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Kali Nicholotti

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Posts posted by Kali Nicholotti


  1. 5000 words approaches 20 pages... you do know that, right? ermm.gif

    The word count guideline for this particular competition comes from Ongoing Worlds rather than being our own creation. And to those who are considering entering, you don't have to write 5000 words, that's just the upper limit cap. (But I agree, that's quite a number of words/pages) =)


  2. ((SB118, Sickbay))

    Walker: No! You don't understand!

    ::MacLaren managed to grab him before he fell to the floor. She managed to push him toward the biobed. Wrapping one of his arms around her neck, she struggled to deal with the nearly dead weight of a strong man, she kept repeating the same words::

    MacLaren: Commander, can ye hear me? Commander, you are not alone. You are not alone with it. Don't look at it; rest your mind.

    ::She administered the same sedative that had worked well on Dubeau.::

    MacLaren: Sleep now, Commander.

    :: He understood the order. There seemed to be something he remembered about not wanting to do it, but couldn't attach any significance. His voice came out clear but untainted by emotion. ::

    Walker: As you wish doctor.

    :: He moved to the biobed and immediately fell asleep. ::

    ((Holodeck))

    :: As the scene ended, the yellow and black of the holodeck appeared around him, and the man lying on the floor disappeared. For a moment, the dark haired human stared at the yellow and black, counting the squares formed.

    Sometime later, he stopped as abruptly as he'd started. And with the same lack of connection as he'd had to the man in the holo. Turning, he walked out of the holodeck. It had been awhile since he stepped on the Ronin. The thrum of the engine, the sense of home. His hands, sputtered briefly. As if a flame that was trying to burn back from the embers, but quickly faded. Without a further glance at his surroundings, he continued walking. ::

    ((Quarters))

    ::Moments or hours later, he realized he was in his quarters. He was moving, and therefore had to pack. Picking up a photo, he looked down to see the crew of the Ronin. His face shifted to a smile as flames like St. Elmo's fire began running up and down his arms. He remembered the Counselor on the Ronin whose empathic abilities had likened his emotions to flames. There was something... something he had to.... the flames flickered and died, and woodenly he placed the picture into a box.

    Methodically he began packing the items he found into boxes. Initially he paused, the flame flickering around him with nearly every item. And each time his face shifted to that of a man desperately fighting against the odds. But...as each item was placed, the flames flickered less frequently, his face remained a stoic mask.

    Each box was slowly filled, taped and moved to a corner of the room. The pace was economical, neither too urgent nor too relaxed.

    Finally, each item was stored, the rome was emptied. He moved one last large box near the rest before stepping into it. He filled the box with packing, before closing the flaps and sealing it from the inside. He closed his eyes and exhaled softly before speaking ::

    Walker: I'm done.

    ((SB118 Sickbay))

    :: The First officer lay on the bio bed, his body almost immobile. His words came out in a whisper...::

    Walker: I'm done.

    :: The alarm split the air, as the bio bed noted the sudden drop in vitals as the man quietly passed ::

    Lt. Cmdr Ben Walker

    FO

    SB118/USS Victory


  3. ((Somewhere...))

    ::In the darkness of where ever he was, Eliaan felt at least relieved to be

    alive. The pain, the overwhelming pain, that he had felt in the corridor

    was gone but the memory of it stayed with him as if he had been granted a

    temporary reprieve instead of a full pardon. As the darkness cleared a

    little, it was clear that he was no longer on the Starbase. It was

    familiar though, very familiar indeed.::

    ::The large room in which he found himself was empty of furniture but

    filled with memories; he was in the drawing room of his grandparent's home

    on Betazed. The pleasure and wonder of being in this place quickly melted

    into a deep sadness as the real reason that he was now seeing this house,

    empty as it had been after the death of his grandparents, struck him. This

    wasn't how he had imagined the afterlife but it wasn't something he had

    allowed himself to think about much.::

    ::Death, he knew, walked one pace behind everyone else but walked side by

    side with a surgeon. On any given day he knew that he could witness, or

    even be responsible, for the death of a patient. If he were to really

    think about how close death always was, he knew it would have stopped him

    being a good surgeon and so he tried his best to ignore it.::

    ::And so, he felt utterly unprepared to be standing here with the knowledge

    that he was either dead or very close to it. What had happened to him? He

    remembered the pain and being knocked down but he couldn't remember an

    assailant or why he had been there. He fought hard with his memories,

    trying to work out what had led him here and then suddenly it clicked.::

    ::Ensign Freo.::

    ::As he remembered the young Bajoran woman and the darkness that seemed to

    surround her, the image of a small Bajoran girl appeared in front of him.

    It wasn't Freo Liandra. It was another Bajoran, one who he had know what

    felt like a long time ago.::

    ::Ollera Kon looked up at him. In a flash, he was shown a quick

    successions of vignettes of the events that had lead to her death: he was

    transported back to Starbase 173 where he was convincing her parent's to

    agree to the procedure; to the arguments with Kaedyn over the correct

    course of action; to the OR where she died on his table; to his

    disciplinary hearing on Starfleet Medical. Overwhelmed by the images, he

    called out for them to stop and he was immediately back in his parent's

    house looking down at her.::

    ::She was dressed in the little surgical gown that she had worn when he had

    killed her but her eyes carried a wisdom which far exceeded her young

    age. He carried her with him at all times. She was the embodiment of his

    regret and sadness, her broken little body on the operating table was the

    image that stuck in his mind before he fell asleep.::

    Ollera: Hello, Eliaan.

    Deron: ::kneeling down in front of her:: What are you doing here?

    ::A wide grin spread across her face but she made no response to his

    question. Instead, she reached up and grabbed his ear with her thumb and

    forefinger. He was surprised that she was solid rather than just a mental

    image.::

    Ollera: Your pagh is strong, Eliaan. But I don't think it is strong

    enough...

    Deron: Kon.

    Ollera: I'm not her; she's dead.

    Deron: Am I dead?

    Ollera: What do you think?

    Deorn: I think that you didn't answer the question

    ::She peered up at him, and as she did she was suddenly the three-year old

    girl who had died in front of him again. With a giggle, she responded in a

    sing-song voice that sounded like the refrain from a nursery rhyme.::

    Ollera: Neither I did

    Deron: Why do you look like her if you aren't her?

    ::There was a presence beside him and as he turned to face it, the girl

    vanished. At his left hand side, his old friend Guy Hunt walked towards

    him with the wide-beam grin that was his trademark.::

    Hunt: Would you rather I looked like this, Doc?

    ::As he spoke, they were no longer on Betazed. Instead, they stood in a

    darkened sickbay on the USS Braveheart watching the real Hunt struggle to

    take his last breaths and die. Often frustrating cavalier about his own

    safety, Guy had sacrificed himself to save the life of Andrus Jaxx after

    the Bajoran attacks on the station. They had been through a lot together,

    not to mention the crush that Eliaan knew Guy had on him, and his death had

    affected the Betazoid more than he could have imagined.::

    Deron: Guy...

    Hunt: You just don't get it, do you? He's dead.

    Deron: Then who are you? Why do you take the forms of people who have died?

    Why these people?

    Hunt: I am you failure, Eliaan Deron. I speak for the people you were

    incapable of saving, the reason that your miserable life is worthless. I

    am your failure.

    Deron: What are you talking about?

    ::Hunt continued to smile warmly, despite the vitriolic response that came

    from him. Under normal circumstances, Eliaan would be able to dismiss this

    since the thing speaking to him was so different from his friend but he

    found it hard not to see it as Guy.::

    Hunt: You let me die. You acted like my friend and you let me die. You

    are pathetic.

    Deron: I couldn't save you, Guy. I would have done anything I could to

    help you but you were so badly injured.

    Jilenna: And what about me? You barely tried to help me

    ::As quickly as he had appeared, Guy was gone. A voice called from behind

    him and he spun around to see Marine Captain Jilenna Zehn. As his eyes met

    hers, he was thrown back to the runabout Thames. They were laughing in the

    [...]pit, the console exploded, he removed the symbiont from her dying body,

    he placed the symbiont in Kaedyn's abdomen. The images stopped and the

    blonde woman stood in front of him.::

    Deron: The runabout had been damaged, we didn't have the power or the

    facilities to perform the surgery you needed. We were able to save your

    symbiont.

    Jilenna: So you could give it to your boyfriend

    Deron: It wasn't like that....

    Jillenn: You wanted my symbiont so you let me die and now you want my son

    as well.

    Deron: I tried to help you.

