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Maxwell Traenor

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  1. Polling closes at 11:59pm Pacific on Sunday, October 23rd. This is a run-off poll, where our general membership (that's you!) chooses which sim, from Set 3 of 2016 (Rounds 14-20), should proceed to the final round of the contest for a chance to be selected as the Top Sim of 2016! These sims below were chosen by a panel of judges (one from each ship) from the sims submitted in Rounds 14-20 of the contest. TO START, please read these sims: Round 14: Ens Paul Scudder & Ens Savan, "Submitting to the Current of the Godavari" Round 15: Capt Jalana Rajel, "Familiarity" Round 16: Lt Mirra Ezo & Lt Antero Flynn, "Big Trouble in Little Risa" Round 17: P3 Damien Bagwell III & Lt Mirra Ezo, "Fighting fire with...foam?" Round 18: Lt John Valdivia, "Unexpected visit" Round 19: LtCmdr Kaitlyn Falcon & Yillara Khante, "Time to Play" Round 20: Capt Tyr Waltas, "Showdown" NEXT, using the poll above, vote for the sim you like the most. It should be the sim that's the best written, with strong characterization, and evocative or descriptive scene-setting. DON'T vote for a sim just because you serve on the same crew as the person who wrote it. Any crew that "stuffs the ballot" (by having everyone on the crew vote for the same sim to ensure that it wins this poll) will be eliminated from the contest and shamed by the rest of the community as terrible, terrible cheaters. That would be awful. Good luck to the nominees!
  2. Saveron, "There, but for the vagaries of chance, go I" wins this run-off round! Congratulations -- this sim will head to the final run-off round of the year!
  3. In appreciation of the important role that each of us do in recognizing our peers' contributions by nominating their sims in the Top Sims Contest, the Captains Council has approved the formation of a new badge - the Top Sim Nominator badge. The Top Sim Nominator badge is presented to an individual who identifies themselves to the Contest facilitator as having nominated a sim in eight discrete rounds during a contest year. Once you have nominated at least one sim in eight separate rounds, contact the Top Sims team facilitator who will verify your contributions. Once this is done, you will be presented with this new badge, which you can display with pride as a champion of recognizing your fellow players. There is no time like the present to work towards earning this badge! Open a new thread in the Top Sims Contest forum and nominate a worthy sim, and remember to return each new Round and nominate again.
  4. Wow, so many service awards this year! Congratulations and a big thank you to everyone for contributing to the community through your service! Mr Dickens, the big 1-0! What a special milestone! There is a saying in my profession, probably common in many professions, that says you join for the challenge, but once your service years hit the double digits, you stay for the pension. (Starfleet has a pension, right?) Can't wait to see each of you hit your next service milestone, I'll be right there with you!
  5. As a first officer in the fleet, I have the distinct pleasure of working with and learning from all these fine people. In the day-to-day administration of the fleet, it never ceases to amaze me how selfless and hard-working the entire Captain's Council and Executive Council are, and I truly believe that the fun and success of this fleet rests squarely on each of their shoulders. Each of these awards were presented due to thoughtful and heartfelt nominations, and I'm certain that the decisions of who to award were difficult to choose due to an embarrassment of worthy choices. Congratulations to each and every one of you, a deep thank you for all you do for the ships and the fleet as a whole, and an extra special thank you to all for allowing me to learn from you how to be dedicated and effective in my own quest for advancement You've set a high bar indeed, and we all benefit from your strive for excellence in all you do.
  6. Congratulations to each and every one of you! Rich was one of the first people I interacted with in SB118, as the CO of my Academy class, and it's been truly a pleasure to watch his ascent in the group ever since. I'll echo the presenters' comments about Moonsong's contributions on the forum, as I've definitely been inspired by her work and have tried to emulate some of her fantastic ideas myself. When I worked with Noelle in an Academy class, she was a stout and conscientious trainer, and I hope to see her go far! And I have nothing but respect and pride for anyone who overcomes adversity in any form in order to continue to contribute to our fleet. To each and every recipient of the Xalor Clan Xifilis award, we love ya and urge you to keep on keeping on with your fantastic dedication!
  7. Congratulations to all these winners! I'm blessed to write with many of these players on a regular basis, and I've seen the hard work and dedication that they bring to their craft. From Logan, who adds a whole new level of complexity and interest in a post that can often be little more than "speak softly and carry a big phaser", to Varaan, who manages to take one of the most guarded of species in one of the most technical of roles and make both engaging and personal. I work with Vee and Vondaryan as Top Sims judges, and if they bring even half of the dedication to their ships that they do to the contest, then their wins are well-deserved indeed! Scudder continually surprises me with the strength and believability he brings to counseling even as an Ensign, and Brell is just an all-around simming powerhouse. Mr R'Ven makes me jealous with his believable, strong science post writing, and that's coming from a past Cochrane Award recipient! I got the pleasure to write with Waltas this spring on a crossover event, and know that he has earned his rank and this award fully, and I admit to lurking Ops on the forums, especially in Top Sims, in no small part due to Tatash and Flynn's excellent writing. My heartfelt pride and congratulations to each and every one of you winners, and thank you for doing our fleet so proud!
  8. ((Deck 7, Shayne's Quarters, USS Darwin-A)) ::The room would be considered chilly by most humans, downright frigid by Vulcans, and almost seasonal to Andorians. He liked it cold. It seemed that the temperature of his surroundings was directly proportional to his ever-temperamental stomach. The hotter he was, the more uncomfortable he felt.:: ::His quarters were spartan. Small things that no one else would recognize decorated the room here and there. A framed patch collection, cultivated over the years, hung on the wall. A small table stood near the chair in which he now reclined. Upon it, a pyramid shaped candle, and a stack of subtle incense burned. A velvet-lined case lay open upon it as well.:: ::The robes were bulky, but comfortable and dignified. As he sat, staring at the stars out the porthole, his fingers caressed his flute. The smooth wooden finish felt good in his hands. He'd had it specially modified so that it could play a wider range of notes. The melody was slow, and mystical, and sad, and wonderful. No sheet music sat before him, and he hadn't memorized anything. The music came from him. From the heart. He didn't know where he was going with it, and he had no interest in remembering it as he went along. There wasn't a present, or a past, or a future. He just was. The world was, at least temporarily, small, and static, and peaceful.:: ::He really wished they hadn't had to leave nem. It wasn't for Iy's sake. As far as Shayne was concerned, the mutinous, traitorous, feckless pile of targ gosa could rot in the lowest corner of the underworld. So then why did he feel so torn about leaving nem? It was obvious that he hated what his martial arts mentor had turned out to be, and was grateful that he hadn't exactly been friends with nem. But you'd think that with all the technological excellence at their disposal, they could complete a rescue mission, even under those difficult conditions.:: ::His musings were cut short by a sudden rush of adrenaline. It surged through him, soiling his calm mood. His body involuntarily clenched. He swallowed hard, as his heart dropped as if he was in a free-falling turbolift. His limbs tingled in a most unpleasant way, and his face was scrunched. Clumsily, he lowered himself to his knees, where he jerkily leaned forward, inhaling some of the potent incense like his life depended on it. A single gasping weep escaped his lips as the full brunt of the anxiety attack washed over him. He was completely overwhelmed. Every one of his senses was confusedly urging him to run, to hide, to fight, to scream. Everything looked threatening, everything was a monster prepared to relieve him of his life. The more he tried to suppress his overactive imagination, the more graphic the images became. In his mind's eye, the bulkhead directly beside him ripped open with an ear-rending shriek of metal, and he watched as his perspective became that of the story playing out inside his mind. He found himself lifted, quickly and mercilessly, out of his quarters and into the godless cold of space. He tumbled and spun, his arms and legs flailing madly as he instinctively sought some purchase on dry, stable ground. The stars zoomed pass sickeningly quickly. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't breathe!:: ::He couldn't hold back any longer. With an almighty retching sound, he gagged. The minimal, fluidic contents of his stomach came up and redecorated a small part of his carpeted floor. His face was beet red. The pressure that had been placed on the back of his eyes during the long, painful upchuck had broken several of his ocular blood vessels. He now had the vague appearance of an inebriated raccoon. But that was the last thing on his mind. Perhaps, perhaps, he might finally get some sleep. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation was one of the most unpleasant things he'd ever been forced to endure, as it seemed that it was occurring with some frequency nowadays. Maybe though, now that he was physically drained and mentally... broken, was as apt a word as any, he could...drift...:: ::Before he lost total consciousness, he moved himself to the recliner, where he collapsed, eyes closed before he'd even hit the fluffy pillows. The last thought he had before drifting off was that he should compose something for Isabel as soon as he could. He'd never done anything like it, but he was at the point where possible and impossible didn't mean a thing. He loved her. He would do it.:: TBC... Lieutenant Randal Shayne Helmsman USS Darwin NCC 99312-A G239202RS0
  9. I'm a sucker for treknobabble. Trot it out every chance I get. But, I've learned from my favoritist scientist ever, John Valdivia, to try and ground it in real world science or established canon science as much as possible. It needs to flow and have a sense of believability, or else even a professed abuser of treknobabble like me can admit that it would stretch credulity and decorum.
