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~Mo~

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~Mo~ last won the day on May 1 2014

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About ~Mo~

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    Creativity is Intelligence having fun.

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    USS Atlantis
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    Engineering Officer

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  1. ((Gymnasium, USS Atlantis)) ::Ravenscroft stormed in as soon as the doors slid open, snatching a pair of red boxing gloves from the wall and shoving his hands into them roughly as he made a beeline towards his favorite section of the gym. He stopped abruptly. That sound. No. Someone was abusing his punching bag!:: ::As he drew cautiously nearer, his face all red from anger and frustration and embarrassment, he stopped short once again. The Vulcan who had punched his nose was now punching the life out of the cylindrical jet-black bag.:: RAVENSCROFT: ::expression somewhere between shock and amusement:: oO O-kay.. .. Oo ::The flame-haired linguist flashed a smile as he approached and stopped a meter away from the ensign, before shooting out a hand to stop the swinging bag.:: RAVENSCROFT: Keep your elbows bent and close to your sides. Hit the bag at chest level and more to the sides of the bag. ::Continuing his angry pummeling of the bag, the Vulcan didn't look up at Ravenscroft's appearance in front of him. Instead, he adjusted his elbows and focused his hits as directed.:: RAVENSCROFT: The point of contact should be your knuckles, not the mid-shaft of the bones of your fingers. Not unless you want to fracture them. ::Sovak stopped short of throwing another hit. He stepped back, freeing his hands of the gloves with his teeth.:: SOVAK: I did not know that. Vulcan youths are instructed in combat tactics, but are not taught how to throw a punch. ::His gloves were coming off.:: SOVAK: Perhaps that is why my hand throbbed with pain so long after I hit you. Sir, again I apologize. RAVENSCROFT: ::shrugging:: It'll heal. I'm good. ::The Vulcan had become accustomed to apologizing for his own bizarre behaviors, but never got used to accepting forgiveness. He nodded slightly, obviously embarrassed.:: SOVAK: I note that your face has already returned to its previous form. Dr. DyAmone performed her duties well. ::The Vulcan ensign looked as though he was going to say something more, but didn't. An awkward moment passed before Ravenscroft continued.:: RAVENSCROFT: So.. this is like the second time you surprised me today, ensign Sovak. SOVAK: Indeed. This day has been full of surprises. RAVENSCROFT: *Full* of surprises? ::coaxing:: Do explain. SOVAK: I mean only... I mean that Atlantis has experienced several unexpected turns in its current mission. ::Their eyes met directly, and the Vulcan's looked a little watery, like some emotion was trying to run out of them. It was clear he wasn't telling the truth like a Vulcan should. Then again, many of his actions weren't those of a good Vulcan. His speech patterns and the tone of his voice were measured and controlled like those of his people, but his face expressed something different. Sovak turned away, working at his boxing gloves, tightening them onto his hands again.:: ::Emerson noticed the glistening of the Vulcan's eyes just before he turned away. Too late. The pale-skinned giant's curiosity had been sufficiently stoked. There was no turning back now.:: SOVAK: I see you have gloves of your own. If I am in the way of your workout, I will step aside. RAVENSCROFT: ::smashing his gloved fists together:: No reason why we can't both enjoy a workout. Besides, I need to blow off some steam too. How about a friendly sparring session? ::Sovak considered extracting himself from the situation. As odd as he was for a Vulcan, he was not antisocial. However, the way Ravenscroft continued to beat his fists together, combined with the angry gleam in his eye, was intimidating. The Vulcan weighed that against the fact that Ravenscroft was his superior, and that, in a way, he "owed him one." There was no logic in running away now.:: SOVAK: I will join you. RAVENSCROFT: Sweet. ::gesturing with a turn of his head, fiery hair flying:: Let's go over there. ::They headed to a corner of the gym where there was a square blue rubberized mat on the floor. Emerson jumped up and down to warm up while patiently waiting for the ensign to open up to him. He received a question instead.:: SOVAK: You said you are here to blow off steam. Is there a reason? ::The Vulcan hoped the Terran's answer would not be "because you hit me in the face today.":: RAVENSCROFT: Something the doctor said. I didn't like it. oO Because she's right. Oo SOVAK: It can be difficult to listen to what we do not want to hear. ::He stretched, preparing for the bout. He may not have known how to throw a punch, but years of Parrises Squares had made him an athlete, and he did not shy away from competition. It was the only outlet for his anger.:: Are you very upset? RAVENSCROFT: ::stretching his arms one at a time above his head:: Let's just say that I'm a little frustrated. I miss someone so badly it hurts so this ::pounding his fists together again:: is for the physical pain that I hope will replace the emotional one. So how about you? Why all the sudden unbridled emotions? SOVAK: ::stopping, and looking embarrassed again.:: How can you tell? RAVENSCROFT: ::grinning wryly:: I've been living with a counselor for close to two years now, so I can spot repressed emotion just waiting to erupt, anytime. Shall we begin? SOVAK: Of course. ::Sovak was confused, thrown off. Ravenscroft had a way of making the Vulcan put his guard down and up again with alarming frequency. He faced the flame-haired Terran squarely.:: ::The linguist bounced on the balls of his feet but maintained his distance from the ensign. He wanted the Vulcan to make the first few moves, to gauge the speed of his strikes, his weak spots. All the while wondering if he would ever open up to him as to what was roiling and eating him up inside.:: SOVAK: My attempts to disguise my emotions do not always work. Many people see a Vulcan before them, and assume I have no feelings. ::The Vulcan tried a few jabs, but the lieutenant easily avoided them.:: You already know better about me, following our earlier incident. I must admit, it is a relief to talk about it with someone who knows I have little control over my emotions. ::The Vulcan threw a wilder punch, and received a glancing blow to the forearm in exchange.:: SOVAK: I assume your problem involves Commander Blueheart. In your personal relationship, if not in your professional one, you have some amount of equal say, do you not? You say you miss him... RAVENSCROFT: ::avoiding a punch to the face:: But I can't do much about it. ::remembering the doctor's words:: I don't want to come between him and his ship. I'd never want that, never in a million years. ::sighing:: Maybe with time we'll learn to manage our schedules well and enjoy each other's company again. But in the meantime, while we both rediscover our comfort zones, ::He threw a couple of punches at his opponent.:: this will have to do. SOVAK: ::almost smiling.:: This is indeed emotionally therapeutic. RAVENSCROFT: Have you ever been in a relationship, Sovak? ::For a moment, Sovak had forgotten his troubles. The question stunned him out of that, and he couldn’t help stopping where he was, arms dropped to his sides. Ravenscroft's jab landed squarely, horribly, with a sickening crunch, under the Vulcan's defenseless left eye.:: SOVAK: Ow! RAVENSCROFT: What the hell?! ::He recoiled back in shock.:: Why did you do that for?! ::The Vulcan hadn't gone down, but he was KO'd, done for the day.:: SOVAK: ::blinking rapidly and trying not to touch his face.:: I did owe you one. RAVENSCROFT: Okay, as suspicious as it looks, that was NOT vengeance! I assure you. ::guiding him to a sitting position along the wall:: Here, sit. How do you feel? ::They sat down together against the wall, Sovak wincing as his own curious hand reached for the bruising area, stopped by the glove that still held it.:: SOVAK: I would characterize it as being "puffy." RAVENSCROFT: Puffy is okay. Woozy not so okay. ::Sovak collapsed backwards against the wall and sighed, forgetting the pain. Ravenscroft had shocked him with his words and his fist. And he deserved an answer.:: SOVAK: In response to your question, I must admit I have never been in a relationship. Vulcans do not date. Some will experiment once they arrive at the Academy or move to another planet among people of other cultures. It is not unknown for Vulcans to marry or couple with outsiders. I suppose I have experimented in my own way. RAVENSCROFT: I’m glad you’re open to new experiences. Life is all about experiences. I must admit I don’t know many Vulcans who will even entertain the notion. SOVAK: Many entertain it, but would never admit as much. I know what it means to want to be with someone, to spend your time with them and to be close, but to have circumstances constantly pulling you apart. Unlike you, I have no say in the matter. I cannot voice my feelings. RAVENSCROFT: ::perplexed:: Why not? SOVAK: Because I am Vulcan. ::It seemed obvious to him. He lived and breathed every day of his life in a strange place between following the ways of his people and following the beat of his own heart. The tears rose in Sovak's dark eyes again, threatening to run over his cheeks. He choked them back angrily.:: RAVENSCROFT: oO Whoa. And there’s no couch when you really need one! Oo Um.. ::Emerson hesitated a moment before draping an arm over the man’s shoulders, drawing him close, not really caring if he would be disgusted with sweat and blood and grime.:: RAVENSCROFT: ::gently:: He won’t know unless you tell him, dear.. .. But there’s something else. Not telling someone something that you know may not go well with them doesn’t exactly correspond with the level of anxiety and emotional agitation you’re displaying. ::slight pause:: What happened Sovak? SOVAK: I made a mistake. That is, I lost control of myself. Not in the way that caused me to injure you earlier because I could not control my temper. I mean that during the telepathic episode the cloud creatures caused, I committed certain actions that I did not remember until later. I was not myself, not under my own control, like all the other affected telepaths. But what I did was a result of my own feelings and hidden wishes. Now.. I don't know what to do. RAVENSCROFT: oO Oh dear! Did you.. take advantage of him while he slept? You could’ve easily overpowered him and.. Oo ::shaking off the idea and putting on a placid face:: It’s okay. Tell me what you did and maybe I can tell you exactly what to do. SOVAK: I entered his quarters, and effected what might be considered a "romantic gesture." RAVENSCROFT: oO Oh no! Just as I feared! Sexual harassment is such a serious, unpardonable offense! And his career is just starting! Oh Sovak! What have you done?! Oo Um, ::innocently:: romantic gesture? ::The Vulcan looked nervously at the linguist.:: SOVAK: I covered the room in flowers. I can't remember exactly how many. The memory returned when I returned to my quarters and found several blossoms in the replicator. It's a little fuzzy, as though viewed through the clouds themselves, but as I recall, it was... a considerable amount of flowers. What might logically be called overkill. RAVENSCROFT: ::He inhaled deeply to camouflage a great sigh of relief.:: oO Glad you didn’t erect an altar of worship in his name. Oo Who is this object of your affection and how did you gain access into his room? SOVAK: His name is Ensign Rennyn. We were roommates at the Academy, and were posted to Atlantis together. I am certain he does not return my feelings. I do not know how to proceed. RAVENSCROFT: Ah. Ensign Rennyn. He’s your roommate here on the Atlantis also, isn’t he? SOVAK: No. As a low-ranking Ops officer, I am tasked to assist in quarters configuration and assignment. I… abused that position, it seems, to enter Ren’s room. ::He hoped Ravenscroft would let that one slide. It did happen under the effects of the cloud creatures, after all.:: RAVENSCROFT: ::pausing several seconds:: Well, if he didn’t know what you felt for him before, he sure knows now. It’s not hard to trace who placed all those flowers in the room. So at least one part of the problem has been resolved - he learned of your feelings for him. Now, you could use the clouds’ influence on you as an excuse for your behavior, but for me that’s just denying the facts and making things even more complicated. I’d just come clean from this point onwards. ::pausing again:: Why do you say you’re certain he doesn’t reciprocate your feelings? SOVAK: Because I know him well. He knows me as well as anyone, knows about the emotions I experience. He has even helped me deal with my problems. However, he still sees me as a Vulcan. As one who seeks to be ruled by logic. And there is no logic to our romantic pairing. None at all. RAVENSCROFT: You won’t know for sure unless you talk to him about it. I’m not saying you should walk up to him right now and ask him how he feels for you. Remember, he just learned that his friend is in love with him. He’s going to need some time to process this. But what I am saying is to start a conversation with him. Tell him why you placed all those flowers in his room. He may have come to the conclusion himself, but you need to tell him yourself, in person. He needs to hear it from you. You need to hear it from yourself too, almost as much as he needs to hear it. SOVAK: I must confess, it is encouraging to have discussed this with someone other than myself. Your advice makes sense. But what if it's the wrong move? What if he can't accept what I say? RAVENSCROFT: I don’t know. Neither of us can know for sure how he’d react. But you would have taken the first step in resolving this issue once and for all. A crucial first step. We’ll handle the rest that comes along. ::Sovak tapped his gloves together gently and gave his makeshift counselor a look that was part question, part thanks.:: RAVENSCROFT: Yes. I did say WE. Unless of course you prefer to walk this path alone.. SOVAK: Your encouragement has already helped me to feel better. Turning away from you now would be illogical. RAVENSCROFT: Glad to hear. ::He smiled broadly, reassuringly.:: Okay, I think we’ve had enough injuries for one day. Let’s get you cleaned up. ::He stood up and offered a hand to the seated Vulcan, whose face was swelling rapidly.:: SOVAK: You have helped me immensely. RAVENSCROFT: ::untying the cords around Sovak’s gloves and yanking them off:: No worries. Actually.. you’ve helped me too. You gave me an idea.. ::His voice trailed off, morphing into a broader smile.:: SOVAK: Before you try it, please wait to hear from me. It may be that a man does not wish to have every centimeter of his room covered in cut flowers. But I will ask Ren directly and let you know. ::The pair put their gloves back on the wall, and went off to take another jab at working on their relationships, as best they could.:: FIN ================================= Ensign Sovak Ops USS Atlantis NCC-74682 as simmed by Ensign Rendal Rennyn & Lt JG Emerson Ravenscroft Xenolinguist USS Atlantis NCC-74682 as simmed by Commander Raj Blueheart
  2. Marines.... hotheads... man! Thumbs up Captain Turner!
  3. ((Sickbay - USS Atlantis)) ::Lynn assured Sovak his confidentiality would be maintained, and the Vulcan explained that, unlike other Vulcans, he had failed to achieve control over his emotions. If this were a Vulcan ship, that would be considered exactly the kind of danger to the crew that would require Lynn to break his confidence. Fortunately, this was not a Vulcan ship. Which was great, because as the lowest ranking ops officer, Sovak would have hated cleaning up after all those meditation candles.:: ::Sovak attempted to explain himself further, but he was distracted, not only by the uncomfortable emotions running through him in greater strength and number than he was accustomed to for some reason, but because of everything happening around him in Sickbay. From where he sat on a biobed, he could see Maiman Terpes talking with Dr. DyAmone, and he was worried about her. He also saw Lt. Ravenscroft enter, his face more bruised than ever, though even with the injury he remained inexplicably good-looking. Sovak wanted once again to melt through the deckplates and disappear.:: ::It was with excellent timing that Dr. DyAmone interrupted the conversation to assign further tasks to Ensign Lynn. Sovak was saved from continuing with his embarrassing admissions before he got to the part about physical attraction and warm squishy feelings.:: DYAMONE: Hope you’re feeling better, Mr. Sovak. I’m sorry, but I have to take your physician from you. ::Sovak nodded. The pair instantly launched in on discussing the ship's current demands on the medical department. Sovak understood that his needs were inconsequential compared to the safety of the ship, and nodded his gratitude to Lynn as the deceptively aged ensign moved on with his duties. Maybe they would speak more at a later time.:: ::Sovak laid back on the biobed to get some rest. He tried desperately not to watch Dr. DyAmone's examination of Ravenscroft, but they were directly in his line of vision, so his beady little Vulcan eyes couldn't help but stare. Sovak was safely tucked in the back where no one would disturb him. Other distressed telepaths were passed out on beds around him. If he squinted, he could see that Ravenscroft was built almost like Ren. A certain agricultural bearing. Though the captain's partner had a more colorful reputation. Sovak thought of the time he'd traveled to Trill with Ren on break from the Academy. His roommate had refused to leave him behind to "haunt the hills of San Francisco" alone. Sovak had been terrified of the outgoing, gregarious Rennyn clan. But the country they lived on was beautiful to him, so unlike anything on Vulcan, all full of greens in shades each more vibrant than the last.:: ::A roar of laughter drew his attention back to the present. He looked to the source - Ravenscroft, of course - who, at that horrible moment, pointed directly at Sovak. The Vulcan's heart dropped out of him and he nearly stopped breathing as he pretended not to notice the doctor and the linguist looking him over and talking about him. He was sure his face had blushed deep green, but he laid back, staring intently at the ceiling, as though nothing was amiss. His heart was pounding away, desperate to escape the cage of ribs holding it in place.:: ::When he'd visited Trill, Sovak had felt this same way most of the time. A constant parade of Ren's relatives and neighbors had fought for their moment with the Vulcan, the strange visitor from a distant, obtuse culture. All he'd wanted was escape. One day, he made his way unnoticed to the back fields of Tro'Arn Farm, where no one found him for hours. Sitting quite still on the crumbling remains of an abandoned border, he smelled the rich earth and felt the warm sun on his face, and heard nothing but the breeze rustling round him and the distant crack of the forest line, punctuated by bird's calls or the unselfconscious fall of a leaf or old fruit. He hadn't been able to resist a small, contented smile. That was the moment he understood who Ren really was. A few years in on trying to make sense of him at the Academy, the mystery finally came clear, how the Trill appeared calm every minute of the day, no matter what stress the universe threw at him. While