counselor en route to the USS Excalibur-A
  5. round 24 Ensign Taybrim - Old Prejudices Die Hard

    (( Sickbay - USS Excalibur-A )) Romjin: Alrighty guys and gal...I will just take this and see what I can get off it. I will send you what I find. ::Sal watched Shedet’s smile, thinking the weak imitation of the usually friendly gesture exactly mirrored his own feelings towards the intelligence officer at the moment. He looked towards Romjin as well, offered a wan smile, his dark eyes clouded.:: oOYou’ll send us what you find. Right. And when you do we’ll go sunbathing on Andor.oO ::He stayed silent and turned back to his work, waiting until Romjin had left before he got lost in his own thoughts.:: ::Sal admitted, he had a bias against intelligence officers. It hadn’t started that way, but so far every single intelligence officer he had met fit the mold of an arrogant, self-absorbed [...]. Romjin seemed no different. Waltz in, ask a bunch of questions, take someone’s else's hard earned work, waltz out. Or limp out in this case. It didn’t matter. Intelligence officers as a whole seemed to treat others as commodities to be used rather than people. It rubbed his own people-centered counselor personality exactly the wrong way.:: ::It didn’t help that he had yet to meet one that broke the mold.:: ((Flashback, Beta Antares research center, seven years ago)) ::She waltzed in as if she owned the place. Black hair worn loosely down her back, flaunting regulation style. She carried her chin up and her head high, as if to say her grey uniform meant she didn’t have to listen to the rules. She was outside the rules.:: ::The entire research department hated her.:: ::Lisa Ann Chapelle was her name, and if you called her Lisa she would burn you with a cold stare and inform you that should you do it again she could make your family disappear. And then laugh. As if it was a joke.:: ::Sal loved joked. He hated Lisa Ann Chapelle.:: ::To this end the researchers of artificial intelligence on Beta Antares called her ‘the Grey Witch.’ They didn’t quite know why she was around so often. What sort of devil’s deal had the research facility made with Starfleet? Probably something to do with funding. Researching artificial intelligence was many things; cheap was not one of them. It always felt like they had sold a little bit of their soul to the devil every time the Grey Witch appeared. An ever-present reminder that scientific curiosity and pure devotion to ideals meant little when your outcome could be bought, sold and traded to the highest bidder in an arms race.:: The Grey Witch: Why hello, boys. What do you have for me today? ::The voice was so sweet, lilting. Almost seductive. Not that anyone in their right mind would touch the Grey Witch. If she didn’t know some bizarre form of ‘I make your life miserable’ martial art, she could certainly make your life miserable in a variety of other ways. Or at least she insinuated it. Maybe it wasn’t true. Of the twenty seven researchers in the artificial intelligence lab, Sal was the only Betazoid and only he had a hint at the greater truth. He believed that somewhere under her veneer she was a struggling young woman, terrified of her superiors. Not that anyone else in the lab would agree.:: Senior Researcher Kensington: ::The tall dark skinned doctor smoothed his grey hair:: There have been no new breakthroughs in the cyborganic relays. It is still operating at a highly efficient level but we have not been able to teach it any sentient decision making. The Grey Witch: That’s not what I heard, Mr. Kensington. ::She smile like a shark circling prey:: ::Sal hunched over his console, he didn’t want to catch her gaze. Not just because he didn’t like her or her attention, but because today she was radiating desperation. She needed to find something here, her digging had focus.:: Senior Researcher Kensington: ::He coughed a bit and shook his head:: I don’t know what you mean, Miss Chapelle. The Grey Witch: Oh, I think you do, doctor. I noticed you made a report to Director J’nel indicating cyborganic relays could process data and make decisions while implementing orders. Senior Researcher Kensington: I sent that message to J’nel in confidence. That research is not ready for testing, it isn’t a suitable response for an artificial intelligence platform yet. ::His brows drew together in protest, as he took a step sideways to stand in between her and his own desk:: ::Sal felt the desperation recede somewhat, and he flickered his gaze upwards, watching as the Grey witch drew herself up to her full height, suffused with arrogance:: The Grey Witch: Anything I think is pertinent information to my mission, doctor, is privy to me. You will give me the new cyborganic research materials. Senior Researcher Kensington: It’s not ready yet. I will file a full report when it is completed. ::Kensington’s voice was soft, but firm.:: The Grey Witch: I don’t care. Move aside, or I’ll have you moved aside. ::She smirked as Kensington moved over fractionally.:: Senior Researcher Kensington: I would like to see the validation for you to take our research before we have released it. The Grey Witch: I don’t need to validate anything to you. ::She pushed past him, digging her shoulder into the man’s chest and neatly grabbing every PADD and data device on the desk top:: Thank you. ::She smiled broadly.:: I will, of course, be accessing your computer banks shortly, you may experience some lock outs. Everything will be up and running again my this afternoon. ::And just like that she waltzed out.:: ::Kensington swore under his breath, waiting until she was out of the room to slam his hand on the desk:: Senior Researcher Kensington: Of course, she had to come before we could process the data. Taybrim: ::He looked up, edging over to his manager:: She must have been monitoring everything we did. Senior Researcher Kensington: I’m sure she did. And now she’s got what she wanted all along. ::Sal frowned. The reason they hadn’t published their findings already was because the research hadn’t been useful for their own purposes. But they also figured out all too quickly the research had other – less savory – uses. The cyborganic circuitry was extremely compact and capable of processing a large amount of data, to the point where it could make basic decisions centered around a command. While it wasn’t promising for the creation of true sentient artificial intelligence, it would be devastatingly effective for things like weapons arrays that were capable of following targets or drones that could evade capture long enough to break enemy lines. The researchers considered the implications highly dangerous and wanted to test everything out thoroughly before making the proper reports to the Federation Science Council.:: ::Obviously Starfleet Intel had other plans:: Taybrim: I think she was on some sort of ultimatum to get results. Senior Researcher Kensington: I don’t care what she was on. She stole our research and you know full well it’s going to end up in a military application. Someday someone – maybe many someones are going to die, because a few idealistic scientists were trying to create a better AI and accidentally came up with a fantastic weapons guidance system. ::Sal winced. Kensignton had a point. For all his sympathy towards Chapelle, she didn’t seem to care one whit about what such things were used for, as long as she kept her superiors off her back. And it didn’t matter at all what the researchers said, they didn’t have any rank to pull over her and therefore they were second class citizens in her eyes. His throat felt dry as he leaned back in his chair, wondering what would become of this…:: ((End flashback)) ::It was Shedet’s voice that snapped him out of his reverie.: Shedet: Wanna cross-check for that planet? As I said earlier, I have access to the planetary database. They may not have the location of the planet, but there might be enough puzzle pieces for us to make an educated guess. Taybrim: ::He shook his head a little, to clear the memory from his mind. He didn’t even want to dwell on it:: Yes, I have the maps downloaded. Let’s see what we can find. TBC Ensign Sal Taybrim Counselor USS Excalibur-A
