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Tony, aka Kells

Executive Council member
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Posts posted by Tony, aka Kells

  1. Just saw it yesterday! A lot of folks have said what I've been thinking already, esp. Rich & Ryan, but there's one major thing I want to give them credit for:

    Spoiler

    I've been frustrated, re: the first two reboot movies, and even several of the TOS/TNG era movies, with the ways the central ideology of Trek has been ignored (or at least taken for granted). I'm not talking about the Prime Directive, either, or even exploration (though I love the crew giving the opening Trek monologue at the film's end--and I love that Uhura gets to say 'where no one has gone before')--but, rather, that coming together, cooperation, equality, and the free exchange of ideas are the foundations on which the Federation's utopia rests. What I LOVED about Beyond is that it's front and center: Whether it's Uhura arguing with Krall, or Scotty and Kirk talking to Jaylah, we know exactly what the Federation stands for and how the people who serve it feel about it. 

    I had a few other problems with the film, but overall it was a hugely and unexpectedly fun time.

    Spoiler

    ...but oh man, if they could knock off that damn shaky cam, my eyeballs would be much happier. *shakes fist*

     

    • Like 4
  2. I've seen a lot of discussion of the new show around the interwebs. A lot, and I mean a lot, has been about the design of the ship. To this, my favorite community of interweb Trekkies, I add my thoughts:

    They could have them flying around in a giant rubber duck with the registry code NCC-Z 1/2, and at this point I wouldn't care, because...

    I'M JUST SO EXCITED WE'RE GETTING A NEW TREK SHOW!

    s-b544e8c95ed1583136454d049b28583510f71b

    • Like 3
  3. I've chosen to go with my first character to reach the rank of fleet captain, Cassandra Egan Manno, for my dressy avatar--but the actress who portrays her, Danai Gurira, has too many flawless looks to go with just one, so I've chosen this one for these festivities:

    Danai-Gurira-Walking-Dead-Back-Girls-Roc

     

    And, because I can't leave Kells out, here's a particularly fun (if irritatingly watermarked) image of his actor, Timothy Dalton, posing with Whoopi Goldberg--perhaps Aron Kells has met the erstwhile Guinan?

    whoopi-goldberg-and-timothy-dalton-durin

    • Like 2
  4. Quote

    ::For a moment he considered asking his companions if they wanted some music as they traveled. They were after all a traveling band of three females and two males.::

     

    King: oO Perhaps Fleetwood Mac is in order. Oo

    As Mandy knows (to her chagrin, haha), Lindsey Buckingham was my original avatar for Kells. So this is every kind of appropriate!

    • Like 4
  5. I would love to get it but yeah at that price it won't happen.

    Ditto! I loved my old Encyclopedia back in the day and I'd get this just for the sake of having a reference guide when I'm not online -- but, wow, they're really pushing it with that hundred dollar tag! I think my old one was maybe thirty bucks new, back when I ogled it in and then finally bought it from Waldenbooks.

    Still, it's pretty awesome that there's a new one being released! Maybe the price'll come down after a few months.

  6. ((Q Continuum))

    ::She smirked with amusement.::

    Q: So much for the exchange of rooks.

    Quana: I don’t follow your meaning.

    :: She looked at her with a raised eyebrow.::

    Q: You obviously weren’t paying attention, were you?

    Quana: Not particularly. Like I said, they need conflict and you refuse to provide anything worth while.

    Q: Conflict is more than the physical drama. It is mental as well. Despite their simplicity, they are quite adaptable.

    ::She flicked her fingers and a view of Aron Kells appeared before them.::

    Q: He navigated his challenge rather well I think. :;glances at Quana.:: No, you can’t have him.

    Quana: Wasn’t planning to ask. Instead, I’ll merely pointed out that you told your king the aim of the game - or, for your clarification, you *cheated*. ::She crossed her arms, a scowl on her face.:: I demand a *real* scenario. All your people have had it easy - I’ve put mine through all acceptable conflicts. Those on the Invicta should do the same. You can start with your queen, since I started with mine.

    ::Q laughed in the face of her companion.::

    Q: Need I remind you of the rules we agreed on?

    Quana: I’m sure you will anyway.

    Q: There was no stipulation of the severity of the scenario. I prefer mental challenge, considering how fragile their bodies are. Telling them what is at stake, is part of the challenge. Fear works well with this species.

    Quana: Then *challenge* them. You have a queen with a failed “slipstream” experiment, my rook and yours beside her - what better hurdle to overcome? And should something happen, you always have your bishop to fall back on.

    ::The smile faded from her face.::

    Q: Do not presume to tell me what challenges to use, Q. That was our agreement.

    Quana: *Your* agreement. I never agreed to such terms. ::She leaned forward.:: Do you really want to play a boring game? I know what you’re doing here - you think you can beat me by sticking to your own rules, claim all my collection for the continuum, but believe me. I’m quite capable of forfeiting the game, taking all the remainder of my collection and just build it back up. You’re not going to win this round if you don’t *challenge your pieces*.

    ::Her eyes narrowed slightly.::

    Q: I find your need to “collect” boring. The Continuum does not want your collection. We agreed to these games in order to avoid taking unilateral action.

    ::She paused. She had thought most of her race had left behind these needs aeons ago. It was the younger Q that brought chaos.::

    Q: If I win… you stop collecting.

    Quana: That requires a few conditions. ::Her hands clasped behind her back, a coy smile on her lips.:: No cheating from this point forward, no ridiculously easy scenarios. Pitting piece against piece. None of this “for their safety” nonsense. If you’re truly concerned for them, place them in a case when they’re removed from the board instead of allowing their obliteration.

