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Jo Marshall

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About Jo Marshall

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    Member of the USS Fastfingers
  • Birthday 08/22/1987

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  1. ((Temporary Officer's Quarters, USS Gorkon - Grace's quarters - Four days post mission, En route to Earth)) ::Grace had only seen Millis out a few minutes before when the door chime went off again.:: Freeman: Who is it? Bancroft: It's... me. ::Grace leapt to her feet from the comfy chair and the book she'd gone back to reading went flying from her lap. She quickly hid the bottle that Millis had left in her recently replicated go-bag, which now contained all of her armor, zipping it so it was covered, and then moved to the door.:: Freeman: Door open. ::The door swished open to reveal Colleen, hands twisted in front of her and looking like she was about to turn and run away. The two stared at each other for several seconds, Colleen's hands pausing, and then Grace sighed and stepped back.:: Freeman: Well come in. ::Colleen did, entering the room and letting the door whisk closed behind her. She stayed just outside of its sensor range as if she was still considering turning around and leaving, her nerves jangling. Grace walked back over to the chair and sat down in it, legs curled under her, retrieving the book and setting it on the table as she did. They watched each other, silently, for a solid thirty seconds, before Colleen walked over to one of the chairs at the table and flipped it around, sitting backwards on it and leaning against the backrest. Grace continued to watch silently for several more moments before speaking, her voice quiet and full of too many emotions.:: Freeman: So...? Bancroft: ::Suddenly:: I shouldn't have come. ::She jumped to her feet and headed for the door, definitely not sure of what she'd wanted now — sure, she'd sort of known on her way here, but apparently it'd all been washed away when she walked through the door.:: Freeman: ::Quietly:: Don't go. ::She stopped, still turned away from her ex.:: Freeman: Please, stay, sit. ::Colleen stayed standing for several seconds, swaying slightly like she was about to bolt out the door, but with an effort, she turned around and headed back to the chair, resuming her position.:: Freeman: I... I'm sorry. Bancroft: For what? Freeman: For everything. Bancroft: ::With a brief, hollow bark of laughter and leaning back slightly:: Define everything. ::Grace half glared at Colleen, wishing the other woman would just give her a bit of a break, while Colleen's mood turned towards anger. She wasn't sure what she'd been expecting here, but it wasn't living up to her (admittedly irrational) expectations.:: Freeman: For breaking up with you so suddenly. For not telling you my plans. For how we met on that planet. For... for everything, dammit. It wasn't my intention to hurt you, but things happened so fast back then, and then the other day... ::She threw her hands out to the side in a helpless gesture.:: ::Colleen stared quietly at Grace for a few moments before responding.:: Bancroft: You left me, completely out of the blue, and then just dropped off the radar. Disappeared. I tried to contact you, Grace. Freeman: I know, I know! And I wish I could have responded. I'm sorry. I was under orders. I've been under a communications blackout with the rest of the universe for the past year something. ::Colleen made as if she was going to throw something at Grace, but there was nothing to throw.:: Bancroft: ::Voice gaining in volume:: You interrupted me. You were my partner and my best damn friend, and you up and disappeared. I understand that communications blackouts are a thing, but for an entire year? ::Almost yelling at this point:: That's absurd! Surely you could've messaged me, at least — at least once! We were engaged, for fraks sake! ::Grace shook her head, short and sharp, and her next words came out like steel.:: Freeman: No. I couldn't have. ::Voice softening once more:: It's been a really... really long year. ::Colleen looked hard at Grace as she spoke the last sentence, and noticed just how deep the crease lines on her ex's face were, how much her eyes had changed — almost as if storms had taken up residence in them — and then there was the matter of the scars. Four, easily countable from three meters away, and that was just on the face and right arm. Two more on the left arm with slightly more looking. Grace had changed in the time since they'd graduated the Academy.:: Bancroft: ::Much quieter:: What happened out there? Freeman: A... a lot. ::They sat in silence for several minutes, then Colleen slowly stood and walked to the couch, sitting down