  10. ((Sickbay, Deck 10, USS Darwin-A)) ::An unexpected visit from Lieutenant Logan querying a serum to be used on the Captain in an aid to help move nem as it would seem a boarding party could arise in an attempt to recover the Captain from nir captives. After what could have been a heated debate between Kurt and Isabel about evacuating a patient safely, both doctors were on par about their decision to say no to the drug. Doctors Cook and Pond now stood over the body of the late Janel Tarna. The interruption had for a second clouded the thoughts of the pair.:: Pond: So, where were we? Cook: You had just asked how was we going to proceed with this autopsy. Pond: Ah yes. Well, if you want to do it manually, you are the boss. ::An Autopsy is a lengthy procedure especially if it’s due to an untimely death. Graeme could opt out and use everything the computers but everything he had learned and the bodies he dissected during his spell of time on Turisian. During his time at medical school every surgical procedure he had partaken in was with a real live body requiring a specific type of surgery. His Chief Head Professor always said ‘You can use the holodeck but it cheats! One nick in the wrong place and you can pause the programme and carry on. However if you nick an artery then you have the pressure of fixing it as that life is in your hands’. Ok so this body was no longer alive, however as this was an investigation every attempt will be used to learn the reason Janel passed away.:: Cook: I have my reasons for doing it manually I feel Janel would want it this way as I’d prefer the same. When I go I want my body to be dissected for science! ::Laughing:: I suggest we take a few hours break as this is going to be a lengthy procedure. ::When called to the conference room for a briefing Graeme had just finished his shift and was just settling to have a rest. He was able to proceed with the autopsy, however ‘a rested body is a rested mind’. He wanted to be One hundred percent before the jump in.:: Pond: Alright. But we should at least get somebody to bring the body to a cooled room. Then the theater would also be empty again for emergencies. Cook: We can just leave the body here and set the temperature to keep it fresh… ::Graeme didn’t like the way he compared Janel to a piece of meat that had to be kept fresh.:: Cook: I will lock this door as if an emergency arises then we have other operating suites this takes priority and i'm not having him moved from pillar to post. I’m sure the staff can cope with all the minor injuries. ::Graeme set the wall control panel to three degrees this was an ample temperature to keep the body chilled for the next few hours. He opened the door and held it open for Isabel to go through first. Turning back to the control panel. He had set it so only himself or Miss Pond Could access the room. As they both began the walk to the turbolift.:: Pond: I heard you have payed my patient a visit? How did it go? ::This was a discussion Graeme had been looking forward to. He noticed she asked in a nice way about his visit, It wasn’t his intention to encroach on another doctor's ‘turf’ you could say. Isabel had done so much whilst Graeme was on Unity, his visit was to offer more his expertise to Nicu Icavoc rather than make sure she had done the procedures right or wrong. Graeme had a huge amount of faith in her abilities and was rather impressed with her surgery skills.:: Cook: How did it go? Well... it went well. ::He wanted to explain how he had walked into Icavoc’s quarters, tripped over something on the floor due to being dazzled by the bright light’s then to top off his sheer luck Nicu stood there in his birthday suit where Graeme was definitely blinded. Should he mention how he tripped up on his own answers. He made a mental note to himself - Dokkaran species are hard work.:: Cook: I had a good chat with him, As he is your patient I didn’t want to encroach. Do you have any plans? Pond: I am already planning the rehabilitation once the threat here is over. I am thinking of some sort of carbon dioxide therapy, that should increase the growth of new plant tissue. What do you think? Cook: Re-routing our carbon dioxide to his room could give him more of a boost to help the growth issue… well thought. I Thought about cell splicing and attempting to grow an arm and doing a transplant but it all depends on his growth recovery time as it seems it will take a long time! Pond: Well, I am surely calling him in after the mission, to see what we can do. Okay, see you later. Cook: Rest easy we have a lot of work ahead. ((Timeskip to Attack phase Logan)) ((Sickbay, Deck 10, USS Darwin-A)) Cook: Ok gather round people… In minutes we will be intercepting the Ship that has the abducted Captain on board. So no doubt the Darwin will be engaged in a firefight... regardless of our personal thoughts and fears we are medical staff and professionals. You all know your positions and jobs! I expect you to work to the best of your abilities regardless and remember to triage the patient first... if a plaster and a kick up the backside works do it! If it requires major surgery Myself or Miss Pond here are on hand. However we have something to do in Surgery room One So with so If you require us we will be there. Now let’s keep this crew fit and able to do their duties. Lets get to work people! Everything should be ready make your final preparations and stand by your posts... ::Just as he finished his speech the room shuddered where the ship had taken a collision from something maybe a weapon or she had rammed another ship. This was enough for an adrenaline rush… they waited for unknown. Until word was passed they were in the dark except from the mission briefing they will only find out what is going on from the crews injuries.:: Valdivia: =/\= Valdivia to sickbay. We are receiving heavy gamma radiation and our shields are down. Please set radiation poisoning protocols. =/\= ::The Radioactive Protocol was a red alert even though the ship was in a red alert state this added to the intensity. Once activated all crews were warned of possible radiation leaks to all decks. The Sickbay staff prepared hyposprays with hyronalin which combated radiation poisoning.:: Cook: Computer activate Radioactive Protocols - Delta - Alpha - 1 - 3…. Computer: Activating Radioactive Protocol - Delta - Alpha - 1 - 3… Standing by Pond: =/\= Understood. Sickbay is setting radiation protocols. =/\= ::Another part of the protocol was something that Doctor Tarna had created, when a deck or area of the ship had been affected by gamma radiation the computer would pump a mixture of hyronalin and lectrazine through the ship’s ventilation It wouldn’t stop the radiation however it would help protect the crew enough to seek medical support. He looked at Pond as his thoughts were her thoughts. Instantly she replied ready and waiting.:: Valdivia: =/\= And... send someone here. I think I dislocated the knee. =/\= ::This was hard for Graeme he wanted to aid John but as the CMO he would have to stay in sickbay. He nodded with a smile to Isabel to go and aid the Chief Science Officer.:: Pond: =/\= Don’t move the limb, I will be there as fast as possible =/\= Cook: Isabel… ::He watched her grab a medkit and a few other things as his voice caught up with her she had already reached the door. Graeme knew with the shields down they were vulnerable and where Mr Valdivia was situated anything could happen.:: Cook: Please be careful! ::The first wave of cuts and head injuries entered the sickbay. He quickly helped by deterring if his staff could manage. They could. He had a catch up with a late friend. This was priority unless a major incident required his attention. He moved over to the door of surgical sweet one and entered his details. The door opened. Graeme walked in and the cold dry air sapped at his lungs, as he breathed out the a warm vapor turned into a mist then disappeared. He had set the temperature to Three degrees as a humanoid body decays at warmer temperatures but to keep it fresh as to say it’s recommended to be between Two and Four degrees. If you want to keep the body on ice then it would be stored in temperatures below zero.:: ::This was the first time he had been alone with Janel since he was alive, It was a strange feeling knowing who was lying there. Luckily Graeme wasn’t a teenager and this wasn’t his grandfather. This was a family member of a different kind. He rubbed his hands together and blew into the with his warm breath and rubbed the heat around his hands, as he lifted the cold metallic zip. He took a deep breath as he unzipped the body bag.:: ::There lay the young Doctor Janel Tarna, his arms were on top of one another across the top part of his stomach it made him look like a sleeping vampire, lifeless motionless and pale. Graeme began to put a pair of disposable gloves on. He didn’t want to cross contaminate anything from his hands to anything that could indicate his death. He opened the body bag fully to reveal Janel’s full body. He was wrapped in some strange bandages almost like an Egyptian mummy.:: Cook: Hello Janel… We meet again… Pity it’s this way... One… Two arms… One… Two legs Ok so far so good ::He glimpsed at the bandages across Janels Chest they were three faint crimson stained circles. Graeme let out a sigh as his breath misted out in front of him. He began to have a bad feeling about Janels death. He wanted to check every inch of the body and decided to check the feet up those three crimson stains on his chest might not be the only marks.:: Cook: Computer… ::Computer chirps.:: Start to record my autopsy report. Computer: Recording… Cook: Autopsy report on Lieutenant Janel Tarna by Chief Medical Officer Lieutenant Graeme Cook… On visual inspection of the body no limbs were missing, two arms, two legs… Strangely the body has been wrapped up in what seems to be linen bandages as if he was part of an old Egyptian burial... ::Moving to Janal’s feet.:: I count… Two Four Five Eight Ten… Ten toes and no marks on his feet apart from bad corns and athlete's foot. ::Laughing to himself.:: I could have gave you something for that as well… ::Graeme picked up a pair of surgical scissors and began to remove the dressings