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Ben Livingston

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Posts posted by Ben Livingston

  1. ((USS Columbia - Deck 8 - Carson's Quarters))


    ::It had all come down to this; the evidence had all fallen into place and with equal parts luck and skill, Tyler was moments away from a slam-dunk arrest. He could almost feel the pats on the back he'd receive for this one, he could imagine the the pretty little notation in his Starfleet record. What he didn't know was that the universe seemed to have other plans.::


    Kelly: Starfleet Security! ::He knocked strongly door 3 times:: Come out now or we will force entry.


    ::A voice came through the door, sounding mildly perturbed..::


    Gerard: What is the meaning of this?


    ::Tyler recognized the voice of Carson's aide, though he didn't have any cause to arrest him, he had gotten a very strong impression that Gerard had been a party to Carson's misdeeds. Both of the men were pompous, arrogant thugs that thought they were too smart to get caught. Tyler's resentment for them was all-encompassing. Even now with the impending arrest of his employer, Gerard sounded almost bored.::


    ::Refusing to acknowledge the smug, glorified man-servant, Tyler ignored him::


    Kelly: Robert Carson, come out with your hands where we can see them.


    ::He heard foot steps in the distance, his men weren't far now.::


    ::Tyler was about to give a final warning, when Carson emerged. The man's face was far too calm for the circumstances, but Tyler figured he'd continue his act, and ignored it.::


    Kelly: You're under arrest for the murder of Aiden Richardson and Karen Stone. Do you understand that anything you say after this point can be used against you in any trial that may result from this arrest?


    ::Tyler made every attempt to speak in a calm, matter of fact tone, but the contemptuous look on Carson's face nearly sent him over the edge. Carson shoved a PADD in Tyler's direction, but Tyler just let it fall to the deck as he pulled his wrist restraints of his belt and began to secure the murderer's wrists. All at once his four crewman arrived on the scene and Carson called out in protest, his pompous tone caused Tyler's blood to boil, pushing him ever closer to the edge.::


    Carson: Before you dig a bigger hole than the one you are already in Lieutenant you better check those credentials.


    ::Tyler nodded his head towards Carson, motioning for his crewman to secure him as he retrieved the dropped PADD. Tyler was livid. This man had come onto his ship, murdered two people and now he thought he could present some "credentials" and make it all go away. Tyler replied, making no attempt to soften his tone. He was no eternally placid Vulcan and in this moment, he was no longer the neutral professional he always tried to be, he was human with flaws and weaknesses and he HATED Robert Carson.::


    Kelly: oO Before I dig a bigger hole? Who does this clown think he is dealing with?Oo


    Kelly: I am entirely uninterested in your [...] credentials Mister Carson. ::If words could kill, Carson would be a dead man.:: You know what you have done and there is nothing here that means anything imp-...


    ::Glancing down at the PADD as he spit his venom, he realized that it did appear to be an official document. Even as the security officers had him cuffed and restrained, Carson continued smiling, obviously under the impression that he had it all figured out. Tyler's hands clinched so tightly around the PADD that he felt the boronite casing flex as he read it's contents. Tyler's mind was racing, considering options, following all the different choices he could make to all of their possible conclusions.::


    Carson: It means that no matter what proof you might think you have it is worthless. ::He smiled at Tyler.:: I have diplomatic immunity Lieutenant. I am Ambassador at Large for the Son’a Solidarity. Now I suggest you leave before you make a worse figure of yourself. ::He tilted his head slightly.:: We will arrange for your apologies later.


    ::In his minds eye, Tyler imagined his hands around Carson's neck, giving it a good squeeze. Shaking clear of the deranged fantasy, he made his decision acted without hesitation.::


    ::In one smooth motion, Tyler threw PADD hard into the deck with all of his strength, shattering the screen and rendering the device unusable.::


    Kelly: Oh no! How clumsy of me! ::He offered Carson a smile that nearly matched his own smugness.::These credentials will have to be verified through proper channels now! There's no telling how long that might ta-


    ::He was interrupted again, by Gerard this time. Tyler Turned slightly to face the man, with no shortage of disdain for him either.::


    Gerard: Perhaps it is best we call on Commander Livingston Sir. ::Turning towards Tyler.:: I am sure the ship has a diplomatic officer that can testify for Mister Carson’s credentials. Will you call them or shall I?


    ::Tyler's eyes narrowed slightly, he had enough. If they wanted to play rough, he could play right back. Maybe he was making a mistake, but he had a hard time coming up with a scenario where securing a murderer was the wrong thing to do.::


    Kelly: oO Even if we have to turn him loose when we get to the colony, there won't be a killer loose on my ship... Oo


    Kelly: You are quite right Mister Gerard, but I'm afraid all of the Senior staff were called into a very important meeting that starts in minutes. ::He faked an apologetic tone:: However, I'll be sure to present this matter to the Captain and CDO at my earliest convenience.


    Gerard: I will see the Captain myself Sir.


    Carson: I know you will Gerard. But don’t worry, I am sure the Lieutenant will take good care of me.


    Kelly: I believe we're done here. ::He turned to his crewman.:: You two take Mister-er, sorry, ::He emphasized the next word:: "Ambassador" Carson to the brig.


    ::Tyler turned to the remaining two crewman.::


    Kelly: You two confine Mister...::He shot Gerard a glance:: or are you an ambassador as well? Nevermind. Confine Gerard to quarters, until further notice.