on it so she was facing its other end. Grace watched her sit down before moving to the couch herself, leaning against the opposite end so she was facing her old girlfriend. She moved one foot to touch Colleen's leg, hesitantly, but Colleen didn't push it away, to both of their surprises.:: Freeman: You know... how Starfleet is supposed to be peaceful? I mean, Dominion war and a few others excepted, but Starfleet is supposed to be for exploration, right? ::Colleen nodded, staying quiet. It seemed like Grace was finally starting to open up, and she didn't want to interrupt that.:: Freeman: Well... yeah. Part of Starfleet does that, anyway. Most of it. Then there's us... the Rangers. We're for when the peaceful solution doesn't work. For when the enemy thinks sideways, and most of Starfleet doesn't want to think that way. ::Opening her mouth to protest, Colleen stopped and thought better of it.:: I was recruited to join the Rangers in our third year at the Academy. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, weighing my options. There was a lot of... stuff there, a lot of... ::She circled her hands through the air, as if trying to spin the words out:: Stuff. They told me I was a perfect fit for the Rangers, aptitude tests, etc. Didn't even know I'd been through any of those. So they told me what it'd be like, and it sounded like fun? Like a challenge? A bigger challenge than I was going to face elsewhere, aboard some random starship. And they needed intelligence officers. There were only like three of us who made the cut in the end, and I was one of them. ::Grace paused here, voice quieting further as she thought about the past and tried to relay it to her old friend. A lot had happened in a short amount of time of their life, especially for her, and she was only allowed to talk about parts of it.:: Freeman: One of the first things that was... strongly suggested... to us as candidates was to make minimal personal ties. To cut those we could. Being a Ranger is a dangerous job, and you never know what's going to happen out there. I guess the reasoning is that the less ties you have, the more effective you have. The less distracted you are. So... so I threw myself into it. You weren't the only one I left in the cold, and gods, I'm so sorry... ::she trailed off for a moment before refocusing and continuing at Colleen's half-heartedly annoyed look.:: I threw myself into the training and worked at it, so hard. They didn't give us any time off. From the time I said yes to the time we hit the field, there were no more breaks. Each semester, we trained while we weren't in class. Between semesters, we trained from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed. Barely stopped to eat. And oh, was it hard training. I spent a lot of time burying all the old memories, including... well... us. ::Here, she had to pause again. She could say even less about what happened after training, and she had to keep her head straight.:: Freeman: It was mission after mission. No real downtime. Always on our feet. I barely sleep anymore, and if I do, it's only a few hours a night. Still manage to stay solid though. ::A touch of pride showed through at that.:: Bancroft: Probably not something to be proud of, Grace... Freeman: Hush. ::She smiled, ever so slightly, for the first time since Colleen had entered her room.:: And it continued to be mission after mission. I think in that year, we took one shore leave? And it was cut short. Our team was run ragged. This was supposed to be our last mission for a while, so I'm hoping this shore leave actually lasts a while. ::She sighed:: What I'm about to tell you is entirely classified, and I would probably get in trouble for telling you this — but since I'm the only Intelligence officer on the ship that's active Intelligence, we're probably good — I hope. ::Colleen raised her eyebrows at her former fiancee, but didn't try to stop her from saying it. She knew she probably should, but wasn't sure she cared right then.:: Freeman: My unclassified kill count continues to sit at zero. ::She paused, taking a breath.:: In reality, it's over thirty. ::At that, Colleen's mouth dropped open. Her brain skittered over the information, trying to absorb it. This was Starfleet, and they weren't in the middle of an active war. Nobody was supposed to have an active kill count! No one! And, kill counts only counted for direct combat - most security and tactical personnel didn't even have a kill count, and that was a reluctant part of the job description.:: Bancroft: ::Flatly:: What. Freeman: Some of them were self defense. Most of them... weren't. And I had the second lowest kill count on the team. ::Well, that had definitely been too much information, but that cat was out of that bag.:: oO Bad