    Jilenna: You only wanted to help yourself

    Deron: That's not true.

    Aren: You should admit the truth, Eliaan.

    ::Jilenna melted into the ether and beside him, at his right hand, the

    image of a tall, handsome Napean man appeared. Dr Dyami Aren, his first

    love. In his dark eyes, their relationship played out from start to tragic

    finish. He saw himself, a young medical student arriving on Vilar 2 and

    meeting the handsome doctor, he saw them working side-by side and the day

    Dyami awkwardly asked him to dinner, their hike in the hills, the day Dyami

    developed hemorrhagic fever and Dr Murdoch informing him of his death.::

    Deron: ::sobbing:: Please. Not him.

    Aren: I was your Imzadi but you forgot me as soon as you met your Trill

    Deron: I didn't. I have never stopped thinking of you, I have never

    stopped missing you

    Aren: Stop lying, Eliaan.

    Deron: I'm not!

    ::Suddenly, the four of them were standing around him. The room felt dark,

    their presence threatening.::

    Aren: You said you would always love me

    Hunt: You said you were my friend

    Jilenna: You said not to worry

    Kon: You said I'd live

    ::Tears streamed down the Betazoid's face. They jeered at him, these people

    he had let down the most, these people he felt the most guilty about, these

    faces that haunted him.::

    Deron: I tried to help you all. I really did. You have to believe me that

    I tried to help you. I would have done anything to have been able to help

    any of you

    ::Ignoring him, they shouted at him in turn.::

    Jilenna: You let me die

    Hunt: You let me die

    Aren: You let me die

    Kon: You let me die

    ::More faces, more voices, appeared and each yelled the same at him.

    They grew to a large rabble and began to shout over each other at him. The

    noise grew to a crescendo until it threatened to overwhelm him, he slammed

    his hands over his ears and screamed over the din.::

    ::And as soon as they had appeared, they all disappeared. Where there had

    been such noise, it was instantly quiet. He found himself again in the

    dark silence of the drawing room of his grandparent's house looking down at

    the small frame of Ollera Kon.::

    Kon: And now, Eliaan, it is time that you die too...

    TBC

    Lieutenant Eliaan Deron, MD

    Medical Officer

    SB118 / USS Victory


  4. ((Starfleet Academy, San Francisco California, Earth))

    The seats in the auditorium style classroom filled slowly as the clock on his desk ticked the seconds away. He watched it, almost preoccupied with the forward movement of the hands as those seconds disappeared into the void of nothingness. The occasional student approached the desk and placed a padd there, stopping for some kind of acknowledgement. Ultimately, they continued on to a seat when they got none. Soon, the seats were nearly full, yet his eyes did not stray from the clock.

    An uneasy silence settled on the room, where his students anticipated the beginning of the lecture. Each one of them looked down towards the small platform near the front of the room at the somewhat eccentric professor whom none had met before. This was a class that was one that was shrouded in some secrecy; a condition he himself had placed on his very presence.

    And so, as the clock tick-tocked - a sound that soon filled the emptiness where noise and movement once existed - the professor finally looked up at the class.

    "Good morning class."

    A wave of seemingly obligatory 'good morning's' drifted down from all corners of the room. The entire mass seemed quite unsure of what was going to happen next. Undoubtedly, the rumors that often spread about the class had at least some of the students concerned as to what might be coming. That was when he smiled.

    "My name is Commander Stewart, and I am from the future."

    Having done this very speech many times before, he paused as the whispers moved through the room. When the wave of sound had dissipated, and the ticking of the clock returned, he continued.

    "I am also from the past."

    Another wave of whispers, albeit a much shorter run, moved through the room as he walked up to a chalkboard at the front of the class. It was an antiquated tool, but one that he had insisted on having for his lectures. Many of his colleagues whispered about how strange it was, but to his face no one ever questioned it. It was simply a part of his odd nature; at least that was what the rumors said.

    Picking up a piece of the quite antiquated and specially ordered chalk, the grey haired man with the slightly elongated face that made him look just alien enough to not be human wrote two words; 'Time is'. Beneath the words he drew a line.

    "What is time?" he said as he turned to face the class. The echoing ticking of the clock filled the silence that extended beyond his own words when not a single student stepped up to the answer. Smiling slightly, he walked a few steps towards the center of the platform before continuing. It appeared that this class would be one of the less interactive ones.

    "Come on," he said as he waved one hand towards himself as if to draw in a response. "Time is?"

    It took him pointing at one young female officer in the front row to get things started. He stared at her until she finally spoke, saying only one word.

    "Relative?"

    Nodding, the man smiled slightly as he spoke, "That's a good start. Time is relative. Time is also self-evident. We see it pass, we witness its effects on the body and the world around us, but what about the fundamental nature of time?"

    The question created a whole new realm of silence in the room. It was something he was used to, so he simply continued.

    "Time is two things; both finite and infinite," he said as he spoke with his voice, but also with his hands. "We have all the time in the world, but time is always running out. Have you ever witnessed the moment when time stood still? Perhaps you have, but if you have not, you surely have been involved in a moment when there simply wasn't enough time because it was too busy flying."

    He stopped pacing along the platform to look at the students, some of which seemed to be following along well enough, before moving on both in speech and in movement.

    "To you, right now, time may seem like an irreversible succession of events, but in reality it is a dimension of its own. To change the past means to change the future, yet the past has already been changed."

    Turning slightly, he pointed to the line on the board.

    "Is time a line?" He asked the question and gave it a moment before shaking his head and continuing, "No. Time exists and fills up every point in every area of space in every dimension."

    A few nods could be seen throughout the room, but he looked into the sea of students and was met with questioning eyes. While some instances of the class seemed to take quickly to the ideas of time, others, such as this one, took some real invocation of critical though.

    As such, he asked, "Can you change the past, the present, or the future?"

    Whirling around, he pointed at a young man in the front of the class who fumbled around with a stylus in his fingers for an extraordinarily long second before dropping it to the floor and staring blankly back at the professor. The clock on the desk tick-tocked. One might have assumed, in the silence in which it resonated, that more seconds were lost into the oblivion of transition where the present became the past, but no one was able to see its unmoving hands. A full minute of real time silence went by before the student finally came up with an answer.

    "No."

    At this, the professor smiled and looked at the clock on his way to the board to make his point. It was as if he could see the hands moving even though they were most definitely not.

    "Why?" The professor paused only a moment before jumping into a whole new speech, "Why is it that the past is not really something you can adjust or change or divert to a new direction? What is the one thing about time that makes it so impossible to change? It is not the forward marching of time, or the slow forward crawling of it when you are waiting for something exciting, is it? Can it be the visible slowdown of time as you approach faster than light speeds?"

    Silence once again settled on the room and the ticking clock echoed in the ears of all who were present. This time, however, it was different. This time, the ticking sounded as if the hands were caught between A and B; between one second and the next. But, as no one could see the clock other than the professor, not a single student questioned the progress of time.

    It took some descent into the silent nullity once again before anyone seemed to gather up enough nerve to speak up. Even when one of the older students did so, the answer came in the form of a question rather than a statement.

    "But it is possible to change." There was a short pause as the student collected the rest of her thoughts, "Hasn't it been done before by using the gravity of a star to speed up to where a ship could travel back through time?"

    A wry grin appeared on the face of the professor. Now, perhaps, they were getting somewhere. He pointed at the woman and shook his head before speaking.

    "That would assume that time falls in a line," he said as he walked back and forth on the platform ignoring the seemingly difficult struggle of the clock on his desk. "If it were a line, it would be easily traversed. However, is it not right to assume that everything that could happen, already has? In effect, does time itself not fill every inch of space in every dimension in existence allowing for infinite possibilities?"

    Time, he was trying to explain, was far from the line these students were used to seeing it as. There were so many people focused on maintaining and preserving the timeline. What these people didn't realize was that the choices had already been made for them in this timeline, or the next. One of the students picked up on that fact and spoke in an almost argumentative tone.

    "But that means we have no choices," she stated flatly. "It means what we might chose has already been chosen and we can only ride the flow of it all. I can't believe that."

    The professor with the elongated face raised his eyebrows. It wasn't often in his walks through the timelines that he invoked such a response. This one, a young Asian woman with long, raven hair, would one day lead; it was something he could feel resonate within his core.

    "Why not?" he asked simply without taking his eyes from hers. She wasted no time in speaking her response.

    "Because the universe does not control my destiny. We are shaped by the events of our lives, not by some predetermined ending."