    ::The men acknowledged his orders and set about completing them. Tyler found Carson and Gerard's reactions to this move be particularly satisfying.::


    Gerard: I must protest Lieutenant, you have no grounds to confine me. I believe you are making a huge mistake.


    Carson: Come now Gerard, the Lieutenant is an intelligent, I am sure he realized already this is a mistake and he can’t do things like that.


    Kelly: We shall see gentlemen, we shall see.


    ::With that, Tyler strode away heading for the bridge. He'd taken a gamble, but in his heart he felt he'd made the right choice. He only hoped the Captain that he'd yet to meet would agree.::


    ::As he headed for the meeting, he did know one thing was certain; It had been one hell of a first day.::


    ======//////======>

    Lt. Tyler Kelly

    Security Officer

    USS Columbia

    NCC-85279


    • Like 1
  2. I agree with the others. I've been with SB118 off and on for years and I can say combat is not a primary here, though you will certainly find some ships that do far more combat than others. I believe you find a wide variety of missions. Like Sal, I prefer 'solve this mystery' or 'explore this place' with combat as a last resort type scenario and that's exactly what I've been doing over the last several months. I can't remember when my current ship last had a full blown combat scenario... actually I don't think we have since I've been on board.

    To Kieran's point ... our Chief Tactical Officer has yet to fire a weapon! That doesn't mean he doesn't stay busy, though.

  3. The price of ignorance is extinction. When a person grasps that truth –not comprehends it but truly appreciates its intricacies and its final implications – when a person realizes that, there’s nothing else to do. Knowledge must be sought wholeheartedly and without reservation, shedding the blanket of ignorance that, though warm and comfortable, offers no true shelter.

    My father learned this through experience. He, like so many others, perished on Sherman’s Planet during the famine before I was even born. As did so many like him. And is that fair? Was he truly less suited to life there than any other? His refusal to eat – so that my mother could, so that she and I would survive – was the death of him. Is this noble quality to be rewarded? No. It is shunned by the universe. In life, it is not the chivalrous but the selfish who survive. We have been abandoned and betrayed by the laws of nature, and therefore man cannot afford to play by the rules. The house always wins. To survive, we must break the rules – rewrite the rules. And by doing so, we can be greater than nature ever intended.

    Perhaps this is the mark of greatness: to see the universe as it is, to recognize its depraving nature, and to not allow oneself to succumb to it. It is not laudable to survive long enough to pass on one’s genes. Any scum swimming in a vast and empty ocean can replicate itself, make an error, and die, leaving nothing but a flawed copy. But for mankind, evolution was only the first step. We developed civilization, developed culture, developed technology – and these things gave us the power to subjugate and kill and devastate without limit. But these same tools, when we shed our narcissistic nature, propelled us forward at a rate unprecedented, adapting to the world around us faster than biology would otherwise allow by passing on to the next generation not just genes but ideas. The transmission of ideas was the first step we took toward breaking free of the shackles of the natural order. As we would eventually break the so-called sound barrier and the so-called light-barrier, so too did we break the evolution-barrier. But it did not stop there. The passing of knowledge from one generation to the next gave us tools with which to overcome our weaknesses. But man himself was still weak.

    And our weakness was the inspiration for those men who first set out to change humanity. From the turbulence of the twentieth century arose – first slowly, then rapidly – a new breed of warriors and warlords, of thinkers and leaders. They might have been Philosopher Kings, but the world banished them . What went wrong? I have spent many evenings pondering this over an Acamarian brandy, thinking on the fates of those lost souls, lost to space. The nearest to an answer that I can offer is this: the same drive that pushed them to succeed is present in ordinary men. But to ordinary men, the terms they offered appeared as a kind of death, against which every living thing revolts. That is the one natural law. Thou shalt survive, at whatever cost. And so, with the failure of those most superb persons, man’s potential was forgotten – but it was not lost.

    If there were a world now that faced Sherman’s famine, what would happen? Fathers would still die. Children’s growth would be stunted. Society and all its benefits would grind to a halt. To this day, man remains weak. We had a chance to transcend these perils. We refused it.

    Instead of adapting himself to thrive wherever, man turned to adapting wherever to himself. And so was born a new science. This, was readily accepted where genetic engineering was shunned. It offered the same new hopes and new horizons offered by self-improvement, and it did so without the need to admit any flaw or weakness in ourselves. This is the genius of it. The genetic engineer and the terraformer were both as gods; the difference is that the terraformer offered to remove obstacles where the geneticist offered strength to overcome them. And which of these is the greater? That is to be decided not by those alive today, but by those men and women who come after us. For my part, I shall say only this. One approach must be repeated over and over at each impediment. The other allows each generation to grow upon the other, each effort further extending man’s reach; this is much the same as the passing of ideas from one generation to the next, which is the very adaptation that first allowed us to thrive.

    The path to this objective is to reach inside ourselves. We must study ourselves, learn how we are built and how we work. It is by studying the blueprints of humanity and then rewriting them that we can develop more efficient bodies and quicker minds by taking ourselves down a path that evolution never intended. Nature is not fair, and it is not good. It falls to us to survive; we receive little assistance from our environment. Our locus of control lies within. Physics has no care for dignity. We strive against nature.

    From the moment when man first looked upon the world and decided to change it, the path of the universe was forever altered. One day, the universe shall no longer be the master and life the slave. We have remade Earth to our liking. We have the power to remake other worlds into new earths, precisely as we want them to be. But this is not enough. Imagine a time when we do not need an earth. Imagine a world where man has naught to fear. Imagine these things and they shall be so. Have the strength to let go of what is today. We must continue down this path, or we are doomed to die, as all creatures do. But the strength and intelligence with which we imbue our children grows exponentially each generation. We cannot imagine, now, how far this will take us. Do not let the ignorance of unexceptional men deter you from your efforts, but strive always with your fullest vigor toward our goal. We have revived our heritage from the dust of the past. Continue our work, and we shall be the heroes of future generations. We shall be the gods who took mere dust and created something worthy of life.