from his legs. As he did so a slight smell caught his attention.:: Cook: I am now cutting the bandages from his legs to check for any bruising or any marks.On my visual i see no bruising that shows no restraints were used against him… What's that smell… reminds me of cinnamon… ::Picking up a piece of linen and sniffing it.:: It is definitely cinnamon… but there is something else what’s that smell? ::Looking at Janal.:: Come on buddy what aren't you telling me? ::Next Graeme removed the the bandages from his abdomen and began to check for any damage and also any sexually transmitted infections. He had taken swabs and scanned them into the computer. As he awaited the results he began to count the fingers.:: Cook: The left hand is placed on top of his right… attempting to remove the hands… ::Rigor Mortis had set in but Graeme, with a struggle managed to remove the first hand and lay it by Janels side. ::He inspected the left hand it was covered in dry blood but there was no cuts present and his fingernails were clean. As he swabbed the dry blood Graeme then placed it into the biobed scanner and began to test the blood. Within seconds it came back with a match of Janel’s blood type. Graeme’s fear came to reality as it would seem he had died of his wounds Looking above the right hand at the three blood stains.:: Cook: Aye aye?? What do we have here… ::Janel’s right hand was holding something. Graeme managed to fish it out without opening his hand, which shows he wasn’t holding it as he died, rather it was placed in his hands after. What was it. With a set of forceps he fished out the dark item and picked it up with them and held it to the light it would seem to be a burgundy gem.:: Cook: In my hand I looking at a dusty looking burgundy gem it seems to be covered in prints, I am placing it into a kidney bowl this will be analysed later for DNA and fingerprints. Both hands seem to show no struggle no flesh under the fingernails, there is no bruising of an attempt to claw or dig or even to fight back… ::With the abdomen and head left to check. This is where he will need to operate opening up the chest and stomach testing how he had died, Now usually Graeme would open up the skull and remove the brain and dissect it for any trauma damage but he will use the biobed scanner for that. Moving to Janel’s head he picked up an auto refractor he opened the eyelids and shined a light to see a reaction from the pupils. Nothing. Closing the eyelid he noticed the faint scar that the dermal regenerator didn't completely heal, this was from his brain surgery he had when he had received injuries when he was taken prisoner around the date 239207.21. Graeme began to scan the top of the head for brain patterns also for a picture of any internal damage. He inspected behind his ears for bruising and dirt there was lots of dust an almost rustic kind of colour. Was this soil he had lay on? Had he been on a planet? Taking a swab and placing it in a vial this was probably one for the science department to scan and check on. Forcing the jaw open he looked inside the tongue was in it’s place nothing had blocked his throat so he didn’t choke to death. No bruising around the neck made Graeme glad as he wasn’t strangled to death. The Bed beeped as the scans reported no trauma to the head the only damage was to the frontal lobe as previously damaged during his capture. Last brain wave activity show he was alive as he received the wounds but did nothing to retaliate. It beeped again as it came back with negative results showing no STI’s.:: Cook: So far so good there was no Sexual Transmited Infections on his genaltalia or rectum. His head and brain scans show no trauma or any internal bleeds to the brain, the only damage was the frontal lobe during surgery from previous operations. He never swallowed his tongue nor was he choking on anything. Also there is no marks around his neck. I have taken a swab of a earthy substance from behind his ears maybe it’s from a planet where he had lay? Now I am away to inspect the chest. ::Graeme Cut the bandages down the center and slowly peeled them back. His fears had worsened three stab wounds were staring straight at him the thing that caught his eye was the three bruises above the stab wounds. They were in the shape of a fist, clear as day against the paleness of his body the shape of the black bruises were in the shape of fists. Graeme clenched his right hand and placed it over the bruises his hand was clearly bigger.:: Cook: I have removed the linen that covered Janel’s chest on doing so there are three stab marks but above them is dark bruises in the clear shape of a fist. In size comparison the marks are smaller than my clenched fist. Was this a type of weapon or someone with small fists and a weapon? ::Graeme picked up a scalpel there are two ways he could open the chest cavity make an incision in the shape of a U or the Y shape where the stab marks were situated he decided to with the U shape. As he cut from the left collar bone down to his hip bone and followed the curve to just above his pubic bone he then followed the curve back to the other hip bone and straight up to the right collar bone he began to peel the layer of flesh to check the vital organs. Before he would be able to check the lungs an heart he would have to cut open the rib cage, he did so with medical saw. No damage to any of Janel’s intestines. His bladder was full which surprised Graeme as the situation happened he would almost have relieved himself. Feeling his stomach it still had remains of the last meal partially undigested there was no discolouring to the kidneys or the liver in fact they were pretty healthy. Scanning them showed no trace of any toxins or any foreign substances in his system. So poisoning can be ruled out. The Trill anatomy was almost identical to a human except a gap in the mid pancreas where a symbiont would sit. Unfortunately Janel was unjoined. His lungs were healthy except as lifted them they began to leak blood he saw the stab wounds on in each and they pierced right through the lungs the blood had collected at the bottom of the lungs. Looking puzzled as there was three stab wounds he inspected the lungs closer he could only find two neatly cut incisions. The last piece he had to check was the heart and there it was the last stab wound. This would have probably been the fatal blow.:: Cook: ::With a lump in his throat.:: I have checked the intestines, liver, kidneys and stomach each one perfectly healthy including a full bladder tests show no toxins of foreign substances in his system. However on inspection on both lungs there is a stab wound on each. The third wound has pierced his heart I feel this was the cause of his death. ::Graeme replaced the ribcage and closed the U shaped flesh back so it sat normal. His emotions were gone he was shocked on how his fellow doctor had received his untimely death. What was next he would compel his notes and pass them onto Doctor Pond and get a second opinion on anything he might have missed. He will send a less graphic copy to acting Captain Traenor and update him with any new discoveries.Then once everything is finalised they will prepare the body for a proper send off. Graeme removed his disposable gloves and washed his sweaty hands, he placed a hand on Janels cheek and leaned in and kissed his forehead.:: Cook: Rest easy brother.... Lieutenant Cook - Chief Medical Officer - USS Darwin NCC-99312-A =/\= The (Image) Collective =/\= D239206GC0
  11. ((Conference Room 2, Deck 2 - USS Darwin-A)) ::Watching the Senior Staff head out of the Conference room, Kurt rose slowly to his feet he needed to speak with several department heads to request some equipment from them just in case…:: Logan oO Any action on an enemy controlled site has so many ‘ifs’ and conditions that can cause things to turn against you so quickly there’s no way to think of them all let alone be equipped for them. We just have to try and find the most adaptable equipment that covers the majority of problems and then …….. work hard and hope Oo ::Moving round the table Kurt’s overwhelming impression of their First Officer was one of tiredness, their life was filled with the general running of the ship. Meeting after meeting, report after report everything that happened on board ship first went to them, the Captain only saw the reports after they had been signed off and any problems solved. Only if they were to large or were ‘above the paygrade’ did the Captain get involved, which for the Darwin meant that ever since the Numiri attack and the Captain went missing her First Officer, also now her Acting Captain, had to deal with both sides of the table:: Logan oO Send the reports to me now …. get that sorted and send it back to me…. Excellent you’ve fixed that now I’ll sign it off and send it to me so I can verify it Oo ::If the situation wasn’t so dire it would be worth laughing over it with a nice drink, and good company, but the situation was a major problem, they had no Captain …. Not yet but they would do again soon….. he hoped. Approaching Commander Traenor Kurt ran his hand through his hair:: Logan: Excuse me Sir, do you have a moment Traenor: Yes, of course, Lieutenant. Logan: There’s a few things I want to run by you, some things that…… ::Staring out the windows that comprised the back wall of the Conference room, which at the speed they were traveling didn’t show the darkness of space and pinpoint lights of stars but the streaking lines of starlight as the Starship shot through space at faster than light speeds, then back to the Commander:: I don’t know if I’ve looked at this too long and am making things fit or their actual formed ideas that …… ::His sentence trailed of as Kurt couldn’t find the words to finish it:: Traenor: I'm all ears, Mr Logan. What's on your mind? Logan: I’ve looked at all the information every day, trying ……. trying to fathom any facts that lead anywhere, anything to give an insight….. Traenor: ::ruefully:: You and me both... Logan: I don’t know if there facts or suppositions or outright fantasy …. Traenor: ::with a smile, leaning back:: Spit it out, Kurt. ::kindly:: I do want to hear what you think. ::Seeing The Commander nod, sit back down in the