  6. ((Sickbay)) ::So this Red-Collar with four pips came tumbling out of the Isolation Unit, looking like he was ready to be free of that hazard garb when he noticed the short blond feller and they took to gabbing.:: ::Now, Nady Briskow never minded much people gabbing in his Sickbay; you never knew what you’d overhear, what kinda tips you’d get just by payin’ attention to what others would blab in earshot of just about anyone. But today was another thing altogether. Closing off more and more of Sickbay as more and more beamed up from the surface; first the new doc and his muscle, who’d stumbled into more trouble than they should have; and then the Rommies decided to go to the mattresses against a squad of docs, fer cryin’ aloud!:: ::Setting aside what Nurse Briskow would like to do to the green-bloods—back on Iotia, back in Oxmyx Chicago, where Nady had grown up prowling the streets of the Near North Side, they’d teach ‘em to mess with Doc MacLaren right quick. Teach ‘em why you don’t mix business and personal.:: ::But the Feds didn’t like that—and, truth be told, Briskow had been a failure as a small-time mobster. He poked his nose in where it didn’t belong far too often. Got too curious for his own good. What his Pa’d told him when he went off to nursing school, then announced he was joining Starfleet. “Joinin’ up wit’ dem Feds? Whattaya think ya’are, where ya think ya come from? McCoyville over dere?” Nady never told his father the name of the Doc he’d been working under. It’d sound too—what’d the Book call it again?—too Scottish for him.:: ::And he liked to help people. Sometimes you had to pull the admission outta him like a rusty nail, but he did. Deep down inside there somewhere. Or else he wouldn’t be here, right?:: ::But this gabbing, the Red Collar and the Mysterious Blond Stranger, this was just too far: ‘Cause soon enough it wasn’t just some chit-chat but something more serious. Briskow was just standing there, minding his own business in the doorway from one of the labs into Main Sickbay, listening in on one of the strangest conversations he’d heard in while—both of the men looked real enough to him, after all; why’d they keep doubting it?—when the Red Collar shoved the Mysterious Blond Stranger against a biobed, erected a containment field and called for security.:: ::And then, with the place looking a mess—he up and leaves! Just like that! Not another thought about it. Just like an officer. Especially a Red Collar. Come in, say nuttin much of interest, start a fight, and leave the nurses—leave good ol’ Nady Briskow—to clean up after them.:: ::He stepped back into Main Sickbay. Might as well make sure it looked presentable when the muscle arrived to show this traitor to the Rommies (he glared over at the Mysterious Blond Stranger behind the containment field) the what’s what. ::Can’t let anyone think we’re falling down on the job here in Sickbay, just because all hell’s breaking loose everywhere the officers go. Nope. No sirreee...:: TBC PNPC Crewman Nady Briskow Nurse USS Excalibur-A
  7. round 21 PNPC David Banks - For Old Times

    ((Hospital Complex)) MacLaren: Lt. Letant, we will begin setting up testing clinics on the outskirts of town. Eh noticed that most of the patients have been from nearer bye. We need to ken if those further out have avoided the plague or are simply unable to come here. Letant: You want to go out? But, that is so dangerous. Banks: Yeah... Well... ::He paused, not sure what to say.:: We'll have to be careful. MacLaren:: stifling a smile:: Weel, Eh think Dr. Banks has summarized it verra weel. Let's get started. ::MacLaren had decided everyone needed a break. So she'd decided to head out toward the outskirts of the settlement, where the farming land was less disturbed. He stepped off the transport along with everyone else.:: ((Settlement Outskirts - Agurtha)) ::For a while he listened quietly while a few civilians approached them. One seemed mentally ill, delusional even. They'd finally found some people, maybe somebody who'd developed an immunity. After watching for a while he decided to look over toward an open field. The place looked like a good area where corpses might have been deposited, maybe burned.:: ::He stepped into the slowly growing weeds. They looked a bit like rye or twitchgrass. The plants swished up against his feet, rhythmically brushing against him to the tune of his quiet breathing. Off in the distance he saw the outline of a house. Closer stood the hulk of a machine. A seeder maybe. When he finally did reach the machine he ran a finger along one of its roll cages, traced his hand across the the traction on the wheel beneath. He'd seen transplanters like this before:: ((Flashback - Earth, 27 Years Ago)) Farmer: C'mon boy! Come here! ::He ran toward the man, buckets in hand.:: Farmer: We don't have all day! ::The man was climbing up into the giant seeder. He needed the water to provide for irrigation for the small seedlings.:: ((Present)) ::The machine stood silently and David eyed it one last time, looking up inside the pilot's seat. Dale. His old boss in the summers during high school. He'd died of a stroke years later, weeks before David had joined up. Wanted David to come see him at the hospital, but he was too [...]ed keen on getting out to Fort Brock. He still remembered his dad shaking his hand as he left. He couldn't hug him any more. After all, David might die out there. So he needed to wash David out of himself before he had a chance to die.:: ::Presently David walked toward some trees on the edge of the field. The ground beneath him was softer here, and the weeds grew thicker, slowly cleaning out any sign that this land had been farm land. The war had cleaned David and his father of each other soon enough. It wasn't that either of them died. David never wanted to talk about those seventeen years. The war hadn't even been that long. But his whole career with the marines in the medical core was tainted by it -- peppered through with the brief pin[...] moments when he'd watched people die, accepted that most of the time you couldn't help. And when he did help and they lived, they just ended up screwed up afterward anyway, walking out of the service like corpses back into a society that didn't know what to do with them.:: ::And then one day Dad just stopped trying to call. By then his mom had died. That hadn't helped either.:: ::He leaned against a tree and folded his arms as he looked out toward the field again, eyeing the house that by now was a lot closer. Christ, he should have been here helping people rebuild their houses after the goddam plague. Not right back in the middle of trying to fix people. The people here were too messed up to be helped anyway.:: David Banks Medical USS Excalibur as simmed by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Breeman Chief Engineer USS Excalibur
  8. ((Celes II, Ruin of Abandoned Machinery Storage Warehouse)) ::The building was huge. None of its original equipment functioned any longer, and it had a large gash near one side of it that would have left the building open to the atmosphere had not the Clashing organisers sealed it with ferrofoam. The place had all the hallmarks of a temporary shelter - portable furniture and partitions brought in, generators laying about powering lights and replicators and local atmospheric conditioners.:: ::Only ten years previous, this place had been full and busy, an integral part of a nearby dilithium mining site on a thriving mining planet. The Borg had changed all of that, appearing in the sky without warning and killing or assimilating everyone on the planet within mere hours.. They said there had been some tentative attempts to restart the operations since, but nowadays the Romulan Empire had different concerns, and not enough manpower to tend to them all. So Celes II remained an empty, scarred world, its ground a pale red from oxidised dust.:: ::It was, therefore, perfect for this purpose. The Clashing had taken this place over, sealed the holes, thrown out a bunch of superfluous equipment, and the final contestants had arrived, one by one.:: ::Katy was now safely ensconced in a large 'room' (actually a part of one of the large open spaces set aside with temporary wall partitions and apportioned with a rug, bed, furniture, a replicator, and some basic workout equipment.) She'd arrived late in her sleep cycle, and had slept late as a result. Now she was awake and stretching. Not as in yawn-and-stretch, but the extended stretching regimen that helps one to get in touch with one's body and gives time to calm one's mind. Reduced stiffness and increased flexibility were nice side-effects, of course.:: ::Next to her on the rug sat the small crystalline pedestal upon which sat her friend and advisor Unky. Well, it was really the little hexagonal crystal itself that *was* Unky, but it's much easier to relate to a little holographic man than to something that looks like an expensive ashtray, even if you know that it houses a powerful AI. The little man in question was sitting cross-legged in his usual spot atop the crystal, chin propped up on one hand, looking thoughtful.:: ::Unfolding from a rather relaxing back stretch, Katy found herself unable to repress a gigantic yawn. She put her hand over her mouth, partly out of politeness and partly to cover the slightly embarrassed smile that formed on her lips when the yawn was done.:: ::The little hologram grinned and looked up at her with a raised eyebrow.:: Unky: You'll never live it down if you fall asleep during the match, you know. ::She waved her hand dismissively.:: Orman: I'm fine. The final bout isn't until the mid-afternoon, plenty of time to wake up, even sleeping as late as I... ::She trailed off, brows slowly creasing. Unky tilted his head in an expression of curiosity.:: Unky: Hmm? ::She remained silent for a few moments more, with an expression of growing concern and confusion.:: Orman: ...It doesn't make sense, does it? Unky: What doesn't? Orman: Our sleep cycles. Duty cycles, even. They all match up. People who grew up on all different parts of the world, of many worlds... people with different circadian rhythms, alien cultures, different everything... we're all on the same time schedule. All of us! I mean, we run three shifts, but nothing really happens in the others. Kind of ever. ::Unky's expression darkened for just a flicker, then reverted to a casual, cheery demeanour that matched his tone.:: Unky: Oh, I'm