Sovak bundled up his nerves, always trying to get his feelings under control, Ren was revisiting this perfect place, in just such a perfect moment as this. He was running that moment on repeat in the back of his mind. He was traveling the galaxy on the warm breeze of home.:: ::On the biobed, Sovak breathed deeply, his head awkwardly positioned on the little pillow. Every day of his young life, the kohlinar master had ordered him to meditate, to picture a time and place of safety. He'd always supposed he failed so many times because that place didn't exist for him. But he'd found some bit of it when he went home with Ren to Trill. He should have spent more time in that field. Panicking under Ravenscroft's glances, he tried desperately to recapture the feeling of that breeze. Flat on his back, he covered his face with his hands in frustration. He would have done well to pass out for the day with some of these other telepaths, but his powers were minimal compared to theirs, and he hadn't stood a chance of much more than a few minutes blackout and a mild headache after.:: ::The Vulcan breathed deeply some more, and tried to shut out everything around him. He would have control one of these days, even if it was the last thing he did.:: Ens Sovak OPS USS Atlantis simmed by Ensign Ren Rennyn Helm Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  4. ((Corridor near Astrometrics, USS Atlantis)) ::It was the middle of the night, ship's time. The ill-fated reception had ended hours ago, though Sovak had not been required to attend. He had been busy realigning Astrometrics sensors and programming data collation. Grunt work, but an efficient use of his programming skills. That work was interrupted when the Grenushi ambassador's clouds broke loose.:: ::Sovak had suffered the same effects as other telepaths aboard. He still wasn't sure something weird hadn't happened that he didn't remember - he certainly hadn't been in control of himself - but at some point in the episode, he'd had the sense to follow the shipwide announcement from Commander Mitchell and report to Sickbay. A nurse had assigned him a neural inhibitor set, and he'd been released to quarters.:: ::Now, hours later, he was back on duty, determined to complete the task he'd been assigned. If he couldn't finish a sensor realignment in a timely manner, he was never going to be considered for more important duties, let alone a bridge shift. It wasn't like with Ren, who got to be on the bridge all the time. Sovak was in the business of computer systems maintenance and analysis, and to anyone but a computer systems analyst, he seemed to belong out of sight.:: ::It was the middle of the night, ship's time. On Vulcan, on the part of Vulcan Sovak had lived the longest, it was late afternoon just now, when the shadows from the mountains lapped across the desert like the rising tide. He'd been happy there for a time, in his childhood, before his uncle sent him away to the kohlinar school. He'd been told it was illogical to attach emotional importance to a place, to pin his well-being to a room, or a house, or a particular street or town. So long as he had logic and control, he would thrive in any setting. But he always missed his home, and when the kohlinar master was hardest on him, he missed it all the more.:: ::After years of training that was more intense and thorough than most Vulcan youths received, Sovak had failed to master the control of emotion required of him. It wasn't as though he hadn't tried. He'd gone to great lengths to meet the expectations placed on him by his uncle, his family, his peers on Vulcan. He'd tried everything to be the man they expected him to be. But something in him always made him fall short. The more he tried to control his emotions, the more he found himself exploring them, and feeling them, and reaching the logical conclusion that they were a part of him and shouldn't be denied. He failed to find control, he got angry about it, he fell on his face, and he had to start over. Over and over again.:: ::The whole thing made him so angry, so frustrated, that he could feel that distant proto-Vulcan inside him fighting its way to the surface. He wanted to hit something, to take that anger and throw it forward through his arm to the end of his fist. He wanted to damage something, though he didn't know what. Usually when he felt this way, he found time in the Holodeck to play Parrises Squares. He'd long ago decided that the most logical use of his aggressive tendencies was to channel them into athletic competition. It always made him feel better, and put his mind back in order, too.:: ::But there was no way to get to a Holodeck now, or even to the gym while so much was happening on the ship and he had a task to carry out. He thought for a moment he might punch the wall, feeling that frustration going through him, but he knew he would be the one called to repair the damaged LCARS screens. Someone would probably see him do it, too, and he'd feel foolish and ashamed, which would make him feel bad about feeling such emotions, and the whole cycle would start again. It made him so angry! The feeling welled up inside him, and he couldn't control the physical expression any longer. He'd punch anything, even the air in front of him. It built up, and he couldn't control it. Expecting his fist to meet to resistance but that of the ship's thin atmosphere, Sovak threw the punch.:: ::He shouldn't have done so near a corner in the corridor, because, as it turned out, someone was coming around it at an unsafe speed. Sovak's fist connected with a handsome green-eyed Terran face that reeled backwards from the blow. The attached body staggered and fell, red hair flashing away in a blur. RAVENSCROFT: Oww. SOVAK: Lieutenant! Are you injured? ::It was an illogical question to ask a Terran who had just been punched in the face by a Vulcan with superior strength. However, the man had not entirely lost consciousness.:: RAVENSCROFT: I’ve.. ::hacking:: been worse.. ::Sovak was immediately embarrassed, horrified by the result of his action. He tried to exercise his usual façade of Vulcan stoicism, but it seemed pointless now. That wall had obviously come down.:: SOVAK: I will assist you to Sickbay. RAVENSCROFT: Sickbay? Nah.. ::coughing:: They have their hands full.. ouch.. already.. SOVAK: Then I will locate a medkit and assess the damage. RAVENSCROFT: Okay. ::Sovak had helped the man to his feet, and retrieved the PADD that had clattered to the deck. He held it out, offering it back to the man. Sovak's anger was gone for the moment, but it was replaced by a long list of other emotions, and at the top was embarrassment that showed in the green blush of his face. It was the middle of the night, ship's time, and Sovak had a feeling tomorrow wasn't going to be any better.:: Ensign Sovak OPS USS Atlantis NCC-74682 simmed by Ens Ren Rennyn
  5. ((Waltas Estate, Ba'ku Homeworld)) ::The wizened eyes locked onto his in the way they always did; the way that smashed through his emotional walls as if they were made of paper. He never could maintain that penetrating gaze, not when he was ten years old and accused (rightfully) of scattering an entire coop of chickens across the village by riding a small wolf through the building, and not at 244 years old when he told her nothing was wrong and that he wasn't leaving.:: LYNTHA: They came for you. WALTAS::Toeing a small hole in the ground with his boot, he answered in the same voice he had when asked about the chickens:: Yes. LYNTHA: And you're going. WALTAS::More quiet now:: Yes. LYNTHA: Good. ::He looked up, meeting the gaze this time of his mother. Confusion clouded his features.:: WALTAS: I thought you'd be the last one to say that. LYNTHA: Tyr, you've been miserable since you retired. This world contains wonders that most people would treasure but you..you've never been snared by them. You may have taken your first steps here, Tyr, but your heart.. ::She placed her hand gently on his chest:: Your heart is among the stars. You know this as well as I do. WALTAS: I thought it was over. I thought I could stay here. LYNTHA: You could no sooner stay here than you could cage that eagle or wolf you brought home with you. Eagles must fly, Tyr. Wolves must run. And you...you have to be out there. ::She broke his gaze and looked up at the starlit sky, a single tear sliding down her cheek:: No matter how much you will be missed. ::There were no more words needed. He embraced her, as he had all those years ago. Then, he was a brash, inexperienced and wreckless cadet with a single bar on his collar. Now, he wore the colors of the Starfleet Marine Corps, an insignia with wings adorning his neck. Yet, in many ways, the feeling was the same. The excitement of the adventure beginning and the heartache of leaving those he loved behind. After a brief embrace, she let go and stepped back.:: WALTAS::Swallowing hard, he tapped his comm badge:: =/\= Waltas to Cheyenne. One to beam up. =/\= ((USS Cheyenne)) ::He materialized on the transporter pad, the familiar (and, he admitted, missed) smell of recirculated air and metallic deckplates greeting his senses. He made his way to the storage area and confirmed that his meager possessions were there. For a man with such a history, he hadn't brought much. A small chest made of dark wood of the Hith'a tree contained numerous personal items, including holograms of his family, his favorite pair of jeans, and some personal mementoes. Resting against the wall was his prized 16th-century katana, ensconced in its black scabbard. He stepped over to the ancient blade and picked it up, his hand instinctively gripping the pommel. The blade rang as it was drawn, and even in the dim lighting of the Yacht the blade gleamed. The perfect edge was razor-sharp, and had been the final sight of many an enemy. The curved blade had been forged long