chair and lean back cupping his hands together in his lap Kurt had no choice but to finish what he had just started, the Commanders posture immediately brought back their last meeting when he failed to convince the First Officer of the saboteur, as they now knew, on the Outpost. Who was right or wrong was of no consequence Kurt’s arguments, and most importantly proof, were too weak to convince anyone else to support his hunch’s:: Logan oO Am I as far out as last time, or so far out I’ve dropped of the universe Oo Logan:: Nodding Kurt took a deep breath and a sip of the iced water before calling up the sensor information gathered from Unity Outpost:: Firstly the ship…. Unknown configuration … but why ?, answer no one’s seen it before. But then why here ? in the delta quadrant any ship is unknown …. So the answer is .. unknown to us. But then why do we matter ? so we don’t know who to blame, keep everyone guessing, buys time, and delays the federations response.. until it’s too late Traenor: ::following Logan's logic:: I concur. Using a mystery ship is a good way to keep us off our game. Logan: The ship is designed as a covert warship all its sensor reflections, warp baffles, QSD and armour what else could it be …. At first I thought Raikenoff. But it doesn’t match him after the Captains beaten him twice, he’d want to show how he’s better both his ship and him as captain, something like this no not his style. There’s the J’naii to consider as the ships path is heading that way, most people put bits of tech on different ships before putting them on one vessel, the federation has done is with the warp baffles and armour etc… the J’naii there’s no vessel in the computer that matches anything about this ship … so did they build it or … there’s another possibility, according to Headquarters the only people building completely different shaped vessels each time is the Consortium. And then the QSD, few races have developed one independently… but then one of ours was stolen by Raikenhoff who worked for the Consortium before going rouge according to them, now a ‘new’ ship has a QSD who’s biggest jump so far is smaller than our maximum, which would match with the belief that they have copied the drive from the one they stole, before we got it back. It would be interesting to compare the warp signature to Raikenhoff vessel …. Traenor: To be honest, my thoughts had veered towards Raikenoff initially too. But this just isn't his style. Nor that of the Consortium. If Renos was a threat to either of them, which ne really hasn't personally been, then they would have been either way more overt or way more subtle. This just all seems so... random. Logan oOSupposedly Raikenhoff has stolen his ship and the consortium are chasing him to get it back, kidnapped the captain as bait to bring him to them …. That’s rubbish Logan and you know it, if his ship is stolen there’s no way he would just walk up to get Renos from them, his tactics may not be brilliant but he’s not that crazy…. Hatred and a madness towards us possibly but not stupid Oo ::So far the Commander hadn’t waved off his thoughts or theories, even if he thought he was rambling, everyone was feeling the strain. He’d tried to keep his sleep pattern but he was lacking as well, he wasn’t an Engineer so he had no idea what they must be feeling including Commander Varaan who may be a Vulcan but even they aren’t unbreakable. Some of his team had been seconded to maintenance or indeed had become more Engineer than Security for these past weeks, but eating well even if most times it was a workout in and of itself just to keep eating had kept Kurt going, with a nod from the Commander Kurt continued:: Logan: When the ship was docked at the outpost they made no use of the internal comm system …. At all, neither did anyone exit or have any supplies brought on board, why not ?. they were fully supplied for the trip they were going to make, that’s nothing unusual.. but why did no crew leave, did they not want anyone to see the crew, but why we wouldn’t recognise any of them so why the secrecy… and why no comm traffic, you arrive at an outpost land but say nothing else … to anyone ….. their own communication system or prearranged meeting…. But again why the secrecy ? Traenor: Outpost Ops scoured the sensor and comm logs in the days leading up to Renos's departure. If they communicated with somebody on the outpost prior to or during their docking, then it wasn't through normal means. So that's a scratch as well. Logan: Then there’s this ::Showing the sensor feed of the Captain, Ly, and an unknown entering the ship:: that unknown man arrived on the outpost the day before the ship did on a merchant transport. So why did they board an unknown ship.. why would you ?. threats ? the Captain can handle himself enough that threats wouldn’t work, like wise is physical assault… no one’s limping or looks like there carrying any injury. In fear ? …. If the Captain was in fear why didn’t he contact anyone else ..you ?, security ?.... outpost ops …. No you enter somewhere unknown because your told your safe… but told by who ?.... the unknown man well he had to be known to either Renos or Ly otherwise why would you believe its safe, as well why pick Ly who’s combat scores are average on testing….. but is good enough for the captain to help teach a Kaigut class that the captain is proud of ……. ::It was a leap Kurt knew but the facts of the group didn’t fit well with each other:: Traenor: I'm no expert, but nothing about that party looks like they didn't want to be there. Logan: So two J’naii deviants ::Kurt caught the wince from the Commander as the word ‘Deviant’ was used, Kurt himself didn’t think of the Captain in such a way but the word and its meaning were relevant to the matter being discussed:: and a Rodulan, who by the by doesn’t walk right or tilt his head right and his posture is …. Just … off oO How do you say that everything every one has written or commented on the Rodulans of their Physiology and Psychology doesn’t match this one, an odd one out? Oo They enter an unknown ship, that ship leaves after the captain files a flight plan, thus giving them a head start. But it’s destination has been fairly easy to work out the J’naii homeworld, two deviants returning home ?.... not going to be a good welcome, even with the captains knowledge and codes. They’ve decided to become normal J’naii ?, while the captain had very nice dresses made up and treatment for longer hair. If they had headed straight there they would already be there with us trailing far behind, so why take your time ? Traenor: No, it just wouldn't happen that way. Renos would never run like this of nir own volition. Ne and Iy must have been taken. But why do you think they are taking their time? Logan: You take time for two reasons… you’re doing something that needs to be completed before you arrive somewhere… or you want to finish something to prove you can do it before you arrive somewhere Traenor: I think it's their QSD device, actually. It seems... inferior. Our scans show that their recharge time is taking longer and longer between jumps, and they likely can't travel as far per jump as we can. The time they are taking might just be coincidental. Logan:: Shaking his head at the Commanders answer:: No … trying to hide from us ? … no there’s better ways of doing it than what they’re doing, much better, an Engineering Ensign could give you a better plan than there employing, and as for a Security Officer….:: Looking directly at the Commander:: You’d never find me …. ::Turning back to a display of the course they had been taking with time and dates of the Darwin’s arrivals and the approximate time of the unknown vessels leaving of identified points:: Then how are they staying steps ahead of us, jumping out just before we get there … what do they know ?… how do they know it ?…who’s telling them ?? Traenor: ::sighing:: That is the question that keeps hounding us, yes. Logan::Kurt was slightly hesitant to carry on knowing what his statements would mean both to the memory of the Captain and to the outcome of any confrontation:: That gives two worse case scenarios the first is the Captain and or Ly are in command positions on that ship which means that they will have the captain command codes, our prefix codes, and this ships systems …. Including Comms, Personally fairly unlikely, the Captain has much better tactics than what’s being displayed so far. Or the Captain and or Ly are prisoners on that ship which leads to a chain of thought regarding their status and their home world Traenor: ::chin set resolutely:: Never. Even under fear of death, Renos would never surrender nir information. Logan: I have to believe my captain is innocent which means working on the second option Traenor: Yes, I agree. That is - unfortunately our most likely scenario right now. Logan: To counter any Command or prefix codes we could lock the computer from any outside input. oO This is the question that I don’t want to bring up in fact make me naked in front of the Borg….Oo ::Pinching the bridge of his nose Kurt turned to Darwins Command Officer:: Do we know the Captain is aboard that ship ? Traenor: Command codes were transferred to me once Renos was officially recognized as missing. Besides, ne would never divulge that information. Iy never had any clearances that would jeopardize us in this manner. And as for your question... ::diverted eyes:: ...no, we don't know. Logan::The fear of being wrong flickered through the eyes of the Commander:: oO We could have wasted weeks on a fool’s errand finding nothing at the end of it…… No Logan there’s never nothing even if he’s not there they will know something… and they will tell everything they know Oo Therefore I would suggest as soon as we’ve caught them we try and ping the Captains Comm badge, they might have been slack enough and not completely dismantled it or modulated their shields to block any transmissions, those modulations we’ll be able to detect. Traenor: Okay, agreed. I'll leave it up to you to try and make that happen when we catch up to them. Logan: In addition I would suggest hitting their shields in such a way to alert the Captain, if he is held prisoner then he’ll be deep