    ::She laced her fingers together as she stared at her companion.::

    Q: I find it hard to fathom the words that had just come out of your mouth. ::pause:: You expect me to play a game where you set all the rules? ::pause:: For all the good it did you last time.

    Quana: Well then you have nothing to worry about, do you?

    oO I could have been basking in the heart of a star. Instead I’m doing this. Oo

    Q: We shall see.

    =====

    Q

    (simmed by Lieutenant Raissa Moonsong)

    and

    Quana

    (simmed by Lieutenant Commander Tristam Core)

    • Like 1
  7. This seems particularly relevant: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RecycledINSPACE

    Though I don't so much think of TOS as recycling in space as in being really uneven with their allusions. New alien species? Cool Roman analogy. "But, guys, know what would be even better? Actual Romans!" *facepalm*

    But I am glad you included him, Rich! Of all the possibilities for the Invicta's bridge, that particular diplomat was not one that occurred to me :D

    • Like 1
  8. (( Corridors, USS Invicta ))
    ::A new ship, and a new school. Not *entirely* new, something for which she was grateful. The faces were mostly the same, and of course Dylan now had new partner in crime, in form of Saavok. He didn't really need walking to the classroom, and she suspected it wouldn't be long before he wanted to be left to get to school alone. But for now, he was content with the company and she liked the few extra moments it gave her with her eldest.
    ::Though her company was lacking that morning. While Amelia was contentedly cocooned in her sling, as ever soothed by motion, Quinn was distracted by the PADD in her hand. She scowled at the urgent missive from Admiral Zeldenthuis that was seared into the screen, not daring to respond immediately, for fear of career-ending sarcasm. The next time she saw that man... well, she'd… she'd...
    ::She'd be very cross. Not that it would do her any good. The ebullient Dutchman was well used to her squinted glares by now, and almost seemed to delight in them. Perhaps this time she'd try not to give him the satisfaction.
    ::Chance would be a fine thing. Pursing her lips, Quinn dropped her hand -- and the PADD she carried -- to her side, and looked to her son, who was unusually quiet.
    ::He wasn't there.
    ::She turned, puzzled to see him a few paces back, stood at an intersection, staring intently down one of the corridors.
    Reynolds: Dylan? ::She started back toward him.:: What's--
    Dylan: Dad? ::He paused, disbelieving.:: Dad? DAD!
    ::He broke into a sprint, charging down the corridor and out of sight. She frowned in confusion, then realisation dawned and all the colour drained from her already pale skin. Reluctantly, her shoulders hunching in grim anticipation, she looked in the direction her son was running.
    ::If looks could kill, she would have combusted on the spot. Walter Brunsig *glared* at her, seconds before Dylan threw his arms around his arms around his waist. The boy was barely holding back tears, almost overcome with emotion.
    ::Quinn felt like crying too, but hers was an entirely different set of reasons.::
    Dylan: Nono, look! Look!
    ::Oh, she was looking. Like a shuttle wreck, she couldn't turn away. Dylan released Walter, only to take his hand and start dragging him down the corridor toward her. Silently, she prayed for a red alert.
    ::It was not forthcoming.::
    Dylan: Look! Look, Nono! You were wrong! He's okay!
    ::Her answering smile was a grimace, and she deliberately avoided meeting Walter's gaze. The threat of spontaneous combustion had only increased, after all.::
    Reynolds: I, uh… Yes, I was.
    ::Her mind went blank. Amelia groused in the sling. There was an awkward pause that ended with an irritated snort from the tall blond.::
    Brunsig: Isn't it time for school?
    Dylan: Yes, but--
    Brunsig: Go. Use that brain of yours. Expand your mind. Be productive. Shoot spitballs at your teacher.
    Dylan: But--
    Brunsig: Beat it, Pickle. ::A moment, then he added,:: We can catch up when my shift's finished.
    Dylan: Promise?
    Brunsig: Scout's honour. ::When Dylan didn't move, Walter planted his hands on his shoulders, turned him in the direction of the classrooms and walked him a couple of steps forward.:: School. Now.
    ::There were some fights you couldn't win, and she saw the realisation that this was one of them cross her son's face. He grumbled, glanced back at them both, and shot Walter a small smile before tearing off in the direction of the classrooms. No doubt Saavok would be hearing all about how Dylan's dead father was not-so-dead after all.::
    Reynolds: Thank you.
    ::To no one's surprise, his mood markedly soured after Dylan's departure, and he was back to glaring at her.::
    Brunsig: I'm not doing it for you. ::He eyed her.:: So why didn't you tell him?
    Reynolds: ::Weakly,:: I… was going to?
    ::She just hadn't been sure how. How to tell Dylan that the man he considered his father wasn't dead after all, but marooned on an uninhabited planet for several years. How he was back, but there'd be no happy families. That civil conversation was a stretch.
    ::And honestly? She didn't expect him to stay around for very long. If she knew Walter, his transfer request was already submitted, and he was simply waiting for permission to hightail it away.::
    Brunsig: Let me guess. Your great, master plan was to hope we wouldn't bump into each other?
    Reynolds: Yes.
    Brunsig: For someone so smart, you can be jaw-achingly stupid.
    Reynolds: ::She sighed.:: Yes.
    ::Insults thrown and acknowledged, she expected him to walk away. He almost did, taking a step forward. But something caught his eye. Something small, blond and five months old.::
    Brunsig: So this is the spawn of Reynolds. ::He paused, studying Amelia.:: She's not entirely unattractive. Who's her father?
    ::Oh. That question. Why did he have to ask *that* question? She grimaced, and the reluctance to answer was obvious in her voice.::
    Reynolds: Harrison Ross.
    ::He paused. She saw the recognition in his eyes.::
    Brunsig: You have appalling taste in men, Quinn.
    Reynolds: You aren't so bad.
    Brunsig: I rest my case.
    ::She gave him a weary, resigned look. Oddly, he had returned his intense gaze to Amelia, who returned it, and threw in a gummy smile for good measure.::
    Reynolds: Walter?
    ::His eyes snapped back up to her, and his scowl returned.::
    Brunsig: I'll stay out of your way while I'm aboard. Reciprocate. ::He paused.:: Dylan can come by if he must, but I'm not sticking around, and I'm not going to explain that to him.
    ::She sought for the right words. Perhaps not to fix things -- nothing would immediately repair the damage, but maybe she could start things in the right direction.:: Look, I--
    Reynolds: Walter, I--
    ::She didn't get to finish. He slapped his combadge, began barking out orders and stalked off down the corridor. Wrapped up in her own unhappiness, she didn't see the last glance he threw over his shoulder as he rounded the corner and moved out of sight.::
    fin
    --
    Captain Quinn Reynolds
    Director of Intelligence
    USS Invicta
    Strategic Operations
    Menthar Corridor
  9. // Captain's Personal Log, SD 239206.19 //