Intel officer! Bad! Oo Bancroft: How... Freeman: Classified. Every single mission... they were all classified, so only certain people are even allowed to know that. You, ah, probably shouldn't tell anybody that you know that either. ::Grace twisted her mouth in a lopsided half-smile that only counted as a smile in pure mechanics. There was no joy behind it. The two were both quiet for a moment, and Colleen's mind continued to run in overdrive.:: Bancroft: I don't... I don't know what to say to that. Freeman: Yeah, sorry. There isn't exactly much to be said. It's just... a thing. Terrible, mind you, but a thing. Bancroft: Right... Um. ::Colleen curled into herself slightly, unconsciously pulling away from Grace, but only a bit.:: Freeman: Sorry. For that. ::She waved her hand in the air, as if trying to wipe away what she'd just revealed.:: Bancroft: I... I mean, it's part of it, but... ::There was another uncomfortable silence, like too much of the time in this conversation had been already. They both cast about as if trying to find a nicer subject to talk about. Unfortunately, between them, there wasn't much light or nice to discuss.:: ::The two women sat in silence, on the couch in Grace's quarters, both trying to find something to talk about after the bombshell Grace had dropped. Colleen seemed like she'd gone non-verbal, and so Grace finally spoke up. Freeman: I'm sorry I left you. Bancroft: ::A little bit of the anger returning to her voice:: We were engaged. Freeman: I know, Colleen. And... ::Here, Grace paused, and stood up. She paced to the bedroom, where her bag of personal effects sat, having been transferred over from the Drake that morning right before they got underway. She dug into the bag and retrieved what she needed before returning to the couch and flopping down on it once more. This time, she dug both feet under Colleen's legs, almost as if it were a subconscious reaction to being close to Colleen. She moved something around on her left hand, covering it with her right for a few moments, before sighing and holding up her left hand. On it was the engagement ring that Colleen had proposed with, and which had never been returned. Colleen's mouth dropped open slightly once more at the sight.:: Bancroft: You... you didn't get rid of it. Freeman: Nope... keep it with me. Bancroft: But... why? Freeman: ::Exasperated:: Isn't it clear? Bancroft: You either. Freeman: Me either! Of course I never bloody well got over you. ::Her German accent, so well hidden by time, slid in with the last few words, before she reigned it in.:: Wait, you either? Bancroft: Duh. ::They stared at each other for a few moments.:: Freeman: So... what? Bancroft: I don't know. I... we're in Starfleet. We don't know where we're going to be next week, much less in a year. ::When Grace spoke again, it was with just a tinge of hope in her voice.:: Freeman: Yeah, but they work to keep couples together... Bancroft: ::With her voice flat once more.:: And. You're a Ranger. Freeman: Yeah... Except... well. Um. ::She sighed.:: The 451st is being rebuilt. Despite me being the only surviving member, and despite the really bad recent history, somebody thought it was a good idea to rebuild the 451st, and then... well. Then Fleet Captain Reynolds transferred the 451st here. To the Gorkon. ::Colleen was speechless as her brain continued to try to process everything. It seemed like she'd had a hard time processing anything these last four days.:: Freeman: That's a thing. I'm gonna be here for a while. Bancroft: ... Then maybe I should request a transfer off. ::Grace was quiet for a few moments, taking in Colleen's words.:: Freeman: Oh. Bancroft: Yeah. Oh. You screwed me up, Grace, you screwed me up bad. I thought I'd finally started to get over you, but then I saw you in that cave and... everything went sideways. Again. Freeman: I... I know. I'm sorry. Bancroft: Take the damn ring off. Freeman: ::Shocked and hurt:: But... Bancroft: ::Quickly reigning herself back in:: Sorry... sorry. No. You don't have to. Just... it's such a reminder, Grace. Of what happened. And of the pain. Freeman: ::Very quietly:: Do you want it back? Bancroft: No. ::Colleen shook her head, almost violently, while Grace covered her left hand with her right, almost as if trying to protect herself. She pulled her legs back, to her chest, no longer touching Colleen.:: Freeman: ... Oh... Bancroft: I never got over you. Okay? And now you're here and I'm just... all turned around. Freeman: That's... understandable. I'm sorry... Bancroft: Quit! Quit apologizing. Freeman: I— hmph. ::And then the silence descended once more, like a hawk swooping in for the catch. Neither was comfortable with the other, but neither wanted the other to go away now. Emotions that hadn't seen the