before even the long-lived Ba'ku had been born, folded hundreds of times in the forge of one of the great masters of Japan. It had been part of the Nakagawa family until it became his, at the death of his sensei, at his request. After studying the blade for a moment, he sheathed it again and placed it back against the wall. The remainder of his luggage contained clothing, uniforms and a large painting. He smiled, but it was a sad smile.:: WALTAS: Hello, old friend. ::The painting had been a gift from one of the artisans of the village, and the canvas showed a Sovereign-class starship among the stars, far above the Ba'ku homeworld. But not just any Sovereign-this was "The Lady", as her crew affectionately referred to her. Officially she was NCC-31929-C, the USS Discovery. His command. His ship. He ran a hand lovingly over the wooden frame, and gently patted it before turning away to the pilot's seat.:: WALTAS: All the 2390 upgrades eh, Toni? Well, let's see what she can do. ::He fired the impulse engines at full power, yanking the yacht hard out of orbit and arcing away from the Ba'ku homeworld. In a few moments he was into the nebulous cloud that was known as the "briar patch", and spent the next 10 minutes dodging pockets of metreon gas and bouncing around the clouds. The experienced pilot dipped and arced the ship in patterns that would elude most small craft and fly circles around starships.:: COMPUTER: Warning. Impulse manifolds at 110% tolerance. WALTAS: Computer? COMPUTER: Acknowledged. WALTAS: Shut up. ::A quiet (subdued?) bleep signaled the computer's compliance just as the Cheyenne burst from the cloud of the Briar Patch. With a final check of the nav chart he pointed the Yacht's nose toward Duronis II, and seconds later it leaped into high warp.:: WALTAS: ETA to Duronis II. COMPUTER: 8 hours, 25 minutes. WALTAS: Good. ::Pulling the PADD from the storage cabinet he downloaded the relevant data from the embassy:: I've got some homework to do. ============================== Colonel Tyr Waltas Marine XO Duronis II/USS Thunder
  6. I know our CO posted Part 3 of this story for the contest, but I know I saw this done before and whole story deserves to be seen and judged as a story, so I'm posting it here as a whole.
  7. ((Holodeck 2, USS Atlantis)) ::"...back in a bit," Kirosa had told him. He wasn't sure that was true. For a moment, Ren stuck to his place in the tree, watching the Orion ensign launch through the air, descending on the Kalar with her hunting knife high. She seemed to move in slow motion, suspended there too long before making contact with the beast, but at the same time it all happened much too fast.:: ::There was a moment when Ren was distracted by the realization that he'd cut his foot open at some time during his escape from the Kalar. It was a good, long, deep slice, the kind that only now, minutes later, was beginning to show signs of blood. His mind only focused long enough to register the wound before his eyes and all his senses jolted back to the scene below. Kirosa was butchering the Kalar.:: ::The thing held its attack briefly, seemingly too stunned by the feeling of the blade to do anything else. The ferocity that read on Kirosa's face and the intensity of her rage sent Ren scrambling down towards her, despite the first sting of pain finally appearing in his foot as he climbed down the tree. He didn't know her, but he wasn't about to let her hurt herself.:: RENNYN: Computer! Restore safety protocols! Kirosa... ::He made it to the ground almost as quickly as he'd climbed up. The attack was ending in the Kalar's pitiful retreat.:: RENNYN: Ensign! ::He watched, waiting for any sign that she'd heard him. The power of her fury was frightening, but he had to admit there was beauty there, seeing her in her element, standing powerfully, breathing deeply, watching her prey loping away into the jungle.:: ::All at once, Kirosa's tense posture relaxed and she sheathed her knife in her boot.:: KIROSA: Computer, Freeze Program. Arch. ::The computer complied, and, grabbing her jacket and vest, the Orion woman made her exit with hardly a glance back at Ren.:: KIROSA: Holodeck's all yours Ensign... ::She was gone.:: ::Ren stood in place, stunned by what had just happened. His foot was bleeding now, dark, thick blood from deep inside, and the pain of it had caught up to him. The holodeck would self-clean, but someone would be out on the deck scrubbing the carpet after he walked himself to Sickbay. Around him, the frozen program of Rigel VII's jungle seemed to stand in as much confused silence as the Trill himself. The sounds of creatures far and near, the surrounding rustle of leaves were gone. The slight breeze that had punctuated the jungle's close, still air had ceased. Even the feeling of humidity seemed to have disappeared, replaced by the ship's normal ambient air quality. Only the visual representation of the dense jungle remained, eerily motionless.:: ::He sat on the ground where he was, favoring the injured left foot on the way down, only wincing once as his foot began to realize the extent of the pain. Ren took off the ridiculous Hawaiian shirt, exposing the Trill spots on his arms and torso to the nullified, dangerless jungle. He tore the shirt into a useful piece, then wrapped it carefully around his foot, binding the wound long enough to walk to Sickbay and have it repaired.:: ::Ren looked at the closed door inside the arch, a few meters away. He wondered where Kirosa had gone off to next. Her day was going from bad to worse, she'd said. He barely knew her, but he hated to see anyone in that much pain. He might have run after her if it hadn't been for his foot. Not that it was her fault he'd blindly walked in on her program without so much as finding out what was running - that was on him. And he'd had worse injuries than this by far. But one person's fit of anger could lead to another's harm, usually someone peripheral, someone not targeted or even thought about. The little bits of collateral damage that can radiate from one person's pain and rage, someone else's wound to carry. Ren might have been the victim this time, but, laying back on the jungle floor for a moment's rest, he thought of one time he'd been the one to cause pain...:: ((Flashback - Starfleet Academy - 4.5 years ago)) ::Ren's sister Alin tugged impatiently at the sleeve of his cadet uniform. In her own matching uniform, they could almost have been twins, except he was taller and broader, not to mention ten years older than not only her, but most of the other cadets on the San Francisco campus too.:: ALIN: Rendal Arnom Rennyn, get your rear in gear! Come on! ::No Rennyn had ever been to Earth that they knew of, but the two of them had arrived together following a disastrously long trip from Trill that, after a series of transfer mishaps, had threatened to make them late for first muster. Arriving in time had meant a sleepless night sitting up in a shuttle with a helpful but talkative Centauran who had agreed to ferry them on his supply run into the Sol system. They'd had to land with him in Alberta and beam themselves through a series of public hubs to reach San Francisco in time. The whole journey had been exhausting.:: REN: What I still don't understand is... what supplies did he need from Alberta? ::His feet were dragging, his eyes swimming, and worst of all, despite his best efforts to suck it up and be his normal friendly self, he was cranky.:: ALIN: Never mind. We were supposed to have taken our room assignments an hour ago. Hurry! ::They were half walking, half running across the campus, trying to appear dignified with all their bags hanging from them. Cadets all along the way stared at them.:: REN: Alright! ::He'd snapped the word out more sharply than he meant to. He could have used a shave and two bites to eat before reporting. But they didn't have the luxury.:: Sorry. I'm hurrying. Watch me get stuck with someone obnoxious like a Ferengi. ::He couldn't help grumbling.:: ALIN: Don't be rude. You have low blood sugar. Just try to be nice. ::Hoisting a wayward bag to her shoulder, she threw him a mischievous glance.:: Besides, they'll obviously pair you with the only person who can really drive you crazy - a Vulcan. REN: Don't even say it! Give me anyone with warm blood in his veins and I'll find a way to get along with him. Heck, I've met cold-blooded lizards I didn't mind. But not a Vulcan! ::On a normal day, he'd have been more reasonable about it. He didn't have anything against anyone, really. Certainly not just because their race was emotionless. Sure, he couldn't quite understand that, but he'd only ever met a few Vulcans anyway, so what did he know. Alin was right, he was just hungry and tired, and his behavior and thoughts were becoming unreasonable. Once they got inside, he'd put his bags down and relax a minute, and act like a grown man.:: ::As quick as they could, they arrived at the large gathering hall where the day's arrivals had been told to report at 0900. It was 0947 in San Francisco, and the majority of cadets in their cohort had already been welcomed, introduced to their roommates, and sent off to settle in before the afternoon matriculation ceremony. Only a few uniformed enlisted staff remained, along with a lieutenant in charge, and one patiently-waiting human cadet named Lois who launched herself at Alin.:: LOIS: Are you Alin Rennyn? I've been waiting for you! ::The lieutenant stepped forward with a slightly annoyed yet good-natured expression.:: LIEUTENANT: Our latecomers, I presume. Cadet Rendal Rennyn and Cadet Alin Rennyn? ::Ren and Alin both gave their best Yes, Sir.:: LIEUTENANT: At ease. I'm pleased to welcome you both to Starfleet Academy. Especially since it looks like you had an extra long trip from Trill. Miss Rennyn, your roommate has been waiting patiently for your arrival. I'm glad you