    Silence once again fell around them as the professor held her gaze. There was a fire that burned in her eyes that he did not have the pleasure of seeing often. In other instances of the class, he'd found her decidedly less intense or even non-existent. But this timeline would gain quite the leader, it would seem.

    Yet none of this could be spoken. His job was to only to be the catalyst for critical thinking on a subject often muddled through and misunderstood.

    "You seem sure of your control. How can you know you're in control of anything?" he asked already knowing the answer yet seeking to prod the woman into a level of furious debate that he rarely got the chance to see. Once again, there was little hesitation in her response.

    "Because when I act, I face a definitive reaction."

    It was the first of many quick, yet educated responses. Over the course of the next hour, he sparred with the woman over time and destiny. She didn't believe in fate, yet he tried to point out the fact that all eventualities did, in fact, exist. The woman seemed intent on the idea that she could bend the rules that governed time, yet she did not walk outside of it like he did; a fact that no one would come to know except for the few that allowed him to teach.

    But her thought patterns and passion were a breath of fresh air, and by the time they had run the course of the class, he felt as if he had run a marathon. Leaving her with a final cryptic statement regarding the nature of time, the professor turned his attention to the clock on his desk. The hands were positioned in such a way that made him want to hurry despite not having moved at all. All the same, he knew that this timeline would soon be moving forward without him.

    "Time is evolution of the mind, the body, and the universe around us," he said matter-of-factly. "It is seen and felt, yet invisible and intangible. Paradox and simplified problem. Remember this always as you step out into the normal world."

    The final bit got the attention of a few, but nothing more was said as the students began reaching for their things and prepared to leave the class. The tick-tocking of the clock on his desk, which hands had not moved since his last check, got lost in the shuffle of people and bags and desks around the room. No one approached the desk this time, as they would not ever return to the room where the strange professor taught. This was a one shot deal for those who chose to take the class.

    Watching the students as they watched their own chronometers, biding their time until the moment came, the professor mentally dismissed this instance of these students. The moment came as he finished looking over them all and soon they filed out of the room. While a few looked back and bid him farewell, most were already caught up in the present without much thought for the past which had just occurred. To him, however, it was all the same; every class he taught reacted in nearly the same way. This time was different though. This time he had been able to invoke a response from one of the students.

    It was something that made him smile as he sat in the silence and began filing the report to the appropriate people regarding the students he had just seen. In the silence, the clock could be heard echoing slower and slower into the empty room. The professor pushed the send button just as the second hand got lost in between the moments and suddenly the clock simply stopped.

    It felt like he was holding his breath, caught between now and then, before and after, as the environment around him shifted ever so slightly. He was used to it by now, but the feeling of not being able to breathe always caught him slightly unaware. As things settled, and the ticking of the clock rang out once more into the slightly different empty room, he prepared himself to teach the class again.

    Different, yet it was the same; a grand experiment in portraying the same event in various locations in time. The same students, in different timelines, all reacting according to their own logical chain of events. So far, none of the students had broken the code, but there were still an infinite number of classes to go. Perhaps somewhere along the lines he would run into another fiery personality or overwhelming intelligence that the time-walker would find more than just intriguing.

    The seats in the auditorium style classroom filled slowly as the seemingly broken clock on his desk ticked the seconds away. He watched it, almost preoccupied with the forward movement of the hands as those seconds disappeared into the void of this timeline's nothingness. The occasional student approached the desk and placed a padd there, stopping for some kind of acknowledgement. Ultimately, they continued on to a seat when they got none. Soon, the seats were nearly full, yet his eyes did not stray from the clock.

    An uneasy silence settled on the room, with his students anticipating the beginning of the lecture. Each one of them looked down towards the small platform near the front of the room at the somewhat eccentric professor whom none had met before. This was a class that was one that was also shrouded in some secrecy; a condition he himself had placed on his very presence.

    And so, as the clock tick-tocked in a somewhat endless march - a sound that soon filled the emptiness where noise and movement once existed - the professor finally looked up at the class and began it all again.

    "Good morning class."

    --

    Commander Kalianna Nicholotti

    Commanding Officer

    Starbase 118/USS Victory

    • Like 1

  5. After some of my own digging, which led me to the same information you already have, I can only share what I know. To my knowledge, (and those who have been around longer please correct me if I'm wrong) there is nothing against posting sims with open tags, however, it seems to me that there are a couple of reasons why you don't see this done often. First, a sim with a chunk of open tags/dialogue simply is not as powerful or emotionally invoking as a sim that is complete from start to finish. Secondly, sims just look better and are more complete when there are no open tags in them. They are easier to read and just seem like higher level sims.

    That's not to say that sims with open tags don't get submitted; I think that some people take the time to fill in those open tags with the responses from other sims before a sim is submitted to the contest, which is why you hardly ever see open tags.


  6. Even today, religion is a hot topic. I live in the deep south and I can say that even the mention of things like 'Godzilla' are shunned (because it has the word God in it). I'd wager to say that despite wanting to portray total equality across the board, there were still some major limitations well past the original series and into TNG and beyond.

    I actually wrote up a Writer's Workshop article about this occurrence not too long ago. If anyone's interested, you can find it here: http://www.starbase118.net/blog/2012/03/29/reality-buried-deep-within-science-fiction/


  7. ((SB118 - Brek's Quarters))

    ::Brek stood in front of his replicator, wondering what to have for breakfast. He had hoped that by putting his uniform on, he would feel `normal' again, but his appetite remained elusive. ::

    oO I ate so much last night... maybe I should stick to diet food today. What about the white thing that's supposed to be good for the microorganisms in the gut, but that looks like fresh guano? How do Human call it? Oo

    ::He ordered yogurt from the replicator and was sniffing suspiciously at it when there was not only a beep at the door, but also an insistent knock. The day was beginning in earnest, it seemed::

    Brek: Come in.

    ::Dakarai appeared, in disarray and looking altogether different this morning. The black man examined the living area, which made Brek feel self conscious. These days it was looking more and more like a stockroom, although he preferred to think of it as a refined cabinet of curiosities, crammed with rare treasures.::

    Brek: ::Delaying the moment where he would have to sample the yogurt.:: You are growing a beard, ensign?

    Dakarai: ::Touching his chin.:: Oh that, yes. My girlfriend likes it this way. When did you come back last night? ::When it became obvious that Brek wasn't going to answer, he went on: :: It has nothing to do with being intrusive Lt, it's just that Alice escaped during the night. The Acamarian Ambassador says someone must have opened her vivarium, allowing the spider to roam free. She is a rare breed apparently, black and red in colour. There will be trouble if something happens to her.

    Brek: ::Taking a spoonful of his `medicine' so as to look blasé.:: This spider... is it a dangerous species?

    Dakarai: Mildly. But I have been assured that we have all the antivenom we could need, if she ever bites. She has been described as being er... docile. ::His eyes darting everywhere.:: I take it you have not seen anything with eight legs recently?

    Brek: Nope. Four legs is the most I have encountered. Are these Acamarians insane? From this day, I don't want to see anymore dangerous creatures in the Embassies. This is a diplomatic building, not a zoo!

    Dakarai: Alice is a pet, it's different. She is, quoting the Ambassador, `cherished'.

    Brek: Nonsense! Do you think that if VIPs have a Nelephant for a pet they would be allowed to travel with it?!

    Dakarai: An Elephant.

    Brek: That's what I said.

    Dakarai: ::Suddenly motionless.:: Oh Mon Dieu! She is is here, over there, on your glassware! I hate araignées... er .... spiders! Anytime I see one, I want to step on it!

    Brek: ::Walking towards his display of fifth century Vulcan glasswork.:: It's not difficult to push your panic button, is it, Dakarai? How can someone as tall as you are, be afraid of such a small critter?

    Dakarai: ::With a shriek.:: Small? It's as big as my hand! ::He opened his right mitt for comparison.::

    Brek: ::Now but a few centimeters away from the bug.:: Don't shout, you are going to scare it.

    ::He took a large tray on the shelf behind it, and trapped the spider under it. Due to the intricacies of the glass work, Alice looked even bigger now, or as Brek was thinking, more succulent.::

    Brek: You had better tell the Acamarian Ambassador to fetch his pet right way. Spiders are a delicacy on Ferenginar. I don't know how long I'll be able to resist a snack.

