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  1. Sneaky spy stuff is always fun to write with @Serala (( Government Sector, Keibrom, Tibro )) Jemmar began to put the suit on as the Trill man turned around and seemed to keep watch. Once done - and he had to admit the guy had done a decent job at figuring his size - he tapped the man on the shoulder to indicate he could turn around. Then he spread his arms as if to say, “Well, whatcha think?” Instead, he was handed a small device, an emitter of some kind. Pex: Activate this. It will change your appearance and voice making you seem slightly younger. Darven: :: chuckling slightly :: Slightly younger for me is still old. Still, pretty nifty. And my, how Federation technology has improved since I left. Some sort of portable holoemitter, I would imagine, no? Pex: Well, it is my job and apparently the obligation that I have to help you. I am not sure as to why, but an order is an order no matter who or where it comes from. Darven: Well, I’m sure all this skulduggery is new for you. SFI doesn’t really engage in that much anymore, but back in my day, covert ops were pretty common. The remark would have been true for most, but not Tenai. If the older man knew his true past then he would probably regard Tenai in a different light. That was not something Tenai needed nor did he want to explain his past to the man. Pex: Depending on the situation they are still used, but most commanding officers are not fond of them due to the somewhat shady results they can bring forth. Darven: Hmm. Well I have been out of touch for a while, so I’m sure you would know better than me. Jemmar clicked on the device and clipped it on his belt underneath the jacket of the suit. He couldn’t see his face, but he did notice that his hands had less wrinkles than before. Darven: So, what’s our next step, Spots? The nickname was curious and Tenai wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but he would leave the comment alone. Pex: Well, do you think you can act like a Starfleet officer again? Darven: Do I think…? :: chuckles :: Young man, I never really stopped being a Starfleet officer, even after my forced retirement. When you do it as long as I did, there’s some things you just don’t forget. They become habit. Yes, I think I can manage it. Jemmar was curious, though, as to why the Trill man had brought a suit rather than a uniform, but figured he knew what he was doing, so he left the question unanswered for now. Pex: Well, it’s good to know that you have a sure mind of yourself, but do not question any of what I do if you want to get through this alive even if you think it is a mistake. Do you understand? Darven: I got you, son. Don’t worry. I reached out to you for help. It would be quite ungrateful of me to try and tell you how to render that aid. He nodded. It was nice to know that the man would do what he asked especially considering his plan was a bit on the crazy side. He pulled out a comm badge and handed it to the man of whom he was starting to enjoy the company of. As his job left him secluded it was nice to have someone to talk too. Pex: I’m sure you recognize this. Pin it to the suit and we shall begin the journey. Darven: Aye, cap’n. :: grinning in good humor as he pinned the comm badge to his suit :: After you. As the Trill man began to lead the way, Jemmar fell inside next to him. Normally, when on a mission, Jemmar was quiet unless need required him to speak, but he had been away for so long he felt the need to get some news, starting with why their ship was here, in Valcarian space. Darven: So, not that I’m complaining, mind you, but I was wonderin’ why you folks decided to pay a visit here. Pex: Well, I really don’t know. The Captain didn’t seem to provide me that information. I am a lowly Ensign who hasn’t really been considered to be privy of the full reasoning. I know we came for a celebration, but I’m sure there is more to it than that. Have you heard any scuttlebutt of things going? Darven: :: again that knowing chuckle :: Oh, down in the slums one hears all manner of scuttlebutt, Spots. Some of it’s true, some ain’t. Takes a keen ear to hear the difference. Like, for instance, did you know them Romulans is back? Pex: :: A slight nod. :: I did see that as I was heading down to the surface of the planet. I am unsure as to their reasoning of being here, but from what I saw they had only a scout ship; however, I am uneasy that there could be a D’Deridex looming in the darkness. The thought of that made his stomach churn. He had fought those ships before and it was never a fun experience, but the Scimitar was worse. Dios he hoped they didn’t have one of those. That news took Jemmar by surprise, to be certain, and he had no doubt it had shown on his face. He was skilled in maintaining his poise even under shocks like that, but he had let his guard down a bit with this Trill. Darven: I didn’t know they had a ship here. I was referrin’ to the Tal Shiar. I seen one of them the other day having a secret, clandestine meeting with a hooded Valcarian. The Valc gave the Romy a data crystal. Don’t know what was on it, but the Romy seemed pleased to receive it. The news was not what he was expecting. This could be an issue though he wasn’t sure as to the mission it seemed like that happened before the Romulans arrived in the atmosphere according to the man’s crude timeline. Pex: Ok, well I am not sure about that, but I feel like that could be a true issue in the end. Let’s double-time it back to the shuttle. Are you up to quickening the pace? Darven: Heh, I may be old, but I’m not dead. You have to stay in shape in these places if you want to stay alive. Let’s go. But, what about the quarantine checkpoints? How are we going to get around those? Jemmar took off at a quickened pace. A jog would attract too much attention, but his current pace would get them there more quickly without attracting undue attention. Pex: I meant no offense by asking if you were ok. As to the checkpoints no need to worry, as Starfleet I can get through, but getting back to the ship could be an issue due to the ridiculous transporter interference here. I have a shuttle, but I’m not sure if we can get off the planet with it. Pex had looked at the wristpadd he had looking at the conditions of the planet and things seemed to be deteriorating quickly. The planet seemed to be completely locked down and Pex needed to get back to the Atlantis. Jemmar glanced over at the younger man. He seemed worried. Jemmar wasn’t exactly sure why. Could be the quarantine in general, the heightened security making his task nearly impossible at the moment, or something else. Concern, maybe? Concern for his fellow crewmates? That seemed logical. Jemmar had a family once. If they had been here now, he would be worried sick about them. No doubt this man was facing similar concerns. He might even have a significant other here. Darven: Then we might still need to find a place to lay low until things settle down. Heck, we might even be able to just wait inside that shuttle until the whole situation blows over. So, what else has you worried there, youngster? The quarantine itself? Pex: Well, I know that multiple teams off the ship have been sent to different areas of the planet and they could be part of what made the quarantine happen. Well, let's head for the shuttle there is something waiting there for you anyways. We are almost there. Once there we can chat more. If that’s ok? Darven: Sounds good to me. But next time, you can just tell me to shut up. I don’t mind. :: he smiled to show he was just kidding with him :: Tenai nodded and led the way down the many streets that could confuse anyone though thankfully due to Tenai’s former life he had a good memory. The streets were full and some blocked so no one could get past. All of them heading for the checkpoints that were causing a ridiculous inconvenience. Pex got them through with some smooth negotiating and talking before they were in the safety of the shuttle. Jemmar was pleased to note the efficiency of the Ensign. He managed to smoothly talk them past the checkpoints and in short order they were at the Starfleet shuttle. He had never seen this model before, but that wasn’t so surprising considering how long he had been gone. He wondered if he would make it back to Earth and whether his family was still there or not. (( Shuttle Elysium, Landing Pad 6, Keibrom, Tibro )) The inside of the shuttle seemed quite luxuriant to him. Hanging on the aft wall was a plaque dedicated to the memories of several people. He wondered what the story was there. Aside from the Trill and himself, the shuttle seemed empty, though it was capable of holding about a dozen people including the two crew positions and ten passenger seats. Darven: :: letting out a low whistle of appreciation :: This is nice, Ensign. Can’t wait to see what else you guys have developed while I was gone. Pex: Glad you like it. It should make hiding out a little easier; however, it won’t matter once you get on the ship. He pulled a PADD out of the storage area and passed it to the man. This was the culmination of his plan and it took many hours digging through databases and covering the tracks of what he did. Darven: What’s this? Jemmar took the PADD and read through it. It was ambitious, but it just might work. Pex: Well this is your new life. Welcome back to Starfleet and the Federation Lieutenant Eugine Hull. It has been a while from what I can see. I think it’s time you come back after years of spying. :: Tenai grinned. :: Tenai handed the man a Federation uniform with the two pips to show the rank of the man. Jemmar was impressed, though the Ensign was slightly off. He hadn’t been spying, although he had picked up several good pieces of intel. No, hiding was the better word. But hiding was no good if one got dead anyway. If he had to be Lieutenant Eugine Hull, then that’s who he’d be. It wasn’t the first time he’d had to assume a new identity. Besides, officially, he was dead anyway. Darven: :: smiling :: Thank you, Ensign. This means a lot. How you going to explain all this to your Captain? The question was a good one, but the answer was not what the man would expect. According to the information on the PADD Pex had been ordered by Intelligence to come to pick up a member of Intelligence. It was scary, but his skill at his job should get him a promotion. Being a Commander at one point and going to Ensign was rough, but no one knew the truth on the ship. Pex: Leave that to me. You don’t need to worry about it! The main thing is your safe now and that’s what matters to me. Darven: I am glad to hear that. I am really looking forward to getting home. I wonder if my family will even be there, or if they’ve moved on? Wish I knew. I really regret that I had to leave them behind like I did. Pex: Sometimes doing what’s best hurts the most. I could look into our database and see if your family is still around, but that is only if you want to give me your real name. If not that’s ok I understand. I should properly introduce myself though. I am Ensign Tenai Pex, Senior Intelligence Analyst aboard the USS Atlantis. Darven: Pleasure to meet you, Tenai. And since we are safely ensconced in a Starfleet shuttle, I guess it would be okay to introduce myself. :: sticking out his hand in greeting :: My real name is Commander James Davis, Starfleet Intelligence, retired. Pex: Oh well ahem. Hello Commander. :: He said awkwardly. :: Darven: You seem surprised, Ensign. Do you know my name? Pex: Well not exactly, but I feel like you should be telling me what to do. Darven: Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve been retired for decades. Well, dead actually. But for now, let’s just go with Lieutenant Hull, shall we. I still have a number of enemies out there who, hopefully, think I am dead. It would not be good if they learned I was still alive. Pex: Your secret is safe with me Lieutenant. :: He said smiling. ::
  2. ((OOC: @Kali Nicholotti wrote a sim which displays the current turn of events aboard the Eagle, from a rather... interesting perspective. I loved reading it, and I believe it deserves a shout-out. It's not like any sim I've read before (probably due to being new), and it certainly sparked the concept of writing from such a perspective for me. Thank you!)) --- (OOC - Just a different perspective of our ringworld...) ((Ringworld)) The white puffy clouds drifted by without so much as a notice to the ground below. Untethered to any of it, the apparent lack of caring was a direct result of not being bound by gravity like so much of the other pieces of this strange worldly puzzle. Without a worry, the droplets that made up the clouds flew around, twirling and dipping in a dance only made beautiful by the end result, offering bits of on and off shade from the ever glowing sun. A gentle breeze wafted down from the mountains in the distance, lazily pushing the clouds along towards the village. A stray bird or three occasionally picked up on the current, drifting with wings outstretched to wherever the winds took it. Just like the clouds, the bird lazily moved along, not seeming to have a direction, a purpose, or any urgent needs. Here and there it gave a glance towards the ground below, wondering if it was a good time to stop in for a bite. Ultimately it kept going, drifting along in no particular direction. The vibrance of the grass was striking against the other equally vibrant colors on the ground. Even the mud next to the river was vibrant in its brown and orange hues. The water was crystal clear, save for the occasional eddy of reddish brown mud, and the varied colors of aquatic life ofset the glass-clear water as it gently flowed away from the mountains in the distance. Here and there a small splash let the universe know there was life down there, though the universe never seemed to care. Beyond that, among an overgrowth of branches and moss, a small frog hopped from rock, to branch, and back again seeking something delicious to snack on. A few bugs had passed by, short for the world in his presence, making the rock an ideal place for a rest. The cool feel of the rock was different than those in the surrounding area, which really was little consequence to the frog, but was nonetheless. Another insect passed by just then, and for a time, the frog watched it. Then, with precision only nature could replicate, the insect was gone. Had anyone been watching, they might not have even seen the long tongue of the creature dart out and catch the flying bug. A strange feeling of pin[...]s suddenly replaced the cool feeling of the rock, making it decidedly uncomfortable. Another insect flew by, but the frog was too busy trying to hop away. The feeling grew, increasing to a point that the frog could no longer take, and in a second, he hopped down to the ground below. No later than his legs left the rock, an electrical discharge from the clouds connected with the rock causing a loud bang, and a moment of searing heat. Thankfully, the frog had hopped just far enough from the rock to have to worry about being cooked, but the sound had startled him and left him in a state of shock. It only took a moment for the world around him to settle back into normalcy. If he hadn't been a frog, perhaps he would have thought about what had caused the sudden discharge of energy, or what had caused it, but as a frog he simply let instinct guide him away from what he perceived as a predator. The Frog As simmed by: -- Commander Ash MacKenna Intelligence Officer USS Eagle R238605KN0
  3. ((OOC:- Following the Tal Shiar's failed attack on Admiral Turner's yacht, several of the crew's wounded arrive at sickbay before the senior staff briefing. Originally posted as separate sims, I really like how the characters weave together, organically interacting. This is a retrospective JP with several sims stitched together, so the character perspective shifts from one to the other. Massive salute of respect to @Alieth @Quen Deena @Geoffrey Teller)) ((IC:- Embassy Sickbay, immediately post extraction from Talsion Forest shuttle crash site.)) Deena pushed her upper and lower molars against each other. She couldn’t see the tricorder screen as the nurse adjusted the placement of the clunky, blinking machine attached to her right ankle. He paused for a moment and looked over at her, clearly annoyed to no end. It was a hairline fracture, all right - he’d told her as much before giving her a dose of terakine and starting to set the bone. Rumbolt: Ya need to stay off it, Doc. Osteoregeneration’s gonna take- Quen: -one hour, I know. Deena sat up to fiddle with the controls for the protective forcefield the osteoregenerator created. If she could get it set high enough, she could actually use her right foot to walk. That was, until Rumbolt swatted her hand away. Rumbolt: oO The worst patients - every time! Oo Hey - cut it out. Quen: Ethan - I’ve been hopping around a forest working with a broken ankle for the past, oh I don’t know… two hours, say? I’ll be just fine using the mobility settings. There was, perhaps, a bit more snark than necessary in that remark. He gave up with a tired look and made a small note on the PADD with her chart. Rumbolt: Don’t fight me, Doc. I’m not in the mood. Deena waited until he moved away, then immediately adjusted the field to allow her to walk on her damaged leg. She slid off the biobed and gingerly tested her handiwork. The height difference was awkward, but workable. This would be far easier wearing boots. Trying to draw as little attention to herself as possible, Deena strolled across the room to the replicator. Quen: oO One boot - no way I’m getting anything but a sock over this thing. Eh - might as well just get in uniform while I’m at it. Oo Bundle of replicated clothing in hand, she ducked behind a screen to change as another argument unfolded nearby. Alieth: If you persist in moving disorderly, the treatment will take longer than expected. Ben looked at the doctor and forced a smile as he nodded. The Vulcan's voice was conveniently neutral, though the admonition was clear in her utterance. Puss wept through the epidermis and trickled down the side of Ben’s shin. Flecks of burnt skin dropped to the floor as new cells wove together, expunging the old under the pulsing beam of the dermal-regenerator. Ben gripped the bio-bed’s side-rail. The new skin shone a raw, irritable red. Ben exhaled through gritted teeth. A beading of sweat mottled Ben’s hairline. Garcia: :: Through gritted teeth. :: Itches like they’re still on fire. Ben’s torso seized and tensed as he strained not to scratch at the healing skin; Ben’s knuckles tightened white as he held his grip on the bed’s side rail. Alieth: That means you are healing adequately. You should cherish that sensation, Lieutenant. :: The Vulcan kept working on Garcia's upper left thigh. Overall, the skin looked normal and healthy, quite different from the burnt and oozing mess that the human had initially arrived at sickbay with. :: The skin will be tender for a few days, I recommend that you avoid any strenuous activity until the internal tissues have fully healed. Garcia: :: Ben fought hard to keep a tone of warmth in his voice. :: Got it Doc. :: Ben inhaled a hissed breath. :: There’ll be plenty of bed rest once we’ve got the CMO back from the Romulans. Alieth pursed her lips minutely by way of answer, but she refrained from arguing more with the senior officer, instead she turned to the adjacent trolley to resume the treatment. On the trolley, a grey tub was packed with a silky white cream. Poking out the top was a spatula. Alieth: I will apply a layer of dermaline gel. I think you will find its effects comforting, sir. Garcia: Ready. :: Nodding heavily. :: Go for it. The cream enveloped the regenerated skin in a cool calming balm. Ben’s hands relaxed and held on loosely to the side rails. Groggy and disoriented, Geoff Teller awoke to the sight of an unfamiliar ceiling. Consciousness and memory returned slowly as he tried, and failed, to lift his head. Somewhere nearby, voices caught his attention but he couldn't make them out. Garcia: :: Laughing in relief. :: Could’ve smeared the cream on first Doc. Alieth: :: Raising an eyebrow. :: But in that case the treatment would have been inefficient. Ben looked at the Doctor with a confused smile. With Ben’s treatment nearly complete, Alieth opened one of the trolley's drawers and pulled out a small tray she had replicated minutes earlier. Over it were placed the caricatured figures of a powerful terran predator from the Ursidae family dyed in five bright colours. Alieth: :: Offering the gummy bears to Garcia. :: I have been informed that humans found the consumption of sucrose after a medical treatment to be highly comforting. I recommend the red one, it is the most commonly chosen. :: Tilting the head to one side. :: It is also the one I find most palatable. Garcia: :: Ben pursed his lips with a smile and then spoke. :: High praise. :: Ben shrugged. :: Red it is, Doc. Ben raised an eyebrow at the doc: Alieth’s bedside manner was … distinct. Ben sat up and pulled his legs to his chest. The cream had extinguished the itching. Now, apart from the red raw patches, and the singed hairs, the skin was fully restored. Ben collapsed back onto the bed, his muscles relaxing for the first time since the attack on his shuttle in which the helm conduit blew, charring his legs in the ensuing fire. Having seen that Ben was well attended to, Deena looked over at Teller. She hadn’t seen Teller since he’d gone in for surgery. He appeared to be sleeping peacefully for now, though a glance over the PADD slotted at the end of his bed told her that it was more likely a combination of strong analgesics and residual anesthetic. Lights on the osteoregenerators immobilizing his arm and ribs indicated that the bones were around fifty percent healed. A good, strong start to be certain, but still a ways to go. Not wanting to step on the new doctor’s toes, Deena waited until Alieth had moved off to approach and check in on her friend, Ben. She leaned casually against the neighboring biobed as she watched him visibly relax for the first time since he’d come across her in the forest. Ben opened his eyes to find a familiar face obstructing the glare of the ceiling lamps. Quen: :: Playfully. :: So - is red the best flavor? Garcia: Hmmm. :: Ben pointed with his chin. :: Need to distract the Doc and test the others … :: Ben’s eyes narrowed. :: Make an informed judgement. Quen: How you feeling? Ben stretched his legs out. The red raw skin shone under the strip lighting. Garcia: :: Playfully. :: Like a … :: Ben smiled. :: smooth lobster … ? Quen: :: Smiling back. :: I wanted to say thank you. For helping me out back there- Before Ben could reply, a faint voice bled through the conversation. It was Teller, and his call tugged on Deena and Alieth’s Hippocratic strings; the two doctors made straight for the recuperating First Officer. Looking down, Teller could see his uniform had been removed and much of his shoulder and arm was covered in dermaplast trauma pads, and his arm itself was immobilized, small blinking devices sitting every few centimeters. oO At least it's still there. Oo Geoff took a deep breath and found his ribs equally restrained, but at least the pain was gone. He could feel his faculties returning more quickly as he looked around and one thing more than any other was forcing its way to the front of his mind. He was absolutely furious. He'd been shot out of the sky, had half a shuttle land on him, and then to top it all off his good friend had been taken right in front of him, and he'd been unable to do anything about it. With gritted teeth, Teller began forcing himself to sit up. He had to get back on duty. Teller: Doctor...little help please… Sickbay’s most severe patient was struggling to sit up, contravening all medical recommendations, not the greatest move for someone who had suffered a concussion as severe as he had. By now Deena was at Teller’s bed side. Quen: Easy - take it slow…. Give yourself time to adjust. Alieth returned to the conversation with a coolly neutral tone, but highly irritated words. Alieth: Desist from your attempts to incorporate, sir, your condition is still concerning. Ben called over the humdrum. Garcia: :: Conspiratorially. :: Don’t let them keep a good man down, sir. Teller nodded to the man. Teller: Good flying, Mr. Garcia. Top three crash landing for me, easily. And Doctor, I appreciate your concerns but if I'm in no immediate danger, the rest of my injuries can mend themselves on the go. Garcia: :: Laughing. :: Imagine if I’d taken the auto-pilot off. Ben wasn’t helping things for Deena and Alieth, but he jested out of relief - relief he hadn’t killed the First Officer. Quen: You’re not in immediate danger, no - but your body needs time to heal. If you don’t give it that time, you’ll likely wind up back here with an infection or worse. And, you’re still coming off anesthesia. Alieth: This is not how medicine works, sir. We have just performed a major operation on you, sir, you should at least rest for... Turner: =/\= ATTENTIONS ALL SENIOR STAFF MEMBERS. PLEASE MEET ME IN CONFERENCE ROOM 1 AS SOON AS YOU ARRIVE AT THE EMBASSY FOR A BRIEFING. TURNER OUT. =/\= Deena all but rolled her eyes. Impeccable timing, as usual. But on the one hand, a briefing couldn’t be that strenuous of an activity. That was usually reserved for the results of briefings. Teller looked to the ceiling with a raised eyebrow, then began sliding off the biobed onto unsteady legs, supporting himself with his good arm. Alieth lunged forward to grip him around the waist before he had a chance to stumble. Teller was about to start heading to the briefing room when he realized several significant flaws in his plan. The first was that he had no idea where Briefing Room 1 was. The second was that he had no pants. The latter seemed more urgent. Teller: Uh, Doc, you got a replicator around here somewhere? Seems I'm out of uniform. Quen: I’ll grab you one. Speaking of- :: With a nod to Garcia’s now mostly-healed legs. :: Let me wrap those, and you can swap for an uncooked one. Ben froze. His face paled as he held another of Doctor Alieth’s gummy bears millimeters from his mouth. Ben bit his lip, arched an eyebrow at Deena and flicked the gummy bear into his mouth. Ben held a finger against his grinning lips. Deena started applying a fresh set of dressings to Ben’s legs as Alieth and Teller started a new argument. With her back to Ben and Deena, Alieth continued to berate the First Officer, speaking firmly as her eyebrows descended gently on her features, which gave her an even more severe aspect than usual. Alieth: I refuse to allow you to perform such an unreasonable deed, sir. Teller: Look Doctor, I'm going to that briefing with or without your help. Personally, I'd prefer, and I think the rest of the crew would agree, that I show up in uniform and under proper medical supervision. He met eyes with their young Vulcan Doctor and did not blink. He had felt useless when the Romulans had snatched Addison, and he felt useless lying on his back on a comfortable biobed as the crew was called to action. On some level, Teller was entirely aware that he was nearly dead on his feet, but a potent mix of modern medical science and raw anger had given him a second wind. He intended to make the most of it while it lasted. The Doctors expression did not change from the level impassive slate her people were famous for, but Teller saw a small shift around the edge of her eyes. The Vulcan held Teller's gaze for a few long seconds. Technically speaking, the situation unfolding was decidedly Not Funny Not Funny At All. Maybe it was the pain meds kicking in, but Deena found the argument between a completely logical Vulcan doctor and a human man hell-bent on getting out of here one way or another undeniably hilarious. Alieth: :: Gently but firmly leading the commander to the nearest replicator. :: Agreed, but I will keep you under close supervision, sir. Deena looked to Ben with a raise of her eyebrows. Watching the battle of wills play out was far, far more interesting than playing mediator. Ben tilted his head at Deena. A smile crept across Ben’s face as Alieth continued to chastise the First Officer. Alieth: I am going to abstain from supplying you with a sugary treat, sir. You are clearly a troublemaker. Teller pursed his lips for a moment, genuinely chastened. He'd been irritating Doctors since the earliest days of his career but he'd never been admonished for it in quite the same way. After a moment, he barked out a genuine laugh. Geoff could already tell the young woman had the makings of a fine officer - fierce but compassionate. Stern but flexible. Dry sense of humor. When Doctor MacKenzie returned, Teller was confident she'd find a very capable addition to her staff. Ben caught a laugh from escaping and looked at Deena, mouthing “troublemaker” with a cheeky smile. Deena gnawed the inside of her cheek and shook her head as she finished with the dressings and bit back another laugh. The Vulcan deposited a uniform on the stretcher next to the commander with more force than necessary, which resulted in a muffled tuff sound. Almost under the lintel, Alieth stopped, forcing the commander to halt with her. Alieth: Instructions on how to reach Conference Room One would be appreciated. This time, Deena couldn’t hide how humorous she found the image, and let out a laugh. Quen: Hang on, we’re coming with you! Teller: The more the merrier, Doctor Quen. :: He winced as he pulled on his new uniform, draping the tunic over his upper body with his working arm. :: Besides, no one can accuse me of being irresponsible with my health when I've got both of you with me. Speaking of...just how far is this walk? And are the suns still beating down out there? Quen: It’s a bit of a hike - across the grounds in the main building. Are you sure? Teller: No, but if I can't do this then I'm no good to anybody right now and I'll crawl back into that biobed voluntarily. :: He took a deep breath and steeled himself. :: I have to do this, Doctor. Ben caught Alieth’s eye. The Vulcan glanced him back, her features unfazed and stately, yet the young Vulcan radiated a sense of exasperation in all directions. With a pleadinging shrug, Ben spoke: Garcia: Better we get him there under supervision, eh Doc? :: Ben stood and patted down his fresh dressings. :: I’ll help. Deena grabbed a hypospray pre-loaded with a variety of analgesics and pocketed it. Quen: Just in case. If anyone needs it, say something. Teller: Thank you Doctor, but for the moment I'll pass. Garcia: :: Ben’s brows creased. He looked over his shoulder at the silver tray of gummy bears.. :: Sure, I’ll bring the rest of these. Alieth tilted her head slightly to draw the pilot's attention to the dangers of too many sweets in the diet, but she didn't have time to compose the sentence, as she was too busy trying to prevent that the commander's endeavours might aggravate his state. Ben turned a half step and pocketed the remaining gummy bears as he filed into line with the patient convoy. With gritted teeth, Teller slipped his frozen arm through his uniform sleeve. It was an awkward effort and the various bandages and devices connected to him didn't sit comfortably, but for now it would have to do. His comm badge, pitted and scuffed, sat on the table opposite his biobed. Comm badges were tough to break, and the casing was meant to survive extreme conditions without suffering cosmetic damage, but his looked like it had been through hell. At the moment, that seemed entirely appropriate to Teller, and he slapped it back onto his uniform with a grim scowl. Teller: Alright, become I come to my senses - lets go. Don't want to keep the Admiral waiting. End. =============================== Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Teller Executive Officer Duronis II Embassy & Support Flotilla Rear Admiral Turner, T. Commanding V239509GT0 & Lieutenant Ben Garcia Second Officer/HCO Embassy Duronis II - USS Thor NCC-82607 Author ID number: G239102MR0 & Lieutenant Quen Deena Medical Officer Duronis II Embassy/USS Thor E239602QD0 & Ensign Alieth Medical Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thor NCC-82607 Author ID number: E239702A10