    Of course I didn't see it coming. Who would have? Who would have ever thought that he would have by the Architecting President? No one, that's who. Which is why, of course, I thought it was okay to let my mind wander in the first place.
    (( Main Reception Hall, USS Invicta ))
    Egan Manno: Kells!
    :: Egan Manno's voice was a whisper, albeit it a pointed one. Her elbow, on the other hand, was not so soft. He was surprised, a moment later, that she'd risked it; some of the cameras were already on them, and they would've caught not only that motion but also his way he jerked out of his reverie. ::
    Kells: Hrmph?
    Egan Manno: Stand. Up.
    :: She was smiling. Everyone was. And clapping? Yes, all of them were applauding, and the president was -- Architect, was she looking at him? What off Earth was she doing that for? ::
    Kells: What? Why?
    Egan Manno: Just do it!
    :: So he stood. Not knowing why, but he figured, if the president was looking, well, the worst he could do was make a fool of himself -- and with Egan Manno's elbow, he'd already done that. Then she began to speak... ::
    // Captain's Personal Log, SD 239206.19 //
    No one would've seen it coming because it's ludicrous. One's orders come from one's CO -- in my case, Egan Manno -- or, at the very outside, the CO a grade or two above one's. Not from the president. The Starfleet isn't a military organization and she's not Commander-in-Chief of the Federation Starfleet -- but damned if that stopped her here.
    At first I didn't know what to think. I mean, it was the rhetoric I dreaded, all about bravery on the frontier and pushing the limits of exploration and the steady hands of diplomacy -- sound bites, little nothings that had zero to do with the Va Wreth mission and the capture of Ross, which is what I finally gathered she was talking about. But why me? I hadn't really done anything special, and most of my senior staff hadn't even been allowed in. By the Architect, Rahman wasn't even there, and her teams had been entirely responsible for finding Ross.
    But then she came to it, finally. Not only was I and my crew all that she'd said, we were the very best of the Starfleet and of its mission here, including the great experiment that was Astrofori One. The Invicta, she said, and I swear she was looking right at me when she said it, is exactly the sort of vessel Starfleet wants to have at this crucial juncture in the Menthar Corridor. And she, damn it all, couldn't think of any captain and crew she would rather have aboard.
    (( Main Reception Hall, USS Invicta ))
    :: Push up, pull down: Aron was so lost in a moment he hadn't believed had actually happened that Egan Manno, as surreptitiously as possible, had to tug on a pleat in the back of his uniform jacket. He was already clapping, had been as he stood there and continued to as he sat down rather abruptly. The applause continued, though the bright eyes of the cameras returned to the president as she continued to speak. Aron bent over to whisper in Egan Manno's ear. ::
    Kells: Can she do that?
    Egan Manno: I'm not going to argue with her. Are you?
    Kells: But-- really, can she do that? Does she have the authority?
    Egan Manno: Of course not. But she's expressed her desire to see the Garuda's successful crew, including its captain, transfer to the Invicta. I, and the other officers who actually make such things happen, will put through all the orders. It's a semantics question, Captain, and easily resolved. ::beat:: Congratulations.
    :: She actually seemed to mean it, too, despite being caught just as off-guard as he'd been. Well, and he supposed that there was nothing else for it: He couldn't exactly protest now. Wouldn't that be something, though? To stop the State of the Federation address as it was being given and insist that he wouldnt' take the spot? It would be pointless grandstanding, of course, more of the rhetoric he hated -- but something about it definitely appealed to him. ::
    // Captain's Personal Log, SD 239206.19 //
    Not that I was ever actually going to do it, of course. The president's promise was one thing, but Egan Manno's assent? Well, that was a done deal. She'd made it quite clear when she appointed me as the Garuda's CO what my options were (namely, take command or -- nope, there is no 'or'), so I didn't have much hope here. Nor did I have a good reason for not wanting to do as the president said, beyond that initial shock -- though once I started to think about it a little more, I realized that all my previous years of CO experience were vastly different from this. I'd operated alone, as the CO of the single Starfleet starship for dozens and dozens of light-years, in uncharted, often hostile space. And now they wanted me to play politician? It seemed bizarre, but -- as I say, I wasn't going to argue.
    (( Bridge, USS Invicta ))
    :: It certainly wasn't a bridge as he was used to it. The ships he'd seen rolling out of Utopia Planitia had increasingly dark, crowded bridges. True, there were some, like the Intrepid class, which were fairly large -- but always so dark. The Invicta's wasn't anything like that. Huge and bright, it built upon familiar aspects of the Garuda's basic model -- the tactical horseshoe, the array of consoles at the bridge's rear -- but included an entire conference room right in the middle of the bridge, as well as increased automation -- only two stations at the bridge's front, for ops and science -- and a lot of space devoted to seating areas, presumably for the use of discussion and use of foreign dignitaries and notables. The Invicta, after all, was a ship dedicated to diplomacy and science.
    And was, for the moment, a few hours after the State of the Federation address, mostly empty. In fact, with the exit of a pair of technicians a few moments ago, Aron was alone. He wouldn't remain that way for long, though, and he didn't turn when he heard the turbolift doors open. Nor did he sit down at the conference table; rather, he stood at the front of the bridge, gazing at the huge viewscreen. ::
    Kells: Roshanara. I've been waiting.
    Rahman: My apologies, captain.
    Kells: No, no hurry. I imagine you've heard, then.
    Rahman: Part of the delay was there seemed to be a bit of a mix up. I was told initially I'd be remaining on the Garuda to accompany her back towards the Federation.
    Kells: I know. Believe me, your lack of invitation was not my intent, and had I realized it earlier, I would've said something. However--
    :: He hesitated. He wasn't sure if he wanted to tell her this, but -- despite the smashing success the president seemed to believe their prior mission had been -- it felt wrong to add to their growing CO/XO relationship with a lie. ::
    Kells: It was done intentionally. I understand that ::beat:: you were not the first choice to accompany the Invicta as its executive officer.
    :: And he disliked the president's rhetoric? ::
    Rahman: I see…
    Kells: Starfleet Command thought it might be prudent to assign another officer. I disagreed, and Egan Manno backed me up. You're still here, you're my XO, and I told them that was the last I wanted to hear about it. ::beat:: Now, then, we have to begin transitioning everything over. I'll trust you to coordinate shakedown and shore leave schedules, alright?
    Rahman: Understood, sir.
    Kells: Very good. ::beat, badge tap:: =/\= This is Captain Kells to all Garuda crew. Effective immediately, the senior staff has been reassigned to the USS Invicta, along with many junior officers and enlisted personnel. Please see your department heads for details, and if you have been reassigned, report over no later than 1800 this evening to prepare for a short shakedown cruise. That is all. =/\=
    Rahman: If there's anything else, Captain?
    TBC!
    Captain Aron Kells
    Commanding Officer
    USS Invicta
    • Like 1
  10. Zial Sethir Verd: If the information your kind have shared is correct we have traveled the Great Paths since before you named yourselves in the scheme of things.