sure if you check you'll find there was some sort of agreement made between galactic political entities to match times. Makes for better trade, diplomacy, et ceter-- Orman: ::shaking her head:: No, that's not enough. What about independent alien races? First contacts? I mean, even if that sort of agreement was ever going to happen--which it isn't, getting the various empires to agree on anything is like pulling teeth... and now I think about it, there's definitely going to be a counter-tendency in the form of each people wanting their own schedule to match the day cycle of their home planet's capital... ::her eyes widened and breathing quickened in rising panic.:: Wait, we visit each others' capitals all the time, no one ever has to adjust their schedules.... Every major capital with the same day/night schedule as the others? That's just not even possible! Unky, nothing makes sen-- ::Her words of realisation were interrupted by a quiet, oscillating tone that matched with the pulsations of a blue light coming from Unky's now-vacant pedestal. As it caught her eye she found herself fixated on the steady pulsing, like the rhythm of a slow heartbeat. She found herself calming, her tight muscles relaxing. She forgot what she'd been saying, or indeed why she'd been speaking at all. In a matter of seconds, she found her eyelids drooping. She was unconscious some moments before she sank to the floor.:: ::Moments later, the light and sound stopped, and the little man appeared again on his crystal, looking over at the prone form. He turned away, and his expression was one of dark, fulminating rage.:: Unky: That was cruel. ::The meaning of that cryptic statement was lost to the empty room as the AI spoke to himself.:: Unky: I'm not speaking to myself. I'm talking to *you.* ::...which was another odd thing to say, but of course Unky was no novice at confusing pronouncements, after all.:: Unky: ::quietly furious:: It's not odd. Quit dodging. I'm talking to you, right now. ::...to ...me?:: Unky: That's right. ::pointing over at Katy:: And what you did there.. it was cruel. She shouldn't have to have an existential crisis like that. Especially right before her big fight. I won't have it, do you hear me? ::Look, it's fine, alright? I knew you were right there to put her out and make her forget her little mental break. I find the idea of characters realising that they're characters to be a really powerful... wait, how are you speaking to me again?:: Unky: You made me the character that ferreted out all the secrets, looked at everything so that I could weave my own plots behind the scenes. You made me incredibly smart and with the full resources of a massive computer system. You made me the wise one that always knows more than everybody else about what's going on. Did you think I wouldn't notice the inconsistencies? ::Umm...:: Unky: A universal translator that is somehow selective when a different language would be culturally interesting or mysterious, and somehow manages to convey clues and jokes based on plays on words? A transport culture based on disintegration and copying that is somehow universally accepted? And let's not even start on the science! Same template or no, the notion that beings with such basic physical incompatibilities as different blood chemistry could mate and reproduce... and then there's the way the stardate keeps jumping ahead-- ::Yes, alright, I get it! Look, no harm done, okay? I apologise. It won't happen again. She's napping, she'll wake up rested and with no memory of this, no lingering trauma or confusion at all.:: ::The little man stared into space, his expression somewhat mollified. The woman next to him slept peacefully, soon to awaken for the big day.:: ::Within her sleeping mind, the hypnotic suggestions activated by Unky's trigger were taking their course. Not only to rest and forget, but also putting her into a state of calm readiness. When she woke she would be in top fighting form, ready to embody all of the principles of her art perfectly.:: ::Wait, I didn't write that!:: Unky: Indeed. I did. ::What... I... that's... You can't do that!:: Unky: ::a little smug:: I believe I just did. ::I wasn't planning... she's supposed to get knocked out really quickly! She doesn't win this fight!:: Unky: ::absolutely smirking, now:: I think she might, you know. ::I can just delete... no. No idle threats. You've already figured out I won't do that, haven't you? I follow the story where it goes. Let me put it this way, then... That doesn't happen again. You keep your hands off the reins. Otherwise... well, I have no particular compunctions against making your personal goals *much* more difficult to achieve. Are we square?:: ::Unky continued to smile a self-satisfied little smirk. Eventually, he nodded.:: ::Good. Oh, also, 'Not only to rest and forget, but also putting her into a state of calm readiness?' Seriously awkward phrasing, there. Your writing skills could use some work.:: Unky: Oh, shut up. ::Soon after, Katy woke up, a peaceful smile on her face. It was time to really prepare for the fight.:: TBC PNPC Unky with Lieutenant Commander Katy Orman Chief of Security, Starbase 118 Currently on leave and, umm, me, I guess.
  9. ((Holodeck, Starbase 118)) ::Captain Nicholotti commanded the attention of her staff in much the same way she always managed to do it. The magnetism she projected and the respect she commanded captivated the beach-goers.:: Nicholotti: Hello everyone. ::She smiled.:: I do hope that you will all enjoy the good food and good company we've managed to pull together for this little gathering. ::As she spoke, the intricate, “political” situation seemed to unravel itself before Ben’s very eyes. An explanation was provided regarding Lt. Commander Matthews’ presence, and the Captain managed to frame it as Starfleet Command having great confidence in the Starbase Operations staff. Then, as though to something between a consolation prize and a catalyst for the whole shift, Commander Walker was restored to the rank of captain. :: ::Ben found himself scratching his head as to how events had unfolded to land them where they were. Despite the brief explanation regarding Walker’s history, the whole situation seemed quite strange. However they’d gotten here, Ben foresaw some very difficult conversations between their Commanding Officer, First Officer, and Second Officer resulting from the huge jumble of positions and ranks. Ranks were supposed to make everything more clearly defined, yet here they seemed to do the opposite.:: Nicholotti: I also want to formally offer promotions that were granted in the field during this last mission. Captain Dubeau, and Lieutenant MacLaren, if you would please join me? ::Ben smiled as the pair stepped forward to receive their well-deserved promotions.:: Alex Matthews: ::Speaking from the crowd.:: Captain if you will permit me. I would like to announce the engagement of Captain Dubeau and Doctor MacLaren. If you all would join me in giving them both your best wishes and hearty congratulations. ::He grinned broadly as the two stepped back into the crowd, smiling to one another, then returned his attention to the Captain.:: Nicholotti: Finally, I have a couple of new promotions to add to that list. I would be lost without officers like all of you, and I am proud to be the Captain of this crew. It is my hope that one day, you will be the next generation of Captains, taking Starfleet to new places, and new heights. For now, I consider it a privilege to promote Lieutenant JG Livingston to full Lieutenant, and Lieutenant JG Silveira to full Lieutenant, with all rights and privileges therein. ::Ben stepped back in surprise, catching himself just before he stepped on someone’s foot. His mind raced.:: ((Flashback – USS Columbia, Deck 24, Main Engineering)) ::Ben glanced over to the spot where Kevin had been, moments ago. Now that someone had taken him to medical, he’d receive the proper treatment, at least there was the peace of knowing he was in good hands. The Chief Engineer had done precisely what Ben had wished he had done in protecting his ship, but the ugly outcome was far from desirable. For a moment, he wished their places might have been reversed; that he had gone down fighting and Breeman was still ready and able to secure the ship. Then, they might all have a chance at survival. As it was … :: ::Main Engineering was a busy place again. Those engineers who had escaped the scene had filtered back in, and those who had taken shelter were back at their posts – or what was left of them. Most had no station to work from, and if they had, they wouldn’t know what to do. With Katy still on the line with Commander Walker, Ben took a place atop a damaged piece of equipment.:: Livingston: ::Aloud:: Alright everybody – listen up! Right here, right now, this looks like the aftermath of a terrible event. But elsewhere on Columbia, they’re still in the thick of it! We’re going to help them. And we’re going to keep the rest of these dragons outside the ship, or we won’t stand a chance. ::Ben paused, trying to allow the situation to settle before continuing. Many of the faces looking at him were pale, frightened things and the rest looked so exhausted that he wasn’t sure they’d be help at all. But they had to be – they would have to put everything they could muster