  4. Part I ((Main Engineering - USS Gorkon)) Whittaker: You’re joined? The Human seemed a bit surprised by the statement, but Mikeja wasn’t offended. There were no outside indications on a Trill whether they were joined or not. For a long time, many people outside of Trill society had no knowledge of the symbiotic nature between the symbiont and host. Mikeja simply nodded at the question. Lan: Correct. I am the second host of the Lan symbiont. Mikeja allowed himself to inject some pride into the statement. Joining had been both a boon to his life, but was incredibly painful at the same time; especially considering the close relationship he had with Vessa. It had been over five years since the incident and he was still coming to grips with the integration of his two lives. Whittaker: Then you must be quite the Officer. ::he said, deliberately turning his attention back to the engineer.:: And it certainly goes a long way to explaining your assignment to Gorkon. The Ensign thought about that before responding. He would certainly consider himself competent when it came to his knowledge as an Engineer. But to think the fleet placed him on a ship of the line because he was joined seemed unwarranted. He was, after all, only the second host of Lan and his traumatic background felt like more of a hindrance than helpful. Lan: ::smiling, but shaking his head:: I appreciate that Captain, but it wasn’t really an option at the time. Joining with Lan was… unorthodox, shall we say. The Trill Engineer took another sip of the coffee, wondering if he would open up further to Captain Whittaker. He supposed it would depend on what the next question was. Whittaker: Why was that? There was a slight pause. The Captain seemed to realize the potential [...] pas and moved to correct it immediately. Whittaker: Not that I mean to pry, Ensign. You don’t have to divulge the details if you don’t wish to. Lan: ::putting up a hand:: That’s quite alright Captain. I’ve probably talked to over a dozen counselors about it over the years. I suppose you have the right to know, especially if we’re going to be working together in some capacity. Whittaker made a “carry on” gesture. In turn, Mikeja motioned to the seats surrounding the MSD and the two men sat. He didn’t think of the [...] pas he had also made at that moment as the two men seemed to be having a more casual conversation. Mikeja wasn’t even technically on duty for a little while longer. Lan: It was… an accident. About five years ago. We, that is Doctor Lan and I, were on our way to Earth. There was an explosion and Doctor Lan was injured… quite badly. A recollection of extreme pain came careening through Mikeja when he mentioned the incident. He’d learned to keep his composure when discussing it, but that had taken some time and effort. Lan: I was the only unjoined Trill on the ship we were on, and the symbiont wouldn’t have survived long enough to make it home. So… it was the only logical choice… Like Whittaker had done before, Mikeja let the thought linger, figuring the outcome would be obvious to the Human. The Captain responded first with a slow nod, apparently coming to an understanding. Whittaker: … was for you to undergo joining. ::he said, completing the man’s sentence.:: I understand that it can be a difficult experience for both host and symbiont when a joining is unplanned? Mikeja lingered on the thought… knowing that what the Captain had said was quite the understatement. (( Flashback: Medical Bay - SS Camtalla )) A bright light burned through Mikeja’s still closed eyes as he came back into consciousness. Things felt fuzzy and disjointed at first. He then began to hear voices and the beeping of computer consoles. One of the beeping noises sounded like a heart rate monitor. Voice 1: He’s coming around. Things started to make more sense and the young Trill slowly tried to open his eyes. The light was still there; it was someone flashing a pen light into Mikeja’s eyes. He heard himself let out a groan and then felt some soreness on his arms. His head began to throb in pain as the pen light was moved to his other eye. He couldn’t quite make out the faces of those around him. Voice 2: Vitals? Voice 1: Stable. Pupils aren’t dilated. Mikeja didn’t recognize the voices, but they were both feminine. As the pen light was moved, his eyes began to adjust to the environment. With a slight look around, Mikeja realized he was in a medical center. It looked used and fairly spartan, which meant he was probably still on the Camtalla. oO Wha… why am I…? Oo It all started coming back to him. The explosion. He tried to sit up, but the flash of pain in his head made him think twice. He then looked around again and saw two women hovering above him. Mikeja figured these were the Camtalla’s medical personnel. Woman 2: Whoa now, try not to move too fast Mr. Norven. Regarding the woman, Mikeja saw she was apparently human. Dark hair in a bob style cut and piercing green eyes were the two things he noticed immediately. The other woman was Andorian, with longer white hair and her antennae pointed upwards. Mikeja winced again as he made a move to a seated position, this time far more slowly. He felt the support of both women as he finally was upright. Mikeja Norven: What… what happened? Woman 2: An EPS relay exploded in Main Engineering. You were brought to the medbay. The Trill remembered what happened, and it dawned on him that Doctor Lan had also been there. He looked to the human medical officer with a worried expression. Norven: Doctor Lan? Is she alright? The Human looked over to the Andorian, unable to hide her own worry. She looked back to Mikeja with the same expression. The Trill’s heart began to sink, fearing the worst. Woman 2: She’s alive, but I’m afraid her injuries are very severe. The Captain has set course back to Trill, but… She hesitated. Mikeja immediately figured the explosion had damaged the warp drive and they were going far slower than they could be. He then had another realization. Norven: The symbiont? Part II (( Flashback: Medical Bay - SS Camtalla )) Norven: The symbiont? Woman 1: Please sir, you need to rest. Mikeja brushed away the hand the Andorian woman was trying to put on his shoulder to calm him down. He felt sadness, anger and fear all at once. He needed answers, not reassurances. Norven: ::raising his voice:: Tell me! The two women glanced at each other again. The human woman looked back to the Trill again, even more sad this time. Woman 2: Her isoboramine levels are dropping fast. Unless we can make it back to Trill in a few hours… Mikeja held up a hand. He’d heard enough and mustered the strength to swing his legs over the biobed and fully sit up. Norven: I need to speak with Doctor Lan. Is she conscious? Woman 2: I don’t believe that’s the best idea… Norven: ::once again holding up his hand:: Spare me that ma'am, but right now the well being of the symbiont is most important. The Doctor would agree with me. ::more angrily:: Where is she? I must speak to her before it’s too late. With a sigh and look of defeat, she gestured for the Trill to follow her. Mikeja got to his feet, ignoring the pain and dizziness. He followed the woman a few feet to a biobed across the room. Then he saw her. Lan was covered in a silver blanket, with only her head and bare shoulders exposed. As he walked closer, he saw the plasma burns on her face. Her gray hair was tattered and burned away at places. Cortical monitors had been placed on her temples and her breathing was very shallow. Mikeja felt a pang of fear rush down his spine and settle in his stomach before turning to the medical officer. Norven: How long does she have? Before the Human medical officer could respond, Mikeja heard a change in his mentor’s breathing, almost like a whisper. Looking back down, he saw her eyes were half-open. She looked right at the younger Trill and her lips began to move. Lan: ::whispering:: Mister Norven… Mikeja leaned in closer to the woman he’d known for over four years. He tried to put on a reassuring grin, but the look in his eyes betrayed him. Norven: Doctor. I’m here. It took a moment for the older Trill to compose herself. She finally was able to speak. Lan: Am I…? A single tear ran down Mikeja’a face. She looked so helpless and Mikeja knew there was nothing he could do to save her. Another tear fell as Lan tried to smile her own reassurance. Lan: It’s alright. :pause:: We must save the symbiont. He’d rarely lied to Vessa before, and he knew now wasn’t the time. Like all Trill who had been joined or even trained to be joined, Mikeja knew the symbiont’s well being was paramount. But that would be difficult considering the circumstances. Norven: I’m sorry Doctor, but we won’t make it home in time... Vessa shook her head with all of the strength she could muster, but it was still the slightest of movements. Her eyes never left the gaze of her young assistant. Lan: Then it must be you, Mikeja. It is the only way. Mikeja felt his mouth open slightly. He was taken aback at the thought. He then shook his own head, far more forcefully. Incredulousness replaced the sadness, but only slightly. Norven: That’s… I mean… I can’t. I wasn’t chosen. Vessa was able to move her arm from under the blanket and found one of Mikeja’s hands. She held it and squeezed with determination. Lan: I trust you, young man. Tears began welling in both of their eyes now. Lan: We will meet again. I’m… so… Her eyes closed and the grip from her hand softened. Mikeja looked up at the biomonitor. Vessa’s isoboramine levels were at fifty percent. Panic and determination took over and the Trill released his hand from Vessa’s and turned back to the medical officer with pursed lips before speaking. Norven: Can you transplant the symbiont? The woman hesitated before speaking. Woman 2: I… I mean I think so… but I’ve never... Once again, Mikeja held up a hand to stop her. Norven: Then do it. ::pointing to the biomonitor without looking:: If her isobormaine levels drop below forty percent then we won’t be able to save anything. Woman: But, Mister Norven… Norven: ::angrier:: We don’t have time for a discussion, Miss…? Even in the heat of desperation, Mikeja needed to know the name of the person he was dealing with. Able: Doctor… Doctor Tessa Able. A grin showed across his face, cutting through the anger and sadness. He let his breath out from his nose; some of the anger he'd felt melting away in the moment. Norven: Well, it seems fate has a sense of humor today Doctor Able. ::gesturing past her into the room:: Shall we? A sigh came pouring out of the woman and she turned to the Andorian. Able: Assema, get him prepped for surgery. Local anesthetic. He needs to be conscious for the procedure. (( Ten Minutes Later )) Now dressed in surgical outfits, the two medical personnel hovered over Mikeja. The hum of the sterilization field surrounded them all. He looked over to his left and saw Vessa. Her eyes were open and she smiled at him, something that he’d rarely had the privilege to see from his teacher and friend. Mikeja smiled back. The Andorian nurse was handed the teardrop-shaped symbiont while Able used a laser scalpel to cut into Mikeja’s abdomen, exposing the pouch all Trill had. Mikeja saw Vessa’s eyes go lifeless. Able: Ok, let’s go. Give it to me. The nurse wordlessly handed the worm-like creature to the Doctor and she gently maneuvered it into the male Trill’s pouch. At about halfway in, the symbiont moved on its own, settling into place. In an instant, Mikeja felt a rush of emotions. He took a deep breath as if he had just come to the surface from being held underwater for hours. With tightly closed eyes now, tears fell down his face. Mikeja Lan: ::aloud:: I’m… so… proud... (( Present Day: Main Engineering - USS Gorkon)) Whittaker: I understand that it can be a difficult experience for both host and symbiont when a joining is unplanned? Mikeja just smiled and nodded once again. Lan: Yes Captain. Quite a bit. Whittaker: And how have you fared since being joined? The Trill took another sip of the raktajino and contemplated how to answer the question. Lan: Oh… I just take it one day at a time I suppose. A flurry of activity began happening around Main Engineering. More officers and crewmen were entering and some were beginning to leave. Mikeja queried the computer for the current time and saw the morning shift was set to begin in a few minutes. He looked back to goateed man sitting next to him. Lan: Looks like we’re about to get busy, Captain. Maybe next time I won’t hog the conversation so much. Whittaker: Response The Trill smiled and followed the Captain’s lead as they both stood. Mikeja looked around and spied the replicator. He downed the remains of the bittersweet beverage and then once again regarded the superior officer. Lan: I’m going to get rid of this ::holding up the mug:: before things get too busy. Would you care for something while I’m over at the replicator Captain? Whittaker: Response ------ Ensign Mikeja Lan Engineering Officer USS Gorkon G239702ML0
  5. ((OOC: I had a blast writing this JP with Lt. Cmdr. @Krindo Pandorn! It was originally meant to be a fun curveball for folks during shoreleave, but the reaction has been so strong we've decided to use these events to build into a full scale mission! Great writing with you, Krindo!)) ((Talisin Forest, Outside Lokesh City)) Hidden in the underbrush and wrapped in a sensor dampening shroud, Subcommanders V’Tak and Sojot were into the third week of their mission on this hateful world. Through a set of high powered optics, they could see their foe in the distance - the outlines of their stolen structures, grotesquely covered with the insignia of Starfleet. Somewhere on that base, their target was blithely going about their day, completely unaware they had been marked for death. These fat, lazy Starfleet people had no idea why their mothership had been recalled at the last moment. Their communications to the homeworld had been monitored, and quite naturally ignored by the high command. As far as they were concerned, things were going precisely to plan. The arrival of the Klingon battleship had served the Tal Shiar’s ends perfectly, creating a moment of confusion when their operatives beamed to the surface, completely unnoticed. Now, their patience had nearly been rewarded. Communications from the Embassy, easily intercepted from the planets traffic control network, indicated that their quarry was about to leave the protected confines of their installation aboard a small craft traveling north. It was the perfect opportunity to kill an Admiral. V’Tak: It makes my blood burn to think of those Federation people inhabiting a structure that rightly belongs to the Romulan Republic. Perhaps when we’ve succeeded in our mission, the Praetor will give it to us as a reward for our service? Sojot: And don’t forget the revenge we will have after Jorok Three and Thendara Two. The reward will be substantial I would gather. V’Tak: The Federation has much to answer for, brother. We are fortunate to have been chosen for this mission of retribution. Have you inspected the canon? Nearby, sitting on a complex mechanical mount, hidden beneath a holoshroud, was the instrument of their vengeance. A surface to air disruptor battery, stripped down to its minimum size and weight for portability. It would only give them a few shots before the power supply was depleted, but that would be more than they needed. Sojot: We’ll get one or two shots from it then it will most definitely burn out. It wasn’t made to be stripped down this much. V’Tak: Then our aim must be true, or we should not bother attempting to leave this place. Better to be killed fighting Starfleet. He shuddered briefly, thinking of the torments he had seen dispensed to those who failed the Tal Shiar. Men and women with shattered bodies and shattered minds to match. It was not to be his fate. Sojot: Should we fail to shoot them down, I’ve rigged a self destruct charge to detonate on command. We won’t be taken by those Starfleet veruul. V’Tak: Very well. There must be no trace of our presence here. Either we are successful, or we cease to exist. For the good of the Romulan people. Jolan Tru. Sojot: For our people. Jolan Tru, my friend. Through the optics, V’Tak saw activity at the airfield. Crewmen moving with purpose, and landing doors being retracted. It was nearly time to strike. V’Tak: Ready the weapon. The honor of the kill shall be yours. Sojot tapped a few commands on a side panel and watched as power levels rose indicating the weapon is charging. When the panel was green, he nodded to V’Tak. Sojot: The weapon is ready. We will show our people what real Romulans are.They will remember what we do here. V’Tak: Your zeal is to be commended. So many of our brothers and sisters have grown weak these past decades, listless and docile...a lost race. They must be reminded that to be Romulan is to be feared. Our names should be spoken in whispers, by those who fear to anger us. That day will come again. Sojot: ::::lifts the weapon to his shoulder, exhaling at the weight of the launcher and facing the Embassy:: Let this be our mark in our struggle. From the Embassy grounds, several small craft took flight. Two appeared to be standard shuttlecraft - unremarkable except in how small and vulnerable they were. Starfleet - always so arrogant. Always so trusting. Fools. A third ship took flight and V’Tak’s lips curled back into a feral grin. The Admiral’s personal yacht, an obscene and garish vessel easily three times the size of the shuttles, alighted and fell into a lazy formation with the shuttles. They were heading directly towards their position. Sojot: ::scoffs:: They make it so easy. What is the human expression...sitting goose? V’Tak: ::Hissing slightly:: Don’t dirty your tongue with human turns of phrase. Focus on our mission. Our target comes. Sojot: My apologies. Been on this rock a bit too long. ::takes aim at the yacht:: They will be dust soon enough.. V’Tak: This assignment has been a difficult one, brother, but it will soon be worth our efforts. Hold the target lock until the last moment, I don’t want to give their pilots a chance to react. Sojot: Almost here. They are closing quickly. ::an soft audible beeping indicated range:: As the three craft drew near, V’Tak could hear the whine of the canon’s power pack intensifying. The barrel articulated on its mount with a worrying grind and V’Tak’s eyes narrowed. V’Tak: What is the problem? Sojot: Power pack is overloading. Auto fire is not responding. Have to take the shot manually. V’Tak ground his teeth in frustration. There were an ancient set of rules in their profession, handed down from time immemorial to assets and agents like him. Always among them was the reminder ‘Technology will always let you down.’ V’Tak: Very well. Fire when ready. Sojot listened as the beeping got more and more rapid. When the beeping was almost a steady whine, he pressed the fire button and two bolts of green disruptor energy flashed their way to the approaching craft. One bolt was a clean miss, while the other struck one of the smaller craft in its port nacelle, causing it to smoke heavily and veer off course. It was going down. Sojot: ::cussing in Romulan:: One of the support craft was hit. It’s going to crash. V’Tak: FOOL, that was not our mission! I have seen better shooting from a Ferengi garbage merchant! Quickly, fire again! Frantically tapping on the controls, the canon ground to a halt, its power pack expended. The still aloft Starfleet vessels began darting erratically and picking up speed, quickly moving out of their reach. V’Tak considered the magnitude of their failure and considered his sidearm...first for the fool who had doomed them both, and then for himself, but the sound of a screeching engine coming closer stayed his hand. One of the shuttles was pitched over, yawing violently as a nacelle belched smoke and flame. The shot had missed the crew cabin, but the vessel was picking up speed on its descent. It would hit the ground near their position. Perhaps there was a chance to still salvage something from this disaster. V’Tak: If any survive the crash, we will take them back with us for interrogation. For both of our sakes, pray their pilot is more competent than you are. Sojot: We’ll need to find them first. This forest is very thick and some of the locals say it’s haunted. I will make up for my failure, I swear it. V’Tak: The only spirits trapped here will be ours if we fail again. Quickly, destroy the weapon. We must get to the crash site before a Starfleet rescue team arrives. As the burning shuttle collided with the nearby treetops the two Romulan assets set off, leaving behind nothing but a large scorched area where their useless equipment had burned. Their only hope now was to capture someone valuable enough to offset their failure. Desperation added speed to their steps as they crashed deeper into the dense forest. =============================== Subcommader V’Tak Tal’Shiar Field Asset V239509GT0 (AKA Geoffrey Teller) & Subcommander Sojot Tal’Shiar Field Asset Z239308KP0 (AKA Krindo Pandorn)
  6. ((Klingon Territory, IKS O'griss)) Kregael: yaS! 'ar nI'qu' until latlh tlhIngan Duj ghom maH tlhIH'a'?! (Officer! How much longer until we meet the other Klingon ship?!) Morlic:::trembling:: It should not... be much longer… Our ship is unable... to get to its highest warp capacity. Kregael: Get back up, you insufferable tribble maggot! Keep pushing forward! P'leeta: The IKS Xiss is closer than we thought about a few lightyears away, sir. Kregael: About damn time you give me some good news! ::snarls a toothy grin:: Open a channel! Kregael: Why aren’t they answering?! Launch a warning torpedo at the side of their ship. ::chuckles:: That’ll get their attention. P’leeta: Do you think we need to decloak so we can get a better connection? Kregael: Gee, that sounds like a marvel idea! I’m sorry for thinking highly of my crew. I thought for sure YOU WOULD HAVE DONE IT ALREADY! P’leeta: All yours, sir. ((Klingon Territory, IKS Xiss)) ::The Klingon woman warrior growled like a wild targ when the O’griss appeared and the proximity bells start to dings. Normally that would happened in case of an attack, maybe a rival house that wanted to hit the Councilor ship to kill him and take his place in the Council.:: Kelas: Prepare for their boarding, we will defend until death the Councilor! Load the disrupters!!! We’ll reduce in ashes those honorless. ::She barked just a second before they opened a channel. After all they use to shoot before to say hallo.:: Kregael: =/\= HoD Kregael to IKS Xiss =/\= Kelas growled again. Kelas: =/\= Fek’hir is waiting for you in the Gret’hor! AK’tagh iihh yak a’ takk! Bahg! IK!! (What are you doing cloaked in our space?) =/\= Kregael: =/\= Isn’t it obvious that we’re about to meet one another? =/\= Kelas: =/\= Yes is obvious! Another second and we would destroy you! =/\= Kregael: =/\= Let me speak to Councilor Odex directly. I have no time to speak to a sogh. =/\= ::Kelas growled again, louder and showing not so kindly her teeth! She switched to the internal coms, kicking a console, like it would work better after that.:: Kelas: =/\= Councilor, HoD Kregael is here! =/\= Odex:/ Kregael:? (Tags-TBC) ---- Sogh Kelas Qevok House of Hok'Moc At the service of Councilor Odex IKS Xiss
  7. I've been meaning to post this for a full two weeks now. I absolutely loved this- such a fantastic insight into Kettick. Brilliant work @Kettick! (( Captain's Private Mess, Deck 2, USS Eagle )) In Kettick's admittedly limited experience, an invitation to dinner from the Captain was not something you received everyday, but the Remmilian hadn't been bred for idle speculation. Trusting the reason to become apparent in due time, he had replicated a fresh uniform to replace his utility jumpsuit, read up on dinner customs from the vade-mecum he'd been issued when leaving the homeworld, and replicated a box of Bolian chocolates as the prescribed offering to the host. He knocked on the door right on time, and was ushered in, noting that Misters Kano and Collins were already present. Kettick: Good evening, Captain, Lieutenants. I hope I am not late. The manual had brushed upon being "fashionably" late, pretending that it was considered acceptable, and even likely to project a positive self-image in certain circumstances. Kettick had decided he would have none of it. Oddas: Not at all, you're still ahead of the XO. Lieutenant Kano gave the remark a controlled laugh - possibly indicating that the Captain's remark was a subtle joke. Kettick opted for a polite smile, just in case. Kano: And here I thought the XO was supposed to be the early one. Collins: I think First Officer's adhere to the same editch as wizards. "They are never early, nor late. They arrive precisely when they mean to." Yet another mysterious koan to ponder over later, and the Engineer couldn't find one on the same theme that could earn him a place in the conversation. He chose to focus his attention on the food presented in front of him; apparently it was a great source of topic changes when the discussion didn't go your way. Oddas: Well, if he doesn't get here soon we can either send a search party or get started without him. Kano: I vote to get started without him, hasperat that smells this good shouldn't be left. Ah. Kettick had been wondering about the source of this particular smell. Apparently it registered as pleasant to Bajorans, and he'd been inspired not to offer his services in checking the air conditioning filters. Quentin pointed toward the SEC officer with the neck of his bottle. Collins: I have to agree with my colleague there, Captain. As they spoke, The Captain nodded behind them and raised her glass, heralding the entrance of their freshly mentioned First Officer. Shayne: Evening, all. Captain. Kettick offered a silent nod of respect to match the Commander's greetings. Kano: Oh, captain I made mapa bread. :: the woman passed over the small package.:: it's a family recipe, my sister is the baker but I tried my best. Oddas: Thank you Ensign, I'm afraid I have no cooking ability - I'm counting on others tonight to take care of things. She placed the bread on the table, near the center for the group to share. If Kettick's memory served, home-made offerings were assigned a particularly high value, and this one was a traditional Bajoran dish to boot. Kettick: I've brought some sweets for after the dessert. And the dreaded moment of coffee... he hoped he wouldn't offend, nor ridicule himself in front of his betters. Collins: If you don't mind me asking, sir, was it odd giving orders again? After your...momentary brush with being just a lowly Engineer again like these two? ::he said with a wry, knowing smile pointing toward Shayne and Kettick.:: He'd learnt his lessons from Ryan well - a smirk indicated that the speaker thought the opposite of what they said. Therefore, Collins' words were likely a veiled praise, and Kettick answered it by mirroring his smirk and nodding. Shayne: I’ll wager my pips that it would take more than a few days off the job for the captain to forgot how to give an order. Oddas: To be fair, I just assumed that by this point Mister Shayne would be getting used to the Captain's seat. Another smile. Another joke-lie. He hoped that he could navigate those all evening. The mess staff brought the dishes to the table, offering him an escape route once again. Shayne: That smells remarkably good. Collins: Way to undersell it, sir. ::He said again with a wry, playful smirk.:: Kettick had to agree, the dishes were positively mandible-clenching. The soufflé-looking thing that strongly smelled of salt must be the hasperat. Then there was a piece of meat and... Kettick: oO Oh. Oo Kettick seldom found himself at a loss for words, but the sight of the small, bulbous shaped stems with fractal appendages he knew so well filled him with something akin to reverence. This was a meal fit for a female, nay, a Queen. Either the cook had done his research but skipped on the social