    I just really liked the phrasing here. I knew exactly what this meant (as did Aron) but it's just unusual enough to establish the Va Wreth as alien but with the prerequisite commonalities for a good dialogue. Well done, Mandy!

    • Like 2
  11. Harry Ross is just the creepiest. Well done on making me squirm with every line, Emma!

    Ross: =/\= My dear Roshanara, what makes you think you haven't already done what I wanted? ::He paused, and there was another smile in his voice.:: Again. =/\=
    Ross: =/\= Quinn, love. You're being awfully quiet. Have you worked out where I am yet? =/\=

    nope.gif

    • Like 2
  12. Greetings and salutations, all!

    I'm pleased to say that Jess, Rich, and I have thought through things carefully, and we're pleased to announce that the winner of the Design Astrofori I Contest is Alora DeVeau, whose organic design we found especially captivating. Maxwell Traenor is our runner-up, with his excellent submission that showcased his graphics skills. We have banners for both winner and runner-up, which represent the colors of the four major powers aboard the station (UFOP, Romulan Empire, Breen Confederacy, and Kubarey Confederation). Of course, as promised in the contest description, Amanda's design will now become Astrofori One. We'd like to use, with the artist's permission, Lt. Traenor's image as well, in an as-yet-undetermined way that nevertheless will be involved with Astrofori I and its mission.

    Thanks to both of you, and many congratulations!