light of day for almost two years were rearing their ugly heads, and the bonds that each had thought were finally broken were mending, even against their will. When they spoke again, it was quiet but still clear over the rumble of the ship's drives pushing them through the slipstream.:: Freeman: So... what now? Bancroft: I don't know, Grace. I just... don't know. Freeman: Well, I know we're on our way to Earth, and there's a bunch of bars near the Academy... and I haven't gotten good and smashed in a long while... Bancroft: A bar doesn't count as a date. ::Realizing what she said, Colleen clapped a hand over her mouth then swore a few times.:: Freeman: ::Wryly:: Well, now that I know where your mind is at... Bancroft: ::Blushing hard:: I still... I need time! Give me a few days, okay? I'll... I'll contact you. And we'll see about a drink. And... ::Colleen stood up, abruptly, and moved swiftly to the door.:: Bancroft: And we'll talk then. I'll see you later, Grace. ::And with that, she was gone, leaving Grace to watch the doors woosh silently closed behind Colleen's back.:: -- (PNPC) Ensign Grace Freeman Weapons and Intelligence Specialist 451st Rangers Platoon USS Gorkon (Simmed by) And >\/< Ensign Colleen Bancroft Security and Tactical Officer USS Gorkon G239404CB0
  2. round 14 Ensign Colleen Bancroft - Alone

    ((Temtibi Resort Beach, Risa))Bancroft: Hey boss, can I get a beer please?Millis: Got a nice ale. ::He turned back to the bar for a moment before returning and handing over a bottle.::Nkai: Make that two!Bancroft: Thanks.::She took the beer that was set on the counter.::Bancroft: Hey, I'll see you all later. Jayla, thanks for the race.Soyinka: Sure thing! Enjoy your evening!Millis: Welcome to the Gorkon.Nkai: Come back soon!Marshall: Look me up tomorrow!::She raised her drink to them all, took a sip, and set off in search of a quiet spot by the water. After a moment, she changed course and made a quick detour back to her hotel room to grab her personal PADD before heading back outside to resume her search of a quiet spot by the water.::::It was an absolutely beautiful evening. Colors shot across the sky above her in an amazing display of reds, pinks, purples, blues. A basically perfect evening. Close to the water, a bonfire was being lit, to which Colleen smiled - she'd always loved fire. She wandered quietly towards the water, towards a spot that was away from the majority of the people. After a few minutes of quiet wandering, occasionally sipping from the ale in her hand - it was decent, Millis was good at this - she was close to the water, and began walking a parallel path to the shore, towards a cloister of trees in the near distance.::oO When was the last time I was on a beach? Two? Three years? Not since her. Oo::Despite the relaxing nature of the drinking, it was also wearing on her depressive side.::oO Go figure. Oo ::The thought shot wryly through her head. She snorted softly. Eventually, her wandering led her to the stand of trees, and she sat down at the one closest to the water, leaning back against it. She slipped off her shoes, setting them aside, and dug her toes into the sand for a moment before removing them, stretching her legs, and letting the water lap at her feet.::oO A good tree. Blocks most of the noise from the crowd, gives a little privacy while not entirely blocking everything out. A very good tree indeed. Oo::Colleen took a sip of the ale again before digging the bottle into the sand beside her, where she wouldn't knock it over easily. The water was soothing in its sloshing, and reminded her of camping trips with her parents, when she had been a lot younger. And, of more recent camping trips.::oO Ah, Grace. Where'd it go wrong? Oo((Flashback - Campground, California Coast, Earth - c. Early 2390))::Colleen grinned as Grace Freeman flopped into the sand beside her before coming back up sputtering.::Freeman: Crap! Sand. Mouth. Bad combination.Bancroft: You dork. How did you not see that one coming?::Grace lightly punched Colleen's arm, managing to land it right over the birthmark - again. She always managed to.::Freeman: You know you love me.Bancroft: Well duh. ::She paused.:: You're still a dork.::Grace rolled her eyes.::Freeman: So you decided to take on a minor, on top of your dual major? I never figured you'd be that much of an overachiever.Bancroft: In my defense, it's only like... three or four extra classes. And I'm still going to have room left to spare in my schedule.Freeman: Colleen, you're turning into a workaholic.::Colleen snorted and lightly punched Grace's arm in return.::Bancroft: But not too much to push you out of my life. ::She leaned over and kissed Grace's cheek.:: I love you.Freeman: ::A moment's hesitation.:: I love you too, Col.