    ::Dakarai looked at him with alarm and rushed away, apparently convinced that his chief would eat something that had a name. Amused by this concept, Brek sat down in front of Alice and finished his unsavory breakfast.::

    ----------------------------------

    Lt Brek

    Chief Diplomatic Officer

    SB118/USS Victory

    With Ensign J.B. Dakarai, Diplomatic Aide

    • Like 2

  8. ((Personal Quarters))

    ::Kaedyn Zehn looked at himself in the mirror with a concerned frown. In

    his newly replicated uniform, with its black turtle neck on which his new

    rank was pinned, he felt even less like the old Kaedyn he had been before

    Joining than ever. This, he knew, was healthy since he no longer was the

    old Kaedyn but it was still disconcerting. The logic of an intelligence

    service highlighting it's officers with a distinct uniform colour was lost

    on him but perhaps it was a way of Starfleet Intelligence demonstrating how

    mainstream it was in comparison with the shadowy, nefarious intelligence

    agencies throughout the galaxy.::

    ::With Eliaan still asleep, he quietly slipped out of their quarters and

    into the turbolift for what would be his first day in his new job. While

    excited at the prospect, he felt a knot of nerves in his stomach as the

    lift ascended to it's destination.::

    ((Black Tower))

    ::Arriving at the entrance to the command tower, which the station's

    intelligence department called home, Kaedyn took a deep breath. The Black

    Tower had gained a level of notoriety in the past, much of it based around

    events that he had not been authorised to know about and may never have

    actually happened for all he knew. Jilenna had spent some time there but

    as a marine counter-intel officer she was usually based with the other

    marines on the other side of the station.::

    Computer: Access to this area is restricted. Authorisation required.

    Zehn: Authorisation Zehn Lamda-Three-Two-Black

    Computer: Authorisation accepted.

    ::The doors opened and despite the mental picture of secretive bunker that

    Kaedyn had always had of the area, it was just another Starfleet corridor

    and exactly as Jilenna had remembered it. In a large, deliberate step that

    seemed to mirror the metaphorical step in his life, he entered the Black

    Tower and the doors slid quietly closed behind him.::

    ::Ahead of him, a young man dressed in the black uniform of intelligence

    and with a single pip denoting his rank, stood waiting. Was he waiting for

    him?::

    Ensign: Lieutenant Zehn

    ::He said it so it wasn't clear whether it was a question or a statement

    and for a moment, Kaedyn didn't know quite how to respond. When he did, he

    carefully so that the response could be interpreted either as a

    confirmation, if it were a question and a question if it were a statement.::

    Zehn: Yes

    Ensign: Commander Cornwell wishes to speak to you.

    ::The name sounded familiar but then after seven lifetimes of memories, a

    lot of names sounded familiar. He was due to be briefed on current

    intelligence status but surely Starfleet wouldn't send a Commander to brief

    a Lieutenant.::

    Zehn: Sorry, who?

    Ensign: Commander Valerie Cornwell

    ::And from the depths of Zehn's memories, he immediately knew who she

    was...::

    ~~Flashback: 2369~~

    ((USS Indomitable))

    ::Lieutenant Commander Reigan Zehn sat behind his desk, straight-backed and

    commanding, as the young Ensign entered his office. She looked, he noticed

    immediately, terrified in the way that all new ensigns looked on their

    first day of duty. Another chief might try to make her feel more at ease

    or pretend to be her friend but he had other ideas. Now, he believed, was

    the best opportunity to take a promising officer and mold her into his

    image of a good security officer.::

    Zehn (Reigan): Ensign Valerie Cornwell service number four three two dash

    five five six dash seven one three. Class of 69. Graduated with honours,

    a major in Security and a minor in Operations.

    ::Standing at attention, she looked vaguely unsure as to whether to

    respond.::

    Cornwell: Sir, that's me. Sir.

    Zehn (Reigan): You didn't want to minor in Tactical? Most of the ensigns

    who major in security minor in tactical, and vice versa.

    Cornwell: No, Sir. I did not.

    Zehn (Reigan): Why not? Please, you may speak freely.

    ::She remained at attention.::

    Cornwell: I am not interested in combat, sir. Most tactical officers are

    glory hunters, in my experience, Sir. I felt operations would give me a

    better understanding of Starships, which would help my role as a security

    officer.

    ::A small smile crossed the Trill's face, a rare occurrence when he was on

    duty.::

    Zehn (Reigan): Very good, Ensign. I am a Security/Operations graduate

    myself, for the very same reason.

    ::He indicated that she may sit down across from him and she did so,

    although she remained rigidly upright.::

    Zehn (Reigan): I have reviewed your Academy record, Ensign Cornwell and I

    was sufficiently impressed to request you for my department.

    Cornwell: Thank you, Commander. I appreciate that.

    Zehn (Reigan): You have done well learning the theory of being a security

    officer. I will now teach you the practice.

    ~~End Flashback~~

    ((Black Tower))

    Zehn: Commander Cornwell

    ::As he stepped into the temporary office, which indicated that Valerie

    Cornwell was not permanently assigned to the Starbase, he spotted the woman

    he had known so well two lifetimes before. Her hair was longer now and

    greying, where it had once been almost black, but the face was more or less

    the same. She smiled and waved him in.::

    Cornwell: Come in, Kaedyn. It's great to meet you, well not exactly meet

    you but you know what I mean.

    Zehn: I do, Commander. It's been... a long time.

    ::They had last met, or rather Reigan and Cornwell had last met, not too

    long before his death at the Second Battle of Chin'toka during the Dominion

    War. She had written to Jilenna several times but they had never actually

    met. Somehow, despite the fact that Zehn had experienced the death of two

    hosts, Cornwell looked as thought she had suffered through a more difficult

    time. She seemed weary and tired.::

    Cornwell: I was sorry to hear about Jilenna

    Zehn: Yeah, it was a tragic accident...

    Cornwell: But, now, here you are. I must say, your new host is very

    attractive, if I were only twenty years younger...

    ::It was common, Kaedyn knew, for non-Trill to speak in such terms. It was

    almost as if they believed, given the nature of Joined Trill, that the host

    was little more than a shell, an outfit that could be changed.::

    Zehn: You have barely changed since the day we first met, Commander.

    ::She eyed him with good humoured suspicion.::

    Cornwell: Nonsense. I keep getting older and you keep getting younger...

    Boss.

    ~~Flashback: 2369~~

    ((USS Indomitable))

    ::Reigan Zehn stood outside his office. He masked his impatience well

    behind a facade of stoicism but as the young Ensign approached it spilled

    out.::

    Zehn (Reigan): You are late

    Cornwell: Sir?

    Zehn: You were to report to me at oh five hundred hours

    Cornwell: And here I am.

    ::He frowned.::

    Zehn: Computer, time

    Computer: The time is oh five hundred hours and two minutes

    Cornwell: Two minutes? That's not really late

    Zehn (Reigan): And what, may I ask, is the threshold for being "really"

    late? five minutes? ten minutes? fifteen minutes? How long does it take

    for an explosive device to go off or for someone to beam away from a crime

    scene? Timing is essential in the life of a security officer.

    Cornwell: I understand, Boss. It won't happen again.

    ::He knew he was being tough on her but he knew she could handle it. He

    was always tough on new recruits, they picked things up quicker if he

    wouldn't let them away with anything. He was particularly hard on Valerie

    because he knew she could be really good but also because he could tell she

    was developing a crush on him.::

    ::The last Zehn host, Tomen, had been a star athlete and an attractive

    man. Tomen had been used to that sort of attention, Janel thrived on it

    and Zhima had mourned the loss of the political power that had made him

    attractive to woman. For Reigan, that sort of attention was unexpected and

    unwelcome.::

    ::They began his morning ritual of patrolling the large Nebula-class

    starship. He liked the crew, and the civilians onboard, to see him around

    and to be a visible presence on the ship. It was a habit he was hoping to

    instil in the young Ensign Cornwell. He had a set route that he always took

    and usually

    Zehn (Reigan): Did you hear about the wormhole? The first stable wormhole

    to the Gamma quadrant

    Cornwell: Yes, it's exciting

    ::The Trill man's face remained stoic, obviously annoyed at her inability

    to think like a security officer.::

    Zehn (Reigan): No it isn't. We have no idea who or what is on the other

    side of that wormhole and what sort of danger they pose to us.

    Cornwell: I suppose.

    Zehn (Reigan): I know that when arresting a Klingon I need to take backup;

    or when questioning a Betazoid be aware that they can read my mind or that

    an Orion woman has pheromones that make men go mad and to send female

    officers. I don't have that knowledge about these new races we might

    encounter and that make me nervous.