joined us when you did. ::Ren glanced around as Alin and Lois broke off into their own excited chatter. He noticed that no other cadets were waiting there. Had his roommate been sent on already? Dared he hope that he'd have a room to himself? He hadn't been looking forward to rooming with some 18-year-old kid, despite how much he liked Alin and his other younger sisters and brother. The drained exhaustion he was feeling didn't make him any more likely to overcome his annoyance. He focused on holding himself together. He could practically have fallen asleep where he stood. But the Lieutenant and the others were watching him, and he forced himself to behave.:: LIEUTENANT: Mr. Rennyn, if you will wait a few minutes, your roommate has only just stepped out. He'll return in a moment. My crew and I need to be elsewhere by 1000, so we're leaving you to your own devices for the moment. ::He handed Ren a padd.:: Here's your roommate, your room number, your cadet number and everything you'll need to get started. Ceremony's at 1330, don't miss it. Good luck, cadet. ::The lieutenant joined the crewmen who were already at the door, and the group exited, leaving Ren alone in the big room with Alin and Lois.:: ALIN: Is it a Vulcan? ::Ren's sister bounded over to him, teasing him, riled up with all her youthful excitability. Ren, letting all his exhaustion show again now that the lieutenant was gone, activated the padd and took in a sharp breath.:: ALIN: What? I was kidding. ::Ren tried to calm himself with a few deep breaths, but couldn't. He showed her the padd, shaking it fiercely for emphasis.:: REN: They have to be joking. A dang, cold-blooded Vulcan! ::If Ren had slept a little the night before, his mind might have been clear enough to stop him from saying something so rude. If he'd had a bite to eat in the last 26 hours, he might not have felt too anxious to keep himself calm. If he hadn't had to wander the streets of Alberta in the first cold light of dawn looking for the public transporter, he might have had a shred of sympathy left to look beyond his own small needs and remain a member of polite society. All he had was exhaustion. He was worn down to that basic, instinctual version of himself that everyone becomes now and then when their body and mind are unrested to the tipping point. Though he'd tried, he had failed to overcome the unreasonable emotions flowing through him.:: ::His sister's horrified expression set off his alarms, and Ren found his unkind words hung thickly in the air as he turned and saw a Vulcan face that would one day be very familiar to him. That first time he saw Sovak's face was the first time Ren realized that it might be possible to hurt a Vulcan's feelings after all.:: ((Holodeck 2, USS Atlantis)) ::Ensign Rennyn lay bleeding from his left foot on a frozen-in-time Rigellian jungle floor, dressed in nothing but brightly-colored swim trunks. If that was a metaphor for something, he couldn't work out what.:: ::He'd been caught off guard by Ensign Kirosa's erratic behavior. The fury in her knocked him for a loop just to see it, but he had no idea what her struggles might be. Maybe whatever was getting to her was a lot worse than Ren could know; or maybe this was just one spectacularly bad day out of many good ones. Despite their moment together up a tree, he still barely knew her. And he'd learned the hard way not to judge a book by its cover...:: ((Flashback - Starfleet Academy - 4 years ago)) ::Ren was several months in to his time at the Academy, and he was flourishing. Back home in Arnmere, he'd had a good life, a happy one, but there were no starships for him to fly, beyond a holo simulation. His sister Alin was doing incredible work in her classes, already catching the eye of certain science faculty who appreciated her unique approach and keen perception. Ren, while not among the very topmost pilots in his class, proved capable in all his coursework, and was having the time of his life learning the skills he would need in his new life with Starfleet. Even those in their family who had objected to their leaving home had begun to come around, and life seemed to be headed in a wonderful direction for Ren and Alin.:: ::Only one aspect of the experience left Ren disappointed. His relationship with his roommate, Sovak, the Vulcan he had managed to thoughtlessly insult the first moment they met, remained a major point of stress and distraction. It wasn't that Sovak had retaliated in any way. He didn't appear to hold a grudge, or resent the Trill, or even complain. On the contrary, the Vulcan had gone out of his way to do none of those things. In six months, he hadn't mentioned the incident once. It made Ren feel terrible.:: ::The Trill man worried over it constantly. Where he came from, people said what they meant, talked it out, then moved on. They weren't exactly on a Betazoid level of openness, but for a non-telepathic race, they were fairly open. It bothered him that he never had a clue what Sovak was thinking. It made him worry that whatever damage his careless comment had created was festering and growing, shut up tight in the Vulcan's heart where no one could go to repair it, maybe not even Sovak himself.:: ::Now, on what would become one of their most memorable nights, the two sat at the desks in their dorm room, each slogging through his own mountain of homework.:: SOVAK: Ren, it is 1800 hours. Do you require nourishment at this time? ::From day one, Sovak had been trying to serve plomeek soup to the Trill. Ren loved his vegetables as much as the next farm boy, but couldn't imagine a Vulcan dish would be anything but bland. He kept his face neutral out of respect.:: RENNYN: No thanks, buddy. SOVAK: I am replicating plomeek soup. RENNYN: I figured. Look, I'm just going to pass on that this time, okay? ::Sovak moved to the replicator and keyed in his order.:: SOVAK: You pass every time. ::The comment wasn't unfamiliar to Ren's ears. That was exactly what had been worrying him. Sovak possessed all the logic and emotional reserve anyone would expect of a Vulcan, but sometimes, just every now and again, he'd make some off-hand comment that seemed to serve no purpose but to criticize Ren. Barbed words with little jagged edges intended to cause damage. The only logical conclusion was that Sovak was angry with the Trill, but Ren couldn't prove it. Every time he tried to broach the subject, Sovak found a way to shut the conversation down. It was immensely frustrating.:: ::Ren had been studying navigational maps for class, and it had occurred to him that conversations, just like navigable space, could be mapped. You start from a known point, where you have your bearings, and than you take off toward a far place that, even if distantly visible from the start, may turn out to be foreign in completely unexpected ways. How do you get there? How do you know which turns to take, which to avoid? How do you prepare yourself for what you may find? If you take it slow, carefully charting the spots between your starting point and the desired destination, you might just get there in one piece, maybe with a better understanding of what lies before you than you had at the start.:: ::This was the day he was going to navigate past the usual barriers to Sovak. Ren began to plot his course.:: RENNYN: You sound annoyed. SOVAK: I am certain I do not. ::Sovak carefully made no sign of irritation, but he did push his soup away without eating a bite.:: RENNYN: I wasn't raised to let a man's words trump what I know he feels by looking at him. SOVAK: You are fond of telling me what you were and were not raised to be. I was not raised to express annoyance. Nor was I raised to "feel." ::Ren squared himself to the Vulcan so they were talking face to face.:: RENNYN: Sovak, I'm going to talk to you now. Because I don't know if you've been punishing me on purpose, or if I'm projecting that on you, but I feel terrible about what I said when we met, and if you've gotten to know me at all, you know that I didn't mean anything like that. ::If he didn't know better, he would have said that Sovak "scoffed.":: SOVAK: I would not allow a personal misunderstanding to negatively impact my educational objectives. Institutions of higher education exist to provoke critical thinking and social discourse, to challenge ideas and opinions with the intent of invoking questions and inspiring debate. ::That didn't even really make sense in the context. Sovak was trying one of his usual distractions, talking an intellectual circle around the point. Ren navigated a bypass back to the topic.:: RENNYN: But not to bring people together to insult each other. SOVAK: In our modern cross-cultural social age, it must be accepted and, in fact, expected that social difference will influence the matter of most discourse. Your lack of regard for my cultural heritage was therefore neither unexpected nor surprising. After all, though Trills are known for their curiosity and thirst for learning, your background in an insular community with little cultural variety has naturally left you with certain biases. RENNYN: Now who's being judgmental? ::Turning away, he stopped himself from saying more. This is where Sovak always got to Ren and ended the conversation. He'd say something that made the Trill angry, then Ren, afraid of being just as uncivil as he had the first time they'd met, would shut his mouth and stop talking. A few silent days later, they were back where they started.:: ::But Sovak had a solid point. Ren thought about Arnmere, his out-of-the-way village on Trill. His cousin's husband was half-Betazoid, and there was an old Centauri couple down at the end of Raybrin Way, and maybe half a dozen more aliens from around the Federation. But by and large, it was a Trill community. Ren had flown up to the Orbital Station many times over the years as he practiced to be a