inside, this way will vibrate the ship in such a way to let nir know were here. Traenor: Formulate a plan and send it on to me, I'll look it over. Logan: Security is ready for both boarding their ship, there’s still a couple of things to finalise with Engineering and Sickbay but there all set, were also ready to be boarded we’re setting the ship up as it was against the Borg Traenor: I suppose it's best to be cautious, for sure. Logan oO Be delicate here Logan Oo We also need to make them second guess even slightly, so ….. if you’ll pardon me sir, wear some make up so you don’t look as tired, that’s what they’ll expect, also vary the lighting each time you talk to them even to the point of send a low frequency hum along with the transmission, to keep them thinking. Traenor: Well, ::smirking:: I don't know about putting on facepaint, but I understand what you're saying about the lighting. We might just get them to underestimate us if they think we're not 100 percent. Logan oO Phew that was taken well Oo Use the lighting on the ship as well only have one area lit have the rest dark, again anything to make them think even for a second ::The Commander just sat there in silence staring between the display on the wall mounted screen and the stars streaking by the Darwin :: Logan oO I’ve done it again haven’t I, I’ve lost him…. Oo ::He could feel his heart start to sink, the Commander would want to try anything to find and rescue the Captain but had he just buried any of the chances he found under nonsence and waffle ….. again Oo Traenor: response ::Yes….. this time Kurt had managed to convey his thoughts to someone else, it would be hard but they had a good chance:: Traenor: Yes, that's all good. We'll pass along those suggestion to Ops, they can make it happen. ::Taking a stride closer to the Commander Kurt could see the weight of their mission on his shoulders, the chair he was sat in looked to be the only thing keeping him upright, there was something more between Commander Traenor and Captain Renos than their positions on the Darwin, while not common knowledge it could be spotted when they were around each other, Kurt hoped that it wasn’t going to be lost at the end of this or that it would lead the Commander to act to hastily when the confrontation arose. Commander Stennes was acutely missed at this point as was Rune Jolara, the only other Counselor Kurt had met who he was comfortable around, he himself was no Counsellor by any definition of the word, in Security Counselling really just means shouting louder:: Logan:: Gazing out of the window, rubbing his needing to be shaved stubble:: We will get the Captain back Traenor: ::hoping his tone didn't betray his despondency:: Yes, we will. oO But will it be the same Renos that left, or some psychotectically lobotomized facsimile? Oo Logan: Did you know the Marine Corp has almost as many strikes against it as it has commendations. Traenor: response Logan: Before I wore this uniform I trained and passed out as a Marine, and were taught why, if you injure a marine the rest will always hunt you no matter what. Sergeant Hopkins led a unit against an occupied colony, they recaptured the colony but lost men doing it, it took three years but they tracked down every last 'pirate' that had escaped. In doing so Star Fleet stripped him of his commission...... 30 fellow Marine’s handed there's back in protest. The look they had on that day is a look I will never forget, it's a look that would crumble the pillars of hell .... and I saw it mirrored around this table. And although the Darwin's not a battleship ..... She's a hell of a lot tougher ...... so is her Captain. Traenor: ::realizing the pep talk for what it was:: Aye, I'll drink to that. Logan: I once told a friend the one thing the Marines have that they never break ..... They don't run .... When faced with an enemy, a Marine stands .... always :: a smile tugged at his lips. Looking back out into the space outside the conference rooms windows:: But faced with that same enemy, a friend ::His smile faded as his gaze hardened, turning back to Commander Traenor:: rips it's head off ::nodding and heading for the door:: Commander when I said I saw the same look around the table, I meant not withstanding the pale faces and the tiredness and the bags under the eyes and the uniforms.. and the people being different, but other than that exactly the same ::Nodding to the Commander, Kurt headed for the doors and the meetings and drills that would occupy the next day of his time: Logan: Commander when I said I saw the same look around the table, I meant not withstanding the pale faces and the tiredness and the bags under the eyes and the uniforms.. and the people being different, but other than that exactly the same ::smiling Kurt gave the Commander a wink before disappearing around the corner and of to his next stop to get the pieces ready for the rescue of their Captain:: Paul Lieutenant Jg Kurt Logan - Assistant Security Chief USSDarwin, NCC - 99312 - A E239203KLOHY
  12. Maxwell Traenor is sporting a branch out line from acclaimed Ferengi fashion designer Ligg. Using traditional Ferengi patterns and style, he has muted the colorful pallette to create a formal line for more sedate tastes. Though the sharing of Ferengi fashion has created quite a stir due to the possible conflict with the 47th Rule of Acquisition, Ligg has never been one to let scruples stand in the way of a good profit.
  13. https://blog.ubi.com/star-trek-bridge-crew-brings-starfleet-experience-virtual-reality/
  14. http://kotaku.com/star-trek-bridge-crew-puts-four-players-in-charge-of-a-1781824398 Coming (hopefully) this fall, more details to premiere during E3. Might have to actually invest in VR equipment for this one!
  15. "In The Pale Moonlight" will always be a favorite for me ("It's a faaake!") but I have to throw a shout out to Yar's death in "Skin of Evil". I was still too young to understand character death as a means of contract dispute resolution, so this scene resonated with me for a long time due to its senselessness and discord.
  16. Done and done! Not a problem, and thanks for the heads up!
  17. This is actually a really cool tip, one I might need to adopt in order to motivate me as well! Thanks for the great info and a great interview, Captain!
  18. I've been doing this style of playing for going on 20 years, and nearly all of my characters were escapist - in that they accentuated traits that I did not have in some sense of wish fulfillment or a step away from my actual reality. Traenor was designed to be a challenge in that he is the most faithful recreation of myself in a character. How do I take plain ol' little ol' me and make him an engaging character? I've taken some artistic licenses, of course, but it's been a true joy to take some of my real life traits and personal situations and transpose them into a fictional setting. That being said, I do yearn for my favorite of all ST species often enough... the Bajorans. Traenor is a hoot, but he ain't no Bajoran
  19. Polling closes at 11:59pm Eastern on Saturday, July 30. This is a run-off poll, where our general membership (that's you!) chooses which sim, from Set 2 of 2016 (Rounds 7-13), should proceed to the final round of the contest for a chance to be selected as the Top Sim of 2016! These sims below were chosen by a panel of judges (one from each ship) from the sims submitted in Rounds 7-13 of the contest. TO START, please read these sims: Round 7: Captain Shelther Faranster, "Lost Context" Round 8: Cpt Jalana Rajel, "Fear the Reaper" Round 9: Dr Tarna & Iria, "The pain of rejection" Round 10: Lt Commander Falcon/Rhino the hamster, "The New Smell" Round 11: Doctor Saveron, "There, but for the vagaries of chance, go I" Round 12: 302nd Tactical Fighter Wing, "New Assignment" Round 13: LtCdr Sinda Essen & LtJG Solaris McLaren, "New Experiences" NEXT, using the poll above, vote for the sim you like the most. It should be the sim that's the best written, with strong characterization, and evocative or descriptive scene-setting. DON'T vote for a sim just because you serve on the same crew as the person who wrote it. Any crew that "stuffs the ballot" (by having everyone on the crew vote for the same sim to ensure that it wins this poll) will be eliminated from the contest and shamed by the rest of the community as terrible, terrible cheaters. That would be awful. Good luck to the nominees!
  20. HOW VOTING WORKS There are two types of voting in this contest: member voting and judges voting. After each round of submissions, all the sims from that round are voted-on by a panel of judges. The winning sim from each round of judges voting then proceeds to a run-off round. Run-off rounds are open to all members for voting. The winning sim from each run-off round proceeds to the final round. The final round is open to all members for voting. For a sim to win the final round, at least 20% of the voters for that sim must be from a ship other than the ship it originated from. HOW THE JUDGES PANEL WORKS The judges panel is comprised of one member from each ship. Judges are free to resign from the panel at any time or be switched-out but are expected to judge for a full "Set" (see the Contest Calendar). At the end of each Set, Captains will be encouraged to review their ship's judge. A judge's "term" lasts for three sets, after which they must be switched with a new judge from the crew. After a judge's term is over, and a new judge has been selected and served for at least one term, the previous judge is again eligible to begin a new term. Judges can be of any rank, as long as they are able to demonstrate a basic grasp of good simming skills. Each ship's Captain appoints the judge from their ship, but they are free to use whatever method they deem appropriate to select that judge. They can select themselves as the judge. Judges use a ranked voting method called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). For more information about IRV, see the Wikipedia page. When voting, judges are not permitted to vote in the top slot the sim from their crew. This ensures that judges are not favoring their own crew's sims. They can still choose their ship's sim in the second slot or lower.