    Lieutenant Ben Livingston

    Assistant Chief Engineer

    USS Excalibur-A

  4. The darkness slowly gave way to the pale light of dawn, coupled with the untroubled calls of perching birds. Into this acoustic garden, the heavy grunt of a brawny man’s awakening burst forth, not shattering its beauty so much as giving it purpose.

    Hector’s eyes opened to the familiar quarters he had called home since his arrival on Starbase 118 all those years ago. The light panels glowed, slowly intensifying as his eyes adjusted to them. It has taken months to settle on a lighting program to which he wanted to awaken; the audio back then had been news, not birds. But so much had changed
    – had changed him – since then. One heavy foot after another landed on the ground as he sat up and filled his lungs with that first deep breath of the morning. Oxygen was again coursing through his arteries, rushing to their destination with fervor of the day.

    Moments later he was on his stomach, toes gripping the hard floor and hands pressed flat. He pushed himself up, a gruff exhale commanding his body into its rapid motion. One. Now resting on his outstretched arms, he let his body slowly down again, and repeated the motion. Two. He continued his morning routine, pushing up again, and again, and
    again. Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen. His mind wandered back, as it always did during this ritual, to the off-season with his high school parrises squares team. He was such an old man now, looking back. His time with them, though, was what had pushed him toward enlisting Starfleet to begin with.

    “You’ll never win if you’re afraid to get hurt,” Dak had said. Yes, the team captain, always looking out for the safety and morale of the group. But day after day of hearing it had its effect. Eventually Dak wasn’t admonishing “it’s just a scratch” as he rolled his eyes; he was soothing Hector with “the doctor says you’ll only be here a week” as a
    tears of guilt rolled from his eyes. But Hector hadn’t minded, once he was out on the field again. He was in the best shape of his life, he felt vibrant, and they had finally started to win. Not just here and there – their team was recognized as a force to be reckoned with.

    Seventy-four. Seventy-five. Hector held his position for a few extra seconds, gauging how tired he had become. Time had taken its toll on his body since his days playing parrises squares, but his whole outlook had been changed by it. Physical vitality was critical to a full life, he’d learned. Activity and competition could fill a person with sensations otherwise unimaginable. That love of experience and dynamism was what had brought him together with Karla. So in the end, any injury, any scar he had gotten from the game had been well worth it. His heart held captive by memory, he struggled against the weight as he stood up.

    Minutes later, he was stepping out of the sonic shower, and staring at himself in the mirror. There used to be another face beside his, here. Karla’s visage in the glass was as familiar as his own they prepared for the day together. More than that, her playful touches and endearing laughter had been as much a bathroom fixture as the sink. They were things he would never experience again. There had been a time, as he grieved, that Hector had considered programming her voice into the morning alarm. Only as he went through their recordings to find a good clip did he realize that her illness had passed on a disease of his own. Using Karla’s favorite bird calls was as close as
    he dared – perhaps as close as was healthy.

    Hector shuddered as the memories flooded back. He looked in the mirror; he was the only one there. Everything was normal – it was all as it had been for years now. He stood alone in the bathroom, looking at his face in the mirror. His clean-shaven face – a practice he had meticulously maintained since … well, for as long as he’d lived alone
    – revealed the scar under his chin. He scoffed at it.

    That was the scar that had given himself shaving for the first time after her death. It had been months since he’d last seen the skin beneath, and they had told him that shaving would be like peeling away the sorrows and allowing himself to move on. Well, he had never missed a day since then; they’d even told him they were impressed by his courage. But they didn’t understand that he had worn that beard as she lay in the biobed. He would never wear it again. That scar was the first step in his healing process.

    The wave of remembrance passed as Hector stepped out of the bathroom; the physical reminders of their daily preparations were behind him. His uniform hung, as it always did, beside the wardrobe, waiting to be put on for the day. And yet it struck him in a new way. The pip of the Chief Petty Officer, gleaming as it always did, was not glinting any
    differently in the light. The uniform remained clean and crisp, as usual. But something seemed different. It just looked so strange there, hanging empty, with no person inside of it. Hector stood staring at it for minutes on end, trying to decide why it bothered him. Oh. Oh, no … it’s me, he thought. The empty uniform was not just him … it was what he had become. He had filled it once; his career gave him pride, but there was so much more beneath it. That uniform had once been bursting at the seams, trying in vain to contain his
    joy, his energy, and all the wonderful days he spent with friends and family. And yet today … today he was getting up and going to the lab. Once there, he would wonder with which junior officer – whether Cody or Orionar or some new face – he would do battle in his crusade to keep the Science labs running as they ought. In the evening, he would have a quiet meal alone, read a few reports, and turn in. This uniform – this shell – was all that was left.

    With a sigh, he tenderly took it in his hands and dressed himself with it. Ready for the day, he passed through his quarters toward the door. Next to the exit on a small table was an inverted glass vessel on a base. Within it hung suspended in midair their two wedding rings, clasped eternally together and interlocked as were their souls. He smiled and stayed a moment longer, letting the floating remembrance imprint itself again upon his mind, as it did daily.