  13. ((Lt DeVeau’s Quarters, USS Garuda))
    ::There was a problem with being officially off duty - it meant it was difficult to work out of the eyes of those who had told her to take some time off. While Alora wasn't generally the sort to leave things undone, she also wasn't a workaholic either. Usually she knew how to balance work and pleasure and still participated in activities that would keep her busy. Alora couldn't shake the guilt, especially in light of her recent findings. Upon discovering the Chief of Science working against orders, she'd been ordered, again, back to her quarters, or the holodeck, or somewhere, for rest and away from the work that waited for her. She had spent some time in the holodeck, banging against the piano in fits of frustration with pieces that sounded similar to Stravinky's 'Rite of Spring', though far more cannibalistic in nature. Eventually she'd managed to snap a string on the holographic piano, and while that could have been taken care of easily, she retreated back to her room. An attempt to contact friends had revealed that the two she leaned most heavily on, Raissa and Aron, were not available, so she flopped on the couch and attempted to read a book.::
    ::Her eyes absorbed every word, every syllable, but her mind couldn't rest. Her sleep had been interrupted with countless nightmares, scenes of the vines that the Kindred had controlled wrapping themselves around their unsuspecting prey. Despite the more favourable outcome, the nightmares never ended happily. Every time, she watched as friends and colleagues were crushed and strangled one by one until she was the only one left, her body still captive, the voice of the Mother chuckling low in triumph. Sometimes, it wasn't the vines that were used but her bare hands, fingers pressing into the flesh. Sometimes, the vines expanded into an organism so vast that despite the lack of air in space, they burst from the ship to swallow it whole before continuing to fly through toward some other suspecting victim. The latter had more of a fantastical quality to it and was easier to handle, but the two former were far too realistic in the wake of what had really happened, and resulted in her waking only to huddle in her bed, sniffling.::
    ::Even while awake, images popped into her mind, unbidden, and as she attempted to find some solace in the fantasy of a good book, her brain refused to allow her rest. Fortunately, the chime of the door tugged her out of any downward spiral and she rose even as she called the computer to allow the visitor entry.::
    ::The doors slid back to reveal a tall, slender form, momentarily silhouetted against the brighter corridor. Stepping inside into the dimmer lighting allowed details to resolve; the familiar angular features, grey eyes and dark hair, the flowing Vulcan robes and, over his shoulder, a familiar bulky shape; his harp case.::
    ::As he stepped inside the doors hissed shut behind him. One long-fingered hand rose in the ta'al, the traditional Vulcan salute.::
    Saveron: Sochya, Alora.
    ::He spoke quietly. It had been nearly a Terran year since they had last been face to face, and although he and his friend kept in contact during his year teaching at the Starfleet Academy on Vulcan and the Vulcan Academy of Science, even he in his Vulcan logic would admit that such communication was lacking.::
    ::He spoke quietly, for Aron had indicated that the past weeks had not been kind to Alora. That if ever there was a time when she needed a friend, it was now.::
    ::At the sight of said visitor, Alora froze. The form that stood before her was one that she had wished, time and time again, would return - especially after her most recent ordeal. The face, stoic and poised had come to mind on many an occasion along with the desire to have his
    comforting presence in person rather than restricted to the screen as it had been since his departure. For a moment, she wondered if, perhaps, wishful thinking had thrust her mind into creating some sort of mirage, though she managed to croak out a soft,::
    DeVeau: Saveron?
    Saveron: Affirmative.
    ::He had learned that some species did not always believe the evidence of their own senses, but then most did not have the level of control that his own people did. The tone of Alora's voice suggested more than the expected level of surprise however, there was he thought a note of disbelief.::
    DeVeau: You're...here.
    Saveron: That is correct.
    ::And still she did not seem to quite believe him. A Terran might have offered her a hand to grasp in evidence, but no Vulcan made that gesture lightly, with all that it entailed.::
    Saveron: My shuttle docked this morning. ::He paused, searching for appropriate words for alien sensibilities.:: I trust that I am not interrupting you?
    ::Never before had Alora had to exert so much control. Her first instinct was to run and throw her arms about the neck of the tall man, draw him into a crushing hug. She even went so far as to quickly close the distance between the two of them, but stopped just before him, hands twitching as she realised such contact was not Vulcan and would not be comfortable for him. Despite that, the evidence that she was quite happy to see him was soon evident in the way her mouth spread into a wide smile that, for the first time in days, reflected in her eyes.::
    ::Her expression indicated that she did not find his arrival disagreeable.::
    DeVeau: You’re back…
    Saveron: That is the case. ::He agreed. She seemed to have some slight difficulty with the concept.::
    DeVeau: I didn’t know you were coming back...you didn’t tell me.
    ::In fact, her last correspondence had gone unanswered where Saveron was usually prompt. She had thought that he’d simply been overly busy and would reply as soon as he possibly could. She had not expected to see him at her door.::
    Saveron: The notification of transfer required immediate action; I did not have time to write initially. ::He admitted.:: On further consideration I thought that you might find the ‘surprise’ agreeable; I understand that Terrans often do.
    ::Unlike his own people who abhorred disorganisation and the unexpected.::
    Saveron: You… are not displeased?
    ::He would never accuse a member of his own species of emotion, but Alora always seemed quite ready to own her own feelings.::
    DeVeau: On the contrary ::she admitted::, I’m extremely, extremely pleased. You have no idea how much I wished you were here...especially after…
    ::She trailed off, her smile wiped clean from her face.::
    ::The tall Vulcan cocked his head slightly to one side, grey eyes scanning her youthful features, now suddenly devoid of the previous, pleasant expression.::
    Saveron: I am here now. ::He said gently.:: Will you tell me what happened?
    ::He knew nothing of recent events save what he had overheard from quiet conversations. Gesturing towards the couch in silent suggestion, he set his harp case gently onto the floor.::
    ::As she opened her mouth, Alora inhaled simply to take a breath with which to speak. Unfortunately, what exited wasn’t a word but a sob. Once it had escaped, it was quickly followed by another. Then another. Suddenly, Alora wasn’t able to formulate a single word but rather covered her face with her hands, body trembling with every sob without even a step toward the couch. How many times had she done that the last few days? Far too many, and she had thought it was out of her system, but with the arrival of a dear friend, she suddenly found herself breaking down far too easily.::