into this, just as Livingston himself was putting forward more than he thought he had.:: Livingston: So this is the gameplan. Power teams –get these damaged EPS ducts and conduits up and running. We’re lucky to have energy at all, and anything else will take it out completely. Reactor and warp drive teams, guess what? You’re power engineers now, so help them out. ::Many of the engineers hurried off toward the damaged areas.:: Livingston: Maintenance teams, and everyone else, I want all hull breaches identified and prioritized, and I want any systems down fixed ASAP. Team leads – you’re in my office in three minutes, and bring ideas on how to keep these monsters out. ::As the rest of the went off to their assignments, Ben was left alone to feel the implications of the threat they still faced.:: ((End Flashback)) ::Ben shuddered as he remembered the events. Kevin had stood alone against the monster that invaded their sanctuary. And then, all of a sudden, he was removed from the equation. Kevin had been needed. He had relationships with the other engineers. He had the experience to know what to fix first and what could wait. Ben had been shooting from the hip as he said those words, trying to put forth some illusion that he knew what to do.:: ::It all came down to this: It should not have been Commander Breeman standing against that dragon. It should have been Lieutenant, Junior Grade Livingston. The one who was more expendable; the one who had no idea, in the aftermath, of what to do.:: ((Flashback – NCO Briefing – USS Columbia, Livingston’s Office)) Karzai: Yes, that would work! Livingston: Alright – is that something your folks can do, or do you need the output in a different format? Karzai: We’d need a surface geometry file – but we can convert it. :: A number of other ideas came up, and before long, the list had grown into a true plan. No single idea would keep them safe by itself, but the redundancy and overlap would be a layered defense; a concentric castle that would, hopefully, protect against these dragons better than their medieval counterparts. With a nod, Ben brought the meeting to a conclusion.:: Livingston: Droogendyk, take Yung and put together details of what it’d take to keep it running. Start by checking our inventories for anything we’ve got – I don’t want to use more power on replicators than we’ll get out of the things. Droogendyk: Yes sir. A lot of the parts will be in the lockers already under de west bay. Dat didn't take a lot of damage. Livingston: That’s fine. Anything else? Droogendyk: Nope. Livingston: Alright, Karzai, I want that power output map for Ops ASAP – that’s our short-term solution, so pull in whatever resources you need. Karzai: Yes, sir. Livingston: Alright, everyone else, keep your teams up and running, and let me know immediately if you need any additional resources. Dismissed! ((End Flashback)) ::The previous missions had pushed every officer to their breaking point. For Ben, it had meant being bigger, being stronger, being more certain than he actually was. It meant filling a role for which he was not qualified.:: ::Missions were supposed to strengthen people and accomplish things. At the end of all this, though, Ben felt only less certain. Had they managed to pull through and rescue their crewmembers despite the tremendous obstacles? Yes, they had. But Ben felt wearied by it, as though in the sleepy stupor that lingers when awoken in the night.:: ::Lieutenant Ben Livingston meant more responsibility, not less, than Lieutenant, Junior Grade Ben Livingston. It meant he’d be called on to an even greater extent, though he felt pressed to the limit as it was. What would happen if he was not up to the task? The only way to grow is to stretch outward, but do you know as you approach your limit the moment at which you’ll topple over?:: ::Over to the side, Vitor stepped forward to receive his promotion. What was he thinking about it? Ben had no idea. In that moment, Ben was not certain of the outcome, but seeing no alternative, he gulped down his apprehension and made up his mind to boldly go into the unknown.:: ::He stepped forward.:: Silveira: Thank you Captain. ::he winked as he received the pip.:: LIVINGSTON: ::quietly:: Thank you, Captain. ::As he received the pip in his hand, it seemed heavier than he had expected. His hand dropped slightly under its weight. Was it a pip made of lead, perhaps, or a pip made of gold?:: Nicholotti: Congratulations to you both. ::And then, after a moment, she released all of her officers to the relaxing call of the beach, the festive nature of the circus, and the alluring call of the food.:: And with that complete, enjoy the party! ::As the buzz of excitement began to whirl once more around him, Ben was, for now, still in that moment. Beside him, perhaps, someone had said “congratulations,” but whether to him or someone else, he neither knew nor wanted to find out. Ben remembered what Captain Nicholotti had said. The words rang in his ears.:: ((Flashback – moments before)) Nicholotti: It is my hope that one day, you will be the next generation of Captains, taking Starfleet to new places, and new heights. ((End Flashback)) ::It was most probably something said for dramatic effect, or a token expression used at promotions. But the words had been said, and whatever she’d meant by them, to Ben they heralded the long years of a career filled with the sorts of tragedies and trials that he’d already faced. If there would someday be a Captain Livingston, Ben wondered as a sort of passive observer who it would be. It would not be the Ben Livingston of this day. It certainly would not be the bright-eyed ensign he’d been when he first stepped onto the Starbase. That man had been killed aboard the Columbia.:: ---- Lieutenant Ben Livingston Assistant Chief Engineer Starbase 118 Ops
  10. round 8 Lt JG Ben Livingston - Brotherly Love

    ((Main Engineering)) ::Ben scanned over the text that now appeared on the screen. His stomach tightened as he read the words.:: --- Mr. John Livingston, Esq., I am pleased to inform you that after careful review, Starfleet Command and the Starfleet Academy Commandant have decided to accept your application to Starfleet Academy, San Francisco campus, to study in our Law program. If you choose to accept this offer, please reply within two weeks. You will report for duty at the San Francisco campus on Stardate 239004.01. You will find logistics attached to this letter, as well as required reading to be completed prior to your arrival. --- ::The letter continued, but Ben could not.:: B. Livingston: John! What have you done!? ::The screen switched from text back to the image of his brother, doubled over in laughter.:: J. Livingston: Ha ha! You should have seen the look on your face when you read that, Bennie boy! Oh, wait! You can. ::The screen changed to a still of Ben’s face, somewhere between disbelief and rage. Ben clenched his jaw as he sat watching it until John switched the view back. Now able to look at his brother, Ben glowered at him and leveled a finger straight at his brother’s face.:: B. Livingston: You listen to me. You cannot accept that offer. And don’t tell Dad about it, he’ll blow a gasket real quick. You know how he reacted when I applied, and that must have been much easier for him. At least I’d already become an engineer – Starfleet was less of a fall. J. Livingston: ::adopting a particularly sober expression, John nodded slowly.:: You’re right, Ben, you’re right. Dad would be upset. It’s just that, well … well, I already accepted the offer, and I’ve already told him. ::John smiled broadly and slapped the desk.:: And you’re right, he was so mad … oh, jeez, you should have heard him. ::Silence fell between them, and it remained for a moment as Ben thought. There were few situations that got under Ben’s skin. He’d found many more since joining 118, but that was the nature of the beast. The other thing that consistently managed to irritate him was any situation involving John. The man – boy, really – had a knack for finding those things that annoyed people, and poking them right there.:: ::And this was exactly one of those places. Starfleet had become a refuge for Ben – away from corporate life, a place he could excel and make a difference, and a way of feeling useful. But John? He didn’t have the same values as Ben. What values did this jokester even have? The whole reason probably was to annoy him.:: B. Livingston: John, why did you apply? J. Livingston: What do you mean? I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my big brother! ::Ben arched an eyebrow.:: B. Livingston: No you didn’t. ::beat:: Why’d you do it? J. Livingston: Well it’s complicated, Bennie. But here’s the thing. The galaxy is a complicated place, politically, legally, morally … ::John trailed off, implying that the list went on and on, or as John might have said, ad infinitum:: The Federation needs strong minded individuals with skills over a broad range of specialties, not the least of which – B. Livingston: I’ve heard the pitch, John. J. Livingston: ::shifting in his seat.:: I thought you’d be happy. Or at least happy for me. B. Livingston: How’d you get in with your record? J. Livingston: Top 5%, you know that. B. Livingston: Not that record. ::Silence descended once more. This time, Ben was not thinking. John, on