    -----

    Lieutenant Ben Livingston
    Assistant Chief Engineer
    Starbase 118 Ops

  5. ((Starbase 118, Ops Office))

    :: Her rather short communication with her intended target had produced at least the beginnings of the desired results, and after having tracked him down Pandora walked through the door with her padd in hand.::

    Raiden: oO Come in then!! Oo How can I help you :: He looked at her neck. :: Lt?

    Pandora: I was under the impression that you would be of use. Was I mistaken?

    Raiden: Depending what you what and why you need it? :: He looked at her from behind the desk. ::

    :: Ah yes, the inevitable request for an explanation as to why she was there and why the Drake needed an almost complete re-stock of parts and supplies - *without* revealing information that was classified higher than even the inhabitants of SB118's Black Tower would be cleared to know.::

    :: Though quite how that restriction was supposed to be enforced when the local media were crawling all over those of the crew who had tried to leave the ship, she was less certain.::

    Pandora: Short version, I require the contents of this list as soon as practically possible.

    :: Holding out the padd, she waited for him to take the hint - and the item in question.::

    Raiden: Ok.

    :: Marcus took the padd from the female. He still had no clue who she was though he had been waiting for the chief engineer of the Drake. ::

    oO (Marcus) Could this be her? Oo

    :: Marcus looked over the padd. As he got to the bottom his mouth was almost wide open. He put the padd down on the desk. ::

    Raiden: Ok. You might want to take a seat. :: Pointing to the chair ::

    :: Pandora looked at the chair, then back at the man behind the desk. She understood that he was likely being polite, but since she was here on business she had no need that she could see to waste time and energy on doing the same. Instead, she simply folded her hands behind her back and stood still.::

    Raiden: oO Guess not!! Oo Ok I think I can get you the stuff. What sort of time scale you needing it?

    Pandora: Immediate. Sooner might be better, but Temporal Investigations are eager enough to investigate as it is.

    :: Which was nothing he couldn't get off of the news feeds around here...::

    :: Marcus was drawn from sorting out what she needed by the words Temporal Investigations. ::

    Raiden: Temporal Investigation? As in time traveling?

    :: Thinking the situation over, she decided a quiet sigh would be somewhat appropriate to the situation and manufactured one.::

    Pandora: Indeed. Involuntary, if that will make any difference to the investigation - which I hope it will. Training a new captain would not be how I would prefer to spend my time.

    Raiden: Ok then. Just a word of warning then we have had an increase in reporters around here so be careful who and where you say stuff.

    Pandora: I believe I may have walked over one or two on the way here, but your warning is noted.

    :: And it would be a good trick indeed if he could tell whether she was joking about the "walked over" part. She wasn't, particularly, but since when did that make a difference to what people perceived about her behaviour?::

    Raiden: I just noticed you asked for full ammo restock. What type you want, quantum or or photon?

    Pandora: Photon. Until I have had the opportunity to work with our tactical officer to ensure that the launchers will not explode when used, I would prefer to keep the potential damage to the Drake to a minimum.

    :: Of course, her ideal fix for the Drake's assorted... quirks... was a complete keel-up rebuild of the vessel, but that was unlikely to be available as an option, given that this was not a full space-dock facility. In fact...::

    Pandora: Filling this request will not compromise your own stocks?

    Raiden: No I can get some ship here with in 2 days to restock us. If we need them between now and then, we have 3 starships here for repairs. :: He smiled at her. :: Ok that's the last, you should have everything transfered to the ship shortly. Oh the medical supplies - I will have to check with sick bay but it does seem we have plenty of stores.

    Pandora: ::nodding:: Understood. Thank you.

    :: Turning to head for the door, she paused as one of her more deeply embedded bits of coding made itself known. Turning back, she studied the male behind the desk for the moment, then decided he was as good a person to ask as any.::

    Pandora: Since we may be here for a short while, do you have any recommendations as to where I might find people.

    Raiden: oO People?? Oo What type of people?

    :: She *had* thought her question was clear enough, but apparently not.::

    Pandora: People. Going about their usual business in a way that can be observed without attracting undue attention.

    :: Marcus was very puzzled by the request. What did she mean? He looked at her silently as he thought. He had met a few non-living things before, which had been the most likely candidates in his experience that would have that sort of interest, but she looked very alive and quite hot, he thought. ::

    Raiden: I would suggest the Open-Air Gastropub in the commercial sector of the station.

    Pandora: Thank you. I have learned it is usually wise to consult a native guide in such matters - though that does not *always* work.

    :: She considered mentioning Rogers' beach trip that she had accompanied him on, the one that had "accidentally" turned out to be to to a naturist resort, but embarrassing her Captain like that was a waste of time unless he was present to squirm there and then.::

    Raiden: Your welcome. :: He was still confused about her and was going to keep his eye on her while she was here. :: I better let you go. Should you like to come to my shop again feel free.

    Pandora: I will.

    :: The way she said that left no doubt at all that she was taking him *exactly* at his word. With a final curt nod, she headed for the door, intending to make sure everything was proceeding as it ought before indulging those core subroutines that she was *still* trying to figure out the point of.::

    :: And if the dock crews performed to the standard she had come to expect, she knew exactly who's office she was going to be coming to, and exactly how little Raiden was going to want that to happen...::

    --------------------
    Lt Pandora
    Chief Engineer
    USS Drake
    http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Pandora

    &

    Lieutenant Marcus Raiden
    Operations Officer
    Starbase 118 Ops
    http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Raiden,_Marcus

  6. The cool, fresh air was rejuvenating, but it carried with it the perception that he was no longer alone. The fine wires danced between the engineer’s fingers, twisting themselves like dancers into a wire nut. Benjamin Livingston wiped the sweat from his brow and peered down the Jefferies tube ladder, where a crewman stepped into the cramped area and proceeded down to another level, away toward some other miniature catastrophe. Ben was having trouble enough solving his own disaster. The sooner they got this controller repaired, the sooner they’d be back on their way. The sound of receding footsteps faded.