    Cornwell: Of course but it isn't the point of Starfleet to explore the

    galaxy?

    Zehn (Reigan): It is but I don't like uncertainty and neither should any

    good security officer. Danger lurks around every corner, never forget that.

    ~~End Flashback~~

    ((Black Tower))

    Cornwell: I'm not sure how well you've been briefed. I spoke to Savannah

    and she asked if I could speak to you about this...

    ::Kaedyn adjusted position in his chair. Surely, she knew he hadn't even

    had time to visit his office. She had sent someone to collect him from the

    lobby of the tower.::

    Zehn: I haven't been briefed at all, yet.

    Cornwell: How familiar are you with the Thracian Alliance situation?

    ::Open-ended questions. Was she using Reigan's interrogation techniques

    against him? Such a question led the person being asked into a situation

    where they couldn't quite be sure what was being asked. In that

    circumstance, people often gave away more than they planned as an attempt

    to find the answer to whatever the real question was.::

    Zehn: I'd imagine I know as much as anyone of my previous rank and position

    on this station knows.

    ::She smiled at his equivocation.::

    Cornwell: After a few years in Investigation, I have found myself in the

    deep end of intelligence. When the Thracian Alliance was established, I

    was sent here to establish links with them. That assignment has ended and

    I am being pulled out. When Savannah informed me that you were taking over

    the Intel brief here, I was glad that someone I could trust would be

    involved.

    Zehn: I'm not here to create intelligence networks.

    Cornwell: Of course not.

    Zehn: Then what?

    ::She leaned forward, placing her arms on her desk and interlocking her

    fingers.::

    Cornwell: I'll be frank with you, Kaedyn. Thracia is a mess and it is my

    belief that it poses a risk to the Federation. The whole place is riddled

    with agents and double agents and probably triple agents...

    Zehn: I had gathered as much.

    Cornwell: Why?

    Zehn: There are two groups of Romulans on opposite sides of the Thracian

    border and there's that old saying: when two Romulans are in a room, they

    are likely both spying on each other. Factor in the proximity of the

    Klingons who are better at intelligence that they may pretend to be; the

    fact that some of those who found themselves in Thracian space will have

    loyalty to their previous governments and the number of alien traders and

    diplomats that have made a bee-line for the Alliance. I'd be surprised if

    ::She smiled, confident that the investigative capability of Reigan was

    present in this recently promoted young officer. For his part, Kaedyn was

    a little surprised at how he was speaking.::

    Cornwell: I am concerned that as a result, the Thracians will develop a

    Tal'Shiar style intelligence agency. If they do, it will be up to you to

    keep in contact with the fledgling networks that I have established and

    ensure that such spies don't wind up on SB118.

    ::He frowned.::

    Zehn: Commander, I have been on this job for less than a day. Surely,

    someone with more experience would be better suited...

    Cornwell: If anyone can do this, it would be Reigan Zehn

    Zehn: ::frowning:: I'm not Reigan Zehn

    Cornwell: You are the nearest I have to him and with Jilenna's

    counter-intel experience you are probably even better suited for it.

    ::He cleared his throat.::

    Zehn: Commander, my position is within the Starbase chain of command...

    Cornwell: That was not my decision, believe me.

    Zehn: Regardless of whose decision it is, I get my orders from my

    commanding officer. I won't subvert the chain of command. Has this been

    cleared with Commander Nicholotti?

    ::A shadow briefly crossed her face and Kaedyn, acutely aware that this

    woman who had been his subordinate was now his superior by quite a bit,

    worried that he had stepped over the line. However, almost as quickly as

    it had appeared her expression softened again.::

    Cornwell: Commander Nicholotti is your CO and I respect that. I also

    trust Nicholotti, which I can't say about a lot of people any more. This

    is simply a counter-intelligence assignment, which would be within your

    area of responsibility and Commander Nicholotti will certainly be kept in

    the loop.

    Zehn: Okay...

    Cornwell: It has been felt that since Kaedyn has no background in

    intelligence, you won't have shown up on anyone else's radar. In short,

    you won't be seen as much of a threat to the Thracians, Klingons or

    Romulans.

    Zehn: Do you have any proof that the Thracians are planning anything like

    the organisation you are describing?

    Cornwell: There are. I just know there are.

    ~~Flashback: 2369~~

    ((USS Indomitable))

    ::The morning patrol of the ship had become an excellent opportunity for

    the Security Chief and his apprentice to discuss any questions she had and

    for him to impart his wisdom. He had even managed to accept the crush that

    she had on him, which did not appear to be going away anytime soon.::

    Cornwell: Okay, what would you do if you know someone is guilty but we

    can't prove it.

    ::Nodding to a passing officer as they walked, he considered the question.

    It was one of the most difficult aspects of security work.::

    Zehn (Reigan): We investigate using our gut instincts but that can only get

    us so far. Proof. Evidence. Facts. These are what we must strive for at

    all times

    Cornwell: And what do we do if we can't find any proof?

    Zehn (Reigan): Look harder. Turn over more stones. Go back and turn over

    the ones you'll already looked under. Speak to your witnesses again.

    Cornwell: And then what?

    ::The Trill stopped and turned to face the young ensign.::

    Zehn (Reigan): Then you may have to accept as justice is not served.

    ::She looked incredulous at the very notion of it, as if

    Cornwell: You'd just give up?

    Zehn (Reigan): Give up? Never. That's the key, we may have to watch as a

    criminal gets away or a crime goes unsolved but we never give up. We never

    give up.

    ~~End Flashback~~

    ((Black Tower))

    Zehn: I will look over any information that you have and discuss this with

    the Commander.

    ::For the first time in their conversation, she visible bristled and

    regarded him as the subordinate that he was rather than the mentor he had

    been.::

    Cornwell: I am not a new ensign, Lieutenant. I do not need you to check my

    work.

    ::He said nothing for a long time. She had been used to Reigan Zehn who,

    given the chance to lead an investigation like this, would have jumped at

    the chance. She had not reckoned with the stubbornness of this new host.::

    Zehn: Then until I am ordered otherwise, I cannot help you.

    ::Opening her mouth to respond, she closed it again and leaned back in her

    chair. After staring at him for a long time in silence, she lifted a PADD

    and tossed it across the desk at him.::

    Cornwell: That doesn't leave the Tower. You have until tomorrow to get back

    to me. Speak to Nicholotti if you wish.

    Zehn: Thank you.

    Cornwell: Dismissed, Lieutenant.

    TBC

    Lieutenant Kaedyn Zehn

    Intelligence Officer

    SB118 / USS Victory


  9. The other is that for humans the only option is a standard military wedding, but for aliens, they may have a wedding consistent with their culture. It seems to presume that all humans have a homogenous culure. It is similar to the time spent on alien spirituality and religions but none given to human religion and spirituality.

    I think a big reason for that is due to the time in which this was written. It was a pretty big task to try to incorporate the idea of true religious freedom without alienating the viewers and fans in these times who still held to traditions that we see fading today. The idea of women on the bridge, multi-national crews, and a society where all were equal was a big enough chunk to bite off without attempting to take on religion. So, I see the writers simply throwing out religious implications related to humans and making their statement of equality by saying alien religious beliefs should be respected and followed.


  10. (( First Officer's Office - USS Apollo))

    :: Liam had lost track of how much time he had spent in his office, though his chronometer had kept perfect time and indicated that it had been about forty-five minutes. He looked at the monitor in front of him, taking stock of how far he had gotten with the message he had prepared for the family of Daniel Brandon.::

    :: Nowhere.::

    :: There were, at times, words on the screen in front of him, but none of them seemed appropriate, and none of them seemed to stay there for long. Of course, there would be a note made in the Apollo's official logs, and Starfleet would likely forward that information once it was processed. But it seemed so impersonal. If anything happened to him in the line of duty, Liam had always felt it would be better for his family to find out personally, from someone like the Captain, or even Sidney.::

    :: But the Solstice had been missing for nearly twenty years, and her crew presumed lost along with her. It was possible that Commander Brandon's family had moved on since then and made peace with their loss. If that was the case, would contacting them about it simply be opening old woulds that had been healing for more than half of Liam's life. there was the chance that saying something, anything, to them might just make things worse for the family.::

    :: He spent long moments pondering it, what he should do. He considered asking someone, Jaxx or even Cayden, how to act. But he couldn't bring himself to put it on either of them. They carried the same burden, or the memories of it, and to put that weight on them seemed more than just unfair.::

    :: He took a deep breath, and a long sip of coffee before entering a few commands into his terminal. He waited for a few moments while the subspace relays of the Apollo connected to the ones that he had requested. After a few seconds, the Stafleet logo was replaced by the face of a woman a few years older than Liam. He could tell she was the woman she was looking for, she bore an unmistakable resemblance to the man who's Starfleet record he'd been looking at a few minutes ago.::

    Woman: Hello.