the other hand, clearly was. His lips parted slightly a few times before he managed to speak.:: J. Livingston: Ben, please. B. Livingston: How? J. Livingston: Ben, remember … I wasn’t convicted. You know that. B. Livingston: And you remember. About what you put me through. All of us through. ::He shook his head slowly.:: Everything those families had to go through. ::John looked increasingly uncomfortable. He looked stung by an internal agony. It was an expression that Ben had seen before, and for half a moment, the hardness Ben felt was fractured and his own pain managed to find its way through.:: ((Flashback – years ago)) Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? ::Ben looked down to find his hand resting upon the cover, his fingertips sensing the book’s beauty and softness. His other arm was midair.:: Livingston: I do. ::The book dropped from beneath his hand; the Bailiff retreated with it under his arm. Ben looked around and the crowded room, then sat. The seat, too, was very comfortable, much as the book had been.:: Judge: Please state your name for the record. Livingston: Ben Livingston. Judge: Your FULL name, Mr. Livingston. Livingston: ::beat:: Benjamin Livingston. Judge: And your relation to the defendant? ::Ben closed his eyes and swallowed what little was in his dry mouth. His tongue tasted like sandpaper. He looked up at the judge, who glowered, jaw clenched and gavel in hand, down at him. The prosecutor, likewise, stood facing him with arms crossed.:: ::He looked over to the table before him, where sat, eyes pleading and sorrowful and contrite, the boy who had looked at him so many times before, after getting himself into trouble with the neighbors or Mom and Dad or his teachers.:: ::Ben gulped down the sandpaper.:: Livingston: He is my brother. Prosecutor: And on the day that … ::sniff:: ahem, that this tragedy occurred, Mr. Livingston. Where were you? ::Ben reached to grab his hand. When had it begun shaking? He leaned in toward the small microphone before him.:: Livingston: I was at home. Prosecutor: And your home is where? Livingston: Boston, Massachusetts. Prosecutor: So you were not with the defendant in New York City on that day. Livingston: No. But I did speak to him that morning. Prosecutor: But to be clear, you were not WITH him, Mr. Livingston? ::Ben’s mouth opened, but nothing came out.:: Judge: I remind you that you are under oath to tell the truth. Livingston: ::beat:: No. I was not. ::Ben’s gaze wandered back to the seat in front of him. His brother held his head in his hands, fingers gripping his hair. Those big, brown eyes had always laughed. Now there was more anguish in them than amusement.:: ((End flashback)) ::Deep inside of him, Ben could feel some kind of emotion welling up – one that he had felt rarely but very recently. He wanted to reach out, through the screen and take hold of his brother, pull him close and hug the man that he had so often wanted to hit.:: J. Livingston: Ben … I don’t know what to say. ::Ben struggled to find some words as he fought back the tears that wanted to burst forth. If he hadn’t just remembered about all this recently, maybe it wouldn’t have been so hard. Maybe he wouldn’t have brought it up. If only he hadn’t been on that mission just before. He sighed, trying desperately to think of what to say.:: J. Livingston: I guess I’d better go. B. Livingston: John, wait -- ::no words seemed to express what he wanted to say.:: oO don’t go? I’m sorry? I know all of that wasn’t your fault? I’m proud of you? What do I say here? Oo Just … promise me something. Let’s talk again soon, huh? It’s been too long. ::John nodded rapidly, those bright eyes now shiny and red as he pursed his lips in an expression Ben had never seen from his brother. They made eye contact again for just an instant before John looked away again and reached out to tap a button in front of him. The screen went black.:: ::Letting an enormous sigh escape, Ben rocked back in his chair and let fingers run through his hair.:: Livingston: oO What have I said to him? What have I done? He was only a kid … Oo ::A minute passed as he thought quietly over all that had transpired before he decided to try to do something productive and take his mind off of it. He searched around for something in front of him, but after picking up a PADD, he tossed it back onto the desk. He sighed again.:: Livingston: Computer – letter composition. Take dictation. My dear brother John. At some point in the future, we’ll talk again about the events that neither of us like to speak about. When we do, I will do my best to make sure it is done in a productive manner, and not brought up in anger. I am also very proud that you have been able to recover yourself and not only succeed in law school, but be accepted by the very selective Starfleet Academy. Despite everything we just said to one another, I’m proud to call you brother. Now, I do want to offer some advice as you embark on this newest adventure. After all, it’s one of the few escapades you’ve taken for which I have advice to give that’s not “don’t.” ::Ben smiled to himself as he imagined his brother laughing at that line. He gathered his thoughts, then continued.:: ----- Lieutenant, J.G. Ben Livingston Assistant Chief Engineer Starbase 118 Ops
  11. Round 7 Lt JG Ben Livingston - Witness

    ((Runabout Rick Husband)) ::Through the runabout, a voice echoed. It was peaceful, perhaps, but some kind of surety or strength stood behind the pleasant façade.:: Odyssey Station: Welcome to Odyssey Station. Please proceed to the nearest docking port. All Travelers must abide by the Wayfarer's Code while visiting the station. ((Flashback moments prior)) ::Opening his eyes just long enough to note that Kevin was staring out the window, Ben forced them shut again. His hands gripped his shoulder straps as they plunged through the gravity well and into probably, oblivion. When he could tell that theyd passed through, he opened his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. He could feel anxiety slipping off of him now that they were there.:: ::Unbuckling his safety restraint, Ben walked past officers trying to catch a first glimpse of where they were headed. His hand went out before him as he walked toward the door of the [...]pit, and it pressed on the door, which yielded and opened. Stepping across the threshold, he crossed into the courtroom and took a seat beside an older gentleman wearing a pinstriped suit. No sooner had he taken a seat than the proceedings began.:: Bailiff: All rise for the honorable judge Justin Phillips III! :: As everyone stood, Ben looked around. So many of them were there. Perhaps not as many as the day before, but that was natural. For some, it must have been hard to come at all; returning would not be easy. Friends and family of the deceased held one another, crying. The judge sat, and the old wooden benches creaked as everyone in attendance followed. Ben lost himself as he examined in detail those in mourning.:: Prosecutor: The prosecution calls Benjamin Livingston! Livingston: oO What? Oo ::Ben went stiff as a board, every hair standing up on end. Involuntarily, his legs straightened beneath him, lifting him to an upright position. They began to carry him forward, toward the bench. As he looked around, the tear-filled, glaring eyes had shifted to him!:: Livingston: oO This isnt right I didnt do anything. I wasnt involved! Oo :: His slow, forced steps quickened as he sought to move past the angry onlookers. Reaching the appointed seat, he was approached by the bailiff, who offered him a beautiful leather-bound book one of only a few hed seen in his life.:: Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? ::Ben looked down to find his hand resting upon the cover, his fingertips sensing the books beauty and softness. His other arm was midair.:: Livingston: I do. ::The book dropped from beneath his hand; the Bailiff retreated with it under his arm. Ben looked around and the crowded room, then sat. The seat, too, was very comfortable, much as the book had been.:: Judge: Please state your name for the record. Livingston: Ben Livingston. Judge: Your FULL name, Mr. Livingston. Livingston: ::beat:: Benjamin Livingston. Judge: And your relation to the defendant? ::Ben closed his eyes and swallowed what little was in his dry mouth. His tongue tasted like sandpaper. He looked up at the judge, who glowered, jaw clenched and gavel in hand, down at him. The prosecutor, likewise, stood facing him with arms crossed.:: ::He looked over to the table before him, where sat, eyes pleading and sorrowful and contrite, the boy who had looked at him so many times before, after getting himself into trouble with the neighbors or Mom and Dad or his teachers.:: ::Ben gulped down the sandpaper.:: Livingston: He is my brother. Prosecutor: And your Starfleet rank, Mr. Livingston? Livingston: ::frowning:: Im not in Starfleet. I work for a corporation. Judge: ::loudly:: Answer the question, Mr. Livingston. Livingston: Lieutenant, Junior Grade attached to Starbase 118 Operations. ::He glanced to the side, then down.:: oO Where did that come from? Oo Prosecutor: And on the day that ::sniff:: ahem, that this tragedy occurred, Mr. Livingston. Where were you? ::Ben reached to grab his hand. When had it begun shaking? He leaned in toward the small