pilot, and he'd spent an hour or two there when he could, soaking in the eclectic mix of cultures that passed through. But none of those people from other planets went to Arnmere, the little village stuck in the past, like something out of the 23rd century. And other than Ren and Alin, not many of the town's citizens ever left. They were all stuck in their patterns and habits, and they all could use a little shaking up. That was one of the reasons Ren had left - to be shaken.:: ::Ren buckled down, thinking of his conversational map. Taking a cue from the Vulcan, he did his best to suppress his emotions. He was determined this time to find a way, to navigate another way through this conversation on a path somewhere between their usual routes of quiet anger and furious silence. After six months at this dance, it was time for an apology.:: RENNYN: That first day we met... what I said about you... What I mean is, I've found that I really enjoy rooming with you. I just... I've wanted to apologize. The bad-mouthing was uncalled for in every sense, and I'm sorry. ::A long silence ensued. He'd stumbled and he'd stuttered. He'd probably done it all wrong. It wasn't as though he expected a hug and grateful tears, but he had hoped some bit of the tension between them would be released. Sovak's face twitched in a way that Ren supposed looked thoughtful, then returned to a bland mask.:: SOVAK: It would be illogical to allow my studies here to suffer under an increased stress level based on interpersonal conflict. RENNYN: That's the thing - there is no conflict here. At least, there doesn't have to be. I said something stupid about Vulcans, and you've given it way more weight than it should ever have had. There was never any reflection on you. All it proves is that I'm capable of being an idiot, which, let's be honest, has never been a matter for doubt... SOVAK: You are suggesting that your hurtful comments, your apparent distaste for Vulcans, your abject incivility, was merely a misappropriation of words? A sentence said in error that meant nothing to you? An off-handed remark that you would like to have forgotten as soon as it left your mouth? ::The Vulcan's face had twitched again several times. It almost looked to Ren like real anger, but the voice was perfectly calm. When you make an apology, you have to be prepared to take a little punishment. Ren stayed calm himself and accepted Sovak's judgements.:: RENNYN: I would rather have stopped it before it even left my brain. It was a terrible thing to say, and I hope you weren't too hurt by it. ::He'd almost forgotten he was talking to a Vulcan, and maybe that had been another foolish thing to say. There was a six-week course on Vulcan culture and beliefs that he'd been thinking of taking the next year. He certainly needed to sensitize himself to the Vulcan way.:: SOVAK: I was hurt. ::The comment came softly, and was so odd that it didn't immediately occur to Ren what he had just heard. His eyes grew wide and he tried to keep his jaw from dropping at the realization that he'd just heard a Vulcan admit to feeling.:: ::Sovak's eyes watered with sudden emotion, and it was the saddest sight Ren had ever seen. He tried to say something, but no words came.:: RENNYN: You-- SOVAK: Please! ::Sovak turned and exited the room, not running, but hurrying faster than Vulcan dignity normally allowed. Ren couldn't begin to think about whether or not he should follow.:: ::So there it was. It had only taken Ren Rennyn six months to force a Vulcan to an emotional breakdown. He stood uncertainly, wavering between advance and retreat, between compassion and self-doubt, the sad realization slowly sinking in that no map in the universe could have guided him through this conversation...:: ((Holodeck 2, USS Atlantis)) ::Trills are a curious bunch, like cats in the old Terran adage, or varks at a well, as the Bolian phrase goes.:: ::Not every Trill wants to be joined. In fact, great numbers of them never once consider it for themselves. But every Trill child, their future undetermined, is treated by their community as a potential candidate. They're taught in school to quest for new information and fresh perspectives. They're encouraged by family and mentors to embrace the unknown. Anyone might become a candidate in adulthood, and the culture supports the idea that the best candidate is the one best prepared to take the most from life's varied experiences. Ren's parents had never pushed any of their children to seek joining, and no joined Trill had lived in Arnmere for a century at least. Ren himself had never really thought about it seriously, even when faced with the alluring idea that your personality and experience would live on in the symbiont after your life came to a close. Yet even in a place as backward as Arnmere, little Ren Rennyn was taught to ask questions and push boundaries, to explore the wondering ideas his inquisitive nature presented him with. For the people of Trill, curiosity is a virtue.:: ::Laying flat on his back in a swimsuit on a simulated jungle floor, elevating his bleeding foot, Ren figured he'd taken the idea of uncovering new experiences too far. That was life. It puts you in situations you could never see coming...:: ((Flashback - 4 years ago - Starfleet Academy)) ::When Sovak reentered the dorm room he and Ren shared, his pained, dejected face had been replaced with the stoic expression typical of Vulcans. Ren had been on the point of packing a few things and going to stay with Alin and Lois for the night, just to give Sovak some space. He'd obviously pushed the Vulcan too far. He'd been so selfishly caught up in getting himself forgiven, he'd gone and made the problem worse, and that was bad for both of them.:: ::Sovak didn't let him leave, not wasting a moment before saying what he'd come back to say.:: SOVAK: I apologize for my outburst. It was unseemly, and I did not wish to cause you discomfort. I perceive no reason to discuss the matter further. ::Ren shook his head. Something in Sovak's perfectly placid expression didn't add up. It was the eyes. They had been crying, and that always shows.:: RENNYN: You don't have to be sorry. I upset you, and I apologize. ::Ren's compassionate side rooted him to the spot. It wouldn't let him drop the subject now any more than his Trill curiosity would allow him to lose out on finding out how a Vulcan could cry. He couldn't help it. If they were going to have a cultural exchange here, then Trill curiosity was naturally going to enter in to the matter.:: RENNYN: And I don't mean to gape at you like a fish from a bowl, but Sovak, I'm surprised. I didn't know Vulcans had emotions. ::Sovak sat down, stood up, opened his mouth, and sat down again. Taking a deep breath to calm his apparently frayed nerves, he explained.:: SOVAK: Vulcans seek to control their emotions. The logical foundation of that statement cannot escape you - we seek to control emotions, because we have emotions. I have studied since I was a child to learn the ways of t'san s'at, the measured control of emotion. It is a journey all Vulcan children take, and most master the guiding tenets of the practice by the time they reach maturity. I... I have barely begun to achieve it... ::On the last sentence of his speech, Sovak's voice held a distinct quavering tone. There was no mistaking the look that had returned to the Vulcan's face, the watery quality of his eyes. Sovak was fighting back tears again.:: SOVAK: As a boy, I was unable to achieve the same level of control as my contemporaries. I often found myself indulging in aggression at play, or feeling sadness when faced with mundane rejections or failures. My uncle sent me away to a school -- ::Here his voice broke, and Ren thought that if it was anyone but Sovak, he'd already have his arms around their shoulders in sympathy. With this Vulcan, he couldn't think how to proceed. The experience of seeing a Vulcan in tears was just too stunning, and he didn't know if the contact would be welcome. Sovak continued on his own.:: SOVAK: My uncle sent me to a place where children are instructed in a more severe version of t'san s'at, a monastic school which specifically guides initiates toward kolinahr. It is a common misconception that all Vulcans are masters of kolinahr, the ritual purge of all emotion. Many do not go so far. As my uncle has told me many times, some Vulcans simply lack the wisdom for it. Those will always fail. ::Ren didn't know what to say. The shame his roommate felt was palpable, evidenced in every aspect of his crest-fallen stance, his carefully forbearing words, his quivering expression of noble self-denial. It was no small thing for Sovak to admit to his experiences with emotion, let alone to display it, but he clearly couldn't hold it in any longer. This poor man had been struggling for years to be someone he wasn't.:: SOVAK: I am still young, Ren. There is hope for me to change. There is... great pressure on me to achieve an appropriate balance of control. One tactic I have employed is to make a study of intense emotion. When I chose you as my roommate, I did so because you are a passionate man. I thought I could attempt to position myself opposite you, to become less emotional by viewing emotion externally. ::It was an awkward admission, and the logic was a little bit sideways, but Ren couldn't help thinking that it wasn't a terrible approach. Then it hit him.:: RENNYN: Wait a dang minute... What do you mean "You chose me"? ::Sovak halted in his tracks, like a kid caught out in a lie, one who'd said something more than he meant to.:: SOVAK: I-- I... ::Ren felt the color rush to his face, setting off the Trill spots around his temples like Gorosi hunting cats on a field of blood. He didn't remember being given any choice in who his roommate was. He was pretty sure that wasn't how it worked. The only explanation was