differences between sexes, or this was a mark of respect he felt utterly unworthy of. Eating it would almost be blasphemy. Then again, not eating something offered by the Captain was firmly into "can't even think about it" territory. Oddas: To the Eagle, the Crew, and the cooks of this very fine meal. Thank you, and don't let me stop you from getting started. Kettick raised his glass of water to join in the toast, noting from the corner of his eye that the XO had opened a bottle of something that smelled of fermented fruit. Thankfully not the kind of paint thinner some humans liked to indulge in, but there was definitely some alcohol in there. The guests savored their first bite of their food, Kettick letting one of his greens melt in his mouth. He could almost feel the quality of his webbing improving already. Shayne: You know, I always heard that our chef makes a mean spiderbird steak, and now I’ve got proof. Kettick was about to object, based on his own experience with the taste of cooked hemolymph, when a general bout of restrained laughter stopped him cold. The remark had been, once again, a joke, and he'd nearly made a fool of himself. Again. He offered the table a guarded smile and went back to his plate, firmly decided to talk only if asked to, in order to avoid further embarrassment. Collins: Can I just ask, how the hell does one even GET Altirian Spider-Bird eggs? They had to have been a nightmare to try and box up, right? Oddas: I hear you have to wait for the mother to leave the nest, snatch them, then run like hell. She laughed as she washed down her own bite. The laugh was shared by her SEC compatriot. Shayne: It’s the guy that tried it first that I want to meet, and then promptly incarcerate. Kano: I'm sure I saw a few eggs in the cargo bay I guess the chef could whip up a nice omelette if you fancy it? Collins: Well, in any case, if I never hear the words "spider" and "bird" in conjunction again, it would be far too bloody soon... Oh? Now that was a shame. When cleaning the cobwebs from the Jefferies Tubes, Kettick had noted that they were even lighter and stronger than the ones he could produce, and had considered asking Science to analyze and replicate them for engineering use. Oh, well, he could always set up a hatchery with the eggs he hadn't yet disposed of and harvest the webbing the old-fashioned way, he supposed. Collins: My immense compliments to the chef. Oddas: Indeed. Kano: Absolutely. Kettick nodded enthusiastically before taking a mouthful of his hasperat. The high salt content instantly made him feel like his mouth had grown a size too small, and he reached for his glass to wash it down. In front of him, others were using various drinks to do the same, so perhaps it was a normal reaction. He certainly hoped so; he was far too aware of the immense kindness the Captain did them by offering her table to offend her. Oddas: Just because I'm going to be stuck on the ship doesn't mean you need to be, any plans for doing something fun? The other officers looked at one another. Shayne: Far too much going on for me to risk it at the moment, captain. Kettick: We still need to get our Eagle back into shape, and to welcome a new Chief. But I have several potential improvements to our systems test out. :: Feeling bold once of a sudden, he went for an attempt at a joke. :: The perks of partially dismantling our ship every now and then. Collins: I, uh, actually have a Holodeck reserved tomorrow for a...erm...project I've been working on, but what about you, Risha? Any big plans? ::he said with almost a frantic energy:: The Bajoran seemed taken aback by the direct question. Kano: ::She swallowed her mouthful.:: Nothing exciting, although if you're thinking about karaoke again, there's some new arrivals that could enjoy it. His interlocutor smiled pleasantly. Collins: You know, that's not a bad idea actually. I could force a whole new class of recruits to hear me warble. It could be a killer rite of passage. The Lieutenant laughed at the thought of that. Kano: I would have thought the rite of passage for the Eagle would be not getting blown up on your first mission. Kettick: :: Nodding nodded with a wry smile; he was feeling like he was getting better at it :: It's not that hard. Apparently Starfleet Engineering's defensive design is advanced enough to withstand voluntary warp core destabilization and phaser shots through EPS conduits. Oddas/Shayne: Response Collins: As long as nobody tries to report to the wrong blonde Bajoran on the Bridge like I did on MY first day, I will be happy. Kano: Response Collins: Yes, I absolutely did that. The Captain and Commander Shayne can tell you all about it. This rube from Maine comes bumbling onto a Bridge and SALUTES the wrong officer. I thought I was going to evaporate, truly. Oddas/Shayne: Response He motioned with his bottle in a playful manner. Collins: See, they have to say that because I'm not eligible for transfer yet. Once I am though, watch, they are going to ship me away quicksmart, just to save me and themselves from further embarrassment and shame... The case of mistaken identity reminded Kettick of a minor event of his first day. Very minor, considering that the ship was otherwise under attack and without power, but still. Kettick: On a similar vein, Captain, is there any reason why you insist on "sir"? Oddas: Response Any: Response Kettick: I see. I suppose Betazoids face the same issue, coming from a matriarcal society as well. Or does telepathy make them less prone to social [...] pas? Any: Response Oddas: Response His circulatory liquid was coulourless, but that's all that stopped Kettick from blushing. Kettick: Well, if we are to share embarrassing moments from our first day, I *did* call you "my Queen" on the bridge, if memory serves. TAG/TBC -- Ensign Kettick Engineering Officer USS Eagle G239107LR0
  8. ((Ambassador’s Yacht Kirym - Somewhere in the Kaleth Woods, Tibro)) Thoran: Ambassador, how long do you think it will take for somebody to pick up the signal and make tracks towards us? Too soon for her liking. If she were General Asil she would have a special operations team waiting to depart Keibrom as soon as the distress signal was detected armed to the teeth. Thankfully she was not like such a contemptible officer. Perhaps he was in no hurry to confirm the success. But in her heart, she knew they were on the way. If Asil planned for the crash to kill her, he wouldn’t be so subtle as to switch off helm control rather than plant a bomb. Dels’an: Around an hour if they were ready to leave as soon as they received the signal. Perhaps we will be fortunate and the assassins are ill-prepared. At most I would expect them to make it here within two hours. It’s imperative that we are not here when they arrive. McKnight: We need to go, now. Whoever wanted us dead will most likely send someone to make sure we are. Dels’an: Indeed. Serala: About that plan of yours, Commander Revix. It’s very noble of you, Commander. Especially for a group of non-Rihannsu. However, in my opinion, sir, it would be best if we all remained together. The more of us there are, the better our chances of survival are. Divided into smaller groups they would only make it easier to pick them off one by one. Revix: Response Thoran: Commander Serala does make an excellent point. It would make us easier to track, presuming anybody comes looking for us, but our odds are better together. Dels’an: These will not be poorly-trained troops. If you are caught alone you’ll die. She could speak with authority on that point. Only two years earlier she had been the primary author of the new standards for Advanced Combat Training in the Valcarian armed forces. Serala: Sir, in my condition, this isn’t going to do me much good. And since our man has a weapon, it seems only right you should be armed as well. Especially if you have reason to believe your life is also a target for your enemies. Revix: Response Serala: Captain, Ambassador. It seems there may be a few more weapons if either of you would like one. But I sincerely hope they won’t be necessary. If we are fortunate, someone on our side will have noticed our absence and will find us before our enemy or enemies do. Thoran: Thank you Commander. Lorrein accepted the phaser she was offered. After switching it to a higher power level, she holstered the weapon and began to assist Jarol in collecting the final equipment in preperation for their departure. Dels’an: Thank you, Commander Serala. Revix/McKnight/Nehir: Responses ((Timeskip: An hour later.)) ((Abandoned Outpost - Somewhere in the Kaleth Woods, Tibro)) The trek through the woods had involved considerably less weapons fire than she had predicted it might. The wildlife had mostly remained out of their way and she had yet to hear the telltale sounds of engines that would indicate they were discovered. Even at the distance of the outpost, they would hear anyone approaching from a distance towards the crash site. Nobody was waiting to ambush them at the outpost itself, only a thick layer of moss and vines covering the door. Serala: Well, we’re here. Home sweet home. Thoran: Home. Yes. Lorrein looked around the outpost and saw exactly what she was expecting. The featureless metal walls were bare and most of the furniture and equipment not bolted down was gone. The engineers assigned to decommission the base had done a very thorough job. The Starfleet marine began searching the rooms ahead of them. McKnight: We're clear. Looks like no one's been here in a long time. Dels’an: This outpost has been out of service for nineteen years. The last people here were a team of technicians who removed anything left of value. Revix/Nehir: Responses Serala: :: looking at the wounded woman :: How is she doing? That trip could not have been easy for her. She had been checking on Commander Faris frequently, always careful to remain by the people carrying the stretcher when she was not doing so herself. The commander was her most trusted staff member, and Lorrein had no intention of leaving her side during the officer’s time of need. Isona had earned at least that much loyalty. Thoran: She is in critical condition. If she doesn’t receive medical attention soon then I doubt she will make it. Dels’an: When we find those responsible, heads will roll! Anyone who she found to be remotely connected to the sabotage attempt would be wise to find the farthest and darkest corners of the empire and hide there. Lorrein was furious. There would be no hiding place remote enough to keep her from finding them. And then she would find General Asil and Director Varus. Revix/Nehir: Responses Serala: Amuro, that fancy gadget of yours on your arm. Do you think you could use it to reach the ship? Maybe tie into your commbadge? Not trying to be funny here, and I know our supply of tools is severely limited, but I’m not an engineer and I am grasping for ideas here. McKnight: Sorry, ma'am. I can't even tell where exactly we are without navigational data. Hopefully, the Atlantis will know something is up, since we haven't checked it. Revix/Nehir: Responses Thoran: Regardless the idea has merit. It can’t make our situation any worse. I’d also recommend that we take the time to search the area for supplies and post a lookout in the observation tower. Nehir/Revix/Serala: Responses Dels’an: I am unsure what of use the decommissioning team would have left behind, but it might be worth the time to search. Commander Thoran removed the communicator badge from his uniform and threw it to Jarol, who caught it with one hand. Thoran: If you hear, see or even smell anything that seems out of place, contact us immediately. Dels’an: We will, Commander Thoran. Revix: Response Thoran: We will search the surrounding rooms, see if we can find any supplies. Nehir/Serala: Responses Dels’an: If you will excuse me, Commander Revix. I must attend to my wounded crewmember. Revix: Response Isona was barely clinging to life. The bleeding had stopped, frozen by the winter cold and the pressure of the blankets she had been wrapped in for the journey. Lorrein held the commander’s hand, which felt like that of an ice sculpture. There was barely any hint that she was still among the living. Dels’an: Asil and Varus won’t get away with this. Once we take the throne they’ll wish they never showed their faces in the Outlying Territories… The Outlying Territories had always been her domain. She had brought a few of the planets under the empire’s control herself in the many campaigns that she had waged. Lorrein had homes on each major world in the territories and had forged most of her legendary career in the region. Field Marshal Gatol had come to her realm, tried to kill her, and harmed her people. She didn’t realize her mistake until she turned to see the surprised looks of the Romulan and Starfleet officers who had been in the room to hear that little piece of information. Revix: Response Anyone: Response(s) Well, there was no way to unsay that... ((Flashback - The Imperial Grand Palace at Ghrandla - Valcaria - 239610.07)) The atmosphere in the War Council meeting chamber was even more tense than it usually was. The death of the Chief Advisor two weeks earlier had shook the entire upper level of Valcarian leadership. Everyone wondered who would be Emperor Altharra’s new right hand. And the loss of his most trusted advisor had only left the already-ill Altharra in an even more alarming condition. Lorrein was seated at the ornate round table on Altharra’s right. On his left was Field Marshal Gatol. Director of State Security Afflor, Commandant Kryon, and the new Overseer of Planetary Defense were also at the table. As always, two elite-troopers silently stood watch over the meeting from the door. They had just finished with status reports, and Field Marshal Gatol had been the first to bring up the looming question of the Chief Advisor post. Gatol: Your majesty, there is also the matter of appointing a new Chief Advisor. There are many candidates who… Altharra: No. There will be time enough for that later, Field Marshal. Field Marshal Gatol was a stubborn, narcissistic, and self-serving monster. But, just like a broken ship’s chronometer, he could still occasionally be right. Leaving the physically drained emperor with no clear heir was a crisis waiting to happen. Dels’an: Your majesty, I must concur with Field Marshal Gatol. It is important that the position- ::The Emperor was not following her words, seemingly incapable of keeping focus on anything in the room.:: Are you feeling well, your majesty? There was no reply from the Emperor, only a few attempts to speak followed by his imperial majesty collapsing on the floor. The two etroopers standing guard at the doors rushed to help him. Not detecting any vitals, they began emergency chest compressions in an attempt to revive him. Based on their expressions and the sounds of their scanners, they were less than successful. Trooper: He’s still not breathing! Someone alert the medical center. A wordless conversation was happening between the members of the War Council. They had failed to secure the appointment of an heir to throne only moments earlier, and now the Emperor lay dead on the ground. If they did nothing, the news would leave the room in moments and they would lose control of the situation. Something had to be done. Dels’an: oO Are we really going to do this? Oo The group had reached a silent consensus. Rebellions, declarations of independence, and all manners of destabilization would rock the Valcarian Imperial Republic to its foundations if they had no new leader to reassure the people and maintain control. Gatol: Now. Phaser fire stunned the two etroopers before they would spread the word to the medical center, the rest of the guard, and the Imperial Palace’s clerk to make the announcement to the public. Besides, having the most elite soldiers in the Valcarian Empire running around answerable to no authority was a frightening prospect. She, Gatol, and Kryon lowered their weapons and took their seats back at the table. Afflor: News of what we’ve seen here cannot be known to the public. The situation is too delicate already. Until a successor is in place we can’t risk it. We would have every governor, advisor, and every self-important admiral trying to be the one to be crowned. For the sake of the Empire and the war, this secret remains from the people. Nobody can know until continuity of leadership is re-established. Everyone in the room hated each other. Altharra had chosen his appointees wisely to ensure they could never unite against him in life. But that strategy fell apart upon the occasion of his death. It was going to be a fight to see who could secure their claim first. She knew that at least Gatol and Afflor liked their chances of personally taking the throne. But they all could agree that the fewer people who knew, the better. Dels’an: Agreed. Gatol: Agreed. Kryon: Agreed. Of course, news did spread through the upper echelons of power. But it was still a closely kept secret, with only enough people being told so that battle lines could be drawn up and the fight to put a successor on the throne could be carried out in secret. ((End Flashback)) Lorrein had hoped to tell everyone the news in a much more controlled and diplomatically comfortable setting. It would be more helpful in terms of gaining their support and future cooperation with her and her allies. But the cat was out of the bag and it was best to just tell them the truth. Dels’an: Everyone, please come in here for a moment. Revix/Thoran/Serala/McKnight/Nehir: Responses She waited for the Starfleet and Romulan officers to assemble in the main hallway before continuing. Dels’an: You deserve the right to know why I’ve been targeted, and it isn’t just because of diplomacy. ::She sighed, took a deep breath, and continued.:: Emperor Altharra died almost four months ago. He dropped dead right in the middle of a War Council meeting. That’s why I didn’t want the elite-troopers here for our meeting. And that’s why I was targeted. Other factions are also attempting to seize control. Revix/Thoran/Serala/McKnight/Nehir: Responses Dels’an: Myself and those who I’ve aligned with think that throwing endless troops and ships at the Caraadians and having no communication channels built up with foreign powers is not an efficient use of the empire’s resources. I do apologize for withholding this information, but the intention to build bridges is still true. And given the danger that the power struggle has brought upon us, you have the right to know. As she let the information sink in, she surveyed the crowd for their responses. She had no idea how past experiences with the Valcarians and the revelation that Emperor Altharra was gone would sit with them. Revix/Thoran/Serala/McKnight/Nehir: Responses Grand Admiral Lorrein Dels’an Ambassador-at-large Valcarian Imperial Republic ===as simmed by=== Lieutenant Commander Anath G'Renn Chief Medical Officer, USS Atlantis A239402AG0
  9. I've been meaning to post this in here for a while, and as my schedule just managed to wedge some space in it, here it is! @GhantXerix and @Samira Neathler did a fantastic job bringing to life this element of Xerix's life in a way that felt creative and real. I enjoyed reading this immensely, and while I won't past all seven parts here for a mammoth sim, I'll chuck in the link to the parts. Make yourself a brew, sit yourself down and strap in for a jolly good read! [JP] Lt. JG G. Xerix, Lt. S. Neathler - The Clash For Victoire (Part I) [JP] Lt. JG G. Xerix, Lt. S. Neathler - The Clash For Victoire (Part II) [JP] Lt. JG G. Xerix, Lt. S. Neathler - The Clash For Victoire (Part III) [JP] Lt. JG G. Xerix, Lt. S. Neathler - The Clash For Victoire (Part IV) [JP] Lt. JG G. Xerix, Lt. S. Neathler - The Clash For Victoire (Part V) [JP] Lt. JG G. Xerix, Lt. S. Neathler - The Clash For Victoire (Part VI) [JP] Lt. JG G. Xerix, Lt. S. Neathler - The Clash For Victoire (Part VII)
  10. ((Ambassador’s Yacht Kirym - Somewhere in the Kaleth Woods, Tibro)) The Kirym had been on the move for almost an hour, and things with the Romulans had not eased. He still hadn’t been able to ascertain their motives for being here. The Romulan Star Empire had not been present in the Par’tha Expanse for over seventy years, when they just up and left the region for reasons unknown. Jarred stood by one of the port side windows, drinking a second tea and enjoying the view, the snowy conditions only adding to the beauty. Whizzing beneath them was a majestic winter wonderland, a snow-covered forest. Suddenly Jarred was thrown forward, slamming into the wall, his tea spilling everywhere. There was another jolt, the yacht lurching violently. Jarred felt his stomach turn as the yacht began to descend rapidly. The view outside the window was obscured by clouds of black smoke. He held onto the wall to support himself, as he turned around to the others. Thoran: Is everybody okay? Dels’an: I am alive. Is everyone else alright? Revix: Response McKnight: Here! Nehir: Response Serala: I’m okay, just a small gash in my arm, but otherwise fine. I don’t suppose there’s a medical kit on this yacht, Ambassador? There was another series of shuddering, followed by the sound of breaking wood. Jarred presumed that they must be catching the tops of the trees. Thoran: Ambassador, what is going on? Have we struck something? Dels’an: I didn’t feel any initial impact. ::Her eyes narrowed in anger as she put the pieces together.:: ...if I had to guess the engines or helm control had a rather sudden “malfunction”. From the implied tone it seemed the Ambassador had her own suspicions about what happened. A sudden malfunction, as the Ambassador suggested, could mean that they had a saboteur on board. Jarred cast a glance over at the Romulans. Revix: Response McKnight: The ship is stuck on top of several trees...and the trees are giving way... Thoran: oO Excellent. Stuck on some trees with Romulans. Oo Serala: In that case, I suggest everyone hold on. We’re not done crashing yet. Nehir: Response As if on cue, there was the cracking of the branches as they reached their limit. The yacht plummeted the remaining distance, slamming into the ground. The viewports became obscured by the cloud of dust and snow kicked up. Serala: Just my luck. Stranded in the middle of a snowy wilderness. It’s a dream come true. Dels’an: Not ideal, but it is better than being dead. Jarred nodded at the remark. Almost anything was better than being dead. The question now was what to do about it. If they had indeed been the target of a saboteur, then those responsible may come to confirm their success. Revik: Response McKnight: And I forgot to bring a coat. Nehir: Response Serala: Well, I know several of you outrank me here, and, Ambassador, this is your yacht, but I did quite well in survival training at the Academy. So, if I may offer a few suggestions? He shuddered at the mention of survival training, recalling his own experiences. It had been a rather unpleasant experience, being stranded with only the equipment you had on you and left to fend for yourself for forty eight hours. Thoran: Certainly Commander. Revik: Response Serala: Yes. First we need to see if we can reach someone to let them know where we are and what our situation is. That is, assuming we actually know where we are. Then, we need to do several things. One, we need to secure shelter. It’s going to get cold in here with no power to run the heat. And this is most likely our best bet for now. Still, we should have one or two scout around nearby to see if there are any better prospects. We should also try and determine whether this was sabotage or not. We were under the impression, Ambassador, that you felt there might be some risk to you. Not to mention the fact that there might be more than one group who wouldn’t want to see an alliance between the Valcarian Empire and the Federation, or the Valcarian Empire and the Romulan Empire. There seem to be a number of reasons for such an act to have been staged. That will also lead to the need to determine just how safe we are out here, and not just from the wildlife, but also from other threats. Captain McKnight, do you think I missed anything here? McKnight: I think everyone understands the situation, commander. Serala: Captain Thoran, Ambassador, Commander Revik, do any of you have anything further to suggest? Jarred stroked his beard, going over everything in his mind. Serala had done a good job of covering of the situation, and he had nothing further to add. Thoran: Nothing from me. All I will say is that there is a lot of history between our people. Not all of it pleasant. Our best chance of surviving this is to work together, put aside our differences. Revik: Response Dels’an: There is some survival gear that we can use stored on the ship. I don’t know how much of it survived the crash intact. ::Pause:: But you are right that this was likely sabotage. And if that is true, we can’t stay here and we can’t call for help. Serala: And what about you, Counselor? Nehir: Response Serala: Well, sirs, I think that about covers it for the moment. Should we begin? It had only been by pure luck that none of them had ended up with serious injuries and would be able to move unaided. He could imagine Anath’s face if he had to fill out an injury report for himself. The Vulcan-Klingon doctor had concluded that Jarred was injury prone, given the numerous injuries he had sustained during the time together. Thoran: The longer we wait around, the worse our chances will be. Let us proceed. Dels’an: The sooner we get to shelter, the better. Revik: Response Nehir: Response As they began to take stock of their surroundings, Jarred heard McKnight trying to raise the Atlantis. Based on their surroundings it was unlikely a shuttle would be able to retrieve them, at least not without a trek. McKnight: =/\= Atlantis, Spartan One. The ambassador's yacht has crashed onto the planet. Please coordinate the Valcarians for an evac. We have wounded...Atlantis, respond. =/\= There was no response from the Atlantis, a fact that concerned Jarred. He knew that atmospheric conditions on the planet made communications from the surface to orbit difficult, but they should have at least been able to transmit a message to the Atlantis. Dels’an: Agent Jarol, retrieve what’s left of the survival gear and weapons from the arms locker. Of course, Commander Faris! An instant later, the Ambassador dashed from the room, Jarred and co quickly following suite. They still had no idea what exactly had happened to the ship, and Jarred didn’t want to leave the Ambassador alone for even a second. Thoran: Ambassador, wait. Serala / McKnight / Nehir / Revix: Responses He hurried up the stairs, navigating past the debris. He caught up with the Valcarian just as she forced the door to what Jarred suspected was the bridge open. Dels’an: Commander, what happened… Sat at what he presumed was the helm was a Valcarian, pinned by a broken console. Jarred moved further into the confined space, stepping over broken displays and other equipment. The Ambassador knelt down beside the wounded Valcarian and took her pulse. There was a flicker of relief and a moment later the wounded Valcarian moved slightly. She was still alive. Faris: ::Faintly.:: The navigation system became completely unresponsive, and the manual controls wouldn’t work either. It seemed deliberate. The automatic distress beacon worked though. ::So much talking was taking its toll on the injured officer.:: I should have run a more ::Pause:: detailed, diagnostic- Dels’an: No, it’s alright. ::She squeezed the pilot’s hand, who seemed to be drifting off.:: We’ve all survived the crash. Now we are going to get out of here. Get ready to move, Commander. Jarred took a few steps forward, broken glass cracking under his feet. Thankfully the main viewscreen had remained mostly intact. Otherwise the room would have very quickly turned into a fridge from the outside air temperature. From what he had heard from the injured crewman, the crash was no mere accident, but an act of sabotage. The distress beacon would be giving away their position and Jarred surmised it would only be a matter of time before those responsible found them. Serala / McKnight / Nehir / Revix: Responses Dels’an: We can’t stay here. The number of people who could pull an attack like this off isn’t long, and most of them are very dangerous people. I’d suspect General Asil or Director Varus organizing this. Neither of them would leave things to chance like this. Whoever arranged this crash will be here to make sure it did the job. Thoran: oO Asil? Oo It was a name he recalled. It took a few seconds before he realised where he had heard it before. Lt. General Rotork Asil had been the Valcarian representative sent to Arndall to negotiate an end to the Valcarian siege of the planet. It had been when the Kam’Jahtae had erupted from beneath the planet’s surface, leaving a wave of destruction in their wake, and the planet that Dairro had lost her life. Jarred’s eyes momentarily fell to the floor as he remembered the incident. ((Flashback)) Green flashes buzzed passed, cracking in the air as they flew past him. Risking a look back, he could clearly make out the creatures, four emerald green eyes glowing in the dim light. They let out a screech as Jarred reached for his phaser and fired a few shots towards them when he heard Dairro cry out. Looking to his side his saw his friend lay on the floor, blood oozing beneath her. He rushed over to her, continuing to fire towards the aliens. He crouched down beside her, ducking his head as he did so. From this distance the wound was obvious, a mess, as if she’d been shot by two different weapons at once. There was a dark red hole, blood pouring from it as if in slow motion, soaking into her uniform. She looked up to him their eyes locking, as he cradled her, each of them bathed in her blood. He could feel his face begin to crack as she smiled briefly, before her breathing became a noisy rattle and she began to cough, flecking Jarred’s face with blood. A split second later and she went limp in his arms. Jarred let out a roar, screaming into the walls. ((End Flashback)) He pulled himself from the memory, reminding him that now was not the time to dwell on the past. Serala / McKnight / Nehir / Revix: Responses Thoran: What do you suggest our next move would be Ambassador? Dels’an: The villa would be half an hour away on foot, but we can’t go there. That would be the next place they would check when they don’t find my body in the wreckage. ::She examined the frozen, corrupted navigational display and considered the surrounding area.:: If we go northeast from here, there’s an abandoned outpost we could use. Out of service for more than twenty years and not included on up-to-date maps. The Ambassador’s logic was sound. If they had been able to sabotage the Ambassador’s yacht, then it was likely they would be able to access the villa. They needed somewhere out of the way, for the moment at least. Thoran: Then that sounds like our best chance. Everybody, grab anything you can carry. We’ll depart in five. Serala / McKnight / Nehir / Revix: Responses Dels’an: Someone help me get her out of here. Anyone who’s still here when the saboteurs return to finish the job is dead. The wounded Valcarian would slow them down considerably and it was reaffirming to see that she held a no man left behind attitude. Even if it would make their own flight difficult. Jarred moved forward, taking hold of the console that pinned the Valcarian to their chair. Thoran: On the count of three, we’ll pull the console up. Somebody get ready to move Faris. One.. two.. Three. Jarred heaved with all his strength, the broken console barely moving. He could feel his face redden and his knuckles were turning white as he continued trying to hoist the console upwards. Finally they managed to create enough space for Faris to be moved. Once she was clear, they released the console, which fell to the floor, the display shattering. Thoran: We won’t be able to get far with her in that state. We need to make a stretcher. Take it in turns to carry her. ::He turned to Serala and one of the Romulans.:: Find anything we could use. Serala / Revix: Responses Thoran: Counselor, Mister McKnight, I understand you both have rudimentary first aid training. Are you able to stabilise Faris enough for transport? McKnight / Nehir: Responses Thoran: Ambassador, how long do you think it will take for somebody to pick up the signal and make tracks towards us? Dels’an: Response