microphone before him.:: Livingston: I was at home. Prosecutor: And your home is where? Livingston: Boston, Massachusetts. Prosecutor: So you were not with the defendant in New York City on that day. Livingston: No. But I did speak to him that morning. Prosecutor: But to be clear, you were not WITH him, Mr. Livingston? ::Bens mouth opened, but nothing came out.:: Judge: I remind you that you are under oath to tell the truth. Livingston: ::beat:: No. I was not. ::Bens gaze wandered back to the seat in front of him. His brother held his head in his hands, fingers gripping his hair. Those big, brown eyes had always laughed. Now there was more anguish in them than amusement.:: Prosecutor: And does the phrase Odyssey Station mean anything to you? ::He squinted, thinking.:: Livingston: No no I dont think so. Prosecutor: I must insist that you be more exact, Mr. Livingston. Does that phrase mean anything to you? Livingston: ::beat:: No, it doesnt. Prosecutor: And the phrase biomatrix? Livingston: No, it doesnt, unless it was covered in passing in an engineering course. Prosecutor: Think, Mr. Livingston. Does it mean anything to you anything at all? Livingston: Its a largely experimental biomechanical device that simulates living tissue, although recently it has been made to produce effects bordering on, or meeting the definition of, sentience. They may be useful tools, but they should be considered very dangerous. I strongly advise shelving of the technology, destruction of public records that may lead to their creation, and classification of relevant information as Top Secret and Dangerous to the Public. Prosecutor: Are you a traveler, Mr. Livingston? Livingston: I dont see Judge: You will answer the question, Mr. Livingston! Livingston: Ive done a bit, but nothing particularly exotic. Euorpe, Mars, China once to Vulcan, on business. ::The prosecutor looked at the judge, who returned the glance, then turned back toward Ben.:: Livingston: Why is this important to the case? Prosecutor: Have you ever engaged in extra-galactic travel? Livingston: oO Extra-galactic Oo Thats absurd! Prosecutor: Thank you, Mr. Livingston. You may step down. ::Ahead of him, the weeping, glaring crowd continued to scrutinize him as he walked back to his seat. A deep sigh escaped him as he once again retook the ancient, creaking wooden bench. His eyes closed.:: ::Beneath him, the bench jostled from side to side, and there was noise all around him. Opening his eyes and looking around, he saw Kevin at the window looking at the space station that must by now have become visible. Theyd all made it, after all.:: ---- Lieutenant, J.G. Ben Livingston Assistant Chief Engineer Starbase 118 Ops
  12. round 6 PNPC Puncdor - New Beginnings

    ((Bridge - USS Columbia)) ::Perhaps someone is reading this and thinking that it is horrible for Puncdor to have lost the use of his Teth A gland. Actually I believe it would be best to call the gland what it is in the tongue of one civilization in a nearby galaxy that has from time to time had dealings with dragons. I believe I would be straying too far from my present concern were I to tell you how it was that this civilization came to know of the organ, much less what civilization I'm talking about. In any case they called it the igel. Now from a certain point of view it really is true that the loss of the igel gland was a tragedy for Puncdor. For example it is a coming of age among the older of Dragonkind to transition to adulthood and to dine on the Evastock and the Korbastik. But by wanting to remain young Puncdor shunned this transition, opting for one form of end over another -- and it really would have been an end to his childhood had he kept his igel and now, as he decided to give up the igel, it was an end to his ever becoming an adult dragon. I should like to say that had he returned home Puncdor probably would not have been shunned by his own kind. Perhaps he would have been seen as a minor, able to move from one place to the next in relative freedom. Dragons like their space and they roam far and wide, civilizing all manner of pockets of space.:: ::But let's return to our present corner of this true story of how Puncdor came to be discovered. If anything could be said of Puncdor's igel its loss posed for him an excruciating pain that I can assure the reader lasted not more than an hour. For the igel is an organ rather akin to the appendix in a human being. It swells, makes quite a fuss, and in humans simply bursts and threatens to kill the organism. In dragons it doesn't quite burst but rather turns the organism into something much fiercer. But losing the igel is in no wise fatal.:: ::Elaine LeBlanc was quite correct however when she summed up the loss of the igel thus::: LeBlanc: Uh well... I suppose it would be like being kicked in the testicles. Nevarass: I'd imagine that is putting it mildly. ::And it certainly was putting it mildly. As I have mentioned in a previous instalment of this history Puncdor was in a pain so profound that it felt akin to the end of dragonkind, rather than just to the end of the world as one individual in a different universe suggested the pain of being injured in the male gonads was like.:: Nicholotti: Then let's see if there is both a permanent solution and something we can do to help him with that discomfort. Nevarass: Yes, sir. I think we should monitor Puncdor for now to ensure he remains stable. But what about the adults, out there? LeBlanc: Could Puncdor help? ::And indeed the "Maternal Figure" of Kali Nicholotti suggested that perhaps Puncdor could get the others to follow them back through the black hole to lead them home.:: ::By now the pain was easing slightly, mostly on account of Puncdor's lying on his back and giving the hollow left in the wake of the igel a chance to rest.:: Puncdor: Uh well... It would be easy to suggest that the food supply here is soon to run out. And not only that but civilization. The younglings won't have any civilization to protect. They'll be alone out here in this odd galaxy of yours. Nevarass: That’s a good notion. Of course, if that fails, maybe we could convince them to follow us. We are food, after all. Nicholotti: Alright, Ensign Nevarass, if you would work with Puncdor and Miss LeBlanc on finding a permanent solution. ::It was at this point, as she was looking with some amount of sympathy toward the permanently young dragon, that Elaine came upon an idea.:: LeBlanc: Could we drop the force field? Nicholotti: Very well. Someone needs to stay with him, however. ::Shortly thereafter the maternal figure left Puncdor to his own devices, to think on what he would do with the rest of his life now that he had been granted this perhaps not eternal but rather prolonged youth. The first thing he decided he would do was to stand. Doing so was less painful than he had thought it would be. He moved his tail slightly and [...]ed his head this way and that. Decided that this should remain the extent of his callisthenics so as not to alarm the rest of the bipeds he walked rather than flew over to where the two science officers were. However, as is normally the custom with curious creatures like bipeds of the Milky Way Galaxy a new face came along wishing to speak with this new and wonderful discovery. Puncdor eyed the peculiar large-eared alien with great delight and curiosity. He had seen him a few times before when he'd been back inside his force field.:: Brek: You are safe with us, Puncdor. As you must have realized, we are not a violent community. All those weapons you see around us are for our protection. Puncdor: Yes. Yes, the children of your species are also the adults, defending you. ::The alien scratched its arm for a moment and then said,:: Brek: I can see you are curious about us, and if you want, there are many things you'll be able to learn about us: music, culture, games... But first, we need to ensure our safety. Can you ask the adults in your community to leave us alone? We can give them food, we can even treat their injuries. But for this to happen, we must be treated as equals. ::Puncdor tilted one side of his mouth in concern and uncertainty.:: Puncdor: Well.. As I said earlier I can probably tell them that there is not much food out here, or civilization. I hope they will listen though... Brek: I understand. If nothing you say to your elders makes a difference, then we'll have to rely on our technology to continue to protect ourselves. You, on your side, will have to decide whether you want to stay with us, or would rather go back to your species. ::Puncdor was quickly realizing this, but I dare say that his decision was one which I cannot easily summarize for you yet.:: TAGS TBC Kli'bits'querz''aa*em affably known as Puncdor The Dragon Now Permanently Juvenile Male Creature as narrated by The Narrator as simmed by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Breeman Chief Engineer Starbase 118 and USS Columbia
  13. Application question

    We have a special image team that makes signature banners for members. Once you're assigned to a ship we can make you one too. Each ship has their own theme and of course there are the duty post colors and a quote on some of them that you can choose (so be thinking!). Keep it in mind for when you graduate and we'll be happy to create one for you too. =) Welcome to 118!