    :: Liam did his best to keep his voice neutral.::

    Frost: Lydia Brandon?

    Brandon: Yes. And you are?

    :: He could tell she was at least mildly confused. She was a civilian. And to be contacted directly by a Starfleet officer was at least the slightest bit strange.::

    Frost: I'm Lieutenant Commander Liam Frost, of the USS Apollo.

    Brandon: How can I help you, Commander?

    :: He allowed himself as long a pause as he felt he could without creating any unnecessary tension. He needed to choose his words carefully, but he had to do so quickly.::

    Frost: I have some information that I though you would want to here.

    :: He paused a moment longer.::

    Frost: We recovered some wreckage this morning, as well as the body of a Starfleet officer.

    :: He could see her expression begin to change slightly, as though she were steeling herself for the information that she was about to receive. That she had always know that she might receive.::

    Frost: We found your father.

    :: There was nothing for several long moments except silence while Lydia Brandon finally absorbed the fact that she had suspected would come for so long. There were no tears, no visceral reactions, no anger. Just a solemn acceptance of what she had suspected for so long.::

    Brandon: I see.

    Frost: I'm sorry that you had to find out this way. After so long.

    Brandon: I think a part of my always knew this day was going to come. The Solstice was declared lost when I was a kid.

    :: This time it was her time to spend a few moments choosing her words.::

    Brandon: Can I ask you something, Commander?

    Frost: Of course.

    Brandon: My father... do you know how he die?

    :: It was the most loaded questions he had ever faced. The answer raised questions about the nature of life and death that human philosophers had grappled with for centuries. from a strictly biological stance, Daniel Brandon had been alive right up until the moment Liam had shot him. But was he still Daniel Brandon at the time? Some might argue that Daniel Brandon died twenty years ago, the day he was assimilated. He ceased to be an individual, and became a drone. He followed the will of the collective, and was no more a person than a character on the holodeck. In the end, it didn't matter what the answer was, he couldn't bring himself to place that burden upon her. He looked the as straight in the eye as the connection would allow him to, and told her exactly how her father had met his end.::

    Frost: Bravely.

    :: She stared at him for another long moment before nodding slowly. She knew there was more to the story than he was telling her, she had to. There would be time for her to read the official reports, to find out what had happened. But for now, It was enough for her to know that her father had died the way he lived, bravely in the face of danger and the unknown. And perhaps, with that information, she would be able to better handle that report. Or perhaps, he could only hope, that would be enough. For a moment, the faintest smile appeared on her features, as if a small portion of the weight she had carried with her was lifted.

    Brandon: I see. I never knew quite how I would feel when I found out what happened. It's nice to have some closure.

    Frost: If there's anything I can do, please don't hesitate to contact me.

    Brandon: I won't. And, Commander. Thank you.

    Frost: You're welcome.

    :: He reached forward and closed the connection before leaning back in his desk chair. He let his head fall back slightly and closed his eyes as a small wave of relief washed over him. It wasn't a pleasant duty to perform, but one that was necessary. In spite of himself, he was slightly relieved that he had never known Lieutenant Commander Brandon. It gave him a small degree of separation from the situation that he wouldn't have had otherwise.::

    :: After a few seconds, he stood, taking a one last sip of his increasingly cold coffee before replacing the mug into the replicator to be reclaimed. He had, once again, emerged from the situation with his humanity intact, and that was something to be grateful for. He moved towards the door, straightening his uniform jacket and letting a long breath out before he stepped back out onto the bridge and into reality.::

    LtCmdr Liam Frost

    First Officer

    USS Apollo

    • Like 1

  11. ::There was a cakey kind of taste in the air as her friends mingled

    around her; green swirls of light in her blackened world. Nessa was

    giggling as Levi slipped on some spilt beer and sprawled on the floor.

    The green swirl flashed with red, then blue and back to green as he

    picked himself up, brushed himself off, and went to the bar to collect

    another drink. Nights like this were rare, and they were getting rarer

    as the group got older. Nobody muchly cares what a group of kids get

    up to in the big city during the night, but as you approach adulthood

    certain things are expected of you, it seemed. Even kids like them.

    The lost, abandoned, broken children of the world. "The bigger you

    get, the more useful you become so the more people notice you" is how

    Arlie had put it. She hadn't seen Arlie for months now. People must've

    noticed him for something. Nessa hoped it was something good - she'd

    liked him. He'd been the one that had saved her all those years ago,

    and also the one that had introduced her to the little pills that made

    everything so colourful. That was an accident on his part, but she was

    nonetheless grateful for it. It was always so dull and boring without

    them.::

    ::She often wondered why she was the only girl around on nights like

    this. Sometimes, when they went to the nightclubs or holomovies,

    there'd be other girls around. But they were never with her group.

    They were just... there. They all seemed very pretty; maybe that was

    it. Maybe they were too pretty to be hanging around with the likes of

    her, with her man-face and short hair. Arlie said she looked pretty,

    but he was the only one. He was probably just being nice. Besides, the

    hair was his fault in a way - though she couldn't rightly blame him

    for the face.::

    ((Flashback - 6 Years Previously))

    Arlie: 'ere, Euan. Be a good boy and look after this one, will ya?

    ::The big burly one they called Arlie presented Nessa to the kid as if

    she was a present. Perhaps she was. She certainly felt delivered, from

    somewhere very dark and scary that she didn't much care for to...

    here, wherever this was. Some half-empty warehouse in the middle of a

    stinking shipyard. There were bits of shuttlecraft everywhere, and

    some bigger pieces that Nessa had never seen before. None of it

    worked, though. That would've been too easy. She could climb in and

    fly away into the sky, leaving smelly London and all her troubles

    behind. Of course, she'd quickly be apprehended by Starfleet, or even

    more likely die in a massive fireball, but she was never one for

    foresight.::

    ::Arlie couldn't have been older than eighteen years, but little Euan

    made him seem fatherly by comparison. The Welsh accent really didn't

    give the boy chance to even pretend to be older, either. In truth he

    was twelve, only a year older than Necessity. Though he tried to

    stretch that year out as far as it would go. It was hard to believe

    she would become friends, of a sort, with Euan and his ever-cheerful

    sing-song voice.::

    Euan: Alright there, is it? What's your name then little'un?

    James: ::Stroppily:: Necessity. And I'm not little!

    Euan: ::Thoughtfully:: That's a weird one, never 'eard that name

    before... you one o' them aliens or summut? Lots o' weird names they

    have like, Arlie tells me stories about 'em.

    ::A grin of triumph crept across Necessity's lips.::

    James: Arlie *gave* it to me. I didn't 'ave one before. Or if I did I

    dunno know what it was, nobody never used it. ::She beamed:: Said I'm

    special and res... resor- ::The strange word gave her pause, so - true

    to it's meaning - she found a way around it.:: summink what means I

    find ways of doin' fings. Even when they's too 'ard. I get's 'em done.

    Euan:: Resourceful, is it? Well, gotta be that out 'ere I suppose.

    James: Arlie says necesserty's the muvver of invention. Says I'm gonna

    be an inventor.

    Euan: ::Under his breath:: 'spect she'll be the mother o' more'n that

    'fore long. ::He s[...]ed, then spoke louder, to Nessa:: That 'air o'

    yours. Breedin' rats in it, are we?

    ::As much as Nessa scrunched her face up in offence and annoyance, she

    couldn't actually remember the last time she'd washed her hair. Or any

    of her, for that matter. Instead she resorted to the age-old defence

    of crossing her arms and stamping her foot.::

    James: You're mean!

    ::A scathing riposte, sure to win any argument.::

    Euan: Sorry precious, only commentin' like. Looks a bit of a mess,

    that's all. 'course, I could fix that for you, y'know.

    ::She had been so eager for the remedy. Looking back, there were

    several points along the way where a more suspicious girl - the cynic

    that she would later become, for instance - would have noticed what

    was happening. But for eleven-year-old Necessity James it wasn't until

    her fringe fell to the floor in front of her eyes that she noticed.

    She'd screamed then. Screamed so loud that Arlie had come rushing up

    the stairs and stormed into the room.::

    Arlie: Euan! What in 'ells name, boy?!