    Carefully replacing the repaired connection, Ben closed up the panel. Taking a step down the ladder, he activated the flow controller. Lights sprang into being, and Ben beamed with satisfaction, a reflection of the lively display panel. He recorded the completion of the work, then hastily climbed back to the tube entrance. A crewman waited for him.

    “We’re all set to get the engine back online,” stated the crewman.

    Ben nodded in agreement. A team stood by, waiting and watching, as matter and antimatter streamed once more toward one another. The reaction: exajoules of energy; an engineering staff relieved. After sustaining so much damage, the question was thus: repair the engine, or float in the middle of the black abyss until some other Federation ship could be sent for them. And no engineer was about to just sit tight. Pride, and duty, demanded it.

    An indicator change to show they had moved to warp, but none of them needed those, anymore. For his part, Ben could tell by the feel of the deck plating when he stood by the engine. The vibration was different, somehow, when they were headed forward. Some kind of a communal excitement, shared by ship and crew, coursed through the steel.

    -----

    The floor tipped in what had become an accepted, even anticipated, shift. Somewhere, a bottle rolled from one side of the small room to the other. Canvas covered the workbench in a systematic, gently folded mass. Aging, knobby fingers ran themselves back and forth over the sheet, scanning it for defects. As they came upon a tear, their master lifted the canvas, delicately inspecting it. Behind Arthur Livingston, a hatch creaked open; boots stumbled down the ladder.

    With the utmost care, the man forced a needle through, and looped it around, stitching together the two sides of the rift. As he worked, the room around him continued to creak; swells took the wooden room this way, then that. Working patiently, ever cognizant of the prize he purchased by his labor and focus, the needle was passed through the canvas. It has been foolhardiness that had ruined it; pushing a thing past its limits happened all too often aboard the vessel. And now, here he was, again.

    The needle passed through the cloth a final time before being tied off. Nodding, Arthur called up to his companions. The men took it and disappeared up the ladder. Arthur followed them up and into the bright light. Shielding his eyes from the noon sun, wind ripped past him; the sound of a flapping flag filled the air. The sailmaker made his way to his favorite location, the forecastle, as the repaired sail was hoisted; he watched in anticipation. The rip had been small, but in a critical location. If it held, they’d get home days sooner.

    -----

    Beside Ben, a Tellarite engineer looked up at him. “It really is remarkable, isn’t it?” he asked. The pair had worked together with greater frequency of late. Ben smiled.

    “I just can’t believe it’s possible. Hundreds of us, all the way out here, and this beauty to get us where we need to go.”

    The crewman nodded in agreement. “My father and grandfather worked on starships. Nothing like this, mind, but it got me thinking. And here I am. They could never have dreamed of this, though.” The engine hummed; a “well-oiled machine” might have been a good description for it three-hundred years before, but the technology that went into this ship was of a different class altogether. The sound, at first loud, was now settling into the silence; it was the new calm, the sound that should always be there when the ship was headed somewhere.

    “My father never left Earth,” Ben commented in reply. “He was content there. I don’t think any of my family were particularly adventurous. Actually, I didn’t know I was, until I joined Starfleet. We were just never a ship family, I suppose.”

    “That’s alright; it’s got to start somewhere. Maybe your kids will be?”

    “Yeah,” said Ben. “Maybe they will. I hope so.”

    -----

    Arthur’s grim countenance gazed on his work. It had held; they were well on their way back to port. Not a moment too soon, for his taste. The salt breeze that had long tasted of adventure and discovery had turned bitter for him. Certainly, for the first few voyages, it had seemed a blessing to stand at the forecastle looking out at what was to come. The loneliness had come later; now, Arthur had a wife he longed to see. He longed to see her beautiful hair most of all. Fine, colorful, smooth; it was everything that the sail thread was not.

    Then there was little Stephen. The boy’s full embrace would be waiting for him; months of pent up affection finally released. Yes, Arthur had to get home. Turning around, he looked off the ship’s bow. It was only a few hundred miles to go.

    A glass bottle rolled up against his foot. How it had arrived so far forward was a mystery, but its former contents was no puzzle. Rum. Always grog with their earnings, and it wasn’t thrown in as rations like the British Navy did it. It was as though his shipmates wanted to stay aboard forever, the way they drank or gambled their wages. Not Arthur Livingston. No, thank you. If Arthur had anything to say about it, he’d work the ships all his days, if it meant Stephen wouldn’t have to do it. Let the boy get some schooling, then. One life was a fair price to pay, one man’s years squandered away in the blue abyss, to buy his family’s freedom from it. He would pay that price, that no Livingston would need step aboard a ship again.

    -----

    Ensign Ben Livingston

    Assistant Chief Engineer

    Starbase 118

    • Like 1
  7. A knowing smirk formed on her face as her eyes found the man in a blue Starfleet uniform on the opposite side of the room.