  11. Being a recent transfer to Ops, I really enjoyed this bit of story arc regarding @Taelon. Great sim! ((Starfleet Intel HQ – London, Earth)) (time index: several days into shore leave) Once he’d looked at Earth from a frieghter’s window and been in awe of its beauty, its sparkling blue seas and rolling green. It’d been a contrast to the reddish dust and green clouds of his birth planet. The Academy had been the first thing he’d truly done on his own, and had seemed almost magical. Now he was back - and not as a welcomed newcomer. Now the looks he got were dark. They thought he’d done something he hadn’t. Taelon wasn’t sure what they even wanted him to reveal at his point; he’d told them as much as he could. Except he hadn’t, he knew he hadn’t. He’d been on a ship in contact with the Klingon military, seen the lists of dissidents and spies, even helped identify some of them. He’d helped Kaskis Ril for 15 years. The last time he’d seen Kaskis, she’d knifed him in the gut. For most people, this would have ended any loyalty they’d had. For Taelon, well, he’d deserved it, hadn’t he? He’d been lying to her for years, claiming to know nothing and to be some exile from Federation space. The fact she’d have skinned him alive for his command codes didn’t factor into his thought process much, but it did come to him on dark nights. He’d seen enough as part of her crew to know how Klingons got information out of people. If they’d discovered he was a ranking Federation officer from 20 years in the future... But they hadn’t. Instead he’d been a loyal follower, the bounty hunter’s mechanic and medic of sorts. He’d been with her for a long time, and that knifing had hardly been the first time she’d struck at him in what he considered justified retribution. He could use her backing now, he thought, standing in the dock. Despite his towering height, Taelon’s body language was hardly intimidating; if anything, it made his answers seem worse. He tugged at the edges of his sleeves, worried his lower lip, and held himself closely, tucking his arms up against his sides and curling in around himself. He struggled to maintain eye contact. This was quite normal for him when he was uncomfortable, and with the added stress, his nervous ticks grew worse; already he’d nibbled through his lower lip, blood visible on his tongue briefly. All this did, however, serve to make him seem evasive. About halfway through he seemed to realize that and tried to steel himself, but DeMarcus’ looks and body language made him shrink back and fail. DeMarcus: Do you deny you worked with this cult, despite having evidence that you were on Zeta Iomis IV? Taelon’s rising panic was clear to everyone watching. He saw Sal Taybrim and locked eyes with him briefly and that seemed to give him some measure of comfort; he took a few steadying breaths before he replied. Taelon: I’ve never worked with the Cult of Molor. Zeta Iomis IV was thought to be one of the hideouts for the Screaming Warriguls, so Captain Ril wanted it investigated. I merely - we merely did what she ordered. That might well have been the longest he’d gone without a small stutter, and this only seemed to make DeMarcus more doubtful rather than less. DeMarcus: That is convenient. Would you care to elucidate on what you were doing on the IKS Qulp’law? Taelon: I was - ::He stopped, fingers twisting together so tightly that his knuckles popped.:: I acted as her mechanic and maintained the crew’s w-weapons and assault vehicles. ::He stopped again, biting his lip before adding-:: I, I invented some new tech for them as well. To help with the - to help with their work. I’ve documented my time with them for the Temporal authorities…. DeMarcus: Seems convenient. Taelon clearly didn’t know what to say to that; he lowered his gaze again before he managed a reply. Taelon: W-well, it’s the truth... The Intelligence officer’s look was one of disgust. He paced, each click of his heeled boots echoing. DeMarcus: Also convenient that you left the Narendra and shortly thereafter the cult was able to infiltrate the ship… Taelon gawked at him, his gaze going to the crowd - to Sal, to others he’d talked to before. Whatever he’d guessed he was accused of, having put the Cult on the Narendra wasn’t included in that. He stammered. Despite his timid nature, it was clear he was offended. Taelon: Why would I - I’d never tell a group of killers where my colleagues were! Especially not after - not after - He fell silent, shaking hands holding the edge of the dock. His knuckles were white. DeMarcus: ::More forcefully:: Someone had to leak security details! Someone had to tell the Klingons! Taelon: Whatever it is I’ve done, or - or you think I’ve done… I wouldn’t h-hurt other members of the Federation - DeMarcus cut him off with a scoff, the man’s posture growing more intimidating. DeMarcus: Like you weren’t responsible for the death of undercover operative K’Tomj? ::He smiled with a vicious expression. He knew the Starfleet intel operative was killed after contact with the Qulp’law.:: Taelon’s mouth opened, but he said nothing for a long moment, eventually clicking his mouth shut. He looked around the room again. It was true he’d killed the man. It’d been a routine job with Ril’s crew up until he saw the reports afterwards. Taelon: I didn’t - I didn’t know about him. It was just a routine bounty, until we saw his intel… DeMarcus/Any: ? Licking his lips nervously, Taelon’s gaze dropped yet again. He didn’t know, how could he, it wasn’t like that at the time - he was keenly aware of his responses repeating over and over. But they were true. How could have known about a spy who was emplaced years before he’d even joined Starfleet? He should have seen the clues, but at the time it’d been a hostile planet and people had been quick to start shooting the moment things went south. He didn’t know what to say any more. Taelon: I’ve studied the cult under Captain Ril for years. And I might - I might make things you people - ::He stopped and quickly corrected himself.:: I might design things that, that the Federation doesn’t like, but I don’t - the Cult wants to hurt people. I want to p-protect them…
  12. This sim is a teaser for our upcoming mission. When I read it, I had a sense of deja-vu. It turns out that it was a flashback sim, the dialogue was lifted from a set of sims I was lucky enough to be a part of six months ago, but instead written from the point of view of two Romulans that went into the diner. This is very Pulp Fiction of you @Roshanara Rahman and brilliantly done! Love it. ((Welder's Diner, Ketar V - Stardate 239607)) Kivas shook his head at his friend and fellow Romulan Sajok as they both stood in the famous Welder’s Diner, home of the Shoals’ best burgers. The two refugees had found work at the nearby Livernois Shipyard, working on one of the Starfleet contracts. While there were plenty of shipyards across the planet offering work, many Romulans and Remans had taken up the openings at Livernois because Starfleet had specific affirmative action policies in place to ensure fair hiring practices. While Ketar V was technically a Federation world, Kivas had found that some of the residents of the oldest colony in the Shoals exhibited rather provincial attitudes when it came to his kind. Perhaps it was the distance and the slow communications or the history of the colony’s growth, with many early settlers having ancestors who had fought in that first Earth-Romulan war of so long ago, but whatever the reason, the former university professor had discovered that humans and other Federation citizens out here sometimes struggled to live up to their supposed ideals. Today, one human customer at the diner in particular was struggling. Human customer: This establishment isn't for your kind. Kivas gave Sajok a coy smile before looking back at the human man who was now standing a little closer to them. Kivas: It's always so humbling to see that great Federation enlightenment on display. Human customer: This ain't got nothing to do with the Federation. If it were up to me, none of you lot would be here. Yet despite what some of the refugees thought, Kivas knew not all humans were like this. In fact, he wouldn’t even say that most of them were like this. And case in point, their waitress came over to break up the commotion and kick out the disruptive customer. Waitress: Well, fortunately, it's not up to you. And if you're going to harass other customers, then I'm going to ask you to leave. ::She looked over at the Romulans and gestured to one of the open tables.:: I'm sorry gentlemen, please take a seat. Kivas and Sajok gave a polite nod to the waitress as they walked past the man, who continued to give them an unfriendly stare before he then looked over at a few Starfleet officers sitting in a both by the windows. Human customer: Meh, this place isn't what it used to be anyway. Too much trash piling up. Sajok grumbled as the two men grabbed their table. Sajok: I don’t know why you like coming here. Plenty of places we can go without being harassed. Unlike Kivas, who first arrived on Ketar with the first wave of refugees during the start of the resettlement program in 2388, Sajok was a more recent arrival. Previously a civil engineer, he’d lived on Ketar now for two years, but it still wasn’t home for him, and his wife had been pushing for them to move their family of four to another refugee settlement such as Bilire VI. Unlike Ketar, Bilire was previously uninhabited before the refugee colony there was established in the wake of the Hobus supernova that had destroyed Romulus and Remus. Kivas: I am a resident of Ketar, which means I can go where I please. ::opens a menu:: And so I will. He looked up from his menu, making a point to his dining companion. Kivas: It’s important we remind them that we have just as much a right to be here as they do. ::beat:: And that we’re not going anywhere. The other Romulan scoffed as he opened his menu. Sajok: Speak for yourself… I don’t see what’s so great about this place. Kivas: Look around you, Sajok. This is a world built through blood, sweat, and tears. It’s a rare colony world with actual history—it predates the Federation itself. We are but one new chapter in its story. Sajok shook his head. Sajok: I never realized you were such a romantic. Kivas: Well, and I like the Hawaiian teriyaki burger. This Earth fruit—pineapple. It’s quite something! His companion just chuckled as he continued to look over the menu. ((Later)) With their food ordered, the two Romulans were minding their own business waiting for their lunch when the human man from earlier returned to the diner. Except this time, he wasn't alone. As he and two others walked in, they glanced at the Starfleet officers before walking over to Kivas and Sajok. Human customer from earlier: Well, well, look who's still here... One of the man’s new companions, a human woman with olive skin and long blonde messy dreadlocks spoke up, while gesturing towards the Starfleet officers. Human woman: And your Starfleet friends here can’t help you. Human customer from earlier: It seems you didn't get the message that you aren't welcome here, Romulan. Sajok: We are just waiting for our burgers. The waitress addressed the human customer from earlier. Waitress: I told you to leave, sir. I don't like your attitude. Human customer: And I don't like having to work with these green-blooded snakes... ::chuckles as he looks back up at the waitress:: Sajok didn’t have the same patience as Kivas. He stood up and leaned forward. Sajok: Is that so! ::Looking around diner:: Is *this* how the Federation treats refugees? Then I would be happy to take this outside! Brushing her hair back, the female human stepped up towards Sajok. Human woman: Nope. Here’s just fine. Perhaps Sajok was right, Kivas thought. He was about to stand up to walk with Sajok to another establishment when one of the Starfleet officers from across the room called out. Starfleet security officer: ENOUGH! You have no authority to ban anyone in here. She :: pointing to the waitress :: has made it clear they can stay. :: To the Romulans :: And no, they're not a representation of what the Federation is. Another one of the Starfleet officers tapped his combadge. Starfleet engineer: =/\= Lieutenant Ukinix to any CCMS. Require presence at… ::looking at window:: …Welder’s Diner, opposite Livernois Shipyard offices, ::looking back:: there’s an altercation in progress. :: CCMS: =/\= Understood, we are en-route. =/\= The human woman with dreadlocks walked over to taunt the Starfleet officers. Human woman: Typical Starfleet. *Always* poking your nose in where it isn’t wanted. At this, the other Starfleet officer stood up to join his companion already standing. There was a third officer, a woman who remained seated. Kivas watched her curiously. She clearly was trying to keep the peace as well despite her distaste at what was going on. She wasn’t looking at him, but if she had been, he’d have exchanged a nod of understanding. All they wanted was to keep the peace. Starfleet security officer: We poke our noses where there are problems and right now, you're the problem. You have a chance to leave before the CCMS arrive. :: Looking at her eyes with all his height :: Your choice. Human woman: Hmmph. The woman seemed to walk away but then suddenly spun around to deliver a sucker punch. However, she wasn’t fast enough for the security officer to miss her telegraphing of her attack. He caught her fist in his hand and somehow crushed her knuckles with his grasp. The woman grunted before the man knocked her down with his other hand. As this was going on, the two other human men lunged at Sajok. Despite Kivas’ distaste for violence, he wasn’t going to abandon his companion. He stood up to face off against the attackers. The brawl in the diner quickly got ugly as fists and kicks were shot out. With the help of the Starfleet officers, though, they were able to subdue their attackers. The female Starfleet officer walked over to one of her shipmates. Starfleet command officer: Are you all right? Starfleet engineer: ::Panting, nodding:: Yeah, fine. The woman then walked over to Kivas and Sajok. Starfleet command officer: And you? Kivas looked over at Sajok, who nodded first, before he turned his head back at the woman and nodded. It was at that moment then that several Colonial Coalition Marshals swarmed into the building. Marshal: What's going on here? Starfleet security officer: Don't tell that I didn't gave you a chance to leave. :: to the officers :: I'm Commander Kelrod Chief of Security of the USS Veritas. This woman will require medical attention. Human woman: Marshal, we were just trying to have a meal when this [...] started shooting! ::She raised her arm up to show the marshal as his partner went to look over at the unconscious bodies.:: He crushed my hand! Sajok called out to the injured human and the marshal. Sajok: That was only after you tried to start a fight. You shouldn't start something unless you intend to finish it. The Starfleet security officer called Kelrod walked over to the two Romulans. Kelrod: I hope you're okay. I'll be happy to help you get medical attention if you require it. Kivas: Thank you... Kelrod: I personally consider Romulans a strong and intelligent people. In fact, Starfleet has Romulans or part Romulans serving. I hope that you are open to reconsider your … views of the Federation. But the man’s companion looked worried. Starfleet command officer: ::whispers:: Commander, I don't think this is over... Kelrod: I'm sorry for the mess. Please, give my compliments to the kitchen. I'll be sure to come back next time I'm around, if it's fine with you. Marshal: Not so fast! You all are under arrest. The female Starfleet officer fired back in either disbelief or indignation. Starfleet command officer: On what charges? Marshal: Disturbing the peace, discharging a phaser in public, assault... need I go on, little lady? Ukinix: “Little Lady”!! Who the fff- Her other shipmate didn’t appreciate that comment. Whoever these people were, they were quite protective of each other. Kivas admired that and recognized it in the Romulan spirit as well. Kelrod: Easy Wil... And Marshal, you're talking to a Starfleet captain. Show her the respect she deserves. Kivas: oO Captain? Oo The captain raised her hand again to try to tell her shipmates not to resist. Starfleet captain: We'll sort this out at the marshal's office. As the three were escorted in handcuffs out of the diner, Kivas continued to watch them with intrigue. Sajok walked up next to him to watch as well. Sajok: Well, you happy? You think you really made your point? Kivas continued to watch the Starfleet officers as they were placed into a CCMS transport vehicle before he looked back at Sajok. Kivas: I don’t know if I did. ::He gestured to the arrested Starfleet officers.:: But I think they might have. The waitress walked over to the two Romulans, looking apologetic. Waitress: Sorry again for this whole mess… ::She shook her head.:: Your burgers are ready… if you still want them, that is. Kivas just smiled. Kivas: Yes, of course! We cannot waste the pineapple! As Kivas made his way back to the table, Sajok just shook his head before glancing for one last time at the CCMS transport vehicle as it sped away back to the station. Kivas and Sajok Romulan Refugees, Ketar V I238705TZ0
  13. ((Research Outpost, Giáng Sinh)) Jona stood up one last time from his chair near the fire and bobbed his antennae at each person in turn. ch'Ranni: Counselor, ... Commander, ... James. Thank you all for the talk. I think I know what I need to do now. Thank you all. Fortune: Ah! Thank you for joining us! If you need anything, just pop back by, okay? Colquhoun: See you later, Jona. Sevo: It was an...interesting sort of pleasure talking. Jona slowly moved off from the group and toward his assigned cabin. He had a lot of thinking to do and a couple of letters to write. ((Timeskip)) After a few hours of laying in the prefab cabin's bunk - wide awake - Jona sat up and activated the light switch next to the bed. He grabbed the PADD sitting on the side table and cracked his neck each side. The Andorian tapped away at the tablet, calling up his personal communication repository. His thin, pale blue fingers danced across the surface as he queued up a new message. It was time to get something off his chest. ch'Ranni: Record personal communication. Authorization ch'Ranni delta zero one nine two. Lieutenant Jona ch'Ranni, USS Gorkon, to Vexa zh'Lev, Dehner Base, Delta Vega I. Dear Vexa... Jona paused. He didn't really know how to begin. How was he suppose to tell her everything that was in her heart? Could he even do that? Did he himself even know what was in his heart? ch'Ranni: Vexa, I've missed you so much this past month. It was so hard saying goodbye. I think we were both worried that the long distance thing wasn't going to be easy. Believe me ... it hasn't been. He stopped speaking for a second as he pictured the impish smile of his girlfriend. They had believed they had all the time in the world and then life and duty slashed that naivete to pieces faster than a rookie at a bat'leth competition. It was done and over far too soon. ch'Ranni: I just wanted to say that ... due to recent experiences ... I have been thinking a lot about life and the choices before me. Am I happy with the way things are going, the way they've turned out? No, not really. The Q's skewering of his personality and sum of life choices had really gotten to him. More than he wanted to admit, especially to his new shipmates. Was he stuck on autopilot? Was he caught in the current of life, destined to make the same decisions no matter what? ch'Ranni: I want to see you. I want to make this work. I'm not happy without you and I hope you feel the same way. I'm determined to be there for you. Don't give up on me, Vexa. Satisfied with the words, Jona tapped the send button and immediately saw that a message had arrived while he was composing his. It was from Vexa! Jona grinned and remembered a Terran expression about great minds thinking alike. He quickly opened the message and his grin slowly began to fade from his face. Vexa: Jona, this isn't working. I care about you very much. But, this isn't working. This past month has been hard on me and I'm sure it has been on you two. You deserve better. And so do I. I've met someone, Jona. A new addition to Dehner Base's security personnel. I'm so sorry. I hope you find happiness and peace. Jona powered off the screen and clicked the room's light off. He lay his head back down on the pillow as tears wet his face. -- Lt. Jona ch'Ranni Chief of Operations USS Gorkon (NCC-82293) C239510JC0
  14. ((Security Complex, Deck 4, USS Atlantis)) The last few days had been a blur for Maddi after the scene of Esa running off she decided to just leave it alone and give Esa space. oO Was it me? I don’t know, but I’m going to leave it alone. Oo The best way for Maddi to forget it was to immerse herself in her work. It was the best medicine Maddi had and at the moment it was the only thing keeping her sane. She had been told that an important guest was coming. She had pulled all of her security forces to the complex for a briefing. She had prepared the presentation and the room was full of yellow uniformed men and women. oO This is really happening I’m Chief. Oo Hyden: Good morning everyone! I have called you here to prepare for the arrival of the Valcarians Ambassador. The security of the ship is of the utmost importance. Regardless of our relationship with the Valcarians it is our job to make sure the guests are safe and protected, but also that the ships vital areas are sealed off from prying eyes. As this is an important dignitary and we do not know how long they will be with us we will be working on continuous shifts. When they arrive I want Security to be on high alert. All systems are calibrated and set. The security complex will be locked to any and all guest unless properly escorted. If I am on the bridge I expect teams Alpha, Beta, and Charlie to be patrolling and guarding as shown on your PADDS. Maddi stopped for a minute scanning the room to see if there was any looks of confusion, as none were present she opened the floor to questions. Anyone: Response ((OOC: Happy to add to this part if security people want to jump in.)) ((Short Timeskip)) The briefing went extraordinarily well especially considering it was her first time doing it by herself. She didn’t have time to pat herself on the back though she had to go through and recheck all the vital security systems on the ship. She trusted the other personnel, but as Chief she wanted to make sure everything was set for the arrival of the ambassador. She headed to the armory and pulled out her PADD. She kept a strict inventory of the weapons on the ship and she was going to make sure that those numbers matched. It took her a considerable amount of time to check that the numbers were right, but after a few hours she felt sure her numbers were correct. She locked the lockers and made sure the security measures were in place before departing. She was running late to her next check, but then again there was no exact schedule; however it was one she adhered too and wanted to make sure she kept. She headed to the transporter room and began scanning the security measures in place, as the security chief she opened the consoles security measures and checked the systems everything was running correctly except the console was not recognizing the officer on duty. Maddi decided to help him out, as she looked through the systems it appeared the man had been somehow deleted from the system. It took Maddi a few minutes, but she reintegrated him into the security system and he was able to work the transporter. After checking the perimeter of the room for any anomalies and being satisfied there was not she moved on. oO Gosh I could really use some food. Oo Her stomach growled as the thought registered with the rest of her body. She needed something to eat, but she had so much to do she wasn’t sure she could take the time for food, but there was something she always had time for. She swung by the mess hall and replicated a mug of chocolate milk on the go. As she took a sip the sugary taste gave her a boost to continue. She quickly headed out of the mess hall and headed for the shuttlebay. The Valcarians were picky on the use of transporters and Maddi was unsure which one they would prefer to use so she would check both. She began her initial checks of the shuttlebay which brought up a few small issues. She was big on making sure the security measures of doors and interfaces were calibrated correctly. The security display showed discrepancies between the profiles allowed and the profiles restricted. As she scrolled through the list she noticed some officers of the restricted list and some guest who should not be accessing the shuttlebay granted access. oO I’m sure it’s just a mistake, but it’s one that needs fixed. Oo She began the tedious task of reassigning the permissions to the correct profiles. That task was easy, but tedious it took a lot of concentration and many drinks of her chocolate milk to get her through. A few officers had walked through while she was working and had given her a puzzled look. She smiled politely and continued her work. After a short while the profiles were set correctly and she was satisfied with the recheck of diagnostics. She looked at the time the day had flown by her time had been used appropriately, but it was nearing the end of her shift, but she still had to go look over the shuttle, check the systems on the bridge, and hand the final assessment to Thoran. oO Hopefully the shuttle doesn’t pose any real problems. Oo She headed to the shuttle and began the deep inspection of its systems. The initial checks were great, but the security systems on the ship had been rearranged to the specifications of the pilot who had been flying it. Maddi understood that sometimes the systems in place were a difficult barrier, but their reasons for being there were important and unfortunately it made Maddi have to do her job even when it wasn’t what she wanted to do. Hyden: =/\= Hyden to Teravalis. Could you come to shuttlebay two? =/\= Teravalis: =/\= Response =/\= Hyden: =/\= Thank you. =/\= ((Short Timeskip)) Maddi had decided to wait before resetting the systems to the correct setting. She was going to wait for Teravalis. She waited for a few minutes before the pilot slowly approached her looking slightly scared. Hyden: Hello Ensign! Teravalis: Response Hyden: There’s Nothing to be scared about just something you need to know. I was reviewing the Security protocols and saw you has changed a few to better accommodate you while you fly. As there are ways to help you it is not suggested to mess with the default settings. They’re in place for your safety. Teravalis: Response Maddi listened to the inflection of her voice and being able to tell she was sorry for what she did. Maddi also listens to her reasoning and decided to work with the woman. Hyden: Well let's see what I can do for you. I understand the reasoning behind why you did it and can see why it’s easier, but maybe we can change a few things, but keep the setting in the proper protocols. Maddi changed a few setting that she thought might make it easier for the pilot. Hyden: How’s that? Teravalis: Response Hyden: Excellent! Thanks for understanding if you need anything else just let me know! I will make sure this is implemented on all the shuttle for you. You’re dismissed. She smiled as the woman departed the shuttle. oO She is definitely skilled and I’m glad I can help her. Oo Maddi tried to take a sip of chocolate milk, but there was none in the cup she quickly replicated more and took a sip which gave her another boost of energy. oO This is probably not the best way to keep energy, but it tastes so good. Oo She finished up the checks after making sure the few changes were set in the shuttle and locked under her codes only, but she would inform the Captain in her report. She stopped and added this part to her report that was rather lengthy on the PADD. She was starting to feel tired, but she would press on. She headed for the bridge, but when she arrived it was empty except for the night crew. She smiled sheepishly to the group and casually slid into the security consoles spot. She began the lvl 3 diagnostics of all the ships security systems. The check came back good and everything was perfect on the bridge. It took her around 45 minutes to complete the task, but after completing it and feeling satisfied with the result. She headed back to her office to finish her report. She arrived at her office moments later, but the exhaustion began to sweep in and the hunger was worse than before. She had to eat if she was going to stay up. She went over to her replicator and requested a bacon cheeseburger and a giant glass of more milk. She ate the sandwich and began her report. It was much more detailed than she had expected, but that was how her job went and she made sure that all the information was apparent in the report. She stopped for a minute and Esa slipped into her mind, but Maddi continued her work. oO She needs space. I just hope she will talk to me. I miss her. She really laid into me that night. Oo She continued working on her report, as well as the many other that had stacked up on her desk. After hours of work she was done. She had finished all her backlogged work and the report for the Captain. She looked at the time it was already morning and she was pretty sure the Commander would be in his office. So she headed to his ready room. She took a deep breath to try and fight the exhaustion in her body. She waited after activating the chime to hear the words to enter the room. She entered the room and smile with the PADD tucked under her arms. Hyden: Hello Commander, I have finished my security assessment for the arrival of the Ambassador and the systems of the ship for you. Thoran: Response