that Sovak had rigged it somehow. Probably went through all the cadet files and figured out which innocent victim's passionate emotions he wanted to study. This dang backwards Vulcan with his sideways logic and his "study of intense emotion." Ren felt like his last six months had been scripted for him, like all his choices had been taken away by this dang backwards hot-blooded illogician with heat in his brain and a heart full of badly-calculated automatic nonsense. He opened his mouth again and again to say all that, or some more colorful variation, maybe adding to it with fire and brimstone and the vein in his forehead popping out. He was steamed, and hot ire billowed up through him, ready to burst into a fiery tantrum that was going to teach this hopped-up hobgoblin a thing or two about passion!:: ::Then he saw that look on Sovak's face, and it all drained out of him in an instant.:: SOVAK: I am sorry. I identified you out of all potential cadet roommates as my best chance for success. Had you arrived early on our first day here, you would have found me prepared to ask for your cooperation. It took several weeks to gather the courage. Since you were late, I had to make the arrangement myself by effecting several trades with other cadets and making thin excuses to the assigning lieutenant. Then I felt ashamed and was afraid to tell you. RENNYN: You chose me. ::Ren's forced his voice to soften. He couldn't tell if he was angry about this or not. A Vulcan admitting to fear? Of a simple Trill country boy?:: You chose me. Let's be honest, you probably got the shorter end of this stick. SOVAK: No, that is untrue. RENNYN: Look Sovak, I'm not happy to hear about this, but I get it, ...I guess. At least, I know you've had a tough time of it, and I can't blame you for trying to do something to make it better. ::Sitting down next to the Vulcan, Ren followed the instinct he'd been denying all along and put his arm around Sovak's shoulder.:: RENNYN: Sometimes I'm so full of feelings, I don't know what I'm going to do with them all. ::Sovak said nothing right away, thinking carefully awhile before he spoke.:: SOVAK: Sometimes I wish I could feel more. Mostly I wish to feel less. RENNYN: That sounds like living to me. You know, Sovak, we might turn out to be good for each other. It's not a bad idea to have someone in your life who balances you out. I know I could do with someone to teach me a little restraint. ::He heaved a sigh, half resignation, half relief. Life really was a course through unknown space, and it was funny where that course had led them.:: RENNYN: Like it or not... I choose you, too. ((End Flashback)) ::Holding his injured foot up had been a good idea; Ren had stopped the thick band of blood flowing from his wound before it could soak through the bandage made of his torn Hawaiian shirt. He wouldn't need to treat himself with the emergency medkit in the Holodeck, or call Sickbay and ask someone to come to him. He was going to walk his way there and have the wound treated, and, though he might get hollered at by Dr. DyAmone for showing up in Sickbay looking like a refugee from a beach party disaster, all physical traces of the damage would vanish before the time came to attend the banquet for Telnoth Haerin.:: ::Even the deepest cut could heal, but not every wound healed so fast. Sovak's troubles didn't go away overnight. Four years on, and they'd survived both the Academy and cohabitation. Now they were posted to the same ship in a far distant sector. He didn't think Sovak had rigged anything this time, getting them both placed on the Atlantis, but he wasn't ever going to be completely sure of that.:: ::They were like two ships in space, Ren Rennyn and Sovak. They'd navigated their way to each other from vastly different regions, but now they traveled in tandem, like a convoy. That was a metaphor he could wrap his brain around. They might not get where they were going as fast as they would have separately, but they'd by stronger together along the way.:: ::Pulling himself up from the ground, Ren called for the computer to end Kirosa's program, and the Rigellian landscape shimmered out. Ren limped a bit, walking on the heel of his left foot to avoid further damage. After all his refusals, Ren had tried plomeek soup eventually, and now it was one of his favorite foods. The Academy course on Vulcan culture and beliefs had done a lot for him too. Sovak had learned to face his fears instead of fighting them, but that was another story. From this moment on, whatever happened next on their journey, Ren knew that nothing ever stayed the same for long. That course he believed he was navigating through life was moving ever forward into fresh, uncharted space.:: ::He didn't mind. He liked to explore the boundaries, to ask the questions, to shake up what needed shaking and break through to a new experience. Blame Trill curiosity for that.:: Ensign Rendal Rennyn Helm Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  8. (Turbolift, En Route to Deck 5 – USS Altantis) ::The after-effects of the confrontation with the captain had started to sink in. It was always in hindsight that things often fell into perspective: yes she was angry at the situation: it was unfair, it wasn't right and it showed blatant lack of faith and trust in the Orion simply going around her instead of approaching her with it and explaining why... yet the way she had approached it could have been infinitely better instead of lunging at the captain in blind rage and accusing him of being prejudice, racist and being 'unwilling' to have her learn from mistakes. The damage had been contained to the ready room, but for how long? How long before she was thrown off the ship simply because she couldn't keep a lid on her emotional state.:: ::She slapped herself. Hard. She couldn't think about that again, she was in enough trouble as it is and the last thing that she REALLY wanted to do was keep talking about it. She had said all she wanted or needed to in front of the captain and it probably sounded the death knell of her career and the last thing she wanted to do was make the situation worse by physically ripping the counsellor's head off because she wanted to emphasise the fact 'she didn't want to talk about it.'.:: ::The Turbolift came to a dead stop just a short walk from Holodeck one. Without any pause for thought she was quick out of the Turbolift and made the short walk there. By the time she got there she noticed the holodeck display next to the door... and she just wanted to scream. The Holodeck was in use and there were three people registered presently using it . Her mind thinking how this day could possibly get any worse... storming the Holodeck would probably cause that, but was the worst thing she could do right now. No doubt it was being used for the delegation dinner... and something she probably would be barred from after how she snapped at the captain...:: ::She slapped herself again, this time seething at herself to stop thinking about it and that it wouldn't help things as they were now. Instead of lingering outside the Holodeck she decided to traverse the deck all the way to Holodeck 2. Yes the ship only had two Holodecks, but surely both weren’t in use at the same time.:: (Time-skip) (Holodeck 2 – USS Atlantis – Some minutes later) ::The Holodeck wasn't in use, and thankful for it, Kyla was trawling through the location database, looking for Rigel VII... wasn't the real thing but it was close enough. Even if she was an Ensign she was one of the Senior officers, meaning her authorization should be able to disengage the safety protocols. She didn't think of there any latent warnings or safety features built into the holodeck that would warn anyone if the Safeties had been switched off. Any regards she needed to do something to get her mind off of the mess she had caused.:: KIROSA: Okay... that should do it. Computer, begin program. ::The Criss-cross layout of the deck shimmered and gave-way to the view of a Rigel VII wilderness: a thick, vibrant jungle on one of the highland mesas safe from the high tides. Through the canopy of the wilderness a violet coloured sky signifying the moon was slow on the rise. The silence broken by alien bird-call... already whatever she felt previously just vanished as she looked out at the junglescape... at home away from home. Before stepping out of the archway, she turned back towards the control, keying in this Holodeck program under her 'Favorites' whenever she wanted and whenever she came to the Holodeck..:: ::And it was also as though the Holodeck was providing her something to do now: Kyla only took one step before she looked down and noticed something in the dirt. A footprint, humanoid... and bigger than any of the crew on the ship... it had to be a Kalar, aside from the Rigellians and intermittent Orion Settlements, the Kalar were the only other humanoids on the planet: Big, Fearsome, Aggressive... and clearly out on the hunt. She followed the direction of the footprint, noticign a few other footprints before they disappeared into the surrounding under-brush.:: ::Unzipping her jacket and removing it promptly as well as her under-vest. Kyla deduced that the safest way to track this Kalar was up in the trees, following it from an elevated hight to make it hard for the Kalar to attack. Discarding all but her gold-coloured shirt was more than enough to give her mobility to climb the trees... as for blending in with the canopy, not so much. But hunting, to her point of view, was a matter of adaptability over concealment, to use the surroundings not only to discover what and where, but to use your surroundings to catch your enemy by surprise.::
  9. Congratulations to the winner and runner-ups. Great work and I'm sure I'll read them again. It's always interesting to read stories again after reading judges responses.