    “I don’t want to,” she declared. It was simple and direct; Hector would appreciate that. Hector shifted his weight in the chair, crossed his arms across his chest, and shifted his weight back to how it had been. For a moment, he sat in silence, staring back. His eyes worked their way around her face, measuring everything in the systematic method he applied to his work. But she wasn’t supposed to be work. Is that what I’ve become? A project? Her smile melted away as her gaze drifted down to her arms. She hadn’t remembered crossing them. She shifted her gaze to the pair of cut daffodils in water beside her bed.

    “You’re lying,” she heard him say, but her mind was still on how exactly he saw her. When she looked back, Hector was standing; he strode toward her, up the length of the bed, and ended up standing right at her side with mischief in his eyes. She inquired what he was doing with a glance. He’d know what she was asking. But he just leaned down over her, resting his arms on the bio bed to either side of her. Just a few years ago she had pined for them to be in this position. His unshaven face – it’s my fault; he doesn’t even have time to care for himself – was just inches away when he started again. “You’re lying, Karla, and I won’t have it.”

    Karla stifled a laugh. “I’m lying?” She slowly lifted her arms and draped them over his shoulders. “What am I lying about?”

    “About not wanting to dance.”

    Before she knew what was happening she was out of the bed; in the air, more precisely, with solid arms wrapped behind her. Karla whooped with surprised delight, unaware of what would happen but in well-trusted hands. At length she felt the cold deck beneath her bare feet; but it was a feeling she’d not had in so long that the cold was welcomed. It seemed Hector had found a way to take her mind off of things. I’ll have to remember not to ruin this, she thought as she closed her eyes and allowed her head to rest on his shoulder. Who knows if we’ll ever dance again?

    The music filled her mind, though the only sounds were medical devices and an EMH in the next room. It was reminiscent of a summer afternoon, lying on the grass at a festival with a warm breeze blowing through the air. Karla could even feel the breeze; her hair swayed back and forth. But that was just Hector, it turned out, playing with what little of her hair remained. He caressed the once-full mop of golden threads and she felt him sigh. Before long they danced no longer; he stood holding her against his barrel chest as her tears fell silently down his sleeve. When she opened her eyes, the pip of a petty officer loomed before her.

    The magic had not been lost, but the moment that contained it was over, now present only in memory. Karla’s joints creaked as she stepped back toward the bed. Her handsome attendant helped her back down and lifted her legs up onto the bed. “The doctor said I’m not to do things like that,” she commented as he sat down beside her.

    “You needed it as much as I did.”

    “That’s no excuse.” Karla felt his hand slide over hers, clasping it gingerly.

    Hector screwed up his face in what Karla could only make out to be mock seriousness. “Whatever happened to ‘quod est necessarium est … legitim’?” He held the face for a moment as Karla shook her head with a chortle. Reaching up, she pushed his shoulder with her good arm.

    “It’s ‘licitum’, you dunce!,” she said breaking into laughter. “And I don’t think doctors care about that.” Legal principles from Hector? She wondered. I may die of shock if I make it through this alive. Her lips parted to say it, but as she looked at him smiling down at her, she couldn’t quite bring herself to say the words.

    Instead, she settled on a pleasant smile. It was a good decision; the peace of silence was much more soothing. As Hector slid closer, the light caught his pip again, and Karla sighed.

    “Your shift starts soon. Want something to eat before you go back?” It was painful to say, but if he had to leave, she at least needed some transition time.

    “No, I’m not hungry yet.”

    “Well won’t you be later?” Breaking from routine was not something Hector often did.

    “I’ll eat when I’m hungry. With you.” Hector paused as a smile more tranquil than she remembered seeing on him grew on his face. “I’ve arranged for my duty shift to be covered. I’ll be here with you.”

    Comfort took hold of Karla, but it gave way soon enough, as though the bed had dropped out from beneath her. “Oh. Is it that bad?” Karla knew they had increased the dosage of two of the medications last week, but they hadn’t changed her prognosis, so far as she knew.

    “No, no, it’s not that.” The reply was quick, and he reached over to take her hand again. “I don’t know any more than you do. But we needed some time, right?”

    Karla’s smile returned. “Hector Adler, is this your idea of a date?” Hector walked around to the other side of the bio bed and lay next to her. It was a position in which they had been so often before, but as time had progressed ever onward, lying beside him took on ever evolving meanings. There was a time, long ago, when it left her feeling giddy. Now she was too tired to feel giddy; having him beside her was a tremendous comfort. She reached to the bedside table and found the vase of daffodils. He’d even brought flowers.

    “Yeah, I guess it is,” answered Hector. “Isn’t it romantic?”

    -----

    Ensign Ben Livingston

    Assistant Chief Engineer

    Starbase 118

    • Like 1
  8. ((Diplomatic Building ; Brek's Office))

    ::Between internal reports and requests, time was passing by pleasantly for Brek. Most diplomats wanted reassurances that the Federation wouldn't let its allies down during the Klingon conflict. The skill here was to emphasize the positive actions that SB118 would be taking, without disclosing too much information, since some of those cables would no doubt be intercepted. In fact, ever since Lt Zehn had spoken at the meeting, Brek couldn't help thinking that the Starbase was infested with spies, all with their secret agenda and even the desire to kill, it seemed.

    His door chirruped and within second his aide appeared with a batch of documents that needed to be signed. Those could have been sent directly to his message box, which implied that Dakarai was here for a different reason. Terrans often arm themselves with a fake objective when they have something important to ask.::

    Brek: What is it this time?

    ::The Ensign sighed and allowed himself to drop in a chair, doing a pretty good impression of anxiety.::

    Dakarai: I'm afraid that this time it's our department that's likely to be the victim of gossip.