    ::An emotional response. Aron had not been incorrect in his summation of Alora’s state. It was disagreeable to witness, not for the emotionality which was a common feature amongst aliens, but for what it implied about his friend’s situation.::
    ::There was a rustle of fabric as Saveron moved quietly past her, a few faint beeps from the replicator, and a moment later a warm mug was pushed into her hands, the scents of milk and chocolate rising in the steam. He remembered that she favoured the drink. There was the faintest, momentary touch on her arm::
    Saveron: Sit with me.
    ::He spoke gently, moving over to perch on the couch with that familiar, slightly stiff position of one accustomed to sitting on the floor. The scent of the chocolate mingled with the smells of exotic yet familiar herbs and spices that rose from Saveron’s own mug; his usual Theris-masu. They were familiar smells, associated with conversations and music lessons past.::
    ::The warmth in her hands cut through the chill that memories brought and downgraded her sobbing to sniffles with an occasional gulp. The mixture of herbs and candied warmth were soothing in their own right. As Saveron settled on the couch, Alora allowed herself a moment more to gather some composure before she joined him, though she didn’t take a sip of the drink he’d offered just yet.::
    DeVeau: I’m sorry.
    ::And how many times had she said that over the last few days as well? Obviously, this was not exactly what Saveron had expected and certainly not how Alora might have imagined their reunion to go.::
    Saveron: You have nothing for which to apologise. ::He paused.:: It is disagreeable to see you in distress.
    ::How else could he put it? The urge to reach out, to have conveyed without words the nature of the problem, as a Vulcan might, was instinctive, but Alora was no Vulcan, and such gestures were used only between those who were close, or in great necessity. He would not presume. Rather he waited patiently.::
    DeVeau: It was…
    ::It was what? Both Raissa and Aron had asked, but words failed when she tried to describe what it was like. The best she could come up with was…::
    DeVeau: Horrendous.
    ::The word brought that thin-lipped look to Saveron’s face, the closest he ever came to looking unhappy. Aron had hinted that something dreadful had happened, and particularly to Alora.::
    Saveron: Will you tell me what happened? ::He asked quietly.
    DeVeau: I’ll try.
    ::It took several starts and stops, and after the second collapse into sobs, Alora had to put the mug down on the table lest she spill it. Once she wrestled and gained control again, she continued, but at least two more episodes occurred before she was finally able to finish the story. When it was over, she could no longer cry, partially because she’d already shed so many tears, and partially because of how much detail she’d gone into. For some reason, she was able to admit everything to Saveron, to give him even the smaller details that she’d left out with others. She felt safe with him.::
    ::The only movement had been a quiet sip of tea as Alora spoke, she had the Vulcan’s undivided attention. He still wore that thin-lipped expression, and as she finished his gaze turned introspective for a moment, thinking carefully, before grey eyes met green.::
    Saveron: I do not know what a culturally appropriate response would be. ::He admitted with the same candour.:: The describe such an experience in my own people’s terms seems… insufficient.
    ::’Disagreeable’, whilst useful for Vulcan responses to experiences, did not encompass the spectrum of reaction through which aliens endured; certainly it did not cover Alora’s reaction.::
    Saveron: I appreciate your candour, ::he added at last,:: your trust in me. I would find it preferable if I could assist in some way. ::Yet he was no Counsellor. The extreme nature of Vulcan mental discipline closed that door to him.:: I appreciate that to experience such, to feel such actions as your own and have no volition to prevent such is traumatic.
    ::For only a fool would ever think that Alora herself would undertake such actions. He would find it preferable if Alora did not seem to attract such trauma. He recalled all too well the aftermath of her and Commander Rahman’s abduction by the Orionese brigand. He recalled too his own experience of such.::
    ::Saveron had been the first person she trusted since leaving the Academy to accept her first posting. Distance hadn’t changed that, and if anything, his presence merely solidified that fact. As one hand rubbed at her eyes, she stared down at the mug of chocolate which, by that point, was probably just barely warm.::
    DeVeau: I’m glad you’re back. ::She admitted before adding.:: I missed you. I’m glad you’re here and we can talk again.
    ::For although he couldn’t express himself in a Terran manner, she somehow felt so at ease with him. He just accepted her outburst, her feelings - he just accepted her and had from the beginning.::
    Saveron: I also find it preferable that we may speak face to face once more. ::He replied evenly.::
    ::It was agreeable to hear more positive tones from Alora, though he could not help but think of what she had been through, and how such things could leave very deep scars. That he understood far too well.::
    Saveron: I… understand, perhaps more than most, that which you experienced. I myself have experienced something similar.
    DeVeau: You did?
    ::Alora hadn’t realised that. Had Saveron mentioned it and she’d forgotten? Normally she had a fairly good memory - maybe not as good as Saveron’s, but still.::
    DeVeau: Do you mind if I ask what happened?
    Saveron: I would not have spoken of it if I objected. ::Indeed he had anticipated the question.:: The USS Thunder- the ship attached to the Duronis II Embassy - was nearly destroyed when a Pah Wraith resident in an ancient Bajoran possessed a member of the crew and took control of the ship. Another crewmember became possessed by a Prophet, and the two endeavoured to undertake the Reckonning aboard that ship. Several members of the Thunder’smarine contingent were killed by the Pah Wraith, and a member of the senior staff was mentally subjugated in order to attain the appropriate accesses.
    ::Of course, not every species had the ability to mentally subjugate another.::
    ::Even though he spoke of it as if he were merely recounting the details of a report, Alora knew he was one of those crewmembers.::
    DeVeau: And you were taken by the….?
    Saveron: I was possessed by the Pah Wraith. ::He said simply, knowing he did not need to describe the swath of destruction he had cut through the ship, and her crew.::
    ::It had happened to him, almost the exact same thing. Different ship, different beings, but the results had been the same - their bodies and minds had been used to hurt and even kill others. Tears stung Alora’s eyes once more and colour drained from her face. Quickly, she looked away to take hold of herself and struggled to find something to say. She wound up asking a silly question, but at least it would get them off the topic.::
    DeVeau: What made you decide to come back?
    ::He accepted the change of topic. It had been his intention to demonstrate a measure of survivability, not to bring forth again the pain that showed on Alora’s face.::
    Saveron: It was not my decision to make, nor was my departure. I was transferred back by Starfleet. ::Just as he had been transferred out. Like all of them he moved at the whims of their superiors.::
    ::Alora nodded slowly. Regardless, she was glad for the Vulcan’s return and hoped that Starfleet would leave him there permanently, even if it was a selfish desire. ::
    Saveron: It is agreeable to be aboard the Garudaagain. I shall be working with your department.
    ::That made Alora pause. Her department? Had something happened?::
    DeVeau: Not as a doctor? I thought you preferred that posting...
    Saveron: Affirmative; I am here as a Xenobiology Specialist, to assist in the investigation of recently encountered species. The Garudahas sufficient medical personal, though I will of course be available to the medical department should additional staff be required.
    ::But that wasn’t why he’d been transferred back.::
    ::Well that made sense, considering his specialty. Still, Alora thought he made a fine doctor, but if that’s what it took to get him on the Garuda, she wouldn’t argue. Her eyes drifted down to the item that he’d brought with him, finally noticing it in the aftermath of her breakdown.::
    DeVeau: You brought your harp.
    Saveron: I considered that you might find it agreeable to continue our lessons.
    DeVeau: Would you be willing to play for me?
    ::One of the many things she had missed was their time spent learning together, especially with music.::
    Saveron: Affirmative.
    ::Sometimes music had a soothing quality that words did not. It was a twin case, and Saveron snapped one side open with practiced ease, extracting an old harp, it’s intricate designs polished with use, made of rare woods from the T’ralorian Preserve, which his people had licence to harvest sustainably. With deft movements he tuned it before setting long fingers to the strings and drawing forth a gentle, soothing melody, pleasant tones and easy on the ears.::
    ::Alora’s eyes closed and she sighed softly before curling up on the half of the couch she’d claimed for her own. Although it looked as if he’d brought the other, for the moment she was content to simply let him play and allow herself to get lost in the music. The tones of the Vulcan harp curled about her, reminding her of the not so distant past and the pleasant moments spent together. Notes that seemed filled with far too much emotion to truly be Vulcan danced lightly about her, calling her to forget her troubles for the moment. Each note wrapped it’s delicate tendrils about her, the music drew her into its embrace and rocked her gently upon its rolling waves. How long he’d played, she wasn’t sure, but when the peace finally ended and the wisps of the melody release her and faded, she shifted to settle her gaze back upon the Vulcan.::
    DeVeau: I’ve missed this too.
    Saveron: Would you find it agreeable to resume our lessons?
    DeVeau: I would love to. I’ve been practising in the holodeck...but it’s not the same.
    ::Holograms could be programmed to act like real people, but they were still just computer generated images. They didn’t possess actual life, usually, and thus lacked a depth that she missed with real people. Even her holographic sensei couldn’t compared to the real one back in Japan - though she agreed it was better than nothing at all.::
    Saveron: I would be honoured to continue teaching.
    ::Dark brows raised slightly as he offered the old and well-cared for instrument to Alora.::
    ::Pushing herself upright, Alora accepted the instrument, her smile returning, though pale in comparison to its usual brilliance, and addressed it directly..::
    DeVeau: I’ve missed you too.
    ::Removing the second harp from the case - this one a modern electronic instrument, all gleaming metal and indicator lights - Saveron regarded Alora for a moment. Sometimes Terrans had an odd way of expressing things.::
    ***************
    Lt. Cmdr Saveron
    Xenobiology Specialist
    USS Garuda
    &
    Lt. Alora DeVeau
    Chief of Science
    USS Garuda
  14. ((Holodeck 4))