  21. Welcome to Top Sims Contest of 2016! All announcements for the entire 2016 contest will be posted in this thread. The Top Sims contest allows members of our fleet to be recognized by their peers for superior writing ability. Unlike the Writing Challenges, this contest allows only sims that have been used in a current plot to be considered. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES You can submit ANY sim -- from your ship, or another ship. You can submit your own sims if you wish. All sims are welcome, including staff (Captain, First Officer, etc.) sims. The sim must be written with good spelling, good grammar, and be in the correct format. Poorly structured sims will be disqualified. When a sim is submitted, it must have been created within the current submission period, or the previously lapsed submission period. Put another way: do not sims which are any older than a month. Submitted sims may not have any open dialogue tags. (i.e.: [respond here]) All dialogue in the sim must be filled in. (Just find the responding author's sim and fill in the blanks.) Sims must not include any "canon" characters. (i.e.- no characters who have appeared onscreen.) Please find a balance between nominating too many, or too few sims. Don't submit every good sim -- instead, post every great sim! Encourage your fellow crew-mates to submit at least a few sims a year. If you want your crew-mates to win more, you have to nominate the best sims, and encourage others to write higher quality sims! HOW TO SUBMIT A SIM First: Click the "Start New Topic" button. The format of the topic title should be as follows: "Character - Sim Title" For example: "LtJG Tristan Wolf - Everywhere you go, there you are" Note: Please do not clutter the topic title with an endless list of NPC or PNPC names or "JP" designations. Instead, simply include the primary character's rank and name. If it's a joint post, just include both rank and names -- no need to include the "JP" in there. Second: Choose from the "Topic Prefix" box the correct round number. (To check what round we're currently in, see the contest calendar below.) Third: Copy into the message box the complete sim. You don't need to worry about column width. Check to make sure that the sim is readable. You can click the "Edit" button to fix any issues, but don't delay -- you'll be barred from editing the post after 60 minutes. COMMENTING ON A SIM Everyone is welcome to comment on submitted sims. If you're going to provide constructive criticism, you are required to employ the "hamburger" criticism method: first, mention something you like; second, something you didn't like; third, something else you liked. If you just want to provide praise, no hamburger method required! Commenters who are rude, unfair, or overzealous in their commenting will be barred from future comments in the contest forum, and will have their actions brought to the attention of their CO. CONTEST CALENDAR Set 1, 2016 Contest Round 1, 2016 submissions: Monday, November 2 to Sunday, November 15 Round 2, 2016 submissions: Monday, November 16 to Sunday, November 29 Round 3, 2016 submissions: Monday, November 30 to Sunday, December 13 Round 4, 2016 submissions: Monday, December 14 to Sunday, December 27 Round 5, 2016 submissions: Monday, December 28 to Sunday, January 10 Round 6, 2016 submissions: Monday, January 11 to Sunday, January 24 Run-off Round 1: Monday, February 15 to Sunday, April 3 Set 2, 2016 Contest Round 7, 2016 submissions: Monday, January 25 to Sunday, February 7 Round 8, 2016 submissions: Monday, February 8 to Sunday, February 21 Round 9, 2016 submissions: Monday, February 22 to Sunday, March 6 Round 10, 2016 submissions: Monday, March 7 to Sunday, March 20 Round 11, 2016 submissions: Monday, March 21 to Sunday, April 3 Round 12, 2016 submissions: Monday, April 4 to Sunday, April 17 Round 13, 2016 submissions: Monday, April 18 to Sunday, May 1 Run-off Round 2: Monday, May 2 to Sunday, July 31 Set 3, 2016 Contest Round 14, 2016 submissions: Monday, May 2 to Sunday, May 15 Round 15, 2016 submissions: Monday, May 16 to Sunday, May 29 Round 16, 2016 submissions: Monday, May 30 to Sunday, June 12 Round 17, 2016 submissions: Monday, June 13 to Sunday, June 26 Round 18, 2016 submissions: Monday, June 27 to Sunday, July 10 Round 19, 2016 submissions: Monday, July 11 to Sunday, July 24 Round 20, 2016 submissions: Monday, July 25 to Sunday, August 7 Run-off Round 3: Monday, August 8 to Sunday, October 23 Set 4, 2016 Contest Round 21, 2016 submission: Monday, August 8 to Sunday, August 21 Round 22, 2016 submission: Monday, August 22 to Sunday, September 4 Round 23, 2016 submission: Monday, September 5 to Sunday, September 18 Round 24, 2016 submission: Monday, September 19 to Sunday, October 2 Round 25, 2016 submission: Monday, October 3 to Sunday, October 16 Round 26, 2016 submission: Monday, October 17 to Sunday, October 30 Run-off Round 4: Monday, October 31 to Sunday, November 27 FINAL RUN-OFF OF 2015: Monday, November 28 to Sunday, December 25 - this run-off selects the Top Sim of 2016. Set 1, 2017 Contest Round 1, 2017 submissions: Monday, October 31 to Sunday, November 13 Round 2, 2017 submissions: Monday, November 14 to Sunday, November 27 Round 3, 2017 submissions: Monday, November 28 to Sunday, December 11 Round 4, 2017 submissions: Monday, December 12 to Sunday, December 25 Round 5, 2017 submissions: Monday, December 26 to Sunday, January 8 Round 6, 2017 submissions: Monday, January 9 to Sunday, January 22 Run-off Round 1: Monday, January 23 to Sunday, February 19 Many thanks to FltCapt. Renos for putting together the calendar!
  22. The death of newborn Naomi Wildman in VOY - Deadlock. It was a touching scene for me, simply because at the time there was no time for the characters to grieve with all that was happening. Of course, alternate/duplicate Naomi Wildman was returned to the prime crew with Harry Kim, but it didn't lessen the impact of the scene for me.
  23. Merrick R'Ven: "Past Goodbyes" wins this run-off round! Congratulations -- this sim will head to the final run-off round of the year!
  24. ((USS Darwin, Deck 10, Group Counseling Room)) ::In anticipation of the captain’s appointment, Didrik had cleared the furniture from the group counseling room, leaving just a few mats and pillows on the floor. He had dimmed the lights as well, making the room seem even more empty. By the time the captain arrived, Didrik’s eyes had already adjusted to the dark.:: Stennes: Come on in, and have a seat. ::Renos never knew what to expect when ne had an appointment with Didrik. Did everyone get the experimental treatment or did he employ these more creative techniques because he felt ne might be somewhat resistant to traditional counseling? The atmosphere here was comfortable and relaxed and the furniture was suspicious by its absence. The counselor seemed to have gone to some trouble in preparation for this. Ne didn’t wait for an invitation and took a seat on one of the cushions, finding them reasonably comfortable to sit on.:: Renos: Good day, I see you’ve been busy. ::Didrik awkwardly sat down, his larger frame not well built for sitting cross-legged on the floor. Didrik felt a bit clumsy when next to Renos, who appeared to descend down onto a cushion without any apparent struggle to attempt to balance. He pushed that thought out of his mind, in a method not unlike he was about to teach the captain.:: Stennes: Last time we spoke, we touched on the subject of fear. I want to explore that more deeply today. But first, let’s just focus on breathing. Getting our bodies and minds clear and present. ::Fear. Ne wasn’t altogether fond of digging more deeply into that, especially since the latest mission had brought an uncharacteristic amount of anxiety into nir life in the aftermath. It wasn’t even as if ne regretted nir decisions but ne wondered if ne was wrong. Everyone else seemed to feel the decision ne had come to was wrong. Was nir moral compass really set so differently to everyone else’s? With some effort ne concentrated on nir breathing. Seeing that Didrik had closed his eyes ne decided to do likewise even if it felt horribly uncomfortable. A deviant J’naii could scarcely afford to close nir eyes in the presence of others. You could never tell who was going to stab you in the back the minute you weren’t looking.:: ::Didrik wasn’t certain how effective a four-thousand-year-old Earth meditation technique would work on a twenty-fourth century J’naii, but decided to take his own advice and focused on his own breathing. Hoping to lead by example, he closed his eyes, placed his palms on his knees, breathed slowly in and out, and resisted the temptation to re-open one eye to check if Renos was doing the same.:: Stennes: Imagine your every action, your every thought, is like tossing a pebble in a lake. Casting ripples outward beyond where you can see. When your mind is troubled, it’s like many pebbles being thrown in all at once, creating a rough and rippled lake. ::This was not an easy exercise for nem exactly because nir mind was so busy. It was hard to get it to come away from fretting and analysing details to concentrate on another task. Slowly an image began to form in nir mind. A large lake surrounded by woodland with tall evergreen trees that hugged the mountains as far as they eye could see. Choppy, dark blue waters and a sandy beach. Ne was barefoot on the cool sand, with brown trouser legs rolled up. A pile of large pebbles by nir side. Ne kept throwing the stones in but the pile never got any smaller.:: Stennes: But each ripple is always smaller than the one that came before it. Eventually the ripples die down, and the lake surface is still again. Focus on that image of stillness, and create in your own mind a lake undisturbed by the tossing of pebbles. ::Splosh.:: ::Plop.:: ::Plink…:: ::Very slowly, the ripples did get smaller. Even the cool wind that whipped nir hair back seemed to still a little. A sense of calm seemed to descend over nem. Ne did not wish to speak and spoil the moment and focused on nir breathing and the imagery before nem. The lake of nir mind was a place Renos had often visited during the holidays as a child. It had been a favourite family vacation spot and ne did miss it. J’naii had a lot of beautiful countryside and as a child ne had dreamed of being a countryside ranger, of studying and caring for the woodlands, conserving the threatened species of flora and fauna. Ne