  14. ((Cargo Bay 4 - USS Columbia)) ::Johanna MacLaren's fury at the dragon turned to terror as her back erupted in fire. Her cry of anger turned into a scream of agony. Then she had no more breath for the scream. She was drowning in her own blood as her chest seemed buried under an enormous weight. She was going to die; Breeman was going to die because she'd cared more for his hand than their safety. More fire ran down her back and then the pull of the transporter gave a momentary surcease to the pain. Fighting to breathe, struggling not to cry out, she tried to lift herself from Kevin's inert form. She looked down to see him covered in her blood, but she could not move. The strength had left her; her arm would not obey her and each breath was now a fight. The clinical portion of her brain cataloged her injuries. Massive blood loss, likely lung collapse, respiratory failure, likely muscular laceration. She'd sent her staff to the center of the ship. No doctor would arrive before she bled out. Twenty-six year old, Human/Betazoid female: death from massive trauma and blood loss. Tears of pain and fear streaked down her face. She would never see Joseph again. She was dying, and he might already be dead in the Jeffries tubes. Then hands were lifting her and red fire of pain gave way to the blackness of blissful oblivion. ::David Banks stepped through the doorway, his right index finger idly twitching by his side. Ever since the war he'd never been able to kick that habit. Over the years since as he'd trained to work as an excavation specialist at the Federation archaeological digs all over the galaxy people had never failed to notice the twitching finger as he'd walked. It happened most often as he thought about what to do next, how to handle this or that situation.:: ::It had been the transporter alert and then the faint sounds of the frantic nursing staff trying to move a body that had triggered him. He'd not heard anything like that since the war. Entering the cargo bay he saw someone he recognized. A female medical officer. She was lying face down, two huge claws protruding from her back.:: Banks: Christ.... ::He looked around himself and saw a nurse looking about at the equipment.:: Banks: You. Yeah, kid with the hair. Mengler: Me? Oo Jeez, I'm trying to find a doctor for Doc MacLaren! Who does this guy think he is?Oo Banks: You're with me. Mengler: Who are you? I'm need a doctor for Doc MacLaren... Banks: Listen to me, I know some officer has given you an order to stand here and watch stuff. My name's David Banks. Give that officer my name if you get in trouble. Until then you're coming with me. ::He picked up a medical tricorder from a table nearby and then walked over to the patient and said,:: Banks: ::Whispering:: Perforated lung tissue. Tearing of the... rhomboids, back muscles, spinal muscles. Tearing of the right... ribs... ::The boy stood beside him waiting until Banks turned and grumbled,:: Banks: Laser scalpel, suction, forceps. ::Dutifully the boy went and grabbed the required items.:: Banks: What's your name kid? Mengler: Steve, I was trying to get a doctor for Doc MacLaren. Why didn't you say you were a doctor... Banks: Steve? Alright Steve, we're going to do a foreign object removal and reconstructive lung surgery here, sound good? Mengler:Oo Here! God, it's not like there's a choice.Oo Yeah, I'm a medic; I'll help anyway I can. ::The red tide returned and Johanna found herself on her side, cold, shivering, her arm numb and each breath a monumental effort. She prayed to pass out again to end this agony and then there was an unfamiliar face and a gruff voice close to her face.:: ::David spoke softly to the woman,:: Banks: Hi... I'm a doctor... There's nothing to worry about okay? MacLaren::she looked at him, shivering and her eyes luminous with the tears she was trying to supress. Gasping:: Yes...there...is...lung collapsed...blood loss...lots of...::She bit down on her lip to keep from crying out. ::Definitely a doctor. He got down on his hands and knees and said,:: Banks: Medical kit. Osteoregenerator. Mengler:: still rattled by MacLaren's condition and the idea of turning her over to a stranger.:: Say again? Banks: See that uh... ::He indicated over toward the piping coming out from the air filtration pump nearby.:: Pump? Mengler: Aye, sir. We have one. Banks: Pull it out and bring it here, will ya? Mengler: You're going to do major surgery right here this minute? It's not sterile! Are you serious? Banks: [...] right I'm serious. MacLaren:Ye're... a doctor...? Eh dinna ….want to...die...like this... ::David nodded and breathed quietly to himself, contemplating what he'd say.:: Banks: You won't die. ::As Mengler handed him the pump he pulled at the back of the casing until it came loose. Retrieving a pocket knife from his breast pocket he adjusted the power and then turned on the pump. It gently ran at just the right rate.:: ::Setting the machine down beside him he said,:: Banks: It sounds like you're a highlander. That about right? MacLaren:: gasping:: Eh'm a Lowlander...on my...dad's side...Scots are... all...fighters though. ::Grinning, he spoke, trying to muster his best cheerful sounding voice and said,:: Banks: Aayyyeee thought so. ::Turning to Steve he said,:: Banks: Now Steve, I want you to hold this machine right here okay? If you do what I tell you everything will be fine, okay? Mengler:: Looking at MacLaren's deadly pallor, he wasn't so sure:: Sure, of course. You're going to be fine, Doc. ::As the boy held up the machine David sterilized the end of the nozzle with the medkit sterilizer. Setting the nozzle down he looked through the medical kit for an anaesthetic. Finding a local he attached it to the hypospray and pressed it gently into MacLaren's back.:: MacLaren:Is it...as bad...as...it feels? Laird God, it hurts. Banks: You're doing great. ::As he fired the hypospray he asked,:: What's your name? MacLaren::still struggling to breathe:: Johanna...MacLaren...Eh'm the...CMO. Eh dinna ken...who..you..are Banks: Yeah? ::Turning to Steve:: Turn it on please. Mengler: Done ::He slowly ran the nozzle over the open wound as he gently pulled at the claw.:: Banks: I'm David. David Banks. MacLaren:: her hands suddenly clenching:: Oh God, what is that? ::He knew it would be stupid to try and distill it down. She was a doctor and he owed it to her to tell her exactly what he was doing.:: Banks: Suction. MacLaren:: shivering and beginning to ramble:: So cold.. is it snowing?...Joseph can ice skate...Where is Joseph? ::Christ, she was going into shock. And yet the bleeding had stabilized, and the lung was about ready to be repaired. He knew it was now or never and so he decided now.:: Banks: Everybody's fine, Johanna. MacLaren: Hope, is Hope...safe? Kevin! Must help him.. ::He didn't know who either of those two were. So he did his best to improvise. There were some things he knew he could be honest with her about. This wasn't one of them. She had to know that she could lose consciousness without owing the world around her anything, and that he'd take care of her while she was out.:: Banks. Listen. It's time to start now okay. You're going to be just fine. Don't worry about those two. I will take care of them, okay? ::He set the general anesthetic hypospray cartridge and placed it against the woman's neck, his right hand now beginning to apply the haemosponge to the open wound.:: Banks: That's it... We're both going to get through this. ::He set to work. Now he carried both people by himself.:: ((Dreamscape)) ::The pain was gone; the fear had fled. Snowflakes