    ((Standard Phaser Training Simulation))

    ::Raissa frowned at the different types of phasers laid out on the counter in front of her along with the species neutral targets arrayed at varying distances. She was a counselor, not a security officer.::

    Moonsong: Why are we here again?

    :: Evan stood nearby, arms clasped behind his back as he regarded Raissa. ::

    Delano: One of my responsibilities as the chief of security is to ensure all senior officers maintain proficiency with standard armaments. According to the log, you’re overdue.

    Moonsong: Running away screaming isn't an option?

    :: The security raised an eyebrow, a lopsided smile curling his lip. ::

    Delano: I’m afraid that wouldn't solve anything, Counselor. Don’t worry, I’ll keep the difficulty settings fairly low.

    ::She frowned fiercely at him, but there was no real weight behind it.::

    Moonsong: Do you have a ‘shouldn't-be-allowed-to-touch-weapons’ setting?

    Delano: That’s what the holodeck safeties are for.

    :: Evan raised an eyebrow when he realized Raissa wasn't entirely joking. ::

    Delano: Isn’t basic weapons training required at the Academy?

    Moonsong: Well…. yeah…. technically….

    Delano: So… you didn't do well?

    :: Evan was trying to be diplomatic. He knew most officers disliked these annual requirements. His approach had been to try to make it more like a game. Sure, target practice wasn’t exactly Velocity, but it could be fun with the right attitude. ::

    ::Raissa sighed and looked decidedly guilty::

    Moonsong: I shot my instructor…. I mean… not on purpose, but he moved as I firing… I managed to beg my way through an admin waiver. I can’t seem to fire a phaser with my eyes open.

    :: Evan rubbed the back of his neck, looking just a bit uncomfortable. ::

    Delano: Well, there’s no sense getting worried about it now. If you end up needing some extra work, I’m sure we can figure something out.

    ::She sighed and crossed her arms.::

    Moonsong: My brothers tried to teach me to shoot with antique projectile weapons. I’ve had the problem ever since I fractured my shoulder with a 12 gauge shotgun.

    :: The security chief gave Moonsong another raised eyebrow. He’d have to ask more about that story later. His stepfather had tried to teach him to use similar weapons a few years before he’d started at the Academy, but Evan had always preferred energy weapons. ::

    Delano: I don’t think you need to worry about kickback with most Starfleet weapons. Really, to shoot a type two all you need to do is point and click. Though I’ll need to make sure you know how to adjust settings and set your safety.

    Moonsong: ::sighs:: I assume you mean now…

    Delano: Well… we are here. ::break:: Look, why don’t you just show me what we’re looking at. We can call it a practice run.

    ::Raissa picked up one of the type two phasers and looked at it. She knew the basics of the device. She knew how to manage the settings. That part was easy enough. She even managed to not once point it in his direction. She wondered if he’d give her a waiver if she shot him….. accidentally.::

    ::With another sigh she turned and faced the targets, holding the phaser with both hands she pointed. She aimed. Just before her finger compressed the trigger, her eyes squeezed shut and the beam missed the target.::

    Delano: Hm.