    ::That got Brek's undivided attention. He had been about to open a packet of biscuits, (conveniently stored in his desk), but abandoned the idea right away.::

    Brek: How so?

    Dakarai: It's to do with Ensign Evprak. See, she was dating this strange bloke, Patrick something... or Patriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick as she used to call him. I warned her right away that he was a swindler. He looked the part too; wearing the type of old fashioned three piece suits you only see in the Dungeon, but she wouldn't listen, of course. The silly goose was in love.

    Brek: ::Raising a hand.:: Stopping you there, Monsieur Dakarai. You don't happen to have a short version of this tale? I've already been subjected to Evprak's antics and I'm that close to nailing her on a fictitious wooden cross.

    Dakarai: Très bien... As I feared, he took her to the cleaners. Pretended he was stranded on Duronis, needed some funds to come back to the Starbase. This developed into various complications where he always ended up either losing the money or where his life was in danger... And now that all her savings are gone, he dropped her.

    Brek: ::Scratching his chin.:: When you entered into my office, was it written `Counselor' on the door?

    Dakarai: Non.

    Brek: You came to the wrong office, then, my `little' Jean Baptiste. I happen to applaud what this Mr Patrick did. He saw an opportunity, and he took it. I've seen this type of operation in action on Risa. Believe me, each target demands a lot of work, finesse and preparations. ::He reopened his top drawer and grabbed the box that was there.:: Besides, let's not forget that in a case like this, the fake lover always provides a service. He offers a dream, albeit a fairly costly one for the victim. Do you want a biscuit?

    Dakarai: Non, merci. Think what you want, Lt Cmdr Brek, there is only one outcome to this: the reputation of our department is going to suffer. One of ours has been conned and the CDO didn't provide any assistance to his own secretary.

    Brek: ::Indignant:: `Assistance?!' Are you completely.... oO What's the funny word they use in such circumstances... oO off your trolley? I couldn't comfort a female even if I had memorised an A to Z method on the subject. ::He took a biscuit and began to eat it, making as much noise as possible.::

    Dakarai: That's not what I meant. Something needs to be done to stop this scammer before he makes more victims in this sector. With your financial savoir faire, I think you are the best candidate to tackle this problem.

    Brek: ::Spitting out a few crumbs as he speaks:: Dishing out compliments at a moment like this, Dakarai... this is low.

    Dakarai: I am not asking you to do it for Evprak, but for the department. Think of the impact such an action would have for our image. Isn't it best that, as diplomats, we stick together? It would also paint you as a Chief who cares for his staff.

    Brek: Which isn't essentially good for my reputation among Ferengis, I might add.

    Dakarai: Unless you appropriate the riches that this scammer has amassed, for yourself. In which case you get the best of both worlds.

    ::That got Brek thinking, but he soon concluded that before long he would have half the Corps asking him to restitute the money that his dumb secretary had lost. Terrans aren't afraid of begging and they never know where to stop.::

    Brek: ::He took the time to eat another biscuit, and then made up his mind.:: Right... I've got the perfect solution to this pathetic little issue: I'll ask my grandmother to deal with it. She is relentless when she believes in a cause and I feel sure that this case will be right up her street.

    Dakarai: Oh mon Dieu... your grandmother. I had forgotten about her.

    Brek: Oh mon Dieu all right. This means that if there are any complications in this affair, you and Evprak can deal with the old crone directly. I don't want to hear another word about it, is that clear?

    Dakarai: Oui mais, what if she...

    Brek: ::Getting up and heading for the doors, with his packet of biscuits.:: Time to move on, Ensign. We are going to visit the main Embassies. If we play it right, we might learn a few things here and there... The sooner we get this done, the sooner I can talk to my wearisome relative.

    tbc

    Lt Cmdr Brek

    Chief Diplomatic Officer

    SB118/USS Victory

  9. ((Timothy Peak Academy))

    Roberts: Thank you, ahem, ::Gregor sifted through his notes:: Timothy Peak Academy, for the opportunity to speak with you today.

    ::The podium was a crutch that he hadn’t needed when he started this. He was younger then – fresh out of the Academy and wide-eyed about the world. He didn’t walk through an audience anymore. He didn’t jump around the stage. Now, his grip on the wood tightened; he planted his feet firmly behind the pillar. Roberts glanced over to the headmaster, who sat at the side of the auditorium in the front row, lips firmly together and staring over his pressed-together fingertips. ::

    Roberts: There are a number of reasons ::the microphone screeched with feedback for a moment.:: reasons to join Starfleet. They’d take a while to list and I have only a few minutes, so let me give a few reasons not to apply. You want to coast through life? Don’t apply to Starfleet. Are you content to follow the standard roadmap to a successful career? The Academy doesn’t teach that. oO You don’t want to recruit teenagers your whole life? Don’t join. Oo To be honest, Starfleet isn’t right for most of us … um, isn’t right for most people.

    ::It occurred to Gregor that there was usually something that followed this. It was something he said that followed this. Something inspiring. He’d done this for a decade; why could he not remember that part? It’s the same every time.::

    Roberts: But – maybe for a few of us, well, a few of you, I’ve already made this choice. For a few of you, maybe you want to see new places. A lot of them. Maybe you want to keep people safe. Or discover new worlds, or develop cutting edge technology. Or recruit – oO oh, no, did I just say that? Oo recruit alien worlds to our cause. Working for Starfleet will unleash your potential. Headmaster, ahem … your headmaster has allowed me to come here because this is an elite school, and Starfleet is a fitting next step for some of you. I’ll be outside the auditorium to answer any questions you may have. Please stop by to take some information.