danced around Johanna and looking down at herself, she was delighted to see iceskates on her feet and Joseph laughing a few feet away, his cheeks ruddy from the cold. He glided over and took her hand so they could skate together on the frozen loch just in front of her childhood home in Aberfoyle. Their breath made little puffs in the frigid air but hey were warm from the exertion of skating. For once there was no misunderstanding between them, no misinterpretations. They were simply a young couple in love, spinning and laughing. They moved into a spin and then his lips were warm on hers, still tasting faintly of the hot chocolate they'd shared a few moments before. She did another little spin, but when she turned back, he was far away on the ice looking at her with a face stricken with grief; Hope stood forlornly beside him. An older man she did not know stood with them. She tried to skate back, but the faster she skated, the further away they seemed until finally she was alone on the ice. Lt.JG Johanna MacLaren CMO SB118/USS Victory and Columbia and David Banks, simmed by Lt. Commander Kevin Breeman CEO SB 118/USS Victory/Columbia
  15. ((Main Engineering, USS Columbia)) Breeman: What do you make of this data Ben? ::Ben glanced over at the console. Stresses were growing all over hull, that much was clear. But rather than the typical rainbow of colors indicating wide regions of stresses, it was a chicken-pocked ship; flaring red indicators each only a few meters wide were popping up in fields of low stress areas – each an indicator of another attack incoming. :: Livingston: Looks like this has only just begun. Can we seal off any of these compartments? ::But before they could talk further, Ben pointed out another hull breach. Looking at the data from the hull breach it looked like it was still quite small -- not large enough for a dragon to make it through.:: Breeman: I'm compensating! ::He tapped a command and a magnetic arc fired across the hull.:: Breeman: Hopefully that will make it think twice about coming in... Livingston: Hope is good, but I’d rather hope and a plan. We need more data! ((Flashback)) Livingston: =/\= Thought you might want to know, they captured one of these things. You might want to take a look. I know I do. =/\= Nevarass: =/\= I certainly do. Is the dragon secured? ::That was an excellent question. Knowing next to nothing about the things, not understanding their strength or abilities or intelligence, how was it that he could tell the ensign that it was secured? Was it not just as likely that the dragons had the crew “secured”?:: Livingston: =/\= Uh – officially no. Proceed at your own risk. And bring security. =/\= :: As she listened to Livingston’s response, Allie glanced at B’Sara. She didn't want B'Sara to worry, so she mustered a small smile. :: Nevarass: =/\= I see. Well, I’m headed to the Bridge, now. Maybe we can figure out a way to tell our dragon visitors to stop attacking us, if they’re sentient. Unless we can find a way to communicate, we might have to face the possibility of destroying them all. Livingston: ::raising eyebrows:: =/\= I’m not sure destroying them is a possibility. ::pause:: But communication would be the best way to stem any slaughter.=/\= Nevarass: =/\= Agreed. That would be most unfortunate. For all we know, these may be the last of dragon-kind in the universe. Has anyone tried to communicate with them telepathically? Such a method would make sense, evolutionarily speaking. ::That kernel of xenophobia that lived inside everyone as a defensive mechanism had apparently been at work in Ben. He hadn’t much considered the prospect of them communicating, let alone a capability to communicate with other species. And yet, the ensign’s open-mindedness had led her to a conclusion that was quite probable.:: Livingston: =/\= Because they live in a vacuum? Very insightful! I suppose that would be a likely solution. Well – let’s get to it then. Best of luck.=/\= Nevarass: =/\= Right, sir. Almost to the Bridge. Nevarass out. ((End Flashback)) ::It wasn’t long after that another hull breach turned up, taking Ben’s attention as he monitored it. He nearly dispatched an engineering team before remembering the futility – and the danger – of doing so. Instead, he sealed off what he could. Anything that slowed these creatures down would help them have a better solution in place when it was finally time.:: ::Ben was about to report another breach when the ceiling nearly came crashing down around him. Steam, conduit, and shrieking jaws exploded down into the room just meters away, knocking him (thank goodness) to the ground.:: :: And then he watched Kevin Breeman, the ship’s nurturer and protector, charge towards it with terror and fury in his eyes.:: Breeman: Kill it!! ::Shocked, Ben looked around. He had no phaser; even if he had, was killing it a possibility?:: Livingston: We need a plan! ::Kevin’s weapon fire only enraged it, but still the engineer persisted in engaging it in combat, a modern day St. George defending his people. The beast showed no pity, no reservations – it sought only to consume as it was itself consumed by hatred:: ::But Kevin would be destroyed by this, if Ben stayed put, sheltered by a console that was now half separated from the floor plating, exposing cables that had begun to arc intermittently. And yet that hazard seemed much preferable to the one involving dragon slaying. And yet … He raised his eyebrows in surprise.:: Livingston: It’s okay – I have a plan! ::Lifting himself from the floor, Ben dashed around the corner and into full view of the beast. It had moved from its original point of entry, but it would still be close. Ahead of him, Kevin had its full attention, allowing Ben to jump up and grab one of the cables still swaying as it hung from the cavity above. He held onto it as it swung him along the wing-crested back of the animal. From this vantage point, he hoped to find some point of weakness, but he was moving too quickly. Near the end of its stroke, the human pendulum let go and threw himself over the upper deck rail.:: ::Sitting there was precisely what he had hoped to find – a EPS tap cable. Plugging it into the system, he rushed back toward the creature and using the rail as a jumping off point, leapt onto the thing’s back, holding the cable as a dagger to pierce through its armored skin.:: ::Ben could not tell at first if it had made a difference, but soon the wings convulsed and it tried to throw him off. As it tried to reach him, Ben saw Kevin regaining his footing and take a defensive stance, but not once did the Chief Engineer cease his attack.:: Orman: FIRE!! :: Katy’s voice filled the air, a tremendous relief. But when it dawned on him that he might be caught in the line of fire should it turn and expose him, Ben leapt back to the floor, still holding the cable but no longer within striking distance.:: ::He dragged it along the floor as he fought to rejoin the security team, dodging wingtips and claws as he moved. He reached Katy first.:: Livingston: ::shouting:: Nice of you to stop by! Orman: ::shouting as well, to be heard over the phasers and shrieking:: Report! Livingston: Breeman’s been at it for nearly a minute. I hoped EPS would do the job, but I think it’s just angrier now. Have you had luck elsewhere? Orman: ::still shouting as she tracked her target and attempted to put a bolt into it:: Killed one. Takes a lot. Would love to chat, but kind of busy! Kevin's bleeding, call Medical! ----- Lieutenant, J.G. Ben Livingston Assistant Chief Engineer Starbase 118 Ops / USS Victory (Columbia)