  15. This was a brilliant piece of writing! Well done @Lael Rosek and @Toryn Raga. I couldn't stop reading it at work on break till I finished it. I think I was a minute late lol. ((Corridor, Deck 3, USS Atlantis)) {{Day 3 of shoreleave, Late evening}} It had been another long day of avoiding Toryn. She freely admitted she was attracted to him and that his company soothed her in ways she couldn’t begin to understand. That wasn’t the difficult part. Something about the situation between them made her wary of messing it up. She’d taken her space after the last away mission, not wanting to rush into things any more than they already had. There’d been very little communication between them in the way of getting to know one another. Most of what she did know about him had been gleaned either from his Starfleet records or from shrewd observation. There was no discounting what they’d been through together and the intimacy that they’d shared in the process, but she was nervous. She’d been hurt so much in the past and wasn’t sure if love was something she was interested in. It made her much different than other Al-Leyans in that she had considered monogamy. Al-Leyans weren’t monogamous by nature and yet, the idea of one person she could always rely on and didn’t have to share did have its appeal. There had been an uncomfortable feeling he’d been dealing with since the mission ended. He couldn’t place it, but Toryn had the suspicion that Ishka had been avoiding him. It brought back unpleasant memories of Serala, one of his two best friends, doing everything she could to put as much space between them as possible and being blunt to the point that it didn’t even feel as though they were close friends. Thankfully, that seemed to have passed, but to be honest the two of them hadn’t actually spoken much lately. His thoughts wandered back to Ishka as he realized he could feel her nearby. That wasn’t surprising. It was a small ship and he could always sense her mind. The only one on board that he could. It made him respect what their resident Rodulans must go through hearing everyone’s thoughts. He should have been focused on where he was going, as he rounded the corner he practically bowled someone over in his quick stride. She’d been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn’t noticed the familiar presence of Toryn’s mind nearby until it was too late. As she rounded a corner, she made hard contact with something solid. Thankfully, she was able to keep her footing and as soon as she was certain she wasn’t going to fall, she glanced up to find herself staring into the impossibly deep blue eyes of the very man she’d hoped to avoid until she could sort out what she was feeling. That gaze felt like staring into a stellar nursery. Or a gravitic anomaly because for the life of him he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the vibrant emeralds in front of him. Framed by the fiery red mane she was breathtaking. Literally and figuratively as he stood there, trying to assemble coherent letters into words, then words into a sentence. Raga: oO Winds she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve met. Oo I’m sorry, doc. Are you alright? She wasn’t sure how to respond at first. The formality had her fighting back a wince. He’d been so free with her given name on multiple occasions while they were on the surface. Had it just been the heat of the moment? Adrenaline? It had been so freeing the couple of times she’d used his given name. Every touch had been more real for it. Something about the intimacy had helped her keep her focus. She’d worried that her personal feelings for Toryn would get in the way of her professionalism, but what had happened on Paldor II was proof that she’d been overthinking it. Or so she’d thought. Journs: ::gaze drops and murmurs:: I’m sorry, sir. It’s my fault. I wasn’t paying attention. Raga: It’s alright Ishka. I wasn’t looking where I was going either. Had she not lowered her gaze it would have been nigh impossible for him to look away. But he visually examined her from head to toe, not finding any signs of injury. Not that he expected there to be. Al-Leyans were a hearty bunch. However, he gently touched a crooked finger under her chin to raise her gaze to his again. Raga: I really wish you’d stop doing that. ::He whispered:: Your eyes are too beautiful to hide. A flush crept into her cheeks, one that she failed to hide despite her best efforts. The mixed messages made her even more timid than usual. Worrying her lower lip, she lifted her gaze to his, her mouth agape slightly as the tip of her tongue peeked out to moisten her lips. Winds, but he was attractive...and so charming. Any sense she had was scattered to the winds when he called her or any part of her beautiful. The compliment drew a shy smile. Journs: ::breathily:: I-- Any words that she’d managed to string together in her mind in response clearly hadn’t made it all the way to her mouth. What could she say to this beautiful man who had held her in his arms and worshipped her for hours? Part of him couldn’t help but smile a bit at her expression. The crimson that filled her cheeks could likely be detected by the ship’s sensors at this point. And that thing she did with her lip only added to her own allure. Eventually, awareness of things other than the radiant entity before him filtered into his perceptions and he glanced around with a grin. Raga: Were you headed anywhere in particular? ::He asked, clearing his throat slightly:: They were just standing there in the corridor and if she wasn’t doing anything, maybe they could talk. Clear up a few things or at least try to sort out this intense tension between them. Again, she worried her lower lip. Her thoughts had been focused on her couch in her quarters and maybe another night of movies and chocolate ice cream. Journs: Um...nothing specific. Why? His brow raised and a slight smirk curled his lips. The thought of spending time with her was enough to quicken his pulse by a warp factor of ten at least. Raga: Well, I don’t have plans. And I know that last mission was tough on all of us. If you want we could talk a bit. We haven’t really had much time to get to know each other much. Which was quite amusing if he took a moment to consider they’d already been quite intimate and that was just about the most, well, intimate way to know someone. Raga: My quarters are right over there and for once Kurt isn’t mimicking a statue outside. She smiled wanly at the memory of her and Toryn’s first night together when she’d had to make excuses to Logan in order to gain entrance to Toryn’s quarters. He wanted to talk and though she was certain he meant it, she also suspected that thoughts of their last intimate encounter were occupying his mind at that same moment. Despite fighting the desire to spend time with him alone these last few days, she couldn’t help the way her heartrate picked up at the thought of sharing that intimacy with him again. It was all she’d wanted on Paldor II. Journs: ::softly:: Okay. No matter how hard they both were trying to conceal their thoughts from one another it was impossible for him to not hear her heartbeat. It brought a warm smile to his face even before she agreed to spend time with him. Raga: Great! ::He felt silly just how excited he’d sounded and realized he was louder too:: oO You’d think I’d never gone through my season or something. Oo He chided himself mentally and turned on his bootheel. Toryn lead her back to his quarters, which were only just down the next corridor. Mid hull on the Starboard side. The door swished open and he stepped inside, gesturing for her to follow. A soft hoot came from the corner at their entry and he smiled at Sylara. Toryn looked back to her as he stood midway between the door and the replicator. ((Raga’s Quarters)) Raga: Would you like something to drink? Just being in his quarters again stirred memories of their passionate night and she felt a shiver race down her spine. It had been the most intense coupling of her young life, and that was saying something given how many lovers she’d had. Though they’d destroyed the majority of his quarters in their desperation to get as close as possible, there had been a tenderness to Toryn’s actions. She’d felt special and protected. Journs: Al-Leyan spiced tea. He gave a nod and stepped in front of the replicator if only to give himself a reprieve from having to actually think about how to start such a conversation. Raga: Two Al-Leyan Spiced teas. Hot. ::He looked back:: Make yourself at home. The replicator whirred and a moment later the requested beverages appeared in the usual swirl of blue and white luminescence. Steam rose from the mugs and he grasped them by the handles and joined her in the living area. Offering one mug to her before he took a seat on the large couch beneath the window looking out at Paldor II. For a moment, she sat still in the quiet, taking a long sip of her tea. Her racing heart missed a beat or two only two resume its normal rhythm. A nervous energy filled the space between them Something was developing...something serious...though it seemed neither wanted to admit it. Her gaze lifted to meet his. She wasn’t a risk-taker. Like most of her species, she calculated every possible risk before arriving at a conclusion. Not with Toryn. She’d done things these last few days that would typically be outside of her comfort zone. She’d followed him without a second thought, not stopping once to question the recklessness of his choices, and she didn’t regret a moment. Setting the mug of tea down on the coffee table, she lifted slightly shaking hands to cradle his face tenderly, running one thumb over the swell of his lower lip. Journs: You make me utterly crazy. Even when we’re together, I can’t stop thinking about you. I’m trying to go slow and not ruin a good thing before it truly has a chance to start, but… Toryn sat there, his own mug still clutched in his hand as he hadn’t decided to actually partake or set it down. And then he felt her soft, yet trembling hands cradle his face. The thumb brushing across his lips felt like electrical sparks the way his being reacted to the contact. Raga: So it’s not just me then? ::He muttered softly, as if he were one asylum patient confessing to another:: I’ve thought about you more in these past few days than anyone I’ve ever.. Slept with? Loved? Been attracted to? All of the above? He struggled how to finish that thought, his words trailed off as he couldn’t settle on any one in particular. He reached up to cradle her hands in one of his own and the other extended to brush fingers through her hair. Her gaze dropped to his lips and she leaned forward slowly, brushing her lips chastely over his before pulling back and staring into his eyes. She pulled one hand free and slid it up the side of his face, brushing the tip of his ear tenderly. It was an intimate gesture typically reserved for lovers as the location was one of an Al-Leyan’s most sensitive places. A soft smile turned up the corners of her lips as she leaned closer to him, longing to feel the weight of his body pressed against hers. There was something about his masculine strength that made her feel so warm and protected. It never failed to drive away any worries of the day. Toryn felt the chaste kiss and the brief contact of her supple lips to his was enough to steal his breath. He’d been longing for her company since the crisis on the surface. When she was facing a lost patient he wanted to pull her into his arms. Hold her until she felt better, or bring her to his quarters and pamper her with intimacy until she forgot. Seeing her smile, he couldn’t help but do the same and he reached out to set his mug down as she leaned in. With both hands-free he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against him. He’d wanted to talk, they needed to but it was almost futile to resist or deny the magnetic pull he felt towards her. His hands caressed her back as he drew her against his chest. He stared into those emerald pools of hers and let his lips tenderly meet hers. A passionate kiss ensued, one that even took him by surprise. For a long moment, she allowed herself to be lost in it, closing her eyes and enjoying the way his lips felt against hers. She arched her neck, exposing her bare throat to his kisses even as she buried shaking hands into his dark raven locks. For a few moments, she allowed it, then sighed and pushed at his chest with one hand, the other on his shoulder to hold him firmly in place. Journs: ::breathily:: I thought you wanted to talk. Toryn lost himself in her for that long moment and then sense kicked in with one of them and she broached the reason for them visiting his quarters. The dutiful former Tac/Sec chief cleared his throat and nodded. Sitting back against the cushion of the couch, but still embracing her he licked his lips, Raga: Sorry. You’re right. ::He smiled:: I can’t seem to help myself around you. ::He muttered softly:: What is this we seem to have between us? Journs: ::touches her forehead to his and sighs:: I don’t know. It’s not like me to be so reckless. On Paldor II with the stampede--I just reacted. I saw you risking your life and I reacted. Hearing her say that he felt a twinge of guilt and inadequacy. Toryn was by far the least typical specimen of their species. Al-Leyan’s were so methodical they didn’t even accept transporter technology on their homeworld until long after it had been perfected. Favoring the reliability of magnetic rail propulsion and massive networks of trains that blanketed the planet. Every possible risk was assessed before an action was taken. And here he was, the record holder for purple hearts on Atlantis. Far more emotional than most Al-Leyans. They were a passionate species, but he was broken. The usual filters of his species weren’t present in him. It’s part of why he’d undergone two separate Attitude Readjustment Therapies. Raga: It’s because of me. I’m not a good Al-Leyan. ::He frowned and shifted his gaze away from her as if ashamed:: Journs: ::shakes her head and brushes her lips against his:: Toryn, I--All my life, I’ve stayed with the traditions and have never taken unnecessary risks. ::pauses:: I went outside of my branch, but I can’t say I’m sorry I did. ::brushes the backs of her knuckles over his cheek:: Winds only know what would have happened if I hadn’t. I would have regretted it if I’d just stood by and watched while you risked your life to protect those people. His eyes closed briefly when her lips touched his and he kept them closed, trying not to let his inner demons draw his thoughts away from the gorgeous redhead embraced in his arms. Raga: It’s my duty. One I’ve had to push to the limits more often than I’d like on this ship. So many enemies and all alone. ::He opened his eyes to look into hers:: I’m reckless, I know. It’s done as much good as it has harm. I made a rash, split second decision to save Captain Brell and spent three months with the Consortium as a result. She reached out, caressing his mind with hers. She should be running. This wasn’t what good Al-Leyans did. Not according to the Council and the traditions anyway. People had been exiled for less. While it wasn’t officially against the laws, many received therapy for chronic recklessness. But was it really so reckless? In her time enlisted in Starfleet, she’d been forced to redefine a lot of her beliefs in the context of the greater universe. Many species considered actions like Toryn’s noble and an indication of good character. He cared for others and was willing to go to any lengths to protect them. Maybe that was why she felt safer with him than she ever had with anyone back home. There was something comforting in knowing that he would fight beside her even through the dangers they faced as Starfleet officers. Journs: ::murmurs:: The duties of those within your branch come at a price. It’s not one to be taken lightly. In my time with Starfleet, I’ve learned that the hardest choices, no matter the price, can also lead to our greatest sense of purpose and satisfaction. ::pauses:: You’re a good man, Toryn. I feel safe when I’m with you. No one else does that for me like you do. The touch our their minds together, even brief was enough to relax him. It was soothing. And yet, Toryn had enough baggage to fill the Expanse. Ishka’s comments were, quite frankly surprising. All of this was. She should have run for the hills by now, called someone back home on Leya-I and have the Council pressure Starfleet into ordering him home to be treated again. Or worse, exiled from the homeworld. It never occurred to him that being brainwashed and conditioned was perhaps a far worse fate than never being allowed on the world of one’s birth. That’s just the way they were raised. Raga: I know. And I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made in regards to protecting this ship and crew. I...I’m ::He floundered:: You’ve seen the scars, I know you have. I’m not right. There’s something wrong with me, Ishka. Journs: ::expression softens and murmurs:: No, there’s not. You’re different, but that doesn’t make you wrong. People like you and I stand out from the crowd because we don’t blindly do what we’re told. ::pauses:: My uncle, though he wasn’t proud to be different, realized eventually that there was no shame in it either. It’s about time that we caught up with the rest of the universe in that regard. Toryn stared at her for a long while, just, surrounded by those emerald eyes and soaking in what she’d just said. She had a point. In his three years on Atlantis he’d struggled with the cultural upbringing of his species. Of the way he was different. He’d met others who were similar. Rune Jolara was one, who’d embraced her exile status and was a proud Starfleet officer. She’d been the first to tell him warnings of the Council. Raga/ART: ~Imperfect beings attract imperfect beings~ A cold chill ran right down Toryn’s spine as the voice he’d not heard in some time filled his mind. The voice, was his own, but twisted. Dark. Cruel. And for that brief moment it sickened him that he’d let himself be tricked into saying it aloud. ART: ~How many women must you ruin simply because you love them?~ He trembled as ART tormented him and he snapped his eyes shut, to focus on forcing the malevolent entity back into the fragile cage it was contained within his psyche. She felt him shaking beneath her touch and her brow furrowed. Journs: ::murmurs:: ~ Toryn, come back to me. I’m here. ~ Ishka’ voice was like a bright light in a stormy sea. The Al-Leyan shuddered a moment at the telepathic contact. For a brief moment Toryn’s usually high mental shields dropped. Giving her a glimpse of his psyche. Every telepathic species had their own quirks. Al-Leyans were different only in that as a whole their species rarely had members who possessed such a gift. Perhaps one in a few hundred million. And he was even more unique due to the nature of how he received such gifts. The center point of his psyche was, for lack of a better term, a room. A sanctuary for him to retreat to in times of psychic stress. In the center of that room was a large gilded cage, like an archaic prison. The walls and ceiling were slender bars of gold, though the metal had seemingly lost its luster. Cracks spiderwebbed throughout the structure, including the door. The interior, despite the appearance wasn’t visible. Obscured by shadows. A pair of reflective eyes looked out from the small, barred window in the door. Fingers gripped the bars as a face pressed against them. Toryn’s face. Yet not. His features were dark, sullen and there was an intense cruelty in the eyes that stared out at Toryn. They shifted over his shoulder and looked right at the light shining into his mind. At Ishka. ART: ~But for how long? She’ll abandon you like all the others.~ In her time, she’d seen some shocking things. But nothing had prepared her for the inner world of Toryn’s psyche. She could only assume that what she was seeing visually represented the brokenness she knew he felt. Instead of acknowledging the twisted version of him, she focused her attention on Toryn, cradling his cheek with her hand. Journs: ::murmurs:: ~ I’m real, Toryn, and I’m not going anywhere. ~ There was the faint registration of physical contact as he stared at her, into those emerald eyes. All while the telepathic connection pulled his focus. He struggled with what to say when a flood of memories of the last two years came to his mind in a flurry. He thought of Serala, how he’d told her how he felt for her but after it was already too late. She had been mated to Stevok. Of Lael Rosek. The memory of her hurt even more. How he felt himself a failure as an Al-Leyan and a person because they couldn’t reconcile the differences of their cultural upbringings. And then Ishka, she was new and he truly didn’t know how he felt about her other than the intense effect she seemed to have on him. She leaned forward, brushing her lips against his, the familiar flutter taking up residence in her abdomen. The things he stirred in her...she couldn’t even begin to explain what he did to her. Though she hadn’t had much of a chance to properly sort through her feelings, she knew he brought out a side of her that no one else did and for the first time, she felt truly free to be herself. There was no fear that he would judge her for not being a traditional Al-Leyan. There was a trust between them that she’d never known before. The adrenaline-like sensation that filled him when her lips brushed over his was enough to snap him from his psychic stupor and those walls of his came slamming up hard as if his own internal red alert activated. The last image and sound of ART staring at them both laughing echoed a moment before he sucked in a sharp breath of air. Focus returned to those cerulean eyes of his and they flicked side to side looking at each of hers. That laughter caused the aftershock of a shudder to course through him and he retreated from her a moment. Fear in his eyes. She’d just glimpsed far more than most got to see of his being, his thoughts, memories. She was a true blood, like him, and they were both raised to view what he was as being wrong. The thought of her rejecting him caused a painful ache in his gut that he couldn’t shake. Raga: ….. She slid her hand to the back of his neck and gripped it tightly, pressing into him. She wasn’t letting go. She couldn’t let go. The pain she’d felt at nearly losing him on Paldor II crept into her thoughts and, though she knew he wouldn’t feel it, maybe he’d be able to see it in her thoughts. She allowed the memories of their intimacy to come to the surface, allowing him to relieve it through her eyes and to see himself as she did. The smile that lit his face when he looked at her...the tenderness in his eyes. Even with his shields up he saw the surface thoughts, deliberately shown to him by her. That caused his brow to raise slightly and after he sorted through them he looked at her, head shaking slightly, given the grip she had on his neck. Raga: Why? We both know that I should be reported to the Council. How can you be comfortable being around someone who’s… ::He fell silent but the words Fallen Branch floated into his thoughts:: Journs: ::meets his gaze and murmurs:: After my uncle, I--I’m not so sure. I--oh winds, Toryn. ::tears gather in the corners of her eyes:: When she seemed to fall apart like that he pulled her closer, hugging her gently against him. Seeing her with that look in her eyes, he felt the impulse to protect her. Or at the least to comfort her. Raga: I’m sorry Ishka. I make a mess of everything. ::He closed his eyes to keep from showing the tears threatening to fill them:: Journs: ::murmurs:: The Council--I--There must be a better way than sentencing so many good people to death simply for being who they are. Toryn’s brow furrowed slightly when she said that. It was true, and yet not. Raga: Ishka. There’s a reason the punishment is there. To protect our way of life. If ever there was a pre-programmed response it was that. Toryn looked at her with a momentary glimpse of innocence before he shook his head and sighed, enjoying her warmth against him. Journs: ::exhales shakily:: I know, I know. ::worries her lower lip and blinks back tears, then murmurs:: But is it really worth so many dying? Isn’t there a better way? Raga: ::He shrugged slightly:: There’s really not many that actually die, Ishka. As far as I know anyways, but I barely know of the Exiles. Journs: ::brow furrows in confusion:: Exiles? Raga: ::He nods:: That’s what they call themselves. A colony of Al-Leyan’s who’ve been, well, exiled from Leya-One. She wasn’t quite sure how to take that news. Did the Council know? Surely if they did they wouldn’t allow its continued existence. Such a faction was the ultimate threat to their way of life. People like Ishka and Toryn already pushed those limits by being part of such a diverse organization that could hold so many temptations for even the most dedicated Al-Leyan. Journs: ::murmurs:: Does the Council know? That. Was a question he’d honestly never even considered to ask. Though, he was fairly certain he knew the answer. If the Council knew there was little doubt that they would leave them be. Such a group was contrary to the established way of thinking and way of life. Without the fear of exile, the Council would lose a great deal of its power. Or at least, influence. Since that was the utmost worst punishment on Leya-I even beyond execution. Raga: I have no idea, but I doubt it. They wouldn’t be able to let that stand if they did. Ishka nodded, suddenly becoming quiet. This wasn’t what she’d come here for. She didn’t want to think about home. She wanted to think about them. She’d had days to mull this over and had decided she wanted to see where things with Toryn went. It wouldn’t be easy given that he was her direct superior. They’d have to keep things discreet so no one found out. A part of her was nervous about how much she’d shared with Maddi. She only hoped that didn’t come back to bite her. Journs: ::murmurs:: But this isn’t why I came here with you. Raga: Oh? ::He asked curiously, for the moment he was mostly back to his usual self and smirked at her:: I don’t know if my quarters can survive another visit from you. ::he chuckled:: She blushed, recalling vividly the disaster that had been the aftermath of their last night together and her heart thudded rapidly against her ribcage. A shudder ran down her spine at the memory and her tongue peeked out slightly to moisten her lips. Journs: ::pauses:: What happened on Paldor II-- Seeing her fluster was enough to cause him to smile brightly, something about being able to elicit that sort of reaction in someone. He felt her shudder against him and he squeezed her gently, even as he pressed his lips against hers in a tender kiss. It only lasted a moment. Raga: Was a tragedy and one none of us are likely to ever forget. We just have to move on. We did what we could. ::He said, trying to comfort her not knowing precisely what she was speaking of:: Journs: ::shakes her head:: That’s not what I meant. ::pauses:: Was I imagining it or did something happen down there? Between us I mean. There was a moment where he was silent, just. Looking at her. Memories played through his mind of the surface of the world they were already parked on. The sky of the world they’d helped save could be seen out the window they were both sitting beneath. He recalled the patient she tried to save even after they’d died. Of him trying to comfort her. There had been something there. Raga: That depends entirely on whether or not a yes would bother you. He was the antithesis of his species, reckless instead of cautious. Impulsive as opposed to reserved. He was not what Al-Leyans were supposed to be. She should be running for the nearest shuttle, but here she was in his arms. Journs: ::whispers:: And what if I said it wouldn’t? He felt his heart pounding in his chest when she whispered and it was his turn to moisten his lips with his tongue. Raga: Then the answer would be yes. ::He stared into her eyes longingly and brushed his fingers through her hair:: But I think it started long before that. Journs: ::nods:: From the moment I first saw you on the bridge. ::blushes:: I can’t explain it, but-- Raga: I haven’t been able to keep you out of my mind. ::He finished her sentence:: Since you reported on board and I felt the presence of your mind. ::He shook his head, smiling:: She was like a Fekundeco plant, or at least that’s how he felt around her much of the time. The plant, whos spores had an affect on the libido of their species was potent. But it was more than just the physical attraction. Ishka was...something. Toryn just couldn’t put the word to it. Like she were something he’d been looking for and didn’t know he needed. Ishka pulled her hand away from the back of Toryn’s neck and laced her fingers with his, her gaze dropped to their intertwined hands. She reached out for his mind, gently caressing it with hers. They barely knew one another and yet she felt at peace and relaxed with him in a way she didn’t with others. Despite her initial hesitation, she found herself wanting to get to know him better. Journs: ::softly:: Would it be okay if we slow down a bit and get to know each other? ::smiles:: Don’t get me wrong. Our one night was amazing, but I think I’d like to see if this can be about something more than just satisfying each other’s physical needs. The telepathic contact was soothing, and he accepted it and her mind against his easily. He followed her gaze and wiggled his fingers between hers gently then nodded. Raga: I’d like that. Though, to be honest there’s a part of me that is afraid when you get to know me enough you won’t want me. Journs: Because of your past? Raga: ::He nodded slowly:: That’s part of it. Partly because I’m not...right enough to be an Al-Leyan and because well..::He sighed:: I don’t know. So far everyone I’ve loved has found someone better than I. ::He met her gaze:: I’m sure, if given time you’ll find someone better too. Toryn wasn’t typically self-deprecating, but that episode he’d just had a moment before with ART had rattled him. She studied him for a long moment before bringing their entwined hands up to cradle his cheek. It was clear he was very nervous and afraid of being hurt and abandoned. She had those same fears. This was still so new and she really didn’t have much to go on as far as if this was going to work. She cared for him a lot. What they’d been through together on Paldor II had made that exceedingly obvious. She wanted to see where this went and if they had enough in common to make it work. Journs: ::murmurs:: I can’t guarantee that one or both of us isn’t going to hurt the other at some point. We’re going to disagree on things and we’re going to get annoyed at each other. Maybe we make this work. Maybe we don’t. But I know this. If we don’t try, then both of us are going to spend the rest of our lives wondering what if. He thought on her words, and how right she was on the last part. Serala had been the first woman he’d developed feelings for and in his hesitation in dealing with his cultural upbringing, how she was a non-Al-Leyan, and his own uncertainties he’d told her how he felt too late. Lael had been a different story, but Toryn was certain that with how Ishka made him feel he didn’t want to look back and wonder what might have been. Raga: Agreed. He reached up to caress her cheek with the hand that wasn’t laced with hers and leaned in to kiss her forehead softly. Raga: ~There’s one way to truly get to know each other like no one else can.