    Euan: Quicker than washin' it, isn't it? Lovely now it is...

    ::Nessa's eyes had narrowed in rage at the smile Arlie couldn't quite

    conceal. Looking back, it must've been pretty funny for everyone

    except the victim. Worse still was that Arlie actually restrained her,

    so that Euan could finish the butchery! Hours later when she was put

    to bed that night, Arlie came to her with a mirror.::

    Arlie: I know you're angry, Ness. But in time you'll realise that

    actually, young Euan might've saved you a lot of trouble with that

    'aircut.

    ::The restraining made sense almost immediately, when she realised how

    she must've looked with only half her hair cut off. The actual cutting

    didn't make sense to her until much later, but he was right. That was

    the defining thing about Arlie; sooner or later, he was always

    right.::

    ((End Flashback))

    ::Nessa smiled as she read the message on her PADD the next morning.

    There was to be a 'meet and greet' in the Holodeck on the Victory

    tonight. A chance to get to know everyone. She recalled bitterly the

    last time she'd "gotten to know everyone", It was shortly before the

    entire bleedin' lot of them were shipped off to the USS Apollo along

    with the Captain she'd met for the most brief of moments, and left her

    on the station with another bunch of strangers. Except for a Caitian

    named- no, she wasn't even going to try that one from memory. What had

    happened to her, anyway?::

    oO They'd better not take Luna away... Oo

    ::Puling herself out of her bed, she had a little giggle at the mess

    that greeted her in the mirror. Nessa pulled on some cargo pants and a

    vest top, and stumbled over to the replicator.::

    oO This one's for you, Euan. Ya little taffy git. Oo

    James: One pair of hairdressing scissors, left handed.

    Computer: ::Playing a discordant error tone:: Access denied.

    James: ::Incredulously:: I'm denied... a pair of scissors?

    Computer: Access to sharp implements and cutting blades restricted in

    these quarters.

    ::Necessity stood, staring at the replicator in awe.::

    James: Oi, I ain't bein' told what I can and can't 'ave by a metal

    box. What am I, six?

    Computer: Restriction implemented by Starfleet Counsellor Lisa Hyatt, 238901.18.

    ::The date Nessa graduated from Starfleet Academy. She'd forgotten

    about the Hyatt woman, and her objections to Nessa even entering

    training, let alone graduating it. Nessa had expressed quite plainly

    that she was not "a mental case", that a Starfleet Cousellor should

    not be using such a term even if she was, and finally had given quite

    a detailed description of where she thought Dr. Hyatt could store her

    psycho analysis report. Nevertheless, it seemed Lisa had gotten the

    last laugh. Well, Nessa would just have to consult Lieutenant Valyn

    about that, wouldn't she...::

    Walker: =/\= Commander Walker to Lt. Valyn and Lt. James. =/\=

    James: ::Trying not to sound annoyed:: =/\= James 'ere, sir. =/\=

    Walker: =/\= I need your assistance in setting up the meet and greet

    tonight, I'd like to get your opinions and determine what supplies we

    can utilize. =/\=

    James: ::With a mischievous grin:: =/\= Not sure the kinda parties I'm

    used to 'aving are what you've got in mind... oO nor the type of

    supplies, for that matter Oo. But I'll give it a go, sir. Fancy

    discussin' it in person? Feels like I ain't eaten for six weeks. =/\=

    Walker: =/\= [Response?] =/\=

    James: =/\= Sounds like a plan, sir. I'll meet you there in, what, an hour? =/\=

    Walker: =/\= [Response?] =/\=

    James: =/\= Five-by-five, sir. See ya then. =/\=

    ------------------------------------------------

    Lieutenant (JG) Necessity James

    H/C/O

    USS Victory/SB118


  12. Other than reading the various topics on the site, can anyone tell me if there is something I should be doing until training starts? Is there a time frame for when that happens?

    Thanks!

    Training classes usually start each Monday, so that's when you should expect to hear something on that front. In the meantime, feel free to dive in any of the conversations here, ask any questions you might have, and feel free to explore the cadet resources around the main site.

    And welcome! =)


  13. ((Starbase 118 - Deck 775))

    ::It was late when Kaedyn Zehn reluctantly left his office and returned to his empty quarters. With Eliaan away again on the Victory, he felt acutely lonely. That his partner could frequently be called away for duty was something Kaedyn had accepted and had not thought much about before he was joined but he was more aware of Eliaan’s absence now. In a cruel irony, now that he had the memories of all those other people swimming around in his head he felt more alone than when he was just one person and one set of memories.::

    ::He stood in the middle of their quarters in the dark, not sure what to do next. He felt himself pulling in two directions: his life with Eliaan, even if it was starting to feel unfulfilling, was here on Starbase 118 but his previous host’s son was being taken by his grandmother to Trill.::

    ::With Eliaan gone, he needed someone to talk to about all this but as he thought of it, he realised that Kaedyn hadn’t had much of a life prior to Joining. His own career had become mostly following Eliaan from one posting to another and somehow he had never been able to develop friendships. He thought of the new Counsellor but he knew she was on the Victory; then there was Jonesy but thought it couldn’t be someone who had been part of Jilenna’s life.::

    ::Then, from deep within his subconscious, the answer came to him.The most appropriate person to speak to was within himself. While the big personalities of Leora and Zhima and the more recent hosts Reigan and Jilenna loomed heavily in his mind, there was also the quiet, kind, nurturing voice of Zehn’s fourth host Calla.::

    ::The station’s caretaker, Jinto, had suggested he undertake a zhian'tara ceremony to meet all his hosts. Kaedyn had balked at that suggestion, worried that he would be even more overwhelmed by them all in person. But there was another way, the Trill Rite of Emergence, which would allow him to speak to one of his former hosts.::

    ::Not knowing if it would even work, he looked up the Rite on the Trill database and replicated the necessary equipment. Having struggled so much to find some outlet for all his feelings, he was excited to now have a plan of action and quickly set up the ritual in the bedroom.::

    ::Staring into the mirror, he began chanting the ancient Trill words that would allow his past host to reveal herself to him. He could feel himself shake with nerves. What if she didn’t think he was good enough to carry her Symbiont and her memories? How could he, emotional wreck that he was, ever live up to the proud lineage of Zehn? Still, he continued to chant the words that would bring her forth.::

    ::In the mirror, his reflection rippled and was replaced with the image of a woman. It was amazing how different the many hosts of Zehn looked, despite being more or less parts of the same person. Calla’s skin was pale so that her Trill spots stood out more than his; her auburn hair was worn loose and sat on her shoulders. He noted that they shared a similar colour of green eyes.::

    (Calla) Zehn: Kaedyn, it's lovely to meet you

    ::There was a warm familiarity in her face, despite him having never met her before. All the apprehension he felt at conducting the ritual and asking for help melted away with her warm, accepting smile. Her voice was lower than he had imagined it to be and she seemed to know how to use it in such a manner that it sounded as if she were singing rather than talking.::

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: Hello Calla

    (Calla) Zehn: Well, you’ve not been having a great time of it recently. Have you?

    ::He would have laughed, if he had thought the expression of emotion wouldn’t lead him to tears. ::

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: No, not really.

    (Calla) Zehn: I’m glad you called on me for help.

    ::Turning from the mirror, he was aware of Calla standing beside him although he knew she was just an image created by his mind and the powerful effects of the Trill mud that bubbled in the urn in front of him. He walked out of the bedroom and into the living area and she followed him.::

    (Calla) Zehn: The last time I was on a Starfleet vessel, the quarters were much smaller.

    ::Never great at small-talk when not directed at patients, Kaedyn found it even harder to with this person who was part of him.

    Acknowledging the awkwardness, he wondered whether that contributed to his inability to make new friends and forced himself to take part in the exchange.::

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: Yes, the quarters here are much larger than normal.

    This is a huge station; everything is on a larger scale it seems.

    ::The absurdity of the situation, of standing in a room talking to a construct of his mind and the memories held in Zehn, suddenly occurred to him and an involuntary grin crossed his face.::

    (Calla) Zehn: What is it?

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: You’re a psychologist… don’t you think this is a crazy situation?

    ::She threw her head back and laughed before sitting down on one of the two sofas in the living area.::

    (Calla) Zehn: Crazy isn’t a word I would normally use, its frowned upon in my line of work, but I will agree this is an unusual situation. It can help though.

    ::He sat down across from her, the eerie feeling of speaking to a figment of his mind fading as he spoke to her.::

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: Have you done this yourself?