((End Flashback))::Colleen surfaced from the memory to feel a couple tears rolling down her cheeks. Silently cursing, she wiped the tears away.::oO I'm strong. Grace is old news. Get yourself together, girl. Oo::With another small snort and an eye roll, Colleen took a large swig from the ale. Half the bottle was gone now.::oO Have to slow down or I'll be going right back to that bar to get another, too soon. Oo::The memory had been from January or February, middle of the first semester that year. She and Grace had taken one of the few long weekends during the Academy to go camping. Despite it being plenty warm out, there hadn't been that many people at the campground that time of year, a fact for which she remembered being thankful for. The whole trip had been like a break from reality, a time when the other worries, the future plans, the problems, had simply... not existed.::::It hadn't been eight months after that trip when Grace had broken up with her. Colleen still wasn't sure why the other woman had left, but it still hurt.::::With active determination, Colleen put her PADD into her lap and pulled up her messages. A couple random blast messages from Starfleet, a message from one of her old classmates from CAP-A, and a message from Ensign Hannah Ramsey. Smiling at the last one, she pulled it up, read it through, read it through again, then pulled up the reply function.:: >\/< Ensign Colleen Bancroft Security and Tactical Officer USS Gorkon G239404CB0
  3. ((Temtibi Lagoon Resort, Risa)) ::Stars were beginning to peek through the darkening sky, while one of Risa's two moons crept above the horizon. The beach party was beginning its transition from family fun to wild night out, and the bonfire in the centre had been coaxed into life. The scent of grilled food was creeping through the air, enough to tempt even her dampened appetite. ::Her attention drifted from the antics in front of her, out towards the sea. It was as though there was a lead weight attached to her mood, dragging her down despite the buoyancy of the party around her. The healing wounds scattered across her middle were crossing the line from aches to pains, and it was increasingly hard to steer her mind away from the events that had left her with them. ::It would be easier if she could be angry at the two men who'd tried to murder her. But how could she? They were hardly wrong for hating her -- she *had* killed Væbn's brother, and Volkov's son *had* died because of her orders. Brunsig: A word. ::She startled, so lost in her own thoughts she hadn't noticed his approach. Tall and broad, with a short crop of white-blond hair and startling blue eyes, Walter Brunsig was usually hard to miss.:: Reynolds: Now? Brunsig: Well gee, Cupcake, only if there's a gap in your busy schedule of staring vacantly into the middle distance. Shall I wait here while you check your diary? ::He scowled at her, and she replied with a roll of her eyes and a heavy sigh. How often had they danced this dance? She'd lost track over the years, but there was odd kind of comfort in its familiarity. ::Lifting her hand, she gestured for him to lead on. He peeled away, at a gentler pace than his usual, which allowed her to walk alongside him without any difficulty as they put some distance between themselves and the party. It was particularly appreciated, given how sore her midriff still was. Perhaps that was why he was taking it easy.:: Brunsig: Spit it out. ::But not too easy.:: Reynolds: What are you talking about? ::He scowled at her again. Maybe he thought she was being deliberately obtuse, but she had genuinely no idea what he was talking about.:: Brunsig: You look like hell, Quinn, and I'm not talking about the fact you checked out of sickbay before you should've done. ::Their footfalls were soft on the white sands as they walked, her feet clad in sandals, his in a pair of tan espadrilles. The beach was quiet at this time of day, the setting sun sending revellers toward Risa's many restaurants, bars and clubs, and so the empty sands afforded the two some privacy.:: Reynolds: I've had a long day, that's all. Brunsig: Orrey? ::How did he know? He must have seen them talking earlier. She nodded, slow and thoughtful, her gaze on the sand in front of her. Whatever else there was to be said about him, Walter Brunsig could keep a confidence.:: Reynolds: He's sick. ::She paused.:: Dying. The doctors don't think he'll see next year. ::A long silence followed. The only sounds that of the nearby sea, lapping gently against the golden shores, and the muted music of Millis' party in the distance. There was a gentle breeze, cool but not cold, and Walter's loose, light blue shirt fluttered in its grasp.:: Brunsig: You sure can pick 'em, Cupcake. ::::He shook his head in a show of vague despair, while her answer was a weak ghost of a smile, gone as quickly as it appeared. He wasn't wrong. She really did seem to have knack for picking broken men to grow fond of: Tildaen, Pedro, Alleran, Kael, Harry... ::And of course, there was Walter himself.:: Reynolds: What would you do? If you knew you had just a few months left? Brunsig: Get drunk and stay drunk. ::An answer that would surprise no one who knew him. That was to say, as much as Walter allowed anyone to know him.:: Brunsig: You wouldn't? Reynolds: ::She shook her head.:: I have my kids to think of. And I don't drink anymore. Brunsig: You're going to tell me that story some day. Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: Some day. ::Maybe. She wasn't sure how to tell the tale. Least of all to him, who was unknowingly at the centre of it. Perhaps that particular story was best kept between the counsellor and herself.:: Brunsig: When are you shipping him home? Reynolds: He wants to keep working until he can't anymore. We're probably already at that point, but… ::she shook her head.:: I've given him one more mission. ::She shot him a sidelong glance, anticipating his response.:: I know, I know; that's one mission too many, he should already be at home with his family, he should already be under the care of specialist doctors, he's-- Brunsig: --being indulged by a commanding officer who should know better. ::He had her there, and she heaved a heavy sigh of defeat.:: Reynolds: Yeah. Brunsig: Then why are you doing it? Reynolds: Because… ::She looked down at the sand, a guilty frown pulling at her brow.:: I can't decide if I want him home for his own good, or for mine. I don't want to watch another friend die. ::Ever since Jansen had told her about his condition, she'd often found herself remembering Alleran. The Trill had been betrayed by his own body, unable to sustain the connection between host and symbiont. She sat with him through his final days, watching him fade away, holding his hand until he'd passed. The idea of living through that again with Jansen was terrifying.:: Brunsig: We're all cowards when it comes to that kind of crap. Reynolds: Thanks. ::She paused, squinting at him.:: I think? ::He answered with a non-committal grunt, and they were both content to leave it at that. They walked together in an almost comfortable silence, though she found herself increasingly distracted by his physical presence at her side. ::A bright flash of light and a thundering crack sent her heart hammering against the inside of her chest. She whipped around, trying to locate the source of the explosion, stilled only by a warm hand on her shoulder and the sound of his voice.:: Brunsig: Quinn. ::He jerked his head up, toward the sky. She followed the gesture, her heartbeat as loud in her ears as the colourful fireworks booming and crackling overhead.:: Reynolds: Oh. ::She cleared her throat, cheeks beginning to burn, embarrassed at her own panic. Her heart was still hammering inside her chest, and she was mortified to find that she was shaking a little. Walter gave her long look, his hand sliding off her shoulder.:: Reynolds: I'm fine. ::She paused.:: I will be. I'm just… a little jumpy. Brunsig: A little. Reynolds: I'm fine. ::It didn't sound any more believable the second time around, and the look on his face said exactly that.:: Brunsig: You'd better be making your counsellor earn her paycheck. ::It was also her turn to scowl. She was, but that was hardly the point. Walter was every bit as bad as she was when it came to counsellors. Both of them had spent far too much of their lives avoiding the help the profession could offer, rather than embracing it.:: Reynolds: Pot, kettle..? ::His grin was a flash of lightning; electric, sudden and brilliant. It changed his face and she found herself smiling back, her fears ebbing. He held her gaze for a moment, and then the smile fell away, turning away as an expression much harder to identify crossed his face. His eyes settled on the flickering lights at the far end of the beach, providing a convenient subject to change to.:: Brunsig: So is there booze at this party? ::She almost laughed. In light of who organised it -- and the fact the Gorkon was a dry ship -- it was a foregone conclusion.:: Reynolds: Well, it's Millis' brainchild, so short of a dramatic personality change on his part… yes? ::That was all the answer that was needed, and he turned back to retrace his steps, Quinn falling in alongside. She could see their footsteps trailing away, and some had already been washed away by the encroaching tide. Would that the past could so easily be cleansed, and regrets so easily made right.:: -- Fleet Captain Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
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