had ended up in a very different line of work indeed.:: ::A few minutes into the exercise, Didrik realized he’d forgotten to cue the music he’d chosen for the session. He debated whether he should interrupt the flow of things by instructing the computer to play it, but Renos was seeming to get into the meditation exercise in all the right ways, and Didrik didn’t want the sudden jar of a music track to derail nem.:: Stennes: Look across the lake, and notice that no matter how wide or deep the water may be, the lake can contain it. ::Didrik hoped the transition he was about to make was strong enough to hold Renos to the exercise, and not snap him out of it. There was still so much he didn’t know about nem, and maybe this approach would be too radical or too in-one’s-face. Hopefully, through some careful direction, he would find out, and be able to help.:: Stennes: Now let’s look inside you. Remember to breathe, and as you do, I want you to see the fear that lives there. Find the place within you where that fear lives, and let it come forth. ::Didrik could feel his own body’s response to the prompt, and he found it difficult to merely facilitate the exercise without being a participant. Didrik was no stranger to confronting his own fears, and he hoped that his experience would give him the patience and the compassion to help Renos find his.:: Stennes: As it rises from within you, continue to breathe. Watch it gather. Can you see it? Renos: Yes but it’s not clear. ::Renos stared into the now still waters of the lake. Nir reflection replaced by an inky blackness that had no particular form. Ne felt fear grip nem even without fully understanding what it was ne was frightened of. Nir palms grew sweaty and nir heart rate increased even though ne knew logically that there was no threat.:: ::As quietly and unobtrusively as possible, Didrik shifted his weight on the cushion, alternating the way his legs were crossed in an attempt to prevent his foot from falling asleep. He’d remembered from his own experiences as a patient attempting these exercises that his frame wasn’t exactly purpose built for long periods of contorted sitting. As the thoughts rolled around in his head, he silently chastised himself for them and pushed them out of his mind, allowing his own mental lake to grow still and quiet again.:: Stennes: As it gathers, what color is it? Renos: Mainly black, but there is some grey there, a little red too. Stennes: Now, just take a moment and look at the fear. Notice the shade it takes, the shape it forms as it exists before you. Whether it moves, or changes size. Perhaps it takes the form of something you might recognize. ::Both Didrik the counselor and Didrik the human being were curious about how Renos perceived nir fear manifested in front of nem, but he didn’t wish to prod too deeply or force nem to explain. As he remembered, this was an intensely personal exercise, and sometimes things were discovered that were less than desirable to admit to oneself, let alone others.:: Stennes: Now see the fear. Focus your mind and stare into it. Keep looking into it, breathe, and focus until you can begin to see inside it. All the tiny components that make up this fear, you can see them all. You can even name them. ::The more the fear took shape the less ne wanted to see it. Dark faceless figures formed in the waters. They were familiar to nem. Ne had defeated them once, many times actually but no matter how many times ne defeated them, there were always more ready and willing to take the place of the vanquished. Ne did not recognise the figures themselves so much as what they represented. Senorn formed in the pool and members of nir own family such as nir family as well but as with the black clad hunters, ne did not fear the individual, ne feared what they could do.:: Renos: Betrayal. Loss of individuality. ::Emboldened, the counselor pushed forth to the next step of the exercise.:: Stennes: Good. The act of naming gives relief. By giving something a name, you begin to control how its identity affects you. Fear is just a texture of our existence. And just as you stared through the mass of fear and saw inside of it, you can stare through that texture of fear, and see beyond it. ::Ne was not convinced of any of this, nevertheless ne tried. As ne tried to stare through it ne merely found the images morphing into something else. More red. This time an image of nemself formed in the pool. :: Renos: I’m not sure about this. ::Didrik felt his own heart rate rising and sweat appear as he continued, and he hoped that this exercise was having a positive effect on the captain. He knew his own approach toward therapy was unconventional, but having been an unconventional case himself, he knew there was value in them.:: Stennes: You’re outside of it now, peering in at this mere texture of existence. ::Was Didrik going too fast? It wasn’t working. Ne was bound in a bright red straight jacket in a small cell that contained only a mattress. Nir head had been shaved down to a number 2 and tipped back, looking towards the ceiling above with an expression of anger and anguish. It was one of many ways they stripped away your individuality in a deviant treatment unit. Ne screamed in defiance, realising in a flash as nir eyes flew open, that the sound was probably making Didrik’s ears ring. Ne at once coloured and gave him an apologetic look.:: Renos: I apologise for the outburst. It is most shameful of me. I guess I am not as adept as humans as leaving these things behind… ::Didrik tried not to show his surprise at what had just occurred, but he was almost certainly not doing a very good job. The relatively tranquil exercise had erupted into Renos’ outburst seemingly out of nowhere, and Didrik feared that he was paying more attention to his own performance rather than whether the captain was benefitting from it at all. Stennes: There is no need to feel ashamed. ::Didrik didn’t know what secrets Renos was keeping, or what had nem so troubled, but he feared he had chosen the wrong exercise. It was clear to him that the captain was dealing with a deep, existential trauma, that had probably become so deeply a part of nem that simply trying to look through it was not the most helpful of suggestions.:: Stennes: I think to even consider looking your fear in the eye is an act of remarkable courage. Renos: In my head I know this to be true but right now I do not feel it in my heart. Stennes: Fear of betrayal is not uncommon. Especially if someone has experienced it in the past. Betrayal carries with it intense emotions–guilt, embarrassment, vengefulness–the loss of trust is difficult to live with. ::Ne considered his words and his approach. It was reassuring to know that the counselor did not expect nem to suddenly put these concerns aside, like some miraculous breakthrough would make nir fears, anxieties and bad memories vanish. Like ne would transform into a well balanced, well rounded individual who’d suddenly had a mental revolution. These problems ne faced had created deep rooted rust issues that had cost nem many friendships and prevented nem from forming even more still. It led to a sense of loneliness and isolation. If ne was an island then the borders were closed and very well protected. To date only one person had managed to slip ashore and things between them were not all sunshine and smiles.:: Renos: I’m glad you didn’t tell me I need to ‘get over it’. Stennes: I don’t like to use the phrase “getting over” something. I feel like it implies something that isn’t entirely true. Our pasts never really go away, we just get better at dealing with them. Hopefully. ::Without a desk or a PADD and stylus to hide behind or busy his hands, Didrik himself felt vulnerable sitting across from Renos, who seemed so troubled. Didrik didn’t know the extent of nir problems, but having lived through his own extended period of inner turmoil, which had only recently settled through disquiet and into calm, he felt for what the captain was going through inside nir own mind.:: Stennes: Enough breakthroughs for one day, yes? We still have some time left in this session, but I don’t want to put you through anything further if you’re not up to it. ::Was ne up to it? Part of nem wanted to press on and vanquish the foe inside. Ne wasn’t afraid of hard self-assessment and did not want to be seen as a coward for wanting to call it a day. A large part of nem did want to call it a day, to say ‘good effort’ and lie down somewhere dark and quiet, pushing away the demons back into their dark places to still nir mind again. To restore the barriers ne had spent years erecting and maintaining.:: Renos: The greater question perhaps is whether anything useful could be gained within the time that is remaining. That was an in-depth and time consuming exercise, do we have time to start over? :: Did ne want to feel the pressing need to ‘have a breakthrough’ in whatever time remains so ne could feel ne have not wasted the counselor’s time? No.:: Stennes: You’re right. We can re-engage in that exercise again in the future. If you like we can continue with a more traditional framework. Or we can leave things here, and you can take the rest of the session to reflect privately. Renos: I think it would be best to leave things here. Thank you for your time. ::There was a tinge of regret in nir voice for ne felt disappointed and as though no progress had been made here today. Ne had recognised nir fears and been unable to face them. Ne was spineless. A coward. Ne stood up, nir body language transmitting false pride and confidence. Ne wore a mask well, as ne always did, not wanting to admit nir true feelings to anyone.:: ::Didrik hoped Renos didn’t feel like the entire session was for nought just because they uncovered some turbulence. He admired Renos for nir openness and willingness to plunge deep into the vastness of nir own fear, his own mistrust. Having sat for an extended period, Didrik slowly stood back up, hearing his joints crack and pop as he straightened himself.:: Stennes: Thank you for yours, Captain. Fleet Captain Renos - Commanding Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A * Executive Council & Captain's Council Member * Cadet Steward A238805EB0 and Lt Cmdr Didrik Stennes Counselor & Second Officer USS Darwin NCC-99312-A Justin D238804DS0 FNS Assistant Facilitator “Night, field of stars above us, I pick one and name it for you, and all who are to come.”