~ He thought to her mind and with the exception of the memories from his time as a Consortium prisoner he completely dropped his mental shields and let her see into his mind fully. The torture had been extreme and she didn’t need to see that. He was still coping with the trauma he’d endured and too much of his life was already traumatic.; She closed her eyes, lowering her mental shields. It was overwhelming at first, the strength of his mind, but she gradually grew used to it. Squeezing his hand, she reached up to cradle his cheek. Journs: ~ Where did you play most as a child? ~ There was a warmth, a tenderness to her mind being in contact with his. He smiled as they enjoyed each others company. He leaned against the touch to his cheek, smiling. Raga: ~Easy, the Sez Toural mountains. I had already shown a proclivity towards climbing things when I was young, so even after my tenth year I could already climb well enough. And my blood family are accomplished as well. But then, isn’t everyone from Sez Toural?~ She smiled, leaning forward so her lips were only a hair’s breadth away from his. The warmth of his breath caressing her lips caused her to shiver and moisten her lips, her gaze flickering up to meet his. Journs: ~ Show me. ~ His pulse quickened at her proximity and he felt her lips just barely out of reach. At least until he leaned closer, kissing her deeply. He let his arms slip around her back, holding her against him as he opened his mind to her. Sharing memories of his climbs, including the one when he was ten and caused the avalanche that orphaned Sylara and brought her into his family. He hadn’t climbed for several months after the accident but he went on to spend most of his time climbing alone, with his sister, or and a few occasions his whole family. He felt at peace alone on a mountain. She smiled behind closed eyes, enjoying seeing his adventures through his eyes, recalling her own. As his memories faded, she shared her own. It had been a typical morning. She’d snuck out early enough before lessons to explore the frozen forests of Sez Toural. The cold air stung at her exposed nose and cheeks, the brisk air filling her lungs as she crunched through the snow, wincing at the sound. It would scare all of the animals away and she’d so wanted to see them running free. It was some she longed for herself. Freedom from the restrictions of society, though she told no one this. Saying such things would result in an intervention, potentially Attitude Readjustment Therapy. They weren’t told much about what it was like, only that it was intended to correct those who fell off the branch. Suddenly, she heard it. The flapping of wings. She looked up in amazement to see a Seiuri gliding through the air toward a tree limb, reaching out and wrapping its talons around the branch to gain its balance. She’d never seen one in person before. Carefully, she tiptoed toward it, wanting a closer look. Unfortunately, she only got halfway to the tree where it was perched before it heard her and took off without so much as turning in her direction. A warm smile adorned his face as he watched her memory, and shared one of his own involving a Seiuri. As he recalled he was older, just barely into his teens at the time. He could feel the biting cold of the southerly winds whipping through the Western face of the Sez Tourals. His fingers dug into the frozen rock of the mountain known locally as the Spear. A singular peak that roze up a good five thousand feet higher than those around it. Treacherous. He pulled himself up over the lip, panting and straining from the climb. He flopped onto his back with his legs dangling over the edge. Staring up at the always overcast sky and the lone winged figure circling overhead. He heard the voice in his mind. Sylara: ~Toryn friend made it. Finally. Could have nested though.~ The teasing of the bird was enough to make him laugh as he rose to his feet on the top of the largest mountain in the southern pole. He admired the view a moment, as he shed the climbing gear he’d brought. Securing them back into the pack on his back. He could see everything from up here. High enough that several layers of clouds lay between him and the ground. But just in the distance, he could see the lights of the Capital, Sez Toural. Hundreds of kilometers away. A grin plastered his face as he broke into a run, snow crunching beneath his boots. A leap made without hesitation, but more than a fair share of panic as he jumped off the mountain. The rush of the winds whipping past him as he fell straight down for a few seconds as he held his legs together and his arms flush with his sides. A second more passed and several hundred feet before he snapped his arms and legs open, the fabric of his suit catching the wind instantly. The sudden jerk as his descent arrested quickly and he flared back, upwards a moment. Sylara swooped down passed him and he dove again. Limbs outstretched. It was incredible. The first time he’d ever used a wingsuit to get off of a mountain after a climb. And the first true flight he’d ever shared with the Seiuri. The bird flew beside him, keeping pace easily. It was an incredibly fond memory. She opened her eyes, disoriented at first. It was the first telepathic experience she’d shared with someone where the exchange had been mutual and intentional it was like nothing she’d ever experienced. Even with the absence of the emotions that she was certain were present for Toryn, it had been enjoyable all the same living the moment through his eyes. A slight flush filled her cheeks. Somehow what they’d just shared seemed more intimate than anything physical. Journs: ::murmurs breathily:: That was-- He stared into those amazing emerald pools when she opened her eyes. Though he’d had several telepathic exchanges before, and even shared a strangely unique psychic realm with another there as a sense of intimacy with sharing that memory that he’d never felt before. Sure, there had been times when he let someone else into his mind, see his memories but this was more direct. More visceral. Raga: ::He leaned his forehead against hers:: I’ve never shared a memory like that before. That was one of my favorite memories. The first time I’d ever flown with Sylara. Journs: ::smiles sheepishly:: That was the first time I’ve shared a telepathic connection like that with anyone. Raga: I’ve had a few, but none quite that direct. There are hardly any of our kind with our gifts. And I can only connect to our own kind. ::He smiled and kissed her forehead gently before looking into her eyes:: She recalled the statistics. Only 10% of the planet possessed telepathic abilities. That was one in ten if she was doing her math correctly. The odds of her finding another telepath outside Leya-I, especially with the very small minority that chose to leave home and serve in Starfleet, were astronomical. Journs: ::pauses:: I like you, Toryn. But I’m terrible at relationships. ::blushes:: I’ve spent so much time with my nose buried in a PADD… He smiled when she said that and chuckled, perhaps a bit louder than he intended. Raga: I like you too, Ishka. And I understand, believe me. When it comes to relationships, well...I’ve not had the best of luck. Anyone on the ship could probably tell you as much. ::He laughed, but there was sadness behind his eyes, how many times had he been heartbroken now?:: Her gaze dropped from his, her thumb brushing gently back and forth over the backs of his knuckles, her expression contemplative. She supposed it was a bit different for her. She’d never really specifically sought anything monogamous. With her eyes set on practicing medicine, she hadn’t had much time for a social life much less a serious relationship. She drew her lower lip between her teeth and worried it for a moment before releasing it. Al-Leyans lived such a long time that it wasn’t uncommon for some pursuing their branches to wait until later in life to have children. In fact, there were some professions that didn’t allow those in them to reproduce. Though the population as a whole wasn’t aware, birth control was available, but was severely restricted and was administered at the discretion of the Council. It was a side to their society that remained hidden from the general population. The only reason she knew was because of her uncle. He’d shared much with her that would otherwise have remained behind Council chamber closed doors. The fact that she was required to receive birth control innoculations as part of her contract with Starfleet--well, she was glad her parents weren’t aware of that detail. They would have called her home immediately and insisted on intervention by the Council. He watched her get lost in thought and refrained from prying. Unless she chose to share with him, it would be a violation to do so. Even still, surface thoughts were different. He could tell she was worried over something. Raga: Though, if I’m to be honest being the only Al-Leyan on board before now has made relationships...tricky. Even the one half Al-Leyan I care for...well it didn’t work out. I had to go back home to Leya-I for my season. He hoped that keeping the conversation going might help her relax a bit. Even if the topic itself was seemingly bothersome. To the both of them. You couldn’t truly know someone if you only ever sought out the pleasant parts of their life. Journs: ::smiles wanly and nods:: I admit...it will be nice not having to worry about that. Raga: ::He nodded:: Agreed. Though, I don’t think my season is due for another year or two. She paused. Most Al-Leyans had their seasons relatively young. However, her doctors were puzzled. She should have experienced her first by now, but hadn’t. They’d attempted to explain it away as her being a “late-bloomer”, but that had been less than reassuring. She was already seen as unusual because of her uncle’s strange ideas about revolution and a new way of things. Now she was even stranger. An Al-Leyan’s first season was a rite of passage of sorts, so many of her kind still viewed her as a child in spite of all that she’d seen as a medical officer with Starfleet. Journs: ::blushes and murmurs:: I’ve never… A few of her surface thoughts filtered through as he saw her blush and his brow raised slightly. Given the fact she was older than him it was a surprise that she hadn’t had at least one season yet. Raga: Really? ::He smiled to try and comfort her:: I figured with you being so much older than me… Toryn had lived among humans long enough to pick up at least a small fraction of their proclivity for humor. Especially using it to help lighten a mood, or for some good old teasing of those one cared for. Journs: ::drops her gaze to their entwined hands and murmurs:: My parents became concerned when my peers were entering their seasons and I wasn’t. I’ve been to a few doctors, but none of them have been able to figure out why. There’d been talk of infertility and an inability to have children, which had devastated her even though she was older before the doctors had considered the possibility. It was heartbreaking to think that she might never experience that joy. So she’d thrown herself into her studies and her career, hoping to fill the hole. The doctors hadn’t said she’d never conceive or have children, but they’d said it was best to be prepared for the possibility. Toryn held her hands gently in his and stared at her a moment. He wasn’t entirely sure what to say. He’d never really thought much on whether or not he’d have kids. Not that he didn’t like them, or want them. But when it was seemingly so impossible to find love, much less a mate that would want to have that deep of a connected relationship with him it never seemed a priority. Raga: Well, aren’t you a doctor? Have you tried running tests on yourself to see why you haven’t had your season? ::He asked, earnestly ignorant of what Prote-ses she might have:: Journs: ::grimaces:: I suppose I’ve been avoiding it...not really wanting to know the answer, afraid that it would be what the doctors suspected. ::closes her eyes and murmurs:: I--I’m not sure I can handle it. He pulled her into a gentle hug, holding her head against his chest. Raga: I suppose that would be difficult. But, isn’t the uncertainty worse? If...the worst is true as much as it will hurt, at least you can get closure and eventually move on. But if you live your life never knowing, missing out on the chance that they’re wrong and you can...well. Isn’t that worth the potential pain if they’re right? Journs: ::whispers:: Until now, I’ve never had a reason for it to really matter. Raga: ::His heart rate quickened slightly:: Oh? Doctor are you trying to seduce me for science? ::He chuckled:: A blush filled her cheeks as she realized the weight of her admission. Had she gone too far? She didn’t even know if this meant anything to Toryn beyond a casual hook-up like so many of their species had. She wanted to believe the intimacy they’d just shared meant it had the potential to be more, but it would be foolish not to guard her heart with her knowing so little about him and this--whatever it was--being so new. Though they had only known each other for a brief period of time he was certain that seeing her blush was one of his favorite things about her. Something about the softness of her expression and the fact that he could elicit a reaction like that in someone was always a pleasant feeling. He smiled warmly and lightly ran his fingers through her hair. Raga: In all seriousness, I’m humbled and flattered that you’d have such a consideration. But as you said, let’s pace ourselves and see what this...thing is between us. She nodded, leaning forward to lay her head on his chest and wrap her arms around his middle. There wasn’t any reason that she couldn’t enjoy the comfort of his physical presence, even if they were trying to slow that aspect of their relationship down. Having the solidity of a strong man to lean on was comforting and it gave her a peace that she’d never experienced before. With previous lovers, it had always been about physical needs. She’d never had this kind of connection with any of them before. He felt her lay on him, wrapping him up in an embrace and it brought a smile to the Al-Leyan’s face. Such contact was something that Toryn had rarely had in his life. Even when it was to save his life for mating season, his relationships had always fallen apart on him. And there was just something to be said about having someone to hold you. Journs: ::murmurs:: Can we lay together and just sleep? When he was with her, the nightmares of Paldor II didn’t seem as overwhelming. In truth, she’d missed having someone to hold her at night. Raga: Gladly. It’s been a long time since I’ve had someone to hold. He’d held Lael of course, but that had always only been in the dreamscape. Never in person as they’d spent so little time together, face to face. She’d need to set the chronometer to wake her in time to head to her quarters for a fresh uniform, but thankfully she was on second shift tomorrow, giving her plenty of time. She wanted to enjoy this...enjoy him. Raga: Stay as long as you like. ::He whispered:: Toryn embraced her gently as she lay upon his chest. With her hair so close her scent was unmistakable and reminded him of home. He smiled, then gently ran his fingers through her hair a moment before kissing the top of her head. He could feel her steady breathing as easily as he could hear it. This was nice. This is what he needed. What, he suspected they both needed. He wasn’t quite sure when he fell asleep, but it happened quickly. She was so warm and comfortable in his arms. It felt right. ===================================================== Lieutenant Commander Toryn Raga Mission Specialist/Second Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682 Atlantis Staff Member Writer ID: A239410TR0 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Toryn_Raga & Lieutenant Ishkabela Journs Medical Officer, USS Atlantis NCC-74682 I238110RH0
  16. Seeing a certain person @Geoffrey Teller is expanding his Brew Continuum Empire, it's only fair to show him that some people namely @Jo Marshall are doing all they can to promote the BC merchandise. (( Research Station - Giáng Sinh )) “My Dearest Parents. I put words to this communication on the hope your good selves shall receive it before you attend Giáng Sinh. First, the Admiral doesn’t like guests. Secondly, You’ll be quartered either on the Gorkon or down on the surface; it’s entirely up to you. Your original request for organic avocados has proved difficult. Smashed avocado on toast from the replicator does not constitute a war crime allegation. The coffee is plentiful and there’s a coffeehouse on the ship — Erin grows the plants. There’s snow down here and no, there’s nothing I can do about it unfortunately it’s just part of the weather system. Please don’t mention the Hawaiian shirt and leather jacket incident. Looking forward to seeing you. Take your time getting here. Much love.” Jo slumped back in the chair and wiped her hands over her face, wondering if she could get away with the slightest, smallest note going. “Please don’t come.” But they were already winging their way to the planet, both excited to see the terra forming activities taking place, spend Christmas somewhere that looked and felt like a Christmas of their homeworld back in their childhood years, and, time permitting, see their daughter. The blonde slipped her fingers through the handle of the travel coffee mug (Brew Continuum, Fastest Coffee in the Fleet!) and stirred it around with the power of centrifugal motion. She looked up out of the small window afforded by the Operations building, reminded of the administration centre back on Starfleet Academy campus, and the day she’d followed the then Captain out into the grounds after their return from Over There. It hadn’t been snowing. Quite the contrary, the sun had shone heavily in a blue sky and flowers bloomed beneath. Her parents hadn’t made it back for that, either, and Jo had disappeared from the Japanese Tea Gardens on her bike with one Erin Reynolds; the two taking off for the high hills of the San Mateo region. Erin drove, Jo had held on for dear life as the hybrid tested just how fast the engine could go up the winding roads beside the Pacific Ocean, illuminated by the blaze of sunset light streaming down from the horizon. Little did she know then that Erin would come to occupy her thoughts for the next two years. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise the Bajoran enthusiasts had refused the invitation. Lost in her thoughts, as she was, Jo lifted the coffee to her lips and took a quick sip, momentarily forgetting how hot the Brew Continuum branded travel mug (100% leak-proof vacuum, insulated for perfect heat retention, and a strip of silicone for easy carrying, available at all BC franchises) kept eighteen ounces of coffee perfectly sealed. A quick burn to her bottom lip and a reactive wince saw the mug fall from her grasp and roll onto the floor. She considered sending a message to Bear, entreating him to come back quicker from wherever he’d ended up with the former pirate for the backup, for someone to throw in front of her two life-givers like a ritual sacrifice or cannon fodder. What she needed was a swift distraction. Rescuing the mug from the group, and noting that it was completely and utterly leakproof (available from all good Brew Continuum franchises), Jo strolled outside. Snow lazily drifted down from the sky; large snowflakes covering the ground and surrounding decking. Containers hauled from the support ships for the colonists covered in the white powder, dry and beautiful, untouched in the thick morning air. Everything felt a little serene as Jo looked around, taking in the day's smell. Erin, with her wonderfully scientific brain, had informed her that snow didn’t have a scent, and instead what she could smell did not differ from a cold, dry day on the planet, or impurities in the frozen water, like dirt and salt from the water source. She’d also informed her of the stimulation to the trigeminal nerve in her face caused by the cold air they breathed, which stirred an all around sensory experience of snow. Those small things that Erin thought were perfectly mundane pieces of information delivered in such a simple manner were one of the many reasons Jo loved her. Her botanist could make the smallest things seem wonderfully magical. Across the way, Jo spotted Ghant Xerix, their pilot extraordinaire making his way across the town square, on his way from or to somewhere or other. The Betazoid had made some interesting relationships in his brief time on board the Gorkon — ‘Kos appearing in their quarters heartbroken, Erin because of that, Caedan as sad and dejected as if someone had stolen his happy, Valesha because of that, and those were only the ones she knew about. However, Jo liked the guy. He was a good pilot and operations officer, dedicated himself to his work when he wasn’t breaking hearts and taking names, and it felt like the young fella had been with them from the start. With that in mind, Jo placed the mug down on top of the container and watched for a second as the insulated one-hundred percent leak proof travel mug didn’t melt the snow at all. She scooped up a handful of snow in her hands, cutting a clear edge in the beautifully unblemished snow covering, and padded it up into a ball. Then, with the precision of her days playing endless games of springball, she threw it dead centre at her target. Xerix: Response Reactively, Jo ducked down behind the container crate before he could see her, her back pressed up against it as though enemy fire was about to come shooting toward her. She scooped up another handful of snow and looked over the top of the crate. Poking up over the top, she sent another ball of snow in an overarm angle toward the pilot and retreated to cover. Xerix: Response Another handful of powder scooped up, Jo couldn’t help laughing this time and glanced around the side of the crate. Marshall: Evasive maneuvers, Mister Xerix! Take up a defensive position! Xerix: Response -- Lt. Commander Jo Marshall First Officer USS Gorkon, NCC-82293 G239304JM0
  17. Short, but very very sweet. It was an amazing read! @Ben Garcia (( A Romulan Republic colony. Time index: several years prior to current mission. )) Rain clawed at the slated rooftops. The dank smell of damp leaves mulched under the heavy thread of cold, treacherous boots that trod along the midnight pavement. At the corner of the street, a light – a dull yellow porch light - flickered against the howl of the wind. Across the way, a gate slammed monotonously against its latch. Somewhere, a dog snarled. Rain beaded and trickled off the stiff, polished leather boots as they continued on and scurried their way down a side alley. A voice. Then another. A handshake. A packet exchanged. Several stories above, Koteel drew a fine, powderless wisp of breath. Koteel’s eyes narrowed as the cranium of her target found itself framed within the deadly web of her crosshairs. In less than two beats of the heart, the target would be neutralised. The accomplice? Perhaps two steps – or three if he was lucky – before the silky thread of Koteel’s crosshairs ensnared him in the oblivion of death. Koteel’s wisp of breath waned into nothingness. Now, through the crosshairs, Koteel marvelled at the pooling blood that trickled around the slumped carcasses. The packet? A dud, planted by the Republic to flush out the Tal Shiar vermin known to scurry these streets in the afterhours. Koteel’s counterpart nimbled along the alley way, secured the packet and secreted it into the folds of a heavy raincoat. The hatted figure turned briefly and dead-eyed Koteel through the crosshairs. The deed was done. End. MSPNPC Koteel Nk’htho Ambassadorial Attaché to Tr'Kenda (Political/Diplomatic Security) Romulan Republic ---------------------- Lieutenant Ben Garcia Second Officer/HCO Embassy Duronis II - USS Thor NCC-82607 Author ID number: G239102MR0