    ::Not three minutes later Gregor was waiting outside the doors with pamphlets in one hand and his bag in the other. He had to hit another two schools today. Fortunately, this wouldn’t take long. It never did. High schools were a bust; few kids still wanted to join up.::

    ::Students filed out of the auditorium and the hallway exploded into life as packs of students passed him. By the looks of it, he’d be on his way in five minutes, so he’d have a chance to grab a coffee after all.::

    Granger: I said I’d like one, please.

    ::Gregor hadn’t noticed the gangly kid come up to him.::

    Roberts: You do? Sure, take one.

    Granger: Why should I join up?

    Roberts: What do you mean? ::He looked at the kid inquisitively.:: You were in the audience, right?

    Granger: Yeah. You were pretty clear on why not to, but you were a bit vague on the reasons to apply.

    Roberts: Was I? Well, Starfleet’s mission is peacekeeping and exploration. Starfleet Academy affords opportunities to hone your body and mind, to forge you into the best individual you can be, and put you in a position to make the Federation an even better place.

    Granger: That’s pretty bad.

    ::He was arrogant, just like the rest of these students. He wouldn’t make it in the Academy anyway. But it was his job, so he indulged the kid for the moment.::

    Roberts: Those sound like good things to me – what’s bad about becoming a better person and improving life for others?

    Granger: Not what I mean. I know a thing or two about rhetoric, and that was written for you. Probably a while back – you should recommend they update their stuff.

    ::Now Gregor was sure the kid was just wasting his time. He watched the goofy-looking boy shift his weight, glance over the pamphlet, and look the uniformed man up and down. Gregor wasn’t one to put up with this.::

    Roberts: Listen –

    Granger: Let me ask a different way. Why did YOU join Starfleet?

    Roberts: Why did I? ::He paused, thought about it. It wasn’t a question he usually got.:: oO It certainly wasn’t to do this. Oo I wanted to be a part of something – wanted there to be justice.

    :: A moment in time flashed through his mind. He recalled Armand’s face. He’d mentored him all through school, tutored him, helped him achieve his potential. Gregor snapped out of it, but the world was clearer before his eyes.::

    Roberts: No. It was to give other people the opportunities I had.

    Granger: And ... ::he paused, waiting for a response :: did Starfleet help you do that?

    ::Roberts thought through it. In truth, he had been excited about recruiting at first. He wanted to do this. That first woman he signed up – she was going places. But, and he was proud of this, she hadn’t even considered Starfleet Academy before he’d spoken to her.::

    Roberts: Yes. It did. ::He looked down at the boy and smiled.:: You like rhetoric, kid? There’s a place for you at the Academy. Diplomatic Corps. Counseling. Hey, maybe even recruitment. You’d be a good fit for Starfleet. And something tells me we’d be a good place for you, too.

    -----

    Ensign Ben Livingston

    Science Officer

    Starbase 118

    • Like 1
  10. Ben was relieved that the feeling he had as he stepped onto the Starbase 118 hangar deck was one of silent affirmation. That's one small step for a man ... he thought, but then shooed away the oft-quoted phrase, embarrassed at having made the comparison. He had been waiting for that step for four years; the arrival for his cadet cruise from the San Francisco campus signaled, in his view, the start of a new life.

    For such a level-headed person, this "step" superstition was something of an anomaly in Ben's personality. Perhaps it was an outlet for the repressed nonsense, squeezed out of his consciousness by years of learning discipline at the Academy, Power Storage Solutions, and an overly-regimented upbringing; perhaps it was a last link to the world of gut reactions and trusted instinct. The idiosyncrasy remained, though, exactly as it had been six years ago, when he graduated top ten percent from engineering school. At least, the experience was the same in the pull to feel for it, waiting with breath held back until it came. Different -- a complex conjugate pair -- in reaction. Walking into the building on his first day as a design engineer, his first step left him thinking he couldn't be there his whole life. It wasn't intimidation or the thought of being unable to handle it. He had been prepared, but the bewildering fog of boredom loomed on the horizon, even that first day.

    In deference to the step, here he was: a man more fully developed and more committed to himself than before. Ben looked around the hangar bay at the new cadets in perfect uniforms and noted their general amazement at their surroundings. From tight corridors and manned duty posts, doubtful gazes of hardened crewmen and officers sized up the compatriots upon whom they would depend, for better or for worse. It occurred to Ben that he was among those being evaluated. He smiled. An officer approached. Ben picked up his bag and took a second step; the feelings of the first resounded within him again, echoing off the walls and engulfing him in assurance. "Cadet Benjamin Harold Livingston," he informed the officer, "ready and reporting for duty."

  11. Hi! My name is Will, living in Connecticut, USA. Just applied the other day and looking forward to the start of training. I've played some RPGs, but haven't had a consistent group in the past. I've always liked Star Trek: TOS (and the movies) but never really went further than that until recently. Now I've seen the first season of TNG and am starting on Enterprise -- there's so much out there. I'm really just beginning to become more interested in this. So if anyone has suggestions for what I watch (or read or play) to continue my Star Trek immersion, just let me know!

    I guess it's by those two points combined (no steady RPGs and renewed interest in Star Trek) that I started looking for this group. Glad I found it!

    My character's name is Ben Livingston, an engineer joining Starfleet after a few years in the civilian workforce designing energy storage systems. This is (I suppose) a partially autobiographical character, as I'm a design engineer working in electrical distribution.

    Thanks in advance for the great community -- I'm looking forward to my first simming experience!

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