  25. ((Planet PR-652, Valley of the Core)) Jorey: Well we won't know what's inside Pandora's box until we don't open it? ::Pandora’s box was a term that Merrick had heard often enough during his science studies, as certain experiments and avenues of investigations were described with that phrase. In classical Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on Earth, created out earth and water. She was endowed by the mythical gods with beauty, musical ability, and speech and she was supposedly given a box or jar that upon being opened released death and many other evils into the world leaving only hope behind:: R'Ven: ::a small smile traced itself across his Rodulan features momentarily:: If memory serves, very little good came from opening that box. ::wiping his hands on his pants after he placed his scanner in his pack.:: And I am sure we could have found and easier to open this door. Jorey: ::Smirking.:: It's not the most efficient method, but it's mostly silent and a little fun to get your hands dirty. ::As Merrick helped Jorey brush more of the dirt and debris separating them from the interior of this section of the ship he looked over at Jorey and for a it seemed as if the Commander were hearing something from the other side . . . and for a moment Merrick thought he could hear it too. It sounded strange. Like one voice and many, but also jumbled as if he were hearing a conversation and snatches of words. It was all too mumbled to make it out.:: R’Ven: oO Could it be more of the Nanoprobes? Oo ::Retrieving his TriPadd Merrick tried to scan the interior but so far he was not getting a clear reading, but something was obviously there. Then Commander Jorey signaled.:: Jorey: There is something strange on the other side. Get it opened and take cover behind the open door. I'll hide out on the other side of the doorway. ::Looking at the door and then back at Jorey Merrick nodded as he got to the left of the door. With his right hand he held his TriPadd and with the left he reached out to engage the opening mechanism of the door. Even as he heard the door begin to slide open Merrick could not help wondering if this can be likened to Pandora ’s Box, were they now releasing the evils . . . or the hope? ::As the door opened completely there was an unusual sound coming from inside and was getting closer, it sounded to Merrick like a discordant buzzing noise, although that did not properly describe it.:: Jorey: Any idea what that is? R'Ven: ::glancing at his scanner and nodding:: Yes, it is . . . ::Merrick’s words were taken as a metallic cloud seemed to boil out of the doorway. It looked like a swarm of some sort of miniscule insect. Only the insect was so small that the swarm looked like smoke as it billowed and turned and spun! And it was almost as if Merrick could hear the cloud . . or at least he thought he could.:: R’Ven: oO FREEDOM!! Oo :: It took some time to realize that what he was ‘hearing’ was not through his ears but inside his own head, and it echoed like a klaxon in his mind!:: R’Ven: oO What was that? If there is something to be felt perhaps I can reach out to them? Oo ::Very carefully Merrick reached out with his mind, tentatively trying to touch whatever sentience was there . . . if there was any. What Merrick was unaware of was that while some of the cloud rose skyward a tendril had reached out for him . . . :: ((Inside Merrick’s head)) ::Merrick suddenly found himself standing in a vast open field. In each direction he turned there were only miles and miles of lush green grass and rolling hills stretching out as far as his eye could see. He could feel warmth shining down on him and looking upwards he saw a sky of the clearest crystal blue, the color was only broken by the sun beaming warmly down onto his dark skin. As Merrick looked around again figures start to appear of various races, some of them human, others Vulcan one even a Rodulan who is immediately familiar.:: ‘Arlisa R'Ven’: ::smiling:: You have freed us! R’Ven: Mother? ::Even as Merrick spoke, something was telling him that that was not his the Rodulan who had help to raise him.:: ‘Arlisa R'Ven’: ::a sad frown:: We are not your mother. ::The voice sounded strange, it was his mother’s voice, and yet wrong in some way he could not define. :: R’Ven: ::getting his barings:: You are the Borg then? ‘Kali Nicholotti’: We are not the Borg ::This voice came from his left side this time startling him and he jerked his to look at his old captain from the Apollo, a human woman of Japanese decent. She sounded almost angry, defiant!:: oO Why is she here? And where is mother? Oo ::As Merrick looked around his mother was gone, replaced by what seemed to be an endless sea of people.:: ::Turning back to speak to Nicholotti she was gone too now and he began to spin in place as different people moved around him, and yet all of them seemed . . familiar?:: R’Ven: ::sounding a trifle panicked:: Then who are you?! ‘Isabel Pond’: ::from behind him:: It's injured ::As Merrick paused to look at Pond he felt a coolness at his lip. Reaching up with a finger and pulled it back: Blood.:: oO I am bleeding? How? What is happening here? Oo ::As he looked back up at Pond Merrick thought he saw compassion on her face before she disappeared into the crowd of people that surrounded him.:: R’Ven: You are in my head! ::The realization hit him like a sledgehammer! Everyone he saw in the crowd is someone that he had met somewhere in his life. Family, shipmates, people he had not seen since his academy days.:: You are all memories. That is how you are communicating through my memories! ‘Maxwell Traenor’: We will not be silenced! R’Ven: Yes, but who would want to silence you. ::He thought he knew the answer to this one:: ‘Luna Walker’: ::The half Romulan engineer Merrick knew from the Apollo:: The Borg wish to recover us to take away our voice ::Merrick’s head was starting to pound as he fell to his knees, his strength failing suddenly. Telepathy always caused him pain, and now here he was pushing it harder than he ever dared. And he was paying the price.:: R’Ven: We want only to help you! ::He thought he heard a desperate edge to his voice. Maybe he was more injured then he knew.:: ‘Varaan’: Its communication apparatus is destabilizing ‘Graeme Cook’: We see it. It was not designed for this. It is damaged. ::Was that pity Merrick saw in [...] Cook’s eyes . . sadness:: ‘Renos’: Fix it R’Ven: oO What? Fix what? I have . . Oo ‘Vanik R’Ven’: You shall be free! R’Ven: Father . . . ::In a burst of humor Merrick realized they saw his telepathy as a form of communication much like a subspace transmission.:: oO Can they fix it something they do not understand? Oo ::Of course the tall dark eyed Rodulan standing above him was not his father, but he still felt a sense of comfort and compassion nonetheless. The question was, was that from his own memories or was it coming from them . . the nanoprobes who were ‘Not the Borg’:: ::Merrick’s world went black.:: ((Back in the real world)) ::Merrick found himself laying on his back once again, while above him the last of the billowing cloud of nanoprobes moved swiftly upward! He was alone again in his thoughts and for a long moment all Merrick could feel was a sense of profound loneliness and loss.:: Jorey: **unanswered tag** ::Strength was slowly returning to Merrick. Reaching up to his nose with his index finger, he pulled it back and found dried blood. He wiped it away:: R’Ven: I feel fine. ::Truth be told he did feel fine. He was tired and he felt like he needed to eat a very large meal, but he felt fine. Even his headache was gone. As he came to his feet Merrick glanced around, not quite sure how he felt when instead of a green field and blue sky he saw only a debris strewn area and a doorway leading into towards the Central Plexus.:: Jorey: **unanswered tag** R’Ven: I . . . I do not know what happened. I felt a . . . sentience there, it seemed almost call to me and I reached for it and . . . ::Merrick’s words were cut off by the chirp of an opening comline and then Varaan’s voice.:: Varaan: ::tapping his combadge:: =^=Varaan to Jorey and R'Ven. Doctor Cook and I are on the ridge roughly 20 meters from the wreckage. Can you communicate?=^= Jorey: =/\= I'm always ready for a little tittle-tattle, Commander. =/\= ::He turned to Merrick and whispered.:: You okay? ::As the call came in Merrick glanced at Jorey and then after a moment exhaled slowly and evenly as he realized that the voice was Varaan’s this time, not something else.:: R’Ven: ::nodding:: They must have completed their recovery of the Borg and are ready to join us? ::Merrick reached down to pick up his pack again and his TriPadd.:: I am fine, really. Jorey: ::Brayden holstered his weapon.:: What do we have, Lieutenant? =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= LIEUTENANT MERRICK R'VEN Science Officer =/\= Cybernetics Officer USS Darwin-A =/\= ID: A239210MR0 “Clarity of thought and accuracy of conjecture.” =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
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