  10. ((Observation Lounge, USS Atlantis)) ::Ren Rennyn had arrived in time to find a seat, nod hello to those he'd met, and even learn a few names he didn't know yet. Perhaps typical of a newly formed crew, a few seemed stressed by the travel and the sudden change in assignment. But typical of Starfleet crews, there was always someone with a friendly smile to point out the way. Now, Ren faced something different. Telnoth Haerin, the Grenushi ambassador, was eyeing each of them in turn with a sidelong glance. It wasn't just the condescending tone of his voice or the way he positioned himself away from the rest of them that Ren found off-putting about him. There was something in his eyes that told you you were small, and that was uncomfortable in its unfamiliarity to Ren. Back home in Arnmere, Ren was known for being the tallest man around. He didn't think of his height as extraordinary, but when it came in useful for others, he was glad to help. He hardly had problems with self-confidence - low self-esteem wasn't really a trait Starfleet officers could afford to hold on to. So he had no reason to be threatened by the Grenushi ambassador, especially considering that Federation citizens, maybe particularly those in Starfleet, had no place for that kind of disdain. Back home in Arnmere, Ren never would have dreamed of looking at someone with that much judgement. He wouldn't even have had those thoughts. It never made sense to Ren why anyone would waste their time putting others down, trying to build themselves up by lowering the people around them, bending others to their will, fighting to get their own way in trivial matters. As though it would make them seem more substantial. On planets like Trill, Earth, Betazed, those kind of selfish personality traits didn't have a place these days, and hadn't for a long time. He would have to get used to encountering that attitude out here. They'd learned about this in the Academy, in courses on making contact and creating effective communication with other cultures. Just the fact of being in San Francisco with cadets from all over the galaxy, representing hundreds of different worlds, was a daily lesson in getting along. Sure, everyone had their downfalls along with their strengths. Ren knew he did. It was knowing that and accepting it that made it easy to face someone like the Telnoth with the kindness and courtesy Starfleet officers were expected to show to any person they met. So, the next time Haerin glanced his way, Ren met the gaze with a friendly face and a modest smile. It seemed in that moment, though the Telnoth's face remained unchanged, that something deep in his eyes disapproved of Ren's very existence. The Trill ensign looked away, deciding to let that be and look only at the captain the rest of the meeting. Commander Blueheart was a man Ren liked, a captain who had obviously taken those same classes on cross-cultural communication not so long ago. He welcomed Haerin with that Federation kindness Ren was looking for. Blueheart explained the mission ahead of them and began giving out assignments to the crew.:: BLUEHEART: Mr Rennyn. The Uzoka system consists of two planets orbiting a yellow star, and lies on the border between the Valcarian Empire and the Beruna Province. Plot the shortest possible course to the system while keeping our distance from the Jenatris Cloud. You may utilize the Astrometrics lab if you so wish. RENNYN: Aye, sir. ::At the same time as he listened to the other assignments, getting a feel for who they all were and also what they'd be working on for this mission, Ren also began to think about his task. He knew a good amount about stellar cartography and astrogation, but he had little experience in the kind of Astrometrics lab the Atlantis had aboard. It was going to be fun learning about it!:: BLUEHEART: Oh, and Mr Kirosa? Congratulations. You’re chief of security. KIROSA: I- uh.... Thank you, sir ::There was a murmur among the crew at the news, and Rennyn offered a smile.:: RENNYN: Well done. ::He'd noticed Kirosa earlier when most of the crew gathered and came aboard Atlantis, but he hadn't had a chance to speak with her. He'd met a few Orions in the past, but never spent time with any. He was very interested to get to know an Orion.:: ::Ren also offered his congratulations to Lieutenant Anora. The briefing seemed to be coming to an end when Blueheart ended the conversation with Haerin. Ren decided to be brave and meet the Telnoth's gaze again, offering that same friendly face. But after a gracious, ambassadorial thank you to all the crew, the Telnoth swept out of the room without glancing at the Trill again.:: ::After the captain gave more instruction, Ren moved quickly from the room with most of the other crew. There was much to be done before 0600.:: Ensign Ren Rennyn Helm Officer USS ATLANTIS NCC-74682
  11. ((Deck 500, Medical Bay)) ::Sakorra pushed with her mind. She tried to break through the hard encasement. But her mind wasn’t working like that anymore. She held no power. She felt concern. She felt an approaching sense of love, but she couldn’t open her eyes to see the one she knew was nearby. She’d been able to open her eyes for a short time before, but she’d still been operating with the psionic abilities that were now lost to her. And now that loss kept her trapped in her own mind.:: Sinda: Reed? Can you hear me? ::Sinda! I thought Cinder killed her.:: Rogers: Cmdr Reed is injured ? ::She was just so tired, like her bones were marinating in fatigue. Why did they always have to fight so much? Why couldn’t there be less violence, more good will? What she would give for a peaceful mission! :: Solok: Commander Reed's injuries appear to be healing. She has been ... impaled. Significant blood loss, although Nurse Brolin was able to cease the bloodflow near the scene of the injury. She will live. Her unconsciousness has yet to be explained, however. ::Love. Help me!:: ::She knew before even trying that he wouldn’t hear. Her mind had no more power within it to converse telepathically. She could hear the continuing conversation, but Sumo wrestlers appeared to be having a contest on her eyelids of who could sit the longest. And they kept getting heavier, the pressure intensifying until her skull felt like it might fracture from the weight. They started sitting on her stomach, too, covering her entire torso actually, and she found it harder to breathe. She just couldn’t get enough air. Electrical impulses zigged through her muscles, her nerves, burning them raw. The flames spread, engulfing her neck, her back. She felt like she’d been prepped for surgery and the doctor kept using the scalpel to peel away pieces of her muscle. Then he stabbed a Bat’leth into the back of her neck, lodging it all the way down to the bone, but it wasn’t enough for him. He kept digging. She assumed it was a man, because a female doctor would have been gentler. Why then, after all that, did he start slicing at her thighs and hips? And why then add the pins soaked in fire to her fingers and palms, her side, and her arms? She felt each intensely but it was on her so suddenly that she lay still and silent one moment and the next began near convulsing on the bed and screaming, screaming so loud a banshee would have covered her ear. She tried to form words, but she couldn’t get them to work at first. And finally, she was able to form two words.:: Reed: Kill me! ::Please kill me. Please, please, please. Just let me die. God, just let me die. Her eyes shot open, searching, pleading, seeing nothing and everything. People rushing to her bed. As her head shot around wildly, she saw Sinda nearby, laid up next to her. She saw the captain and a very large cat and a purple child. And she saw Solok. Each face became fragments blending together so that Captain Rogers had Solok’s ears and eyebrows and boring haircut and Solok had purple fur. Sinda became blonde and bald and the cat had a spoon on its head. She was too tired to fight the pain. Too tired to continue moving, expending energy her body could no longer produce. Her body shorted out, unable to comply with her brain’s commands. And she gave up, sinking down into the pain, letting it cover her, and she became still, still as death, and the only indication she still lived was the machines, the tiny, frantic breaths, and the tears that soaked her skin with no effort.:: LCMD Reed StratOps SB118-Ops
  12. Knowing what it is lead me to the scene from Matrix where Neo finds out that people are used as a batteries. Wakes same anxious foreboding emotions.
  13. Congratulations to everyone, especially winners. Great reads, all of the entries.
  14. I have a problem, can somebody check and save my sanity, please. I want to make 2 collapsible gallery tables one after another and obviously can't figure out why previous table don't want to close to give another one it's life. http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=User:Wanda_DyAmone
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