  18. ((CMO Office, Sickbay, Deck 7, USS Gorkon)) Genkos sat at his desk, head in his hands. One finger was gently plucking at a hair on his chin - he had shaved hurriedly this morning, wanting to avoid any kind of facial furriness. Clearly he had missed a spot. It was reminiscent of ‘Kos, a man he definitely wasn’t, and from whom he needed a clean break. That meant no facial hair, no drinking alcohol at all, and plenty of uttaberry tea to wash the foul taste of Spoonie, no Cardassian, blood from his mouth. Finally getting purchase between forefinger and thumbnail, he tugged at the offending follicle, and felt a sweet release when it broke free. He examined it closely; short and black, with a slight curl already, despite it being relatively young. He placed it on his palm and softly blew, watching it disappear, never to be seen again. He snorted a silent laugh at the absurdity of it; as if blowing away a single hair could get rid of all he’d done, all he’d seen, all he’d committed as ‘Kos Sim, Maquis combat medic. He could still hear the wet splat of his makeshift spear entering that Cardassian’s torso, feel the soldier’s bones cracking under his fists, smell the heady aroma of the blood. Genkos closed his eyes to meditate; he tried forcing the memories away, herding them much like a sheepdog herds lambs into a pen, trying to seal them behind a giant brick wall where they could never again hurt anyone. But it was no use; much like trying to get Tasha’s cat Sparks to do anything, it was impossible. A stray thought always broke free of his mental grasp, and escaped deeper into the recesses of his mind. Last time they’d been away to the land of the Skarbek, he’d come back with Erin’s real memories as well as his own, but this was somehow worse. True, he hadn’t discovered some dark secret about his father, but he had discovered something incredibly horrifying about himself. He was just as capable of murder as Tillul. Perhaps even culpable - who was to say which parts of the Q’s machinations were real and which were purely phantoms? Perhaps that Cardassian really did exist and Genkos really did murder him. He’d been told that Johns had died in the Q-verse, but had come back though, so maybe not? But the Q was there to torture them, so who really knew what it was capable of? Again, he closed his eyes to meditate, attempting to clear his mind of all thoughts. It was a technique that Baina had taught him an age ago, back when they were trying to control and shape his mental abilities after the last Skarbek sojourn. It wasn’t working; flashes of splattering blood and foul red rage kept barging their way into his brain, disrupting the whole process. Instead he opened his eyes, and turned to the work he had open on his desk. He was attempting to write up a report for the Admiral about the incident with the Q, examining the physiological effects of the whatever-it-was. He’d spent six and a half hours this morning, visually examining every crew member who reported travelling over to the Skarbek-verse. He’d traipsed over the ship with Loxley and T’Hal, scanning them with tricorders and giving them the once over. Many reported having wounds, some serious, some trivial, that disappeared on their own on their arrival back to the Gorkon. Nobody showed any signs of these wounds except in the forms of memories. He manually entered all of the data they had collected into the ship’s computers and compiled it. It made for very tedious reading, but he summed it all up in a short paragraph and sent it to Quinn. It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t informative. “As far as our bodies are concerned, nothing happened and no time passed” was effectively the conclusion, but there was an addendum - if nothing happened, why were they all suffering? It was true that nobody came off well in the Q’s experiment; emotionally they were all distraught by what they had been manipulated to do, and what the Q had said about them. Her comments about his abilities were the most cutting. Ayiana had tried to tell him they weren’t true, that it was the situation but Genkos knew differently. That satisfaction that he felt on killing those Cardassians was real. He was a monster, and unfit to be a doctor. This report to the Admiral would be his last. Finishing up the report, he sent it to the Admiral and to Jo and began writing up his resignation. He would sleep on it first, before he handed it in, he decided. ((Genkos Adea’s Quarters, Deck 8, USS Gorkon - the next morning))) Genkos was fully dressed and sat on the edge of his bed. Toto was curled up on the bed beside him, his eyes staring up at his master. Genkos’ eyes, however, were focused on the PADD beside him, which contained all he needed to end his Starfleet career. A lead weight sat in his stomach, and he could feel the cool metal inside of him, turning his every vein to ice. His mother had visited that morning, to break her fast with him, but he hadn’t heard a word she’d said. He hadn’t even reacted when Rumi arrived and the two of them spent the meal exchanging bites of scrambled ktarian eggs and pulpless orange juice. Although Laxe could tell was something wrong, she hadn’t pried. She knew her son, and trusted him to make the right choice. His finger hovered over the PADD. Adea: To send, or not to send, that is the question, dear Toto. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of an outrageous Q, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them… Toto just yapped. He didn’t get Shakespeare. Genkos smiled sadly, and tried to remember all the good he had done as a doctor in Starfleet; he’d saved some of the crew aboard the Njörðr from a slow and painful death at the feet of Rushton’s, he’d performed emergency surgery on Caedan and countless others, as well as on Dhisuia. Although, said a little inner voice remarkably like the Q’s, you were the one who got her beaten half to death in the first place. Genkos shook his head violently, causing Toto to leap up in alarm and let out a single bark. Would he let his mistakes define who he was, or would he use them to make a better man? The latter! He threw the PADD onto the table, a familiar rage bubbling inside him; just days ago he was content to be a Starfleet doctor, remarkably higher in rank than he had expected; Chief Medical Officer and Second Officer aboard a literal flagship. He wasn’t about to let a Q get in his head and ruin his life. Never. He would do what good he could aboard the Gorkon, ‘Kos Sim be damned. -------------------------- Lieutenant Commander Genkos Adea MD Chief Medical Officer & Second Officer USS Gorkon G239502GS0
  19. I was just amazed with how @Sheila Bailey described her character's emotions in such a way that it was completely genuine. Amazing work Aly! ((Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, Earth)) Bailey: ::Mouth dry:: Umm.. one of my wheels is stuck. Do you think you could help me out? Galven: ::kneels down:: Of course. What do you need me to do? Bailey: I’m scared Glaven. I’ve not been this scared since the rainy seasons back on Elaysia. Sheila gave a low whimper. The rainy season back home was no fun, it made everyone hot, flushed, dry mouthed and dizzy. She was feeling a bit of that now and only wished that being back on the academy campus hadn’t made her so paranoid. Must have all those discouraging memories that were coming back. Now Sheila was thinking about her time back home and the discomfort she had felt during the rainy months. Some felt the effects more but others could function just fine in the increased humidity. They did have medications available to reduce the ‘sickness’ that came with it but such things weren’t available off world. The federation medical servius hasn't approved it’s use off Elaysia. For Sheila she never took the available medication. Instead spent hours in a cold shower with lots of cold drinks. Suddenly looking for her water bottle it wasn’t there making her mouth go even more dry and numb. He felt for the woman. Since he was kneeling, he was now eye level with Sheila and wanted to help her curb her anxieties. Galven: Sheila. Look at me. Nothing is going to come after you. I’m right here. Guess what? Sheila didn’t say anything but look at German with sad looking eyes. Her head felt heavy and her eyes like they were about to close. She suspected she had forgotten how hot it could get on Earth. Back during her last mission she had experienced similar things but they had been cleared up quickly the moment she had something cold to drink. Galven: I’m scared too, but you know what’s keeping me going? Bailey: Yes? Sheila wasn’t confused only had a small lack of being able to think. Galven: You are. You’re helping me and let me help you ::grunts and unjams her wheel:: Now that wasn’t so bad now was it? ::grins wide:: Sheila tested both wheels of her chair being satisfied that both were moving smoothly. It however didn’t get rid of her scared feeling. She felt it in her head, mouth and her shaking hands. What if those people were still around? With the way they had looked at her it creeped her out more than she thought it would. No one had ever looked at her like that before. The look had been so sharp and glaring. Bailey: I’m still scared… ::Sheila’s sentence trailed off as she gave the Denobulan a small strained smile.:: Galven: How about this... Would you like to take my PADD and then you can be our navigator? The destination marker is located west of here in that direction. What do you say, Lieutenant? Bailey: It would give me something to do. Reaching to take the PADD her hands were so shaky that she wasn’t even sure she could push herself at the same time. Sighing she took the PADD placing it on her lap before folding her hands close to her pelvis. Bailey: ::Voice still wavering:: I hate to ask this but my hands are so shaky, would you mind pushing me in my chair? Galven: Response Bailey: It would make me feel safer if you would. I honestly don’t know why I’m scared. Those three men, the way they looked at me, its creeped me out. A wave of dizziness washed through Sheila as Galven took hold of the back of her chair in order to guide her to the new meeting spot. Sheila looked at the PADD as they moved, giving Galven directions. It didn’t take long for them to get to the monument. Sal settled a soft smile on his face as he strolled up to greet them, giving time for Prudence and Rustyy to catch up. Taybrim: A lovely day on the Academy green, isn’t it? Hael/Blackwell: ? He nodded, offering a wave towards German and Sheila Taybrim: Yes, there are our new crewmates. ::He smiled, an easy, casual smile – the sort of genuine expression coming from a person who truly liked other people.:: Good afternoon Commander Galven and Lieutenant Bailey! Hael/Blackwell: ? Bailey: Hi. Galven/Taybrim/Hael/Backwell: ? At this moment Sheila had started tuning out the conversation. She knew she had to pay attention as the conversation was about introductions and the mission. For Sheila however the more she tried the more she felt the heat and nausea creep up now that the adrenaline was disappearing. Just like when it was raining hard back home the chatter pulled her in and out. She wasn’t going to pass out but her eyes were so droopy, her mouth so dry. Sheila’s head hurt bad, was hard to keep up so it flopped so her chin was resting on her chest. A second latter however she fell out of her chair. What a way to make an introduction to her new Captain. Galven/Taybrim/Hael/Backwell: ? The shock of landing on the floor sent a shooting pain through her body. Her eyes went wide and the conversation quieted as most of the officers around her got down to her level. Bailey: ::weakly:: Water….. Galven/Taybrim/Hael/Backwell: ? Lieutenant JG Sheila Bailey Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops M239512BG0 "If you want to harness your power, you need to learn to control your fear." - Sara Lance; Legends Of Tomorrow
  20. ((Bridge, Deck 1, USS Astraeus)) Some of the crew had left already going on different assignments. Others were waiting to be transported. German wasn't due to leave for another few hours as he stepped into the bridge of the galaxy class starship one last time, placing his hand along the edge of the brightly painted wooden half oval panel. He walked down the ramp brushing the soft wood and for a moment he didn't want to let go. Finally after a few moments, he took his hand away and then headed over to his station. Delri’ise: You alright, sir? Galven: Just saying goodbye. ::turns to glance around:: She was a fine ship. Delri’ise: Indeed she was. There’ll never be another like her, she was one of a kind. The events unfolding around him was definitely going to be a memorable one. German had never served on a ship that was due to be decommissioned. He sat down and then downloaded the last bit of information of data on his work PADD that laid beside the console. Galven. My next assignment is going to be Starbase 118 Operations. I've been there a few times training cadets, but it'll be a whole new experience. Where are you going? Delri’ise: ::recalling her orders.:: I believe I’m on the Thor over Duronis II. It’s a long way from here, over in the Beta Quadrant. Galven: ::nods:: That's a fine ship with a great crew. I doubt this'll be the last time we see each other. Melody hadn’t said anything to that which made German glance over her way. It appeared that she was about to cry. He stood up from his seat and approached her extending his hand to give her an encouraging pat on the shoulder. Galven: It was a great experience being here and it was definitely worthwhile. Starfleet has our best interests at heart. Whatever is next, just remember who you are. Delri’ise: It ain’t gonna be easy. The Thor is a fine ship… but she’s no Astraeus. It’s been a fun ride, commander. Galven: ::nods and turns his head to look out the viewscreen:: It’s always going to be one hell of a ride, lieutenant. ::turns his attention back to Melody:: Wherever you are. Delri’ise: You better stay in touch, don’t hide away in that space mushroom. He chuckled and then turned with a determined expression. Galven: Don’t worry about that, Melody. I’m a “leap into the action” kind of senior officer. ::wry grin:: The Kerelian hybrid let out a slight chuckle which German was hoping for. It was a somber event, but he wanted to make it a happy memory. This had been his first decommission, but heard far too many stories of officers resigning from Starfleet. Delri’ise: I think the one thing I’ll miss most… is bein’ up here on the bridge. I’m gonna miss my little tactical console ::She gave her console an adoring rub.:: A lot of that was true for German as well as he glanced over at his own science console. He already studied the Starbase and the layout of the thing was massive. There was an entire massive city just hanging out in the dome with lots of transportation hubs. He was looking forward to getting lost in there. There were a few other things that he wanted to tell Melody as he turned himself back around facing her. Galven: ::clears his throat and furrows his brow:: One last thing before we separate, lieutenant? Delri’ise: Of course, sir ::She nodded.:: I think we all need a few words of wisdom out there. Galven: As Admiral Kathryn Janeway once said, “I trust fear. Fear only exists for one purpose… to be conquered.” Go and be fearful, Melody Delri’ise and show Admiral Turner what I’ve seen in you. ::extends his hand for her to shake:: A future commanding officer. Melody gave a crooked smile which German returned with a grin, but then some tears and heavy emotion came from her again which he could feel for the woman. Lael was the same way and she was taking the news the heaviest when she sent out a message to everyone that she was resigning as first officer to get more involved at the academy on Earth. Which was just as admirable as her XO assignment. He was taken aback when Melody shook his hand, but then gave him an enormous hug which threw him momentarily, but he then wrapped his arms around her, giving a soft encouraging pat on her back. After a few seconds, they let go with German’s gaze still on hers. Delri’ise: Thank you… Commander, for everything. As we say down in Brooklyn, go, kick some a#% out there. Galven: ::laughs and arches an eyebrow:: You the same, Lieutenant. Delri’ise: I’ll see you out there, Spaceman, may our paths cross once more. I’m sure Cap’n Taybrim will appreciate your hard work. Galven: There’s plenty of opportunity for it. Just remember to hold onto these special moments and live for them. She turned and nodded, heading out of the bridge. German glanced around one last time and then sat down at his console, pulling out his PADD. He started a new entry, the last entry on the Astraeus. //Chief Science Officer’s Log, Stardate 239611.25 It was of great duty, service and honor serving aboard the USS Astraeus. Whoever listens to this when the new crew arrives and ventures out to the Eagle Nebula. I wish you all the good fortune. There’s great history on this ship. Continue on her legacy. ---- Lt. Commander German Galven Chief Science Officer USS Astraeus V239507GG0
  21. ((Sienelis’ Personal Quarters, USS Gorkon)) The mugs slipped from Valesha's hands, her fingers suddenly slack, one shattering as it caught the corner of a table. The warm, spiced infusion of aesollh and the rich, bitter roast of coffee burst into the air as the drinks splattered across the carpet, a few drops burning against the skin of her bare feet, a razor shard of ceramic drawing emerald blood from pale flesh. She didn't notice. As Valesha was exactly where she had been before the Q had taken them, so too was Chris. Sprawled in her bed, he'd been looking at her with that cheeky grin and mischievous sparkle in his hazel eyes, laughing at... she couldn't remember. She couldn't remember. But there was no smile now. No light in those eyes. Her ballerino, always in motion, was perfectly still. It was a strange sensation. As though she had floated clear of her body, the Romulan watched herself as she walked across the room. Watched as she crawled onto the bed and knelt beside him, reached out with a trembling hand and laid her palm against the bruised, ashen skin of his cheek. He was so cold. With a sharp inhale she drew back in, no longer an observer of herself, but there and present in the moment. Valesha's chest blossomed in sharp, biting pain, slicing behind her sternum as surely as if someone had taken a scalpel to her. She doubled over, eyes burning hot with unchecked tears, a wordless sound of anguish pulled from a seizing throat. Time slipped past, neither caring nor cared about, all the while the Romulan knowing she should call someone and completely unable to do so. They'd take him away, and she wasn't ready. She wasn't ready. But all tears eventually run dry. Laid next to him, slim fingers brushed the short crop of his hair, touched the scar on his scalp whose origin she'd never discovered, over the delicate skin of his eyelids, along cheek and nose and mouth, across the scratch of the beard that had tickled when they kissed. Her hand came to rest on his chest, over his heart, met with final, still silence. An ache rolled through her like distant thunder, deep and resonant. It was time. Sienelis: ::Softly,:: Ehhaisam ehsiu, e'lev. A tender kiss pressed to his forehead, and Valesha let her head fall back to the pillow. She closed her eyes, breathing out a shuddering sigh. It was time, but just a few moments. Just a few moments more. -- Lieutenant Valesha Sienelis Science Officer USS Gorkon simmed by Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
  22. This is one of the best pieces I think I have ever read. It shows so much diversity and skill in writing! Well written @Esa_Darkkdust ((OOC: Hi all. This one is a bit weird, but it was inspired by a packed train journey I was taking to London at dusk through the foggy South downs, while listening to Sense and Innocence, by Lynn Vartan. I've included timestamps for the track, if you want to listen and have my words paint meaning to the music! It's mostly supposed to be a dreamlike reaction to Esa's short trip into subspace, but also encompasses a lot of other feelings she has experienced recently. Also teasers near the end for some future plans I’ve thought of! Sort of like a false premonition!)) ((Unknown, Unknown)) ((Shore Leave Day 1, immediately before JP with Maddi)) ((00:00)) The eerie blackness looked familiar, yet not. It was cold, and damp... Her feet felt like they were submerged, and yet when she took a step, the sound of her boots on solid concrete reverberated around the room. In every direction was this thick fog, seemingly impenetrable. ((00:43)) In the distance, Esa could see a small pin[...] of light. She moved toward it, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't reach it. It had just appeared, out of nowhere. ((01:28)) Kiax: Hello?! She called out, to no response. Behind her she could hear strange voices, their tones sounded familiar, but their words were indistinguishable. In every direction she looked, there was this bleak nothingness, except for the light. ((01:58)) She instinctively reached out to grab it, and as she did so, it increased in intensity, and suddenly every fibre of Esa's being felt like it was being pulled by a rocket sled. A deep rumble pulsed through her body, before the feeling of inertia slowly came to a halt. The light's intensity continued to increase and before she knew it, she was standing in a dingy swamp back on Earth looking at a run-down shack of some kind. ((02:24)) The voices spoke once more, catching Esa off guard, forcing her to look around in a panic as she desperately tried to find the source. There, on a log, sat a toad, croaking at her menacingly. The moment she tried to pick it up, it hopped off and made for the shack. Esa gave chase, sensing it was the key to getting some answers about this place. The toad hopped deftly through the swamp, but Esa was only a few places behind. Though her feet felt like lead, and splashed heavily through the putrid sludge-like water, she kept up, until the toad disappeared through a hole in the shack's wall. Esa came to a halt on the veranda, and tried to peer through the window. No luck. ((03:03)) Deciding enough was enough, she pushed open the door and stepped in. A loud crack burst out from underfoot, as the floorboard snapped beneath her, causing her to stumble, before she recovered. Disembodied voice: You killed us… Panicked, Esa looked around frantically and moved through the seemingly endless rooms of the house for the source of the voice. She flung open doors, flipped tables, scattered furniture left right and centre in her frenzied search for the voice. ((03:30)) The final room she opened revealed something truly horrific. There, in the centre of the room, lay a pile of rotting corpses dressed in Starfleet Uniforms. Several looked familiar, but Esa couldn't remember their names. A Romulan woman, several Human males, an Orion, a Worene… She screamed. As if on command, the scream caused the bodies to move, as they rose to their feet and advanced toward Esa. Bodies: You killed us… Kiax: No, no, I didn't. It wasn't me! Sobbing, Esa tried to run, but found that the room she had entered was now a cavernous space, with no obvious exit. She tried to get away, but the bodies overpowered her and forced her to the ground. They proceeded to tear at her skin, reducing her to a pile of flesh, like them. She forced her arms up to protect her face, and then… ((03:58)) Nothing… Once more, Esa felt alone and weightless, as if there was nothing else in the universe with her. No stars, no planets, just her… and a ship. It was there, in the distance. Big enough to make out its shape, but too far to reach. Her breath seemed loud in her ears, and she could feel her heart beating against her chest. The silence was amplifying everything, until the voice returned. Unable to move, Esa simply responded. Voice: You don't belong here… Kiax: Where is here? Voice: You need to leave. Kiax: I don't remember… Multiple Voices: You were never one of us… Kiax: Who are you? Voices: LEAVE! A familiar face appeared in front of Esa's, again bearing a striking resemblance to someone she knew, but with solid black eyes. She felt a hand on her sternum, pushing her back, as the nothingness swallowed her up and she fell further and further away from the ship. ((05:24)) Hot. How could nothingness be hot? Bright… Space was dark… Confused, Esa opened her eyes into a glaring blue sky. She blinked a few times as her pupils constricted to the sudden assault of photons. She was lying on her back in the middle of a desert, baking in the midday sun. She sat up and took stock of her surroundings. In all directions, except one which sported a distant stone structure, golden sand stretched out as far as the eye could see. oO I've never been to a desert? Oo On the stone structure, stood a figure in white robes. Perhaps they could help? She looked at the structure more carefully, noting that it consisted of five totem-like pillars, with a dais in the centre. The dais was sporting some kind of protrusion... oO Won't hurt to ask… Maybe the dais holds the key... Oo She got up and trudged through the soft sand. With every step, her feet sank into the dunes. She could feel the heat through the soles of her boots Some even managed to lap up over the rim into her boot, burning her foot as it slid down to the base of the shoe. Eventually, after a peculiarly long walk for the distance, she made it to the figure, who stood with her back to Esa. ((06:39)) Stranger: Hello, Esa. The strange figure spoke with disdain and spite dripping from her words, Esa simply listened. Stranger: You’re so smart, Esa. Do you know why the Chon called their project “Avalon”? Kiax: It’s the island where Excalibur was forged, and Arthur taken to recover from his wounds after battle. Not the first connection to Arthurian myth I’ve come across in their notes. Stranger: ::flatly:: “Myth”, she calls it. A limited word, for a limited perspective. You were always such the scientist - you’re probably right at home with all these subspace contraptions, aren’t you? Kiax: As much as anyone, I suppose. Stranger: The Chon activated a power in the artefact that literal minds can’t handle, and it destroyed them, so don’t push the wrong buttons. oO Artefact? Oo Kiax: You’d better not either. Stranger: But I know which ones are the right ones. Esa grabbed the stranger’s shoulder to force them to face her, but was surprised to see the face of the one person she could remember. Her sister, Erin. Kiax: You’ve learned to read Chon since the last time I saw you… Erin glared at her, venomously, before seeming to vanish into thin air. Kiax: Erin? ((07:20)) With her sister now gone, Esa leant against one of the pillars. As she did so, it seemed to explode outward with green energy, revealing a spinning core of the same energy. Deciding to exercise her curiosity, she moved to the protrusion, which she could now see was a sword of some description. She lightly touched the end, causing the sword to slip further into the dais and rotate like a key. As it did so, the green energy from before began to channel toward the centre, revealing a circular portal to rise up from the ground. Shimmering and glowing, but remaining translucent, voices seemed to emanate from it. Voice 1: No! Get back! ::beat:: What… What is it? Voice 2: There’s something in the light! Voice 1: Stay here! A figure appeared in the portal. The second person Esa recognised. Maddi. Figure of Maddi: What? Who are you? Kiax: Maddi? It Esa, your wife! The figure seemed to gesture toward the other voice, signalling it’s owner to stay back. Figure: What? What about my wife? As if realising some terrible truth, Esa’s eyes grew wide. Though she couldn’t remember why, the next words to leave her mouth were a set of very strict instructions. Kiax: ::Screaming:: DON’T. TOUCH. THE SWORD. Figure: ::Pleadingly:: She meant no harm! Behind her, the ghostly figure of Erin had returned, and a sour look crossed her face. Erin: Take. Out. The sword. Esa: What!? No! The figure of Maddi looked perplexed, as if trying to decide which of the two instructions she should adhere to. Esa: Maddi. Maddi listen to me… Erin: It’ll explode unless you pull out the sword! Figure: Oh God, no! The figure of Maddi obviously made up her mind, and appeared to make a motion of pulling out a sword from something. Perhaps a copy of the same dais that Esa was standing in front of. Esa: NO! Esa turned and ran for cover as the portal exploded, just as Erin had predicted. Then, darkness. ((08:55)) The grey, overcast sky loomed forebodingly over the graveyard as it emptied its contents to the ground. Rainfall wasn’t uncommon in Scotland, and yet, it seemed to be poetic that it should be raining today. Esa stood alone, wearing the black dress she reserved only for the most sombre of occasions. She cried, remembering everything that they had been through. She was the only person who had ever loved, trusted, and cared for her so much, throughout everything that had happened since graduating the academy. Kneeling down, she laid the flowers next to the headstone, which bore the name “Maddi Hyden”. It had been a year since the accident with the dais, where her life had tragically come to an end. Little did they know that the events of that day would end up rippling out across the region, spelling doom to all those that had served on the good ship “Atlantis”. It felt unfair that she was the only person to make it out alive, that the guardians of the artefact had chosen her to make the crossing. Through her tears, she mumbled to the grave; Kiax: Hey there. So… I miss you. So much. You were always there for me in a world that made me feel so alone. Now you and the others are gone, I don’t know what to do. Starfleet forced me out, citing that the trauma was too great, and that I was too emotionally compromised to carry on serving. It should have been you that survived. You would have stayed strong. Fought on and saved the others. The galaxy seems silent. So silent now the war has stopped. I have survived all, though deep down knew I shouldn’t have. Now you’re not here and I shall go home alone. They tell me I have to try to live life as before and hide my grief for you. My dearest friend, who should be with me now. Not lying cold in the ground, taken too soon, in your grave... Alone... Lieutenant Esa Kiax Comm/Ops Officer USS Atlantis – NCC 74682 Community History Team Member A239511ED0