    (Calla) Zehn: No, but Jilenna used the Rite of Emergence to call me forth twice. She went through a particularly bad time after her husband died and I would like to think I was able to help her out.

    ::In the back of his mind, he knew that. It was a strange thing to discuss the memories he carried with someone who had taken part in them. He smiled and nodded slowly, remembering the conversations between Jilenna and Calla.::

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: You must get tired of only being called upon when one of us has a problem.

    (Calla) Zehn: Kaedyn, I am always a part of you, just as I was a part of Jilenna. If you ever need me then you just need to look inward.

    If you are finding that too difficult for whatever reason, you can perform the Rite and speak to me directly. Just think of me as the family therapist, always on call.

    ::He smiled and then remained quiet for a long time. Calla made no sign of impatience or irritation but instead sat watching him with a calm, almost neutral, look on her face. She had been, he remembered, a very successful psychologist and had seen patients almost until the day she died.::

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: Its Janel…

    ::She nodded slowly, leaning back into the chair and interlocking her fingers. He had caught himself sitting in a similar position recently and smiled as he realised where it had come from.::

    (Calla) Zehn: Jilenna’s Janel or third host Janel?

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: The baby

    (Calla) Zehn: Good, I love Janel as much as all the other hosts but can be difficult to deal with. At my zhian'tara he actually fell out with me and refused to speak to me. My poor brother had to carry his memories for two days before he finally let up and spoke to me again.

    I have no idea why Jilenna would want to name her son after him!

    ::Kaedyn laughed and could feel himself relax into the conversation.

    It was, he thought, like speaking to a beloved parent or a close sibling and he realised why Jilenna had taken such comfort from it.::

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: Something for me to look forward to then.

    (Calla) Zehn: Indeed. Now, why don’t you explain to me what the problem with Janel is?

    ::He told her about his post-Joining experience, about how he had been determined to return to the station and make sure Janel was okay following his mother’s death and how Mezan was now planning to return to Trill with Janel. He talked about how he felt torn between the two aspects of his life and how he was terrified that he was going to mess everything up.::

    (Calla) Zehn: It is very common to experience strong attachments to the families and partners of previous hosts, as I am sure you have been told. These attachments are stronger again with regard to your immediate predecessor and when there are children involved it can be virtually impossible to separate your feelings.

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: I guess other hosts are trained to deal with this. This is why people like me aren’t supposed to get symbionts.

    ::She shook her head, her auburn hair flowing over her shoulders as she moved.::

    (Calla) Zehn: Your situation is rare but I don’t think there is enough training in the world to prepare you for how overwhelmed any of us feel when we are given the memories of people who have recently died.

    You can’t blame yourself for finding it difficult. I found it difficult, we all did.

    ::It was comforting to hear. He hadn’t really realised that he was blaming himself for not being able to reconcile his mixed feelings.

    He was locked into punishing himself for something that most people would be just as troubled with.::

    (Calla) Zehn: You feel pulled between the lives Kaedyn had built for himself with Eliaan and the one torn away from Jilenna too quickly.

    Given the fact that you were not planning to be Joined, it is completely natural for your life as Kaedyn Zehn to go in a third direction. It is also natural for you to take elements of Jilenna’s life and incorporate them into your own.

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: But how do I reconcile situations where they go in opposite directions?

    (Calla) Zehn: Then you have to work out which direction is right for you

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: What if I already know the direction but am too scared to articulate it because if I get it then everything I’ve ever wanted comes true and if I don’t then I can’t work out how to live with the regret?

    ::Calla made no response sensing, he figured, that he had more to say or waiting for him to actually come the point that they had both knew he hadn’t reached yet. He had carried it with him since he had returned to the station. He had danced around it, too afraid to even allow himself to think it fully never mind say it out loud.::

    (Kaedyn) Zehn: What if I want to stay here with Eliaan, change my job and adopt Janel? What if that’s the new life that I want?

    ::A broad smile spread across Calla’s face and she leaned towards him::

    (Calla) Zehn: Ah, then this may turn out to be a longer session than you might have expected…

    TBC

    Lieutenant (junior grade) Kaedyn Zehn

    Chief Nursing Officer

    SB118 / USS Victory


  14. ((Transporter Room - USS Apollo))

    :: The air that Liam breathed in as he materialized in the transporter room of the Apollo was as fresh as an ocean breeze when compared to the dank, stale atmosphere of the Canduc. He had only spend a total of a few hours on the ship, but it was more than enough of that type of environment to last him for a long time. Most of the crew fled out of the room made their way out and to the turbolift. Liam allowed himself to fall behind them, catching the next lift and taking it up to deck three. A short walk down the hall and he found himself in front of his own door.::

    :: The lights of the room came on as he entered, enjoying the slow transformation that was taking place as he and Cayden slowly made the otherwise unremarkable room feel slightly more like a home, though he had to admit it was more by her doing than by his. He appreciated the effort none the less, as he had little talent for it himself. After a few moments of admiration, he made his way to the bathroom. He began running water into the sink, splashing and wiping his face in an effort to remove what felt like a fair layer of general grime that he had accumulated while aboard the freighter. He toweled off and took a moment to examine himself in the mirror.::

    :: His memory drifted back to his first away mission on the Victory. He remembered how it felt to step off the shuttle for the first time after their rather spectacular landing. He remembered the strangest mix of pride and guilt. Pride at having gotten the shuttle down without any serious injuries, and yet guilt for not having been able to prevent the crash in the first place. He was just an ensign then, fresh out of the academy, and far less prepared for what the galaxy had in store for him than he had believed he was. ::

    :: He looked down at the collar of his uniform. Two gold pips and one black one. They were, to him, more than a simple denotation of rank, an indicator of his status within the hierarchy of Starfleet rank. each of them was a symbol of something he had experienced, something he had seen, something that he had experienced, something that he had lost whether he had prepared for it or not.::

    :: They each sat on the collar of his dark red shirt. It wasn't any different from the collar he'd worn when he first came aboard the Victory and first taken his seat at her conn. They'd soon rushed off onto a situation more profound than many officers had experienced in their entire careers. He'd worn a gold one too, as the Chief of security for an entire Starbase and it's 118,000 residents and countless visitors. And there too he'd seen more than he could have imagined when a terrorist organization had bombed the station. He's never even found the time, or the nerve, to read the final count of lives lost in the hours of the attack and the days after. He'd had to contact a few families of security officers that had made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. And not once had it gotten any easier, though he supposed that was proof that he hadn't lost his humanity.::

    :: And now he was back in red. The colour was like having come full circle. He had stepped aboard wearing it, expecting so much of himself, and the rest of the crew uncertain of what to expect from him. He had been the outsider then, joining a crew that had already established itself, and he had worked hard to find his place in it. Now he was wearing the colour again, but the expectations were somewhat reversed. This time they represented everything that the crew expected of him. They expected him to be a leader, a guide as they ventured boldly into the unknown, and to do his best to balance their interests with the mission. the Captain expected much of him too; a bridge between him and the crew, a voice of reason, someone to bounce ideas off of, and, if need be, to tell him when he was plain out of his telepathic mind.::

    :: And underneath it all was Liam. Not the pilot, the security officer, or even the explorer. Just the man, the son, the brother, and the friend. History would judge him by those other things. But the ones closest to him, his parents, his brother and sister, and Cayden, would all judge him simply by what measure of a man he was and had been. And that was all he could demand of himself, was to be a man. Not the man that they saw him as, or as the man he wanted them to see him as, but simply the man the he wanted to see himself as.::

    :: And in that moment, he had, for the first time, a clarity that he had not had before. A clarity of expectation and of purpose. When it had mattered, and been expected of him, he had been the leader that his team needed. And he had brought them all back safely. No one could have expected any more from him, not even himself. He looked at himself in the mirror once more, with his new found clarity and knew that he was, in that moment in time, exactly where he was meant to be.::

    :: He stepped out of the bathroom, crossing his quarters to the bedroom and retrieved a fresh uniform, and discarding the dirty one for reclamation. He pulled the shirt over his head and pulled the jacket over his shoulders. He looked down at the pictures on the desk as he walked back into the living room. The picture of his family, the one of him with Sidney and Oliver on some adventure, and he smiled.::

    Frost: Computer, begin recording.

    :: The computer chirped at him in acknowledgement.::

    Frost Hey mom. I have to get back to work in a few minutes, but I thought I should let you know how I've been...

    LtCmdr Liam Frost

    First Officer

    USS Apollo

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