    :: Evan rubbed his chin with a finger, thinking more about how to offer feedback without making the other officer any more embarrassed. He opted for humor, in the end. ::

    Delano: Well, at least you managed to make it downrange. Do you want to try it again with your eyes open?

    ::For a moment she leveled a look at him that promised harm.::

    Moonsong: Evan, that’s my problem.

    ::Raissa tried again. She struggled as hard as she could to keep her eyes as wide open as possible until….. ZAP! Fortunately the floor was the only casualty.::

    :: For his first few months on Garuda, he’d thought it strange that the phaser range attached to the ship’s armory went largely unused. Most of the crew opted to use the holodeck for such things, if only because the exercises were more entertaining. As he resisted the urge to duck, he suddenly had a new appreciation for holodeck safety protocols. ::

    Delano: Well, that was better. Raissa, it’s… almost like you’re afraid of it. Is this because of what happened to you with your brothers?

    Moonsong: ::she shrugged.:: I don’t know. I don’t like these types of weapons. Ancient or modern. My brothers love guns. They collect them.

    ::She sighed again and decided to tell him.::

    Moonsong: I was twelve. The twins were fifteen. They didn’t tell me about kickback or blowback or whatever you call it. They made it look easy. They helped me hold it and aim it. I pulled the trigger and I swear I flew backward 10 yards, landing on my back with a broken shoulder. ::pause:: Of course at first they thought it was hilarious.

    Delano: Really? That’s…

    :: He really had no idea how to finish that sentence, but he tried anyway. ::

    Delano: … Awful.

    Moonsong: Siblings are like that. I developed a rapier wit in revenge.

    Delano: So… what, you have some kind of phobia to ranged weapons? How did you get through those courses at the Academy?

    Moonsong: I missed. I mean a missed a lot. But I was getting really good grades everywhere else. ::She sighed looking at the phaser in her hand.:: If the target is the size of a barn door, I can hit it. Law of averages they said. That or if I keep perfectly still and the target doesn’t move in the least, I can hit it.

    :: Evan nodded, though the truth of the matter was that he was a little bothered. His responsibility was to the safety of the ship and crew. That task seemed much more daunting if some of the crew weren’t as capable of defending themselves as he’d believed. He’d need to step up these evaluations, just to make sure he was aware of anyone else with similar issues. ::

    Delano: Well, I had a few classes like that, I suppose it isn’t that much of a stretch. Still, it’s my job to make sure you’re able to defend yourself in the event of some kind of emergency. ::break:: I don’t know, you’re the counselor. What would you tell a patient to do if she was having a similar problem?

    Moonsong: Practice, practice, practice until we can keep our eyes open. ::makes a slight face:: Unfortunately our current schedule doesn’t leave us a lot of wiggle room. Besides, unless the ship is boarded we doubt we’ll be allowed on any away missions. ::Pause.:: Now if it comes to throwing things… I’m very accurate.

    :: Evan noted the odd use of the plural pronoun, but assumed that Raissa was speaking of the two of them. ::

    Delano: I think we should make the time. Even say… twenty minutes every other day or so.

    Moonsong: ::sighs:: I suppose we don’t have a choice. We shall add it to our schedule.

    :: There it was again. ::

    Delano: Raissa, did you say ‘we’? What do you mean?

    ::Raissa cursed herself inwardly. On the bright side she didn’t slip up much in counseling sessions, but because she was with a friend she had relaxed. She looked up at the man she did consider a friend. But as chief of security, he did have a need to know.::

    Moonsong: Bodhisattva could not remain. The construct was too damaged. A few hundred of the Community requested to remain to continue to observe our… Starfleet operations. ::another pause:: We.. I… agreed to be their host.

    :: Evan’s immediate instinct was to think about the potential security risks involved, but he held back from voicing it out loud. The question must have still been obvious in his expression. ::

    Moonsong: We know… we know… You will no doubt be hearing from the Captain and Dr. Skyfire about it… in exhaustive detail if we know CD.

    :: Evan nodded. ::

    Delano: It must be a fascinating experience for you. Mei’konda and I entered the Confluence during our first encounter with the Community. To be honest, it was… almost overwhelming. Are you sure you’ll be alright?

    ::Her smile faded a little.::

    Moonsong: If it were a narcotic, I would be addicted. They have learned a great deal. It is like having an audience all the time. They are only observing so I’m fully in control… except for the occasional ‘we’ that slips out.

    Delano: Don’t worry, Raissa. I trust you enough to know your limits. But… if there’s something I can do to help, don’t hesitate to ask.

    Moonsong: ::The smile came back:: Trust me. I will. ::pause:: They remember you.

    :: He looked back to the phaser range and picked up a small type one phaser from the table. ::

    Delano: I don’t suppose one of those Community intelligences can help with your shooting?

    ::She went still. The rapid exchange of information. There was a flicker of light behind her irises, perhaps a trick of the light. Perhaps not.::

    Moonsong: It it possible. They could act the moment the reflex kicks in.

    :: Evan held the smaller phaser out to the other lieutenant. ::

    Delano: Feel like giving it a try?

    ::There was a faint flicker of light.::

    Moonsong: We have given permission to try.

    ::Raissa closed her eyes a moment and then took the smaller phaser Evan held out to her. She opened her eyes and pointed at the nearest target. As she pressed the trigger her eyes flicked, but they didn't close. It wasn't a perfect shot, but at least she hit the target.::

    ===

    Lieutenant Evan Delano

    Chief of Security/Tactical

    USS Garuda

    and

    Lt. Raissa Moonsong

    Counselor

    USS Garuda

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