  23. Trophy Hunter ((Trezire, Ceata, Northern Exclusion Zone)) In the glades of the north, far beyond the Acasa Region, snow fell out of colorful, cloudy skies. Next to an icy stream that led through a snow-clad forest, a Dokarran Elder named Yidian stood looking out towards a tall mountain of stone and ice. Through the gentle snow-fall, a red hot glow emerged in the distance, announcing the approach of a dragon. Yidian stood with arms spread out wide, waiting. A hurricane of wind swept over the icy stream, throwing snow into the sky and knocking Yidian onto her back. A smile spread over her face. A tremendous thud knocked snow off tree branches and this turned into the whooshing sound of the snow cover falling down to the valley floor like a tide washing over a beach. A series of thudding, ice crunching sounds approached. The ground shook. Standing up, Yidian looked out at a dragon with beautiful feathered wings, which had come to drink at the stream. She carefully approached the ancient beast, crunching through the snow, until it turned to look at her. Yidian knelt down and bowed her head. Reaching out with her mind, she touched The Lady, a giant Vizinyan Tree thousands of kilometers to the south. A pleasant murmuring was there, content, but still slumbering, immature and innocent. The dragon huffed out a puff of frozen air and lowered its head. Yidian climbed up onto the creature’s neck and found a secure place near the head of the dragon. A flurry of feathered wings threw ice and snow into the air. With a leap, the dragon flew into the colorful skies. Yidian watched the world down below grow smaller and smaller. The dragon flew higher and higher into the clouds, until after a time, they broke through the mist to emerge into the brightness that lived beyond the view of her kind. Yidian closed her eyes in ecstasy as warm sunshine tingled over her pale white skin. She spread out her arms and looked up at the white star that illuminated the tops of the multi-colored clouds below. A tiny dot appeared high up in the atmosphere. It grew larger and larger until it had formed into the silhouette of a starship. Yidian’s soul filled with wonder at the notion of traveling amongst the stars. It would be like living in glory and ecstasy inside the darkness of the void, far beyond her world and The Lady. It would bring the Veiling too. A vast separation from the communal minds of the Dokarrans. With the Veiling came freedom. The freedom to gather new experiences which might prove beneficial to The Lady and to the rest of her people. The silhouette grew larger. The beautiful feathered dragon called out to the winds and blew a huff of fire. The little starship answered the dragon with a beam of blue-white light. When the light touched the dragon, it screamed in pain. Yidian could feel the dragon’s heart fail as it was burned up by the light. Down, down, down through the multi-colored clouds fell the dragon. It smote the side of a frozen mountain, covered with snowy trees. The dragon slid through the forest, turning the side of the majestic mountain into a desolation of broken rocks and trees. Yidian emerged from beneath the gigantic corpse. Who had done such a thing? The hum and roar of the little starship flew overhead. Yidian did not look up but heard it land on the frozen ground among the trees. Some time after, she could hear the approach of a man, a human, crunching through the snow. Yidian had knelt down next to the dead dragon, placed a hand on its neck and let her sadness spill onto the feathered beast. The man approached, stopped and smiled. Among the vibrational sound complexes that came from his mouth, one word stood out in her mind: Trophy. Yidian watched as the man went up to the dead dragon while a hovering device recorded images and sounds of the disharmony which he’d brought down around the frozen forest. Rather than experiencing anger, Yidian considered what he had done. It was remarkable how a single action could cause such a tearing wound in a world full of harmony. Of course, animals had always killed each other, mostly for sustenance but humans had also hunted their own kind, like many of the “enlightened” beings that lived out among the stars. Cold curiosity turned into hunger, a need for greater understanding. Might there be value in the exploration of disharmonious concepts? Yidian had always sought to gather experiences that might prove useful. There was one experience which had never been fully explored by the Dokkarans: Evil. The man who slew the dragon ignored her. Perhaps he regarded her as any other plant, as if she were a bush or tree to be discounted. After some time, he departed in his little starship, flying high up above the multi-colored clouds. Yidian watched the silhouette shrink down to a tiny thing, which punched through the clouds on a journey back to the stars. Yidian chose to use vibrational sound complexes similar to what the human had used. For the first time in over two hundred cycles, she spoke. Yidian: I think I shall go to earth. ~*~ Yidian Light Bringer Starbase 118 Ops O239609AD0
  24. ((OOC - Special shout out to @Edward Spears, MD for such creativity regarding when Dr. Spears woke up!)) ((Mess Hall, Starfleet Academy, The Other Human Planet)) Yito: We keep investigating then. Something is trying to tell us something either some form of being or Ed subconscious. Blair: Yeah, but unfortunately the universal translator doesn’t speak mural. Laxyn: No but our minds might. They do show us something that we know in our real lives. I did wonder why they didn't leave us with all our memories intact but I assume that they just don't know how our minds work and wanted us to experience this shared experience as a base of communication. And now they seem to be trying to figure out how our memories can help us. If they are not familiar with our brains and minds, it would be difficult. Spears: I agree. Whether this is one of our minds, or all of them, the common root is that these beings seem to be using our collective experiences to send us messages. But how confusing would our memories be if these entities don't experience the universe the way we do... Yito: Has anyone else had flashbacks/forwards? I know Ed had one earlier of a painful memory .:: She looked to Ed to explain. :: Laxyn: I had a few. ::She admitted meekly:: Just now I had a painful one I don't quite understand.. earlier when I was alone with Alex I had one that seemed to want to tell me something. My theory is that it was about who they are - something we haven't met yet... and that their balance is disrupted. Maybe... these probes are the reason for that. Spears: Yeah. I've seen a few things that must happen after this point in time. The memories I experienced felt completely real, and they were emotionally painful... Yito: What if whatever is trying to communicate with us is in pain but doesn’t know how to describe it to us. Blair: What if you’re right? Laxyn: It would make sense. If they don't know our minds, they might also not know our language. So they dig through our memories for something that ... feels like that they want to say, no matter the context of that feeling. Yito: Pain can come for so many different reasons but feel very similar if not the same. Spears: I agree with all of you. If they experience reality differently from us then they might not know how to differentiate between different kinds of trauma. Blair: The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. A Starbase, as starship, and a probe. Tie those images with the memories of pain. I really think Yito’s right. Laxyn: I agree. Now if we only knew how to utilize it. Spears: If only we knew what was happening outside of this... Construct... Blair: I’m just theorizing here so bear with me. But what if the image of the bridge is true and we are the crew of that starship, the Constitution. ::pause:: Maybe something we’ve done has inadvertently done harm to whoever these beings are? Laxyn: Do you think that could be the reason why it is _us_ that is here? Yito: Would make sense. We do seem to be the senior officers. Spears: The Galaxy-class is an exploration vessel. I bet the Constitution has launched hundreds of probes in her time... Blair: The big issue would be figuring out what damage was done, and how we can fix it. Especially from in here. Laxyn: ::a deep breath:: That's the big question. Yito: They keep showing us pictures, memories maybe they will lead us there. Spears: They seem to change the nature of this reality, or at least the mural, when we make the correct kinds of connections. Laxyn: What do you want to tell us? What can we do? The image changed again. It was still the bridge, only now there were different people occupying the stations and consoles. Saveron seemed to be seated centrally. He seemed older, more mature. Laxyn: Is... is that Saveron? ::She pointed to the center chair.:: He looks ...strange with short hair. Yito: He seems older, with 3 pips. There are also others I’ve seen here. Spears: And some newer faces. Blair: If our theory is correct, I would assume they are the rest of the crew. Laxyn: If this is what is happening now... then Saveron has command instead of me. The screen... that looks like a starchart. Can either of you identify where this is? Yito: No, but the computer may have it on file. Spears: Doesn't look familiar but... That portion of the chart identifies the Klingon border. Blair: ::Alex shook his head:: Sorry it doesn’t particularly look familiar to me, but I’ve never really studied starcharts. Laxyn: Do... do you think they are going into Klingon space? ::Her face lost most of its colour:: Yito: That would be against the treaty :: Was that still in effect? :: Spears: I thought we were doing alright with the Klingons? ::Or was that information out of date...:: Blair: That’s what I’ve learned in classes, but that information may be out of date. Pretty much everything else here is… Laxyn: I hope not. But you may be right. What IF this is where these beings are? Yito: But if the probes cause them pain what will a large ship do? Spears: Nothing good, I'm guessing. In medicine the idea is to avoid doing more damage while working to solve the illness or injury that already exists. If the Constitution barges in there, not only might it hurt these beings significantly, maybe even irreparably, but it could also cause diplomatic repercussions with the Klingons... But Saveron is a reasonable person, right? He wouldn't order the ship into Klingon space... Right? Laxyn: Well... Blair: I’m sure we can trust him, but maybe we need to find a way to help from here? Yito: I don’t know what we can do to stop them from here. Spears: I don't think there's much more we can do from here except assure these beings that we'll try to help? Laxyn: Just how? Yito: Can we somehow communicate we got their message? Maybe they’ll wake us up. So we can tell the others to stop. Spears: If they understand that we understand and that it is in our nature to help, they might simply let us go. I wonder... Yito: Unfortunately I don’t think we fully understand us. Our missing memories is an indication of that. Blair: And if we don’t fully understand ourselves, we couldn’t expect these beings to understand us. Spears: Hang on, I'm going to try something. Yito: What have you in mind? :: Intrigued. :: Laxyn: If you would tell us what... Ed closed his eyes and focused. Spears: ::Muttering:: Come on. Come on. Find a memory of me helping someone... And then it came in flashes. Ed could hear his characteristic laugh as he treated bruises, burns, cuts, broken bones, and more. Different faces. Different species. And not just Starfleet members. Then the more complicated things. Lystra's hand; a mystery he still hadn't solved, but one he hadn't given up on. Then a memory of the first patient he lost under his care; something he still lamented and strived to better himself because of. Finally there was a feeling of calm that came along with the memories slowing down. Ed felt a pain in his temples and scrunched his eyes. ((Sickbay, USS Constitution-B)) As he opened them, he was no longer standing in front of the mural. He was lying down on something relatively firm, a bright light overhead. The room smelled sterile. The scent was at once familiar and comforting. He could hear the gentle beeps and tones of a medical scanner. Then the more urgent tone of a tricorder. A head appeared in the beam of light looking concerned and relieved all in one. Malyz: No I haven't yet. He just woke up on his own. Ed tried to speak, found that his mouth was dry and a little lame, and then tried again. Spears: Oz... Am I back? He felt back, but it was also like he'd just woken up from, well, a coma... Ed looked over to the side and saw that Jalana, Alex, and Seja were all prone on biobeds of their own. OK. So maybe it wasn't just a coma dream... Malyz: You sure are, boss. ::Oz smiled.:: Spears: Like I'm in a fog bank. Also thirsty. Ed blinked and looked around. Things started to clear and click into place. Memories unlocked that had been hidden to him while he was on the other side.
  25. (( Part 1)) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) With a dull thud from the internal mechanism, the doors parted. The thick layers of dust that swamped the room they were stood in stopped at that threshold, though powdered footprints faded across the next room as the unknown visitors tracked it through. Quinn swung her rifle back up, heart rate climbing in concert. Whoever it was, they had moved further into the building; minutes ago, an hour ago, it was impossible to tell. But the door beyond was unremarkable, not of the heavy security design that they had just dealt with. She looked toward Neathler, raising her eyebrows. Reynolds: On your lead. ch'Ranni: Darling, I'll follow you anywhere. The Andorian gave a small smile toward Neathler, and stood, falling in behind the human with a hint of swagger in his stride. The charming rogue, smuggling for self-interest. She wondered what he'd do when they got out; whether he'd return to that life or start something anew. It made Neathler shake her hand, and she pulled a dented hand phaser from the inside pocket of her clothing, passing it toward him. Neathler: Just don't point that thing on me, Smuggler. ch'Ranni: Nice. Through the doors they passed, and Quinn glanced over her shoulder as they closed behind her. Now sealed, the air was thicker in here, the atmosphere not being lost through breaches in the outpost's shell. Jona removed his rebreather and smiled, though neither Quinn nor Neathler had the same confidence in the quality of the air. Perhaps the brunette could also hear echoes of Marshall's warning that the Cardassians were as liable to use toxins and poisons as traps, as they were fire. ch'Ranni: Seems like there's power here. Life support's operational too. I guess somebody's home. ::He faced the next doors and turned to Neathler with questioning eyes..:: Maybe we should knock? Neathler: I lost my manners years ago. And maybe you should keep on that rebreather in case the spoons installed some airborne poison or stuff like that. The comment earned them a shrug, but nonetheless, he slipped the rebreather back on. Neathler slipped into position next to the new set of doors, and with the barrel of her rifle raised toward the ceiling, she nodded toward Jona. With a tap of his fingers and without protest or problem, they were granted ingress, and after a heartbeat's pause, the human woman levelled her rifle and stepped through. She swept the revealed corridor and finding nothing except a choice of which direction to proceed. Neathler: Any preference? ch'Ranni: Left. Always choose left. Quinn shrugged, with no obvious indication of which option was more interesting, safest or useful, it was little more than a coin toss. Contrary as ever, Neathler started to move right — until a tiny sound echoed down from the left. Existing on the edges of Quinn's hearing, it was a quiet, rhythmic tick that seemed to be coming from behind the door at the end of that corridor. With something of interest to examine, the decision was remade and the dark-haired woman made in that direction instead, taking up a position beside the door. Neathler: Ready? The Andorian answered with a nod, his antenna twitching, and Quinn swore she saw a tiny glimmer of amusement dance into Neathler's dark eyes. It was an odd comfort to see, and the hybrid nodded her readiness as well, adjusting her grip on her rifle. A light touch to the control panel, a whisper from the door and it opened. The regular beeping was much more distinct now, though peeking through Quinn couldn't see the source — and indeed she could see something distracting in its peculiarity. ch'Ranni: Huh. I guess I wasn't expecting that. Neathler shifted to see what was being stared at. They were looking into a small and cramped space, more of a storage closet than a room. But sat on the floor right in front of them, still and silent, were two Cardassians, unreactive to the door opening or the armed people pointing large weapons in their direction. They weren't even blinking, and Quinn found herself wondering if she was looking at projections, rather than people. Frowning, her hazel eyes flicked across to the side wall, where a console glowed in cool green and warm brown. Neathler, evidently, had seen it too. Neathler: Shoot them if they move. Shades can you get a ground plan or something, or data from that project? We've got a working console here. Reynolds: Yeah. ch'Ranni: Response Quinn eyed the Cardassians, wary of moving into the same room that had likely incapacitated them. She edged around the two men while Neathler prodded one of them with her rifle. The man swayed at the nudge, but otherwise didn't react. With a faint frown, she started working at the console, paging through screens of Cardassian text as she searched for answers, and it dawned on her that the sound they'd heard in the corridor had not been the idling workstation. Neathler: What do you think, drugged, frozen, paralysed? Reynolds: I'm guessing they set off one of their own traps. ::She paused, a dark thought crossing her mind.:: Though that means they were either trying not to kill whoever got in here, or something else has failed to go off. ch'Ranni: Response Working on the console, didn't see Neathler slip inside the room, her dark gaze panning across floor and wall and finally arriving on the barrels stowed in one corner. She knelt down, testing the weight of the lids, inspect their underneath, shining the light of her torch inside. Then— Neathler: Explosives! Get out! Quinn didn't need any more incentive than that. She bolted back for the door, only to find that now it wouldn't open — a trap now fully sprung, no doubt. Glancing around the small room, she tried to merge the path they'd travelled with what she'd seen from the outside and what her tricorder her showed as she scanned the interior. Pieces interlocked and she turned, pointing to a nondescript section of the wall. Taking a step toward it, she talked as she adjusted the settings on her phaser. Reynolds: The corners of that panel: one each, setting seven, two-second burst. Should blow it clean out. On three— TBC... -- Quinn "Shades" Reynolds Starfleet Defector The Skarbek T238401QR0 ------ (( Part 2 )) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) There was a blast of heat and the roar of flames, and Quinn felt the concussion slam into her back, throwing her forward, clean off her feet. She arced through the air and hit the powdered, grey dirt — and then there was nothing. No pain, no raining debris, no cries from her comrades. Even the wheeze of her breath through her rebreather was gone, yet she was having no trouble breathing. Cautious and slow, she unclasped her hands from the back of her head, peering around as she eased herself back up on to her feet. Neathler and Jona were frozen mid-movement, the bloom of fire as still as though it was a painting. Dust had been thrown out ahead of the blast, sparkling and motionless in the air. Up in the sky, Quinn could see a shuttle silhouetted against the stars. It was a moment frozen in time — except she wasn't. As she looked around, a frown of confusion carving ever deeper into her forehead, Quinn spied a red trim around her cuffs, the belt and tunic of a Starfleet Admiral instead of her jacket. She was a Starfleet Admiral. That was why she couldn't hear her rebreather. She wasn't wearing one. And this was— ???: Hello. She whirled around. The voice came from a fetching woman, with pale skin, feminine curves and tumbling red hair. She wore the same uniform as Quinn, complete with the pips of a rear admiral, and as their eyes met, she gave an amused grin. Stood with her weight over one hip, arms crossed, she chuckled. ???: You must be wondering what's going on. Reynolds: The thought had crossed my mind. ???: Well, you see I'm in a bit of pickle. My little experiment isn't going so well and— Quinn's heart was thumping in her chest, despite her stony exterior. The last thing she remembered was giving the order to spool up the QSD in order to head back to Tyrellia. Xerix had been at the helm, the new operations chief ch'Ranni sat next to him at his station. Beside her, she and Jo had been discussing the quite frankly ridiculous topic of how to get first dibs on Nkai's bakes now that he was in his new post. Then as surely as a scene change in a holonovel, she'd been stood on Peshkova as the sun set, not a Starfleet Admiral but a Starfleet defector, watching Walter eulogise people who most certainly weren't dead. Not dead at all, just moved on to new assignments, alive and hopefully happy in their postings. Reynolds: Your what? Who are you? ???: My experiment. I'm a... what do you call it? Scientist. I'm doing science. Trying to figure out how you tick. Or perhaps it's why you tick. ::She offered a brilliant smile.:: Anyway, you can call me Q. Reynolds: ...Q. Q: Yes. I assume I need no further introduction. Quinn didn't answer, cold radiating across her shoulders and down her back. She'd never encountered a Q before, but there was someone on her crew who had. Was that why this one was here? Whatever the reason, they were in trouble — Starfleet had encountered Q who didn't acknowledge the value of mortal life. Virtually omnipotent and immortal, they simply didn't understand it. Or perhaps didn't care about it. Who paused to think before swatting a fly? Q: Well, come along. Reynolds: Wha— The Q snapped her fingers, and the moon vanished. In its place was stark, cold metal; a corridor lined with cells in the brutal architecture that the Cardassians favoured. The forcefield on the one she was facing was active, though in that frozen moment of time she couldn't hear the tell-tale hum of energy Her gaze, however, was entirely beyond it. All she could see was the tall, broad German sat on a bench, cradling his head in his hands. Her heart banged behind her ribs, even as her eyes told her he was unharmed. Untouched. So far. Q: You see, I let you all make your own choices in my maze, but some of them were... disappointing. What good are you on the moon when he's here? And that other you should be on the moon, don't you think? With the other blonde? ::She paused.:: Why do you have so many blondes? Do you collect them? Quinn turned to deliver the retort forming on her lips. It was lost as the air rushed out of her lungs, as surely as though she'd been punched in the stomach. The cell opposite was also occupied; Valesha, bearing subtle signs of Cardassian interrogation, pale to the point of translucence, raw-eyed as she stared vacantly across the corridor, her head on Johns' chest. Oh, Johns. He wore the not-so-subtle signs of Cardassian interrogation, bruises and cuts covering what skin she could see. But he was ashen, the tell-tale pallor of the dead, and ice flooded Quinn's veins. Cheeky, smiling Johns who laughed and loved and managed to make himself worth much more than the trouble he caused. How could he be dead? Why was he dead? The universe could be unfair, but this... this had intention. Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: What have you done? Q: Me? Nothing. ::She walked through the forcefield as though it wasn't there, crouching down beside the pair.:: The Cardassians, on the other hand... Well, I'm sure I'd find it simply awful if I cared about it. But I'm a dispassionate observer, ::she waved an elegant, disinterested hand,:: or whatever. Objectivity and all that. Ice became fire, grief turned to anger. She bit down on it, refusing to lose control, but there was a flare in her eyes and a flame in her voice as she answered. Reynolds: You put us here, you're responsible. The Cardassians didn't kill him, you did. Pouting, the Q sprung up to her feet, red hair bouncing around her shoulder. She answered with a petulant tone of voice, as though she was being told off by a parent. Except the Q didn't have parents. Perhaps that explained a lot. Perhaps it explained nothing. Q: I'm not killing anyone! It's not my fault if you're all a bunch of savages. Reynolds: You— The redhead stepped forward and placed a finger on her lips, and suddenly the Starfleet Admiral found she couldn't speak. It was as though her vocal cords had simply vanished — and given she was dealing with a Q, perhaps they had. Q: Shh. ::She smiled and patted Quinn on the head.:: There there. It's all for a worthy cause. Science, remember? I know you love science. Unable to speak, Quinn glared instead. She may as well have not bothered, for all the impact it made. The Q simply stepped back, snapped her fingers and they were aboard the Skarbek in that mad tangle of technology, sweat and elbow grease that MacFarlane called main engineering. Erin was there, a darkening bruise on her forehead and blood matting her blonde hair, up to her elbows in the EPS flow control to the cloak. Q: Here. This is where you should be. Makes more sense, don't you think? Then you can have all your interesting feelings knowing he's up there, ::she swept her hands up,:: and Other You can have all her interesting feelings knowing she's down there, ::she pointed down,:: and it just makes for better results. Reynolds: You can't just change the variables of an experiment half-way through. The words spilled out before she realised she had her voice back. A thought of a tactic, voiced without pause. If the Q considered herself a scientist, maybe she could be convinced to behave like a vaguely decent one. Arguments of morals and ethics were liable to fall on deaf ears, but perhaps if she thought she was being a bad scientist... Q: Can't I? Oh, that's a bother. What can I do? She didn't hold out much hope that the tactic would work, but Quinn had to try. There was no way to brute force a Q into doing what you wanted, words and trickery were the only option and even then it was a limited chance of success. And she was hardly a diplomat. Reynolds: If it's clear you're not going to get usable results, you should abort it. Otherwise, it's a waste of time and resources. Q: Oh, you are clever. :: She chuckled and booped — booped — Quinn on the nose.:: Full marks for the attempt. But we'd best get back to it. Do try to be interesting. She smiled, clicked her fingers, and— TBC... -- Quinn "Shades" Reynolds Starfleet Defector The Skarbek T238401QR0 ----- (( Part 3 )) (( OOC: For clarification — as far as everyone's concerned IC, Erin's always been with the planet away team, and Quinn never left the Skarbek. )) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) Neathler: Ready? The Andorian answered with a nod, his antenna twitching, and Erin swore she saw a tiny glimmer of amusement dance into Neathler's dark eyes. It was an odd comfort to see, and the hybrid nodded her readiness as well, adjusting her grip on her rifle. A light touch to the control panel, a whisper from the door and it opened. The regular beeping was much more distinct now, though peeking through Erin couldn't see the source — and indeed she could see something distracting in its peculiarity. ch'Ranni: Huh. I guess I wasn't expecting that. Neathler shifted to see what was being stared at. They were looking into a small and cramped space, more of a storage closet than a room. But sat on the floor right in front of them, still and silent, were two Cardassians, nonreactive to the door opening or the armed people pointing large weapons in their direction. They weren't even blinking, and Erin found herself wondering if she was looking at projections, rather than people. Frowning, her hazel eyes flicked across to the side wall, where a console glowed in cool green and warm brown. Neathler, evidently, had seen it too. Neathler: Shoot them if they move. Vines can you get a ground plan or something, or data from that project? We've got a working console here. E. Reynolds: Yeah. ch'Ranni: Response Erin eyed the Cardassians, wary of moving into the same room that had likely incapacitated them. She edged around the two men while Neathler prodded one of them with her rifle. The man swayed at the nudge, but otherwise didn't react. With a faint frown, she started working at the console, paging through screens of Cardassian text as she searched for answers, and it dawned on her that the sound they'd heard in the corridor had not been the idling workstation. Neathler: What do you think, drugged, frozen, paralysed? E. Reynolds: I'm guessing they set off one of their own traps. ::She paused, a dark thought crossing her mind.:: Though that means they were either trying not to kill whoever got in here, or something else has failed to go off. ch'Ranni: Response Working on the console, didn't see Neathler slip inside the room, her dark gaze panning across floor and wall and finally arriving on the barrels stowed in one corner. She knelt down, testing the weight of the lids, inspect their underneath, shining the light of her torch inside. Then— Neathler: Explosives! Get out! Erin didn't need any more incentive than that. She bolted back for the door, only to find that now it wouldn't open — a trap now fully sprung, no doubt. Glancing around the small room, she tried to merge the path they'd travelled with what she'd seen from the outside and what her tricorder her showed as she scanned the interior. Pieces interlocked and she turned, pointing to a nondescript section of the wall. Taking a step toward it, she talked as she adjusted the settings on her phaser. E. Reynolds: The corners of that panel: one each, setting seven, two-second burst. Should blow it clean out. On three, two, one, fire— Their phasers drilled into three of the corners of the building, the differential in pressure between interior and exterior doing the rest of the work for them. The panel screeched and buckled, and while it wasn't quite enough to rip it completely asunder, there was room for them to escape through. Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response Then she was running, sprinting out of the building and into the vast, barren expanse of the moon, her breath rasping loud in her ears as it was processed by the rebreather. There was a blast of heat and the roar of flames, and Erin felt the concussion slam into her back, throwing her forward and clean from her feet. Arcing through the air, she hit the powdered, grey dirt with enough force to drive all the air from her lungs, and she felt a lightning strike of pain as ribs snapped where she landed on her rifle. It pulled a strangled cry of pain from her lungs and she rolled onto her back, tears burning in her eyes. Through the mist they created, she could see a shuttle silhouetted against the sky, recognising the familiar shape of the Inayat-Khan. Thank heavens for small mercies, though her sigh of relief was cut off by another guttural moan of pain. E. Reynolds: Is... Is everyone alive? Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response E. Reynolds: Yeah, I— Ribs. Broken. Ouch. ::She grimaced and breathed out a groan.:: Much ouch. Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response -- Erin "Vines" Reynolds Botanist & Sometime Engineer The Skarbek T238401QR0
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